the machines are conspiring against me.....

Saturday, 24 July 2010
Major mechanical dramas round these parts this week. My laptop went kaput, and with it all the photos and other bits and pieces I've used it for since February. Sigh, I know I should have backed it up more frequently, but well, I didn't..... Good news though that we should be able to get all the info out of the old hard drive, and with a new hard drive we may not even have to replace the laptop itself which is barely two years old. So to post this, I've had to clear some space in the room that will become our study but is presently the room in which we store loads and loads of junk, and set up the desktop computer to use. I shouldn't complain since I do still have a computer to use, but sitting on a comfy lounge in front of the heater is a much nicer option than sitting in a cold, messy study!

And my overlocker still hates me! I tried rethreading, changing the threads, changing the needles, even did that testing thing by using four different threads to work out which one is out of whack, but I'm still getting all sorts of loopiness at the back. Marie-Christine, thank you for confirming what I thought - that the fabric shouldn't make a difference to the tension it's the thread. So I am stumped as to why my machine goes haywire when I serge knits instead of wovens. It's all really annoying since I only had it serviced a few months ago. I think I will take it back there and ask them to firstly look at it and then show me how to thread it.

But one good thing (I'm not ready to concede there are other good things about them just yet!)about knit fabrics though is that they can be sewn without finishing the edges, so I made a little dress for Anna out of some mystery fabric from the stash. It is super soft and stretchy and in my favourite (lack of) colour:

Yeah, I know it's grey, but I did sew that colourful strip of red and pink striped knit fabric around the bottom to liven it up. It's just a long strip of fabric gathered slightly, sewn in a zig zag through the centre and it then naturally fell down in the manner which is just how I envisaged it. I love it when things work out when you're making them up as you go along! Although I did want to put elastic around the wrists to make them bell sleeves, but since there wasn't enough width I did a lettuce edge finish instead.

This turned out pretty well given my dislike of knit fabrics, so I even made some black tights to go with them since it's too cold to be without at the moment, although these turned out a little baggy because I don't think the fabric I chose had enough stretch:

Here we are on location at our local library, Anna looking like an angel moments before she started taking all the books off the shelf. For the pattern I used the sleeping bag from a now OOP McCalls 6899 and modified it by taking it in greatly at the side seams. It's probably still a little wide around the neckline, but it's better than my last effort when it didn't even get over her head. Birdie, thanks for your tips about stretching ribknit fabric and then measuring off your son's head with it - now I think about it, I didn't even measure Anna's head for that polka dot top, I just used the pattern piece provided! Probably the reason it didn't work.....

I have actually finished sewing something for myself, and it feels like ages since I've had something new. But at the moment I have a majorly red nose from another bout of the sniffles, and I'm far to vain to post a picture of me with it! But here's a sneak peek:

Yes, it's red (like my nose) and not grey!


  1. Did you ever get Anna's sleep issues resolved (or improved)? My (now 12 year old) was a terrible sleeper, but we had great luck with swimming lessons late in the afternoon (or swimming at the local pool right after supper). We'd go home for a bath and I "pour" him into bed. We both were tired and he slept much better. However (here's the sad news) he didn't really sleep well until he was 4.
    Hang in and hope you're feeling better soon,

  2. The baby looks adorable as always!

  3. First - I love the new banner!

    Second - Anna's outfit is toooo cute.

    Third - Can't wait to see the new skirt!

  4. My serger does it exactly the same thing and it is 22 years old and serviced regularly. I am truly ready to chuck it.
    I went look for a new one and they are super expensive with not many changes since I purchased this one years ago!
    I am going to go to the store and watch them thread it again, and if it continues, I will cave and buy another one. Arrgghh.
    Darling outfit and patent black maryjanes!

  5. Your new project looks gorgeous - what we can see of it!
    Is it the back looper giving you the problem? My home overlocker went through a strange tension phase, and I ended up winding the thread twice around one of the little hooks above the tension dial, which mysteriously solved the problem! Might be worth a try - cheaper than a new overlocker! I've also found changing the needle solves a lot of issues when they arise.

  6. The suspense is going to get to me. I really want to see your new garment. Not just a sneak peak.

  7. Re the overlocker: I had a problem with mine once & it turned out I had one of the spools on the wrong holder. Who would've thought that would make a difference?? Also, are you using cones or those piddly little spools? I borrowed my friend's gorgeous Baby Lock only to have it play up because of the spools. However, cones worked beautifully. Go figure. But in the end, maybe it doesn't like knits.

  8. Anna looks super cute in her new tunic. I love it!

  9. Looking forward to seeing your new item. Others have suggested it but I'll add my 2 cents to theirs - l have to use large cones on mine or the tension is funny too - and have you changed your needle(s) recently and are you using an overlocker needle recommended for your machine? ...sorry if I'm insulting your stupidity by suggesting that but cough cough this I know from experience ...

  10. I just thought I would pass on something which I learnt a few months ago and has made me alot happier with my overlocker . You may already know this . When threading or rather changing colours NEVER have any of the needles threaded . This makes a huge difference to the ease of getting it all happening . So I just make the knots and pull thru the loopers before threading the needles . NEVER a problem . I have been using that overlocker for many years and often doing battle with it. I wonder if you have a problem with the differential feed?

  11. I would go and get your machine checked out to make sure the timing hasn't gone on it! The timing went on mine a couple of times (trying to sew fabric that was too thick), although the stitching looked a bit dodgy on calico as well- although much dodgier on more difficult to sew fabrics...
    are you using cheapy thread or expensive thread? because mine will only sew well with expensive thread... starts to have a spackattack if use anything cheap in it! i think it's like that with a lot of berninas... mine will only behave if i buy the overlocker thread they sell from the dealer!

  12. This is the exact dress I've been thinking about making. Even the gray and the pink. I adore it! Such a sweet dress for a sweet girl--she just gets cuter and cuter. And she was insanely cute to begin with!