Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Out of the Running?

So it's official--as I feared last night, my lovely Husqvarna Viking Platinum 730 is Not Sewing Right.

In fact, she's having the same issues that my mother's Viking had a few weeks ago before it went in for a tuneup: the stitches are skipping and the bobbin threads are pulling to the top no matter WHAT tension setting I use, on both straight and zigzag stitches. I tried every possible stitch length and tension setting on a nice piece of plain muslin but no dice. And the slightest tug on the top thread pulls the stitches right out.

I'll take her in for repair this weekend, but since the mini-wardrobe contest deadline is next Wednesday, my original wardrobe contest plan is Not Possible. I can probably do the cardi/jacket almost entirely by serger (if I can figure out a clever way to finish the edges and hem?), but I can forget the shirred full reversible skirt and Parfait dress, since they both require extensive gathering.

I'm bummed out, but as my Bobie says "What can you do?" Right--what CAN I do? I have several backup options. First, as a refresher, here's the original storyboard:

My Plum Polka Dot Mini Wardrobe, V2

Plan B:

  1. Skirt adjustment: Replace the shirred yoke at the top of the reversible skirt with a yoked waist made of ribbing--I have some nice black (and purple) lycra rib knit in the stash just for such purposes. This is how most maternity skirts are made, anyway. And I could do it easily on my serger, then handsew the hem. Sort of like this RTW example, but knee-length and with a much deeper yoke:

  2. Cardi adaptation:Maybe I just need a creative way to finish the edges of the cardi jacket without a sewing machine--I suppose this means I need the collar after all. As for the hem and sleeves... well, I do love a rolled hem.

    But... what about the darts? I can sew them by hand, but I don't trust the strength of my handsewing on knits...

    Another possibility: this Kwik Sew pattern from my stash--with a self-fabric belt, View A could maybe do the trick (though I have to look at the construction to see if I can do it sans conventional machine):

    Kwik Sew 3693 cardigan
  3. Dress dilemma: This is the hardest one. I have many lovely knit dress patterns in my stash, and some gorgeous dress-weight purple rayon lycra knit... but none of my knit dress patterns would work as a jumper, and all the wrap-style ones would compete with a wrap-style cardigan.

    So I could either replace the purple dress with a purple knit top (I'd still have plenty of combinations, thanks to the reversible skirt) or make a non-jumper-style dress that could just work on its own or with the cardi-jacket. Like maybe this dress that I've been meaning to sew, and which fits the color palette perfectly:

    McCalls 5974 Sewing Ticket

    I could do the front gathering on my serger with clear elastic.

And then there's...

Plan C: Relax and Forget the Contest Altogether. I am hugely pregnant after all. My ankles and legs are painfully swollen (and I can't even get my wedding ring over my puffy fingers these days), I'm taking intensive childbirth classes, and there's plenty of quality napping to be had. (And since I am incapaable of pure relaxation, I also have a lot of fun ideas for blog posts, and I'm working on a cool sewing-related tutorial.)

So yeah... we'll see. No sewing for me tonight, but I'll make the skirt tomorrow and then see if I want to go further.


  1. Oh no! Sorry about your machine, but it sounds like you have lots of options. Hehe...

  2. Sorry about the machine, that really hurts. But I don't see the connection between it and gathering. What happened to running a basting thread by hand? If you're huge, and getting a lot of couch time, there's no problem doing that, it's so stupid you can do it while reading subtitles :-)..

  3. It's not just gathering for the Parfait (you're right that I could do that by hand), it's topstitching and buttonholes and zipper insertion, too. And I'm just running out of time to do extensive hand-sewing (I'm slow at it and my fingers are really swollen from the pregnancy, I can't even wear my wedding ring!), and I haven't even muslined the Parfait... I think a quick knit dress would just be safer.

    As for the skirt, I had enough trouble trying to shir by conventional machine. I'm fine with switching to a rib knit waistband in this situation!

  4. how odd--comments people have left seem to be vanishing! not sure what's going on here...

  5. ... I was replying to a comment by Marie-Christine, who said "Sorry about the machine, that really hurts. But I don't see the connection between it and gathering. What happened to running a basting thread by hand? If you're huge, and getting a lot of couch time, there's no problem doing that, it's so stupid you can do it while reading subtitles :-).. "

    I also forgot to say there isn't much couch time happening--I get home from work at 7 or later, we eat dinner... and I go to bed by 10:30ish, so... I haven't really watched any TV or movies in weeks!

  6. OH no! I hope your sewing machine is easily fixable!

  7. Good luck - hope your machine is fixed quickly. The knit/serger solutions sound good (but that's easy for me to say ... I am a bystander, who doesn't have to do the work!)

  8. I say do a modified version of Plan C. Make the stuff you planned to make, if you can, after your machine is repaired. But don't stress about it for the contest. Plus, I don't know if you're planning for more than one child, but if not, there's less need to stress over making maternity clothes to be worn one time around (although, I'm sure the practical aspect isn't the only thing driving you here).

    Are you taking your machine to Sew Right for repairs? Maybe they could lend you a machine to use while yours is being worked on. I would usually suggest also asking if you could do some sewing on some of the demo models in the store, but since you're pregnant you probably it probably wouldn't be a good option (you need to do lots of fitting, the store isn't set up for comfy pregger sewing, nowhere to kick back and relax when cartoonist baby kicks you, etc etc).

  9. That totally sucks! But you have come up with a terrific plan - which you storyboarded in lovely fashion - and everything you have been able to make has been delightful. Just because you can't make the contest dates doesn't mean you can't finish your project once the machine comes home...

  10. Hey Emory!

    Yeah, I'm going to take it in via overpriced car service ride to Sew Right Saturday morning--I checked but the only Brooklyn sewing repair shop a friend recommended doesn't do computerized machines... plus since I bought it at Sew Right I really trust them! But since I have to be at a comics convention in Manhattan later that day, I don't think I'll try to borrow one of their machines. My serger backup plan should hopefully do the trick!

  11. That sucks! If I were you, I'd probably let the contest go. There will be more. But realize that I am speaking from my own over-committed perspective in which I just want to go take a nap. NOW.

    I'm sure you'll do great whatever route you take. Good luck with your machine!

  12. You *could* get a $99 machine from Sears then return it when your machine gets out of the shop.

  13. I'm sorry to hear about your machine. it's very sad, as I was enjoying reading your posts about your SWAP.

    I have to ask--have you cleaned out the bobbin area with a hand vacum? Sometimes a lot of dust and lint get trapped in there. Also, have you tried changing the needle, rethreading it and trying a new bobbin? I found that I was having problems with my machine because the bobbin thread somehow was tangled on the bobbin and the thread wouldn't unspool properly.

    In any case, I wish you luck with it.

    Rose in SV

  14. Ack! What a heartbreaker! I hope your machine gets better soon.

  15. My old Pfaff sometimes has that problem, but it's a do-it-yourself fix it job, too. Pop off the top, push the tension spring down, and put a drop of superglue between that and the plastic piece and you've fixed it. Then again, I don't know how your machine is set up. :) Mine's a Pfaff 1222E, so it's a lot lower tech.


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