Sunday, April 1, 2012

My worst stitchout ever, and how I fixed it


So I'm about a month shy of having blogged for five years. And I have blogged about virtually every sewing project I have done in that time. I guess that's why I feel compelled to document my disastrous night of sewing last night. And I wish that I could tell the tale, you notice today's date and think "April Fools!" But alas, this is true.

I was working on my daughter's birthday shirt. It's a pretty involved design (9 different applique pieces) and we had already spent a lot of time picking fabrics and thread colors for each and every element -- it matches a cute pair of plaid shorts we found. I picked a big design and use the 6x10 hoop on my Brother. I got all fabrics tacked down and it looked lovely! But then once the satin stitches got going... puckering, and I mean MAJOR puckering started to occur. I probably should have stopped, but I decided to trudge on, hoping I could just press it out later. Clearly I need to work on my hooping technique with this larger hoop... the method I use flawlessly with my Janome hoops did not work in this case. As things continued the stabilizer was less and less taut.
THEN midway through a thread nest. WHY?? I have no idea, but I had to jiggle the hoop quite a bit to get it loose from the machine and trim all that excess thread away. The stabilizer was very loose now. I tried my best to tighten the stabilizer back up, but the design had shifted. I carried on, skipping a few sections to come back to later, and finished the design.
After some sleep and a fresh attitude, I worked on it again this afternoon. On the backside I trimmed out all of the polymesh stabilizer between all the elements, and then pressed the shirt to death. It's still puckery, but looks better than last night. Since that was semi-successful I decided to try to fix the part of the design I skipped over last night.

AND this is why I'm writing about it, maybe the following tip will be beneficial to those of you who do applique work, if you ever find yourself in this predicament.

As I started to stitch the satin stitches around this party hat, it was obvious that it wasn't going to line up with the fabric at all!
Sometimes when this happens I'm able to use the arrow keys on my machine to move the needle to the left or right to force it to line up, but this design completely filled the width of the hoop and I couldn't use that technique. So I stopped stitching, jumped ahead to a different part of the design (where the alignment wasn't as far off) and finished it out.

To fix the hat, first I picked out all of those misplaced zigzag stitches. Then I ran back to Embird and separated out that hat from the rest of the design (placement, satin stitches and decorative top). I centered that in my small hoop, saved it as new file and headed back to my machine. I hooped sticky stabilizer and stitched the placement stitch:
Then I laid my shirt directly on top of that lining up the fabric hat that was already tacked down with the placement stitches on the stabilizer. I redid the satin stitches and accent on top, and voila! The hat looks like it's supposed to!
So I'm pretty pleased with that little save. :)

This afternoon I showed the shirt to my daughter and she couldn't see what was wrong with it (even though the puckering is glaring in my opinion). My husband pointed out that it will be on a moving kid and will likely get smeared icing or spilled punch on it. So we are making this work. I wouldn't sell it or give it away, but thankfully my daughter is gracious enough to love it anyway.

And when I'm in a better mood (hopefully by her birthday next week) I'll share pictures of the entire shirt. Stay tuned.

4 comments on "My worst stitchout ever, and how I fixed it"

Cindy's Custom Creations on April 1, 2012 at 9:09 PM said...

Wow, nice save! Thanks for the tip!

Cole's Corner on April 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM said...

WOW!!!!
I probably would've ripped it out of the hoop, cut it when I was pulling it off the machine and chunked it in the trash... and most likely with some choice words... and then bribed my kid to wear something else...

I am seriously in awe that you saved it and that it looks so incredible.
GREAT SAVE! and tip!

Charleen on April 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM said...

Thanks so much for posting your fix, Janay. When I first started I'd get flustered and just take it out and give up. Now I know what to do when this happens (because you just know it's going to)! Thanks again for all the knowledge you share.

Mary on April 3, 2012 at 2:30 PM said...

That is a great save! I am with Cole: I probably would have trashed it, but I'll have to use your tip next time!

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