Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recent Sewing Flops

1.  The Lego Circle was a brilliant concept.  A large circle bound with extra wide bias tape and a double drawstring:  spread it out flat to play, draw it up tight into a bag to store.  Brilliant.  I didn't do any research first and my design was flawed - the drawstring couldn't draw up.  Here is the tutorial I should have used.  (You're welcome). The circle of shame went to Goodwill because I couldn't bear to look at it and the Lego is dumped in a plastic tub for now.
2.  The peach sun dress.  It's made from the pinafore pattern.  I cleverly cut it from the front of an adult dress so it has pockets already.  But.  Something bunchy is happening under the arms and yet the armholes are too revealing.  I finished it anyway (used the orange sphere buttons) and hung it in Genevieve's closet.  I'd like to cut it into rags.

3.  The dress that is so bad I didn't take a picture.  This is a long story (you can surf away now, I understand; I mainly need to tell this because if I can't be the Good Example, maybe I can be the Terrible Warning).

My sister and my sister-in-law were my bridesmaids 13 years ago.  I chose pale blue faux linen made into long dresses with surplice bodices.  Pretty and simple.  A few years ago I came across several leftover yards of the stuff and the dress pattern.  So I thought it would be kind of funny if I made myself the dress, albeit sleeveless and knee length. 

I made the asinine decision to line the bodice by lining each piece of the bodice with pale blue satin before sewing it together (the real way to line something is to make a whole second something and then slip it into the first).  This made for some very strange seams and puffiness.  I discovered that the faux linen could not hold a crease, nor could it be ironed on the right side due to the raised flowers trailing all over it. (Wow, the things they discreetly keep from the bride; what else don't I know about my wedding?)

Furthermore, I did not realize that a sleeveless dress has a different armscye than a short-sleeved dress.  I recut the armscye and tried to make new facings which were essentially strips of fabric, not the convex shape they need to be. Straining fabric in odd places - uncomfortable and very homemade looking.

To top it off, I put an invisible zipper down the back without using an invisible zipper foot.  In all of this I was pretty much gloriously oblivious. 

I told my shameful story to my mother-in-law, a sympathetic listener who also happens to be an excellent seamstress and caretaker of history.  I didn't realize that she had saved my sister-in-law's dress! 

She offered me the bridesmaid dress she had laid away in storage which she was thinking of cutting up to make a dress for Genevieve.  I gave her the botched dress to cut up instead.  Now I have a historic bridesmaid dress and I am not going to screw this one up.  So it might be a couple years before you see it, until I know a little bit more about dress making.

Care to share any of your sewing flops?  Just think of all the Terrible Warnings we could profit from.


Jacinta said...

Hahah! Oh Margo! I have a few sewing flops going on but that's how we learn right? However right now I'm hoping for just really good sewing as I'm making hoodies for all the kids for the first time. I have been sewing up a storm over here with cowl neck jumper dresses and pants and maybe after all that, I'll get the courage to sew something for ME! Much love to you. xox

Rebecca said...

There have been so many flops..let me think of the most shining examples.....hmmm. Well, there was the first vintage dress I ever made without giving one thought to the bust size (40, in case you want a good laugh). It was flappingly huge but, hey, it was the 80s. I just took two nice, big box pleats front and back. The amazing part? I wore the thing.

I made more than one dress before I knew how to put in zippers. If I wasn't patient enough to wait for my mom to do it I would blast ahead, sew up that pesky seam and figure I'd be able to wedge my wide bits through the neck opening. Doesn't work, come to find out.

Jennifer Jo said...

The Lego circle bag IS genius. We just spread an old sheet out, but the bag idea is much better. Maybe you should patent the idea?

Sarah Barry said...

These sound like half my sewing endeavors - flops! Its because I always try to "short cut" aka "Grandma Weaver".

Hope you have some sewing success soon.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say "bravo" to you for persevering through sewing flops. I would have given up and have given up after a few too many flops.

Dianna said...

I tried to resize a pattern for pajama pants to make it a bit smaller. I could hardly get them on! I learned that a little goes a long way when you're carving out patterns.

I also made a quilt top from linen that I love, but the tension on my machine was off, so the stitching is so loose that it will never be practical. I don't know what to do with it—it seems pointless to finish the quilt, but I do love the fabric.

I'm trying to start thinking of flops as learning experiences—I didn't learn to play the violin without lots of crazy and terrible sounds coming out of it. I guess sewing is the same way, except that your mistakes stay around to haunt you until you get rid of them. :)

simplicityinthemaking said...

A strong woman to admit the flops. Let alone show them!!

Unknown said...

Oh, I hear you, girl! I've been hopelessly trying to make a blouse...I've tried 6 times...I'm giving up. It's much easier to refashion blouses found at the thrift store...
I may have actually found one online that looks like it will fit me in the shoulders and reach around my hips too! They should arrive soon ; )
Maybe my search for a good blouse will be over for at least one season!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

I am so sorry for your dress mishaps..It is so frustrating.. But how nice that your MIL saved the bridesmaid dress and gave you..What a fond memory.
Mishaps happen all the time in sewing land..[ no matter how long you sew,ha].
When I first got married, my husband bought me a sewing machine.I was thrilled. I had taken
home ec in school.but sewed very little. I went out and bought a simple aline dress pattern, and several peices of fabric. Well..it was a total diaster... I dont think the end result even looked like a dress.lol
And then there is the "wrap dress" look alike of Olivia Walton. I have made so many muslins that it is not funny.. and each gets throwed in the garbage.. I have bought 4-5 patterns..all of the necklines are too low.. When I try to raise it, It messes up the front.eeeeeeeeeeeh..frustration.
I admire the fact that you kept on trying..

Margo said...

JJ, I got the idea from Lego themselves. They used to make such a bag. You can still buy something like it on amazon (for $50-some bucks, if I recall).

In my mind, it is the perfect concept for Lego. My husband wants to make the kids a low table with a lid.

Katy said...

I won a contest for a sewing disaster once. I was replacing a zipper in a pair of pants. Mistake #1- I sewed the new zipper in, re-sewed the fly, and they looked GREAT. Then I discovered that I sewed the zipper in backwards, so you would have to reach your hand down your pants in order to zip up. Briefly considered leaving it that way, but ripped it out (they were not my pants.). Mistake #2- I sewed the zipper in the correct way (yay!), then when I went to resew the fly I sewed the pants completely shut. Third attempt was the charm. My aggravation won me 3 yards of fabric and 5 yards of ribbon, though.

More recently I attempted a pair of ruffle panties to go under a baby dress. Somehow I didn't account for having to put elastic in the legs and placed my ruffles too close to the bottom. There is no room to put the elastic in without sewing over the ruffles. I've put them aside for a week or so now, hoping to have inspiration on how to salvage them, but I have given up. I went and bought more fabric yesterday and will start over.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Oh how you make me laugh!!! At least the dress is being redeemed!

These days I stick to straight seam, nap-time sewing. It's all I can manage at this stage of my life.

Polly said...

I love your blog--so real!!!

I've probably had more flops than successes on the sewing front. Or I've had some projects where I needed to just redo. Skirts where I sewed the seam allowance too narrow and (duh) the skirt was WAAAAAY too big for me. (Who knew a little bit, on a six-gored skirt, would make it a size bigger?!) Or the apron that was almost impossible to construct, so I had to redo it with chocolate at hand.....oh yes, I've had my flops.

Actually that's one reason I'm putting sewing on pause until Annie is a bit older (3?). Because I can only take so much distraction and frustration!!! But it's wonderful when something turns out well.

Gina said...

Thanks for sharing a smile. I can't think of any sewing flops right off the top of my head but I know that I've had a ridiculous many long hours with ripper in hand trying to salvage a mistake!


jenny_o said...

Came over from today's post, Margo, and laughed until the tears came from your post and the comments ... I have been there, especially on the replacing a pants zip! It's SO frustrating but like most things, given enough time, one can find the humour too!