You know the saying "you can't see the forest for the trees"? When it comes to sewing, that doesn't quite describe me. It'd be more accurate to say I can't see the forest for the lichen on the rocks underneath the trees.
Take my latest project, McCall's 4576. Does it ring a bell? It might. I posted about it back in December, when I was thinking about making it for New Year's Day. When I say I'm a slow sewster, I mean it.
About a month ago, after a killer swath of work, I had a free weekend and was ready to sew. I whipped up a muslin of the other New Year's dress I had been debating and decided that all the stripe-matching and re-fitting required wasn't worth it. On to view A of this pattern! I spent probably 30 minutes making sure the grain was lined up (see what I mean about not seeing the forest?) and then cut that puppy out. (The corollary to my getting absorbed in details? I then get impatient and get a little sloppy on other things. The slippery gauze was a bitch to cut, and the pieces were a wee bit uneven.)
But my hope was still high at this point. I was documenting my steps for you, my dear readers. I had decided to learn what I could from the seamstress who had used the pattern before me. I'd noticed she cut out her paper pattern pieces differently than I did. She left paper overhanging on the "cut on fold" edge and cut her notches in, not out:
I followed her lead. Conclusions? I HATE cutting notches inward. Leaving paper overhanging for cutting on the fold? Very handy!
Anyway, on to sewing! Damn. I had hoped to whip through this thing. But with other errands and going to a movie and such the weekend was over. No problem. I picked it up the next weekend with plans to stitch it together -- it was an easy pullover, after all -- and, after all the other weekend distractions, managed to get one seam done. ONE SEAM.
But it was a GORGEOUS seam. Beautiful. I'd decided to do a serged French seam a la Sandra Betzina, since the fabric frayed so much. See, I was going to do this thing RIGHT. No skipping steps! I serged the right sides together. Turned the wrong sides together and pressed that seam carefully. Usually I just hold the fabric when I do the second part of a French seam, but this time I pinned it. Did I mention I basted in the seamline as well for accuracy? AND taped down my serger seam guide so there would be no nasty guide movement?
Wow, what a great seam it was. A few days later, I did an equally beautiful seam on the center back. The workmanship! I had such pride! Until I realized...
...I had sewn the wrong sides together.
I didn't cry. I didn't scream. I literally bowed to defeat, putting my head down on my sewing table. And then I left the room.
Days later, I decided I could sew down the exposed seam. It was enclosed, right? It would just look like a flat fell seam. An odd design choice, sure, but why not? Better than picking apart a serged seam and fray-happy fabric. It worked! On to the other side seam. Another beautiful serged French seam!
And, it turned out, ANOTHER chance to sew the wrong sides together.
By now I hated the dress. I hated the pattern. I hated myself. I folded up the fabric and pattern. Was about to put the fabric pieces away for that magical someday when I would return to the dress.
Then I saw the trash can. The semi-finished dress had found its home.
Later I read this great Kenneth King quote -- it appeared originally on the Threads blog, but I saw it on Polka Dot Overload:
When learning the craft of sewing...you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good.
If Kenneth King says it's OK for me to destroy fabric, I don't feel quite as bad for feeling so, well, relieved by throwing that dress in the trash. The blue gauze is out to the back 40 and now I'm working on this project, Simplicity 5144 :
I'm doing View 3, with the rounded hemline and front zipper. With any luck I'll get it finished before the end of the year!