xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: Gathering pace

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gathering pace

I mentioned in my last post my bonkers cushion - well, here it is. It was created in a 3 hour slot when the daughters were at preschool.
I dash home, race up the stairs, stand around panicking slightly, race back downstairs, make a quick cuppa, race, actually no walk sensibly since I am carrying a cuppa, back upstairs and try to calm myself down. A makey morning is a race against time and I am wont to wreck it through indecision and the sheer pressure of trying to get A Whole Thing Done whilst the clock counts down my hours, tick tock, in the corner.
I always turn to my books - I have mentioned before that I turn blank when presented with a blank canvas - I don't get ideas rushing at me, no - tumbleweed bounces slowly past, dust settles, a lizard meanders gently past, grasshoppers chirrup idly in the mental grasses and a big voice in my head goes...
So you see, this is the most difficult bit. There in front of me stands a large selection of fabrics, in all manner of sizes, and in oddly labelled boxes, such as "One side at least 8 inches but these ain't no fat quarter" and "Tiny delicate florals" and "Strippy bits and sort of 6 inches-ish bits"; I have all the kit I might predictably need, apart perhaps from some little understood 'interfacing' fabric (what exactly is that stuff? What is it?), and yet I dance from foot to foot waiting for an idea.
My problem is I want to make everything, and as I said in Tartan it up, I also lack confidence in combining pattern and colour, so things don't jump out at me and go "OH! Hey! You! Check me out, grab that stripy fella there - no, not the purple - the turquoise, yes, and ooooh that red floral, yes yes there, and wouldn't we just look AMAZING in an apron/teatowel combo! Wooo-hoooo!" My fabrics are all rather more demure and well-behaved, and they sit politely waiting for me to make a decision.
I found a pattern for a lovely cushion with romantically gathered squares of fabric in Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing (which is a fabulous book from which I have already made two or three things including a Piece of Clothing for a daughter - more on that later too) and decided this was exactly the thing.
I was trying to find something to make for my poor friend Sam. I say poor, because she had a birthday in early May, which occasion I have still not marked with a gift. This is quite appalling you'll agree, and another incentive to set to and get cracking with a sewing project in my 3 hours.
I assembled my fabrics, and worked very quickly once I got going on it but I didn't exactly follow the pattern, as such, sort of....
and we all know what happens when I don't follow patterns.
My creations end up either a Total Disaster (see Gift Horse), Frankly A Bit on the Duff Side, or more commonly, Completely Bonkers. Now I love this cushion but it has fallen resolutely on the side of Completely Bonkers. So bonkers in fact, that I squinted at it and said, no, I just can't give that as a present, it's taken leave of its senses, look.
You start with rectangles of fabric, carefully measured. Let Anna Maria do the work for you here people, hm? Don't start with a square, because there is a reason why they are rectangles. (Learn Catherine! Learn from your mistakes! Again, see Gift Horse). You sew the long sides of your rectangle and then you gather gently, so that you end up with a square. You then arrange your fabrics so that they are in a chequerboard formation, with each gathered edge corresponding neatly with a straight edge - you following? Here's a little sketch:-
See? Then you can just start sewing 'em together and bob's your uncle, a bit of tweaking maybe, but with care it shouldn't take you too long at all should it?
However, of course, I started off with fabric in squares. And what happens when you gather one side? It becomes shorter...and what happens when you try and make a chequerboard out of unmatching length sides?
Here's a little sketch:-
Darn it.
And no, Clever Clogs, don't sit there saying, well it looks like they might all tesselate together - I tried it, they didn't. Nope, they didn't fit. Ooh I felt foolish.
Anyway, so I ended up, would you believe, pleating the daft too-long side so it would fit the nice sewn gathered side. You can see the pinned pleats here. Ridiculous. And extremely time-consuming, folding and tucking.
Silly woman. I also gathered them far too much. When they were all sitting there half sewn together they looked like a load of cups. In fact they were strewn about the sewing table like the bras of a rather buxom lady.
However, although definitely bonkers, I am very fond of it. And I promise I am making Sam a birthday present as we speak. It is not remotely pleated, but it is gathering pace.

1 comment:

Things Hand Made said...

You should be fond of it, it looks fab. I don't think it looks over gathered, its probably one of those that needs lots of gathers!