Why yes, that is eight yards of jumbo piping...

My sewing machine is pretty basic, a three-and-a-half-year-old bottom end Janome; she’s mostly pretty reliable, if not terribly fancy, and at this point we pretty much understand each other.

But every once in a while, she really annoys me.

Today, it was the needle positioning. Now, I can adjust needle position to the left, but not to the right of centre. (It goes further right during a zig-zag, but there’s no option for me to set a straight stitch to the right).

This isn’t a problem in normal sewing, but every once in a while, just once in a while, it drives me batty.

Today was one of those days. I was making jumbo piping. Eight yards of jumbo piping.

Yes, my friends. I am undertaking … shudder… home-dec sewing.

And not even for my home. I’m making a custom cushion and cover for a friend’s window-seat. Technically this is an exchange of labour since she did a wonderful photo shoot for my kids before Christmas with her fantabulous DSLR (she’s one of those hobby photographers) that also gave my a chance to play with RAW images… soooooo fun…. ahem. Anyway, so I’m making her this cushion. Which I’ve been dawdling over for most of the month because, well, it’s home-dec sewing, and why would I do that when I could make whimsical costume jackets? But she came over for tea on the weekend and I wanted to have something to show her, so I spent some time Sunday morning cutting out rectangles… endless rectangles… and then I figured I should at least sew up the piping before I lose those long, skinny strips.

At this point I’ve made lots of little, garment-sized piping on my machine with nary a problem. But this jumbo, mega-sized piping is, well, a wee bit trickier. You see, it doesn’t slide under the “high” side of the zipper foot at all. It has to pass to the right of the whole zipper foot apparatus. And because I can’t adjust my needle position to the right, I could not run my stitching nearly as close to the cord as I would’ve liked. People, I have saggy piping.

Man, I love these dresses...


Even more annoying, I know I’m going to have the exact same issue sewing it to the pillow cover itself. Grrr-grr.

Can’t I make something nice and easy, like a jacket?

Or how about another 70s maxi dress? This one arrived today, courtesy of the Cupcake Goddess’s pattern sale the other week. Num, num. It’s a misses’ size 10, which will be interesting—in the past I’ve usually used 12s and had to take them in a bit, but theoretically the 10 will be perfect in the bust. I’m particularly in love with the blue version, although the rational part of my mind is telling me that collar is a bad idea…

Today’s MMM picture


is a particularly blah combination of repeat outfit (see day 6) with no hair/makeup.  I had hoped to make it through the month without a precise repeat, but I was too lazy to check this morning to see if I’d worn this exact shirt with these exact pants before, and now that I realize I have, I’m too lazy to change. Meh. I think I’ll be back to regular life tomorrow, though, so I’ll try and make more of an effort then…



Filed under Sewing

11 responses to “Miscelania

  1. Alexandra

    You must have one of those wide snap-on zipper feet? You need the other kind, the skinny ones with the thumbscrew to adjust position. http://www.creativesewingsolutions.com/offline/adjustable_zipper_foot/default.htm

  2. Kimbersew

    whenever I make home dec piping (never fun, but it adds that crucial je ne sais quois), I sew the first pass loose (not tight against the edge of the piping-core). So don’t fret about it. But if you can get your needle up close against it for the actual seam (piping sandwiched between the rectangular pieces), it’ll get you happy. I resort to my zipperfoot for that, and clip the corners (of the piping seam allowance) as I swivel the work. good luck!

  3. CGCouture

    Can you put the cord to the left side of the foot and move your needle over to the left? I’m not sure what your zipper foot looks like, but that’s what I would do. My zipper foot (mid-range, albeit still expensive, Pfaff) has a foot that connects on either side and the needle part is open to the side so that I can position the needle as far to the right (or left) as I want. BTW, I found a really cool way to do endless bias that prevents you from having to cut tiny pieces to make cording. You can find it here: http://cheapandpicky.blogspot.com/2009/05/endless-bias-tutorial.html HTH for next time! 🙂

    • Unfortunately my zipper foot is one-side only, and I agree, if it was the other side it would be fine :P. It came with the machine—I’m sure there are much better ones out there!

      I like that bias method! I have tried something similar myself but I always seem to end up with really uneven widths when I cut it out at the end. Fortunately for this piping (which is mostly going in straight lines) I’m not bothering with bias at all—my in-depth internet research suggests this will be fine for this particular purpose ;).

      • CGCouture

        Bummer. I wonder if there’s a generic one that you can pick up for less than $10 (any more than that and you could probably get a “factory” one) that would work better.

        The bias method works really well…I got a bit confused about how it lined up the first time I tried (I misunderstood one of the pictures), but the second time it was really easy. Just make sure to make lots of marks to cut towards when she tells you to if you need to be fairly precise…ask me how I know. 😛 You can even purchase little doodads that help you press the folds into the tape, but I’ll confess that I thought they were a bit overpriced for what they were.

  4. My twenty old machine has the same issue, and I would do what Claudine suggested and do it all in reverse, with the piping to the left of the needle. This is a very generous thing you are doing for your friend! That must have been one helluva photo-shoot!
    What are you planning, re your lace comment??

  5. I’ll do a labour swap with you and swap the piping (my foot can move left and right) for ‘something easy like a jacket’. Easy! You’ve got to be kidding! I’m in the middle of a swap at the moment too. 500 second-hand pavers in exchange for a 1930s flapper-style dress for a school musical. Now I just have to find someone willing to lay the pavers. Does anyone need new PJs?

  6. Me Made March cannot be pretty and original everyday… I guess it is part of the challenge…

    I am totally with you about the home dec thing. It took a strange amount of energy to whip up a rectangle to hide a window in a door (I hated doing it), and I still haven’t hemmed my curtains that are already hanging. For my defense, the bottom is hidden behind the radiators… That is so bad to see how lazy can be about those things, and than spend ages on a useless detail for a dress…

  7. But, can you wear curtains? No…

  8. Only one thing worse than i=uncooperative machine and that’s saggy piping. All the old machines had those adjustable zipper feet, and as most machines are simple high or low shank, you should be able to pick up a generic one somewhere pretty inexpensively. It will be worth it !

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