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August 4

The Crepe Fail

I’ve officially failed on my Crepe Dress, ladies.  :(

To recap: I completed three muslins to perfect the fit back in December/January and proceeded to cut out my fashion fabric, but it has since been sitting on a chair in my dining room/sewing room.  I picked it up again and started following through Gertie’s Sew Along posts, and got to the point this weekend that I could try on the bodice.  And what I saw in the mirror was not good!  It was a complete sewing failure.

I’ve had a few days now to cope with this loss, but I have to come clean with you.  I was pretty bitter about it on Sunday evening when I tried on the bodice.  I even went to show Felix and he didn’t have much to offer, but a small condolence.  I think he was hesitating to agree with how bad it was for fear of making me more upset.  Poor guy…

As much as it pains me to show you… here is the bad Crepe bodice (pardon my tummy and post-workout red face, please.)

Perhaps it looks good from a (great) distance, but up close it’s a huge mess.  (Even in this picture it doesn’t look like a complete failure, but believe me it’s bad.)

  • The right side seam (and only the right seam) is misaligned by 3/4 of an inch
  • I have narrow shoulders, but these sleeves make me look similar to if I were wearing football padding.  (And I already made them smaller, too).

  • Armcyce seams aren’t quite aligned with my own shoulder and arm (see above)
  • The waist seam is too, too high (see below)
  • Darts aren’t deep enough while managing to puff out (see above or below)

  • Large flower motif strategically placed (see first picture above…. on my left side….yeah… that’s a large blue flower where it shouldn’t be)
  • Piping doesn’t match quite right (my fault I didn’t match the sash color to the shell fabric with the black underlining)
  • Uncomfortable

I do realize that most of these issues have to be my own fault since I am the sewer and pattern alter-er.  But I am still slightly bitter that it hasn’t worked out after 3 test muslins along with my decided confidence in moving on to cutting the fashion fabric.

This isn’t my first sewing failure but this is my first major sewing failure of 2011.  I feel as if I’ve gotten to the point where I shouldn’t be having huge disasters like this, and I think that’s where my bitterness is stemming from.  I have a certain expectation of myself and my newly found sewing skills that I’ve come to expect that bad things can’t happen with careful sewing.

When I first started sewing this muslin, I should have known it wasn’t going to work for me, but instead I pushed through muslin after muslin.  Perhaps a 4th muslin would have brought my current issues to light.  But 6-7 months after making the final muslin in December/January I guess I didn’t remember certain issues that made me put this project on hold in the first place.

I really enjoy sharing all of my sewing and knitting successes with you guys, but this is the first sewing failure that I’ve ever posted about.  I find that I get so wrapped up in the good stuff, that I forget to show you the bad or little mistakes I’ve made (and corrected) along the way.  I really do love blogs that show all of their muslins and how they’ve made the necessary adjustments to the pattern to accommodate their own shape.  I find that this is one of the major ways that I’ve learnt about fitting and how to make adjustments on my own projects.  I can’t promise that I’ll be showing all of my muslins in the future, but I’m going to make an effort to try.

How does that sound to you all?  Is this something you’d like to see more of on the zilredloh blog(posts about my mistakes, fixes, and muslin fittings)?

As of today, I’ve officially thrown all of my fabric pieces in the garbage since nothing could be salvaged from them and I packed up the pattern pieces back into their envelope and put it back on the shelf.  *sigh*

You may recall that on Tuesday’s post about my Lonsdale fabric choice, I mentioned a secondary reason for using the aqua fabric.  I was planning on making a second Crepe dress using this aqua fabric, so I wanted to re-purpose it into a new, wearable dress as soon as possible.  Instead of having it silently taunt me about my Crepe-fail every time I saw it  in my closet.

I truly welcome you all to share some of your *fail* stories to soothe my pain in the comments.  :)

  1. Rachel / Aug 4 2011

    I am sorry and I know how you feel. I have been working on V1161 off and on for months. I made a muslin and it fit perfectly with no alterations–this never happens, so that should have been a clue that it would be all downhill from there. The first fabric I chose for it was a cotton voile. I got it finished down to putting in the zipper, but then I could see I was never going to wear it because the fabric was too wrinkly. I even underlined it but it didn’t help. It just looked very homemade. Then I moved onto some polyester charmeuse I had in my stash bought at Hancock’s. When I got it made there was too much wrinkling at the seams. All the ironing in the world didn’t help because of all the different seams in the dress. GRRRRRRR!!! I have made several projects since then, but I just keep waiting for the perfect fabric to come along to finally make this dress. I think I have the perfect fabric in my stash as far as the content, but I just don’t know if the pattern will look good on the dress.

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      I just checked out the V1161 and it looks really cute with the open back detail. How awful to have all of that work done (twice, no less) only to realize it doesn’t work. I wonder if a nice cotton poplin or light sateen would be good on this one… It’s funny that the only fabric type the pattern envelope directs you to use are silks.

  2. Kerry / Aug 4 2011

    Oh how disappointing. No one can blame you for not trying, I know I wouldn’t have been patient enough to go through 3 muslins! I made the Crepe as part of the sewalong, my muslin was way too big but I managed to decide on some adjustments then cut the dress. It’s not perfect, and could definitely have done with a small bust adjustment, but it’s good enough. A lot of people in the Flickr group seemed to be having a real struggle with the fit too, which is weird for a dress that seems to simple, on the face of things. You make a lot of things that are way more complicated than the Crepe so it’s not your skills that are the problem. At least now you’ve got an UFO out of the way and can move on to better things.

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks so much, Kerry. I do have to admit, the one ‘positive’ in all of this is that I’ve freed up one of my dining room chairs again. (I frequently store my WIP’s on all of my dining room chairs).

  3. Lauren / Aug 4 2011

    it doesn’t look like a fail to me but i know pictures can make stuff look better or worse than they really are irl. that being said, i’m sorry you had a sewing fail! ughhh i know how rough they are, especially when it’s something you’ve blogged about so it’s an extra kick in the pants when someone asks “hey, whatever happened to (garment)? you never posted finished pictures!” not to mention, the time & money poured into them – the pattern itself, muslins, the garment fabric, notions, even just the general wear & tear on your machine. and all for something you had to throw out? SUCKS. i’m so sorry :(

    it does make me feel better that you posted it, though. i always get so caught up in my own sewing that i sometimes i feel like no one else makes big sewing mistakes so i’m afraid to even post mine. i think we should all put up fails; it really does keep stuff in perspective.

    my personal fail story (ooh this one hurts): vogue 1161 – i’ve seen sooo many cute examples of this dress around the internet (notably tasia’s verison – look how cute that is!). mine was this gorgeous orangey-coral silk… lined with deep orange bemberg rayon. absolutely scrumptious, absolutely expensive. i made a muslin for the top but not the skirt, which was my error… once i tried to attach the skirt to the top, it was too small. i mean, i couldn’t squeeze my ass into it, period. i base my pattern sizing off the finished measurements, so at first i assumed it was an error with the pattern… but no one else can complained about a discrepancy with the sizing so i’m pretty sure my error was 100% LT. ugh. and that fabric was so so so hard to cut – both the silk and the rayon – it was just a horrible defeat. i stuffed it in a box because i can’t bear to throw away $50+ worth of silk.

    i considered turning the top into the bodice of a dress… i mean, it’s finished & it fits… but what do you match orange silk with? more silk? dear god, i never want to sew silk again!

    this concludes my long comment.

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks Lauren! When I shot the photos I was standing in front of a closet door. But when I was standing in front of something white (as it is when I look in the mirror) the weird shoulders were much more pronounce.

      I did take a look at your orange silky fabric, and it does look luscious. I also usually don’t make up the skirt portion in a muslin, just the bodice. Thanks for sharing your story…. I’m now going to be making up my skirts now if they’re at all fitted. :)

  4. Clare S / Aug 4 2011

    Oh nooo! How annoying. Please try not to be too hard on yourself – you make some beautiful things, but you are only human and we all make mistakes. Also, I think part of your perception of this being such a big fail if because of the high standards you set yourself, so others might have made this but not considered it as bad as you do!

    Having said that – thank you for sharing this! It makes me feel much better about my own mishaps and I’m sure others feel the same too! Posts about your muslins and fixes would be really useful to see how it’s done :)

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Aww, thanks so much Clare. As always, you’re too kind. :)

  5. Ashley / Aug 4 2011

    Ooh, what a shame! :( Move on and make something that you’ve made before and know works to cheer your self up! :)
    I’d love more muslin posts, and I’d especially loves some ‘fixes’ posts as I think they’d be sooo useful.
    My biggest fail is darts. I have to do quite a drastic FBA (I’m an E cup) and by the end of it I don’t know what to do with the darts! They’re just so big! I can never get the placement right, and they *always* pucker at the end!! GRRR!! I just need to keep practising I guess. Bah!
    Ashley x

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks Ashley! In reading through your comment, I wonder… have you visited Patty the Snug Bug’s blog? She posts a lot of her muslin fittings and all of her alterations which may be of use to you. (She’s also well-endowed and has to do FBA’s). So I’m wondering if she doesn’t have some good advice as far as darts go…. Sounds like very tricky business.

  6. Stacy aka Stacybeads / Aug 4 2011

    Oh, I feel your pain! Earlier this summer, I made a sundress that I was really excited about. It was finished (or so I thought) but then I realized it did not fit. It has these cute little cap sleeves and they are just waaaay too big. They don’t stay on my shoulders, but instead flop down. It’s terrible, and I have no idea how to fix it without messing up something else. :(

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      That’s a shame. :( Thanks so much for commiserating with me.

  7. Lindsay / Aug 4 2011

    I’m sorry your Crepe didn’t work out! I am a beginner sewer and I’ve attempted two Crepe muslins so far. That was back in March I think and I’ve put off returning to it ever since. I’m going to try one more time and if it doesn’t turn out, I’m going with you and throwing in the towel. I think most of my issues stem from having a smaller chest than the pattern was designed for, but I also think the waist is hitting a bit high on me, even though I usually don’t have issues there.

    Good luck on your next project!

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Yes! I have a B-ish cup and I had to do lots of tweaking on mine. I think that’s what was contributing to the dart issue… And I have a short waist so I never expected it to end up too high on me as well.
      It really is too bad about the crepe, but glad to hear I’m not alone.

  8. Amanda / Aug 4 2011

    I had a Crepe fail too. It’s a tricky little pattern to fit! In your case, the print hides a lot and at first glance it doesn’t look bad at all, but I understand your frustration!!

    I’m thinking one day I’ll come back to it with a few modifications…. maybe.

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks Amanda. How sad a lot of us are having issues with the crepe fit. It feels like I was dupped thinking it was a beginner pattern when the fitting is very advanced to getting it just right. I wish I could say I’d go back to it, but I’m sadly never going to touch it again.
      All of the other Colette patterns I’ve made have been pretty good though… Not sure why it’s just the Crepe.

  9. Alana / Aug 4 2011

    If it makes you feel better my Crepe muslin is at the bottom of a box in a storage unit in New Zealand, pins still in it like a voo-doo doll because I just couldn’t spend one more frustrating second working on it. I guess that one just wasn’t right for me either.
    (ps. I also have a copy of 1161 in my stash and after everyone elses comments I’m not going near it for a few years methinks)

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      I leave pins in all of my stuff too. To come clean, I had to go buy more pins since they were all stuck in old projects sitting on my chairs.

      As soon as I saw the 1161, I was like *Cuuute*. Too bad it seems like a tricky one also.

  10. Stephanie / Aug 4 2011

    How sad. :( My biggest fail to date is from Casey’s Elegant Musings swing dress sew along! I did a muslin but it still had major fit issues in the bodice. Quite unwearable but I just adore the fabric. I haven’t managed to bring myself to part with it even though the sew along was over in March….. :(

    You can see it here if you’d like: http://star-spangledheart.blogspot.com/2011/03/swing-dress-sew-along-finished.html

    The skirt and sleeves fit well but the bust is all crazy and the waist hits in perhaps the most unflattering place possible. *sigh*

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      I had a rough time with the Swing Dress too! I don’t blame you for not being able to finish it. I think the only reason why mine worked out is because I used a silk fabric. It’s a cute pattern, but I’ve found so many other good 40’s dresses, I don’t think it’s worth the time trying to work on a pattern where the notches don’t even line up.

      Just checked out your Swing Dress, and love your main fabric that you picked out. I was reading through the comments and saw Casey’s about reducing the midriff curve. I bet that would do the trick on this… if you ever decide to pick it apart.

  11. Amy / Aug 4 2011

    Oh, I feel your pain. My mother has been sewing for 50 years and she still has major disasters… sometimes we just get things into our head, ya know? I have a few patterns that I just know I was working out some other issue than a sewing one–like a place in my life where I was feeling stressed and stuck and needing to solve a problem, and taking it out on a pattern ;). Some patterns just aren’t made for my body and I shouldn’t have to fight to wrangle it into ideal proportions, outside of fitting issues. But I like reading about unfinished projects and why they didn’t work out–helps me to take courage with my own and move on to something else. Anyway, I love your blog and I hope you find a new project to revive your spirits and expectations!

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks so much Amy! I love your blog, btw. :)

      I’m focusing on my Macaron Redux dress at the moment, and will start the Lonsdale soon. I’m hoping the Lonsdale with be a nice, easy dress without too much alteration for me. (Luckily I have an almost identical dress to match up the measurements with to ensure a good fit.)

  12. Andrea / Aug 4 2011

    I’m so sorry this was a fail. The fabric is stunning and to be honest the photos don’t look bad at all. When I first started sewing every single garment I made was a “fail” so for over two years I stuck to making quilts and handbags only. I started sewing garments again over the past couple of months and am taking baby steps and trying to be patient, but I find that this is not an exact science and sometimes even after making a seemingly perfect muslin things can go awfully wrong. The latest fail I can think of is my Ginger Skirt. The muslin was ‘perfect’ but the waistband sticks out pretty badly in the finished product. The worst part is that I didn’t even notice this until I wore it for the first time and now I don’t have the patience to go back and fix it. Look at the bright side: surely you have learned something from this project, and you probably have enough fabric to salvage and make a skirt with it, right?

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks, Andrea. I saw your ginger before and didn’t see it sticking out at all, it’s too bad. Sometimes the hardest part of sewing is taking everything apart to fix the fitting issues.
      I keep trying to tell myself that I learned something… but it’s still to fresh for me to be positive about it. I may need one more week. heh

  13. Amy / Aug 4 2011

    I haven’t been sewing long enough to have too many failures, though I do find myself dealing with sewing mishaps during nearly every project (case in point: my maxi dress this week!). I do enjoy reading all about the sewing process – both successes and failures, fitting adventures, and little crafty side projects. If you’re comfortable with it – do express the ups and the downs. It helps those of us with less experience learn. So, thank you for your bravery today!

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks for the encouragement to share my “fails” and mishaps. I’ll try to post up more of the work-in-progress stuff.

  14. Tasha / Aug 4 2011

    Oh Liz, I’m so sorry! But I love that you were willing to share it with us (and you are too cute and hilarious in your sad photos). I think it helps to commiserate with others, since we’ve all been there. I have shared a couple of mini sewing fails on my blog, but the last one I couldn’t even show the muslin on because I could never figure out the sleeve (the place of the big fail) and thus couldn’t even sew the side seam. So it never even got to the stage where I could try it on. I still kind of consider my whole Swing Dress experience a big fail because the pattern just seemed SO poorly matched to my body type, did not go together well, none of my notches were ever aligned, etc. And while 3 muslins later I finally got a good looking dress, I doubt I could ever figure out what I did again to repeat the process. (I was so frustrated with it that I got lazy in my note-taking.)

    Would it help to share a big knitting fail? A couple of years ago I was plowing through a super bulky bottom-up raglan cardigan. I was halfway up the raglan increases after you attach the sleeves to the body, went to try it on and realized one of the sleeves wasn’t at my side, but about halfway towards the front. Boy did I laugh at that one. I still laugh. I had plenty enough skills to not make such a stupid mistake, but I still made the mistake, anyway. FAIL!

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      I thought I’d make them a bit more *fun* so it wouldn’t be a pity-party on my blog.

      You’re the second person on here to comment on the Swing Dress. That one was really tricky; none of my notches matched up either, and I also don’t think I’ll ever make it again. I’ve found too many other good patterns in the meantime to ‘waste’ my time with the ones that don’t even line up properly. (I just read this and I think I’m turning into a sewing snob). hehehe

      I actually LOL-ed to your sleeve conundrum. Sorry… but I’m glad you were able to laugh about it as well. :)

  15. Annabelle / Aug 4 2011

    First of all, for being new to your sewing and knitting journey – you are awesome! And we all fail once in a while – not every pattern is for everybody and we always think we can make it work by tweaking it here and there, because it looked so great on so-and-so. I recently had a large blowup over my Lonsdale. I am using rayon for the first time – and mine is quite slippery. After I cut out the two skirt pieces – I noticed that my bottom layer of fabric had shifted and it looks nothing like the pattern piece. This is terrible because the pattern calls for so much fabric and I just ruined most of it. Still deciding if I want to keep going. It may seem like no big deal to fail so early in the project – but picking out fabric is always the most difficult part for me. Keep up the great work.

    • Liz / Aug 4 2011

      Thanks so much Annabelle!

      And a BIG *Oh Noooo!* to your Lonsdale. Was it the bottom or top of the skirt that got shifted? I was thinking that if it was the bottom you could just reduce the width on all of the skirt pieces since it’s just a circle skirt. But if its the top…. ???
      I do hope you’re able to salvage it somehow. :(

  16. JillyB3 / Aug 4 2011

    Ironically, the Crepe dress has been my only dress success! I have the muslins for at least three other dresses in a pile on the shelf that I have wasted hours over trying to fit, so I totally feel your pain. With the Crepe, I am not a huge fan of the shoulders, but with Gertie’s tutorial, I was able to change the darts for a very nice fit, one that I haven’t been able to replicate in other (failed) patterns. I am hoping things go better for me (and for you!) with the Lonsdale.

    • JillyB3 / Aug 4 2011

      Also, I forgot to add — you make so many wonderful garments!! Shake this one off, and work on the Macaron :) I am dying to see it!!

  17. Maria / Aug 5 2011

    Hi Liz, I first want to congratulate you on having the courage to tell the world that this dress didn’t go according to plan and you had to scrap it. Not everyone is brave enough to admit they are human, and therefore not perfect. But, our failures make us better and stronger. You have made some really lovely clothes and inspired many people including myself, so go put on one of your favorite self-made outfits and remind yourself how smart, beautiful and talented you are :o)

    • Liz / Aug 12 2011

      Thanks so much Maria! You’re too sweet. :)

  18. Casey / Aug 8 2011

    I think sewing-disasters tend to come up from time to time for every seamstress–no matter how long she has been sewing! My Crepe wasn’t a complete success, I have to admit; the wonky sleeves still annoy me to this day (which is probably why I don’t wear it a ton)–and something that didn’t show up until I had made the dress from the actual fashion fabric. Which is what happens at times: the way a fabric moves, the grain, weight, etc. all sometimes determine if something gets a little wonky in the process! I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve had complete disasters that I’ve had to either pack away or just trash altogether (this year it was a 40s-inspired swimsuit. While not a complete disaster, my first version needed some major reworking and is still sitting in a bag, waiting for me. I’m just not interested in killing myself over it–there are better sewing projects out there! lol.).

    I’m actually really glad you posted this. I think many times we hide behind the fear in the sewing blog world that we need to appear 100% competent and perfect with our projects. Of course, we all know this is decidedly not the case all the time. Sharing some of the ups and downs helps others, I think! :) One thing I’ve learned over the years is that although a pattern style may be super-popular and flattering to many bodies, it may not suit you for whatever reason. Which is completely okay. I’ve had to abandon several “popular” projects that just didn’t work for me; whether it was fit or it just didn’t suit my lifestyle and the sorts of garments I choose. So thanks for sharing this–it’s a good reminder that we don’t have to be ashamed of the sewing “failures”–every project is a learning process!

    • Liz / Aug 12 2011

      A swimsuit must be super challenging! I don’t think I’m near that level to attempt such a feat. :)

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about sewing “fails”. For me it just felt wrong to blog about doing so much work on a project then to drop it off and pretend it never happened just when it went wrong. I felt like sharing the unfinished would be much more productive than ‘sweeping it under the rug’.

      I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m not upset about it anymore and have learnt some useful lessons out of it. :)

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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