Thursday, 7 July 2016

Hit, Miss or Maybe?

Congrats if you get the reference, even I wasn't sure where I'd dredged it up from the depths of my memory although this clip brings it all back (with a bonus early Mel and Sue) from late 90s  Saturday morning show Alive and Kicking.  I was going through my photos and found some unblogged less successful makes and thought I'd share and talk about what went wrong.

Miss:  Starting with a basic woven T-top.  This  is Lisette for Butterick B6128 and like many sewists, I was looking for a good woven T style.  Matching my measurements to the chart, I made a size 10 out of some very thin cotton- car boot sale find I think.  It came out big and a little shapeless, probably due to the amount of ease added to an already boxy style.

The front darts are interesting and weren't too far off- they needed to be higher (maybe 1" ?) and a small bust adjustment would've helped reduce some fullness at the front.  I wasn't sure how to do this with this dart style andI thought it wasn't worth it as the style wasn't doing much for me.    

Miss: Next up, Tilly & The Buttons Agnes top.  I am a real sucker for a puffy gathered shoulder and I loved the elastic detail too, it's easy to sew but sadly I found this  styledid not work on me.

There were some other issues- the neck line was too low, the pattern sleeves were  narrow- these were I adjusted the pattern when I traced it.  The fabric was 100% cotton jersey and not very stretchy and as the Agnes is fitted throughout, it definitely benefits from lycra.  I also tried adding a 100% cotton ribbing band on the neck and it stretched out of shape.

Maybe it's a proportions issue with this style, I'm not totally sure but it just doesn't seem to balance on me.  I swiftly cut this up to try something else out.   I sold the Butterick and the Agnes patterns and bias skirt I was wearing then has gone on to someone else too!

This last one is a Maybe.  The pattern is Natalie top by Liola patterns.  I had a big crush on this style but I think I made the mistake of seeing it made up in drapey rayon and persuading myself that it was going to look like that in Liberty lawn.  It's not particularly fun to sew for a relatively simple shape and it's a little boxy sewn up but it comes together as you would expect  The front pleat details is quite fiddly- it needs to be very accurately sewn.  Liberty lawn is not good for a loose drapey style, it seems better suited to a little more formality- a fitted shape, tailored shirt and sharper details.  I do love the fabric so I have kept this one but it always make me feel a little wistful that I didn't make something else with it. 

 I do find that there are a few things to watch out for when pondering clothing patterns on dressmaking blogs:
  1. Be cautious if the blogger is wearing a lovely tan leather belt around the waistband area.  Yes, maybe she just likes to accessorise or maybe the waist isn't meant to be a fitted style and the belt is helping it along but I hate wearing belts so I am not able to pull-off the belted look and maybe the dress/skirt if not as fitted as it looks.
  2.  Dresses and tops made with rayon or viscose fabric.  I've fallen victim to this many times, a dress or a top looks so drapey and elegant,  it's made with  an amazing rayon challis fabric.   I make the same pattern in lawn and it just doesn't hang the same.
  3. Styles that just don't suit me-  very puffy shoulders, boxy, lots of pleats around the waist, high straight waistbands.  I'm sure there's more, that's just for starters.
How about you?  Are there styles that you fall for despite the fact they don't suit you?  Guilty of the wrong fabric choice?  Do share!


  1. thanks for sharing these - it's nice to see I'm not the only one :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing these Kerry. I love to read about and see successful makes, but often learn so much more when the misses and maybes are discussed.

  3. Good tips! My sewing journey is littered with mistakes, but I refuse to give up...

  4. I recognise those sleeves! I've bought stretch fabric but not made it into anything yet. I'm not sure I can stand the disappointment after all the work to make clothing.

  5. It's funny, at first glance I would have said they looked fine (well, the last outfit is a bit potato sack-y, but you have a body that doesn't look bad on if that's your thing) It's good to look closely at the things that don't work, especially with clothes. I will never buy a Wiksten or a Tova pattern for instance as I know they would look like a marquee on me, and I also know that I cannot pull off the belted look. It takes a while to realise that though and it's an expensive journey so I just haven't tried making clothes while my weight has fluctuated wildly, I think I need to tackle that problem first!

  6. So many good points!! The lawn tip about something structured is particularly important as I'm still figuring out what to do with that loveliest lawn and I don't want to waste it!! ;) Also a very good point about seeing items belted. I try to try on similar styles in stores or look for the pattern on people who are my size to help decide if I want to purchase a pattern although sometimes I'll buy it anyway when it's only $1 and make a muslin.

  7. Thanks for a really interesting post - I can see why you don't like the first two tops and wonder whether the third would benefit from ties (at the back) to bring the side seams in a bit and make it a bit more fitted? It must be dispiriting to spend hours making something in lovely fabric only to discover you don't like it or it doesn't suit you.

  8. I really like that you posted these - so many times, bloggers only post their successes, but I think more can be learned from the less successful makes. Fabric choice is so important, and like you, I am not a belt kinda girl, so I tend to steer clear of patterns if I only see them worn belted. For what it's worth, in the photos both of your woven tops look nice on you.

  9. Hi Kerry thanks for sharing I have fallen into looking at a pattern on a blog or website and not really thinking how it will look on me. Also I have a lot to learn about fabric and drape. I have now started to try clothes on in shops similar to patterns I'm thinking of buying or with fabric colours I'm looking at which had helped me. X

  10. Gosh.. Show my wadders? I think not. However, I do like looking at others who admit to mistakes. Oe can learn so much. My problem is my auto-immune which increases/decreases my stomach area by a lot throughout the day depending on the level of inflammation.
    I have found something in RTW and made myself a pattern if it's a good fit or works with my lifestyle. I find most of the newer Indie patterns need a lot of work to sew in my size and it's easier to take something already my size and trace and then sew. I have a lot more success that way.


Thank you for taking the time out to leave your thoughts, I do very much appreciate you stopping by! Blogger is not sending comments through by email at the moment so I'll reply in the comments.