Isn't this fabric fabulous? It just zings! I always love hounds-tooth, but these colours make me really happy and its doubly nice to use quilting fabric for shirting - or in this case, for a shumper which is my own hybrid of a shirt and jumper.
And I have so many teals and yellowy acid greens, so its extra versatile in my wardrobe. I have a little bit left over and I'm wondering what to do with it. I'm thinking of hemming a scarf or creating a tote bag. Yes, you can tell I just love this fabric.
I am trying to stash bust and minimize generally, but I'm always on the lookout for zingers to update my wardrobe like this one. It also takes care of the neckline problem. I am finding that a lot of otherwise good jumpers and tops have enormous necklines that just swoop down. I don't know why this trend is in, but it is. It doesn't sit right to have the neckline scooped like that and then I have the dilemma of wearing a shirt underneath (too hot and bulky) or just the top alone (too chilly on top). You can see I've been having wardrobe frustrations over this. Well, my whole new shumper sewing ethic has taken care of this problem, and I'm glad about it because I have some beautiful mohair and wool mix tops with lousy necklines which will now become fabulous wardrobe staples.
Whenever I wear one of my shumpers (and I have quite a few now), I always get asked where I bought it. Whether I'm at the petrol station, or buying groceries or in the newsagents. I used to be taken aback when people came up to me to say something about the quilting fabric I was wearing, but now it happens so routinely that I almost expect it! It's so flattering to be complimented for wearing beautiful fabric and it's so nice to have it put to use instead of sitting on my fabric shelf. Do you compliment people when you're out and about? Its something I have to do more of myself - it really shouldn't be so usual or surprising to give or receive a compliment but I have to admit its something I don't do enough of and I think there needs to be more of it.
I made it on my Bernina 820. Well, let me re-phrase that. I tried making it on my Bernina 820, but after a few hours decided to shift back to my trusty 1950's Elna. Why would I do that? This is why.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I've experienced great disappointment with the Bernina 820 which my husband purchased for me on our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Since my first posts reviewing this sewing machine, I've received lots of emails from quilters around the world who have themselves purchased the 820: all offered advice on how to handle this machine. Some of you were happy with the machine after a period of settling in and others of you were and still are unhappy with it, a year or two on. I have appreciated all comments and feedback on this issue because I've been faced with a difficult decision regarding the machine.
I have given this machine every opportunity to perform and have taken countless hours trying to settle it in, all without results. This machine is one difficultly after another. Every sewing session that begins with such enthusiasm and ends in tears of frustration and another round of regret. What to do with this machine? I don't know. Trading it in is not an option because of the value loss - and that loss of value is a further insult - to be punished again for trusting the 820 in the first place. Sell it? No, I cannot, in good conscience, sell it on. I'm just not that type of person. The 820 needs to be put away, not passed on. Some people have suggested that the 820 is a sewing machine for people who think like a computer. I don't know what that means except to realize that if they're right, I obviously don't think like a computer.
Lastly people have offered advice concerning me taking lessons on how to use a sewing machine. I take this advice with the good intention it is offered in, and I don't take offense. I would also recommend this myself if someone complained about a machine as much as I complain about the 820. However to be clear I do just want to point out that I am not a hobby sewer: I have been sewing for over 40 years and on a variety of machines. As well as being an accomplished sewer, I have been an award winning quilting for 13 years and was a tailor before that. I know my sewing machines. And that somehow makes living with the 820 worse.
I regularly receive emails from readers who'd like to know if I've sorted out my 820 issues and the answer I'm afraid, is no, I have not. I hope things will improve somehow but I can't see how this will happen. It's my opinion that Bernina should recall the 820's but again, don't see this happening either. I have a very high opinion of Bernina and indeed trusted in that brand name, so it surprises me that the 820 was ever produced and manufactured. And I sincerely regret that it was.
These buttonholes are a serious mess- and as usual, no amount of tension adjustment or thread change or bobbin fiddling can remedy it. I've been here before and it just gets more frustrating to have beautifully prepared fabric damaged like this from a machine that should perform better. This standard is inexcusable. And so disheartening too. What a waste of fabric and time.
So much for teaching my DDs how to sew by example, I don't let them near the 820 - not because its 'precious' but because I don't want them to be put off sewing. This really bothers me because I am one of those women who believes that even if you do no sewing, you should know the basics like hems, darts and buttonholes as a general life skill. Well, not on my Bernina 820 that's for sure.
This is OK. And this is the best the Bernina 820 can do.
Overall, one hole out of 5 is acceptable and I am not impressed.
Maybe I'm too particular, but I can't live with this kind of sloppy work!
After hours of struggling with my 820, its nice to look at my finished (or nearly finished, in this pic the buttons need to be sewn down) creation and realize that this is what its about - using what time I have to do what I love and with the materials I love. Its such a shame that I have a tool which doesn't benefit my work, or my creativity. It hinders both those things and fills me with such regret and indecision - because what can you do when you have spent so much on something so bad?
Have you sewn anything for yourself to wear lately? I'd love to hear about it.