Waning stick-to-it-iveness

March 25, 2010

Y’all probably saw this post on the Colette Patterns blog yesterday, but I wanted to really hammer the point home because, well, it really applies to me. It has, at the very least, made me less embarrassed to share this disastrous dress, RIP March 2010:

It’s Simplicity 4358, which I purchased from the lovely Sarah of ColorKitten last month. Here is the original pattern:

I included the large version of the image because you need to see the detail to really understand what went wrong in my execution. I bought 1.5 yards of a very nice wool twill for $3 at Sew-Fisticated (yay for remnants…or so I thought).  I altered the pattern to fit my measurements, which is why I was comfortable attempting to use less fabric than the pattern calls for. The wool twill did fit the pattern specs, so I was pleased with my thriftiness.

It called for a facing around the neck and armholes–an interfaced, turned-under facing, to be exact. A more skilled seamstress would have said, “Multiple layers of wool twill with a medium-weight interfacing? Obviously not,” whereas I blindly charged ahead.

Problem 1: A turned-and-stitched facing is too thick and is obvious on the front

Problem 2: Interfacing was completely unnecessary

So I attempted to solve this issue by ripping off the interfacing and tearing out, then overcasting, the raw edge of the facing. Result:

To paraphrase Amy Bloom, a blind man can see how bad this looks. I actually went through the process of re-sewing the facing on and turning it right-side out, only to find the most unbelievably bulky gathers right underneath of the points. I don’t know if it was my fabric choice, but I honestly don’t see how you could take 4 layers of thick fabric, turn them inside out, and hang them from a curve…and expect them to lay completely flat, as shown in the pattern photograph.

I returned to the scraps of my fabric in an attempt to cut and sew a new facing (I really wanted to make that $3 worth it) and did not, it turned out, even have enough fabric to cut a new facing. Now the fabric pile has become a sleeping bag for my cat.

…all of this leads me to the article from Threads to which I referred earlier, in which Kenneth King discusses the merits of practice and really screwing up:

“I’m often asked for advice for people who are just embarking on the journey called exploring sewing and design. If I were to say one thing and only one thing, it’s this: perfectionism is a disease, and a form of fear!

When learning the craft of sewing (which I believe is absolutely necessary in order to know what’s possible when designing), you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. This is an acquired skill which can only be perfected by means of repetition—practicing over and over, learning from mistakes, learning when you can save something, and when you need to cut your losses and start over.

If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.

However, if you are willing to charge forward, cut into that fabric, try something different, and risk making a mistake, there will come one day when you realize that you’re sewing without that knot of worry in the pit of your stomach, and the process effortlessly glides along.”

It couldn’t have come at a better time!


One Response to “Waning stick-to-it-iveness”

  1. yahaira Says:

    I can’t stand facings! why do so many sewing patterns have them when you don’t really see it in rtw?

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