Standards for success

Comic courtesy of XKCD

OK so the comic is about computers, but the moral applies equally well to sewing projects. The coat project continues, but standards are slipping.

Here’s what it looked like when I was trying to sew in the lining. That didn’t go too badly, so I turned the coat right side out and tried it on. And the zip got promptly got caught on the lining. So there I was, wearing a duvet, and unable to take it off. I eventually managed to wriggle out and extract the lining from where the zip puller was trying to eat it, and decided to understitch both sides of the zip to keep the lining and facing well away from the puller. Which meant all that bulk ended up on the right, stuffed under the harp of the sewing machine. This was a bad idea.

I got to a point where the whole thing got completely wedged. I couldn’t lift the presser foot because the lever was hidden in a tangle of wadding. I couldn’t pull the jammed fabric either forwards or back without risking damaging the machine because something was well and truly caught around the needle shank. I seriously considered getting a screwdriver and taking the whole shank off.

After much careful pushing and pulling I got it out, at the cost of a small snag on the the fabric. Luckily it’s right under the arm so it doesn’t show. And my machine seems to have survived the experience.

There was no way I was going to be able to complete the under-stitching to the top of the zip, so I pressed it all as hard as I dared and so far the zip hasn’t jammed again. But after all that I didn’t feel like rearranging the room to take pictures with a clean backdrop! So here it is quickly slung on the dressform surrounded by a pile of clutter. The lining isn’t attached to the neck or armscye seams nor have I sewn any of the hems yet.

The collar needed a little bit of reshaping from the pattern; the edges looked slightly concave near the points so I shaved a bit off. I think it looks OK now.

So I’m still plugging away. I’m definitely making something simpler next!

27 thoughts on “Standards for success

  1. When I can’t reach parts of a lining that need understitching, I hand prick stitch from the inside. Its almost invisible from the outside, but does the job.

    1. Yes, I resorted to hand sewing quite a few bits of it over the weekend. Surprised how invisible some of it turned out as I’m not very deft with a needle.

  2. Many frustrations right now – I feel your pain – we have all been there with a sewing project. The end result will be worth it. It looks great.

  3. Poor you and how frustrating, but I am sure you will get there in the end and it will be worth it.

  4. Linings are my personal here noire, so I really feel for you at this point 😣. My only advice would be that there’s a point, as when biking uphill, where abandoning the tool of torture is not a bad idea. Yes, of course you mean this to be machine sewn, and it already mostly is. But maybe a quick and dirty bit of handsewing the lining into various places like the underarms would save you a lot of grief? I would rather sew a zipper in by hand once if I know it’ll take 4 tries by machine, not counting ripping..

  5. Your description of getting the coat stuck gave me a giggle. I’m sorry, I truly am! I’m glad you got it out with minimal damage though. Things like this are why I some times don’t even attempt to use the machine, and go straight to hand sewing. And I appreciate the glimpse of your sewing room as is. Have you ever shown the full setup?

  6. Ug, i feel for you. We’ve all been there at some point, with a fabric wad stuck under the presser foot… but your coat is looking awesome. And thanks for keeping it real with the photos. Nice to know I’m not the only one with a not-instagram-ready sewing room.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, my sewing room is my office too so now there is even more stuff in it than usual. But I’m very lucky to have the space at all, especially now we’re all stuck at home

  7. I’m so admiring the work you’ve put into this. It looks fab and I can’t wait to see the finished result. I have this issue of Burdastyle and love this style. It’s a lot of work though.

    1. Thanks! I can’t remember what Burda rated this one as, but to my mind it’s three and a half dots just for having to deal with the batting!

  8. Been there! And have used the screw driver to disassemble the machine to retrieve the fabric. From here the coat is looking good.

  9. So relatable! And, despite all of that, your coat looks great. I very much hope you will enjoy wearing this after the frustration has become just a memory. Perhaps it’s a good thing next winter is a little way off for you?

  10. I think we all remember one of those moments. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s necessary (if only for your mental well being) to go with a bit of hand sewing. Whatever your decisions that’s going to be a great coat!

    1. Yes, I sewed away on it for a good couple of hours at the weekend and hardly used my machine at all – doing the hems and making things sit right.

  11. Yes I’ve definitely been there. I really do admire your patience and determination. The coat is looking absolutely amazing. Love it!

  12. Oh my, and I know how you dislike hand sewing! I must say I’m chuckling about the adventure, but it’s so nice to have a chuckle, especially because I could relate in so many levels! The ‘duvet’ looks a most amazing coat! Cheering you on to the finish line.🥳

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