On hubris

This is a rather fancy title for a post about slapdash sewing. But, hubris is a lovely word which perfectly explains my latest stitching mishap. It was a combination of presumption, pride and excessive self-confidence (all of which the OED lists as meanings of the word) which caused me to have to unpick and redo the binding of a quilt. This is not the first time this has happened and I really should have learned my lesson by now. Here is photographic evidence of the problem.

The problem arose because I sewed slippery fabric onto slippery fabric. I knew when I chose that silver taffeta binding that it would be difficult to sew it onto the velvet quilt background. But, hubris got in the way and I told myself that I could pull it off. I followed the same method I had used before, which is to square off the quilt carefully, then to check that the edges are the same length by folding the quilt in half lengthways and then sideways to measure the sides against one another. If there is a discrepancy, I cut off the extra millimetres and re-square the quilt. This method has always worked and resulted in a quilt that hangs true and square. In my over-confidence I had forgotten that I used to also carefully measure the binding to make sure that the sides were bound with equal lengths of fabric.

My presumption that I no longer needed to measure the binding as well worked for three sides of the quilt. 75% is not good enough but I hoped that the wonkiness would not matter too much because of the free-style design of the quit. My good friends Karen Davies and Catherine Knox both gave me the unwelcome advice to unpick the binding and redo it. It is well known adage that really good friends sometimes have to tell you what you don’t want to hear!

I did unpick it and found that the offending binding was 2 inches longer than the binding on the corresponding side. And then I carefully pinned and tacked the accurately measured new binding before I machine stitched it down. And it worked. Thank goodness for good friends.

silver tree
The rebound quilt, which is still a bit wonky along the bottom edge.

This tree is not finished. I am busy stitching its foliage, so watch this space.  And I have realised that the bottom binding also needs to be unpicked and redone.

Coincidentally, this week I read an article by Tricia Patterson titled “A Material Difference: Quilting with Satin” on The Quilting Company’s website (https://www.quiltingcompany.com). The main tip she gave was to sew carefully and slowly! In the article she writes:  “Satin is hard to manage while you are stitching, it’s going to slip around, and permanent holes will likely appear when you need to rip out threads from unintentional stitching. So, why bother? Because… it is incredibly beautiful in a quilt.”

I needed to read that because I have been asking myself why I choose to use difficult-to-sew slippery fabrics like velvet, organza and, yes, satin. The answer is, of course, for the result. But I think I am going to move to some well-behaved cottons for my next project.

Incidentally, it was my self-imposed Friday blogging date which spurred me on to fix the binding on the Silver Tree quilt. Otherwise I would not have had anything to write about. So, yay for blogging! Tomorrow is the anniversary of Fabrications, the blog site I started a year ago.

15 thoughts on “On hubris

  1. Oops! But the piece looks lovely from the photo. I too have had moments in my sewing of “presumption, pride and excessive self-confidence” that did not turn out for the best! Satin can be challenging to work with and I had a hand stitching disaster once on a recycled satin art quilt that led to me just throwing it out. But we live and learn!
    I love the texture on the tree!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m impressed that you tackle working with those fabrics at all. I am less of a risk taker, and stick with those well-behaved cottons. Your tree is amazing, and congratulations on the one year anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful design. ☺ I can understand the choice of satin – it’s beautiful and shimmery and adds so much light and sparkle. Thanks for sharing the story, and I look forward to the foliage. A belated 1st blogversary, Mariss!


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