Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fear of Finishing

An analytical look at my sewing lately ('cause I'm an engineer)

Why does it take me a week to hem a garment? For the same reason I have sweater pieces that are knitted but not assembled. I have a fear of finishing because I fear that when the item is done I will perhaps see that it doesn't live up to my expectations. Yes, I'm too hard on myself. It's just sewing (or knitting) and it's not like anyone is grading me, judging me, or paying me for what I make. And yes, I know I learn from my experiences and mistakes.

Every sewer has wadders. Plenty of knitters have ripped out entire sweaters that didn't work out. I've made lots of things I wore once - mostly dresses for weddings or special occasions - but never were worn again because they didn't quite fit right or the style was all wrong for me. Even if another event comes up I chose to make (or buy) something rather than be uncomfortable wearing one of those previous dresses. Yet those dresses stay for a long time in my closet because I made them. Call me sentimental. Or a perfectionist. Or a bit of a hoarder. I'm all three. But I don't like being uncomfortable...or settling for "just ok."

The "just ok" projects may even be worse than the ones that don't work out. At least with a failure there's often a clear reason: doesn't fit, wrong choice of fabric. The tough ones are when I put on what I made, stand in front of the mirror and doubt that I'd buy the same thing off a clothing rack. I think too often the image I had of me wearing it does not fit reality. In my head I know the picture of the dress/pants/jacket/blouse on the pattern envelope or magazine page size-2 model is not really how it will look on me, but there's often not much else to go by.

So you can probably guess where I'm going with this blog post (or maybe you can't and I'm rambling). Progress on the Burda cardigan was going pretty well and after a few days it was basically done except for the hems on the sleeves and the front ties. This was my 90% point. It was finished enough for me to try on and this is where I got stuck. Although I'd made a sample to test out the fit of my FBA, the fit of the cardigan didn't quite measure up. It's actually a little too large.

Rule #1 in making a muslin (I made this up, I don't know if this is really the number one rule, but it sounds good to me) - use a similar fabric. My fabric is a polyester mystery-weave knit. I didn't have a lot of it so I couldn't use it to sample, therefore, I made a sample using a rayon jersey knit. The rayon knit is heavier feeling whereas the polyester is light and airy. The rayon is also 4-way but the poly is 2-way stretch. I don't know that using a different sample fabric was the main culprit though.

Rule #2 - don't skimp on the sample. I cut out only one front and one back for my sample, so I didn't really see how the finished piece would hang in the front or off my shoulders. Lesson learned (and learned and learned and apparently not sunk in yet) - in Burda patterns, I need to go down a size for my upper chest and shoulders.

Today I pushed past the 90% and finished the hems and made the ties. Tomorrow, weather and time permitting, I might get a picture of me wearing it. At the very least I'll snap a picture on my dressform, although my dressform is less busty than I am at the moment, further emphasizing the fitting issue.

1 comment:

  1. I do the SAME thing. Fear of finishing ... yep. Don't want to be disappointed. Which is stupid because I'm just making myself frustrated for not sewing all the things I want to be sewing. I need to give myself a pep talk. :-)