Monday, February 12, 2018

Creating Clothes that Matter! From "Meh" to "Yeah!"

Being able to improvise with your sewing is a practiced skill. We have all tried patterns that don't work on our bodies or fabrics that turned out to be the wrong choice. As we continue to work on making clothes that matter, improvising when things go astray is a valuable tool.  There was a reason why we chose a pattern or a fabric in the beginning, so not abandoning ship at the first glitch not only strengthens our sewing skills, but also gives us confidence as we build our wardrobe.

Even the most experienced sewist can make mistakes, have wonky seams, and have to re-start garments. And sometimes the fabric works against creating that perfect garment. Initially, we chose this beautiful cotton from Anna Maria Horner's Loominous collection to make the Here & There Dress/Top, part of her new Simple Start pattern collection.

Choosing the fabric and pattern is the first step!

The top has two versions for the back - a "wrap" look or a diagonal insert, as shown above.  We opted for the Version B diagonal insert, but we planned to adjust the length for a top.

The Here and There top is indeed a "Simple Start" to your wardrobe. It has basically three pattern pieces: front, back, and back insert.  We cut our insert on the diagonal of this plaid. You can complete this cute top in five relatively simple steps:

1) Sew the shoulder seams
2) Attach the back center insert
3) Complete the bias bound neckline
4) Sew up the side seams
5) Finish off the sleeve and hem edges 

When pressing the garment, Laurel noticed a couple of things which might have resulted in a new addition to the donation pile.

1) The fabric had a slight fading down the center front.  This can happen to fabrics as they sit on the shelf or are exposed to light.  We try to catch those pieces before we sell them, but often the line is so faint that you can miss it in the layout.  This one we could not avoid.

Right down the center!!!!!
The second thing she noticed was that the back insert was a little wonky and upon a closer look, she realized that she had basically eliminated the tiny pleat on one side of the enter back, causing the whole back to hang funny.

We probably could have lived with the back thing, but since the whole garment lost some of its spark from these two issues, it was time to start ripping. It took as long to undo this mistake and fix it as it took to make the whole shirt! "Momma said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this, my Momma said"....

The fix for the front fading line was simple enough.  Since the back had a nice diagonal insert, why not cut a bias strip and cover the faded fabric?  You have be meticulous in your cutting, pressing and pinning of the strip, but it's better than tossing out a perfectly wearable garment, albeit slightly flawed.

A good pressing and Voila! From Meh to Yeah!

We definitely need some cute buttons, right?

Love this back!!!

Making mistakes, poor fabric or pattern choices, and fitting issues are the three most common reasons people stop sewing for themselves. We agree that it's certainly discouraging to work hard on a garment and not be happy with the result. But learning from our mistakes and getting back on the horse is the surest way to eventually be happy with our garments. "I wonder how can I use this experience to help support me to make a leap ahead?"

As we just saw, when things don't go as planned, we discover more about the pattern, about the fabric, and even about our own life that can be shared with others. It truly is the time for us to give permission to ourselves to be really imperfect! It may be time to learn more skills you may need to cultivate through local classes, blogs, youtube, and other tutorials all around us.

You can even search through my previous blogs for inspiration. Check out what I did previously from some of the cottons from the Loominous collection!

Dress No. 1 from a previous blog

Top No. 1 is a hit! Read about it on this blog

We love how our InstaSisters from all over the world share their sewing trials and tribulations right there for us all to see (and learn from). Creating a Destiny Wardrobe (more details on what this is all about in my next blog!) starts with one successful garment that you love, so make it an easy one to get started.  Choose a fabric that speaks to you and ignites your vision. As you hone your skills and develop new capacities, you will find that wearing me-made garments or "Clothes that Matter" will boost your confidence, help you express your creativity, and inspire others. This is how we are catalyzing a worldwide movement. We are now creating a world that is more collaborative and interconnected. Your me-made clothes and my clothes make a huge difference and matter!

Let's turn towards the challenges and hold them without judgment about us and others.

Join me in contributing our gifts, whatever that looks like!
Suzan Steinberg
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  1. Love your solution to the center front fade line. The diagonal line of the bias cut piece adds interest and makes the simple design much more interesting!

    1. I love it when mistakes end up making it even more unique! Plus there is a story to go with it :) Thanks for your comment and support Mary Jo!