Saturday, 14 February 2015

The World's Most Expensive Apron

You may remember that my decision to make bunting for DH's special birthday led to me buying a sewing machine, and then an embroidery machine, and then lots of embroidery thread, and then selling both machines and buying a combined machine,  and so on, resulting in the world's most expensive bunting...?

Well, I think I have now made the world's most expensive apron.

You may remember the story of the patterns and me asking my aunt for help, well, this is what happened next.

Tuesday arrived and I went fabric shopping to Fabricland.  I needed 2.5 yards of fabric in 2 coordinating fabrics.  I picked out several possibilities, and decided to buy 3 metres of each to give myself some leftovers to make cute little purses and things.

I spent a small fortune. 

On Wednesday afternoon my Aunt arrived, and we got started.  I was nervous about using fabric from my new stash, I wasn't at all confident in my abilities.   I had a brainwave of using a pretty duvet cover (one I'd bought, brand new, to make into bunting in fact).    That way, if I made a cock up it wouldn't matter.

It was a long, slow, process.  The apron is reversible, so there was a lot of fabric to deal with, and the two sets had to be sewn together before the garment could be assembled.   I decided I didn't want pockets, which saved several years of sewing.

Four and a half hours later, we were near the end. I turned the nearly-finished apron through one of the open shoulders, shook it, and voila, we were ready to do the shoulders.

We read the instructions. which involved laying the apron face down, then crossing over the left back to the right front, and then.....blah, blah, blah,  We could not for the life of us work out what to do. We looked again and again at the four layers of fabric for each shoulder, trying to work out what to join to what and how.   Understandably, the instructions were written by someone who knows what they are doing, for someone who knows how to sew.  They didn't make sense though.

I decided I wasn't thinking clearly enough, and called it a day.

I asked my Aunt J to join me for dinner, and made a chicken risotto in Thermy - superfast, supereasy, super-delicious.  Despite getting stuck, it had been a really good afternoon.

On Thursday, I procrastinated most of the day.  I went and saw to the allotment chickens, all the time going over the four pieces of fabric.   When I got home,  I turned the apron outside-in again, and re-sewed the edges as some of my seams weren't great. I also decided to overcast all the way around to prevent the ends fraying, It took some time.  I was actually quite chuffed that I'd thought to do this.    In preparation for the final top stitching, I did some tests on fabric.  I kept looking at the shoulders.

I contacted PaisleyPincushion  with a detailed explanation of where I'd got to and why I was stuck.  While I waited for a reply, I googled shoulder seams and read impossible-to-understand explanations. I watched a couple of videos.  One website was making a reversible top, the front was black and the back was blue.  She mentioned that you had to sew black to black and blue to blue.

I went back out to the kitchen, and looked at my apron shoulders again.

And then I realised why all the talk of "contrast t contrast" wasn't making sense.   I'd put the back pieces on the wrong way round. I had my contrast fabric showing, instead of the front-fabric.  THAT was why I couldn't sort out the shoulders.

The pattern lady's reply confirmed about the "main to main".  I realised that I needed to sew the two inner pieces together,  and then the two outer pieces.   By now it was late on Friday and I decided to wait until the next day,

So today, I did it.  It took me a while. I had to check that all my marks were in the correct place despite the pieces being reversed.  I had to get the pattern out to make sure.   I sewed my first seam, one of the underside ones, and it was good, The second one, the topside, I realised I had gone wrong as the seam was showing.  I unpicked it, and twisted the shoulder round to try and work out how to do it from the other side.  The material was fraying badly, and I wasn't sure it would work.   It did!  When I managed to do the first one, I cheered out loud.

When I'd finished all four, I was amazed to find that they lined up pretty well.  This was especially important because of my cock up with the back pieces,  the place of the join was pretty obvious. 

When it was done,  I took a deep breath and started top stitching all the way round with a decorative satin stitch.  It took forever.

Shoulder seams - from a distance

Shoulder seam - needs threat trimming

My top stitch decoration
Even though it was made in cheap and cheerful fabric, I quite like the bright pattern.
Back (panels are the wrong way round, this is the inside fabric)

It is, of course, waaaaaaaaaay too big. Good job I hadn't used my expensive fabric to make this version.

I don't care though.  I'm really pleased that I've managed to make something. I know it might seem like it's only an apron but it isn't.  It's a reversible apron, with quite a few bits to it.  Sewing is also something that doesn't come naturally to me at all,  so the whole thing has been a bit of a challenge.

Rather than make it again in a smaller size,  I think I might try another pattern. Maybe the other Paisley Pincushion one.  Although I do quite fancy the idea of making one with slimming princess seams down the front. I was picturing using some plain fabric for most of the apron, and then some of my lovely stuff for the centre panel.

I can feel another night's googling coming on.


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