Monday, June 30, 2008

My Star

Iris sends her greetings to Birgitte's Rockstar. Ooh, do click on the link to see the full adorableness of it all, and the spectacular metallic leather jacket that her mommy made especially for her.

A better view of all three colors of the ribbon lace scarf.

Iris says the scarf would be better if I used only the Artfibers Golden Chai (100% silk) yarn. She finds the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk (50/50) too itchy.

Kira, the manager of Artfibers, suggests ironing projects made with Golden Siam (solid) and Golden Chai (printed). The iron imparts a magical sheen; photography does not do the fabric justice. Iris wants me to knit her more things with Golden Siam/Chai.

She had been cast as Frau Schmidt and a villager (chorus) in The Sound of Music. We browsed the internet and my stash for costume ideas. (All the ingredients came out of my stash.) Frau Schmidt needed a long dark dress and she selected a black rayon/poly/lycra matte jersey. I added a bit of black stretch velvet for the neck binding.

I drafted two apron patterns. When she is on stage as Frau Schmidt, she will wear a white apron trimmed with lace. Just to make it interesting, I mitered the lace trim at the corners.

When she is on stage as a villager, she will wear this bright turquoise dirndl apron.

I had been saving this piece of Kona cotton for another project and tried to dissuade her by offering bright lovely prints. She huffed, "I am a villager, not a lady. Villagers wear plain fabrics!" Wow, I was in my teens before I figured that out. Where did she learn that?

The dirndl should have been easy, but turned into a real trial. First, I couldn't attach the $90 Bernina pleater foot to my newish Bernina (aka the paperweight). My generic ruffler and the Bernina low-shank adapter also failed to fit. I resorted to zigzag stitching over a cord. But who ran off with the spool of crochet cotton I keep by the sewing center for just that purpose? Where did it go? Finally, I dove into the stash under my bed and found some sport-weight cotton.

Add to that, the frustration of an automatic needle threader that didn't quite work and a machine that eats fabric at the start and end of each seam and I wanted to throw the Bernina out the window. I really did. The New Home cost half as much and performs basic sewing tasks much better than the Bernina.

The two are as different as a Toyota and a BMW. The Toyota just works intuitively. The BMW requires "just sew" treatment from the operator and constant repair. If instructions are needed, the New home manual describes in plain English exactly what you need to do. The Bernina instructions leave you scratching your head.

In Bernina's defense, you pay a premium for dealer education and support. My old Bernina sewing machine and the Bernette serger I still use were fine. The Bernina dealer in Boulder gave a fantastic 6 week course in how to use a Bernina. Additionally, I could drop by the store any time to ask questions. The dealer/owner was the best sewing teacher I ever had. The dealer in Torrance offered a 2 hour class given by an instructor hired from another region. Very little help can be obtained at the store except at the few times a year the instructor is there.

The black dress should look familiar. I made it 4 times in sizes ranging from 4-8. Mark says I got good value out of Simplicity 5827. Note that all four of these dresses omitted the center back zipper because they were made out of knits. I scooped out the front neckline slightly to create more pullover allowance. For the black dress, I lengthened the size 8 bodice by 1" and the skirt by 2".

No, Donald Trump was not here. Iris was just playing around with my sewing weights.

The round stainless steel ones were pulled out of a scrap metal bin in a machine shop. They were specially made to fit the curvature of objects mounted on a lathe. The brass bars were made by a friend in Boulder. I think about him every time I use them.

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