Thursday, January 19, 2017

Not all sewing projects are created equal.

Sometimes despite the best of intentions and efforts sewing projects just don’t work out the way you want.  It is ok to admit that the reality of a garment does not always measure up to the soring expectations of the dream.  My family and I moved a few months ago from my mothers place to a place of our own.  All our stuff came out of storage and is currently sitting in the back room.  Sufficed to say that the new place does not have nearly as much space as the old place and we need to cut down our crap and as a result I have been going through a lot of sewing stuff.

This is why I have re-evaluated my stash, which is quite sizable and why I am having to reconsider my wardrobe, including handmade items and eventually when I get to those boxes my costume collection too.  I can’t keep everything and in having to make tough choices I am also having to face the reality that there is projects I should never have kept, they just weren’t good.

Some of these cock ups never made it to finished product because I realised part way through that it just wasn’t working – but at the same time for some insane reason I have kept it part finished, collecting dust and taking up space.  The perfect dress is a good example of this.  It sits there hem not done and in no way on earth that it will ever fit me.

Others I did get to the end of, possibly I was even delusional and proud of at the time.  Take for example this 1960’s shift dress.  

I remember that I really liked the bust shaping in the pattern and the back belt.  But the material, a cotton sateen, is all wrong for the dress.  The shaping that I loved in theory in practice was nigh on impossible with my skill level at the time to get even and neat.  The fit is just all wrong and whether that is my body shape or my sewing skill or the fabric weight or a combination of any or all of these things is still a bit of a mystery.  I do remember that as the pattern is for a 32.5 inch bust I had to add 3.5-4 inches and used the slash and spread method, which always has varying degrees of success.

Thing is we often share our success with pride but rarely do we share our failures with each other – which in some ways seems backwards as you learn far more with failure.  When we do find a shared failure  it is often masked behind a don’t recommend pattern, as if somehow all the issues are someone else’s fault.  So this post I dedicate to owning my own shit and my own failings, accepting that I can do better and I will do better and clearing out all the rubbish that just didn’t work.

The unsalvageable will be going in the bin and the unwearable either following suit or facing major modification to be wearable.  Like the boxy dress.  I used a good cotton for the spotted skirt but  mixed that up with a cheap crappy cotton for the top – what a rookie error.  I intend to remove the bodice re-gather the skirt on a waistband and turn the unflattering dress into a very flattering skirt.

For so long I have been far to passive about my work, it really isn’t good enough.  Not because it is bad but because I could do better, with a little more patience and planning.  Its often small things, the finishes where I am lacking.  Failing to clip in or iron fell as I go.  Failing to clip off the excess strings at the time I finish each one rather than trying to find them all at the end.  Rushing a zip in rather than taking the time to iron them open and get the seam right in that line.  Like this 60’s tunic style dress, which is made entirely out of cheap shit polyester suiting.  This is the back of the neck where I have never dealt properly with the zip, and the bottom of the zip that isn’t correctly fitted into the dress, and the pockets being poorly placed, and, it can’t be ignored, completely overlocked in white thread. (Sorry I can't for hte life of me remember which pattern I used)

Near enough I have always treated as good enough, but after a year where I could not wear much of my handmade clothes I am looking back at them with a different eye.  I don’t want to be seen in a lot of them – how embarrassing that I did wear them in public.  Its not all bad news though, some of them I still love, many I just can’t bear to part with even though they don’t currently fit me.  In better news I am shrinking post having my son – and by shrinking I mean I am 10kg down from my pre pregnancy weight so maybe someday soon These beauties will once again see the light of day. 

Until then I promise to be more honest with myself in assessment of my work.  With any Luck the next time I fail to meet my expectations it will not be because I didn’t try my best.

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