Let’s call a spade a spade: these are fails! They’ve all be given away or donated. I don’t mind having some misses though, because it means I’ve had fun experimenting.
I’ve known for years that I don’t like curved hem cardigans on myself… but I wanted to see the mechanics of how this pattern inserts sleeves into a full circle! I had a fine time testing it, and then immediately gave it away.
Never worn except for pictures. Chalk this one up to wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone, and the killer photo in the Burda Style magazine! Like several of my fails, I think it suffers because I bought fabric locally that was “good enough” but not really something I love.
Another pattern test! I bought this striped linen because it was cheap and cheerful, but the warm pale colours just didn’t work on me. I tried to make it work by dying it and tweaking the proportions, but I never loved it. It has been given away.
I made a few pink projects in spring that I loved, and I was really determined to buy more pink fabric… so I picked this neon Liverpool when I got my next sponsored fabric from Cali Fabrics. The idea of a summer dress in non-breathable double-knit polyester was just doomed from the start!
5. Colour-blocked Leisl Dress
I received this pattern for free in return for review on the Curvy Sewing Collective when Liesl and Co released their plus size patterns. I wrote a rather critical review on the CSC, and reached out to the company directly several times on Instagram to offer friendly advice on how (not) to approach plus-size sewists. I never heard back from them, and that really soured my experience. The dress is fine but nothing great, and my attempt at print mixing new and old fabrics provided by Cali Fabrics left me underwhelmed. I donated it without wearing.
There’s a pretty clear pattern here, I think: When I sew something with external deadlines, there is a stronger chance of going astray. Several of these fails are pattern tests or reviews with a pattern provided for free… which is why I’ve started to be more picky about what I agree to make. I’m saying no to more pattern tests, and I have to say, designers have been totally understanding when I say something is not my style. A few of my Top 5 Hits were also pattern tests, so I find the gamble worthwhile!
Secondly, I need to focus more on fabric choice. That means shopping more carefully when I buy locally, and (wait for this amazing justification!) maybe having a larger stash so that I have the right fabric on hand more of the time! Cali Fabrics gives me complete control over what fabrics I pick to share on their blog, and I’ve got some really winners through my partnership with them. I tend to get distracted though by what a fabric clearly wants to become, instead of asking myself if I really want to wear what I’m imagining!
Just for fun, I collaged all the pattern tests I did in 2019 that have now been released. On the left are patterns/garments that didn’t work for me… on the right are patterns I instantly loved! (To be clear, none of the fails are because or poor drafting or anything wrong with the pattern – just not right for *me*.) It’s nice to see that it’s a 50/50 split, though maybe I can make the odds of success higher in 2020!
What were your fails this year? Technical problems, fabric choice, pattern choice, or just all-round disaster?