Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Dug This Out from My Stash

If you ever need to feel better about your sewing, check out what I just found:

There are so many things wrong with this picture, starting with the one-inch seam allowance...

Fellow sewasauruses, this was my third sewing project ever. Drunk on the success of my first and second dresses, I decided to jump headlong into sewing a top. Should be simple enough, right? After all, there are tons of tutorials out there showing how to trace one from a RTW tee, and knits don't require seam finishing, so all I needed to do was sew four seams! I purchased a length of knit fabric from the remnant bin of the local fabric store, didn't bother with matching thread, and started stitching. This was before I knew about ballpoint needles, and while my first two projects were with very stable knits, this salmon-colored nightmare insisted on diving into the depths of my machine. I did some quick googling and learned that tissue paper under the fabric could help (oddly enough, I forgot that tip in the intervening years), so I proceeded to dig into my gift-wrapping stash.

Well, none of those helpful websites warned me about the difficulties of picking tissue paper out of a zig-zag stitch. Oh, that's fine, I thought, it'll just wash out eventually. Unfortunately, when I attempted to try on the shirt, I couldn't get it on. Somehow, I'd missed the memo about knits that only stretch in one direction! So if I had a weird extendable torso like the Slinky dog from Toy Story, this would've been the shirt for me. Uhhh, yeah, right. I may have cried, and I definitely had a tiny tantrum, then I crammed the half-sewn top and the remaining fabric into the bottom of my first box of fabric (there are now several more boxes), hoping to forget that I ever spent time and money on it. It worked pretty well, too, because I really did forget about it until last night when I was digging through my stash.

In case you thought it looked okay on the other side, here's the "right" side of the top.

It's kind of hilarious, looking back at this project from my sewing infancy, especially since I just made a series of knit tops with much more success, and even wrote a tutorial for sewing one! It just goes to show, you gotta start somewhere. Now, two years and a few months later, I think I have the necessary skills to turn the remaining yardage into a wearable top...

Do you have any laughable first sewing attempts hidden away? Or did you just chuck 'em and move on to better things? 

25 comments:

  1. Ha ha. I cant stop laughing. Its always interesting to look back and see how far you have gone.

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    1. Glad somebody got some laughter out of it! :)

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  2. Oh wow...whenever I find an old project of mine, I immediately wince. I usually throw the item in the garbage at that point if it's unsalvageable or pieced together in some god awful way. Mostly I just find the cut pieces of fabric and then have to make it work - it's like a puzzle gifted from old sewing self to my new sewing self! (I love puzzles).

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    1. I think you are a star at reworking old pieces! You're actually one of the reasons why I even tried to salvage this fabric!

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  3. Thank you for making me feel better! I'm just a beginner, so hopefully in 2 and half years (or so) i can look back at what i just made and have a good laugh =)

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    1. You can do it! It's really amazing how much people can learn in just a couple of years!

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  4. The scary thing is the early projects that I finished and actually wore. My grandmother was a seamstress, so I did have some basic training. Problem was my choice of fabrics and styles. I remember a very busy print palazzo-like pants with a paper-bag like waistline–-ack, at the time I thought they looked retro--but they must have looked like baggy PJs. (I am short waisted). I also had a bad first-knit experience, a maxi dress, but again, it was more of a style issue. I never hemmed it and I think it eventually went to Goodwill.
    ~Jen

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    1. Yes, I, too, cringe when I think of what I used to leave the house in! Most of those projects have been donated or recycled by now.

      Those paper bag waistline pants sound fascinating!

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  5. I love this! Susan of Moonthirty.com just started a flickr group called Beautifully Imperfect Stitching for just this sort of thing!

    I recently got out a dress I made about a year and a half ago, when I first got back into sewing. It's a seersucker Colette Parfait. At the time, I was so proud I'd inserted an invisible zipper. But that zipper is anything but invisible! I also didn't know how to finish seams, so the inside is a raveled mess! But it was really reaffirming to look at that dress and see how far I've come!

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    1. I'll have to go check that out! Thanks for the link.

      My first invisible zipper sounds similar, as is the unfinished seam business! And yes, you have come a long way!

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  6. I keep all my "laughable sewing attempts" :)
    My worst is the skirt I made for my sister - unline viscose, messy zig zagged raw edges.... facings were a mess!!!!

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    1. Neeno, I think your first sewing attempts are probably better than mine -- I just left raw edges because I didn't even know what facings were!

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  7. You know, the saddest thing is, I've seen some clothes in stores that have seams finished like your last photo! You've come a long way in a short time!

    I have held on to a couple of old projects that make me laugh for various reasons. And I actually made my parents go digging through really old pictures a few weeks ago to find a picture of the first costume I remember making. It's a hilarious story of childhood laziness that I want to share on my blog. (The only reason I haven't written about it yet is because I got a job and haven't had time.)

    Today, I did one of the ugliest alterations I've ever done. The designer asked me to add 6 inches to the length of a formal dress for a theatre production and handed me some not-quite-matching fabric. The dress was crap and the alteration was something you can only get away with in theatre - it looked okay on the outside from a distance, but man, was the inside ugly!

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    1. Oh dear, RTW clothes like that? I guess I am benefiting from sewing my own stuff! I can't wait to see your first costume, and good luck with your new job!

      Theater production standards are awesome :)

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  8. It is great to see how you developed! My first thing I made with a pattern that went really wrong was also my third item. It was a skirt with a zip at the back. i didn't know what "cut on fold" meant and ignored it and hence ended up with it being way too small. Which resulted in the zipper bursting. lol
    I have however made the skirt again twice out of the same fabric. The first re make ripped eventually below the zipper but the other version is very much alive. :)

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    1. Hahaha oh, yes, I remember the days of not knowing about "cut on fold." Good that you were able to salvage the skirt pattern, though!

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  9. i keep trying to throw away my horrible first knit disaster top. but as it's pink (probably part of the reason why i hate it!) my daughter keeps pulling it out of the bin as she wants it for fancy dress. maybe i need to keep it like you have to remind me at some future point how far i have come...

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    1. Haha, part of posting these pictures was so that I can now safely get rid of that top and not have to have it taking up space anymore!

      How perfect, though, that you have a daughter who can make use of your UFOs!

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  10. What a relief to see, yet again, that we can develop our skills. :-) Just look where you are now!
    Salvageable UFO's I keep, meaning to finish, but disasters I get rid of. Just too depressing! However, there is also a site somewhere with cake disasters, really hilarious, so I suppose the wrecks do have some purpose.

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    1. Oh, I love CakeWrecks! And yes, some disasters are just too depressing to keep.

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  11. You have come so far! You are an excellent seamstress! Good to know improvement does happen, I hide my failures in the closet, I should get rid of them though!

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    1. Thanks, Angela! My failures do spend a good deal of time hiding in the closet, and then they go to the donation bin once I'm done grieving :)

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  12. Okay, hilariously, I just realized that the skirt I'm wearing right this very moment, which was I think my first solid knit project (and is a totally serviceable skirt that I wear all the time), is sewn with the wrong side of the fabric out. Guess I didn't used to know how to tell the right from wrong sides of knits!

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