I do regret cutting out the fashion fabric. In December I wrote a post called In Potentia where I said that I hated to cut into any fabric I liked in case I ruined it, then I got over myself and cut out the top I was thinking of, and then I promptly ruined it in the sewing stage. /o\
On the positive side, things that went well:
+ The FBA is (almost) right. Looking critically at the boob region of the top, however, I think I needed just a smidge more space in the centre front piece. The princess seams are just a little too far towards the centre of the top and there's some drag on the side seams as well. It doesn't look bad, but it could be better.
+ The length is good (although, er, due to errors listed below I don't have room for a hem).
+ The colour and fabric is very nice on me. This is relevant despite the ruin of the garment because I have enough left to make a dress one of these days.
Things that didn't go well:
- Above all else, the finish, as far as I got, was AWFUL, mainly because I tried to rush through the sewing and was in a bad mood/sleep deprived/had a headache pretty much every time I picked it up to work on. Things that I needed to be spot on to make the top look polished were a mess. The empire waist seams did not match at the side. The set in sleeves were a mess. The inside was even worse because for some reason I decided not to finish my seams properly until the end, then decided to pink them, rushed angrily through this process due to frustration at something else I was doing, and promptly snipped a small but unfortunate hole into the fabric under the left bust. Lesson learned: finish is EVERYTHING. If I sew in a hurry, in a bad mood, when exhausted or headachy, I am dooooooomed to failure, and that will just make me MORE cross and frustrated, and this improves nothing.
- Pattern problems. I made some changes between the final muslin and the actual garment, and this turned out to be a terrible mistake. I thought the empire waist seam needed to be lower so I added an inch to the length of the upper bodice. What I didn't realize is that this would flatten out the curve designed into the pattern, which I liked, and also make the bodice hang unflatteringly on me, making me look pregnant. I also forgot to fix the pattern for the back skirt of the top, which was too long due to a measuring error, and when I tried to fix it I got into that awful situation where I was cutting and cutting at the hems trying to get them right, and the top was getting shorter and shorter. /o\
- Neckline fail. I knew when I was working on the muslin that the neckline was right on the edge of being wider than I like (I hate showing bra strap) but I decided I could live with it. I forgot I would be losing fabric to the facing seam as well. End result: neckline definitely too wide, shows off bra strap. Also, facings. Ugh, facings are terrible. I sat there going >:( at the facings for ages, trying to work out what RTW does instead because no, seriously, facings are TERRIBLE. They flop about, they show through, they're hard to sew on, and they add bulk at the neckline, etc. My store bought clothes don't have this problem. I reached the conclusion that RTW mainly uses bias binding instead.
- Fit problems. Apart from the FBA and the neckline issues, I also disliked the fit across the back in this version. I think I may need to look into a broad back alteration.
The frugal side of me is disappointed by the money I spent on this failure (about £5 for the fabric, plus overheads) and the waste of the fabric, not all of which I'll be able to recycle. However, this is how I am thinking about it:
Sewing is my hobby. Of course I want to be good at it, but it's still a hobby. If I were a golfer, or did horse-riding, or played the guitar, there would be no pressure to make every pound I spent on my hobby be productive. If I played a bad round of golf but enjoyed the experience, I wouldn't go home and be all "well, I've wasted my money today!" just because the result wasn't as good as I would like. In this case, to be fair, I didn't enjoy the process of making the top, really, but the lesson isn't "I am bad at this and should totally stop all sewing" but rather "don't sew when you're not enjoying it". I think that's the thing I want to take away from this wadder, more even than the things I need to learn about fit and patterns.