Thursday, July 06, 2006

from the sweatshop

Took Vera out for her first big run this weekend. (Having Monday and Tuesday off for Independence Day was a major break, and much appreciated.) I got my white taiji suit all finished, buttons on and everything. It fits perfectly, is quite cool, and looks pretty keen. I showed it to the gang last night, just hanging on the hanger, and Sit quipped, "Is that for me?" to which someone replied, "It's a bit low-cut for you." It's white with silver piping and buttons, and I hope to get pictures up this weekend, but don't hold me to that.

I also got my S.P.'s suit all put together, leaving the side seams unfinished so I could do the fitting. The collar fit pretty good, and the sleeve length was good, but the shoulders and body were much too wide. I can't figure that out: how did I manage to measure that far off? It's one of the mysteries of fitting that still don't make sense to me. I'm not even sure that my measurements were at fault, it's just something about the calculation of ease in a garment. Ah well--better too big than too small. It will be a fairly simple thing to rip out the sleeves and take in the excess.

The pants, now... that's scary. I haven't made as many pants, and I'm never sure how much ease to leave in the rise (crotch). Since these are kung-fu pants I was considering putting a gusset in the crotch, and I guess that can't go amiss even if it's not strictly necessary. What scares me is that I've got the rise too long as it currently is, and I don't know how much to take out. There has to be a compromise between comfort and fit. I've found that in kung-fu pants you want the crotch to fit fairly close, because if it hangs low the pants will catch across your thighs during kicks and that's what causes the rip-outs. But you don't want that center seam to bind, either, especially on your male clients.

It's a learning curve. And this attempt was better than the one I made last year. The collar fit well, at least, and the front placket and seams look good. I'll just nip and tuck a bit and it should be fine.

Oh, and Vera performed beautifully: strong, quiet, precise and smooth. I'm kind of incredulous to realize how I was making excuses for that old machine, telling myself I didn't need a new one because it wasn't that bad, but really I was making excuses out of fear: fear of change, fear of the cost. I kept putting up with the dropped stitches and the bobbin thread that was always coming loose and snarling (making more work for me to rip out and clean up), and the way the thread would pull out of the needle on the first upstroke, and I wouldn't even notice for several inches that it was only making holes, not stitching. It was infuriating and depressing, but I just gritted my teeth and kept on sewing, because it takes so much more inertia to leave what you know. Deep down I knew there were much better models available, better suited to my needs, carefully maintained models with precision gears and strong hard exteriors.

I guess the sewing angels were looking out for me. My new machine is so much more dependable and gratifying. Thank God I had the sense to recognize the bargain.


amycollieupah said...
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Anonymous said...

That's neat, naming your sewing machine: I've been in the habit of naming our cars; the Escort station wagon is Golden Girl.

It occurs to me that I have never named my lawn mowers. "Pile of Junk" and "Piece of Crap" don't really qualify as names, and they don't deserve such unkind nomenclature. They give me good service under rough conditions.

A WWII adage runs thus: "Use it up; wear it out!!! Make it do, or do without." The old machine was worn out, and we are not now at total war. So there was no good reason for you not to have a newer machine.
Happy sewing!!!