Sunday, October 18, 2009

The right tool for the job

My son is running cross country. The poor team doesn't have a banner, nor a shade shelter when spending all day at events.  As a decent sewer,  I decided to take matters in my own hands and create a team banner.  It took all day to trace and cut out the letters. The red background I originally purchased was too small, so I had to get a larger cut.  Everything got laid out nicely (with one small exception, which I will show in a moment), so I ironed down the letters as I used a heat and bond product that assures me I won't have to stitch down the letters.
The kids attend a meet. The banner is a huge success.  The banner gets folded up and I notice some of the letters are just starting to peel away. I guess I get to sew down the letters.

This is where it's important to have the best of tools.  I pulled out some nice, shiny thread I have had for a few years. Madeira thread. It's supposed to be good stuff. I got a selection of it when I got my sewing table.  I generally don't go for shiny, so I've saved it.  Now's the time to use it, as its what I have available.
Fill up a bobbin. No problem. Especially after I bought new bobbins, as the metal one's I had purchased previously (and despite them being advertised as Pfaff bobbins) really didn't play nicely with my machine.
I start sewing. I get through one letter, fiddling with the tension. Thread keeps breaking.  I sew down another letter and get through that, with a breakage or two. I persist. I'm stubborn that way. I get the "B-Town" sewn and I'm stopping every 30 seconds to deal with thread breakage. I can't figure out what's wrong. Is it my tension? Is something getting caught? I trouble shoot and sew some more. Still breakage. In a stroke of genius, I test the thread itself. I pull on the thread strait from the spool. Slight tug - snap. I try again.  Slight tug and snap.  SNAP! the thread is old and not good any more.

After a trip to the local fabric store (and $60 later, as I got a few other things I needed there, such as a wool batting for my latest quilt) I sew again. I'm thrifty. I keep sewing with the same bad thread in the bobbin. More snappage. I finally finish the bobbin and thread up with the entirely new spool. Not a single break!

It is always best to start with quality tools and materials. I know this!  When will I finally start practicing this?

As for the layout: My kids' father said he'd help with the layout when I was at work. I got home at midnight, just wanting to get this done, so I ironed everything out, without double checking the work. I know he's anal retentive about spacing, so I thought it was all okay. It looked okay to a bleary eyed seamstress.  It wasn't.  Not until I took this picture I thought everything was a-okay.  It was then that I re-discovered just how dyslexic he is.  I've subsequently fixed it, but there is some adhesive residue left on the banner. Anyone know how to get that off?

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