when good things go bad.

Originally posted to sewstylist.wordpress.com on 13 January 2014

I started this blog almost two years ago…possibly over two years ago. (I’m drafting this post at a café that­—happily, for productivity’s sake—doesn’t have wifi. As a result—happily, for vanity’s sake—I can’t go back and reference the actual date of my first blog post!) Whenever it was that I started, I remember feeling as though this would be like joining a fun new club, like attending an online sewing party. I was in graduate school at the time and had already managed to impress myself with the amount of things I could accomplish whilst staying in pajamas all day. (I love how I say that as though I actually own pajamas. Read: stained sweats and an old tank top.) But yeah, I was in grad school: studying full-time, teaching part-time, and trying to produce a thesis. And then, ambitiously, perhaps on the one free afternoon I had a term, I decided to launch a blog. (Cue: whah-whah sound effect…) Hidden between the lines here is how gravely I underestimated the amount of work that can, and I would say needs to, go in to creating some something I can feel proud of at the end of the day. Below I have featured two projects that I definitely put the time into, though I can’t say I’m super proud of the outcomes.

One of my sewing goals last year was to start developing a collection of patterns I could get a great fit on and then use and reuse as slopers. I’m still trying to develop an affection for the fitting process, and so doing this seemed like a way to help myself spend more time with the things I most enjoy about sewing.

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I got the pattern for this simple shift out of The Built By Wendy: Sew U book. I’m pretty sure I cut out a size large, which is kinda crazy because it’s just not very large at all. The fit is okay, but it could definitely use some more adjusting before I start using it the way I hope to eventually use my slopers. I did some very basic measurements and then dove in and started crafting what I hoped would be a wearable muslin. This term, wearable muslin, is one I picked up somewhere around the internet from the many sewers who, through some sort of miracle working I still have yet to wrap my head around, mange to crank out fairly well-fitting garments right out of the gates. Girls, how do you do that?

 I spent a lot of time trying new techniques on this dress. It’s the first time I tried a lining, for instance. I also tried doing patch pockets without topstitching. This turned out all right, not great, but not bad for a first try. Unfortunately, I’d finished the pockets and was trying on the dress when I realized my pockets weren’t evenly lined up!


I also used Wendy’s technique for sewing in sleeves: attach sleeves first, sew side seams second. This is definitely easier than setting in the sleeves, but I didn’t account for the finishing of the side seams. Woops.

The pattern is drafted with a basic crew neck, but I wanted a slit down the middle. I tried thinking through how best to do this. Nevertheless, I ended up doing it the wrong way. I was able to fix it, sort of, but you can see how the neckline is a little wonky. (Uh, you can also see how not great I did on finishing the edges of that lining.)

I think I actually did wear this wearable muslin out once, to a bar, where it was dark and potential onlookers where probably drunk enough not to notice its issues.

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This skirt was the second pattern I tried out of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. It has lots of potential to become a sloper one day, though it is difficult to truly access the fit in this fabric, which is a wonderful-if-thick ponte sort of fabric. It’s possibly not the ideal fabric for this skirt. I had imagined I’d end up with a garment that was equal parts comely and cozy, and that was perhaps where I went wrong. I mean, I definitely think I have clothes that fit this description in my closet, and if all the clothes in my closet could fit this description I’d be a happy woman.

I’ve had this skirt shoved in a box, unhemmed, for at least six months. I was convinced it was absolutely not working, until I pulled it out to take photos for this post. Then I’m looking at these pics and I’m like, “Oh. Hmmm. That’s actually kinda cute…”

Looks good from the side.

Looks good from the back. (And yo, I hand picked that zipper two, maybe three, possibly five times. It’s perfect.)

But then something may be amiss with that waistband…

Yep, there’s definitely way too much room in there. (A little hard to see it here, but there’s about 3-4 inches between my body and the band.) Boo. With the fuller blouse I’m wearing in the shots you can almost over look it… But I don’t think that’s gonna fly in the long run.

I had two thoughts for dealing with this. I could just replace the waistband with one that’s not so high waisted. I think this is a hard fit on me because my waist measurement is about three sizes smaller than my hip measurement. (I mean, it’s equally possible that I just messed something up along the way…)


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Or, I could use some of the remaining yardage I’ve got of the wonderful-if-thick ponte and cut out the Sultry Sheath bodice in Gertie’s book, pictured above, and make this sucker into a dress. This second option is more appealing to me in most ways, except it would require my taking out that zip that I hand picked like fifty times whilst walking backward uphill through the snow. I suppose there’s a third option, which is just leave it as is. What do you think, sewcialists? How can I save this skirt?

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Ebony HaightComment