A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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02 August 2013

A Stitch In Time....

... is looking like it's going to save me a great deal of money but, I mustn't get too cocky about it until I've done the corners successfully. I first laid out on the floor the old hood over the new fabric...

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... and drew around the old hood with tailor's chalk and then again to create about a 1 1/2" selvage which gave me the cut line. The only thing left to do was to get the scissors out and hope I was on the right track but I paused for thought as I wasn't sure how to create the edge. I knew it had to be folded over and sewn but as the old hood was rather untidily finished inside, I elected to fold roughly 1/2" in once and then another 1" again to get back to the original hood size. This gave the inside a clean finish.

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Then it was time to have a go on the sewing machine. I've never used one of these before and the one I bought to do the job (and sent back) I was completely defeated by. However, this borrowed machine (a Sailrite LSZ-1) was a different kettle of fish and the instruction manual was written by someone who, early in life, had clearly had a similar experience to me and was determined to make the world a better place; the winding of the bobbin, the threading of the machine and the setting up of the tension was simplicity itself. We got off on the right foot.

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After a couple of practice runs, there was nothing to it but to cut up the cloth and have a go. I thought that it might be difficult to hold the 3 folds of cloth in the right place so I ironed each fold individually with a steam iron - not using water would create a shine on the cloth as I found out on the test pieces. The first seam went very well - I put a piece of masking tape on the bed of the machine to act as a guide for the parallel stitching - and then the phone rang and the next seam I had to unpick because having been distracted - I did the second stitch first without folding the seam under. Still, it was easy to unpick as I just ran a scalpel down the middle of the fold and then spent a few minutes picking the bits of cotton off the material.

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After the two side seams I thought it would be as well to have a bit of a trial fit. So far, everything was looking fine. The length was good - I'd allowed myself plenty of surplus - and the edges sat nicely over the frame.

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Some big Bulldog clips came in handy for this exercise.

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But the tricky bit will be the corners. The fabric has to lie flat and smooth on the curved frames without any creases caused by too much or a lack of tension. I'll have to think about that and make some improvement on the original which did look a bit of a mess at the back and wasn't helped by the rear window....

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... which probably would have defeated even Mr Hitchcock.

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