I’ve been working on developing sewing habits/abilities/habilidades (see what I did there?) for about a year now. I have to say, sewing is DIFFICULT for me. If I don’t think about it, I screw up. If I do think about it, then I really screw up and end up with my dress all wonky so that one half of it is always inside out no matter what I do. My seam ripper is actually dull from overuse. Yet…I haven’t given up. Sometimes it takes me weeks to start projects that just sit dolefully underneath my craft cabinet, waiting as promising bits of fabric, but I haven’t forsworn sewing, much to my own surprise. This is a surprise for me, because I hate hate hate not being good at things and I tend to stop when I know I’m kind of rubbish. But yet, I keep going! And now I subject everyone to it.
ANYWAY, it’s been awhile since I sewed anything other than a straight line, and I figured that I had better fix that. My first get-back-on-this-sometimes-frustrating horse was a deceptively simple-looking tunic dress from a Simplicity pattern, so I’m not going to make a boring post about how I did this because, duh, instructions exist. (Although, I have to say, the instructions for this pattern were not good. Anything that repeatedly tells you to sew the facing on top of the facings (WHICH FACING IS WHICH, YOU JERKS?!) and expects it to make actual sense is really barking up the wrong tree.)
This dress, like many of my other sewing endeavors, did not go well. At all. I can honestly say that there are approximately one million reasons why I will probably never wear this thing. Even though I knew that fact sometime around the second or third time I redid the shoulder straps (I just kind of gave up the re-doing of bits at take #5), I kept going. Why? Still not sure. I did get into a huge funk and just feel like crap about the fact that I can’t do things like match simple dots, or even probably attach the interfacing to the right side of the fabric/notice that I attached it to the wrong side before it’s too late, and the list goes on. And on. But it’s done. And that’s that. Below are two things: pictures of my shame (I didn’t even think the dress was worth a legit photo shoot), and a short list of the sewing lessons I have gleaned from this endeavor.
- On the positive side, gathers are so not scary! I vaguely remember, once upon a time, talking to my mother as she made a beautiful period piece costume floor length gown-thing complete with a corset. She said that she thought gathers were horrible awful no good things. I suppose they are, if you are determined to make sure each gather is spaced perfectly evenly and whatnot. But, if like me, and you are just starting out with gathers and just want to successfully complete them but not to diamond-cutting precision, they are totally fine. IT CAN BE DONE.
- Pick the right fabric. Don’t do something with light fluttery always too-wrinkly satin (which not-so-coincidentally sounds a lot like SATAN) unless you like to torture yourself.
- Iron with caution. Iron with caution. Iron with caution. And then when you don’t iron with caution and you kind of melt a weird dime-shaped hard lump into the fabric that’s supposed to go right on your boob, keep going anyway because it is a good learning experience and you can just slap an interesting brooch on it. (Also, crowd sourcing – is it brooch like pooch, or brooch like roach? Help me here, classy brooch-wearing folks.)
- Even when you already have learned one lesson from throwing ironing caution to the winds, do not accidentally get glue ALL OVER YOUR IRONING PLATE. That stuff is no joke. But when you do, handy tip (thanks Internet) – placing the hot iron on a dryer sheet will actually melt that stuff right off (and make your apartment smell AMAZING). But if you do that put some newspaper or paper bags between your ironing board and the dryer sheet otherwise you will promptly ruin your ironing board while fixing your iron. Life is a cycle of cruelty.
- Even when you screw up to a permanent, non-fixable magnitude, lessons can still be wrought from even the most devilish of projects. Even if the only lesson is humility. Or learning not to exasperatedly scream at such a high volume. You will still (hopefully) love yourself even after a ginormous disaster, and oddly enough you might look forward to the next project, where you (hopefully) won’t destroy another potentially beautiful and wearable item of clothing. Or where you vindictively rip apart the dress to turn the fabric into lining for a purse. To each his/her own.
Next up – a dress that hopefully I will ruin to a lesser degree so I can wear it in clinic and give myself a wardrobe option besides shirts that I never iron quite correctly!