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Topic: Amateur Hour/Day/Week @ Maxine's! Advice for noobs  (Read 1280 times)
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MaxineBrandywine
« on: February 24, 2007 04:34:36 PM »

I'm not a newbie... I swear, I've been sewing since I'm a kid and I'm 55...

But today it was Amateur hour @ Maxine's for sure

I bought some yardage of cotton with... I think it was 5% lycra. I needed it to put into the side seams of shirts so that they would have more stretch for a good fit and to make more room for my rather large breasts... Also to make sleeves and neck bands and bands for the bottom of shirts, etc etc. I bought black and white. About 4 yards of each.

Sooo... I cut and sew and things are lookin just GRAND. I like the material and it's working just the way I wanted. It sews beautifully and I made my first neck band on a t and it came out really good...

So what's missing from the above story. Can anyone guess?

Clearing throat... PREWASHING!

So this morning (days after the cutting and sewing part) I say to myself... self... perhaps just for fun you should wash a hunk of that cool new cotton w/ 5% lycra and dry it too just... you know... for the fuck of it... to see what it does... heck what's the worst that can happen?!?

sigh...
It shrank 4 inches... yah you read that right.. I measured it before and after and it shrank from 24 1/2" to 20 1/2"

If I could kick my own ass trust me I'd be doing that right now..
Just please remember when you buy new fabric almost always prewash and dry it and press it if it's wrinkled... I fully expected a little shrinkage but jeeezzeee 4 inches... this means the sleeves which I cut extra long probably will be just ... regular length... ugh fixable but more importantly preventable

Anyway I am washing one of the shirts that I used it on and when it's dried I'll let you know how it came out... It was a regular t shirt with gussets in the sideseams and long sleeves both made from the new fabric

Thanks for joining me today on "Amateur Hour @ Maxine's"
Maxine
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007 08:52:56 PM »

oh jeeze
i learned that lesson the hard way too
my mom once made slip covers for our chairs out of this striped fabric, and she spilt coffee on one of them, so she washed it. it shrunk a TON! so she ended up having to make a new slip cover for the chair.

the worst part was that i made a purse out of the same stuff and now its filthy, but I'm terrified to wash it.

i bet that you could save your shirt if you washed it in cold water and stretched it to the correct size be for you flat or line dried it. i have to do that w/ my jeans to make them the right length.
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MaxineBrandywine
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007 09:48:49 PM »

Thanks for your support cats.. it is greatly appreciated... right now I'm still irritated with myself and not laughing about this just yet... that's because I didn't sew anything that was all that .. well mucho grande... I altered two shirts and that's about it... I washed the black one I did and sure enough the side gussets shrank but it really doesn't look like they are all that much smaller/shorter than the rest of the shirt... my cool extra long sleeves show the most shrinkage... the full 4 inches... If I have to rip out a couple of seams on the other shirt, I will... it will serve to teach me a lesson..
I'm not gonna want to wash in cold, lay stuff flat, etc etc... no uh no way

I just felt compelled to share my stupidity somewhat as a martyr for others  Grin  see, I'm starting to laugh about it already

as for your purse... sometimes it's the washing as much as the drying that will shrink stuff depending on the fabric... The black shirt I mentioned above looked fine when I took it out of the wash... it seemed that the shrinking took place in the drying... but that's not true with everything... I'd say wash the purse in cold and stuff it with something and let it dry but you never know, the washing could do the shrinking...

Thanks cats
Maxine
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007 01:28:35 PM »

aww Maxine--even experienced seamstresses make newbie mistakes, ha ha!!  It is nice that you shared your story with a lesson --sometimes I am in a hurry and I know I am going to regret it if I short cut it, but I do it anyway and kick myself in the butt!

Sometimes there is no saving the item but at least you can save face by laughing at yourself!!
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MaxineBrandywine
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2007 02:57:02 PM »

thanks you guys.....

As of today I have prewashed and dried the rest of the unused fabric... I originally bought about 5 yards of each and hardly used any of it... I also washed both shirts that I used it on and they both came out fine but I'm glad I prewashed the rest cause now I don't have to worry...

Today I'm laughing  Cheesy
Thanks for joining me on "Amateur Hour @ Maxine's"
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007 05:02:03 AM »

This happened to me, a couple of times. Now I make sure I wash the material before I make anything from it.
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007 07:29:30 AM »

Maxine...I've been sewing for over thirty years, I'm 46, a professional and I still manage to forget that step!  It all depends on my blind enthusiasm for a particular project and/or  the fabric itself.  Every once in a while I find myself caught up in the euphoria of a new purchase or fabric find or garment idea.  I find myself getting three steps ahead of myself and suddenly I thud back to the ground with the realization I forgot a crucial step...and almost always it's the pre-washing or pre-shrinking stage!

Over the years I've found that my mistakes are in direct proportion to my skill, when I was a beginner, I made silly beginner mistakes, like not realizing the velvet is cut using the "With nap" instructions for a reason, or the facings serve a purpose and can't be omitted.  The more experience I got, the more outrageous my errors, such as sewing two left sleeves, something I did more than once.

My biggest mental meltdown involved some teal wool jersey, my need to make an Ungaro asymmetrical dress, and a magazine article telling how *simple* it is to drape wrap effect skirts... and how flat pattern methods can imitate complex draping techniques...

Let's just say flat pattern manipulation and fabric draping should never be combined in one garment, wool jesrsey should  never be made into a wrapped dress... Ungaro knows things I don't...

I wrote my disastrous experiences up on a web page to share with others who love to sew. you can find it here at http://lincatz.tripod.com/sewingdisaster.html  I wrote it for a friend who was upset that she made a tiny mistake and she was embarrassed to tell me, thinking everything I did came out perfect.  Yeah, right!

Now...I need to prewash some embroidered cotton batiste! thanks for the reminder!
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2007 08:13:54 AM »

ha ha kittenkaboodle--thanks for letting the dark secrets out!!  I am guilty as well and finally (after 30 years), threw out all of the projects gone bad that I was no longer interested in, could not salvage, hated the fabric, etc. etc. I feel like a free woman, ready to continue to explore and create, and yes, make more mistakes!!!

ha ha--nice to be in the company of fellow "humans", who are perfect enough...
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2007 08:32:32 AM »

You know, I think I learn more from my screwed up projects than from the things that go well.  Whenever something goes bad, I try ask myself, what went wrong and what can I do to prevent this from happening again.  I have an organza blouse that is unwearable, unfixable, unbelievable, but I learned more about sewing sheer fabrics from it than any book, magazine article, sewing video or sewing class could have offered.  I've kept it as a reference for that reason. Some of the crap isn't worth holding onto, and some is far too embarrassing to hold onto.  Like the teal wool jersey. Now every year on my birthday I go through the box and take inventory of what should be saved and finished and what should be tossed.

But there are things I can't bear to part with, because I know hiding somewhere in the mess is something beautiful and wearable.  Like my yummy-plummy wool skirt.  It's now one of my favourites, but it took twenty five years to finish!  Rather, it took twenty five years to figure out what idea worked best for the fabric.  And when I figured it out, it was worth holding onto. 
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diosaperdida
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007 08:39:00 AM »

I'm sorry to laugh at your post Maxine...but you are a brilliant writer.
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http://knittingbare.blogspot.com/ painting, knitting, whatever...it's all art
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