Public, private, and epic sewing

Phone cases in progress

Finished phone cases

Convertible phone case

This week, I did some special order sewing. It was exciting, so exciting that I decided to share lots of pictures on my Facebook page. Then, of course, it didn’t work out and along came my crisis of confidence. What kind of silliness led me to get showy about my making and arrogant, too? It’s so nice to share things that work and so hard to share things that don’t. But the truth is, sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes it’s going to be private, sometimes it’s going to be public, sometimes it’s going to be epic.

So the phone cover story goes like this: first, I got a special request to make the phone case. Full of confidence, I measured, put some numbers together, and got to cutting and sewing. The first mistake was sewing the top and bottom together instead of the sides. The result: a very long and skinny phone case. Hrm. Ok, so I took that apart and sewed the sides together instead. That was an improvement and I went ahead and finished the floral and the linen cases. There followed the “ta-da” pictures. Later, I got to test the case for fit. Cue picture three. I somehow made the entire case about two centimeters too short. Ah yes, the joys of learning as you work! So now I’ve got two low rider phone cases and a good dose of humility to get me through the next week or so, if I stretch it.

Mattress cover progress

The thing is, you’d think I’d know better by now. Just a couple days earlier, I finished epic project. I wanted to make a mattress for camping. We have a good bit of 3cm foam that would make a nice comfy mattress for littles going camping or friends coming to visit. In this case, my crisis was in the process, not the pattern. See that picture up there, that black fabric all nicely serged and ready to sew? It’s got a few secrets to share.

In the time it took to make this simple (and I mean really simple) project, I think I made nearly every sewing mistake possible. The first seam took I think four tries. The goal was to back stitch, sew to mark, adjust stitch length and tension, sew to mark, adjust stitch length and tension, back stitch. Not actually so difficult. I made mistakes of various kinds three times. First I failed to put the right sides of the fabric together, then I missed my markings, and when I got it right on the third go, my bobbin thread had run out 3/4 of the way through. Fourth time was the charm.

Trying to put the zipper in was even worse. No matter what I tried, the top layer of fabric just kept sliding too much, leaving me with an uneven, puckered zipper. I ended up took out the entire lien of stitching, the very row that took four goes to accomplish. Luckily, I had purchased a too-long zipper (note to self: this part I should repeat). Instead of sewing the seam and then sewing the zipper in place underneath, I sewed each piece of fabric to the zipper and then turned it right side up, ironed, and sewed the edges in place. There was more fun in store for me after that, including a self-manufactured serger super-knot and a broken needle. It is entirely possible that I exhausted every frustration sound I know in the making of this cover. My only consolation: it fits, it works, it looks fine.

This working with your hands and materials and machines thing is not so easy all the time. To let anyone believe that it is would be terribly misleading. It’s so nice to build up a catalog here of beautiful things I’ve made. Looking back over those pictures gives me a great feeling of satisfaction. But let’s be honest, the road to making things well is littered with broken needles, empty bobbins, and a whole lot of unfinished, ill-fitting, and just plain unsightly projects along the way!

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