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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Tip: Keeping it All Straight

Blogged by Kristen 

Ah, Poppy's Peekaboo Dress. One of my favorite patterns!  And also famous (in my mind at least) for having lots of pieces that look the same. Today I made one for my little neighbor girl and wanted to share this quick tip that will be helpful with all sewing projects. 

We've all been here before with an awesome CKC pattern, right? We cut our pieces out carefully and are so excited to see that they look just like the pile in the pattern. Success! 

Then we stack up the pieces nicely and take them to the sewing machine and get ready to sew.  "Step One: Take one of your shoulder straps and..." 

-- Hold on, I forgot which one is the shoulder strap. I think it's an orange one. Maybe the shorter one? Yeah I bet that's right. I will assume it is because I'm in a hurry. -- 

Ha! Have you been there before? Surely it's not just me! 

Well, my guessing days are over. A few months ago I was sewing the Amanda's Skirt for Women and accidentally mixed up one of the tiers with one of the ruffles.  (They were almost exactly the same!) By the time I realized it, I couldn't fix the mistake other than sending my husband to the fabric store twenty miles away. Husbands love that. It all turned out okay in the end but I knew I needed to come up with a solution! A few ideas I had:  

Option #1: Take a memory training class so I'll never forget anything ever again. 
Option #2: Hire a personal assistant to remember the pieces for me. 
Option #3: Re-measure each piece at least five times as I go along.
Option #4: Start labeling my pieces to keep them all straight. 

I know this will surprise you, but as appealing and unrealistic as the first three options are, the labeling option won out. So that's my quick tip of the day.  LABEL YOUR PIECES.  Just a small paper with a pin will do. I know that we're all amazing and we know what we're doing.  But I have not and will not spend any more time undoing mistakes that could have been avoided. Please ask yourself: Which takes longer - writing a quick label for yourself, or picking out two yards of ruffles? 


There, doesn't that look neat? We all know which pieces are which!  (Bonus: Now while I'm sewing and my husband is watching the big game, I can say "Hey honey, will you please pass me the casings for ties?" -- and he'll reply with "Sure thing, darling!") This is life-changing.

 I'm not going to pretend that my labels are always this nice. Usually I tear up a piece of scrap paper and scribble quickly. Even in chicken scratch, it's nice to come back the next day and remember what I cut out the night before. 

And now when we take our little pile to the sewing machine, there is no question about which piece to grab! I KNOW which one is the shoulder strap!  

So that's all for today.  LABEL YOUR PIECES!  It will be worth it. 

(Of course if you refuse to do it, at least you will think of me every time you mess up. That works too.) 

Let's Create!  ~Kristen

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