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Here is a nice place to read, out on my back patio. Nice, that is, until you’ve been out there for three minutes, at which point it becomes clear that the heat is unbearable.

I therefore declared a PSD: a Personal Sewing Day.

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I’m using my TnT nightgown pattern, Butterick 6838, and a length of pale pink linen. I tried out my embroidery machine again.

I received the machine from Vine last Christmas, tried it out with no difficulty, and wrote my review. Following that, I’ve tried again repeatedly and have had some difficulty. I think that all the difficulties have been a question of user error and ignorance, but I haven’t taken the time to learn to use the machine correctly. This year I’m going to get it right.

Embroidery machines embroider all by themselves, but on this project mine had to be rethreaded roughly every 47 seconds. Threading the machine takes about 47 seconds, so I spent about half my time threading the machine. Presumably this gives enough practice so that I’ll get better with threading the machine, and I won’t have to spend quite as much time at it.

I also broke three needles on this project. I think that this — and perhaps also the rethreading — is the result of a central error I made. Read on for the details.

For my nightgown, I used an Urban Threads design. I bought about a hundred dollars’ worth of designs from them last spring in a fit of optimism, buying the largest size each time. My largest hoop is only 5.5″ square and I have recently learned that this means I can’t embroider designs larger than that.

I used the software to make one of the numerous designs I bought fit into the hoop. However, the number of stitches remains the same. That means it’s like knitting a pattern designed for size seven needles on size two needles: you end up with a stiff, ungainly fabric rather than the design you had in mind. You have to buy the right size in the first place, otherwise you will have problems. I did not realize this early enough in the process to avoid the constant breaking of thread and needles on this design, but I am optimistic about the future.

I started out working the design in the same color as the fabric, reasoning that this subtle effect would be acceptable even if I did it really badly, which I did. By the time I got to the flowers, I was feeling bolder, plus the machine kept telling me to change colors, and I’m very biddable.

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Since I also didn’t place the design correctly, I had to redraft the front yoke, giving it a higher neck and a more 1960s look.

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The nightgown turned out well enough — that’s one of the great things about nightgowns. They’re not for public wear, so you can readily define “well enough.” In this case, a pale pink linen nightgown is just the thing for summer. Hardly any fabric is as comfortable in hot weather as linen, and a salt water taffy color is perfect. It also fits me, which warm-weather nighties from last year do not.

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I just have the hems to do — it’ll be ready to sleep in tonight.