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I watched the movie Midnight in Paris, again. If you’re not familiar with the movie, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée and her family, Gil, a screenwriter, mysteriously travels back to the 1920s at midnight each night. A believer that the 20s was the golden age of Paris, Gil goes nuts when his time traveling has him partying with writers, painters, and musicians such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, Dali, Picasso, and Cole Porter. Gil’s evening walks at midnight bring him closer to finishing his first novel, which he struggles to write, but further from the woman he’s about to marry. As I was watching it, I wondered, is there a movement going on right now that is similar the one in the movie? Picasso and Braque hung out and created artwork together, each learning from the other’s skills and each picking up the other’s traits. Are Marci and Nette the Picasso and Braque of our day and age and in our line of artwork – sewing (there are many more examples of blogging/sewing buddies but I chose just one)? Picasso and Braque were also a part of a bigger movement called Cubism, which, in a nutshell (and chime in if I’m wrong), was a rejection of representing the 3D world on a 2D canvas perfectly with the use of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. Instead, the work of Cubist artists was fragmented and sometimes discernible,  inspired partly by African art but also representing the way that our mind work – pieced together. Are Sallie, Holly, Karen, Lauren, and all other sewers/bloggers part of a group that is dedicated to making and wearing a handmade wardrobe? If that’s the case, I have two things to say. One, I’m glad that this movement is happening and two, I wonder what people will say about us ten, twenty, or fifty years from now?

And yep, you bet I’m still jotting down the things that I come across each night in an effort to remember/learn more (rather than breezing through the information I come across). Here are a couple, but not all, of the things I learned this week.

One: I bought polyester for a project and as soon as I got home, I wondered, how do I prewash it? I asked for tips on my Facebook page but I also did a search on Google. Not surprisingly, Gertie wrote a great post on how to prewash a variety of fabrics.

Two: A reader emailed me after he read about my frustration with attaching hook and eye closers to my bras. No matter what the stitch tension, stitch length, needle, of thread, the zigzag stitches skip (but the straight stitches do not). He suggested that the cause of the skipped stitches was the difference in levels when sewing. When I start stitching over the elastic and the hook and eye, the stitches do not skip, but when I pass over the elastic and just sew over the hook and eye, the stitches skip. He suggested adding a piece of flannel to even out the levels. Makes sense, right?

Three: Every time I change the thread on a serger, I “tie on,” meaning I clip the thread at the cone, change cones, and tie the new thread onto the old thread and pull it through. What I didn’t know is that the knots should be pulled out of the tension dials and then “flossed” back in after the knot passes. The book that talked about this gave a great analogy for why this is done, “Imagine if your dental floss had a knot in it: you wouldn’t enjoy pulling that knot between your teeth!”

And you can probably tell from the photos this week that I’m sewing a lot! I can’t wait to show you the ruffl-y, velvet-y, and polka dotted-y stuff I’ve been sewing!


  1. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    Your reader is probably correct. I bet if you look in your box of dohickeys for your industrial you’ll find a compensating foot. Now that won’t help you since its for the right machine but you’ll get the idea. My machine came with these little plastic strips joined together with a rivet and if hadn’t take the guide class for the machine which I can tell you I was going to skip because even back then I thought I knew everything.

    Well what those simple little plastic things are are compensating plates. You put them whenever you need to even out the height so the presser foot and feed dogs are parallel. If they aren’t your sewing machine ain’t working properly. This might explain why its only happening on the hook side. I find when the pressure isn’t even sometimes it can force one side into the throat plate while the other ends up so high the needle won’t penetrate far enough to grab the hook on the bobbin.

    They are nothing fancy. I recon that you could make some out of those loyalty keys they give you put on your keychain. You just need something you can stack to give different heights. I like the plastic because the presser foot doesn’t drag and hey they came with the machine anyways.

    Now if I could ONLY figure out why the coverstitch function on my serger only works when I’m testing it and never when I need it.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You know everything. EVERYTHING! I’m going to look in my box of dohickeys (which is also my word for the day) and try to find what you speak of. If it works, it will solve a year’s worth of frustration!

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        This what one looks like for a straight foot but you can see by using little plastic wedges on the side you need to balance out (like a maxed on credit card or something) then that works a charm. Same trick works on denim. I swear its like a miracle solution for those stupid problems.


        If you find a zig zag compensating foot lmk those would sewing heaven.

        • Reply

          Natasha Estrada

          FOUND ONE!


          I bet there are others out there that would fit whatever kind of machine you have.

          • Maddie Flanigan

            I have the presser foot in your first link but isn’t it an edge stitch foot? How would I use it to even out the levels when sewing the eye side of a hook and eye. I’ll be finishing a bra this week and this could work!

          • Natasha Estrada

            Not sure what you have exactly but you know when your stitching on the hook/eye piece that one side is higher than the other because the hook eye fabric is thicker? Well you need something on the thinner size to make everything even so the presser foot and feed dogs can work together.

            If that doesn’t solve your problem then it’s possibly problem #2 which is the needle is not reaching the bobbin hook at the right time. I feel zigzag stitches one side is always better because of the timing. If that is the case maybe hand walk or tap your way through.

            If I get time this weekend I’ll sew up a little sample and see if I get the same problem since I have all the hook/eye + spandex (just of that bit not a whole bra I’m not insane)

          • Maddie Flanigan

            I have visitors in town this weekend but when I finish up my bra next week, I’m going to try all of your suggestions. Something has to work! It has to!

            What is “tapping?” Even when I hand walk, the stitches still skip.

            You said that when sewing with a zig zag stitch that one side is always better than the other side because of timing. I had never heard of this but it makes sense and might play a role why my stitches are skipping – one side of the zig zag catches with the bobbin but the other doesn’t.

            I really enjoy our back and forth chatting, Natasha

          • Natasha Estrada

            Tapping is where you tap the pedal once and it makes one stitch at a time. The part about the zigzag is something I’ve noticed over the years and read about and it may actually not be true (remember that 50%) but it sounds right.

            I’ve noticed that the regular throat plate I use on my machine is a teensy bit different instead of it being just — opening its more like a small little L you can see on one side (ends up being the left side) its a little more open. I have no idea why this is or what it does but it MUST do something.


          • Maddie Flanigan

            I see the L shape! I also wonder what it’s for. That’s super interesting and you have a good eye to notice it. I looked at my home machine, a Singer, and it doesn’t have that.

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