Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Making life hard for myself

I'm now working on the 3rd set of bunting to decorate the roon for DH's birthday dinner.   This set was going to be plain on one side (from cut up sheets), with a complementing polka dot backing.  I was going to have 2 colours.

Having had success (of sorts) with  my other two sets,  I felt that the plain side was going to be a little too plain for its purpose (can't say any more), and I had this brilliant idea of edging it.   I spent some time thinking about how this would work in practice, and what I might need to do.

[I started to type a paragraph describing the things I considered.  Trouble is, if you know about sewing, you'd think "what an idiot!"; if you don't know about sewing, you'll be thinking "Who cares?!"]

The following is, believe it or not, an abridged version of what happened next, and took place over nearly a week. 

I entered the murky wold of bias binding, both single fold and double fold.   Firstly, I searched for suitable  bias binding to buy.  For the quanity  needed (half a metre per pennant), it was all horrendously priced, which is a bit ironic considering what I subsequently spent trying not to spend money on buying binding.  I couldn't find anything that was the right pattern and/or colour.

I watched a YouTube video showing me how easy it was to make my own, and to apply it using a Janome bias binding foot.  I sourced a foot. I waited impatiently for it to arrive.  I tried it. I failed.  I just couldn't get my binding in the way the woman on the video did. 

I had also bought some hemming feet for the machine, which roll the hem and stitch it in one neat movement,  so I tried those.  They worked quite well, but the widest rolled hem just wasn't wide enough.

Next, I tried making my own folded bias binding using bias binding things.  I ordered 3 different sizes of bias binder makers,  from 3 sellers as I couldn't find one seller carrying all 3, and waited for them to arrive.    While I waited, I contemplated the application process.   I'm not a natural seamstress, so making myself work out what would happen with various methods of application was a bit of a gym-exercise for parts of my brain that normally are undisturbed.

I watched YouTube videos on applying single fold and double fold binding.  My brain hurt, as what I was seeing on screen just didn't stack up with what I was expecting to see.I twiddled bought binding, thinking about it all.

Several days later, 2 of the 3 binding makers arrived and I had a go.  I didn't cut my fabric across the bias for my test runs.  I used starch.   They worked OK - although not perfectly - for making binding. But even the widest, wasn't really wide enough (once it had been bent round the edge of a pennant, and the pennant sewn to another piece of fabric before being turned out.  The mega one had yet to arrive.

Last night I rewatched the video of the woman using the binding foot and I had a bit of an "Aha!" momen when I realised she was putting unfolded fabric into it.  How ironic that I had bought the bias makers and waited for them to arrive!.   It took me several goes running between YouTube and my machine, stopping in between to go and buy some spray starch, but eventually I managed to get it to work.   It was OK, very promising in fact - but again not wide enough when the backing pennant was sewn on and the whole thing turned out.

I then realised what I had to do, but I doubted my ability to do it neatly.  I looked for a shortcut.  First attempt, I ironed my binding in half to give me a crease, and inserted the pennant into it.  I sewed it. I sewed the other pennant on the back. I turned it inside out.  It looked like carp because the stitches could be seen.

I tried again, with the painstaking sewing the little lip...blah blah blah... it looked great, the stiches were hidden, but was too narrow and wasted a hell of a lot of fabric.

So, I tried another version, which didn't use any of the feet and it didn't use any of the bias makers.  And it worked.  But it is going to take ages.   At this point, I decided that plain pennants would look fine, and I made one up to prove it to myself.

It looked awful. Especially when I....looks round to make sure DH isn't looking>
put the final finishing touch on. And I scorched the fabric putting on the finishing touch.

Well, it's going to have to be done.

Strips cut to the required width + double seam allowance.  Manually draw centre line on the wrong side.  Pin right side to right side against plain fabric. Sew along line, removing pins as I go.  Iron over, so that strip is right side up.Sew this half pennant to the patterned half of pennant, right side to right side. Turn out. Iron on finishing touch.  When all pieces completed,  sew into bunting tape. 

I dreamt about it last night, trying to calculate sizes, and trying to work out if I really had to make bias strips or could I just cheat and cut quick strips.

I need to take a deep breath and have a go.


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