The Long Shurg: Construction

I’m so glad I followed my hunch and waited over night before continuing. Sure enough, my left brain, the part that’s supposed to be creative, produced a practical oversight.  I planned for bound 1/2″ seam allowances but I didn’t add seam allowances to my pattern. Sewing 1/2″ SA’s would alter the dimensions of the garment. Something I didn’t want to do with my first version.

Only shoulder and side seam allowances needed adding on the front.  My measurements had included the ribbing along the front neckline.  Binding the neckline would not change the final measurements.  Same for the hem

The back needed seam allowances along the side and shoulder seams but also  I needed to raise the back neck:

I had drafted my back neckline assuming I would fill it in with a ribbing. Now that I’m planning to bind the neckline, I need to account for the change in neckline depth.  Conversely, had I planned to use the 1″ ribbing, I would need to remove the amount allowed for ribbing on the front piece.

I didn’t draft new pieces. Heavens no. I taped tissue to the areas to be changed and made my alterations on the tissue.

I started by making bias tape for binding. I know there are several ways that are supposed to be so easy.  I don’t like them. I feel like I’m fussing, fussing, fussing. Finally pulling a rabbit out of the hat.  I hate futzing around and I don’t trust rabbits in hats.   I want to get in and get it done.  I therefore pressed my Jacquard, laid it on the table and rotary cut 8  2″-strips. Then I sat down at the Dream and stitched them together

Do I love that laser light. Just align from corner to corner along the red light and stitch. Also love this little icon here (left with purple arrow)

which puts the presser foot into hover mode — just like my Viking Ruby.  Every time I stop, the needle stays down and the foot lifts slightly, just perfect for sliding in the next bias join:

I tell you, somebody has been listening to real sewists. (Also I do think Brother tried to include everything you can dream of in The Dream Machine.)

My left brain also told me I might try serging the pieces to the finished shape. Huh? Well I started by laying out my pattern and then marking with a water-soluble ink pen along the outside edges.

It’s harder to do than describe.  I used short back and forth strokes along the edge of the pattern and was relieved when I lifted the pattern and could see a line:

Then I cut well away from the lines and took it to the serger where I serged just inside the line trimming almost all of it away.  Reminded me of what they said about a good tailor’s cutter. You could tell their quality and knowledge by how much chalk they left on the floor. I tried stitch lengths at 4,3, 2 and <1.something large>. No matter my selection, the edges were not always enclosed in the serging.

Although I’m showing a corner ‘miss’, these gaps occurred all along ALL edges.

No point in tracing and cutting at the serger for this kind of result. Time for plan B. Except I had no plan B.  I cut the fronts separately; aligned a strip of binding up with the pinned together shoulders and stitched a 1/2″ seam.

I pressed lightly, wrapped the binding up and over before stitching the folded-under edge.

Not the worst looking inside seam

But, definitely not lovely from the public side

I begin to feel uneasy.  Binding stabilized the seam, hid the rough edges and probably will reinforce the seam so that it stands up to use, BUT it stabilized the seam making it less flexible; giving it a life of its own.  I’m quite certain that part of the beauty of the original garment is the total lack of stiffness. The fabric is free to drape, cling, enfold. Would these bound seams be able to emulate the original?

I’m in for a penny and in for a pound so I proceeded; first binding the armscyes then sewing the side seams. I bound the hem before the front and neckline.  I did want the front binding to be interesting. I’m always working at giving myself the illusion of height and now slimness. Bringing attention to the center front and away from the side seams is a good plan. Encouraging the eye to skim upward along the center front is another good choice. So I pinked one side of the binding and when I made the final stitching I left the pinked edge visible.

I was hoping the pinked edge would curl and initially pressed the pinked edge along the hem downward away from the lace. That looked groady instead of feathery so I gave it spritz of starch and pressed the edge back up before adding the front and neck binding.  I certainly could have made both front and hem binding in one piece. I prefer to have the very strong upward line. Having a line cross the front at the hem shortens the vertical. Mitering would have worked nicely. I tried. My miter looked like crap which is why I decided to finish the hem first and then do the front/neckline.

??How long is this post??  I think we should come back tomorrow and talk about how my first version of the Long Shrug fits and what I truly think of it.

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