Saturday, August 29, 2015

Let’s Talk Fails

Not everything I make works out.  Sometimes it does not fit right, sometimes the sewing does not go right, sometimes the fabric fails me or the pattern.  Fails are a terrible part of sewing.  They happen, but nobody likes it when they do.  The only good part about a sewing fail is that I learn each time. I thought I would catch up my August sewing and share some of the fails I’ve had this month. 

Simplicity 1068

Remember when I made my awesome Cheetah ruffle skirt?  I love it to pieces and said I would try some of the other views of the same pattern.  So I did. And it was not love.  I decided to go with the circle skirt, view C, knee length.  Circle skirts are easy to sew, though they take up a ton of fabric, and this pattern is just a knit circle skirt with an encased elastic waistband.  I picked up 2 yards of black and 2 yards of gray fabric to give it a try.  I used size 16 waist to 18 hip.  This is my waist size, but 1 size less than my hips.

This is the gray skirt (my shirt is a Renfrew I made in March)

The pattern instructions are very easy to follow if you’ve never sewn a circle skirt.  I have sewn a few for Miss K so I did not need them.  I sewed both these up in no time. 


The fabric is a bit of a story.  I am on a ton of Facebook groups for fabric, patterns, sewing in general, etc. and many sewists were talking about how Walmart is now carrying knit fabric.  I popped into mine the end of July and sure enough they had a few bolts.  The gray is a super soft “Pontiroma,” a poly blend, lighter than Ponte, but a nice weight.  I purchased 2 yards for $10.88 total.  I love this fabric and will probably buy more.  It would make a great Lady Skater dress or knit pants. It is of medium weight and has decent stretch.  The black is Cotton Spandex Knit and is nice and thick compared to most Cotton/lycra (spandex) that I purchase online.  It has great stretch and recovery.  I purchased 2 yards for $11.96 total.  *On a side note, the lady had no idea how to cut knit fabric.  She gave me the most jagged crazy cut edge I’ve ever had on a piece of fabric.

And this is the Black Skirt

The gray skirt has more drape to it and thus turned out better looking than the black skirt.  I will keep the gray one but I don’t know how much use it will get.  The weight of the black one makes it feel frumpier to me.  I don’t know how to explain it but it does not hang right.  I don’t care for it at all and will chop it up into underwear as soon as I get time. 

My little helper wanted to be picked up constantly today (his kids, K &T, are gone so he is super needy)

I have decided that circle skirts just are not for me, at this length anyway. I would, however, recommend both of the Walmart knits (for appropriate projects of course). 

Next up is a Burda skirt that I had really high hopes for.   Burda 03/2013 #122

Every summer I go through a Maxi skirt obsession.  This skirt appealed to me but I did not have that issue so I had to buy the skirt via PDF version online for $5.90.  It comes with the skirt pieces for design #120, 121, 122, and 123.  The directions, however, are only for the number you purchase. 


This skirt is unique to sew because it has an invisible side zipper that is attached to the pocket bag.  It was challenging and frustrating.  I goggled and read up on how to attempt this feat.  It took 3 unpicking’s before I was satisfied with it.

See how the zipper comes down and it's attached to the pocket bag. . . crazy!

The skirt has a yoke and then the two lower rectangles, as well as pockets on the side seams.  I sewed the lower part with just one fabric, omitting the bottom “ruffle” layer.  I underlined with a very soft and light cotton muslin.  When I finally finished I tried it on and was sorely disappointed.  The pockets and gathering at the hip made me feel ginormous.  I ended up ripping out the zipper and omitting the pockets before closing it all up again.  I still feel 100 pounds heavier when I put it on, it is not a good look for me. 


My instincts told me that gathers by my hips are a big no-no for a pear shape like me; I should have listened to my gut. The pattern makes a really awesome skirt, it was just a style mistake for me (being so hippy).  Boo.


The instructions for this skirt are typical Burda – little bits and pieces but no real help.  I utilized my stash of sewing books and the internet to sew it up.  The inseam pocket/invisible zipper part was terrible. 


The fabric is amazing.  I’m sad I cut it up.  It is a Muted Navy/Beige/White Dappled Leaves Cotton Lawn from FabricMart.  I purchased this in May 2014, 3 yards for $16.17 total. I love it too much to part with it so I will salvage what I can from the lower half rectangle.  Expect to see it again sometime!



Continuing with my Back to School preparations, I made up a bunch of underwear the last few weeks, too.  Miss K will no longer wear store undies so I re-stocked her drawer with
Ottobre 06/2013 #33 Undies


I mass produced 6 pairs in 2 days.  The coverstitch binder attachment helped tremendously, though I will think ahead of time next time and use the same color bands on all pairs.  It was a pain to change thread colors so much!  My coverstitch is super picky and I have to re-thread from the beginning every time I need to change colors.  The fabrics are all scraps from previous makes.  Miss K was super happy to see some of her favorite fabrics. 


Not wanting Mr. T to feel left out I tried a new boxer pattern for him.  It is the Boxerwear pattern from Stitch Upon A Time.  *Also referred to as SUAT for short*  I used the XS size for him with the long length.  They fit him great, but the length is a bit long for his shorter body (It’s a men’s pattern).  Next time I will use the shorter length for him.  Fabric is also scraps from his other makes.  The seams on the inside of the “pouch” are enclosed (there is a lining and an outer fabric) so they are very soft inside. Mr. T did not want to take them off... 


Mr. SunnySewing also got to try some new boxers from the same pattern.  His are a size XL and fit great (below on the Left with the fly).  They also have a boxerwear pattern for Women, so of course I made myself some in a size M at the waist to L at the hip.  They are super comfy to wear.  I can’t wait to make more! 


I popped out a tiny pair in XXS for Miss K but they were too small for her.  She also declared she would never wear “man” underwear so I won’t attempt any more for her.  They are super cute though! The fabric is from scraps from her previous shirt.  


I also wanted to share this crazy picture. I was bit by an ant 2 weeks ago and I had to deal with this monstrosity for almost 2 weeks!! I almost gnawed my leg off it itched SO bad! I mean really, who reacts like this to a tiny ant!!  Actually, I itch again just looking at it. Sigh. It's better now, just a shadow of this.


  1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with a table of fails. But it's all worth it if you learn something. Love your underwear, what a way to recycle! That ant bite is horrible, my goodness! I hope you recover fast. Love your post.
    See me @

  2. Now I think the skirt makes your waist look tiny. I'm a brick (basically the same size from top to toe). I'm always looking for something to make me look like I have a waist.

  3. OUCH!!!!!!!

    Wait. Wait. WAIT! I love that Burda skirt on you!!!! What about with a blouse/top that has a wrap feature or something that accents your small waist?

    I do like the gray skirt for fall. It seems a bit heavy, visually. But with a cardigan or sweater and tights or boots it'll probably be super cute. The black one does seem to fit so much differently.

    Oh and if I were K I wouldn't waste my time with Fruit of the Loom either! :-p

    1. You know, that is an awesome idea Nakisha. Part of the problem is that I have nothing suitable to wear with it. I'll see if that helps, once I find a wrap top pattern.

  4. Eww, the ant bite looks so sore! Thank goodness it's getting better now. I have to say I love reading about other people's fails, as it makes me feel better about mine! Thanes days most of my fails are a fabric and pattern mismatch, even though I try really hard to get that right. Anyway I was interested to see what you class as a fail. In these photos all your skirts look great to my eyes, so I do wonder if it is largely a matter of your personal style preference. I think we all get styles that feel like us through the years and trying something different can look quite strange to us. I do agree with the others - the lower half fullness gives you a great hourglass shape. But I know it doesn't matter what other people say because I wouldn't wear something if I didn't feel right even if everyone else thought it was great!

    1. Thank you Philippa, it is better now, ugh. I'm the same way about fails, I love to read about them; it reminds me that no one is perfect and sewing is a journey with many fails and successes. I have lots of failed pattern and fabric matches - I stink at that! I'm still trying to figure out what style I like, mainly I just sew up what I think will be pretty or look good, hahahaha.

  5. I was explaining the concept of a "wadder" to a new sewer. Obviously she's been lucky with the first few pieces she made.

    1. lol, wouldn't it be nice not to have any wadders? Pipe dreams.... ;-) Thanks Kathy!

  6. Holy smoke! I cannot believe an ant did that to you! That looks so painful! When we have had bug bites or anything itchy, I put that pink stuff on. I forget what it's called. It helps a lot. You have been busy! Or rather, you continue to be. I wouldn't part with the long skirt. I'd just put it away and you never know, something may come up where you want to try it again. It is really pretty and you did a nice job sewing it up. A true fail is a botch job ha ha. All of your sewing is really nice, so I wouldn't think of it as a fail. I could show you what a real fail is, but they all got tossed in the trash! ha ha

    1. I know Shirley! It just kept swelling and swelling. It was terrible. Now, 2.5 weeks later, I still have an outline of it on my leg. Calamine lotion is the pink stuff. I tried that. It didn't' help much :(
      I have been busy sewing, lol. I was in a back-to-school frenzy. I think I will hold on to the long skirt a bit and see. Maybe it needs to grow on me a bit.
      Haha, you are right, a true fail is a trash bucket item. For me, I feel like a fail is something that doesn't get worn - like a waste of my time.
      Thanks Shirley!

  7. I agree with you on the drape of the black skirt, it doesn't hang as nicely as it should. The grey one is lovely, I just think it might benefit from another "partner". Maybe if you paired it with a slim collared blouse? The maxi skirt is gorgeous, and I don't agree that the gathers on the hips are wrong for you! It looks great! Keep the top tucked in, to show off the detailing. A navy tank, and a slim light belt perhaps, and it would look quite dressy :) Please don't hack it up!

    That ant could use a kick up the backside!

    1. Thanks Siri, I already hacked up the black one, lol. I'm trying a new sports bra pattern and the material is perfect for that. I'm so terrible at styling, I will try all your suggestions :D They sound great!
      And don't worry, the ant was still in my skin by the time I ripped my pants off in pain so I killed him, lol.


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