when good things go bad…

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.

BBW Shift Dress  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?

BBW Shift Dress Pocket 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!

BBW Shift Dress Sleeve

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.

BBW Shift Dress Neckline

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.

Gertie Skirt

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…”

Gertie Skirt side view

Looks good from the side.

Gertie Skirt back view

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

Gertie Skirt waistband 1

But then something may be amiss with that waistband…

Gertie Skirt waistband 2

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.

Gertie Skirt 2

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…)

gertiesnewbookforbettersewing_sultry sheath

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?

Gertie Skirt: Save me?

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7 thoughts on “when good things go bad…

  1. I say just change the waistband. If you’re anything like me, making it into a dress will take you forever because it’s not a NEW project just finishing up an old one…boring. ; )

    • Haha! You have a great point there! It’s like I should put some sort of time limit on the whole project. Poor thing has been dragging on for months, and to your point, I’ve definitely sewn up quite a few new things in the meantime.

    • Thanks, Oona! And thanks for stopping by my blog! I love that you’re applying Lauren’s mantra to my little problem. 🙂 Tried again with the steaming this weekend… Alas, this manmade fiber seems highly resistant to steam-urged shrinkage. Boo.

  2. Pingback: a funny but functional little sewing tip | SewStylist

  3. I just made a really similar skirt (Burda 8155) and I had EXACTLY the same problem with the waistband. I don’t really know what to do. I did not hand pick the zipper, but I spent a really long time adding details like back vent extension, proper lining, etc. Plus the fabric is really hard to unpick (it’s kind of woolly) so I don’t know about changing the waistband altogether… ugh.. I feel for you.

    • Oh man, isn’t it heartbreaking when you’ve put all the right kind of work into something only to have it just not quite work out… It took me at least two more months to decide to take off the waistband & add a bodice, turning it into a dress. I put in the invisible zip perfectly…but not the seams at the back are off by over an inch! This fabric just does NOT seem to want to let me wear it! Haha

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