Friday, August 30, 2013

bathroom brawler

so, although my anna silk bout is scheduled for today, it has been delayed (again) by the surprise DIY bathroom renovation, progress shown above.  the case of bordeaux has been an intrinsic part of the process.  but as far as the MSN match goes, the featherweight contender (HAaaaa get it?) has been way too involved in life and le toilette to give her opponent, Shocking Chiffon, the proper amount of respect.  behold:


those pleats would have been, as ruggy would say, ricockulous.

i'm taking the weekend to do things properly, and will unveil on tuesday.  it hurts my A+ nature like the dickens to miss a deadline, but this stuff is too pretty to slam through.  and slamalicious i have been: i was even caught hand stitching in the waiting room of an audition yesterday.  it was not pretty.  my brilliant idea of pre-waxing the thread and rolling it up in my purse left me with a dreadlock of cotton fiber. when they called my name, i was a mere three stitches in, and as i grabbed my bag i accidentally pulled on the thread and snarled the whole shebang all over again.  first time EVER, by the way, that this particular casting office didn't make me wait 30 minutes.  i was counting on that 30 minutes of tile-dust-free space, yo!!!

now that i'm calmly forging ahead, i thought i'd share a few tips for working with extremely thin super sheer silk chiffon.  (my friends who do not speak sew, skip ahead to the last tidbit.  what the hell is a tidbit, anyway?)  

sharp fine glass head pins, of course.  i know most peeps use steel pins with those teeeeeeeeny heads, but ruggy likes to find my pins with his feet.  glass head are easier to see amidst the rubble, and my iron won't hurt them.  

my glass nail file is ever handy in order to keep my talons from snagging the precious.  seriously, this thing is genius.

mercerized cotton thread is awesome: if a seam should break due to poor tension (HIGHLY possible with this stuff, at least at my level of coughexpertisecough) the thread will go before the silk will. speaking of tension...

for your machine, a light pressure and very low tension seems to be best.  still!  changing my stitch length even the slightest bit changed the game.  exactly 2.5 is a happy marriage for my machine and silk.  guess who had to unpick a few seams after finding that out. a microtex needle (also known as sharp) is the bomb.  

when sewing, do not ever backstitch!  start each seam a bit further in (starting at the raw edge will give your needle plate some delicious silk to chew on, and you will definitely need a cocktail to get that mess outta there.  i recommend a french gimlet).  when starting and ending a seam, you can either begin with a very tiny stitch length for the first five stitches or so, or hand knot the beginning and end of each seam.

last tidbit: cutting sheer silk sucks.  especially when, due to aforementioned surprise DIY, your only choice of cutting surface is the bedroom rug.  but wait!  what about that piece of 5 by 5 drywall you just happen to have lying around?  couldn't you duct tape some straight edges on the sides, throw that on top of the bed, and make a swiveling cutting surface?

yes.  yes you could.

(but if you go that route, don't use a rotary cutter.  drywall dust gets EVERYWHERE, man.)

32 comments:

  1. Oh yes, must not slam through the silk.
    I use the extra fine glass head pins, they are great.

    I thought I was the only one that has a hard time backstitching stuff. I usually forget to do it but when I do most of the time, it makes me want to hulk out.

    I can't wait to see the dress when you are done, its gonna look awesome.

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    1. i am now forever going to shout HULK SMASH when a backstitch goes wrong.

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  2. can't wait to see the dress! have a fun weekend working on it! and i love all the fun details in your surprise diy renovation!

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    1. sis, i miss you!!! and i need to catch up!!!!

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  3. My husband also likes finding pins with his feet. And I never step on them. Maybe men have magnets in their feet....

    Oh, and I got one of those glass nail files a few months ago and it's AMAZING! Like I actually have fingernails now instead of chewing them off whenever they start to chip.

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    1. the glass file, it is life changing, we should decadently file our nails whilst the mensfolk find the pins.

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  4. Good luck and happy sewing! Here's hoping that the next time we hear from you, you'll have a clean and functional shiny new bathroom!

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    1. if you hear a scream of rage in queens, you'll know the status.

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  5. Good luck on the reno. It eats up much sewing time, I should know!!! (Our whole second floor was held up by a 2x4. A as in single. Thanks so much house flipper....)

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    1. eeeeeeeeek. house flipping scares the bejesus put of me!

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  6. Gotta respect the silk!! Take your time with that jammie! I second the nail files - picked one of those guys up at Sephora and my nails have never looked fancier!! Or less snag free. Looking forward to seeing your Anna!

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    1. you are the silk YODA, man!!!!! fly out here and help me! i haz st germain....

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  7. I reckon I need one of those glass nail files... My finger nails are scaring my fabric lately, and the fabric is the boss. Speaking of which, your fabric is beautiful - I look forward to seeing your Anna... And do you think Mood could be cajoled into opening in Sydney Australia???

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    1. do you reckon, if they can be so cajoled, they'd fly me out there to cut the ribbon? or at least pass out welcoming cocktails?

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  8. Have you showered yet? And will this be done soon? I was just wondering...;)

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    1. oooooo you ain't right.

      and neither, as of yet, is our bathroom.

      or the silk.

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  9. Oh! I wish I'd seen your post earlier! I had a nightmare of a time with some extra slinky silky stuff yesterday and after much pain and chopped up fabric, found out lots of these things the hard way... Sigh. I did prevail though and got to drink many margaritas in my new tropical Anna to ease the pain! Looking forward to seeing yours!

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  10. Ruggy has such a way with words. LOL. I totally agree with everything you said about silk (I'm in a cage match with some charmeuse at the mo.) I also use a straight stitch throat plate (it helps prevent the fabric getting sucked into the machine and chomped).

    I actually have a handy tip that works instead of backstitching but gives the same result - just start out stitching in the wrong direction (toward the sa). Stitch nearly to the edge and stop with the needle down. Raise the presser foot and rotate the fabric 180 degrees so you are ready to stitch in the correct direction, and go. For some reason, it doesn't pull the fabric into the plate like backstitching does.

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    1. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. i needed that three days ago!!!

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  11. I feel your bathroom remodel pain so much. We did our main bath last year, and I think I'd let the pros have it at next time. They've got better tools, more help, more experience, and they're WAY faster. We didn't have a case of wine, but there was much swearing.

    With our secondary bathroom, I decided to slap some paint on it, change the light/mirror and call 'er done. Pregnancy has done broke my give a damn and stolen away my patience. ;-)

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    1. laughing. out. loud. also crying a little.

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  12. I managed to find a pin last week, stood on it with my shoes on and it went STRAIGHT THROUGH the sole! How it managed that I am not sure, but it is usually the man that finds them.

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  13. Ha, great post! I always have trouble with the backstitching, I really like Clio's suggestion though! I really like your bahtroom floor and am very curious to see your finished Anna! Good luck!

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  14. What Linda said when I was interviewing her for A Portrait of a Seamstress is coming back to me right not - "there are no rules and there are no police." You didn't miss a deadline and no one is blaming, judging or arresting you. You get the Anna dress finished in all it's glory when you can and without an end date is mind.

    You said you were waiting in an audition while hemming - are you planning on staying in Texas?

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    1. I really should proofread my comments. Sorry for the grammatical errors ;)

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    2. you never need to proofread!

      you've got the right idea. deadlines, as much as i hate to miss them, are kind of on my list now. i may do away with them altogether wherever possible.

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  15. ref: ruggy 'finding' your pins: i watched a pbs special and discovered the QEII has a magnet which she sweeps the rug with after dress fittings so that the corgis aren't stabbed...just sayin'

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  16. This all looks way too scary and sheer for me and my droopy bits! ARGH! Can't wait to see it on you though!

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  17. Awww man - NEVER use anything but a blade to score the drywall first, then, essentially, "break" it apart at the score line - you poor thing!! *LOL* Please forgive me for laughing (too many memories, so I'm certainly laughing WITH you, dahlink!) Vaccuum a lot, but carefully - drywall dust can scratch, too. BAD drywall dust! BAD!

    Thanks millions for the tips on sewing silk - always been far too afraid to even think of trying anything with it (even something simple for a simpleton like me, a scarf).

    I do hope that all's well that ends well re: the bathroom reno - fingers crossed, my dear!

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  18. Oona, I love that floor tile. Where did you get that? It is gorgeous.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!