Monday, 4 June 2018

Sewing frustrations

Do you know the old saying about having to do something for 10,000 hours to be any good at it? I'm starting to fear it might take that long for my sewing to get good. And that I'm going to be making this one pattern FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Okay, that's an exaggeration. But it was only after I'd been knitting for two years that I started making things I was happy with, and the thought that I'm going to have to spend the same amount of time using my sewing machine without making anything wearable is pretty depressing. Yup, I've been working on the revamped top pattern with the full bust adjustment. It's mostly done, apart from the hem. But I'm still not 100% happy with it.


Good things: it goes on my body. Not too small, not too large, and the excess cloth above the bust is all gone. It doesn't lie completely flat at the armholes, which I suspect is because the FBA caused the armhole curve to be really sharp, so where the armhole is being forced into a rounder shape the fabric further out is having to accomodate that, but it's not terrible.

Bad things: the shoulders are too wide. Now, this shouldn't be happening, because I've already taken the top part of the pattern down to match my high bust measurement, but for some reason they stick out and look unpleasantly square. On the other version of the top they weren't noticeably wide, but I'm wondering if that's because the facings were cloth-only, no interfacing, so they had more drape and moulded to the shape of my shoulders more. This time I've used interfacing, and I think it's made the whole thing too stiff. SO I'm planning to unpick and trim back the shoulders by about half an inch. It might take a little time, but the whole point of this version 2 top is to get the pattern into a shape I'm happy with.

On which note, I've seen a blog post elsewhere about turning the separate facings (arm/neck) on a sleeveless top into an all-in-one facing. Wish I'd known about that before I started this!

Anyway, it's all a bit depressing because I feel as though yet again I've spent money on notions and fabric, and hours of my time, and all I'll have to show for it is some more scraps for future craft projects. Tell me it gets better!

15 comments :

  1. It gets better, I promise! Sewing is a massive learning curve and I wasn't happy with my stuff for ages, even in my first few years at fashion college. And even now I still get projects that, for some inexplicable reason, take up way more time than they should, with lots of unpicking and redoing, and I get so angry with them, but you just have to fight through it and keep going. It will make you a better seamstress in the long run, trust me! xx

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    1. You are currently my sewing icon - whenever I'm getting annoyed I always tell myself, "Well Cate started somewhere and she probably had this problem and look what she's making now, because she NEVER GAVE UP." (I ignore the little voice that replies, "Yeah, but Cate also went to fashion college...")

      Mistakes are good, as long as I think about mistakes or things I'm not happy with, and dig into why they happen and what I should do to avoid the same problem in future.

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  2. I feel your pain, sewing can be really hard!! I have created so many rubbish things, but I try and think it's never a waste of time or materials as long as I learn from it. Good luck xx

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    1. Yes, the learning is the thing. I was a bit hasty in my working on Sunday, too - I need to slow down and take care and not rush things, because at my beginner level rushing is the worst thing.

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  3. Never give up, Mim, I'm sure you'll get there in the end. I think the trick is not to try and run before you can walk. You're still miles ahead of me as all I've done is look at my sewing machine ... xxx

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    1. I made myself get up and work on the top, which probably also didn't help matters - I wasn't really in the mood for sewing. But I will get there, yes I will…

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  4. Can't help you with the sewing but as far as crochet concerned I taught myself using a 'how to'book' and crocheted small items mostly, for two years. Then I didn't touch a crochet hook again until 35 years later; and do you know what I was much better at it than I thought - all that previous practice....

    Don't give up!

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    1. I'm not going to give up - my sewing machine was a present from Pete; he will be most unimpressed if I stop!

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  5. It gets better. The hardest thing is I suspect accepting that one has to take one's time, and that there really are no short cuts.

    When I work a new pattern I find it best to baste the whole thing by hand, using basting thread. It's quick, shows where adjustments need to be made, and easy to take apart (basically grab the knot and pull out the thread). Some patterns are worse than others, though, and take more time and mock-ups.

    If you take note of the adjustments you make and how they turned out it will pay off later. I've learned that I need a rounded back adjustment, plus adjustments for forward thrust shoulders (thanks PC jobs) and narrow shoulders. Another fun fact is that once you've identified the adjustments you need to make to one pattern it's transferable to other patterns from the same company.

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    1. Yes, I'm always tempted to rush because it's so much faster than knitting, but mistakes are often also a lot more permanent than with knitting. I can rip back knitting, I can't turn cut fabric back into a whole piece. No short cuts!

      This is such a simple pattern, I'm hoping once I've got it right I'll be able to make several versions in different fabrics.

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  6. I can't say it better than Cate already does. Sewing can be so frustrating but you really do learn something from every mistake. xxx

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