Thursday, February 17, 2011

ARGH&$@#!!! (aka Messing with My Serger)

I have a thing for gadgets - kitchen gadgets, electronic gadgets, sewing gadgets. You name it, I probably have it. Ginger grater? check. Fancy phone that my 4 year old can operate better than I can? check. Kwik Clip (safety pin closing gadget)? check.

So a few years ago I decided I absolutely NEEDED to have a serger. Had I ever used a serger at that point? ummm.. no. BUT, I had read about them and they looked really cool. So, I pooled together some birthday money, did some research on and trusty old amazon reviews and got myself the Brother 1034D serger.

In the first month, I had it out every day. I got all sorts of books on serging, and I played with it constantly. Then, I moved on to something else and my little serger sat under its dust cover for a couple of years until last week when I decided I wanted to make my daughters some twirly skirts. 

I read somewhere that you could use a serger to form the gathers needed for each layer of the twirly skirt. "Fantastic!" I thought because I am not a huge fan of gathering on a sewing machine (ie using two basting stitches in the seam allowance and pulling by hand)  I have a tendency to snap the thread as I am gathering.  So I dusted off my serger, pulled out my manual and decided to figure out how to make gathers on the serger.... this is the point where the ARGH&$@#!!!! comes in.

The manual makes it sound so easy ... just snap in the gathering foot, put the dials on the following settings, do a test piece with your fabrics to figure out the ratio and TADA you have a gathered layer attached to a non gathered layer all in one step. In reality however, not quite so easy. Now, I made it through Calculus 2 in college so you would think I could figure out a fairly simple ratio... nope. Try as I might I could not figure out how much fabric I needed for each layer. Every time I ran a test piece it came out differently. I ended up calling my husband in, and even his mad math skills couldn't get it right. 

I was determined to make this skirt though, so I kept fiddling with it and through a combination of serging & sewing I finally got there:

I used about one-third of the Hello Betty Retro HoneyBun from Moda to make it. The other two-thirds I used to make this coil basket for my etsy shop:

So in the end, not as smooth and easy as I thought it was going to be, but I ended up with a skirt that I'm pretty happy with. That is the nice thing about the volume in these skirts - they hide a lot of the imperfections nicely :) I'll try for a tutorial after a few more tries. There are several good ones out there though if you are interested...
If anyone has any good serger resources to share, I'd appreciate them! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings

With a new baby last year and the regular chaos of every day life around here, I took a break from the blogging world and put Snuggly Monkey on the back burner for a few months. With the new year came a slew of New Year's Resolutions for me. Some are still going strong (like training to walk a half-marathon - up to 7 miles this week!) and some not so strong (like my resolve to eat less carbs is being constantly sabotaged by my incessant desire to eat bread and cereal...), but my resolution to devote more time to my Snuggly Monkey activities is among the ones still going strong.

I have been busy working on new items to restock my Etsy shop, so be sure to check that out as I am trying to add a new listing every few days. (I have a bunch of stuff made, but not a lot of time to upload the items) It is my goal to get back to blogging at least once a week as well so keep an eye out for new posts. I've decided to dedicate this blog mostly to my craft pursuits, but I am sure random stories from life with my two little monkeys will make an appearance every once in awhile.

Until next time!
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