Top 5 Misses of 2017

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Sewing fails are something I’ve really come to terms with over the years. After all, what makes something a “miss”? Is it because it doesn’t fit, or the fabric wasn’t right? Does it include things you enjoyed making, but never actually wore? What about projects that were more experimental in colour or shape, and helped you figure out that, “No, that really doesn’t work for me”?

I love this category most when it reveals which projects looked amazing in a photoshoot, but never made it into rotation. And boy oh boy, do I have a lot of these in my sewing life – so welcome to my Top 10 list!

Things I’ve Given Away: 

These are not bad projects, just ones that I thought would get worn more/look better on someone else!

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I think wrap style tops like this look amazing on some people, but they always make me self-conscious about gaping or the double-layer of fabric over my stomach. (Technically this was a pattern test from 2016, but it was blogged in 2017 so I’m counting it!)

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I love this Concord/Renfrew mashup in theory, but gold and black is not ideal on me! I remember that I bought the fabric in a moment of fabric store panic when they didn’t have many good prints, so it’s a good reminder not to buy stuff I know I won’t love! (My sister wore it the other day and looked great in it!)

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One the one hand, I think I look kinda awesome in these Winslow Culottes… but on the other hand, I still gave them away! I enjoyed trying the pattern and I’m glad they have a new home.

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I like this dress in theory, but never reached for it… so I gave it to my mom, who then lent it to my sister for a holiday party!

Bad Fabric Choices:

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Folks, I HATE cotton lycra! I thought I might like it when it had an awesome print and was high quality, but ugh.

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Ditto with cheap polyester sweater knits. There is no point even buying them. Having some rayon in the mix will make the sweater drape so much better! (This is from the deep stash and was used for pattern testing though, so I don’t mind that it didn’t turn out as a favourite garment!)

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Silk noile knit sounds so fun, right? I never got rid of the fishy smell though, so it languishes in my closet!

Only Worn Once – but I’ll Try Again Next Year! 

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This outfit is way outside my comfort zone… but I’m going to give it a try in spring and see if it works!

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When is it warm enough for a t-shirt and cool enough for velvet? Only for a about a week in fall or spring, and then the weather changes. I have worn this on weekends and enjoyed it… and maybe it will get pulled out over the holiday season? It cost a whole $5 though, so I don’t regret it!

Experiments The Didn’t Turn Out

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This top is maybe the closest to a fail that made it onto the blog. I knew as soon as I finished it that the style wasn’t for me. I’d been eyeing this pattern for weeks though, and the fabric was cheap and also experimental in colour, so again, I don’t regret it!

So there we have it! 10 less-than-successful projects from 2017 (that’s almost one a month!) I know a lot of people online mention guilt about projects that didn’t work out – the time and fabric wasted, the environmental impact, and so on. I get that, but I also feel like being experimental is part of why I love sewing. Some experiments turn out to be favourites, and some don’t! I love a TNT as much as the next person, but sewing only safe projects would be boring!

 


35 thoughts on “Top 5 Misses of 2017

    1. I”m always happy when I can pass things ono to a good home – it makes it much easier not to just hoard things I won’t wear!

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  1. I love this post and agree with you entirely. If you don’t try you never find out. Every marvelous invention came after a long line of failures with some miraculous discoveries along the way. You keep experimenting and sharing not only your projects but your stories. Thank you.

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    1. “Every marvelous invention came after a long line of failures with some miraculous discoveries along the way.” – What a wonderful way to put it! That’s a great summary of my approach to sewing!

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  2. I want to love cotton lycra but the drape doesn’t usually quite do it for me. I do think your t-shirt looks like lots of fun. I love the idea of a velvet shirt but the inside of velvet is so smooth that it always feels cold to me. I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how to get warm in the winter so I am always on the lookout for cozy fabrics. Maybe a velvet t-shirt would be a way for me to play with velvet.

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    1. I agree that velvet can feel cold! i don’t notice it with my velvet Ebony, but this tee is so loose that it would be drafty in any fabric!

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  3. I, too, prefer to live a life free of regrets – if I turn “bad” experiences into learning opportunities, then I have reason to be happy that they occurred. Glad to find a kindred spirit! =)

    And I also agree with you about cotton lycra’s lack of drape. I prefer to use it for fitted t-shirts and underwear, and rely on rayon and rayon blends for drapey tops and dresses. [Fiber] Knowledge is Power!

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  4. Oh man, that cotton lycra gets me more often than I’d like to admit. In fact, I’m currently making some up into a project so this part of the post really hit home for me. It’s so weirdly “stiff” and clingy, no drape once it’s on the body, and just grrr! I love rayons, but they just don’t last. I don’t want to make disposable clothes. 😦

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  5. When I looked at your fails they really sort of fit in my category of “practice runs” which I do every time I’m making up a pattern for the first time. I’m pretty sure with my practice run that it’s not going to work because I’m not wild about the fabric to start with – I’m making only some rudimentary adjustments and will likely have to tweak it more for the final garment. I had some doozies this year though where patterns just didn’t work for me and 2 were crazy expensive patterns (from companies I’ll never buy from again so it was a learning experience there!) and a couple that when I put them on wondered where my brain was at when I bought the pattern in the first place 🙂 So my fails this year were more about patterns than fabric.

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  6. I didn’t have a lot of fails this year but I played it safe/boring…predictable colors and prints, things I know I’d wear, lots of patterns on repeat….probably too safe! And probably because my sewing time is at a premium…but what’s the fun in safe all the time! Hoping for a few more just because projects in 2018!

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    1. Playing it safe is good too! I”m wearing a Concord top and espresso leggings right now, both of which are patterns I’ve made easily 20 times. Especially if your sewing time is limited, I can see the appeal!

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  7. What do I know, but it looks to me that you haven’t found your style yet your sewing looks great but just need to find a style that is flattering for you then I think you will be happy all that you make. If you find that style all you need is a basic pattern for it then alter that for new designs. That is how I see it anyway. Hope this helps

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    1. Hi Brenda! Interesting you’d say that – and I can certainly see your point if you just look at the makes in this post. I actually very confident in my personal style and TNT patterns, which is why it’s so fun to experiment and try things beyond the safe and normal! 🙂

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  8. All I can say is that it’s awesome to be able to find 10 “fails” because it means you had lots of opp to experiment and to learn. I’m having sewing withdrawal at this point.

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    1. Let me know if you ever want to make a date in Toronto and rent some sewing time at the Workroom! We could scratch that sewing itch! 😉

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  9. It’s funny you say that about cotton lycra, because it’s my #1 choice when sewing with knits. And I can’t stand poly in the blend at all! I think it’s a sign of a successful sewing year that you have 10 misses which aren’t particularly bad in themselves, but just for one reason or another don’t suit you or had fabric issues or whatever.

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    1. What kind of patterns do you like to make in cotton lycra? I did just order some to make legging-pyjamas, and I do love it for form-fitting things like that!

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      1. Just basic tees. I’ve used it for the Named Sointu Kimono Tee, Aeolian Tee and Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee, for example. And knickers of course! I think I like it because it covers everything up a bit, whereas poly or viscose knits tend to cling and show every lump and bump.

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  10. I love this post. My main problem is the fit for my small shoulders and short body with a larger waist and hip. I got so frustrated with my PDF shirt patterns being so large that they would fall right off my shoulders even when I made that part in a x small that I dumped all my PDF patterns off my computer.

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    1. Ugh, that’s frustrating! Have you ever tried a company like SBCC or Sewaholic, that (at least partially) drafts for that type of figure?

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      1. No, i am going through the design it yourself clothes book by Cal Patch. You use your own measurements and make the pattern. So far so good.

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  11. It’s interesting how good photography can make something we don’t really like look good. Is this how fashion models feel when wearing some questionable goods?! *LOL* I’m glad you found some good homes for the makes you no longer wanted…and isn’t it amazing that we think of these great ideas and they don’t quite excute the way we think?!

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  12. Got to agree with the comments above. If you have 10 “fails’, especially ones that look so good and well-made, then you are definitely doing something right. It is nice to get out of your comfort zone once in a while as it is so easy to wear similar things all the time. I liked all of your fails. 🙂 Xx

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  13. Thanks for sharing. It’s so true….oftentimes fails are things that just don’t end up being right for ‘us’. It’s nice that you have at minimum two gals in your life that you can consider gifting your fails to!

    So. You mentioned that you do not like cotton/lycra. This is making me think..wonder? What else is there, LOL? But seriously….me thinks I am lacking information on the various knits out there. I make regular t-shirts out of cotton/lycra, and I make workout gear out of cotton/lycra. I have dipped into the rayon something something something blend from Fabricland once but my harem style pants faded and pilled horribly after the second wash. I nervous…especially with online shopping…about buying the right knits.

    It would be wonderful if you did a post that took a closer look at knit fabrics…their fiber content, how they behave in general {I know fabric drape etc can vary even with the same content}, stretch, resilience etc. If you’ve covered this already, please point me to the post!

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  14. Thank you for a thought-provoking article. Interesting to hear about people’s feelings on cotton–lycra fabric. I haven’t sewn much with knits, but my favourite purchased knit tops are all 100% cotton, which I can’t seem to find anywhere in fabric shops (although I’m in Australia so not a wide choice anyway). Even my purchased undies are 100% cotton knit!

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