Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fail, possibly fail, and TBD

Ok, you know how most sewing bloggers don't post their failures? Well, I'm going to take a detour from that route and show you some colossal (well, one colossal and one minor and one yet-to-be-determined) fails that came out of my sweatshop this month.

It's a tale of three dresses, two patterns, two fabrics, and one sew-ist. Sew-er. Whatever. I still am not happy with the words for "people who sew."

The story starts with a piece of black and ivory floral ITY jersey knit from my stash. I bought it at JoAnn's many months ago and pulled it out a few weeks ago to make the dress version of Vogue 1020. I had seen Victoria's stretch lace dress and LOVED it. I also bought the lace print, which we will get to later, but for now let's just focus on the print that wasn't to be.

I had just enough fabric to make the dress, and I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone and underline the entire thing with power mesh to keep my bits from jiggling. Also, I didn't want to have to wear Spanx.

I cut it out, and tediously tacked the lining to the main fabric, then started in on sewing. I had assembled the shoulders and sleeves and was set to put the sides together (because of the ruching, that's how the assembly went this time), when I had my MOMENT. The moment in most of my sewing projects where I say OH CRAP.

I had failed to flip one of the pieces right side up when cutting it! The front and back sections on this dress, and others like it, aren't straight up and down. They take a huge curve to get extra fabric for you to ruche. So instead of two matching Cs, I had two opposing Cs! I crumpled it up and threw it in the UFO basket. A month later, I've pulled it out, ruched both sides instead of just the one, and put it together. Maybe it'll be ok? I'm going to let it hang and simmer while I think on it a bit. The jury is still out on it.

I loved that print, I have no idea why. So I went back to Joann's for more, only this time I was going to be super smart and do an entirely different pattern.

I chose McCall's 6163. Most of the reviewers loved it, and I liked some of the different style points - the sleeves, the ruching, the back shaped seam. So in I started again, tediously lining the front and back sections and putting it all together.

I had checked my measurements and cut my standard 14 again. Only, instead of adding a few inches to the length as I almost always have to do, I had this vague recollection of a tall pattern reviewer noting this pattern ran long. So I didn't do that.

Whoo-eee! This is the tightest, shortest dress I think I've ever made for myself! I wear an 8 or 10 in RTW and this easily would fit someone who wears a 6 or even smaller. Also? The length unhemmed is above my knee. Now, to be fair, the pattern does call it an above-mid-knee dress, and in going back over the reviews I can't find anyone who says it runs long, so I'm sure I imagined that in my own mind.

Pfft. Crumpled it up, set it aside. There is no way I am going to assemble and attach the collar and stand for a dress that wouldn't have fit me in the seventh grade. This one is the colossal fail.

Sigh. On to the third dress of 2011. Like I mentioned earlier, I bought the lace print ITY jersey at Joann's after seeing Victoria's version of Vogue 1020. I hadn't intended to make the exact same dress, but after screwing up the first version I was determined to get it right.

This time, all went well! I got the curves cut right, the fit was good, I didn't line the sleeves (found out after doing that that it added too much bulk to the sleeve seam and was unnecessary as I don't typically wear Spanx on my arms).

I hemmed it up and promptly stuck it in my suitcase to take to a work meeting out of town. The day came for me to wear it, and my heart sunk. Not only is it a wee bit short (?), but I failed to let it hang and in hemming, the fashion fabric hangs over the hem of the underlining power mesh. Poop.

That one, I think I can fix. I just have to take out the double-needle hem (drat) and let it breathe, and then hem it up again, this time a little longer.

So there you have it. Possible fail, colossal fail, and a goof-up. All in the month of January, and all with two jerseys from Joann's.

I really had higher hopes for February, but so far.... I've decided the Sherlock Batman Holmes coat-cape will never be. The fabric just isn't right. It is too heavy and doesn't drape well enough to let those sleeves be themselves. Plus, I interfaced the sleeve seams as directed and I shouldn't have.

The lesson to all new sew-ist-ers out there? Just keep plugging away. I've been sewing for 26 years and I regularly make mistakes and screw things up. You'd think I'd learn, but with my slash and burn ways, doesn't look hopeful.


  1. I love these kinds of posts; thanks. It's always good to know that I'm not the only one who totally screws up projects on occasion. I love the prints you chose for these.

  2. I just cannot bring myself to wear "shapers" though I do like a bit of Spandex in pants, etc. They just remind me too much of (and seem to essentially be) girdles. Nice blog!

    Old Sewist/Sewist

  3. It's nice to know that it's not only me who screws things up. Cutting something the wrong side up I've done more than once!
    That fabric you chose was so pretty too.

  4. I love that first dress. I think it's fabulous to bad it does not fit you. I'm a 6. LOL

    I am always afraid to try patterns for fear of messing it all up. I think I need to bite the bullet and just give it a try.


  5. Hi, I'm a little late on this post but I did a review about my issue with the length on the McCall's 6163 dress. I forgot to lengthen mine and ended up adding a hem band to mine. It turned out great!