Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Blair Witch Project 3: My Sewing Weekend

So how was your weekend? Yeah whatever. Oh, my weekend? I'm glad you asked. When I went into my office to start sewing on Friday night, there were three of us. Only one of us emerged. Okay, that's not true but it went along with my title so just go with it.

I received an email last Thursday through Etsy from a woman asking if there's any way possible for me to make one or maybe two shirts and have them shipped up to her no later than the next Thursday for her Disney vacation. At first I thought someone was punking me and I started sharpening my shiv. Two shirts at once? Yeah right. But I write back and she's serious! Woohoo! So I do the calculations in my head to see if I could really complete these shirts that quickly (5, carry the 1, half the diameter of the moon times pi) and write her to tell her that absolutely, I can complete this order! You know, growing up my mom always told me that I stood in the line for brains twice and skipped the line for common sense. I'm thinking there might be something to that. Oh, and thanks mom! What an ego booster for a six year old!
But the good news is you're smart!
I ask her for the measurements I need and she gets them back to me on Friday and I figure I can cut everything out for both shirts Friday night after work and then assemble them on Saturday. Easy breezy lemon squeezy. Here's a blow by blow of how the weekend progressed.

5:03 pm: After working three whole minutes over schedule just because I'm a giver like that, I shut my computer down and haul all my cutting tools out to the counter. FYI- for cutting and pinning, try to do it on as high of a surface as possible or you'll end up looking like Mary's prom date by the end of the date. No, not the greasy one, the hunchback one. Remember, the one with two eyes? Yes, that one! I take out my patterns, pin them to my first fabric, and start cutting. I've got Netflix on tv, I'm giddy with excitement, things are going good.

7:10 pm: Bobby's home and I tell him I just need to finish up this cutting and we can watch the movie. Okay, I need seven of these green tulle leaves. Mother f'er! I cut out three of the wrong size because I need longer ones for this order. Okay, no problem. I'll use these for the sleeves. I'm such a problem solver! I should have an 'Ask Anna' column. Now where's my pink sparkly tulle?

9:55 pm: Okay, this is taking a little longer than I thought, but at least I've got all the tedious stuff finished and out of the way! Tomorrow should be a breeze! (insert dumbass lightning strike here). But I've decided to do a full-circle skirt for the Cinderella top to really give it that princess dress look and I had to do some big time math to figure out the diameter of the circle that I'd need according to her waist size. Good thing I got in line twice for brains, huh mom?!

12:35 am: Finished watching the movie, I'm just gonna move my stuff back to the office so that I can start sewing tomorrow. And maybe I'll just separate them into piles. And pick out the threads. Okay, seriously going to bed now. I read a few pages of the Book of Useless Information on my Nook and drift off. Did you know that peanuts have no cholesterol and are an ingredient in some explosives?

7:00 am Saturday morning: I am up and raring to go! I wonder where that phrase came from. Did you know  that the phrase "put a sock in it" came from the days when they used Victrolas and they used to stuff a sock down the tube to muffle the volume? Bobby just loves it now when I start a sentence with "Did you know....." so I thought you'd all enjoy it to.

Go ahead. Your friends and loved ones will thank you later.
11:00 am: Surprisingly, the t-shirt part is taking longer than I thought it would. Lots of serging and assembling and sewing the sleeves was kind of time consuming but I'm getting there. Then onto the sash- it's going to be so pretty!

1:00 pm: So it's been about 24 hours since I've had a shower and sure, I'm still in my pajamas, but I'm not going for Ms. America here people so just back off. I'm thinking of getting those pajama jeans from tv so I never have to get dressed.
It's like they said, "Hey Anna, we made something just for you!"
I finished the t-shirt and I've got the band for the sash ready to go. Now I just need to serge all the seams of the tulle overlay because this shit frays like a bitch and I'll be ready to rock and roll. And possibly take a shower.

5:pm: I've showered and escaped from the house and now I'm back and trying to get some work done before Shrimp and Echo get here because as you all know from the birthday outfits saga, she ain't a whole lot of use to me sewing-wise unless I need someone to take ten minutes to thread the needle again. I'm edging the skirt and it's slow going because I'm folding it over twice as I edge so I fold sew an inch, stop, fold again, sew..... you see where I'm going. But I'm noticing that it's taking an extraordinary amount of time to do this so I pull up the remaining fabric to see how much I have left to go and it's approximately three acres. It turns out that brilliant 'full circle' idea I had created 5 miles of hemline. Yippee for me.

11:00pm: My big plans to have my niece and nephew in bed by 9:30 kind of fell through. Bobby said he was going out with a friend but when I walked Gabi's friend back home at 10, there's Bobby with a margarita! WTF? Did he think I liked having four screaming children running around like puppies on a sugar high? Not that I was in the same room with them or anything, but it sure sounded crazy through my office and bedroom walls and over my techno music. But don't worry, I told them not to kill themselves or each other so I did my duty for Aunt of the Year.

What? At least I fed them.
Now back to sewing. I sew the ends of the white sash onto the center piece, and voila! Beautiful!

I go to bed knowing that sure, this was a longer day than I had anticipated, but tomorrow Tinkerbell will come together so much faster because I'm on a roll, baby!

8:00 am Sunday morning: I get up and after putting some cereal in their bowls, err, I mean, 'feeding the kids', I start edging Tinkerbell leaves because that's what the entire overlay and sleeves consist of: sparkly leaves. So I fold and edge them in bright green fabric and then edge them all with Fray Check. Hey, nice buzz for a Sunday morning. Who needs church when I'm already flying high? Woow!

Nice results though, huh? Even stoned I'm a frickin' sewing magician.
1:00 pm: I honestly cannot tell you what I did from 8 to 1. I think it might have been a Fray Check overdose. I just know I woke up underneath my sewing table spooning the garbage can.

5:00 pm: I did it. I actually finished the shirts. Well, almost. I just need to finish the neck facings and then sew on all the snaps. I'm thinking an hour, tops. But I have to quit now because we're meeting friends for dinner so I'll just finish this when I get home.

12:30 am: I need to figure out how to sew the snaps to the Tink wings so that you can't see the thread. Everything is showing through. Aha, clear nylon thread! That's perfect! Okay, thread the needle, dang this stuff is hard to see, then tie off the end on the tiny clear snap, and it looks great. Oh no, here comes Skipper with all his extra toes for his nightly cuddle with my head. Go away Skipper, I'm busy. No, don't play with that. No, DON'T swat the button around! Skipper, stop biting the damn thread!! Are ya kidding here?

12:45 am: The thread is so thin that I can only see it when I hold it up to the light so it's like working with invisible hair as thread. My hands are making the gestures and I just hope something is going on. This must be what Helen Keller felt like in the beginning. Also, if I don't keep the string taut, then it curls up on itself and gets tangled so I'm using one hand to hold the tiny clear button to the tip of the Tink wing which is roughly the size of a grain of rice while holding the needle in the other hand and using my arm to hold the string taut. It looks like I'm trying to play cats in the cradle all by myself and then there's Skipper, thinking this is the most fun he's ever had outside of drinking from the toilet bowl. Then the Ambien kicks in and it's lights out. I'll just finish it up in the morning and then mail it out before work. And then pigs will fly out of my ass. But I have to keep telling myself these things otherwise I'll just have a nervous breakdown.

In the end, I ended up getting all the snaps on the shirts (there are 11 on the Tink shirt so that means 22 fronts and backs to hand sew) and I did get the shirts mailed out by lunch on Monday and they are on the way to the customer as we speak. This weekend was great because it taught me that instead of taking a few hours to make it shirt, it takes more like a few light years. I don't want you to have to try to translate that into real time using a bunch of fancy math so I'll round it down to about eight hours a shirt. I know I'll get faster as I do more of these but in the meantime, prices are going up. Because at this point, I could not give a crap less if I ever make another shirt again.

I think making these shirts must be like having babies; as soon as I finished swearing I wouldn't make any more shirts, I started thinking about my next project. So maybe I'll just take a few days off, shop for the Rapunzel fabric, then maybe I'll make those. And next time I'll make sure to get a video diary of me in my dark office, flashlight shining in my face and snot dripping down my nose as I tearfully describle to you hour by hour how my progress is going. Blair Witch Project #4, here I come!

Do you think if I hang enough of these twig things around my office the Blair Witch might come and put me out of my dumbass misery?


Anonymous said...

Really funny Anna----and the shirts look great!! wouldn't it be easier just to buy the T-shirt part and sew the overlays onto them?? it would save you alot of time---you're welcome. I'm thinking of ordering one of each---that's 3---can you have them ready by tomorrow???!!!


Anonymous said...

If you pay full market price, I will fly to your house and sew them for you tonight. And I can't find t-shirts like this so thanks. For NOTHING!


Bride-onicles said...

Thanks so much for the awesome info! And those shirts are so stinkin cute and they came out AMAZING! I am sure your customer loved them and that you were able to complete them in such short notice. Your crafting ability amazes me, I wish I had your patience to do it!

Anonymous said...

pajama jeans!!!!!love it... sorry to be a stranger xoxo - Jenn

Anonymous said...

God, Anna, you may me laugh like a crazy person every time I read your blog! You are a nut!