Remind me never to buy furry mohair again!

Well, what was suppose to be fun pick-me-ups turned into a marathon slugfest. I must have finished all five of my funky-knit projects at least a couple of weeks ago. But every single one hit a snag. By the time the last one was done I was too sick of them to blog straight away. My subsequent project – another foray into pants/trousers-making – didn’t fare much better. So I have to accept that I’m in a sewing funk. And it would be better to tie up the loose ends with these unsatisfactory projects (by finish blogging them) so that I can start afresh when my sewing mojo returns.

What went wrong…

Some problems are common to all the projects, I’ll tick them off in one go:.

  1. So much unpicking urgh! To sew more accurately I had the furry sides together. But this caused velvet-like creeping despite every seams being basted first. Tape or glue wouldn’t have work with the furry surface. I had to bite the bullet & redo where it didn’t come out right.
  2. Mohair is really too itchy for me. They look so seductively soft. But like most (all?) wools, they still have scales. I have no problem so far with faux fur. But every mohair fabric I’ve tried made me twitch.
  3. f_OB 2 stitch 2My choice of stitches – flatlocked seams & overlocked hem – didn’t work as well on this fabric as it did with the felted Teal + Brown Floral Print Reversible Moto Jacket. Even though this fabric doesn’t really fray much, the cut edges nonetheless have little thread-bits that look untidy. It didn’t help that I chose a less dense stitch setting to so the seams would look more in keeping with the tweedy look of the black side. I can only count my blessing that the untidy edges are somewhat obscured by fuzz on the orange side, & kind of works with the rustic feel of the tweedy black side.
  4. I made many design miscalculations & construction mistakes which I’ll detail in the project posts.
  5. Notions that didn’t work out. Machine that conspired. Cack-handed manual sewing. etc etc.

All in all it felt as if Mercury was retrograding. I can’t tell if the Universe was telling me to take a break from sewing or challenging me to persevere. I persevered, as despite these challenges I still feel like sewing is the only thing I’m somewhat good at nowadays.

Tips & lessons learnt…

Flatlock seams

f_OB 2 stitch 1I didn’t show-n-tell the flatlock seam last time I used it, so here’s a WIP shot showing how it works (for those of you who finds it scary-looking like I did before I tried):  Once stitched on the overlocker, gently pull the two fabric layers apart at the seam. If one layer of seam allowance won’t pull flat (folds onto itself), gently tease it flat with a large blunt stick like a plastic sweater knit needle. For these two-sided projects, I flatlocked with the orange sides together (black side out) with orange threads in the needle & lower looper & black thread in the upper looper. Once stitched, the top black side has black stitching & the bottom black side has orange stitching. But once pulled apart, the orange stitching is pulled into the orange side.

Unpicking Flatlock & Overlock stitches

As I had to do a lot of these, thank God there is an easy way to do this. For the 3-thread flatlock seams I clip & pull the lower looper thread which sits at the cut edge of the seam allowance. Then the longer needle & upper looper threads come away easily as continuous threads. For the 3-thread overlock hems I clip & pull the needle thread which is short horizontal stitches away from the cut edge of the seam allowance. Then the upper & lower looper threads come away easily as continuous threads. Sometimes I have to do the clipping at more frequent intervals to be able to pull them out more easily – eg every 2-3″.overlocker-stitches-unpick-1

Putting a twin-pull zip slider on a nylon coil tapef_OB 2 notion-3

This goes on more smoothly if you align the slider to the tape correctly. The YKK twin-pull reversible slider (#5043) from Quest Outfitters that I used actually has two different inner sides to the slider – a flat side & a ridged side. I didn’t notice this initially, so tried to put the slider onto the tape any old way & couldn’t pull the slider on. Once I noticed this subtle difference it made sense to match the ridged side of the slider to the right side of the coil tape – ie the side with the protruding visible coil – and the flat side of the slider to the flatter wrong side of the coil tape. And presto, the slider goes on like duck to water!

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