Tuesday, 10 May 2016

When Sewing Dreams are Crushed


What to do when projects don't turn out

Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about Sewing Nightmares, sewing projects that go disastrously wrong. I'm revisiting this topic, although from a different angle. In that article I discussed how you deal with horrible accidents during sewing (like cutting into or burning the material, or accidentally sewing the wrong pieces together). This time around I was confronted with a different kind of disaster, and that disaster is being underwhelmed by the finished project. 

I purchased Simplicity 1198 sometime last year with the intention of making some Nu Goth tunics for my fall/winter wardrobe. I paid the equivalent to full price, which is something I never do when it comes to patterns but unfortunately Simplicity isn't available in Ontario anymore so I had to buy it online. I was super pumped for this project. I bought two different kinds of knit fabric in different colours. I thought that this pattern was going to become a staple in my collection, one that I'd come to depend on. WRONG! I sewed this tunic in the first week of my recovery. It was an easy sew, although my straight stitch didn't go so shit hot on the neckline and I wished I owned a coverstitch (an expensive overlock-like machine used for hemming knits). Two hours into sewing this tunic I started seeing problems. I'd put the garment on and the drape looked off. At first I couldn't put my finger on what that problem was...and then I realized it. It made me look pregnant. It looked like a muumuu or maternity wear. I'm smaller proportionately and this thing was like a tent on me. I felt awful about it. I tried belting it, putting in darts; I did everything humanly possible but it didn't look any better. After installing the sleeves I noticed that the sleeve cap gave the top a weird, boxy 80's look in the shoulders. The collar popped upright because of my obnoxiously narrow back, it was nightmare after nightmare. 

So what happened?

I finished it and gave it a nasty review lol. I bitched about it's flaws in an attempt to share my experience and warn people about the possible errors with this garment. These are mostly design errors. I think the top is meant for people with curvy figures. I've seen it on other women and it looks good but those women have boobs and butts, and I - well, you can probably figure out that I don't have much of either. The only thing more depressing than a botched sewing project is a completed one that you don't like.

I wasn't sure what to do next. I didn't feel inspired to sew anything else. I certainly didn't feel up to trying that pattern again. So I sat there and brainstormed for a bit. I hated the sight of this top. It just hung on my dress form, annoying me. I thought about how it fit me so horrendously and then I thought, "what if it fit my mom? Maybe it would look better on her." I gave it to her last week, and she really loves it. She says it fits wonderfully and it's very comfortable. Problem solved! Well, sort of. When I returned to the sewing room I still didn't feel inspired enough to sew myself another piece of clothing. Instead, I decided to take up something new. Quilting. 

I've never quilted before because I was too nervous. I decided that I would make my cat, Doodles, a blanket (the other cats would use it too, of course). When a Fabricland in my area was closing, I purchased a half a meter of quilting cotton with a fun cat print. I put it on the ground when I got home and Doodles loved it. He rolled around on it and slept on it, it was difficult to wrestle it away from him. I knew that I'd have no other choice than to make him a blanket out of it. So I did. It's made similar to a pot holder, minus the flame retardant batting. If you've never quilted before I encourage you to try a project like this. It's easier than it looks and the pay off is great. No sizing adjustments, just basic math and basic stitches. Easy peasy, and I think the Dood is pleased as well.


Let's review! What can you do with a disappointing project?

1. Put it on hiatus - If you put it away for a month, a week, or even a day, you might feel refreshed enough to pick it up and try it again later. When I get frustrated with a project it only inevitably gets worse, so I always break. How long that break goes on for depends on the garment and what kind of issues I've had with it. 
2. Try something else - Not necessarily sewing, as you might be so strung out you'll only mess up the next project. Start small and easy. Some people find crochet is a soothing creative outlet. Maybe try painting or drawing. Or take from my experience and try quilting!
3. Give it away - If you hate looking at it, like I hated my tunic, then try to see if someone else wants it. Maybe it just wasn't meant for you.


Anything I should add to that list? What do you think?

Best,


8 comments:

  1. I know that's such a disappointment isn't it? Sometimes I put them away and just revisit later and sometimes I just toss it in the trash. Ugh. I see you mentioned you were in Ontario. The Fabricland didn't happen to be in Guelph did it?

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    1. No, it was in London. It happened in maybe three months time total and most people didn't hear about it until the last few weeks. I was disappointed to see that the "clearance" prices weren't really anything special.They were up to 75% off on the weird unknown fiber ends that almost no one ever buys, the rest was 50% off, which is their usual monthly sale price so I didn't think it was anything too special. I think in the end the only deal I got was on some bridal stuff. If one closed in Guelph too I tend to wonder how badly the chain must be doing. I don't want it to go under completely! At least they mark fabric down, I never see good sales at Len's Mills. I wish Joann's would come up here...

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  2. Yep. The one in Guelph closed too. I used to work at the store on Wonderland Rd in London so I hope it wasn't that one! If you are ever in Guelph pop into the Lens Mill and say hello. We can pick out some Hallween fabrics together! :)

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    1. That would be awesome! :) The Wonderland Rd location is still open, but I've heard rumors that there could be more closures. I hope not, I really like that location. There's an awesome lady there who studies corsetry, she's super helpful, it would piss me off if she were to lose her job.

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  3. Yeah I would have looked at the pattern and thought as you did, that it would make a cool tunic. Maybe a very flimsy fabric with a lot of movement? Those sleeves do look very eighties. It does look very well made though. When I'm disheartened, I usually do a terrible job

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    1. I had difficulty finishing this piece. A part of me really wanted to throw it in my unfinished bin but it was literally only a few steps away from being completed. I'm glad I pushed onward with it because it at least makes my mother happy. If I use this pattern again I'm going to try and round off or shorten the shoulder, I think that's what's giving it the 80's vibe.

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  4. That is a real disappointment! Happy your mom loves her new top though! Your cat looks very happy with his new blanket!

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    1. I'm happy she likes it, I hate to be wasteful! Doodles loves his blanket. He sleeps on it every day now. :)

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