Put to the Test

This is about putting online instructions to the test. I use the internet for pretty much everything. It reminded me how to write a cheque when it had been too long since the last one because sadly, cheques are a dying species. This cyber fountain of knowledge has taken me through the first steps of most things including sewing. Moving to Vienna soon after my mother gifted me with a sewing machine meant I didn’t have the benefits of her innate teacher-ness. Enter VirtualTeacher.

Yesterday I tried following a video by the charming Brett Bara who is Sewing Queen and a friend of my daily read website, DesignSponge. Here’s a run-through of my experience of making the Brett Bara cushion cover:

1. I wished I had a rotary cutter to get nice clean edges. I got a bit obsessed about getting my square perfect so I ended up with material slightly smaller than my cushion.

2. I was encouraged to attempt installing a hidden zip and ended up spending nearly two hours finding a normal zip in this town where shops have hand-written signs on the door telling you they are on holiday. Sweet but not now.

3. I have made-up names for stitches in my mind that often conflict with professional terms. Spacey v Basting Stitch. Google to the rescue.

4. She assumed that you weren’t a complete idiot/ novice and would be capable of removing pins as you went along.

5. I had trouble getting the zipper foot around the zipper pull without creating some serious wonkiness so a point to improve: Have the zip pull at least 2 inches down from your starting-point, sew down till you reach the obstruction, raise foot, pull the zip back up to the top, lower foot and sew on. Tada! You have a nice straight line.

6. Back stitch every time you change direction or stitch-type. It’s just good practice and it’s a bit like magic.

7. When you turn it over and want to unpick your basting stitches, don’t stress if you can’t see them straight off, give the fabric a light pull and all will be clear.

8. Lastly, but MOST importantly, pull the zip down so it’s open before you sew the last side shut otherwise you will have no way of turning the right side out. I didn’t. I had a very fiddly ten minutes and even called in the cavalry aka husband armed with bamboo skewer. As you can see, it turned out (pun intended) all right in the end.

I was then in cushion-mode and decided to hack off the bottom of a thrifted 90s silk skirt, sew like Brett and added some snap fasteners instead of a zip (partly scarred from the bamboo skewer experience and partly unable to trust myself) and finished off with some vintage buttons. Two handsome cushions now grace our flat and their carbon footprint was minimal. Win win!

Here’s my Thursday challenge: Put someone’s online instructions to the test which means actually finishing something and seeing what worked and what didn’t. Pick something that you love learning about, google something you don’t know how to do yet and try it out¹. Then, tell me about it.

¹Disclaimer: This is purely for positive encouragement. Use your discretion and common-sense and don’t sue me. Ok.

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2 thoughts on “Put to the Test

  1. Hellooo!

    Um, since I’ve recently acquired a sewing machine and have been following Design Sponge ever since I heard Kristen and you chat about it, I saw the Brett Bara thingy and I sewed a really nice skirt to her instructions @ http://vimeo.com/26612612 last week.

    The only thing I’d say is that elastic strectches a bit further than you might think, so if you want it to sit on your hips (which, for me, made more sense than on my waist because of the amount of fabric I had), measure your hips on the elastic and then take a couple of inches/10-15 cm off, in order to ensure the boys in the playground don’t pull your skirt down that easily. Try it on, keep the fabric of the opening together with a safety pin, walk around in it for a day, make sure it’s still OK and only then sew together the last 4 inches of the lining.

    For the rest… it really works!

    • ritsya says:

      Well done on sewing! I bet you’re churning out all sorts of cuteness. Share pictures! Thanks for the heads-up about the waist elastic measurement. I love Brett Bara and how she makes everything look easy. I want to try that skirt now.

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