Not sewing update

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I’m still procrastinating about getting back on my sewing machine but I can’t quite put my finger on why.

I need a couple of tops for work and I was even considering going to buy a couple!

After my initial euphoria during Made In May, generally wearing 3 to 4 items each week, I have become a little critical in my efforts.

I think that as I know more, I can see more imperfections in my work.

Some of the fabric I have used (usually the cheaper stuff) has not survived more than a few washes.

Taking a few short cuts has also ended up  with garments not performing well for long.

I keep telling myself that I should just GET ON WITH IT, taking on board all I have learnt in the past year but I’m afraid of spending time on something I’ll not completely be happy with.

I’ll show you what I mean.

I now realize that whilst my chest is ample enough I have a narrow back which explains why many of my item ‘bag’ across my the back of my neck. Mind you, I can now see this in many of my rtw items too!

Dress 11 Burda 7557

I’ve not worn this dress again since it’s first outing. It needs serious adjustment around the neck line and across the back where it gapes. It is something I could easily (but very fiddly and boring!) do but I’d rather start something new.

Pink Burda 7051

This top has the same problem. See how it rises and gapes at the back.

I now know that I need to cut out using my upper chest measurement, do a full bust adjustment and take in up the back centre seam as well as reducing the height at the back of my neck. What a FAFF!

Next is an example of a top that hasn’t lived up to the washing

Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top
Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top

OK, this was a practice piece in some very cheap jersey. It survived about 4 washes before looking faded and a bit bobbly. I probably shouldn’t have expect more, really!

Remember I made 3 cowls in the same pattern?


Well, this one survives.

Tuesday-craftsy cowl neck
Tuesday-craftsy cowl neck

But this one was always a little tight in the arm holes (although cut from the same pattern!) and generally everywhere really. It seems also to have tightened up in the wash.

Wednesday-craftsy cowl neck top 3
Wednesday-craftsy cowl neck top 3

I suppose I have learnt to look at the stretch of a fabric and adjust accordingly from this.
This was my favourite cowl. I loved the changed stripes in the fabric.

Monday- craftsy cowl neck top 1
Monday- craftsy cowl neck top 1

I just wish I had stay stitched along the raw edge of the cowl (as advised on the pattern!) as it is now a little too droopy for common decency when leaning over a desk.
I still love these two.

But I wish I had taken Sewchet’s advice and made them half a size smaller.

It is not all doom and gloom though. I have a few pieces that I love and wear and wear.

So I have decided to start back at my machine with a tried and tested pattern, the True Bias Sutton Blouse.

In red!
Now will someone please give me a kick up the arse!

Love, Lucie xx


  1. You won’t need a kick up the butt now, I think you’ll feel better just for getting that lot of your (ample!!) chest!
    At least all the stuff you’re not happy with (with the exception of the dress at the beginning which I love and wish I was thinner so I could take it off your hands!) ie the drapey tops are fairly quick makes and so you’ve not invested too much time in them.
    As for my favourite dress, as it’s quite a statement dress I can’t imagine you’d get loads of wear out of it to justify the time spent fixing it. Why not alter it to a skirt as it looks to fit well in the waist and hip. Chop it in half and add a facing and voila! I should imagine the zip in it will work as it is and then you can make all different solid colour Sutton blouses to go with it! Just a thought!
    Good luck. 😀


    1. You’ve hit the nail right on the head with your comment about wears vs time spent fixing it. It think this is why I have not got around to doing anything with it. However, your idea about turning into a skirt is a serious contender because it is indeed pretty perfect from the waist down. That indeed appeals to me. It wouldn’t take too much work either. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is also a great idea because, having sorted the skirt, it might then feel like you had made a new item and thus ‘free you up’ mentally to fix the top. Then maybe, as well as wearing them separately, you could wear them as a two-piece if you had a formal do to go to. Three options for the price of one!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a really interesting read as nobody usually dissects their previous makes to this degree. You’ve obviously learnt a lot since you started dressmaking, so take heart from this and move on, perhaps by donating the items you’re not happy with and at the same time keeping a base wardrobe that pleases you. Those imperfections will only serve to irritate you each time you see them languishing on your rails, so get rid!


    1. Thank you so much for giving permission to get rid! I think that is exactly what I needed to hear. Everyone has left some really good advice on this post. It seems to have touched quite a few!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had all these very same thoughts recently when I finished a dress and it had so many fitting issues that I started to wonder why I just don’t buy all my clothes rtw – it would be far less faff and it’s not as if I’m an awkward size so I can get shop clothes to fit me quite easily. However, I gritted my teeth and made a few minor alterations and then took the neck facing off and am about to replace it with bias binding. If that doesn’t work I will blame myself for thinking life’s too short to make a muslin and make something tried and trusted that I know I’ll be happy with. I am also trying to cut down on what I make so that I buy better quality fabric and only buy patterns for clothes that are suited to my lifestyle. We live and learn! Consider your butt kicked 😉


    1. Reading everyone’s comments it seems we’ve all had these thoughts sometime or other! I’ve had such a lot of really good advice. My time is so limited that I find it so frustrating not to produce perfect perfect garments every time, which I know is daft. No one is born with the knowledge! I need to remember to slow down, include everything I’ve learnt and enjoy the process and not see it as part of my to do list. I think it is even harder in the summer when so many tasks have my name on it including the need to be outside, every time the sun shows its face.


  4. I love that you’ve written this! I have so many projects that have ended up in a similar way – things that have changed a bit after washing, sleeves that are a little too tight, necklines a little too gapey. It’s frustrating when you’ve spent ages making and blogging things to find they often end up in the charity pile so soon! Perhaps we should all be a bit more honest with how our garments prove themselves in the real world! However, don’t be put off – this is the perfect opportunity to keep on working until you get that ‘perfect’ make! 🙂


    1. Reading everyone’s comments it seems I’m not alone! I seem to have touched a common theme that no one usually admits too.
      But I’m not giving up. I just need to slow down, consider everything I’ve learnt and ENJOY it!


  5. I love the clothes you make. Are you prewashing your fabric ? I went to evening class and the alterations I was shown how to make to a trouser pattern were incredible but it was the most comfy pair of trousers ever. Good luck!


    1. Thank you. Yes, my fabric is all washed before I start. I think I’ve just peaked at the top of a very steep learning curve. I just want to know everything NOW! I wish I had time to take a class. I would love a real person instead of watching Utube!
      I have such a lot of lovely fabric I really need to knuckle down and crack on – but slowly and carefully!


  6. You have had a really emotional year if you look back but by looking back surely you can see how you have progressed. Yes a new colour and pattern will pick you up too. As for the cowl I had one too that became too revealing so I used clear elastic on the edge. Much more decent now K xXx


    1. Great idea about the elastic on the cowl edge. I’ll have a look to see if it can be saved.
      I can see I’ve progressed but I’ve still so much to learn. I have to remember to slow down, not put myself under any pressure and ENJOY the process!


  7. What an honest appraisal of your work 😊

    Personally I think you need to make something new, may be a few new pieces, putting into practice all that you have learned and then once you’ve got your eye in and your mojo back, then revisited the things you’ve already made.

    Be brutal and only keep and adjust those items you really, really love and discard the others. Keeping items you know aren’t quite right, don’t really enjoy wearing and you haven’t the enthusiasm to correct, will only serve to undermine you and will keep nagging away at you until you feel compelled to make the alterations which, in turn, will dilute your enjoyment of your sewing. I hope that makes sense.

    You definitely need to keep the dress though, it is gorgeous 😊 x


    1. Your comment was especially poignant to me. Especially the part about letting those items that I don’t have the enthusiasm to fix get me down and make sewing seem too much like hard work.
      My mum says I definitely have to keep the dress too!
      Starting something new instead of looking at a pile of alterations is sound advice. I’m definitely going to follow this. So many have left lovely comments full of advice, I’m quite touched. What a great community.


  8. I’ve been through this. I think once you become reasonably experienced at sewing for yourself you become far more critical, of both things you’ve made yourself and RTW. I’ve been known to refuse to buy a RTW dress I loved because it had a tiny pucker in the neckline that my mum couldn’t even see.

    Choosing fabric and knowing how it’s going to behave is hard too. That’s another thing that comes with experience, although I bet there isn’t anyone who doesn’t occasionally make a wrong fabric choice occasionally, however experienced they are.

    Once you know what adjustments you need to make to get a good fit, it isn’t that hard or time consuming, and it’s worth spending that little extra bit of time to get a finished garment you’re happy with. Just remember not to be too critical of yourself, the things you make probably already fit better than most RTW.

    You should definitely alter that dress though, it looks stunning on you.


    1. Thank you for your lovely long comment. So many have taken the time to give me some encouragement, I’m touched.
      It seems I have to accept that this is a learning process and not to expect too much perfection EVERY time!
      I will take your advice of slowing down and considering every stage with what I’ve learnt. Thank you.


  9. I just love the top dress with wonderful material. Just get on with it, undo the whole of the top whilst watching TV, , next day refit it and finish it off! You will have great satisfaction!


    1. It seems you are not the only one who is telling me to go back to the dress! However, I shall take another’s advice first. I will make two new things to get my mojo back and then return to the dress!


  10. Oh for an ample bust and narrow back (and slim waist)!!!! I’m just ample everywhere… Loved seeing your old makes and interesting to understand the process by which you learn what fabrics work and what patterns work for you. That red is just GORGEOUS and begging to be made up, so go on, you know you want to!


    1. I feel thoroughly buoyed up by everyone’s comments! This morning, before work, I got out my fabric and pattern and set them on my cutting mat to cut out this evening while critiquing all the contestants of the Great British Bake Off!
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This such an honest post. I’m sure we all have made clothes that do something they shouldn’t after wearing/washing. I knitted my husband a jumper years ago that grew and grew and grew – it really put me off knitting for a while and 20 odd years on I still haven’t knitted him another jumper. You’ve learned so much and, as others have said, as you learn you become more critical. I’m sure you’ll take your learning and use it to improve some of what you’re not happy with and to make improvements in future 🙂


    1. I have been thoroughly cheered up, reading everyone’s comments. It seems I am not alone. I’m now looking forward to cutting out my top this evening, whilst watching the GBBO, of course. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think we all go through this stage, we’re all very critical of our own work, our mistakes stand out a mile to us whereas others don’t see them at all.Using cheaper fabric is a great way of testing new patterns, so long as you don’t expect it to last. I’ve just got some cheap fabric off the Wednesday outdoor market at Leeds to try a cullotte pattern, if I like them I’ll get some decent stuff! Also, be realistic about the clothes you buy, it’s not usually perfect, some don’t last, some don’t fit properly, we wonder why we bought it in the first place!!! Clothes you make are sometimes no different. You’re braver than me sewing jerseys anyway, so get back to your sewing machine and sew yourself through this wobble 🙂


    1. You are completely right. I’ve a few rtw pieces that I’ve worn a lot less than my own makes!
      I need to slow down and consider the whole thing as a process of learning! I need to consider all the stages with what I’ve learnt and do more investigation about the stages I’m unsure of.
      I need to enjoy the process!
      But it has been really interesting writing this post and reading everyone’s comments. It is not the post I intended to write. It just all came out!


  13. This has been a really interesting post. Also, I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments too! It seems that there are so many of us with a similar dilemma. I try to think of my sewing as a hobby as much as I can and not to worry too much about the failures; there is nothing that I’ve sewn that I don’t wear. I think it is sheer bloody-mindedness on my part, because I still wear the horrendous wrap-dress which doesn’t fit to my liking and the cheap polyester top, although I hate synthetic fabrics. These were both made before I started blogging. But it’s strange as I get complemented on both these items and it just shows us how “fussy” we’ve become with our sewing. Take it easy and enjoy sewing!


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