Every now and then, despite my careful muslin making, I sew a project that just flops. Either the fit is all wrong, it’s just the wrong shape on me, or the fabric was the wrong choice for the pattern.
Recently I made a dress that I came really close to throwing in the trash.
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I’m always excited when Jalie releases new patterns and I bought the Michele Tank and Dress pattern almost right away and made a muslin of the bodice only. I knew this look wouldn’t be flattering on me without some shaping, so I took my time adding a full bust adjustment and even French darts in the front and back bodice.
Once I had it right, I cut out the dress from a rayon fabric I had. I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the lining, though! So I went to the thrift store and found a white rayon skirt full enough to do the job.
I got the dress sewn and it just looked awful on me. I’m short waisted and broad through the ribcage, so this floaty, almost babydoll design did not flatter, despite all my fitting work (though that bodice fit darn perfect, haha). I decided to try adding elastic to the inside waist seam allowance, but you know how braided elastic can stretch out when you try zig zagging it on … womp, womp.
I was bummed, but instead of tossing in the trash like I wanted to, I put it in my fabric drawer thinking I could salvage the skirt portion to sew something else in the future.
Fast forward a couple months and I dug the dress out of my drawer and on a whim, tried it on. You guys, it was sooo NOT as bad as I had thought! LOL! If the waistband could be more fitted, I’d totally wear this dress and the perfectly fitted bodice wouldn’t have to go to waste! I recently learned a new technique for attaching elastic to the seam allowance in a way that will hold it’s form, so I unpicked the zig zag, shortened the elastic by a few inches and resewed it using my serger.
I hemmed the dress and wore it the next day. I learned a few things from this experience:
First, never toss a project when you’re mad at it! Put away and come back to it later. Even if it’s still awful, you can use that fabric for something else!
Don’t trust your initial feelings! In my defeat, I remembered that dress looking horrible, but when I tried it on again, it was not bad at all. Sometimes putting things aside and looking at them with new eyes can make a huge difference.
I only just learned the elastic technique I needed to make this work. This goes to show once again, no matter how long you’ve been sewing, there are always new things to learn.
Trust your gut with patterns. Just because it looks cute on everyone else doesn’t mean it will work for you (I’m lookin’ at you, Ogden Cami). I know what works on me and what doesn’t and I should have sought out a similar pattern with the right lines and the shaping I needed. In the end I made this one work, but that’s definitely not always the case!
I’m glad I didn’t toss this project in the heat of the moment and I hope I can remember these things when I feel like a project is a total failure in the future!
Side note: I’ve only just begun wearing bike shorts under my summer dresses. I know many people have done this their entire lives, but I am new to the bandwagon and I am loving it. I feel less fearful of every slight breeze, ha! They also just stay put under dresses better. I had one pair already, but needed another, so I ordered these and like them, so I thought I’d recommend them to you all and save you the trouble of wading through all the reviews!