Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures

You know the scene in cartoons when peaceful, pastoral music is playing while the camera pans of green fields… then suddenly there’s the grinding sound of a needle stopping on a record, and it all comes to a screeching halt? I’ve been having those moments in sewing a lot lately. Everything is fun and easy, until I sew one last seam and try it on again … and it’s immediately clear that my project is a complete and utter disaster, which cannot be rescued by any amount of alterations.

Here’s the odd thing though – I don’t mind it. These days I’m sewing for sanity, for stress-release and a sense of control. All I really want or need is the purr of the machine and the mindlessness of doing each little step one at a time. I really don’t need the clothes I’m making… I just want to MAKE! (I figure that at $3-5/m, I can afford to ruin some jersey – It’s cheaper than drinking, shopping, or eating my way through the stress!)

With that in mind, here are three of the complete failures that’s I’ve made lately. 

#1: Yellow Double Knit Skirt. 

I love this colour, and I want to love double knits… but this self-drafted knock-off of a RTW skirt went horrible wrong. 

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

How can one garment be both too tight (it shows every bump over hy hips and butt) AND too loose? I mean, look what happened when I tried to make an elastic waistband!!!

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

Um, yeah. I don’t even have anything to say here… it’s just unwearable. And since the whole thing is too tight, it’s also unfixable. I love the colour though, so i’ll see if I can work it into some other project down the line!

#2: Lightweight Scout Bow Blouse

I love the Grainline Scout Woven Tee pattern, and I love bow blouses… why not mix the two? 

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

Oh. Nothing wrong with the concept, I think, but my decision to make the bow out of the straight-on-the-grain piece I had left was a mistake. A big mistake! Look at this: 

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

Eeek! Because the bow collar is on-grain, it caused all sorts of awful puckering when I attached it to the neckline. And because I’ve never made or read a real pattern for attaching this kind of collar, I can’t figure out how to finish the front part where it knots! Which resulted in this horrible tangle of serger and topstitching threads, which is unfortunately visible even when the bow is tied. Yuck. This top *might* be fixable if I took of the bow and just made a normal neckline… but I don’t know if I’ll ever find the optimism to try!

#3: The “Perfect Fit” Jersey Dress

I finally made one of the McCalls Jersey dress patterns I bought a while ago… and this was the result! 

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

It’s a bit hard to tell, but thanks to stiff interfacing, the waistband is tenting out a good 10cm from the underbust… and because the waistband doesn’t go all the way around the back, there is no way to pull it snug! The unstructured back of the dress just can’t fight the combined power of boobs and interfacing in the front! 

And the pleats, oh the pleats… I HATE sewing pleats. Hate marking them on fabric, hate ironing them, hate how I never ever get them right. Consequently, the bust is all kinds of wrong, and even though I tried it on and pinned it in place before sewing the overlap, it is a truly awful fit. I don’t understand what happened, honestly! 

Here’s what it looks like when I pin the front tighter, and pull back on the neckline…

Clunkers, Stinkers, and Complete Failures...

Better, but not good! You can see how the back is unstructured (the dress is hanging loose in the rear view picture, btw, not pinned tight)… If I sewed the bodice as tight as it needs to be, I think the back would pull in awful ways over my behind. 

This dress started out as a wearable muslin… then I thought maybe it could be pyjamas… but by the end, it was clearly unwearable in it’s current form. Someday I’ll cut it up and use some of the fabric for other things… until then, it joins my other disasters in a ball on the floor!

There we have it: 3 completely unwearable projects in only two weeks! A part of me wonders if these would have turned out better if I’d been in a better headspace – relaxed and ready to fix problems as the arose, instead of barreling through. In the meantime, I have sewn some good things… and all in all, I’m a little disappointed, but not heartbroken.As I said, the sewing was the fun part! 

Do you use sewing as therapy?  How does stress affect your sewing, and how does sewing affect your stress? I’d love to know!


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