Swings and Roundabouts


So, remember how I thought I had been really clever with my choice of breeches fabric, choosing something sturdy that wouldn’t need lining and thus save loads of time leaving everyone else in my unlined dust?

Well, I was wrong. I didn’t fully understand the implications of cheap twill-weave synthetic fabric until I attempted to cut the waistband. The first time I cut it, I ended up with a startling curve. So I thought right, I’ll try again, this time using silly amounts of weights and pins. It was the same again. This stuff was literally warping in my hands. Defeated, I consulted Pauline and she advised interfacing and cutting it on the cross-grain right up against the selvage edge. That’s how I got my straight waistband, but it was a hollow victory having realized that I would, indeed, have to line my breeches. Harrumph.

So, lining it was. I thought oh, that won’t be so bad, just run it all under the machine together and get on with it. NOT SO! Turns out the technique here is “flat tacking,” which means sit and hand-sew the lining to the facing fabric with a long basting stitch along the sewing line. (Side note – “tacking” is English for “basting.” Weird, right?!) In the end I stayed until 7.30 to finish all the flat tacking, thinking that if it was all done last night I could come in and overlock first thing this morning and roll merrily along.

Again, not so. Overlocking was a pain, especially since there were five of us needing to do it and only one machine. After overlocking we started with the split-falls which, despite having done them over and over again on Tuesday, is a fiddly, complicated process, the details are very easy to muddle up after two days not doing them. Having a substitute tutor instructing us differently on how to put them in really, really didn’t help either.

By the end of the day, my table (and my brain) looked like this:


There was actually one point when I almost started to cry. Every time I thought I was getting closer to the end (of just finishing the split falls, for chuffin’ hell’s sake) something else came up, and then it turned out my pillars are too tall and so how do I sew on the lining if I lined up the top of the pillar with the top of the seam allowance?! I couldn’t ask because the tutor had left before I got that far. It certainly felt like dire straights by 5 in the afternoon – two of the other girls not only finished their fall fronts but then had sewn together the actual trouser legs as well, even wearing them for fun!!, while mine were still in pieces in my hands. Not a nice feeling.

Fortunately this inconsolable desperation coincided with 6pm, when it was time to pack it in for the weekend. It had gotten to the stage where even if it had been the middle of the afternoon and Pauline was there, I would’ve had to stop because carrying on in such a flustered state would just be counterproductive. Truth be told I’m not that far behind – just some lining to sew on and some pressing and hand-finishing before the falls are done, and then sewing up the side seams really takes no time at all once you get going (not that you can think reasonably like that when you’re in that kind of mood). Becky hasn’t finished her shirt and Suzie still has to alter her jacket pattern before we start cutting on Monday – so it’s all swings and roundabouts really.