Friday, 3 April 2015

The Mabby (and a MASSIVE warned)

* warning: this is a massive Negative Nelly whinge-fest. Read on at your own peril. You have been warned!*

I made this skirt a few weeks before we went off to Japan and I've not had the sewjo to sew anything since. Why? Because this skirt (that I HATE) was meant to be another knit Gabby Dress...but it just didn't turn out the way. If I hadn't just flushed $100 on fabric down the loo it would be kinda funny.

The first disaster was the fabric which I bought from Tessuti in Chatswood - which cost me $45 per meter (that's A LOT of money if you ask me). I initially bought it for a Casual Lady Dress but when I got it home and washed it it had shrunk SO MUCH that I would've been lucky to get a tunic top out of it. Into the cupboard it went.  A few months later I was at Tessuti in Surry Hills and saw this fabric again (helpfully this time with a warning on the swing tag that said this fabric suffers "serious shrinkage" so be warned...would've been helpful if the other store had that warning too). I umm'd and ahh'd and ended up buying another meter...with the lady at the store very generously chcuking in half a meter for free..."just in case" it shrunk again (which it did).

When I got the fabric home I realized that the fabric was the same same as my original piece, but different. Same pattern and colour, but on one piece the printing was very offset so the two pieces don't look the same. This is more than enough to send my OCD and anxiety into overdrive.  You can "sort of" see that in this photo, but trust me when I say the front does not match the back!

Anyway, the Gabby Dress just did NOT work in this fabric...I think it was too slinky and that pattern works best in the more stiff knit I'd made my first knit Gabby out of. It also just BAD!  I also had HUGE trouble with the neckline...I just cannot seem to do necklines in a knit and have them look neat. If I turn it under I get bulk at the shoulder seams that is impossible to sew over; and I'm hopeless at neckbinding. I'm not sure how to ready my neckline disability. There was something also very weird going on with the sleeves - heaps of extra fabric, bunching and twisting. Fail fail fail fail on so many levels.

In the end I hacked off the top part of the dress and kept the rest as a skirt. I used the Mabel Skirt waistband and attached it to the skirt piece and voila...I have a skirt.

I know the skirt looks alright in these pictures but alas the elastic holding the waistband up is too lose (though it might fit now as I've put on 2kgs since I made it). When I wore this outfit into the city I ended up buying a dress in Uniqlo and getting changed in the public loos so I would feel more...comfortable. I also just know that it's a fail...and that I've wasted over $100 on now ruined fabric that makes me want to cry! I look at this skirt and all I see is failure and a big waste of money (added to all the other failed garments and all the time and money I've wasted since I started sewing)

I did try and hem the skirt normally, but I also suck at hemming. More umm'ing and ahh'ing and I decided to use my rolled-hem function on my overlocker. I actaully think this bit looks OK, and this is the perfect material for a rolled hem.

So there you have it. At the moment sewing can go f**k itself. I'm sure I'll get back to it eventually, but right now I'm enjoying shopping for what I need and building myself a nice, considered wardrobe that way. I have a few things I'm thinking of sewing up (Mabel Skirt I'm looking at you) and I think for the upcoming Frocktails in Melbourne this year I want to make myself a zip purse to take (zippers = eep)...and forgo the homemade frock. I'm also about to embark on a big fabric destash...I feel like I might have more motivation if I have less fabric...

On another note, how awesome are my clogs! I love them to bits.

Mel x


  1. Oh Mel... I know it's disheartening when you have a 'wadder'. It happens to all of us, and it can feel really awful, especially when you have sunk time and money into a project. The fact is, learning to sew garments takes a lot of time and the only real way to get better is to do the same thing over and over, make mistakes and learn from them (and in my case ask a lot of questions from people who are much better sewists than me!)

    If you do decide to come back to sewing, a couple of things that might help (although feel free not to take any of them on board as I'm not speaking from any position of authority - just as someone who loves sewing and has made a fair share of mistakes in the past!).

    Perhaps try some projects using less expensive fabric? I realise that the lure of $45 pm Tessuti loveliness is very strong, especially when Instagram/blogs are full of the best and latest 'must have ' fabric but it's perfectly possible to get good quality fabric for a lot less. If you make a not-so-good garment for $20 as opposed to $150 it might feel more like part of the learning and less like failing if what you make doesn't exactly match up with the vision in your head. Also, taking the time to basting seams before overlocking does help to fit as you go and avoids that 'f%^k it doesn't fit" problem when you try on something at the very end!.

    Lastly, I don't see your skirt as a failure, more as a success in 'making it work'.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you can look back at your sewing experience positively - you've learnt new skills and created something and that's a good thing! x

  2. I agree with so much of what Helen said.
    I've been sewing/blogging for three years - with a wealth of other sorts of sewing behind me - and I still freak out sewing $45+ fabrics. I find I relax more with less expensive fabrics and enjoy the process - and even the failures - more. I only get expensive fabrics for the things I'm sure of.
    I found knits hard to start with, maybe try some wovens? Knits can vary so widely it's hard to apply the same pattern to different knits and get the same outcomes. Maybe try some Vogue patterns, I started with them and still find them reliable (once you figure out the ease). I still find some companies suit me better than others - well, without alterations.

  3. Grrr that you are not happy about this skirt, but can you please please please continue sewing cause i keep copying your knit dress ideas. I've done a knit gabby too recently, i really like it but am thinking some darts are needed in the back. Might wear it tomorrow - see you then!

  4. I have felt your pain. Okay, not your $100 pain because I'm a cheapskate. The skirt was cute. But I also had to take a sewing vacation for a few weeks.

  5. Oh I feel for you. I think we've all had a pricey wadder or in my case many! I agree with Helen re: expensive fabric - maybe try some cheap and cheerful makes to get your sew jo back again. I tend to make tank tops when I need a quick fix. How many of those have I made this past 12 months..

  6. Ooh how horrible for you - especially as you have spent so much money. I think part of the reason you hate the skirt is because of the money. When I look at your pictures I see a stylish skirt with a beautiful flow and drape.

  7. I think the skirt looks great and so does that hem! I know what it's like to feel like a sewing dunce - so many things I have put up on the blog never to wear again. I have this wonderful Marimekko stash that I'm too scared to touch at the moment in case I f*&k up - but then I think it's only fabric and better that I have a crack than have it sit there gathering dust. Also need to learn patience and muslin, muslin muslin!!

  8. Come to a sewing session when you're ready Mel.
    Use more affordable fabrics while you're developing your skills. It won't hurt your wallet as much.