Monday, June 24, 2013

Pleated Neckline Shirt: FAIL

When I was first learning violin, I imagined I was a strolling minstrel during practice time. I played eight-bar songs while sashaying up and down the hallway. I didn't realize it at the time, but I sounded utterly awful. My parents, bless them, didn't tell me this. They said they were glad I enjoyed playing and could I please practice in my room with the door closed?

I knew I made plenty of mistakes when I sewed this shirt version of Burda Style Magazine 8/2007 101A in 2008, but thoroughly enjoyed wearing the final product. But as my sewing improved, it moved further and further back in the closet. The lumpy fit and wonky bias tape trim got harder to overlook.

I considered converting this shirt into napkins last month, but my husband suggested I keep it around. He was right. It's a great shirt of last resort, keeping me cool in this sweltering heat when all my other summer clothes are hanging on the laundry line. It's also a nice reminder of a time when I was pleased just to finish a project and wasn't so picky on the details.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Madame Butterfly Dress: FAIL

Unintentional duck face, I swear.
Here it is, the project that makes me wring my hands ever time I see it: the Madame Butterfly dress variation from Sew U Home Stretch. Sewn up in a lovely designer knit. Almost never worn (and even then, with a cardigan). The problems fall into two categories:

1. Body issues. We all know that lots of ladies wish they had more, less, or different curves. I'm not usually 100% confident in my particular combination and this dress leaves no room for apprehension. Had I paid attention to the ease included in the pattern (none!), I could have corrected for this. But I sewed up my size without a second thought.

2. Construction and design errors. This dress, from 2008 or 2009, was one of my first forays into knits. I wish I could say my skills with necklines have improved! Not only is the facing flipped over (despite my attempt at understitching to keep it in place), but the neckline has stretched out over time.

Some of my disappointment stems from following the fashion illustration vs. the technical one. The ruffle, about half the size as the one in the illustration, looks a bit like an afterthought. The sleeves are longer than pictured in the book, ending in an unflattering place right below the bust. If I had paid more attention, these errors would have been easy to spot and fix.

As it is, I keep pulling this dress out of my closet and putting it back in.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tübingen Bag: PASS

I really wanted to show you a failed project this week. It's been looking far too rosy around here. Rest assured, not everything I touch a needle to turns to gold. But you'll have to wait until Sunday to see the fail that makes me wring my hands the most.

In the meantime, isn't this cute? I keep this purse, made from machen/machen's free Wasp Bag pattern, at work for trips when I don't want the extra weight of my beautiful quilted bike bag. The pleats make this bag very roomy. Roomy enough to carry whatever I'm toting plus my actual purse (which is too shameful to be seen on its own). 

I bought this fabric as a souvenir from a delightful store in Tübingen, Germany, one of Ann Arbor's sister cities. I used the wrong side for the contrast at the top of the bag. The Wasp Bag pattern includes an interior pocket and a strap for your keys, which is so useful. If I were to make it again, I might add a zipper to the pocket to keep my phone safely inside.

Blue and yellow were a hot color combination the summer I sewed it up. I had no idea I'd be carrying it around the University of Michigan campus years later!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Denim Mini: PASS

Last week my son tapped his pink and purple striped fabric and asked me, "When are you going to make this into my shirt?" The kid has a valid question. The fabric for his promised garment has been hanging on the banister for a over a month. 

I wish I could have answered that I wanted nothing more than to make his shirt. But I did want something more: a denim miniskirt. I told him, "Oh, soon," and went off to the studio to cut up a pair of jeans.