“It’s fucked” was the only response I could give my 15yo daughter who is currently attempting making herself a lovely pair of sailor shorts for summer. The damage was irredeemable and the only destination was the bin. It was her first disaster and the look on her face – despair at all the work gone to waste was something I think most of we crafters and sewers can relate to very well. The only positive I could give her was that the ruined version could be reused as a mock-up for her next attempt.
Ruined projects are a fact of life for those of us who want to continue improving our skills and learning new things. All the stretch lace I bought recently to make underwear from? It’s awful and scratchy on my skin. Not to mention that for some reason, the elastic wouldn’t shrink back down the right size. Stretched out elastic is an eternal problem I have when sewing and none of my sewing friends have yet to be able to come up with an answer. Yes, I use zig-zag stitch and yes, I stretch it all gently as I sew. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. So for now, I have metres of lace which is sitting in my ‘current projects’ tub and mocking me.
Also in my current projects box is a rather elaborate two layer, floor length fishtail skirt which I’m making for a dress-up event next weekend. It’s so close to finished, but I dare not buy more decorative lace to finish it (though I have managed to recycle some of the aforementioned black lace into it) until I know that the lacing of the back is going to work. The plan is to put a long row of corset grommets down the centre back seam and add lacing instead of a zip. But will it work? Will it sit nicely or will it bunch up and ruin the whole skirt? I’ve spent so many hours on it so far and am so nervous about the next step being potentially ruinous. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is the second lot of fabric I bought for the fishtail – the first lot of fabric being totally unsuitable for the job. At least that fabric can be recycled into a mid thigh length skirt: chop the tail off, hem it and it’s good to go.
At least my current projects have not been expensive. Unlike the ruined dress a few years ago which cost me around $100 in fabric. Nor have they been unpleasant – thinking of the room I spent all day painting and then stood back and hated the colour. I cried with exhaustion over that one. And certainly not boring – thinking of a few other UFOs which I’ve simply run out of steam on and not finished.
So back to my daughter today. I think she’s at the stage where she can’t even bring herself to look at the shorts. Indeed, the table is still messy and she can’t even look at cleaning up the scraps and empty cotton reels. But I will encourage her to finish the mock up and at least figure out if she want to have another attempt. After all, she does want a career in the textiles industry and perhaps this will be just the first of many failures which lead to success.