Lessons learned
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 12:38AM
Cameron Blazer in craft, dress, fabric, hancock fabrics, sew, sewing, shirred, shirring

I did a dry run of my shirred dress pattern this weekend, because I was afraid that it was not going to be as easy as some had breathlessly claimed. I learned some things.

1) I was right. The shirring is definitely a learn-as-you-go kind of thing, so I was really glad not to have hacked up my peacock fabric before ironing out some kinks.

2) Hancock Fabrics on Sam Rittenburg Boulevard in Charleston, SC, is probably the 9th Circle of Hell. Really, I already knew that, but I wanted to state it publicly here. I went there for elastic thread. I mean, you know the name of the store is Hancock Fabrics, not Hancock Thread, but I thought it was sort of an understood sub-category of product offerings. After searching the entire store, with 3-year-old in tow, I waited only a tiny bit less than 5 minutes for someone there to deign to respond to my plaintiff wailing (the 3-year-old, on the other hand, was very well-behaved). I asked her where I could find the elastic thread. Seems she had the same trouble as me.

Finally, with a heaping helping of surliness topped off with a dash of sloth-like speed, the lady working there found the one, ONE, spool of elastic thread in the entire store. And it was black. All I can say is that the next time one of my crafty friends who lives in a civilized spot with running water and a Jo-Ann whines about her fabric store trials, I am planning to have her instantly whisked to this fabric hovel. I had come to accept the curious truth that big box fabric store employees rival 13-year-old girls in their capacity for disaffection and surliness. But I had not yet confronted the warped reality that a fabric store can continue operations when it carries next to no fabric and is bereft of the simplest of thread and notion options. You live and learn.

3) Most of the patterns for shirred garments assume certain facts not in evidence in my particular anatomy. That's about all I feel I can say about that here, since my dad reads this.

4) It is best to get the size of your shirred garment right ahead of time. If you find, for example, that following the advice available on Threadbanger results in a giant, droopy garment that could easily envelope your sofa, you might try to take the seams in. If you discover this after shirring and want to trim away 10 inches of extra fabric, you will end up with an unravelling mess. Elastic is tricky stuff.

5) Those people who breezily extoll the ease and virtue of shirring also probably wake each day with perfectly styled hair that only needs washing once per week. I'm not saying that it was hard so much as not exactly effortless.

6) I do not like cutting fabric. At all.

With these and other lessons learned, I still think I can tackle the peacock dress this weekend. That is, if I can get elastic thread delivered by Friday. Film at 11.

Article originally appeared on Various and Sundry Things (http://cottage-industrialist.com/).
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