Monday, June 24, 2013

Enough Already with the Tent

After solving the impenetrable problem of how to make a tent frame, I needed to set to work to stitch the tent itself.  So I put the sewing machine I borrowed from Colette (with her permission of course) on the kitchen table to get ready to sew.  Then I remembered that it was a hilarious joke to think that I could just put out a sewing machine and expect it to immediately work like a charm.  When has that ever worked?  The answer to that question is: never.  And so it was.

If you think I am just being a wise guy or a complainer, let me assure that everyone I spoke to about this situation who owned a sewing machine (ok, it was only two people, but two people who sew a lot) laughed before I even finished my story.  Sewing machines don't just automatically allow you to "sew" on them.  They want to extract their pound of flesh and then, maybe, you can sew on them.  So, I fiddled with Colette's machine, noting that it was a cheap, plastic machine that she clearly had bought at Zellers before they went out of business.  As time wore on, it became clear that no amount of flesh would be enough to satisfy this particular piece of equipment.  Maybe it had esteem issues because I kept pointing out what a cheap piece of plastic ---- it was.  Or maybe it was just a cheap piece of plastic -----.  In any case, I soon was calling another friend who I knew must own a machine.

An hour later, I had a new machine on the kitchen table.  This one (made of metal, not plastic) seemed more promising.  Sure, it still wanted its pound of flesh but, once extracted, it worked like a charm.  I sent many loving looks its way and spoke in a kind whisper in its presence.  Only loving vibrations were allowed to drift over it and it responded in kind.

I am loving the crisp folds of this fabric!  So satisfying to iron and sew.

I made a new top for the frame (the water proof one will be for rain only) out of the fabric that came from the US.  It did finally arrive and I was glad to have it on hand since the frame I found is larger than I originally planned.  For the sides, I decided to hang panels of the glorious cotton/linen fabric that I purchased in Stephenville.  I made some tabs to attach them to the frame.  This process gave me flashbacks of a job I had working in a high-end drapery workroom in Boston in the early 1990s.  We stitched mostly by hand using the most gorgeous and expensive fabrics - some curtains cost upwards in $10,000, which is ridiculous and obscene but we all loved making them if that counts for anything.  It was a great job and I learned a lot about sewing.  It set the bar rather high, however.  One thing I vividly remember is how we would machine stitch tabs for curtains.  We always did both sides, like this:

Please ignore my crooked stitching - it was my first pass of the day.
Oh, how we mocked the hapless home stitcher who would only sew up one side of a tab.  I think our favourite term for it was "tacky" or maybe "cheesy".

Now I are one.
I knew I was doing wrong but the descent into cheesy tackiness is steep and swift, and frankly, swiftness was what I was after.  Say what you will but I had those tabs done and was stitching up the top and bottom hems of the panels before 10 am.

And by the time I needed to leave to teach yoga, I was able to do a dry run.  I think it looks lovely.  The banner across the entrance will be embroidered with the words, "We want our utopia now," which is a quote from Sinclair Lewis.

Minky realized that it had been created for her immediately.  In Saskatoon, the floor will be covered with a cloth as well.  People will wash their feet before entering with - guess! - the soap made from potash. all falls into place.

The cross stitch pieces will be part of the treasure hunt (or colour xeroxes of them will be).  The originals will hang in the tent.

T'is a very pretty thing.  And I am so happy it is finished.


Patti Blaine said...

Oh how you must have groaned (always inwardly) at the sight of my homemade muslin curtains with tabs sewn on one edge only. All these years. ;) Mine are significantly cheaper than $10,000 -- even with the crocheted edging...!

It looks lovely, Robyn!! Well, done!

Robyn said...

Ah no Patti! I was always so bedazzled by your amazing crochet work that I never noticed your curtain tabs. And I definitely would never call you hapless!