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?