Sewing with Rayon. Eww.

Way back in October 2001, I bought a Husqvarna Huskystar 207 sewing machine. This is a very, very entry-level machine. It does about 7 stitches, goes in reverse, does buttonholes and buttons and that’s about it. I chose well, though, since I rarely use 4 of the stitches.

I got OK at using it and even ending up doing adjustments to a bias-cut dress pattern, which made it look great on me.

And then I left it in Minnesota when I went to Korea. On our return trip from Minnesota, I carried it on the airplane in an old, 80’s-era kitchen-sink sized washed denim handbag of my mother’s. (More than 3 oz of lotion? Bad! A big ol’ sewing machine? No problem.)

Last night I used old stash fabric to make bojagi (Korean wrapping cloth) and a sash/belt for my black shirt dress. It was good practice on making straight lines.

Then Good Man went protester on me and demanded I feed him.

“아만다는 밥을 줘라, 밥을 줘라!”

Today I decided to attack this bridesmaid dress I wore for Mom and George’s wedding when I was 14.

Oooh, Hello 1995!

This is actually about 15-20% shorter than it was, since I threw it in the washer and drier when I was 14. It’s rayon. Rayon shrinks.

Shorter Than it Was

The hem was falling apart in places, and there were even some tiny holes near the hem. I found that surprising since I only wore it once.


I chopped off the skirt below the zipper (very unevenly, I’ll add).

Chop it Up!

After I cut the dress in half, I dumped it in a simmering bath of RIT dark green dye for ten minutes. Disposable chopsticks came in rather handy, since I needed to stir it continuously.

After it was (mostly) dry, I pinned the hem up by one inch. I suck at evenly turning up a hem. Also, I probably need an ironing board.

Turning it Up

I stitched it together, zig-zag sheared it, turned it up another inch and hemmed it again.

This Part was Easy Enough…

I don’t have photos of the next part, but it was a mess.

Since I knew my hem was not perfect, I decided to measure from the hem to the waistband.

This did not work well. I’d measure the same thing three or four times and get wildly different measurements. It was Very Frustrating. It was like the rayon changed sizes depending on its mood. Good Man helped me, and I think he wanted to kill the rayon.

I finally decided to just finish the project because it was not going to be perfect. I had discovered that working with rayon when I’m not a proficient sewer was a Very Bad Idea. The fabric didn’t hold pressing well, it slid all over (even pinned and with the feed dogs engaged), and it showed every little hole (from pins or from ripped out stitching).

I ended up making a casing for elastic and then stuck 1/2″ non-roll elastic in it.

The plate ate my fabric at one point. I thought I’d broken something on the needle holding shaft. I could not reset the needle and I was freaking out. I finally…turned the hand wheel, therefore raising the needle shaft. Duhhhh…

I was bitching and moaning about the whole thing. Good Man stared at me. “You are not expert sewer. You want to be on Project Runway first time you sew and that is not possible. Did you learn to knit in one project? No.”

“Look at how awful that waistband is!” I said.

He looked at the the waistband and shrugged, “I don’t know, looks good to me,” he lied.

It really looks terrible off the body, but on the body, you can’t really tell that the band looks so bad. Behold the power of a elastic waistband and/or a long shirt!

Uneven Hem—Ignore It

Obviously I need a slip with this skirt.


The flowered pattern showed through the overdying process, which made me happy!


Black and White Shot

That wrinkle in the vertical seam down the front? Not my fault. I did nothing to the already-present vertical seams. It probably needs to be ironed.

If I were to do this over (which I wouldn’t, because it’s rayon, and next time I’ll just trash any rayon fabric because it belongs to the devil), I’d remove some of the bulk from the vertical seams. I know that as-is, it isn’t super flattering to my shape because of the excess fabric around the waist and hips.


But for my first overdying project, I think it turned out pretty well. I’m sure it’ll become a go-to skirt for the weekends. And hey, now that bridesmaid’s dress will get some use out of it.

Total cost of the project? Forest green thread was $2.79 (I used very little of it, of course, but now it’ll be in my stash, so it won’t count for future projects). 1 yard of 1/2″ elastic came to 64 cents (on sale) and one bottle of RIT dye was 3.99 (I only used 1/3 of it, but we’ll count all of it as being in my stash now). After tax and my teacher discount, it came in at $6.62. Not bad.

Now That He Can Escape…

Tuesday Good Man and I went to get him a new (used) car. Since this car is going to be Good Man’s car, he did all of the research on Edmund’s, read the CarFax report, etc. He knew exactly which car he wanted before we got to the dealership (we actually bought a used car through Enterprise) and we were ready to go!

Our salesman was a good salesman. What I mean by that is that he responded to us and wasn’t pushy. No, we’re not going to add that. No, we’re not going to need to look at four other cars (which will inevitably be more expensive than the one we want). He also answered all of our questions.

When Good Man did his test drive he had to make a right turn onto a really busy road during the height of rush hour. “Take your time,” I told him, “[Our salesman] wants to sell you a car, so he’s not going to criticize your driving or tell you to hurry up.”

Good Man nodded.

We finished all of the work except for handing over the money. On the way home Tuesday, Good Man said, “I am so nervous. I do not think I will drive much.”

When I got home from work Wednesday, Good Man grinned, “I bought some car gadgets!”

“What’d you buy?”

“A trash bag, document case and adapter for my MP3 player.”

Oh yeah, Good Man, you’re not going to drive much…

Yesterday we went to get the car. After we’d finished all of the paperwork and Good Man got the keys, he told me he wanted to follow me home. He’d never driven alone and he was worried about it. That’s fair.

I told him to adjust his seats and mirrors while he was waiting for me. When I got to my truck, I found his sunglasses. I grabbed them and started walking back to his car, only to find him driving off. I ran up and knocked on his window. “Where are you going?”

“Oh, I thought you were in front.”

“You know I parked in back!”

Good Man grinned. “Oh, I forgot.”

I pulled my car around and told him that I’d try to wait for a long gap in traffic, but if I couldn’t get one, I’d go up to the light and turn left and wait for him. “It’d be hard to make a U-turn in this traffic, so we’ll just make a few left turns, OK?”

“OK, left at light,” he said.

There was no long gap in traffic, so I took the right, went up to the light, and took the left turn. I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally I got worried, so I parked the car and walked the quarter-mile back to the dealership.

And Good Man was gone.

He didn’t have the GPS system and I didn’t have my handphone. I asked our salesman for his phone. I didn’t want to distract Good Man, but I was worried since he had been worried about driving home alone.

I called him. “Oh, I tried calling your phone, but you did not answer. I just made U-turn and took another way home. I am about two miles from the house.”

Good Man!!

He beat me home by about 15 minutes, but he didn’t have house keys. When I arrived, he was waiting outside, smiling.

“Now that you can escape, I suppose I’d better become a really good wife,” I said.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

On opening day of the Great Minnesota Get-Together (a state fair, the largest state fair in America by daily attendance) Good Man got his first real taste of good ol’ Minnesota living.

First Taste of Cheese Curds

Trying Strib’s Free “Butter Up!” Corn-on-the-Cob Flavored Lip Balm:
Even Worse Than it Sounds

Giving an A-OK Sign About Korean BBQ Tacos

The Innocent-Looking Ride
(Which Was More Stomach Lurching Than Anticipated)

Great Views

You’ll Win At the Fishing Game…

And We Did!
(I Won the Smurf. He Won the Ladybug and then Claimed Both.)

Sheep? Monk? Monk Sheep?

Beware He Bites

Princess Kay of the Milky Way Butter Sculpture
(No, I’m Not Kidding)

At the End of the Night