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I am officially a Sew Alonger! I have longed to be part of a sew along in real time and not either late to the party or waaay after the fact. So I joined in the Jalie Hoodie sew-along hosted by Kelly Hogaboom. I learned about this through my daily Pattern Review perusing way back in August. So I signed up for a start date of October 1st.
We are now in step 3 …see, I have a slight problem with tardiness, but better late than never, right? Whatev! Blogging is something that I have barely dipped my toes into and absolutely love reading others’ sewing blogs, so here I am ….trying to join in the sewing community. I digress…sorry.
Anyway, I chose some wonderfully soft and cozy …SUPER THICK… Polartec Classic 300 from Millyardage.com in a taupe/natural colorway. Okay…so I’ve never really sewed with polar fleece before, at least not something I wear, only scarves for charity or blankets. This stuff is THICK, did I say that already? Oh man!
Step 1 is where I washed and dried my fabric which, by the way, did not cause an enormous amount of fuzzy lint! I definitely will be shopping at MillYardage again because this stuff is high quality, not that I have anything against the stuff you can get at the local Joanns or Hancock :). Since Jalie patterns come in a gazillion sizes, I traced off my size and did a minor sway back adjustent…I ALWAYS need one about 5/8″ to 3/4″ depending on my fabric and how close fitting the garment is. I love this part of sewing because it lets me really get to know the pattern and all the design vs. fit lines of whatever I’m going to be making. Weird and geeky, probably, but who cares…its what I do! Deal with it…
Next, I cut out all the pieces…a fair amount but not too bad, using my 60mm rotary cutter and a spankin new blade. I almost cut a larger seam allowance because of the thickness, but opted to stay with the 1/4″.
Testing, testing and more testing of how my sewing machine and serger were going to treat this fabric. Serging turned out to be a no-go, even though I love my serger…it just didn’t produce a good clean seam finish. Besides that…the fabric is really stretchy on the crosswise grain and even with the differential feed all the way up and the presser foot pressure lifted…not a fun time.
Sew…oops I mean… So, on to my sewing machine, which by the way is a Brother Dreamweaver. I went through a seam and um….oh yeah! I remembered I have a MuVit foot for difficult or thick fabrics that require dual feed like a walking foot. I love that thing! I hardly ever use it, but it was is essential for this project. I decided on a 4.5 to 5mm stitch length for construction seams and then came the “duh” moment of what the hell am I going to do about top stitching?
I went through the different utility stitches and chose the “Ladder Stitch”, which is the #2-14 on the Brother. I needed to lengthen it and make it wider so it would look like it was meant to be there. It is really nice because it squishes the layers flat and helps it behave. This turned out to be the only stitch I tested because I loved it so much. See…
I was ready for sewing…finally! I usually don’t do this much prep, I choose a pattern and fabric and get to sewing without a lot of fuss…patience is not my strong suit. Remember? I don’t do very well with sew-alongs as I hate waiting to finish my clothes. This step has you sewing all the vertical seams and the welt pockets of the bodice. Super fast and easy. Until the top stitching!
Dun..dun..dun!!!! Another head slapping moment and “WTF” was I thinking? I am too far in now to wad this up and toss in the corner! As I was stitching along, all of a sudden the thread was shredded and I had to stop midway on a very visible seam. Crap! and a few other expletives. I was so frustrated but kept trying to figure out why. The usual trouble shooting…rethreaded upper and lower, I had a new needle, excellent thread from Superior Thread Co, and balanced tension.
Conclusion: Apparently, sewing at warp speed through literally a half inch of fabric doesn’t work out very well. It was causing a ton of friction heating up the fabric and pulling fuzz onto the thread taking it up through the needle and, and, and…you get the idea. Top stitching each seam took about 8 minutes per seam! There are a lot of them.
So I guess after all, this fabric was a perfect choice for this project…..it is forcing me to sew-along!
Step 2 is getting me excited as it is taking shape. The sleeves are in and the outer layer of the collar are on…I can try it on…and it fits! Yay me.
The next step we attach the cuffs and waistband which caused me to consider …again…my fabric. This shit is thick! Sorry for the record player here, but man, what really was I thinking? The cuffs and waistband are folded and sewn to yet another layer. Now we’re at 3 layers of this stuff.
Thank goodness there isn’t any top stitching involved…cuz at that point it would have been abandon ship!
However, this zipper still needs to be attached with a fold over of fabric and be top stitched nicely. Not only that but folding back at a seamed intersection with 3 layers of fabric, insanity! More pondering…sheesh.
I have a ton of zippers in my stash and thought what the heck, I can use one for testing how my top stitching will perform. So I made a sort of mock up of the front and tested a lapped seam option with my decorative top stitch.
….pretty bad huh? And to think I posted these on the facebook group asking for encouragement that it would be acceptable. OMG! I needed to shut the door to my sewing room and go back fresh the next day. This is when stupid T.V. is good. ha ha!
Next day…after reading the kind, supportive comments from the facebook group, thanks ladies!
I love sewing before the butt-crack of dawn when I am fresh. I like to think of it as my exercising morning workout, like others might do before work, just kidding <wink and grin>. Anyway, I thought why not do another mock up putting in the zipper the usual way…can’t hurt to try, right? Well, it looked terrific! Even with the top stitching.
So, at this point in the sew-along…I almost jumped ahead. But nope…I waited like a good girl! Bound and determined to play nice.
Finally! step 3 where the sleeve cuffs and waistband are sewn and the zipper goes in. This step has taken me almost 2 days to do. And….I have several other projects waiting impatiently to be started. I’m so proud after tribulating…All the intersecting seams are lined up after having to unpick and re-sew a section that slid out of place by about a 1/2″. No big deal though, I am learning some sewing patience with this make. 😜
I am in a hurry up and wait mode though, so I am pinning the next step to try to figure out how I am going to finish the inner collar at the neck line. With a normal fabric, Jalie instructs to turn the neck edge under by the seam allowance and slip stitch it closed. First off, I hate hand stitching if I can help it and second there ain’t no way I am going to try to fold this shit under 1/4″ for a finish. I did a 3-thread overlock to this edge of the intended seam line because I may just stitch-in-the-ditch ….but not until the time comes in the sew-along!
This post was really to keep me on track with the process. Do you think that it is important to actually sew-along…or do you just use it as inspiration to get started on a project?
I finished my hoodie (without a hood)! I did ditch-stitch the collar and it turned out great. This jacket is so warm and it fits perfectly.
Thanks for reading and lurking all the way to the end! I know with more practice, my blog posts will improve….just like with my sewing ;).
Please leave a comment with ideas, or anything really.