Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Time To Throw In The Towel?

I've been working on my blouse for the PatternReview.com Fitted Blouse Contest for nearly two weeks and I have exactly one seam to show for it. That's not to say that I've only sewn one seam, because I've sewn that particular seam numerous times on the first and the second set of pattern pieces...

My pattern is McCall's 3340, a fitted blouse with armhole princess seams. I chose a very light weight linen/rayon blend in white. The fabric is just sheer enough so that I didn't think I'd feel comfortable wearing it without an underlining. So for the underlining I chose a very thin cotton batiste. I pre-washed both fabrics and proceeded onto cutting.

I sewed my first seam, pressed it, clean finished and trimmed the seam allowances (this looked amazingly good, by the way), and top stitched it. Unfortunately, when I looked at it in the harsh light of day, I could see that the seam was puckered and no amount of pressing made it any better.

I managed, after three trips to the fabric store, to acquire more fashion fabric and cut my two pattern pieces again. After a lot of good advice from the sewing gurus at PatternReview, I carefully hand basted the fashion fabric to the underlining - two rows of hand basting, one down either side of the stitching line. Then I hand basted the seam. To stitch the seam I got out the walking foot for my Ellegante. After a 15 minute struggle to decipher the scanty installation instructions and inadequate illustrations, I was ready to stitch.

The seam looked perfect! I was quite excited as I proceeded to finish the seam allowances. Then disaster struck and I believe I have discovered my problem. As I pressed the seam open, I noticed some puckering. I think what is happening is that either the fashion fabric or the underlining is shrinking when I press, causing the puckering. Although I'm disappointed, I am happy to know what the problem is at last.

I'm going to set this aside for the time being and find some other fabric for the contest blouse. As the deadline approaches, the frustration is too great to continue with this project at this time. I'll come back to it, but when I have the time to approach the problem in a leisurely fashion.

6 comments:

Kat said...

Paula,

I'm sure you're probably doing this already, but a few people at Patternreview offered the tip of doing the obvious (thread tension of course), but also to use cotton thread and a Microtex needle. The thread and needle tip has saved my sewing sanity a few times.

Mary E said...

Well some fabrics need a second and even third washing before all the shrinking is out. I can imagine how irritated you must be because it's not common for either linen or cotton to pucker.

CharityinAlaska said...

That sounds extremely disheartening. I am so sorry, Paula. I hope that it works out after you've had a bit of a breather. :)

Dawn said...

Well, on the plus side, you have figured it out, hopefully. I'm sure you must be frustrated. :( Don't let it get you down!

Paula said...

Thanks, ladies, for your suggestions and sympathy. I'll have another post about this blouse tomorrow.

LauraLo said...

Hmmm, indeed one of the fabrics could be shrinking when steamed. With natural fibers, especially with linen, I always pre-wash three times. A Microtex needle and a walking foot help too.
Just don't give up, I think you can make a marvelous blouse even if you ditch the underlining!