Saturday, November 6, 2010

So what's the deal with me and sewing fabric?

I spent a very frustrating Friday trying to cut and sew covers for my journals. Amid countless telephone interruptions and two neighbors' visits, I didn't get a whole lot done. Of course, none of the phone calls were the one I was hoping for. Amid the chaos, I also reinforced the idea that I simply don't work well with fabric.

This is as far as I got with the first cover. I ripped it apart several times because I sewed the seams on the wrong side. Then I decided the LAST time I did it, I would cover everything in some yummy lace, which was more than enough embellishment, in my opinion. As you can see, I haven't cut the flap yet, because I need to create a pattern for it.

This is the inside. I used some of my hand dyed fabric.

I wanted something a bit organic for this one and used cheesecloth as the embellishment.

While I was making it, I broke my needle. The machine sort of shuddered and the needle didn't go down into the hole. I don't know why that is, but maybe someone who sews knows if it's me or my machine needs something fixed. Regardless, I just bought a new needle a few days ago (or at least it seems that way). Now I have to go back to the Singer place and get another one. So that put a halt to my journal cover making. Too bad, too. I was really on a roll at this point (NOT!!).

For the third cover, I cut (because this fabric simply refused to tear) this. Now I need to figure out how I will embellish both sides. It will be very thick when I'm finished. I will use it for both sides, using the embellishments to jazz it up.

And although I make art, or at least post every day, I guess I should link to Creative Every Day (CED). This is the Art Every Day Month (AEDM), so you might want to check it out. The CED link is above and on my sidebar. The AEDM link will take you to that page for details on how you too can join.

So why is it, I can sew on paper all day long, but when I try to sew on fabric, I tense up and things simply don't work right? Does this ever happen to you? Do you find it hard to work in one medium more than others? I'd be really interested in your answers. Have a great Saturday dear friends.

My dear blogging friend Lynn attended an art show this week and I was struck by one of the artists. Lynn found the web site for Ann Jacobs, who apparently doesn't have her own blog or web site, but is part of a six woman collective called Art Divas. Thanks for the link, Lynn. So today you are lucky. For my blog of the day, you get to see the art of Ann Jacobs, along with five other artists. I think you'll enjoy your visit to Art Divas and Ann Jacobs today.

21 thoughtful remarks:

Marilyn Rock said...

Elizabeth; I really enjoyed this post, and I enjoy all of your posts, but this one just grabbed me with your feelings on working with fabric. You hit it right on the nail! I tense up, too, whenever I put myself into the situation of trying to hook up the sewing machine with fabric. I tense up - exactly. I await something to go wrong with the bobbin or having it unthread - I just am not cut out for it. I can glue fabric :) I do know my heart belongs to the paper arts but sometimes it's just neat to incorporate fabric but the machine and I - well let's say we're not compatible.

I do love your choice of fabrics, here, for your cover and love the cheesecloth inclusion.

Hope your back is better! xxoo Marilyn

Sherry said...

Hello Elizabeth, I have an oldish sewing machine (it was my Mums - she always passes her old machines on to either myself or my sister)I even have a smart cabinet it lives in - I love using it, but alas, it's always very hit and miss with me! I tend to rush and end up with wonky lines and I usually need several attempts before I'm anywhere near happy with what I make. I've sewed seams on the wrong side many a time - thank goodness for those little seam ripper tools!

Sometimes, if you just leave it and go back another day it seems easier, or you can see what you were doing wrong - that works for me (well, sometimes!)

Maybe your needle wasn't inserted in the machine spot on? That's so annoying when needles break.

Good luck with your journal covers, I'm sure it'll be worth it once they're all finished and lovely.

Hope your weekend is good, and your back is on the mend xx

Michelle V. Alkerton said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You've done better than I could. I have to go relearn the sewing machine. I just love that fusible web. No sewing required unless you want to dress it up with stitches :). I fused the valance in my art studio seven years ago and it's still together. lol I'm sure you'll complete your journal covers. Happy AEDM!
Stay inspired!

Halle said...

Breaking a needle is very frustrating. I'm wondering if the fabric you are sewing might be to thick? That's when I've had issues...the needle sort of bends a bit and can get stuck or worse. When sewing my suede pouches I had to "walk" the machine by hand to sew through the heavy suede.

Just a thought...

see you there! said...

I only sew enough to mend something occasionally. I love the look of stitching on paper tho and may try that at some point.

Your journals just keep looking better and better.

Darla

PaperPumpkin said...

Sewing with fabric scares the daylights out of me.

B @ Sweet Limes said...

those are going to be delicious when they're done.

Susan Allan said...

I like the lacey bits on your book cover.
It sounds like the needle was not put in the correct way round or not properly secured with the little key on the side. (You probably know that some needles are circular and some have one flat side, so you need to buy the correct one.) It is best to buy a little box of several needles at a time, ( save you going back).
I always think you can't make a mistake everything is salvageable, ( does salvageable have an 'e'in the middle?)

Have you thought of glueing the fabric directly onto the journal cover. Or, making the cover out of one piece, then stitching strips of fabric on top.

Have a great day
Sue xx

Marie Young (Young Creative) said...

I love your blog! Your banner (and Bleubeard) are adorable. Bleu took me on an amazing tour of your studio. He has a very nice writing style :)

So glad I found you through AEDM.

Terri Kahrs said...

I can soooo identify with your sewing experience, Elizabeth! Every time I bring my machine out, I begin praying to the sewing gods to smile upon me with good fortune! Hope you have a super weekend! Hugs, Terri xoxox

PS I'm posting tonight instead of Sunday night!

Kimmie said...

My mom went to fashion design school and I grew up with her sewing machine whirring in the background of my everyday life ... She's sewn wedding dresses, a gown for the oscars's, an entire line of suits for the staff at a bank ..... Do I sew? Um no. Am I intimidated? Um yes. All of my sewing is hand sewing - just like when I was a little kid sewing up doll clothes. I enjoy going slow, not relying on a mysterious machine, and most of all taking my sweet time. Did that help? Probably not .... But here's to art every day anyway :)

Julia Dunnit said...

Ah dear girlfriend ...I think you need to set aside a needle specifically for fabrics so it stays sharp - paper sewing blunts a needle quite fast. Also check the tensions for the fabrics....it may be the tension that the thread is being delivered through the needle that made it snap...your store will help with that - specially if you can lug the whole machine in! Meanwhile don't lose heart - those covers are already gorgeous.

elle said...

hmmm There are certainly degrees of affinity to things. I don't like hand quilting so I learned to machine quilt and in learning better understood my machine. But I do like hand applique so my machine skills are weak for that. Lots of people are wary of sewing machines and perhaps it is lack of understanding. It took years to over come the home ec teacher's COMMANDS of don't touch anything! LOL The machine works with precise timing to form precise stitches and any variables like dust, dull or bent and burred needles, poor thread, improper threading, specialty fabrics and glues, extra thickness, etc. throw things off. you can learn to adjust for these variables to a great extent. But if you are uptight to start with and tug the fabric you will pull the needle out of its proper pathway and it hits the metal. You should view your sewing machine, whatever brand, as a good friend, a partner, and if you don't have fun together then find a better (not necessarily more expensive) friend. There are lots of great basic machines out there that just need yearly visits for a cleaning and a tune up to sew trouble free and make sewing enjoyable. And isn't that what our hobbies are for, happy and stressless creating. Elizabeth, you do well with much of what you do. Sewing should be no different.

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Hi Elizabeth, can't add anything to what's already been suggested about the possible cause of the needle breaking. I was amazed though that you can buy single needles, don't think I've ever seen any single ones :-/
Keep plodding on though 'cos the covers look fantastic, particularly love the cheesecloth and the taupe looking colour (at least it looks taupe here)
Anne xx

Evelyn said...

I am hopeless at sewing, so what you do seems like hard work to me :). It's going to be really nice - I love the fabric. The cheesecloth embellishment is interesting.

I made a fabric cover for a sketchbook once. Handsewn - it took forever. I like it, but I don't think I'll do it again.

Good luck and have a lovely weekend.

Susan Allan said...

Yes you are probably correct. Turning a corner and pulling at the same time would do the damage. I had a feeling you knew all the other stuff, but sometimes it is a TINY bit of knowledge that is missing that can cause havoc.

Keep sewing.........
Sue xx

Diane said...

This post made me smile--I think we've all had times like this, but I love your persistence, and I know that everything will turn out in the end.
P.S. Sorry I can't help with needle problem :)

Mar said...

tomorrow will be totally different..and it will go smooth as silk...i find when things aren't going right
leave it and go back and it will be better
:)

Kelly said...

I am downright intimidated by the thought of dusting off my sewing machine. I can totally relate to your technical frustrations. It is interesting that you find it easier to stitch paper. I may have to try this.

voodoo vixen said...

Oh dear Elizabeth, you sound quite dejected, which is very unlike you! :( Sorry your sewing machine is not playing nicely... I don't sew on paper on my new one because it ruined my last sewing machine... it just never wanted to play with material again! I have broken needles because the bobbin wasn't sitting just so... and I have broken needles because the tension was too tight for the material... get a couple of spares in for the disaster times!! Your covers look lovely, so I am sure you will persevere and it will all come right in the end. Hugs Annette

Neet said...

Sat reading this and nodding in agreement. Not helped when I have so many "textile" expert friends either.
Keep going though.