Saturday, October 1, 2011

Things That Come Around Again

Life has a funny way of bringing things full circle.  I'm busy sewing away here in my little workroom with all kinds of jobs lined up around me:  projects for myself (that always seem to get short shrift); work for clients; the big grey veil is back for repair after only being used for about two weeks and will soon be joined by another 35 foot practice veil and a big chunk of the 150 mini veils that will be used in this fall's field show;  purses that have been cut out like, for forever; knitting projects that have been in progress for years (I know, I know - I'm a quick project starter but a slow knitting finisher); and tucked away for a rainy day, some projects for one of my favorite charities, Threads of Love.  As embarrassing as it is to admit, they've been sitting in my workroom for the better part of a couple of years, waiting for me to have time to finish them up and get them back to the gal who distributes the material & supplies, picks up the finished projects and then distributes them to local hospitals where they are used for preemie babies.  I don't know why I sat on this particular batch of lovies & isolette covers, but I do know this:  everything happens for a reason.

I just finished repairing the huge grey veil, and it was so disappointing (and a little unnerving) to see how it had been damaged after only a short time of use - after all, I had advised the director on the purchase of the fabric based on the idea he had for the show - I had just never used that much sheer fabric in a project before and hadn't accounted for the sheer weight of all that fabric (if you'll pardon the pun).  Unfortunately that meant that it tore right out of the stitching because the needle had punctured the fabric every time it pierced it, even with the smallest needle available for a sewing machine (a 65/9).  Which meant that no matter HOW I fixed it, it would still rip along whatever stitching line came next.  Sort of like those advertisement cards in a magazine.  I went over to my local fabric shop and picked the brain of one of the best seamstress/clerks there - how to fix the fabric tears & reinforce and stabilize the seam, without adding yet another perforated line.....  She suggested using an iron-on interfacing, but not your typical one - one that sort of looks like cheesecloth imbued with adhesive.  I'd never used anything like that before but figured it would be worth trying.  The director was so impressed with the sample that he wants to have a coronation for my friend at the fabric store:

Reinforcing the seam joins between each 5' x 35' panel.

The reinforcement, seen from the other side.
From the stands, you probably won't be able to detect it.

A close-up of the iron-on interfacing.  I had to cut the
length that I bought into one inch strips.  They were ironed
on, but they didn't really want to adhere completely to this fabric,
which had a high polyester count.  

This didn't help, either.  Sheer fabric is lightweight until you
have 85 yards of it pulling what you're currently stitching
right out from underneath your presser foot.  Take another
look at the photo above - you can see the fabric being
yanked down and to the left, where this HUGE pile of veil was.
Forget trying to feed it over the other end of the work table.  

I think that this reinforcement will get them through the rest of the season, if I can just get the practice veil done soon for them to use during rehearsals and maybe even football games.  Now it's on to that and the bulk of the mini-veils that still need doing.

Yesterday I was able to finish working on a project that I can't show you (rats - you'll just have to take my word for it on this one), using my newest machine - a Janome MC6500.  This is a workhorse of a home machine, with a pretty strong professional motor and lots of great attachments, including a walking foot that I desperately needed for this client's project, as well as other things I will be working on in the near future.  It's quiet, dependable, and sturdy, and it will save a lot of wear and tear on my much more expensive Husqvarna.  Worth every penny.  The Sewing Assistant, of course, had to give it his trademark seal of approval:

"Seams" to be working alright, LOL! 
The threading path taste-test.

Ok, mom.  I think it passed.  You may use it with my blessing.

Now for an amazing (but true) story about how even procrastination can happen for a reason.  I've seen the project for Threads of Love hanging around my workroom for a long time, but every time I saw it, I was always in the middle of something else and figured I'd get to it later.  Later became a lot later, and then became rediculously later.  To the point where I was embarrassed to admit that I still had these things, and how was I ever going to apologize enough to the nice people who had given me these so long ago?  Sigh.  While checking my email on a break from the veil repair (which took up the better part of today), I read one from the TOL gal to all of us who sew the Lovies - she forwarded an email from the mom of a little girl who received one of these Lovies while in the NICU where she was born and struggled to make it - turns out she did make it through all the challenges and is now a thriving 2-year-old, though still facing treatment & therapy.  She became quite attached to her "baby" as she called it, and went everywhere with it - they even had to turn back to the house if they accidentally left home without it.  Now, of course, it has fallen into a state of disrepair and the mom was emailing to see if anyone could duplicate it exactly - her friend had made another one, but her daughter knew right away it was different and wouldn't accept it in lieu of her older one.  She did, however, christen it the "baby sister."  So my friend was hoping against hope that someone had fabric that matched the original Lovey.  Bear in mind that she collects and distributes HUNDREDS of these every year with an army of sewing volunteers' help - finding the fabric they used two years ago was a real shot in the dark.  (Is the lightbulb going on, yet?)  I raced to the bags I had put aside so long ago and went through the first one - no luck.  Went through the second one - and just about went into cardiac arrest when I pulled the last set of Lovey material out of the bag - it was an exact match.  And my friend had the exact material needed to duplicate the hat we sew on - so now between the two of us we can duplicate this little miracle's Lovey for her to carry for awhile longer.

Here is her original Lovey

Here is the first part of the replacement Lovey, before going
to my friend's house for the hat.  

I have never been more embarrassed to say how late I was finishing a project, yet never more excited and happy at the same time.  Somewhere down the line, God must have known that this little girl would need a duplicate (and that I would procrastinate for so long).  And a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

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