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Sewing failures

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by St. Louis, May 12, 2015.

  1. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Have you ever had a sewing failure? I don't mean the kind where you make a goofy mistake you don't feel able to correct. I mean, specifically, where you make the garment correctly, but the fabric, pattern, or style look so awful and frumpy that you know you'll never wear it.

    I make plenty of mistakes, like the time I cut a dress from a plaid voile and completely forgot to center the very large repeat. It looked so ridiculous when I tacked it together for the first fitting that I knew it would be a total waste of my time to finish the piece. It ended up as a pattern test.

    I see that kind of thing as an accident. I'm more upset when I put a lot of work into a new outfit, which then betrays me by its sheer ugliness. Right now I'm finishing a cotton house dress made of a yarn-dyed blue & white check. The pattern is from around 1940, a mail-order design & was quite intriguing -- there are only two main pattern pieces, a front & back, placed on the fold, with short kimono sleeves. So there's hardly any sewing.

    Unfortunately the dress couldn't possibly look more frumpy and horrible on me. It's too long in the waist and very lumpy. It easily puts an extra 15 pounds on me. The collar is huge and shapeless. The belt arrangement forms an unattractive pooch right at the front of the waist (they have you make two bound buttonholes about 4" apart, and draw the belt through that -- worst idea ever.)

    It's very comfortable so I'll wear it in the garden and when cleaning cat boxes, but I had taken a lot of trouble over the piping and rick rack trim so I'm really disappointed. I don't need anyone's help to look like a frump.

    I have to hem it & finish the neck, and once it's done I'll photograph it. Sigh.

    What do you do with your sewing failures (if you have them?) Do you give them away or demote them to housework wear?
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I have a few things like that hanging in the back of my closet. A couple of them have turned into cleaning-out-the-cellar dresses, but mostly I just keep them around with an eye toward taking them apart and recutting them into something else if I find a pattern that facilitates such a re-working. Sometimes I'll cannibalize them for buttons and trim, but mostly they're just buried in the back among stuff I've worn out or gotten too fat around the middle to wear.
     
  3. MarieAnne

    MarieAnne Practically Family

    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Ontario
    Most of my failed garments are the result of falling in a love with a fabric. I fell in love with a sheer, gauze-like, light-weight floral that had amazing colours (bright pink and green, palm-sized floral arrangements on a turquoise background). I tried to make a full, flowing gathered skirt, but the lightness did not lend itself well to a waistband and zipper (even with interfacing!). I cannibalized it (like Lizzie) and made a fabulous peasant shirt.
     
  4. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
    9,083
    Location:
    Crummy town, USA
  5. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Actually, that's a cute style. The skirt is certainly a good fit & has a nice drape. Couldn't you just take in the side seams a bit? The shoulders and neckline look fine to me.
     
  6. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
    9,083
    Location:
    Crummy town, USA
    I honestly don't know what happened to my sizing and fit on this project. It was terrible. I made it into a skirt after fiddling with it for another few days.
     
  7. Cassidy

    Cassidy New in Town

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Canton, NY
    I seem to do this a lot! I'm experienced enough to know better, but only having JoAnn's available for shopping, I'm very susceptible to using quilting cotton with cute prints. I know it's wrong, clothing generally needs thinner fabric with more drape, but the selection is terrible (especially if you're averse to polyester).

    Most recently, I made Simplicity 1587 in a great orangey-red cotton with a darker red print in almost lightning bolt motifs. I still haven't hemmed it because it looks so dreadful. Part of the problem is that the cotton is too thick; part of the problem is that I didn't shorten it in the bodice and so it's blousing too much, which is especially a problem because of the aforesaid thick cotton; and part of the problem is that the short yoke makes my bust look like it's awkwardly sized or shaped - the pattern was probably not going to do me any favors even if fitted properly. And the way the skirt is gathered up into a point on the skirt yoke really didn't work either, it just has a suspicious bulge because ... again, the cotton is so heavy that it stands out.

    Learned my lesson, though! No more 1940s patterns for me, or quilting cotton, unless it works for the pattern. I bought three Retro Butterick 1950s patterns last week (and could always reuse the one from my avatar, which has a full-skirted version as well) and a length of striped shirting.
     
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I've actually had pretty good luck with quilting cotton -- the key is to buy the cheap $3-a-yard calico you find at Walmart because it's thin enough to drape nicely but not so thin that you won't get decent wear out of it. The one time I bought expensive cotton from a specialty fabric store, the dress turned out exactly the way you describe -- bunchy and bulky and unwearable. I've still got it wadded up in a box somewhere, and one of these days I'll make pillow covers or something out of it.
     
  9. RedDoll46

    RedDoll46 New in Town

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Texas
    I'm hoping not to have any or few sewing failures. I went out last night to Hancock & bought some Butterick & Simplicity patterns. I plan on sewing some of the 40s retro reprints before too long.

    I have sew on sleeves - one correctly; the other inside out. I'm still not sure how I did that one...
     
  10. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Most of my worst sewing failures came when I was ultra into altering thrift store finds. Among the notable mishaps was a man's suit I tried to raise the arm holes on and a dress I tried to rework the bodice to make it fitted. Needless to say, both could have been done, but not in the patience allowed.
     
  11. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    To add insult to injury, just as I was about to sit down to finish the Frumpiest Dress in the Universe, I discovered that one of my cats had thrown up hairballs all over it. Sigh. So now I'll have to launder it. What chances do you give my motivation level for finishing this rag now?
     
  12. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Throw it out. You'll be much happier. I'm not kidding at all.

    Sometimes I think I keep failed projects around to torture myself with their failure. So not worth it.
     
  13. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,788
    Location:
    Colorado
    01.jpg

    This dress. The pattern envelope was perfectly 1930s...it looked sporty and casual -- like something you'd wear out running errands. My rendition is just frump-tastic! All the gathering just refused to sit right, it appears one arm is a bit longer than the other, and the skirt pleat on the right of the photograph just would not cooperate -- it leans inward no matter what I did! I put on the dress and I looked really bad in it -- it ages me! Even though I followed the directions and did everything as I normally do (it wasn't a difficult pattern), it just didn't come out as expected. I was sorely disappointed in the result.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  14. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    That's too bad. I like the dress, though! If that were my dress I'd shorten the sleeves and turn it into a Cleaning Kitty Litter dress. I don't mean that in any disrespectful way. That's what I do with things that don't work.
     
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    This is why I never make dresses with long sleeves -- I've never been able to get them right, and only part of it's because my right arm is longer than my left arm.
     
  16. Cassidy

    Cassidy New in Town

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Canton, NY
    I love that dress! Sometimes that just happens, though - you like the style, but on, it doesn't work.

    I've just about finished Butterick 5813, full-skirted version, and I'm hesitantly categorizing it as a possible failure. It's extremely frumpy on me, in part because I should have taken the bust up a bit, and partly because the waist is too loose. And I'm not as willowy as the pattern illustration ... We shall see how I feel once I've worn it for a day.
     
  17. DonnaP

    DonnaP Familiar Face

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Lakewood, Ohio
    I have this wonderful 1930's pattern that was an awesome score off of Ebay due to a poor photograph and description. I've made two dresses from it that are just lovely, but don't flatter my size 16 no waist body. Which are less a sewing failure than a poor choice for my body type. I do have a dress right now I'm trying to work out, I took a pattern for a sleeveless dress and tried to alter it to have kimono sleeves and I'm not sure it's working. It's too early to be a sewing failure but I'm not happy.
     
  18. Fofi

    Fofi New in Town

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    France
    Cassidy I'm working on that very same pattern! I attached the collar and sleeves yesterday... I'm a bit unsure about the sleeves so I hope I won't end up posting it here as a failure![huh]
     
  19. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,165
    Location:
    Sweden
    My first ever attempt at a One Hour Dress... I made it from the 1924 pretty rudimentary description rather than a pattern and I didn't add enough ease over the hips. It was super tight in the hip and baggy over it. I looked like a blob-balloon about to burst. :D
     
  20. Frk.W

    Frk.W New in Town

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    It happens. Off the top of my head, I made a quick safari suit last summer, using my regular jacket pattern that nearly always comes out well, but some combination of a bad, rushed fabric choice - a light, cool-toned khaki cotton with a bit of stretch in it and a matte satin texture that just isn't substantial enough for the project - and something about the proportions just makes me feel like it's wildly unflattering. It's not exactly horrible, but the fabric has neither the body and stiffness of a cotton twill, nor the crispness of a cotton sateen, it's the wrong shade of khaki for me and I just hate how it falls. Or doesn't, as the case may be. I think the skirt is unsalvageable, I should just scavenge it for buttons, zipper and maybe patch pockets for the jacket instead of the internal pockets it has now. The jacket could probably be saved by some fit adjustments and an extra layer of linen interfacing/lining, and I'm considering throwing the whole thing in an onion peel dye bath to make it one of those yellow khakis I like.

    IMG_20150715_110849.jpg

    Awkward. Just awkward. I need summer clothes, though, so I really should try to save the jacket.
     

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