Saturday, June 21, 2008

Figs and Fabric: Bad news

I really love table linens (they're sort of related to food, you know) and have thought that by learning to sew I could make some things like napkins. I was particularly inspired by the woman who organized the staff appreciation luncheon at Sophie's school. We set up this event down in the redwood grove next to the school and really do it up with china, silver, fresh flowers, and beautiful table linens. The organizer has the most amazing collection of table linens that she brings for us to use. What I really like about her settings is that there is no matchy-matchy. She mixes it all up and achieves the most perfect looks.

This was one of my favorites.

So I finally bought a table runner I've been eying for ages at this amazing store but resisting since buying the matching napkins would be prohibitively expensive. Since I have this (admittedly delusional) idea that I can sew, I figured I could make napkins that would look nice with the runner.

Here's my new runner (look, figs!) and the fabric I picked out for napkins.

But I thought I should log a little more practice on mitered corners before I lit into my lovely new fabric. I had some scraps left over from my (successful!) pillow project and figured I could make some beverage coasters. Following my instructions, I realized this is more of a measuring and ironing project. Great. I also bought a right-angle measuring device and have a totally kick-ass steam iron.

I loaded a new bobbin, threaded my machine, and sewed up the seams. They weren't as straight as I would have liked, but I cut myself a break since I am practicing on something smaller and with thicker fabric that likes to unweave itself. I also decided I didn't like the fact that the mitered corners weren't sewn inside, so I'm going to change this on the napkins.

But then I turned it over.

WTF??!! I picked out the seam and sewed it again. SAME PROBLEM. I sewed some seams on more scrap fabric: fine. Back on my coaster: Fucked up again. WHAT IS GOING ON???
Anyone? Anyone??
Maybe I should stay in the kitchen.


lisagh said...

I have seen this many times. It could be a number of things, but this is what I think off the top of my head:
1. Machine isn't threaded properly (most likely culprit)
2. Tension is too loose
3. Bobbin casing needs oiling (probably not though, since your machine is fairly new and you'd hear it screaming for oil if this was the case.)

Check those three things and try again! Call me if you need more moral support :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. It has something to do with the tension or the threading. I went through a sewing phase last year and this was a common problem for me.

I still love the idea of making things, like you--table linens, curtains, pillows--but I never got very good at it and sort of abandoned the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I agree, check all the settings on your machine. Also check that it is completely on the straight stitch setting.
Best bet rethread completely, including the bobbin. Check the bobbin case for any foreign objects,(ie. bits of thread, broken needles, etc.)

Jenn said...

Adjust the tension. Whenever I've had this problem that always did the trick.

SBCVandy said...

I knew Lisagh would have an answer. She's the sewing fairy of the preppy blog world. :-D

TC said...

I'm a terrible sewer, but my mom is a quilter and owns a machine that I think cost more than my house. And after I sent her photos that looked exactly like that (back before I just gave up because I am COMPLETELY without the coordination skills necessary to make sewing work, even with Mom's help) she told me: a) the 'bottom' thread is the bobbin thread, so that's where your problem is; and b) that's the classic sign of a tension problem, so start by adjusting the tension. Of course, now that I typed this up, I noticed that you've already gotten this exact advice, so, um, nevermind.

If this doesn't work, let me know, and I'll send your link to my mom. ;-)

Cindy said...

Thanks, ladies! I knew I could count on you to help me out. Sophie and I are off to a matinee opera performance followed by a cast party, so it may be next weekend before I have time to try out some of these solutions. I will not give up!


Brianne said...

I'm sorry you had that trouble, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one who does! You should have seen the mess when I didn't have the machine threaded right and I was trying to sew velcro onto elastic. The end result was a ton of wasted thread and a looped, knotted mess of materials in the trash. There was just no cleaning it up. I feel your pain Cindy. Good luck with the napkins! -Bri

The Mrs. said...

That top table setting is gorge! I can't sew either!