So it turned out that making the waistcoat involved a lot of long curved seams, which meant a lot of pinning during the sewing stage to stop them wriggling out of shape.
I have been trying to get out of the habit of sewing over pins, ever since I managed to break one in half and lose the shaft inside my bobbin compartment by so doing. Here’s the photo of that incident again. That’s the pin front and centre, bent into a Z-shape.
So instead I’ve tried to cultivate the skill of whipping the pins out as I approach them, without stopping the machine. This works fine, but requires somewhere to put the removed pins, and somewhere to put them quickly so you can get your hand back to the fabric. Up till this point I had been alternating between a small plastic box and a small home-made pincushion, which sort of worked but had drawbacks. The small pincushion was too small, and pins sometimes went through. The box would flip shut at the worst moment. And both of them would skid wildly across my shiny IKEA table whenever I knocked them, which was a lot.
So I put aside the waistcoat halfway through, determined to make THE UBER-PINCUSHION.
Forgive the terrible colour balance – my table makes things hard to photograph. Also, it is genuinely that bright.
I decided that I wanted my replacement pin-storage to be a) big, b) high-sided, so I could just drop pins in it and not have them roll off, and c) stable. I used scraps of quilting cotton – two large squares for the pinning surface and the base, narrow rectangles for the inside sides and wide rectangles for the outside sides – to make the actual structure, and stuffed it with all the small fabric scraps I could find. It’s lumpy, but it works.
Now here’s what I modestly think was the clever bit. My table is very slippery. This is great – it means fabric flows over it when I have the machine going, and doesn’t get snagged or stuck on anything – but it’s a pain to keep my various bits and pieces where I want them. What, I asked myself, could I stick on the bottom of my new super-pincushion to stabilise it? All fabrics just seem to slide. Didn’t have any rubber. But then a great idea dawned:
I still had some odd leather scraps left over from when I covered my LARP spellbook (leather from the remnants rack at FabricAtion), and there was enough for a square the right size. Suede-y side down it sticks to the table like Velcro. I did, in fact, use Velcro to stick it to the cushion proper, so I could take it off as and when the cushion needs repairs.
It’s a messy little beast but it does the job, and it has space for oodles of pins. In the photo above you can also just (centre botton) see the corner where I hand-stitched it closed after stuffing it.
[Post title from the old joke about how Good King Wenceslas likes his pizza.]