Monday, February 06, 2012
I've been working on this pink dress for Kate. It's almost done now, but I did have some trouble getting started.
We have this Brother CS6000i sewing machine that Doug ordered online about a year and a half ago. He used it to make his doublet, and didn't have any trouble with the machine, but when I tried to use it I just couldn't get the tension right. (Fortunately I started on some test pieces rather than right on the skirt.)
With the tension all the way down on 1, the top thread was really tight and the bottom stitches looked like they were staggered, one to the left and the next to the right of the center line. Turning the tension up only made it worse. I had a feeling the problem was with the bobbin, but couldn't figure out how to adjust it. (It's a drop-in bobbin--it turns out there is a case, but it's just a little harder to get to.)
I looked online and found some comments about a lot of people having tension problems with this machine. I decided to take it down to Quality Sewing and Vacuum and see what they could tell me. (Sandi Pickering from church is the manager there.) A very nice lady helped me out. When she popped off the bottom plate it was all full of red doublet-lint. She got that all brushed out, and adjusted the tension on the bobbin for me, and helped me pick out a better thread. The thread that I was using was "polyester covered polyester," which may have been making the machine unhappy. Apparently anything that says "covered" is undesirable. I did not know this.
With these various ministrations, the machine performed much better, and I was able to get the skirt pieces sewn together without further difficulty. I got that all done and then sewed the skirt onto the crocheted bodice. When Jill Tracy assembled the autumn dress for me, she just seamed the skirt and bodice together on the wrong side like regular fabric. On this one I put a picot edging along the bottom of the bodice, so I decided to top-stitch it. I just sewed carefully in the ditch between two rows of crochet stitches, and then did another line on the next row up, for added security. It seemed like it worked really well.
With the kitchen table being our only work-space we have to shuffle things around for projects and eating. I have also borrowed the neighbor's ironing board. It's up against the back door. We make do!