Can You Relate to Frustrating Sewing Patterns?
The jacket pattern has just stopped “working”….
You’ve made four bodice mockups and it *still* doesn’t look right.
You’ve had enough of the project because the pattern pieces are just not lining up.
The garment’s not coming out like you expected. It totally doesn’t look like the pattern envelope sketch and doesn’t come close to your vision in your head. You’re spitting fire, crying a river and throwing the whole darn thing across the room. Arrrrrrrgh!
Pattern Failure happens when:
- Seam lines don’t line up (or “Why is the front panel 2 inches shorter than the side?”)
- You have to guess where the dots are to match up that the instructions clearly state to connect and sew together but they’re nowhere to be found on the pattern pieces
- Or the instructions kindly forget to mention what those sets of dots are for. Do you match them up, line them up to something else, place trim here or embroider your initials?
- Oops! The collar piece is missing from the newly-released pattern
- The instructions fail miserably as if they were reproduced straight from a Victorian book. “Finish in the usual way.” As if!
I mean, isn’t that why you spent good money on the pattern? You expected the company would give you all the pieces needed to make this gorgeous 1904 gown, similar to the drawing on the front, and be very precise in actually *how* to put it all together. But somehow it’s just not coming out right.
The pattern becomes a disappointment. It doesn’t produce the results that you’re looking for. You might even go so far as to call the whole thing an Epic Fail.
Overcoming This Grand Catastrophe
One of the best ways to stop the fiasco is to put the project aside for a while to cool off. No doubt you’re upset and frustrated about it. Next time when you pick it up you’re refocused and ready to tackle it again. Stepping away from any project will give you fresh eyes when you come back to it. You might notice exactly how to fix the cutting error. Or discover a solution to the horrible seam placement.
Another way is to find a time to sit down with the pattern pieces and instructions and go over both together, step-by-step. You might have simply missed step #3b, but by doing so the whole thing becomes a mess. This isn’t technically “pattern failure” but it sure is easier to blame the “stupid” pattern rather than our inattention to important details.
Then again, some projects are just too far gone down the Epic Fail route that they’re not worth the effort to fix. These are the projects that teach us the limits of our skills but also exactly where we can improve our sewing….
The patience to make it right the first time… That one technique you’ve done a few times but still aren’t getting (or may never get to turn out)… Or the simple, pure joy that comes from the act of just getting to work on a sewing project for a brief time.
But what if you didn’t have to rely on published patterns and their infamous errors scattered throughout?
After sewing for years I didn’t think I’d ever be able to make something without a commercial pattern. I was SO dependent on them. Granted, my fashion school classes helped me break away from patterns, but the decision to try my hand at my own pattern designs and write the sewing instructions that I knew were in my head but never put on paper, gave me a BIG boost to cut the pattern apron strings.
I challenge you. If you’ve been sewing for a while, you know how to put a basic bodice together. If you’ve got a great fitting bodice, use that pattern again and make it up the same. You know how. Take that leap to try a skirt with only your head knowledge. You might be surprised.
But if you are still needing a hand-holding and depend upon patterns to guide you, that’s ok. Even the experienced will refer to books and other sources for reference.
If you would like another costumer’s trained mind to walk with you through the rough spots of your project, I invite you to take a look at our online sewing classes. Maybe just having someone point out a better way to accomplish that skirt pleating you’re working on will open the doors to other garments you’ve only dreamed about.
You CAN defeat pattern failure! I know you can create great things! Hop over to the Facebook page and share your fantastic costumes with us. See you there!