Sunday, February 18, 2007

Straightening up

This weekend I finally set to assembling my desktop organizer from Amy Butler's In Stitches. I had previously cut all the pieces and thought I had everything I needed. I was planning to use heavyweight fusible interfacing as the stiffening agent, although Amy calls for her beloved Timtex interfacing (seriously, does this lady own stock in the company? It's used in so many of her patterns).

After not following my cardinal rule of reading all of the instructions before commencing, I set off only to realize my "heavyweight" interfacing was not going to do the trick - not only did I not iron it on at the right time because the instructions did not advise ironing (rightly so, as Timtex is not ironed), but there was no way it was going to be stiff enough to result in a box of any kind. Crisis ensued, but was resolved by a quick trip to Brooklyn General Store which carries loads of fun fabric, yarn and roving, but also all materials called for in Miss Amy's patterns. Naturally, ample supplies of Timtex were in the house. I'm so glad I went to find it because it is way different from the heavyweight fusible interfacing - it's almost like very light styrofoam-meets-fabric versus the comparatively mild stiffening produced by the ironed interfacing. All was looking very nice and good: pre-Timtex crisis I had assembled the inner and outer shells of the organizer, I had Timtex, what bad could happen?

Now, I have read of the turmoils of assembling Miss Amy's Weekender Bag, which also uses Timtex, but I figured the desk organizer was just a bitty little thing with far less muss and fuss. I'm certain this thing doesn't compare to the Weekender, but make no mistake, Timtex is a workout! There was no small amount of wrangling to get the piece fed through the machine properly. In addition, turning Timtex inside out on multiple occasions is a great way to (a) build up your biceps and (b) poke yourself in the eye.

Despite the fact that the pattern pieces were cut to the perfect size and I was super careful with my seam allowances, it still didn't come together precisely right. For starters, the inside lining is all floppity in there - it's too big, because it's cut and sewn to the same dimensions as the outside, yet it's occupying less space since it's not stretched across Timtex and another layer of heavyweight fabric. In addition, somehow I didn't have the 3/8" of outer fabric hanging over the top of the Timtex inner shell when that was put together. Oh, and my topstitching is super wonky and the whole thing kind of bows out at the sides. And I couldn't figure out how to put the handles on without injury to myself.

However, despite its flaws and imperfections, my desktop organizer has corralled and camouflaged many of the bits and bobs wandering around my desk. Plus, packed with stuff it seems to sit up a little straighter. In fact, as I sit here looking at it I think it's not half bad... but don't look for me making another one anytime soon!


Francesca said...

Oh boy. I need to build up my sewing muscles before I attempt anything like that.

Beth Howard said...

I totally agree with this assessment of those directions--I'm pretty sure that the inner measurements aren't right. Love your blog!!

Ina said...

Timtex is just great, that could be why ;) But you can also use Fast 2 Fuse which is a little cheaper!

I love your organizer. Looks like it was well worth it.

Best Wishes from Germany.