Beyond the UFO pile: Simplicity 1802 (also sewing bloggers are AWESOME!)

When a sewing pattern has you in tears and questioning your ability to sew at all…it’s time to let it go.

Sometimes there is no saving a failed project, it’s not always about making a muslin, fit adjustments, expert advice…sometimes it’s just a crap pattern and you are better off to just put it down forever and move on.

I’ve been working on Simplicity 1802 (aka The very Belated Birthday Dress) for about a month. On Saturday I intended the big push to solve all the bodice fitting problems and get it finished for the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network meet on Sunday.

It did not go well.

On Saturday afternoon, after a lot of hard work, I had a small cry. I was just so frustrated and upset, it was all so stupid, it’s only fabric! Unfortunately I had fallen in love with this project. It was exactly what I was aiming for colour/fabric wise. I was SO EXCITED, I didn’t want to give it up, I didn’t want it to beat me.

But it had beaten me and it made me not want to even consider another project. I wandered half-dressed in a poorly fitting bodice down stairs to the Mannexe where I tearfully told my husband that I was terrible at this sewing business and I didn’t know why I bothered…

OK, I was emotional, that was clearly an overreaction, but I’m sure I am not the only one who’s been there. We don’t often share our fails on our blogs but they happen to everyone, and we should share them. It’s taken me the whole long weekend to realise it but there is no shame in a UFO (or a project that is beyond a UFO) if you learn from it. I think of myself as a fairly experienced and confidant sewist, I’ll give anything a go and I often succeed, so it might help some of you to know that it can happen to anyone.

I was going to go over in detail all the warning signs I ignored and the things I did to try and save this project.

How I should have listened to the little birdie who whispered to me that she had heard strange things about the draft of the Cynthia Rowley patterns for Simplicity.

How I should have been suspicious at the lack of FO images in a Google Image search (just two!).

How I unpicked and re-sewed the same two seams 20 times each (no exaggeration).

How by trying the bodice on after each correction combined with the lack of stay-stitching across the bottom of the bodice now meant it had stretched longer that the interfaced waistband.

How bemused I was at pattern instructions that would leave a lined dress with several exposed internal seams.

I even had photos and a sketch to illustrate my epiphany about the draft of the bodice pattern in general…

But I’ve moved on now.

I deleted most of the draft post I thumped into the computer on Saturday afternoon after my husband bought me a cup of tea and told me to give it up.

He said,

“Maybe it’s just a crap pattern, you should just make something else.”

He was right…but he also wouldn’t let me back into my sewing room. Apparently I’d had enough for one day. Sigh, he was right about that too!

Don’t tell him I told you ;)

So I didn’t rush to make something else for the bloggers meet, instead I had a fun Sunday afternoon with the most amazing group of girls who didn’t care that I was wearing a wrap dress I’d made in 2010. We all looked fabulous, as you would expect, and we enjoyed a deliciously varied pot-luck picnic and talked of sewing and life and cooed over a very serious looking baby Drake.  Earlier Johanna and I each received the home sewists pièce de résistance, The Unsolicited Compliment.

High five!

The online sewing community is the most encompassing, positive group of people I have ever been apart of and I have the immense luck (and joy!) to be able to meet many of those amazing women in real life.

Wellington’s weather didn’t disappoint either, I wasn’t worried, not even for a bit ;)

Now allow me to bombard you with photos:

A very small portion of the Wellington Botanic Gardens, glorious!

Nikki, Juliet, Kat, Maryanne, Emily & Johanna

Mmmmm!

Calzone

Les tarts avec gelèe

Delicious!

No other picnickers were harmed in the opening of the bubbles, we swear

We found a random stranger to take our group photo, and since we were in front of the stairs it seemed only right to do a serious Sewing School photo shoot:

Kat & Drake, Emily (new member yeah!) Maryanne, Juliet
Johanna, myself & Nikki (photo courtesy of Kat, random Photoshopping by me)

And then we tried out our Blue Steel impressions…they may need a little more work ;)

Photo courtesy of Nikki

Almost everyone else has already posted their version of events so why don’t you go see what Kat, Juliet, Nikki and Johanna had to say about it?

I snuck off to Global Fabrics afterwards with Juliet to help her spend a voucher, not that she needed any encouragement, but there’s nothing quite like a little group enabling. We scored an additional Unsolicited Compliment to the tally, this time for Juliet.

Another high five!

I saw the beautiful fabric from the failed project in the $8 bin (I think I originally paid $12.95/m at The Fabric Warehouse) – so I grabbed a couple more meters, determined that one failed project didn’t mean I couldn’t have a dress made from this pretty cotton print. I picked up a second bolt too, it’s a strange pink and blue/green diagonal strip and it smelt really weird, like bad fish, but I was assured it would wash out. I have no idea what it was from, maybe the dye? But both have had a pre-wash now and the smell is gone.

$8/m cottons

Monday was Wellington Anniversary Day so Hubby and I spent the day at the beach. We photographed my oldest un-photographed FO (I’ll share that with you tomorrow, yeah, go New Years Resolution!) and then in the afternoon I sat down and started to go through my fabric stash.

I love my stash.

I know that is horribly superficial and materialistic sounding but, like my home library, I consider it a beautifully curated collection of my favourite authors, except that these authors are colours and prints in the genre of jersey and cotton sateen, amongst many others ;)

(Librarian friends please forgive my gross overuse of similes)

My stash – January 2013

When I sit on the floor and pull out the pretty pieces it’s like fabric shopping in my studio, it makes me happy, but more importantly it makes me want to sew!

I chose this beautiful $5 remnant I picked up from The Fabric Warehouse in April 2012 and began to look through my patterns.

This is me getting back on my sewing horse:

I have a few dress patterns out at the moment for inspiration and I am seriously thinking of declaring 2013 to be The Year of the Dress…for me anyway ;)

Now here is a good segue to another post I was going to write separately but I’m smooshing on to the end of this one instead:

from Sew I Sewed This (click for source)

My 2013 Re-Sew-lutions:

  • No plan? No worries!
  • More Sewing Meetups…MOAR!
  • No more crying over stupid patterns
  • No imagined pressure, no imagined guilt
  • Lots of pretty dresses please
  • Re-learn to enjoy photographing my FOs, have fun doing it
  • Maybe a bit of stash busting but I kind of do that anyway ;)

Thanks for reading my bumbling rambling post, I’m off to do some fun sewing now xx

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