Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Dress that Never Was and Other Sewing Adventures

Sometimes you have one of those sewing weeks where all you attempt to make are want to be wadders.

I know there are some sewers out there in the blogosphere that always turn out perfect garments every time.


I am not one of those sewers.

I have my up and down sewing weeks.

I suspect I am in good company :).

And I run an honest blog, where I share my successes and failures - because we all feel better knowing we are not the only ones that have less than optimal sewing weeks.


I guess I should have known better than to even attempt sewing this week as I  had a lot of chores to do, and fragmented sewing time is not always a recipe for success.

I need a couple of hours each week to totally concentrate on planning, pattern modification and cutting.

Then I can work in a fragmented fashion.

Anyway, this is the story so far this week:

Unfortunately I lost this time this week due to the unfortunate incident occasioned by DH, who accidentally poked me in the eye.  It was painful and didn't settle, so I realised after an hour or so that he had actually scratched the eye and I had an abrasion.

It was red and painful.  I knew what the problem was, and knew what to look out for, so decided not to have it looked at on a Sunday.  The main risk was infection and scarring, but I thought the scratch was in a safe area from how it felt.  

On Monday, it was more settled, but still not good with use, so that was Monday's sewing time gone.  I also couldn't go to work as I was photo-phobic and couldn't use the computer.  Or read more than two columns in the paper without problem.  Or sew. Frustration!

So I sorted out my patterns, which have been scattered in baskets through the house and put them all in a filing cabinet - previously I had only filled one drawer, but now there are two filled and only two neat baskets of patterns in my sewing space:

By Tuesday my eye was feeling much better (thank goodness) and I decided to make a muslin for a dress I thought I liked, Vogue 1400.  Then DH cheered up enormously, because he had felt rather bad.

Vogue Patterns Misses' Dress 1400

This was a weird dress with sleeves detached from the shoulder.  Now, I am not a lover of exposed shoulders on me.  It can look lovely on some people, but it is not a look that I like for me.

It was also shaped like a big round bag - it actually has a curve going out from bust to hips.  I have a waist that goes in.

So I decided to alter the pattern a bit, and took the sleeves up to the shoulder, and took in the waist.

I made a calico.  It still looked like a bag.  I belted the bag.  It looked like a belted bag.

Very unflattering.  I know I have made two loose house dresses this year, but they at least were sort of flattering for what they were.

This wasn't.

I also think the style is just not me.

So, I binned the project.

While I was at it, I also binned the idea of making  Rebecca Taylor's colour blocked dress, Vogue 1316:

 I had made a calico a few months ago, and when I reviewed it this week, decided that the problem was there was far too much busyness in the seaming and in the colour blocking to look good on my figure.  It is also far too dramatic a style for my taste.  I think I just had sewing blog fever when I bought this pattern (luckily for $5.00, not $28.00 - and the same for V1400).

So, both of these have gone in the bin, and I feel a surge of relief that I don't have to bother with these dresses again. 

That tells me something.

That tells me to choose styles I like and that will be flattering on me.

So, I decided to make Burda 7201, a dress I have long liked, and it got my Mojo excited:

I had a piece of fabric in the stash, and it was just enough for this dress.  Just enough, not a millimetre to spare.

I pre-washed the fabric only to find this flaw when I ironed it:

Not only that, but I found little discoloured marks along one edge, as if bleach had got in the water.  I berated myself over this, as I had used bleach to clean the sink, but this was in a bowl that had no bleach near it.  Nevertheless, I assumed I had been careless.

So, I couldn't make the dress after all.  So I decided to be positive, and make the top instead.

That evening, while checking that I could perhaps get the top out with all the flaws to avoid, I turned the fabric over to find this:

It wasn't me at all - the dye problem is quite obvious on the back and actually runs in a line that the camera isn't quite showing - you can also see all sorts of other areas.

By now I was getting extremely frustrated.  I pinned all the flawed areas that I could find, and then cut out the top without making my usual muslin to check fit and so on.

Only to find when I started sewing it today that I had forgotten to cut the back of the garment.

Now this had turned into the Top that Never Was.  The Mojo was not pleased.

Of course, if I had been more patient, I would have made a muslin and this would never have happened.

You live and learn. Only to live and learn again when you skip a step, or sew when tired and frustrated.

So, all into the rubbish bin.


Moving right along (as I do) I then decided to tidy up a little more and rethink my position.  I don't feel like starting anything today because it will probably be jinxed.

The new position (rethought, and probably said many times before ) is that I will always muslin first - just to catch errors with fit, or even missing pattern pieces!

 As a final note to this sad and sorry saga, I decided to toss all my old muslins that never eventuated into garments as they did not fit, needed work, I lost interest, learnt what I needed to learn,  or whatever.

It's a good feeling tossing out things are redundant.  I now have one calico left, which is the only one I want to play with.

Doesn't that look better?

  I am now  ready for a brand new sewing week, where, as we all know in sewing land, there is happiness ever after, perfection reigns, and there is no such thing as a wadder.

Have a great week everyone, wherever you are :)

Sarah Liz



  1. I know your pain. I have felt frustration like yours. Good to refocus and move on.

    Time for chocolate now.

  2. Wow what a frustrating week, though glad you always see the positive and now have your patterns all neat and easy to find and have cleared the clutter of old Muslims ready to start a fresh. Happy sewing.

    1. Thank you Tracy, sometimes I think these things are for the best in the long run :)

  3. Oh Sarah Liz I could've written this post! I know the feeling. I know the feeling!!!

    I tossed a bunch of muslins and in-progress garments that weren't working. Yay for purging!

    And I'm SO glad your eye healed up :/

    1. Thank you Mrs Smith - and I agree, nothing like a good purge...

  4. Oh my Sarah Liz sorry to had to deal with all those sewing woes....not just one but several at once. Sounds like you kept a positive attitude, and tossing the rubbish is the best cleansing process! Can't wait to see what you have ready for your fresh beginning!

    1. Thank you - I agree, nothing like a good toss out as well :)

  5. Oh, I know what you are going through! I am glad you were able to find a way to rescue your mojo, even if you were not able to sew. Take care of your eye!

    1. Thank you Mary - I suspected I was in good company :)

  6. On the up side, after a week like that you are bound to have a brilliant run now. Love your positive attitude .... All organised and ready to blitz it this week :)

    1. Thank you Judy - as you say, all cleared ready to go...

  7. SO sorry about your eye..Proud it is getting better..
    What a bad sewing week..Oh... I so know how you feel.. I have had one of those weeks too..
    Proud you were so positive and got rid of the problems..Ready to move on to the next project.. Happy sewing and best wishes for a good sewing week.

    1. Thank you Judy - yes, we do all have those weeks and I like to show people how to stay positive and move on, as well all have these weeks.

  8. I'm glad your eye healed. Sorry about your week but good luck for next week. Yesterday I took a length of faulty fabric back to shop; last time I did it, I was treated like a criminal! This time was much better but I've decided I really don't like the shop and if it hadn't been for two helpful assistants balancing the others I wouldn't go back (not that I have much choice!)

    1. Thank you Anne.

      Yes, you do have to watch fabrics and how fabric stores cut and treat you. Sometimes I decided to assert myself, and other times decide it is not worth the time, energy or effort.

  9. So sorry about the eye infection Sarah Liz - and I am so relieved for you that it is better. Sight is of course so important, especially for sewing.
    You have no idea how reassuring your week of wadders is to read - I have quite a high attrition rate, where I abandon at the calico stage, and I feel so guilty! A good clear out is definitely worth it. Now I just feel guilty about the sorry filing system I have for the patterns; yours is so neat and organised, looks fantastic. I'm sure you'll have a great week of sewing this week.

    1. Thank you Patricia - never feel guilty abandoning at the calico - that is what the calico is for! I had to tidy my patterns and stash, but it was done over quite a few months, a few a day.

  10. I am glad that you managed to settle down the bad week, I had that moment too. I know your feeling :(
    Wishing you a great week ahead and take care of your eye.

    1. Thank you so much Hana - and I think a number of us are having a run of bad sewing events at the moment.

  11. "Happiness ever after" I love that bit. That's what new sewing weeks are for, so I should be at the sewing machine and not on the computer! Hope your week this week is full of wonderful sewing, and not wadders.

  12. Sorry to hear about your eye! Since I have become more serious about sewing, I definitely pinpointed what styles I like and what I do not. Several weeks back I had a week like yours where I sewed but they ended up in the scrap bin (one even ended in the rubbish bin). Here is to a better week!

    1. - yes, working out what styles is quite a process, sort of ongoing.

      I think we all have those bin weeks - and some things are have to go into the rubbish or they haunt you forever!

  13. Oh poor you! You did not have a good week! I spent wasted time on a scarf that Peggy Sagers showed on her last webinar. It has a crochet like fringe which you achieve by tying the fringe in several rows. Well it looked pretty until you had to arrange it around the neck. No way! It looked terrible no matter how hard I tried so in the garbage that went! Have a better week Sarah. I'm so glad to hear that your eye was not seriously injured.

    1. Thank you For your commiserations Diana. I think we all take a risk with everything we attempt, and that the rubbish bin is part of the deal:). Still, the process of learning is always worthwhile.

  14. What a week you've had! But with your upbeat personality and positive attitude you turned it into a positive at the end. 'Happiness ever after where perfection reigns'.... love it!

    1. Thank you Lisa - I make sure I work on the positive moments with sewing, believe you me :)