Saturday, November 10, 2012

Disappointed But Undaunted

Does it annoy or frustrate you it when what you thought was going to be a wonderful new garment just doesn't live up to your expectations?  I've two of those experiences in the last month.  When I just got back into garment sewing in the mid-90s, that experience would really throw me for a loop.  I'd be angry with myself, annoyed at "wasted" time and money and frustrated because I didn't clearly understand what went wrong.  Then I started going to American Sewing Guild neighborhood meetings, attending lots of sewing expos and conferences and along the way heard great advice....and also commiseration from even the most experienced teachers.  So I'm sharing these to encourage you to move forward, learn what you can and let go.  They are still making more fabric....and if you live near me I'll probably bring some of my excess to one of those sewing get-togethers.
Disappointment #1
A bias silk charmeuse nightgown....doesn't that sound decadent and sultry and very 1930's pre-code movies ( Turner Classic Movies article about those multi-dimensional women in early 1930s films)  I imagined I'd be vamping around the house like Jean Harlow.  Not how it turned out.  I sewed another Vogue 7823  bias dress, shortening it 7 inches and lowering the neckline about 1 inch front and back.  Self-bias binding  and a little poly fabric flower and it was looking comfortable and flattering....

Vogue 7823 bias gown
before I wore it to sleep in one night.  

Holy hot wrinkled mess.  Needless to say this is not the look I wanted.  I think the idea is still a good one but would work better in a four ply silk or a heavy rayon crepe backed charmeuse like I've done before.  
Wish I could have captured her beauty and style
Disappointment #2
Chico's silk velvet jacket that I love
I've been crowing about my success with the Elle skinny pant look but knew that I would now need some new jackets and tops to make that look work on my body.  The picture above is my inspiration piece for a jacket to wear with slim pants.
I used a pattern I've made before (Vogue 8089) and even made a muslin.  But when it came to the real fabric and lining, I was disappointed with the initial result.  It's wearable but not really what I was imagining.  Here are the pics:
I even look uncertain about this one.
I did like the even shorter version of Vogue 7823 as a bias top
What don't I like about it?  Well, to begin I think it's about 2 inches two short for the look I wanted. Ok, easy to fix on the next one.  Next, I hate the lining technique that Sandra suggests in the pattern and will use a traditional lining next time of just make it unlined.  Even though I made pattern alterations it's still much roomier than I wanted so that means taking out more ease, particularly across the front.  The sleeve head needs to be adjusted to put the ease at the side front up into the sleeve head.  So, a bunch of adjustments before I make my next one.  Not awful, but also not what I had hoped for on this project. 
Maybe with the belt but that's not really a look I like on me.
Lined to the edge hemming technique doesn't work well in light or drapey fabric, IMHO.
 Is it worth putting my efforts into these changes?  I'm up in the air about that question but no need to rush a decision, there are plenty of other sewing projects to keep me busy in the meantime.

But here are two things that did not disappoint me.  A garden club friend recommended this first book.  it certainly wasn't great literature but I found it interesting and engaging.  It's a historical novel based on the life of Hilda Klager, a German immigrant homemaker and farmer who has a passion of breeding new varieties of lilacs, apples and daffodils.  It's certainly not an expected activity for a turn of the 20th century woman but her cross-pollinating and hard work have brought beauty and new discoveries that we still enjoy today.  If you have any interest in gardening then I think you will enjoy this one.

When I got my hands on Cold Mountain years ago I think I read it in three days.  This one is much shorter but just as beautifully written.  Amazon:
Charles Frazier, the acclaimed author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons, returns with a dazzling novel set in small-town North Carolina in the early 1960s. With his brilliant portrait of Luce, a young woman who inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, Frazier has created his most memorable heroine. Before the children, Luce was content with the reimbursements of the rich Appalachian landscape, choosing to live apart from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary life in difficult, hopeful, dangerous ways. In a lean, tight narrative, Nightwoods resonates with the timelessness of a great work of art.
I made sure I read this one slowly to savor very description and subtle point of view.  Simply beautiful.

Reading good books is sort of like sewing up a TNT pattern.  They revive my sinking spirits and encourage me to give a new project a chance.  Hope your latest projects bring you more shouts of joy that sighs of disappointment.


  1. I'm taking to heart your comments about the silk charmeuse! It's been one of my "one day" projects. And I've done tactile therapy with options at the remaining independent fabric store in my area... I hear you: 4 ply silk!
    I appreciate being able to read your disappointments. Even though I know I'm not the only one who sews them up, it's nice to be reassured I'm in good company!


    1. I think it's Linda lee who raves about 4 ply silk for pants patterns. Sturdy enough for pants means definitely better choice for this gown.

  2. I honestly don't see anything wrong with a nightgown that wrinkles. Who's going to see it? And don't the wrinkles provide visual evidence of good times? ;-)

    1. LOL. Thanks, that's loking at it more positively. I just did a big double take when I saw myself in the mirror the next morning. But I'll still wear it since it is so comfy so all is not lost.

  3. I like your jacket. I think it looks like the right length. Yet I know that the wearer has to like it or it will never be "just right". We all have been there, done that. Also thanks for referencing the book. I loved Cold Mountain and may give this a read.

    1. Thank you. Yes, it just needs a little tweaking to make me really enjoy it....and lucky for you I didn't include a back shot:-)

  4. Thanks for sharing your disappointments, Jane. It helps us learn.
    BTW, Nightwoods was one of my favorite books of the year. Even though the topic may be troubling, Frazier's writing is exquisite.

  5. re silk charmeuse're supposed to sleep in those? ;-)

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