The Blogiversary Wadder Ledger

Since I can’t sew while my house is in chaos, I’ve been thinking and reading and looking at things related to sewing a LOT.  Mostly I’ve been thinking about how experimental it all seems to be for me, with successes mostly being regulated to garments I sew for other people.  I don’t have any trouble constructing and finishing garments well, but fitting myself is an elusive science, and I don’t always want to make that @!(#* muslin.  So I end up fitting as I go, which in the case of the Saga of Capris this past spring, means basically I’ve made myself three muslins.  So I should just get over myself and make the muslins already.

Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to catalogue all the garments I’ve made and haven’t kept, and the reasons for letting them go.  Whenever I do catalogue, I start seeing patterns, and this helps going forward.   And I thought I’d share them with y’all, since this blog is about failures, mistakes and successes.  You can click the pics to get to the original posts.

1. Vogue 1175: Donna Karan dress.  I love this dress.  It’s so far out of Normal Clothing Universe that I love it.  But the linen was too heavy and I wasn’t sure about the colour.  So I thrifted it with plans to make it again sometime out of something lighter and darker.2. All my recent Vogue capri makes.  My go with the Burda block has made me absolutely dissatisfied with every pair I made this spring.  I have cannibalized them all for notions, however.

3. The first version of Vogue 8182.  This shrunk after I washed it because I hadn’t pre-shrunk the silk. I was very sorry to part with this dress, and have kicked myself every time I see pictures of it for not pre-treating the fabric before sewing it up.  Never mind.  Lesson learned. Another thing: this dress was made with my first-ever duct tape twin, and it made a tremendous difference in getting the fit right through the bodice.  My twin eventually collapsed, and I’m still without a double. But thinking about this dress and how easy it was to “fit myself” using that dress form makes me kick myself for not having DH wrap me up in duct tape again.4.  The tank from Simplicity 2603. I hated the finishing.  Hated the top.  Hated the pilling on the fabric.5.  This wrap top from Simplicity 4076.  I wore it until the fabric was so badly pilled it became an embarrassment to wear.  But I liked the pattern and it fit well.

6.  A Karl Lagerfeld blouse.  I actually never wore this, although it was fun to make. I’ve wanted to make this blouse since I was a teenager, and I finally got around to it just to make someone else happy in a thrift store! 🙂V1900 batwing sleeves7.  My first plastron from BurdaStyle.  I wasn’t happy with the fit (no required FBA was done) and it shrunk after washing.  I’d like to make this again, if 4 ply silk wasn’t so expensive.  It was a nice top.7. These trousers from Vogue 8434.  I initially loved them and they seem to look good, but I decided last year that they looked dowdy, so I cannibalized them for notions and trashed the fabric.  The RPL was starting to pill anyways, and I hate that.v8434 front8. A tulip skirt.  The fabric was left in stash, so I made this on a whim, mostly to try out the silhouette.  But I cut the lining a size smaller than it should have been, which made it uncomfortable to wear, and I had to always remember to suck my belly button into the front of my spine while wearing it, so I sent it out of the house to bless someone else’s closet.b skirt8. My fringe dress.  I never did like the way it fit, regardless of that lovely fringe.  And every time I’m tempted to make something out of RPL, I remember this dress and the trousers in #7 above, and move on.v2396 full front dartless9. The first woven version of Burda 9/2012 #111.  It needed a lot of tweaking through the shoulders and width down the sleeves, not being made of jersey and all.  D’oh.  Didn’t think that through prior to cutting and sewing.b09-2010-111a full 10.  Both this top and the skirt.  The top was too short and the FBA too big (it was a jersey) for me to wear comfortably.  And the skirt was eventually tiresome, even if it was bias linen in a lovely olive green.  I always used to hate my hips in it.MMJ 1411.  My bombshell dress. It was the first garment I ever cried in frustration over, and after taking pics for the blog, I never wore it.  I always hated the bodice. ‘Nuff said.

12.  This muslin.  I was sorry I wasted the linen on it. I’m still sorry.DSC0347413. These trousers and the jacket.  After years, I finally thrifted that jacket.  The trousers, although I was sorry to see that beautiful wool crepe go, had to leave.  I hated the high waistband after all.montana jacket14.  This OOP Vogue blouse that looks like Vogue 8747, but is cut completely on the bias.  It gave me nightmares every time I put it on.  And the trousers. The shirt was made out of fabric that was too drapey for the pattern, and the trousers just got worse the more I wore them.  Looking at them now, I know what’s needed, but I thrifted them both.  I didn’t even bother cannibalizing them for parts.v7751 r315. The shark fin skirt.  Bad fabric choice, and I’m still lamenting this one.  I loved the fabric, but it would have been much better in a straight skirt.  I wore it once.B 2-2011-103 detailAnd there you have it.  Just looking at this catalogue makes me appreciate how much I’ve learned through trial and error, and brings home – yet again – just how much I need to think through fabric/pattern marriages and make a muslin. This post marks my blogiversary, and in the last three years of taking pictures and scrutinizing my sewing skills, wardrobe and style choices, I’ve learned a lot.  I know I’m making more garments that fit better and that I’m happy to wear now that I’ve been logging more sewing hours, scrutinizing fit, poring over tutorials and books, and reading a gazillion sewing blogs.  Also, I am amazed at how helpful the camera is in tweaking fit.  I really hated taking pictures at the beginning, but I’m thankful that it helps me pinpoint things that need improvement.  I’m also surprised at how a lot of these garments don’t look so bad in retrospect, although I’m not sorry I let them go, because I wasn’t comfortable wearing them even though (from today’s perspective)  they didn’t look half as bad as I thought they did at the time I made the decision to pass them on.

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17 thoughts on “The Blogiversary Wadder Ledger

  1. I’m so glad you shared this with us – I feel so bad when I spend the time and fabric I love to make something I just don’t wear, for whatever reason. I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one 🙂 For me, while i feel bad about the wasted time/fabric, it does make me appreciate the true winners all the more. I try to remind myself it is all a learning experience in the end, and the mistakes along the way help teach me what NOT to do in the future 🙂

  2. Yeah them muslins and self fitting. I have got to get my dress form padded out and more me-like.

    I am, as always, damn impressed with the garments you make. Even the wadders! And I too love your colour choices 🙂

  3. Your wadders are stumbling on some pretty high standards!

    There are a couple here that I love (like the BurdaStyle plastron, and the yellow jacket), and one I remember dearly wanting to make in the 90s (!! that Karl Lagerfeld blouse! I so wanted the pattern at the time! Instead I made V1358, a similar style by Claude Montana but also problematic with a short waist, oops.) And Vogue 1175 is one of my all time favourite dresses (I’ve made 2) – but I think it’s unusual for Donna Karan in that it favours those of us without much of a bust…

  4. Oh well done for taking the time to figure out what’s wrong with past makes and if there are any trends. I can totally relate to not wanting to make a muslin/toile, but like you I’m swiftly realising it’s the only sensible option! xx

  5. Thanks for a very helpful and encouraging post. Fabric choice is where I make most of my mistakes too, and I have so little sewing time ( or perhaps that is too many projects!) that I resent having to make a muslin.

  6. Honestly, once you start muslining you will be a convert. It usually saves me time rather than adding time to a project. I think most of my fails have been fabric fails, too. Muslins help with this too since you can see how the garment is supposed to drape or not.

  7. I love your phrase “cannibalized for notions”! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who will do that. 🙂 I really like your mustard colored jacket. Was that handmade too? If so, what pattern?

    1. The jacket was from an old Vogue Montana suit pattern. I can’t remember off hand. It was the first fully interfaced jacket I’d ever made and the first jacket I’d done my short waist adjustment on.

  8. What a brilliant post! I have similar thoughts about a lot of things I’ve made…mostly due to a very steep learning curve.. (and a few added curves which make fitting a whole new ball game! Pooh) .Posts like this are as helpful or even more helpful for learning what NOT to do! Thank you!

  9. You and I are living parallel lives right now. I just thrifted a bunch of homemade clothing, like, yesterday! I always hate to see them go, after all we worked so hard on them. BUT, if they’re never worn, it’s best to “release them to the world” 🙂

  10. Hmm, I have to say some of those look pretty nice in my book. I rather like the shark fin skirt. in fact, I designed and made a pattern as well as a muslin for one similar in my pattern-making class! What pattern is that? But its so nice to know that you have come so far. I’ve not been sewing very long but also have lots of items that I’ve never worn after photographing them for the blog.

  11. A friend of mine is learning to sew and cries if she has to use the seam ripper. I told her this is how you learn. By making mistakes.
    I always make muslins. I came to realize that I never regretted making one. I only had regrets when I hadn’t taken the time to make a muslin.

  12. Wow, you have some beautiful pieces here. I love Vogue 1175 as well… well, your version! I didn’t really care for the sample garment in the catalog, which is why I didn’t realize that it’s such an interesting dress. The skirt on that dress is fascinating!

  13. Holy Crap, Girl…you are some production seamstress! Pity about some of those separates…can’t even be used for costumes or washing the dog. We learn so much about the importance of pattern and fabric combos…from the disasters. Makes you appreciate RTW when all that comes together and is sells right off the rack…the rest goes on clearance.Love your color choices though and you are smiling through it all. Thanks for the memories!

  14. Great post. I hate taking pictures of myself and I hate LOOKING at pictures of myself, but really that is the only way to analyze how the garment looks and more often than not I realize . . . Hey, I got the fit pretty good on that one or I can see in an instant where I went wrong. I have learned (the hard way!) a muslin is a necessity for me even though I HATE sewing them. But my success rate is higher if I ‘muslin’ the pattern before I sew it up in the fashion fabric.

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