Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rain Shed RS280 Cagoule - Final Thoughts

Here are a few final thoughts and stories about sewing the cagoule.

1) My biggest piece of advice for any inexperienced sewer, like myself, would be to get some scrap fabric and practice cutting out the hole for the hood.  If I ever make another one, I will not try to cut the entire thing out with a rotary cutter.  I believe the best course would be to trace it, begin the cut with the rotary cutter, and then cut the rest out with scissors.  I don't know if this advice is obvious from an experienced perspective.  Maybe practice with the rotary cutter, (is that the right name for it?), would be best.  Next time though, I'm trying the scissors.  It would not be too much to cut out a practice hood and practice sewing that to the practice hole.  Would I actually have the patience for doing that?  I don't know.  My hood sewing job is serviceable, but it's not pretty.  I wish I could do it over and over again until I got it just right.  However, I don't have a need for that many cagoules.

2)  One of the most disturbing things that happened was I checked the bobbin after sewing the hood on, and the bobbin was empty.  I went all the way around the hood and did not see any stitching that was not matched by the stitching on the bottom.  It's a mystery.  Maybe I ran out just as I was finishing.  At least I know there are two lines of stitching.

3)  I ran out of thread at the very end, mere inches from finishing the last sleeve.  I would not have run out of thread, I believe, except that I bought metal replacement bobbins at the beginning of the project, but they did not work, and I ended up with big nests of thread on my practice run, so I was down one bobbin's worth of thread from the beginning.  The bobbin problem happened to me twice.  I bought some replacement bobbins a few years ago, thinking all bobbins were probably the same, and I bought the wrong bobbin altogether.  The thread nested up under my stitching, and I struggled with the machine for a few days before concluding that it had just gone kaput on me.  I eventually found that the bobbin was the problem.  This time, I bought the correct bobbin, (a #66), but the metal didn't work.  When I bought more thread, I bought some plastic replacement bobbins, and those finally worked.  Inexperienced sewers beware - buy the right bobbin.

4) On the subject of thread - Ray Jardine says to use long filament polyester thread.  At my local Jo Anne's, they have some Coats & Clark "Outdoor" thread that they say is long filament polyester.  I think the thread itself is too heavy for clothing, silnylon tarps, and so on.  The little booklet on the thread display lists things like awnings as being a good use for the thread.  I bought the Coats & Clark dual duty all purpose thread.  It's 100% polyester.  I don't know if it's long filament.  My best guess is that it is better to have a thread that is the correct weight for your project than to worry about whether it is long filament or not.  I could be wrong.  If anyone reads this and knows differently, please let me know.  I still have two projects to go.

5)  If I didn't know it already, I've learned that I have a hard time just letting things be.  I really, really intended to take a long time on the project.  I did not mean to finish it in one weekend.  Even now, I'm having trouble not poking around at the seams while the seam sealer dries.  I found I had an unaccountable urge to pull hard at the seams to see if they would hold.  The whole sewing thing seems too much like a miracle.  You mean I can just step on a little pedal and join two pieces of fabric?  I took out my urge to tug at seams on a piece of scrap material.  Those seams are pretty strong.

I'll leave you with a photo of the seam sealer drying - the internet couldn't possibly get more exciting.  I'll have to report on the performance of the cagoule itself after my backpacking trip in July.

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