Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Basting Busted

I've had a quilt top, batting and backing packed in my car for a couple weeks waiting for a chance to baste it together. I like to baste at church where I can put three tables together for a big work surface. But every time I've gone to the building, my day ends up being too long or getting interrupted so that I can't get to the basting.

Last Saturday, I needed to be somewhere for about an hour that was just down the street from the church building. Ok, I would have time to baste after I was done. Excellent.

I got to the church. No one else was there. I set up my tables. I pulled out my supplies.

The first thing I notice is that the backing fabric that I thought was a wide backing was not. I would have to sew two widths together for it to be wide enough. Ok, I can fix this. I know there's a sewing machine at church. Can I find it?

I did find it (in the attic space) and it had just enough thread loaded on it that I thought I would be able to sew the seam. I set it up on a piano bench so it could be close to the outlet
 and took a look.
It is a pretty old machine but I had used it once before so I thought I could figure it out. It looked like a stretch stitch was the only straight stitch available! I started sewing the seam with that, but after a couple inches had to stop because using a stretch stitch was ridiculous. (Because it goes forward and backwards as it sews the seam, it is slow and uses a lot of thread.)

So I looked again and decided I would try the blind hem stitch with a stitch width of 0. That worked. I folded the fabric in half and sewed along one of the long edges. Now I had to cut at the fold so I could open it up to the full width. I had no scissors.

Obviously the office had scissors. They were the "craftiest" quality scissors an office might have, but I got them to work.

Now I had to press the seam. I knew there was an iron and board around. It took me a while, but after looking everywhere I thought it might be, I remembered where it was normally stored and there it was.

I think the board is the same vintage as the sewing machine, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work!
So I pressed the seam open and was ready to go.

I laid out the top on the tables. I put the backing on it to check the size.
And it was short. If I could use the selvage, it was only a couple inches short. But since I shouldn't use the selvage, it was at least 5 inches short.

I couldn't fix that. At least not there at church.

So I packed everything up, put everything away, and aborted my basting.

A disappointing end to the story, but I was still closer to a finish. I now know exactly what I have to do to make the backing work. :)

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