Merrily we stitch along...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm still at La Jolla, working as overhire on their show, Bonnie and Clyde.  It's going very well for me--we are getting a lot done and I am learning a lot about working with materials that I haven't had much of a chance to develop skills around.

We've been making women's slips and period bras, dresses and tops, as well as working with china silk and silk georgette, stripes and plaids...  I must admit, I sometimes feel like I'm all thumbs when I try to work with delicate materials that don't have much body to them...  I am used to working with wools and such, doing menswear.  Those kinds of materials are much more sturdy, with a weight and feel that allows for a heavier "hand" when manipulating them.

But these soft, flimsy fabrics require a much gentler touch that's almost excruciatingly mind-numbing...  Even the smallest needle in my sewing machine irreparably damages the pieces I insert under my machine's presser foot, and the feed dogs of my machine seem to simply chew up the materials regardless of how attentive I can be...  I am learning to handle the gossamer fabrics with a graceful hand but it is not coming easily...

Im also learnin a bit about knits...  I'm not sure, but I think that the refined knitting that we wear today (like jersey knit and t-shirt knit) is a relatively contemporary invention when it comes to clothing... Those kinds of small weaves simply weren't possible in the past by hand.  As a consequence, since most of my sewing is in historical reproduction, I don't have much experience working with knits--most clothing throughout history has been done with weaves.  So stretch fabrics, and the techniques required to sew them are all very "alien" to me.  But with this show, I've been able to play with some knits and learned some new stuff that I can't wait to try at home.


Ever heard of Wooly Nylon?  Oh my goodness what an invention!!!  I was able to sew with it on my regular Bernina home machine (a 930), and a regular straight stitch suddenly became a stretch stitch!  I couldn't believe it!  No special settings or equipment--it hit me that now I can actually sew knits at home with my regular machine and not have to switch a bunch of settings and such.  Can you say "ecstatic"??  This opens up a whole new world for me and what I can produce now.

On top of that, the home serger that was in the shop at La Jolla is the exact same model that I have at home:  A Juki MO-735. So I was able to learn about chain stitches and cover stitches while getting paid for it!  I was using what I was learning on the garments I was building, and storing that knowledge for use later at home.  I am so excited for this new potential!  What an awesome experience this has been!

Anyway, I go in to work today at 1:00pm to assemble some mockups for some menswear we are building (finally, some familiar territory), and finish up a 1930's diner apron that we are slamming together.  I am listening to Robert Jordan's "Eye of the World" from his Wheel of Time Series, and (being the typical male geek that I am) I'm really enjoying it.  Boys with swords...  Yada yada yada!  : )

Okay, back to work!  More later!  Live life with Relish!

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