Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It worked!

My frankenpattern blouse is done, and I'm really happy with it!

It was basically finished yesterday, but I couldn't face doing all the hand-sewing and held it until this evening.

I brought it out to the couch and watched the presidential press conference with Mario and it took almost no time to do what I couldn't deal with last night. Go figure. Plus I earned myself some relationship points by not retreating to the sewing room and leaving him alone with the TV.

When I decided to cut into my last precious piece of Liberty for this project, I wasn't really even thinking about how much of my existing wardrobe it would work with, but it really does.

Because I can't have something nwe and not immediately want to wear it, I'm pairing it tomorrow with my green linen suit. In the photo I'm wearing it with my dark brown pants from PR's 2008 Wardrobe Contest. It'll work with the olive denim skirt I just finished from BWOF's April 2009 issue. And so on.

Jeez, do you think I'm getting predictable with my colors here? I make something without thinking and it drops without a ripple into the existing wardrobe.

All in all, this project went much more smoothly than I would have expected. It only took minor adjustments for the upper bodice to align with the lower and, at least to my eyes, the resulting top is more flattering (at least on me) than either of the original patterns.

Frequent sewing of BWOF patterns has convinced me that the amount of ease in most Big 4 patterns is excessive. These two patterns can be included in that category. I removed a good bit of the ease here, yet the top isn't tight. It's fitted, and it looks it, but I can move and bend and nothing binds or catches, and I'm certainly not likely to pop a button.

I think the fabric also helps. Liberty is interesting because it looks so airy and delicate - and it weighs absolutely nothing - but it's got the strength of bed sheets. Honestly. Of course, that's probably why it costs an arm and a leg, but you know what? Next time I run into some, it's coming home with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm talented, and so are you

Mario was watching something on CNN this weekend and one of the guests on the news show was author Malcolm Gladwell. I didn't hear the entire interview, but Gladwell was talking about his new book, Outliers, and he had a theory about talent that really resonated with me.

He used the old joke about "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" He said that talented people are people who love to practice.

Yes, he agrees that someone can be born with an innate talent (for sports, music - or sewing), but without the will to practice - and without taking pleasure from practice, and therefore wanting to practice - the "innately talented" can be surpassed by those who enjoy the work and are willing to do it.

Gladwell continued on to give the Beatles as an example. Most people think of the Beatles as four young Brits who just burst onto the music scene, but he gave as background the fact that they spent more than a year working as a house band in a strip club in Hamburg, Germany, working 8 hours days, 7 days a week. When you work like that - and want to, obviously, even though it must have been a godawful job - you build the skills to turn you into, well, . . . the Beatles.

Yes, I'm getting around to sewing eventually. I'm sure that any of you who sew have had someone say, "You're so talented!" when you're wearing one of your own garments. And now, instead of brushing the compliment aside, saying something like "Oh, it's not that hard, I'm sure you could do it," smile brightly, and say thank you. Because you are.

You are talented. You did the work, you continue to do the work, you enjoy the work even when it's frustrating and annoying and endless.

And those people who say, "I could never do that" are right. They can't, because they haven't sat down to even see if they can.

Since I didn't have a stock photo of a soap box, the photos accompanying this rant are courtesy of my spring garden.

On the other hand, maybe they are appropriate, because I frequently hear "You're such a talented gardener!" Yes, I am. I work my butt off out there, and my hard work bears fruit. And tomatoes too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

BWOF 4/09 #101 Skirt

Pattern Description: The A-line shape, small patch pockets on the front, a front hip yoke and faced waist lend this skirt Sixties appeal."

If they say so. I don't particularly see anything Sixties about the skirt - it's a simple A-line, with 6 panels and a front yoke with buttons.

Pattern Sizing: BWOF sizes 36-44. I made my usual 38 with no alterations.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I didn't make mine in painful yellow.

Were the instructions easy to follow? More or less. I didn't really use them - they had an odd method of dealing with the front yoke and I decided to go my own way.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It had the potential to be a nice basic. One of my favorite go-to skirt patterns is an A-line from a 2006 issue of BWOF, such a basic shape that it really lets the fabric shine, and I wanted to try this one out to see if it was as good. Maybe not for me, though the panel treatment could be interesting to play with in a patterned fabric.

Fabric Used: Olive/brown denim that has been aging nicely in my stash for 4-5 years. I wanted to use it for jeans, but the cut was shorter than I realized and there wasn't enough, so it became a skirt. I like it as a skirt, though - it has great potential to work with much of my spring/summer wardrobe.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made this one up exactly as BWOF intended, even the cute little patch pockets. Which I wasn't sure I would like initially, thinking that the horizontal line would add width to my hips, but it seems okay. And I had four of these carved wooden buttons, so I wanted to be able to use them all.

With typical BWOF logic, they have you make the layered front yoke with functional buttonholes, even though the yoke is in some fashion limbo between functional and decorative - the buttons unbutton, but the skirt has an invisible side zip. I did it their way, and then I did it way, stitching over the existing topstitching so that the yoke wouldn't gap.

This is an unlined skirt, which bothered me. When I started thinking about making it, I figured I would end up lining it, but by choosing the denim I got away with not doing it. I made the inside yoke and facings from some leftover plaid from my recent pants, and rather than assembling the yoke/facing their way, which involved some tortured sewing-but-leaving-the-inside-yoke-unsewn and lots of "be careful not to stitch the such-and-such" I stitched the such-and-such and simply hand-sewed the edges of the facings to the inside yoke to cover what I wasn't supposed to stitch. It gives the exact same result and I would rather do a few inches of hand-sewing than spend 15 minutes trying to keep from sewing something that to me logically should be stitched down.

I topstitched around the yoke and along the center front and back panels, and I topstitched the hem. Ah, the joy of denim - having permission to machine stitch the hem was one of the highlights of the project before I even got it constructed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will probably end up sewing this again, minus the pockets. I have a few fabrics that might be cute with the panel treatment. It only took me 2 evenings from cutting the fabric to hemming the skirt, so it's not a hard project.

Conclusion: A great basic, slightly more challenging because of the yoke, with some nice details.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

And so it goes

So I got my pattern together and traced it off onto muslin and cut it out.

Have I mentioned I hate to do muslins? I know that they're necessary sometimes (some sewists say all the time but if I muslined everything I'd never get any actual sewing done - just not enough time in my day). I compromise and muslin new and unusual patterns, things I've come up with myself or patterns on which I plan to cut up some of the "good stuff."

I decided to make this one worthwhile - in addition to muslining because it was a mashup of two patterns - I would also, if the muslin worked, use my last remaining piece of Liberty lawn from last year's vacation.

The Liberty is now in pieces in the workroom, because - hallelujah!! - the muslin worked. My half-assed system of measurements must either have been better than I thought, or the two patterns were more similar than they appeared, because the disparate tops and bottoms merged well. My drafted facings lay smoothly, and the whole thing appears to be spacious enough to button over the girls but without the sometimes-excessive ease of Big 4 patterns.

I didn't attach the sleeves or the collar, since I was mainly working on the fit of the body, but I already know that those sleeves fit, and the collar will work. Pretty sure of that, anyway.

What's funny about this whole project is that it didn't even come to me until I was having lunch with Kisha on Thursday. We spend lunches either talking patterns, talking sewing, critiquing the clothing of those around us - and trying to figure out what pattern to use to duplicate the things we like. Thursday's lunch was spent mostly discussing just how many cute trench jackets were passing by the restaurant window. I'm not even sure how we got onto shirt patterns, but it wandered into my head that combining these two would be a good idea. When I got back to work I emailed her pictures of both tops and asked for opinions.

I couldn't get it out of my head and Thursday night I came right home and started playing with the pattern. It's Sunday now, and I've got some basic seams done, but I have tomorrow off and I'm trying not to rush this.

Besides, it's 90 degrees outside and my back yard is calling to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It wants to be made

The Frankenpattern, that is.

After dinner, I retreated to the workroom and dug out my two patterns. I separated them into pieces that needed adapting and pieces that didn't. I laid the fronts and backs of both patterns on top of each other and calculated (wrong word - guesstimated) what needed to be done.

The lengths of each piece weren't far off, and the widths were more or less the same, except that B 4985 buttons and S 2601 doesn't. I laid one over the other, and put tracing paper on top of both, and extended the front of 2601 to the width of 4985, continuing the curve of the neckline.

The backs were very similar; 4985 was just a little shorter, so I shaved off 3/4" or so from 2601 - basically the same amount that I added to 2601 when I made it originally.

For the bottom portion, I used the four pattern pieces from 4985 - center back, side back, center front, side front. The only adjustment there was to lay the curved waistband from 2601 over top of the center front and adding the curve - I decided to keep the curve because that point in the front was one of my favorite features from 2601.

I kept the short sleeves I used for 2601, and I traced off the shawl collar that I hadn't bothered with last time.

2601, for some odd reason, didn't have facings. Now facings aren't always my favorite thing - can you get them to lay down and obey every single time? because I can't - but I do see the necessity of them. It struck me as wrong that 2601 didn't have them. 4985 did, but of course they were no longer the right shape, so I drafted new facings, front and back, in accordance with the new pieces.

Once I got the new tracing paper pattern finished, I did something I haven't done in a while: I made a muslin. Out of muslin.

If for no other reason than it would guarantee that it would turn out and I would wish I'd just gone ahead and used my good fabric.

Which I haven't decided on yet anyway.

Parting shot: My lilacs are blooming and my office suddenly smells much better. Much. Better.

A Frankenpattern in the making

Since the Simplicity top pattern was such a success, I think I'm going to try to merge it with one of my other favorite top patterns, Butterick 4985. I mostly liked 4985 - wasn't thrilled with the neckline/top of the pattern, but I loved the princess-seamed bottom portion - it gave a really flattering fit.

So I think what's going to happen is the top part of 2601 will have some width added so that it can be buttoned (rather than button-looped), and either the curve reduced at the center front, or some curve added to the center front of the bottom part of 4985.

I really like the neckline, collar and short sleeves on the 2601, and the fitted bottom of 4985, so I see no reason why, with some redrafting, some swearing, and probably a glass (or two) of wine, I can't end up with the fitted top of my (current) dreams.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Perfect Saturday

I live in West Philadelphia. It's not a neighborhood for everyone - I have friends who raise eyebrows that I want to live "all the way out there" (too far from everything) and other friends who think it's the ghetto. It's neither, although at certain points in its history it's been both, but I choose to enjoy my home and not waste my energies trying to convert the unconverted.

Saturday was one of those days where I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We woke up to sunshine streaming across the bed and all the cats lying around stunned by sunshine. We went across the street to the coffee shop for breakfast. My neighborhood has one of the few all-year-round farmer's markets at Clark Park, and that was the next stop. Fresh asparagus, yay! And I picked up a few more potted herbs and some spring mix to plant in the back garden.

Then, since it was Earth Day, there was a flea market in the park which had all sorts of goodies, most of which I was able to resist - this time. On the way home, we hit three yard sales, and then I played in my back yard for 5 hours. It was in the mid-70s and I got to put on a tank top and shorts for the first time this year. I dug out two underperforming roses and replaced them with blueberry bushes, and got the latest batch of herbs and the spring mix planted. It's kind of lonely working in the back yard without Vlad the cat to help out, but he's still in my guest room; though I did consider letting him out to keep me company, I didn't know if I'd be able to corral him back inside.

When Mario got back from his errands at 6:00, I was sitting out back under the lilac bush with a glass of wine. The lilacs are blooming early, and I don't think there's a better smell in the world.
Then we went in and steamed that fresh asparagus as part of our dinner, and once we finished eating, I retired to the sewing room.

Kisha picked up a few of the new Simplicity patterns for me last week, and I was itching to try one of them out. I knew I was too tired to actually be sewing, so I cut out Simplicity 2601 and then cut the fabric. I'm repurposing a plus-size cotton skirt I got at the thrift store because I loved the stripe and the color, and of course, near the end of the cutting, I realized I was running out of fabric. The entire back peplum is pieced (5 pieces) but it's not too noticeable, especially with the gathers and the fact that the stripe is on the diagonal.

All in all, this pattern is a winner in my book. I made one change prior to cutting, which was to lengthen the top of the bodice by about 3/4" - when I held the paper pattern up to me, the bust gathers ended somewhere above my underwire and that's not a good look. There are certain other things I would do differently next time(including have enough fabric), but overall this was a good test run. I'd like to get proper loop tape rather than make my own loops. If I make the loop small enough to look right, it's too small for my tube turner, but what I have here looks a little too clunky and unprofessional - and stands out too much because it's white (but I ran out of fabric). I really like the little sleeves, and the neckline is pretty with or without the collar. The flounce is cute, but I'm not the flounce type.

I also cheated on this one and used rayon seam binding for all the edges, including the hem. There are no facings for this top and most of the views include some kind of collar. For the collar-less version, they recommend folded bias tape, of which I had none, so out came some of the rayon seam binding from Betty's sewing basket. I even used it for the hem, because I really had no fabric to spare to even turn up there.

Sometimes the joy of sewing includes cutting a few corners that you know you shouldn't. It looks good on the outside, it's not going to fall apart in the washer, and I know what to do and will do it next time, so for now, that's good enough for me. There's someone on Patternreview whose tagline is "Done is better than perfect," and I'm of the same mind.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What the Easter Bunny brought

Wow, I stepped away from the computer for a little longer than I intended. Anybody still out there?

Last post, I mentioned the great sewing-related gift my aunt gave me at Easter. Here it is, in all its glory.

My aunt Betty, now 84, used to spend summers with my Uncle Charlie at their house in the Poconos. She took her sewing machine with her (even though everything for the summer house that needed sewing was done by my uncle - he could do anything), but she didn't like to carry her old wicker sewing basket. One year my uncle presented her with this case specifically for summer sewing projects.

Aside from the turquoise and white exterior (fabulous enough on its own), it has two compartments, a divided top compartment for spools of thread, and a spacious lower compartment that holds larger items. My aunt was actually going to clean this out before she gave it to me, but she thought I might want to look at it all first. Look at it? I'm going to use this puppy and everything in it.

Most of those glorious technicolor spools are silk thread, and not a one is rotted, I checked.

The lower compartment has packs of rayon seam binding, lace, rickrack, needles, straight pins, two sets of knit cuffs, a few packs of sequins - wondering about those; even in her flaming red-headed youth, Betty wasn't a sequin girl - and, wonder of wonders, two bags of grommets and a grommet setter. I'm sure I'll find a use for all these goodies.

>My aunt is beginning to think about selling her house. At least, some days she thinks about selling it, but almost every day she laments the amount of stuff in the house, and slowly but surely she's trying to get rid of it. Other sewing-related bits have come my way - all her buttons and snaps and trims - but I never even knew she had this, and I can't believe she could give it up. Even though she doesn't do much sewing these days, she doesn't give away lightly anything that my uncle ever touched, and a gift this special seems like something she'd want to keep.

I promised her that I would take good care of it, and I have new respect for my uncle Charlie as a man who knew how to give perfect gifts (another skill to add to sewing, woodwork, boat building, car mechanics, wiring, plumbing, and knitting, which he took up when he was confined to bed after a stroke).

My mom knew how to sew but hated it, but my aunt made almost all her own clothes for years, lots of my uncle's clothes, and the best doll clothes in the world - I got entire wardrobes for my favorite dolls for years every Christmas. My uncle may not have been a blood relative, but I think from him I inherited my inability to sit still without some kind of project in my hands.

And it makes me wonder, was he also responsible for the leopard print fake fur knitting-needle case that's still stowed up in her living room closet? And am I going to have to learn how to knit to earn that one?

I've been sewing away the past couple of days - almost finished a second pair of Ottobre jeans (in denim this time) and I did a test drive of one of Simplicity's new summer top patterns - a winner. More on those (hopefully) tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Possessed by a pattern

Ever have that happen?

While taking a break from the trench jacket one night last week, I cut out the main pattern pieces for the Ottobre 5/2007 #10 jeans. Since I only had one piece of denim on hand, I didn't want to use that and decided to use a nice plaid rayon/lycra woven from Metro Textiles as my muslin. I knew that these pants could only be so bad - Ottobre fits me well and the stretch would save me from any major fitting errors.

Turns out I could have used the denim.

Saturday I woke up to rain. Lots of rain, the steady kind that wasn't going anywhere, the kind that sent me straight to the sewing room. I cut out the rest of the pieces, and decided just to work on the pants for a little while. I made up the back pockets and put a couple of lines of ornamental stitching on them and pressed them. They came out nice and clean edged, so I decided that while I was in there, I should sew them onto the back of the pants. The plaid lined up nicely and the pockets went on.

Then I threw a load of wash in downstairs and decided to tackle the front pockets. Which again lined up nicely, plaids matching, and I sewed them together Hmmm, this was going smoothly. Maybe before my luck ran out I should do the fly front. It had been a while since I'd done one, having realized that I look better in side zip pants. Maybe I'd lost my touch? Nope. I did kind of forget what I was doing, but Ottobre's instructions for zipper insertion are really clear, though they do want you to do it after the pants are partly constructed and I prefer flat insertion. But it was simple enough.

Put the yokes on the back, topstitched. Sewed the backs together, topstitched some more. Joined the crotch seam and sewed the inside legs together. Topstitch one more time. Pin outer legs together, wiggle into pants, leave pin scratches on legs. Hmmm again. Fit seems good. Wiggle out, tweak pins, sew. Try on again - yep, they fit.

Mario knocks on the door after I get the bottom part of the belt loops sewn onto the pants. "Are you coming out for dinner?" Damn, it's 6:00 p.m., and other than popping in and out a few times to deal with the laundry, I've been at this for about 6 hours. I stop and we make dinner - omelets with all the leftover veggies in the fridge - and then I retreat back to my cave.

Construct the contoured waistband, check fit, smile, sew on waistband. Come out, watch a few minutes of TV with him so he doesn't feel neglected, come back in, attach the belt loops at the top, add a button/buttonhole, put the pants on one more time to mark the hems (another great thing about plaid), machine stitch hem. Press everything one more time, fold over stair railing for wearing on Easter Sunday.

The last time I made my TNT side zip BWOF pants, it took me 3-4 sessions. Much as I love my TNTs, maybe sometimes I just need to test drive a new pattern to perk myself up.

Though the next thing on my list (at least at this point) is cutting out another pair of these jeans, this time in the denim I was afraid to use the first time out.

BTW, I got a very cool sewing present for Easter from my aunt - pictures to follow.

BWOF 3/09 #114 Trench Jacket - Finished

Wow. This may join my black leather jacket as one of my favorite projects ever. I wore it for Easter yesterday and I have to admit I enjoyed every compliment it got.

There are some projects you can do on autopilot, and then there are some that keep your brain interested and engaged all the way, and this was one of them. I couldn't wait to get started on it every time I went into the workroom.

I think that one of the joy of working with BWOF patterns is the amount of detail they put into them. This would have been a perfectly fine jacket without those little extras, but the folded pocket and button tabs on the sleeves really make it for me.

Details are really the things that set RTW apart, and if you're willing to tackle them, BWOF really gives you the details to make a garment into something special.

This project took a variety of interfacings: I used regular fusible woven for the facings, and then, along the edge of the facings, as well as the sleeve and jacket hems, I used strips of fusible hair canvas for a nice crisp edge. For the button tabs and the belt, since they would get more handling, I used coutil left over from my orange bag project. Since it's meant to be used for corsets, it's strong, flexible and not likely to stretch.

Not a lot of changes to this pattern: as I mentioned before, I did add a lining, because (a) I think that outerwear pretty much should be lined, (b) I don't have the patience or precision for the Hong Kong finish this would have deserved, and most importantly, (c) the inside of this fabric against my skin would have been like wearing a sauna suit.

I also changed the sleeve length. The pattern called for full length sleeves, which could then be folded and buttoned up with the tab. I liked the fold and tab, but not the bracelet length, so I added about 2" to the sleeves so that I could fold them up and still have them at full length. Isn't that why we make this stuff ourselves?

I finished this project on Friday evening and got to wear it out to dinner that night in the drizzle, and it's actully waterproof. No reason it shouldn't be; it's vinyl, after all, but having it turn out to really be a rain jacke instead of just looking like one is a plus.

Funny thing: after I finished this I thought I'd need a bit of a break before tackling the next big project. I was going to knock out a couple more quick tshirts just to round out the summer wardrobe, but no, apparently I didn't need a break after all.

Saturday it rained all day, and not the kind of rain my jacket and I wanted to be out in. I went into the workroom just to tidy up, and maybe finish cutting out the fabric for the Ottobre jeans that were up next. Six hours later, I looked up because Mario was in the doorway asking if I was coming out in time for dinner. Don't you love it when it just takes over? Pictures of the jeans (a very wearable muslin in a plaid rayon/lycra woven) coming next time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's getting there

The trench jacket, that is.

Though I've been motivated to sew, this project just isn't coming along quickly. Part of it, I think, is the material - it sticks to itself, it sticks to my fingers, it sticks to the presser foot, necessitating strips of tracing paper so that it doesn't stretch itself out of shape. So it's taken longer than it should to get this far.

This far, now, is jacket mostly constructed, lining finished and inserted at the facing seam, though not sewn to the jacket yet at the sleeves or at the hem.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I want to handle the sleeves. The original jacket was unlined, and when the sleeves were rolled up and buttoned with the cute little tab, the reverse of the fabric showed. Here, it would be the quilted lining, which I don't want, so I think what I'm going to have to do is cut off some of the quilted linin sleeve and replace it with fabric, so that when the sleeve is rolled up, the right fabric will show.

Other than thinking a little too hard about the sleeves, I'm pretty much there. I still have to cut and sew the belt, but that's not a biggie. I think I'm going to reinforce it with a strip of the coutil I used to strengthen my orange leather bag - regular interfacing will mush down after the belt's been tied a few times.

I did use regular interfacing on the facings for this jacket, but it didn't strike me as substantial enough, so today when I sewed the facings to the jacket, I cut a strip of fusible hair canvas about 1" wide, and ironed it along the edge of the facing. It made for a nice sharp edge but didn't make it too thick, and I think it will only help with the buttonholes. I used the same fusible hair canvas for the collar, and I think it's my favorite part.

I also sewed on the pockets and the belt loops before I added the lining. I'm going to say it again - I love the pockets.

Next up: tonight, if I can get rid of my post-gardening back/ headache, I'm going to deal with the belt and add the buttonholes to the front of the jacket. There's still a bit of hand-sewing needed to the inside because the lining fabric is apparently the only thing without the natural tendency to stick to the underside of the fabric, and it's moviong around a little. I need to stabilize it under the arms and in a few other places to keep it from shifting, and then . . . I need to deal with the sleeves.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everything but the jacket

So I've been working on the 3/09 #114 trench jacket, and it's been going along well so far.

Actually, I can't say I've been working on the jacket. I've constructed the facings and lining, to test the fit - straight 38, I love it when nothing needs tweaking - and I've done most of the fiddly bits, pockets and collar and gun flap and belt loops and sleeve tabs, but I haven't actually cut out any of the jacket itself yet except for the two back pieces.

Which I actually cut out twice, because I put the back pattern piece on the wrong side of the table and picked it up and cut it out again. (This is what comes of cutting after 10 p.m., we all know better!) So since I had those 2 extra pieces, rather than waste them, I used them to cut out all the small pieces that I've now finished.

Hopefully later tonight (though not late), I will be able to cut out the fronts and sleeves, and maybe even get the pockets sewn on.

Did I mention I like the pockets? Interesting pockets (gathered, pleated or folded) have become somewhat of a trademark for BWOF, and I really like these, even though they messed with me at first and refused to fold in the direction they were supposed to. It was like origami gone wrong. I walked away for a few minutes, came back and they cooperated just fine. So I suppose it was my mind that wasn't folding in the right direction.

The fabric I'm using for the trench jacket is interesting to work with. It's not really fabric - the right side has a good texture and sews well, but the back is gray and rubberish, and tends to get sticky when worked for too long (and tends to stick to the underside of my presser foot, which has necessitated sewing seams over strips of tissue paper and then ripping it off). On the plus side, it buttonholes like a dream and the right side has no objection to being ironed.

I interfaced the facings with woven fusible, but I don't really like the hand they've given the fabric. I may add a layer of cotton or batiste, whatever's on hand, as an interlining, just to give the facings a litle more body without adding stiffness. Learning what a new fabric will and won't tolerate is always interesting.