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.


So I made another pair of shorts for DD1.IMG_2981I like those shorts!  Cool tie dye! IMG_2983 So much for proper pattern placement.  😐  It’s amazing how I swing from “wow” to “are you SERIOUS?!?!” sewing.  Jeepers.

Vogue 1250: Ummm… I don’t think so…

Last night I thought I’d put together Vogue 1250 – yet another Donna Karan dress.  It’s got rave reviews on Pattern Review – and I really like all the different versions – but this just did NOT work for me.  Maybe I’m a little body conscious, but IMHO, I think it’s not a great fit.

After making up Vogue 1179tie dye DK (you can see a pic here) in a solid colour and realizing how a solid colour shows everything you don’t want to be seen, I thought “I’ll not make something in a solid knit again!”.  So I ordered this lovely tie-dyed rayon jersey from EOS last year and thought I’d do another version of Donna Karan’s sleeveless wrap dress.  Duh.  I should have done that instead of putting this one together.

First, the tie-dye is just slightly off the straight grain, so it tie dye DK backjust doesn’t work with the lines of this dress.  Secondly, the pattern description says “close-fitting”.  Uh huh.  Close-fitting, my eye.  I cut my usual sizing, and it hangs like a sack.  Not pretty.  And the cowl is very low for some reason.  The pattern went together simply enough.  I think it took all of 2 hours to stitch it up this far (it’s only missing a finished hem), which is really nice.  I like a dress that goes together quickly.  But this dress is not for me!  Even if I take it in about 3 sizes so it’s form fitting, I just don’t think it’s very flattering on a shape like mine.

tie dye DK tight

Nope.  I think I’ll just re-cut this into a top because this is just not a pretty sight.  And it would be worse in a solid knit without the help of substantial undergarments…  and who wants to wear those on a hot summer’s day under a dress that’s supposed to be cool AND flattering?!?!

So there you have it….. At least the dress front and skirt back is all cut as one piece.  I should be able to squeak a top out of this yet.

Sigh… sometimes it’s discouraging making up something you can see in your mind’s eye only to have wished you could have tried it on before wasting your time!  At least this was an “easy peasy” dress pattern to sew.

Oh well….  Onward and upward!

Muslin required

Thank you all for commiserating with me over this jacket!  I must say, it’s the most expensive muslin I’ve ever made!  But there’s lessons to be learned here:

  • Always do a muslin, even if that means a simple tissue fitting!
  • Never neglect the required FBA, even on a jacket!
  • Don’t leave projects languishing for 6 years in the UFO pile.  Cut them and sew them up toute de suite!

Well, all is not lost.  As I said to my husband the other night, using cashmere as a muslin is still cheaper than attending a class, and I did learn something!  Isn’t that the point?  Always learning and improving our sewing skills.  Oodles of fitting problems here!

v2017 front v2017 back

Notes for next time (noted on the pattern!):

  • FBA required
  • Sway back adjustment
  • Add 2” to overall jacket length

I must say I was bummed a bit on Friday about this jacket, but on Saturday I thought, “Let’s move on!”

So I went on a cutting binge after putting the kids to bed.

Vogue 2396’s shirt in ivory stretch cotton (I think spring is just around the corner!)  I did not do an FBA, but I did do a tissue fit.  The bust measurement on the pattern was very generous:  47” for a size 16, which is what I normally cut to get the fit through the shoulders.

v2396 shirt

I decided I didn’t need an FBA for this shirt.  My main concern would be gaping at the CF, but there is a lot of overlap drafted into this shirt front.

v2396 tissue fit

Vogue 8287 shirt in a bronze crinkle taffeta.  Yup, I did my FBA. I made this shirt without an FBA about 5 years ago, and am re-making it with the FBA.  Need I say more? Smile


And Cinderella’s dress, but that’s a separate post.  I’m up after being knocked down!

Well, it’ll have to wait

For a different fabric in a different time, that is.  The green cashmere jacket a.k.a. Vogue 2017 is a wadder.

Every now and then I meet more than my match in fabric.  Mostly it’s because I don’t think through what I’m making with the fabric. I either choose the wrong design for the fabric, or the wrong fabric for the design (wrong fabric weight, drape, etc.).


Unfortunately, this cashmere falls into the "didn’t think it through" category.  It’s too lightweight for this pattern (which calls for tweed and gabardine!) and shows every single flaw in my arsenal of sewing skills. 

I do not like to work with fabrics that show up my lack of expertise. 

I much prefer fabrics that are loving…  forgiving… benevolent… kind…. You get the picture.  I don’t like perfectionist tendencies in fabrics.  It drives me crazy, makes me consider myself completely unskilled and frustrates me to the point of not caring about the economics of wadding a project.


Consider the bound buttonholes.  These are on the sleeves (what WAS I thinking?!?!?)  Six bound buttonholes on the sleeves, because I didn’t like the look of machine buttonholes… but bound buttonholes are not my forte.  I did practice.  I made 5 practice buttonholes, and was sort of happy with the last two….  And then I thought….. I have to face these damn buttonholes on the sleeves.  I repeat…

WHAT was I thinking?!?!

And the buttons…. I went hunting for buttons for this very odd-coloured fabric.  I found lovely buttons… Italian buttons… expensive buttons…


All for naught.  I even gave up on the hand topstitching because it didn’t match the topstitching in my mind’s eye.  I switched to machine…


So there!  I do not like the bound buttonholes on the sleeves, but once in, in forever.  And I’ve no extra fabric to recut the sleeve! 

Maybe I’ll finish up one sleeve, set it in and see how horrible it looks before actually giving it to the garbage collectors.  And maybe I should just go to bed….