Failure Friday on a Wednesday

So I open up my thesaurus in search of a word that means failure beginning with a W (for Wednesday) because I can’t wait until Friday to post my new post.  There’s nothing! Naught. Zero. Zilch. Bugger all!  And then I open up my dictionary to find the meaning of fail: to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal.  And this has prompted me to question what my goal was.  As an RTW Faster my goal is not to buy a single garment of ready to wear clothing for twelve months. I have not failed here.  As a sewist my goal is to sew all my clothes for  twelve months.  So far I have not failed here either.  As the perfectionist that I am my goal is to sew neatly and to learn new techniques and just “have a go”.  Also haven’t failed there.  I think where I have failed is that I’ve let myself wallow (wow, found a W word!!) when a particular garment hasn’t worked out exactly how I’ve imagined it would… and I’ve chosen to keep this to myself and not admit my “errors in judgement” to my audience! Ha!  Wow, that feels better already… I might call this “Wallowers Anonymous”.  Hi, my name is Carola and I’m a wallower!!

Nah, I’m not really a wallower at all and if I do wallow it would only be for a such a wee while and then I just get on with it again. My problem is that I’m not wanting to admit when things go wrong and I’m not wanting to bore you all with anything slightly negative. I think it’s time to drop down a gear and show you a few of my “failed” garments, give you the reasons why they failed and tell you what I learned from them… and then I’m going to “get on with it again”.

Firstly I made another pair of Thurlow shorts.  I wanted denim but here in Perth we have such a limited range of denim and I ended up buying a thin “denim” in the colour I liked but found that after pre-washing it, all the starch came out and the fabric became thinner and limp but I chose to overlook this detail and just soldiered on.  I used a gorgeous butterfly fabric for the pocket linings and sewed away happily although at one point I suspected that this fabric was too thin and the seams weren’t going to hold properly and I put it aside for about a week planning to not waste any more time on it and just get on with something else.  I ended up finishing these shorts and loving the look BUT the seams did give and the fabric looks like it’s about to tear at the back.  Here are the various photos:

Bad fabric choice... and yes, it's obvious I've worn them (and loved them for the one day that I will ever wear them!)

Bad fabric choice… and yes, it’s obvious I’ve worn them (and loved them for the one day that I wore them!)

See the fabric stretching down the middle as well as the darts?  Grrrr!!

See the fabric stretching apart down the middle as well as at the darts? Grrrr!!

lovely pocket lining

Lovely pocket lining

So I learnt that the fabric I bought is probably better suited as a shirt or a top! And I’m going to say that it wasn’t me that failed but instead it was the fabric!  Haha, it makes me feel so much better to blame something else!!

SECOND wallow:  A New Look pattern (number 6088) (sorry, couldn’t find a better link besides this eBay listing and maybe by the time you look at the link, it will be gone).  The pattern itself is great and the instructions were good.  Again, poor fabric choice:

Fits OK but just don't like it...

Fits OK but just don’t like it…

I think it’s the fabric that I don’t like, as in the stripes.  The shade of blue is a shade that I like but at the end of the day I won’t wear this top because the stripes feel wrong.  I guess that it’s also another example of how gathers are sort of lost when you use a busy fabric, not that the stripes are busy but you know what i mean. A plain solid coloured fabric will work better with gathers and rouches.

Last wallow for this Wednesday:  Burda Alison bathers.  I’m sure you can remember the bikini fabric I used and how much I loved that fabric.  Well, I decided to make these one-piece bathers using the same fabric and paid $3 to Burda for a pattern in PDF format.  For those of you who think it looks confusing to piece together all the pages to create your pattern, let me reassure you that it’s as easy as pie and you can save yourself a lot of money on patterns by doing it this way.  On the down side, what on Earth were Burda staff thinking when they wrote those instructions?????? (Funny enough, I believe, after reading other blogs and reviews, that they have actually rewritten the instructions once already!!  Sigh).  The instructions are shocking and realistically the pattern itself isn’t the best either.  These bathers had a separate crotch piece altogether meaning that you had a seam at the back AND the front of the crotch.  Who wants a seam at the front of their crotch??  Well, I changed that and joined the crotch piece to the front and then cut one front out of fabric and another one out of lining so it is now a completely lined front…. and then put the bathers together.

See how I joined the crotch piece on to the front panel?  I also added a small amount of width.

See how I joined the crotch piece on to the front panel? I also added a small amount of width.  You can also see how the two pieces that I joined don’t even join exactly and this, to me, is a sign of a poorly drafted pattern… sigh!

The extended front panel and the back panel (both lengthened because I am tall!

The extended front panel and the back panel (both lengthened because I am tall!)

fully lined front panel joined to the back panel (hence only ONE seam at the crotch line. :)

Here you see the fully lined front panel joined to the back panel (hence only ONE seam at the crotch line. :)

There isn’t ANY added elastic in these bathers at all and all the edges are done with slightly smaller bands made out of the same lycra that you stretch out while you are sewing them together so that they act like a sort of elastic.  I really don’t have a lot of faith in how long these will stay firm-fitting for.

Anyway, I am nearly finished putting them together and have decided to go with my gut feelings and put these in the OUT pile (don’t bother wasting your time in finishing them, Carola!) as I will NEVER wear them anyway as my husband made a valid point this morning while I was trying them on and adjusting them… check out the photos:

Here I have excess gathered fabric that needs to be rouched and held together by that band I am holding in my right hand...

Here I have the excess gathered fabric that needs to be rouched and held together by that band I am holding in my right hand… (and yep, the band is way too long but Burda forgot to include that pattern piece so I made my own and will shorten it once I’m happy!)

And here you can see that IF I pull the side and press in the middle, the bathers look semi OK.

And here you can see that IF I pull the side and press in the middle, the bathers look semi OK.  Ha ha!

DON’T LET GO THOUGH!!  I was going to add a bikini strap to the side of the bust that would go across the middle back but the valid point my husband made was “it takes you so long to get the top of the bust piece flat EVERY time you put them on” and then it dawned on me that these bathers are time wasters and I should let them go!  Remove the reusable parts (ie: the bather clasps at the back of the neck) and throw the bathers in the bin!!  Out with the old and useless and in with the new!

So there you have it!  Sorry the post was so long but I felt like I had to get all this off my chest because the fact that I wasn’t blogging about it was bothering me more than the “failings” themselves.  I’ve learnt from the errors and I’m now remotivated to move onto simple, non-busy fabric tops and I will also get onto that skirt block.  I’ve also started the Craftsy “Pant Fitting Techniques” online course and look forward to being able to solve all of my pants fitting issues REALLY soon.  Has anyone else bought the course?  I’m keen to hear real people’s thoughts on it and what about the pattern?  To look at the cover of the pattern, it doesn’t excite me but hopefully I will learn heaps and understand how to transfer all my fitting alterations onto ANY pants pattern afterwards!  :)

So Wallowing Wednesday becomes Wonderful Wednesday.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  More positive sewing posts soon!

Carola x


Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!

I’ve been busy and I’ve had success! My Thurlow pants are a success and I love the fit of these shorts and am glad that I didn’t give up and instead made 3 or 4 muslins to perfect the fit. Not only did I lengthen the crotch length but I also altered the “centre” point where the front joins the back “under the crotch”!! I have tried to research this topic and can’t seem to find any hard and fast rules about the “correct” spot to have the “centre” so if anyone knows of any “rules” for this topic, please share with me. I’m considering adding a new page to my blog giving a tutorial on how I made the alterations that I used to get the perfect fit for me. Are there other people out there who are interested in seeing the various alterations I made to get to this stage? Who knows… it might help others too.

So I guess you’re all dying to see the finished result of my denim Thurlow shorts…. Denim being denim stretches/gives over time and unfortunately I didn’t photograph them soon enough so they’ve eased a bit and I probably should’ve worn a belt (which I can, of course, because I added the belt loops!). Personally I find the fabric a bit busy with all those tear holes that make it look like spotty denim, but I love the shade of the blue. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a plain denim in that shade so this is what I got… plus, it only cost me $4 per metre because the fabric was soiled (but it all washed out fine!!) Big smile on my face! :)

denim Thurlow shorts

Notice the plain denim welt pockets?? (made of the selvedge)

And the title of this post is actually relating to another project that I finished today. I made a cowl neck top (McCalls M6078) and I love, love, love it so very much. The neck line is just gorgeous and falls so nicely. The fabric is 95.5% Ray (I presume that is rayon) and 4.5% spandex… it has a lovely weight to it which I think helps with the way it falls. It will be interesting to see how other stretch knits compare with the same pattern.

McCalls M6078

A couple of changes I will make with the next top I make: make it one size smaller, change the hem line to a curve and do the hemming with a walking foot to get a flatter finish. Can’t wait to try it but have to work tomorrow and Friday so probably won’t be able to do this until the weekend. :( Oh, i wish I could sew all day!

Thurlow muslin, take 2

Wow, adding 2cm to the crotch depth has made a world of difference to the rear fit of my shorts and I’m over the moon! See?

BUT, I’m still not happy with the fit at the front. Here is a very rough drawing of what I did to my pattern (sorry, it’s not to scale). You’ll notice that I added an extra centimetre to the centre front as it was a little lower at the front than it was at the back and yes, that portion is balanced now. :)

And here is how the front is looking now. In the photos it doesn’t look as bad as it feels on and I’ve tried a few different alterations but don’t seem to be getting anywhere to perfect the fit. It’s as though it’s not following my curve properly and I don’t know which way to alter it.

Do you see what I mean? **sigh**

Sorry, I was really hoping to be able to post finished projects but have hit a stumbling block and need to somehow get over it… any suggestions?

Note to self…

Next time you make a couture dress and have plans to wear it on a particular day make sure you have a back-up plan ready in case of bad weather!!

Melbourne Cup Day was today and the weather forecast said cold and rainy! For goodness sake, we’re in Perth, not Melbourne!! Yesterday was so cold and wet with thundery showers and I couldn’t see how I was going to wear my new dress with no sleeves. Tears fell as I had nothing else to wear and no suitable jackets or cardigans to give me extra warmth and I couldn’t just duck out and buy something as I was fasting so the only thing left to do was go door knocking and ask my lovely neighbours (who are all around my own age) if they had anything I could borrow. Hallelujah, Susan from two doors up had a cardigan with the right shade of green that I could get away with. Here’s how I left the house this morning:

Funny enough though, as I climbed into my car at 10:30 the sun came out and it was too hot to wear the cardigan in my car so I removed it. After 20 minutes (still driving at this point) I started to get a headache from the fascinator so that had to go too (I’ve never managed to wear headbands comfortably!). Anyway, enjoyed a lovely afternoon with a 3 course sit down meal, 2 fashion parades (one clothing and the other swimwear) and the whole time I was looking for design ideas that I could use in my year of sewing. Does anyone else do that? LOL I almost can’t stand how judgmental I’ve become now that fit is so important to me!. My horse didn’t come in but it was a fun afternoon.

On another note, I finished my Thurlow shorts and love the detail of them but am not happy with the fit of the rear view. The waist and hips are fine and I love the pockets, the fly and the belt loops and I even like the cuffs but I’m so sad that the fit isn’t perfect yet. Never mind, I’ll try again and alter the pattern after researching what the problem is and how to fix it. These shorts are made out of a navy blue bamboo fabric and the pockets are lined with Japanese cotton lawn. Here are the pics:

Gosh, I didn’t think that pants were going to be this hard to fit. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I knew it would be challenging. Can you see how the fabric is bunching up in the middle of the rear view? Any suggestions?

Sewing along…

And we’re off and racing… the sew-along began about 48 hours ago and I’ve finally sat down long enough to cut out my pattern and complete step one. And believe it or not I learnt a new technique!!! Now that’s something I love about the internet and sew-alongs and Google and I’m so excited about it that I had to write a new post.

In Lauren’s sew-along we had to “trim, grade and top-stitch” a seam and I thought “huh? how do we ‘grade’?” Thank goodness for Google coz I searched up a tutorial on that and wow, my seam is beautifully flat. I love wow moments like those and I wonder what I used to do in the past? LOL Here’s the link if anyone else is interested. Honestly made my day! :)

So here’s what I’ve done so far:

The wrong side of the front panel (with pocket unfolded at this stage)

The finished front panel with the pocket completed

The fabric I had was bamboo and it’s a lot plainer than I would normally sew but I’m trying to sew a practical wardrobe of mix and match clothing and I’m actually loving the simplicity of it all so far.