2013 Year In Review: Misses

Top 5 of 2013In the spirit of reflection and growth (and fun!), I’m hopping on Gillian’s bandwagon and posting my Top 5 Lists for 2013.  I really like this idea, not only because it’s interesting to look back on my year of sewing and see what went well and what didn’t, but also because it’ll be helpful in moving forward, planning future projects, and making the most of my precious sewing time.  To get the worst of them out of the way first, I’ll start with the misses (and I’ve got 4 of them, not 5 – close enough!).

Top 4 Misses of 2013:

1 – Gathered skirts (Butterick 5613, View A)

Cream gathered skirt with border stripes - Butterick 5613 View A

Cream polka dot gathered skirt - Butterick 5613 View A

Fatal flaws: I just don’t like the look and feel of gathered skirts on me.  I had never really worn them before and wanted to give them a try, and while they were easy to sew, I always felt like a cupcake when wearing them.  Way too bottom-heavy for my taste!  The volume around my hips is too much for my small bust and looks unbalanced.  Also, since I actually like my relatively slim figure and narrow hips, I was never crazy about covering them up with such a full skirt.  I probably won’t be slim forever, so might as well show off what I’ve got while I’ve still got it, right?  : )

The other problem with these skirts is that they’re unlined, and the quilting cotton sticks to my tights in the winter.  Therefore, they’re relegated to summer wear only.  Booooo.

Lessons learned: Focus on close-fitting skirts and dresses instead of full/gathered ones, and always line skirts/dresses with a slippery fabric.

2 – Red zebra Renfrew

Sewaholic Renfrew 7 red zebra - finished project gallery

Fatal flaws: I think my face says it all.  : )  This fabric was a good idea in theory, but it was a disaster in practice.  The print was WAY too bright and busy for this pattern, the jersey didn’t stretch as much as I was expecting, and it shrunk a bit in the first wash (despite my pre-washing the fabric).  Overall, this shirt is too crazy and too tight.  I only wore it once.  Womp womp.

Lessons learned: Choose fabric based on whether it would actually look good as a wearable garment with the pattern I have in mind for it, NOT because it’s pretty.  Also, always pre-wash jersey TWICE.  I’ve seen other sewists talk about this so I know it’s not just me… but what’s up with that?

3 – Leopard print Renfrew

Sewaholic Renfrew 8 leopard print cowl - front

Fatal flaws: I bought this fabric online, and it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  As I discussed in the original post, the brown/black design is printed on white jersey, which really doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  The fabric looked faded from the start, and faded clothing is one of my major pet peeves.

The top also shrunk a bit even after pre-washing, just like its red zebra counterpart.  Annoying.

Lessons learned: Try to buy fabric in person whenever possible.  If it’s not possible, but a swatch!  I know it takes longer and there’s a risk of the fabric selling out, but it’s worth it to get a finished garment that I’ll be happy with in the end.  (Can you tell I’m trying to convince myself?)  Also, like above, pre-wash jersey twice.

4 – Blueberry crush dress (Butterick 5602)

Blueberry crush dress - Butterick 5602 - mirror shot

This one *almost* doesn’t count because it was one of my very first completed garments and I was still figuring out what the heck I was doing, but since I finished it in 2013, I figured I’d include it on the list.

Fatal flaws: I didn’t pre-wash the fabric.  Oh, horror of horrors!!  I think we all make that mistake when we first start sewing, and it only takes one project to learn that lesson.  Ouch.  I still like the idea of this dress and wish I could wear it, but the poor thing is skin tight and only suitable for club hopping.  Since I haven’t been to a club in years, this dress is basically unwearable.  Womp womp.

Lessons learned: For the love of god, pre-wash all fabric!  Trust me, this lesson has been LEARNED.

Overall I’d say this isn’t too bad for my first full year of sewing.  I’m learning what I like and don’t like in terms of fit and style, and I’m constantly learning more and more about fabric choice and care.

Stay tuned for my 2013 hits!

__________________________

Edited to add 12/28/13: John reminded me that I actually have one more miss to add to the list.  How could I have possibly forgotten this one??

5 – EPIC PANTY FAIL!

Panty sewing fail

Fatal flaws: Attempting to make lingerie without any prior knowledge or research.  What was I thinking??  I tried to attach elastic to a garment for the first time, without practicing on scraps beforehand.  Also, I totally used the wrong type of elastic.  I still think making my own undies is a fun idea and could actually work if I take the time to figure out how to do things properly, so perhaps I’ll come back to this in the future.

Lessons learned: Sewing lingerie is a whole different animal and requires some preparation.  Attaching professional-looking elastic is not as easy as I thought it would be.  When making lingerie, lingerie elastic is the ONLY option!  All elastic is not equal!  Sheesh, lots of lessons on this one.  : )

Ok, I think I’m really done with the misses now.  Phew!

8 comments
  1. Hey, even your misses are beautiful. Can’t wait to see the Hits.

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks! Thankfully I didn’t have too many disasters, just not-quite-right projects.

  2. Gillian said:

    Oh man, a gathered skirt made it on my Fail List too! Just not flattering on me, and like you said, I feel cupcake-y! Ugh. I’ve had the same issues with buying knits online too… I think buying wovens must be more reliable, because more people seem happy with their purchase… but knits are so hard to understand just by a picture and description! I’m disappointed more often than not. As for pre-washing twice, I’m definitely in that camp – always better safe than sorry! :) Thanksf or joining in the Top 5 lists – I’ve added your blog to me reader, and I’m looking forward to following it this year!

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks for stopping by, Gillian! I just discovered your blog too (through all the great Top 5 posts) and will be following along with you as well. : )

      As for gathered skirts, I think you have to have certain body proportions for everything to look balanced. I’m not sure what the right proportions are, but some people just look a lot better in them than I do!

  3. crab&bee said:

    I didn’t know the trick about pre-washing jersey twice! I need to do that, too. I haven’t had a major disaster but the hem on one of my tunics is creeping. Oh, and my first undies were a total disaster – over-stretched elastic, thought it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t add seam allowance, translated the pattern from a stretchier fabric… super uncomfy! I’ll bet if you try once or twice more, you’ll have some luck.

    • Carolyn said:

      Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who wound up fighting with elastic! It’s still a mystery to me. And yeah, it’s the worst when knit tops start getting shorter and shorter… especially in the sleeves. Gotta pre-wash the heck out of knits apparently!

  4. Ugh, jersey that keeps shrinking! That’s the worst! You should wash and dry cotton denims and flannels a few times, too (ask me how I know, yuck!). The great thing about these misses is that they’re really great learning opportunities. Now you know what shapes suit you and what you don’t like, and sometimes it’s really hard to know until you’ve tried!

    • Carolyn said:

      Yeah exactly, it’s all a learning process and trial and error. Thanks for the tip about denims and flannels. Why does everything shrink so much?? I’m tall, so shrinking clothing really drives me crazy, ugh!

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