To continue on with my Top Five of 2016, hosted by Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow, today I’m sharing five projects I made in 2016 that missed the mark. When working towards a homemade wardrobe, the act of sewing and knitting is really just a long series of trial and error until you find what works for you. It’s a learning process, and because of this I don’t really believe in completely failed projects. If you learned something from the project then it wasn’t a true waste of time and materials. You can make all the plans you want on paper until you’re confident you’re working towards the “best idea ever” but you won’t know for sure how something will work for you until you actually do the work. So here are five examples of me planning the projects, doing the work, and learning something from my efforts.
1.) Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts
One of my very first projects of 2016 that I expected to instantly become a “TNT” (tried and true, wear again and again) pattern was the Fen dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts. It’s an easy pattern to sew, a comfy silhouette, it has pockets, it’s a cute wearable length, you can pair it with leggings and the list goes on and on, but after sewing a wearable muslin I quickly realized that particular shape was not the one for me. It’s not a bad shape by any means. The darts are in the right place and there’s no gape at the back neck which I often have issues with but over the course of this past year I’ve learned I want the comfort factor in my clothing to come mainly from the fabric, not from the silhouette. Basically I made a massive switch from Team Wovens to Team Knits. I like garments that are fitted in the shoulders with shaping in the bust, that skim out to a slim but comfortable silhouette over the hips. You can’t really create that with a woven fabric unless there are zippers involved, which I don’t want. So even though this project was an utter fail in the sense that I didn’t even bother finishing the muslin, it helped me sort out what I actually want in a pattern from what I thought I wanted, so that’s a huge win!
2.) Custom color-block Tiny Pocket Tank
Another project that solidified everything I said above was my color-block Tiny Pocket Tank. I’m completely in love with this garment on a hanger but I’m not happy with the fit at all. I find it to be all sorts of weird in the bust to the point where I stopped wearing it. It’s not a completely poor fit, but it’s awkward enough to where I feel awkward wearing it. Shorty after making this I turned away from woven pullover tops for the year and concentrated on stretchy tops instead. Though this project was disappointing because I put so much time into customizing it, it lead me to the Lark T-Shirt pattern which ended up being my most-made/most-loved pattern of 2016.
3.) Murder Mystery Quilt Along
One of my twenty sixteen goals was to do more quilting so I thought a ‘block of the month’ style club might be a great way to do a little bit at a time and still reach my goal of finishing one quilt. There seriously could not have been a more perfect QAL for me than the Murder Mystery Quilt by Deborah Moebes! It had everything I wanted in a quilt and more!! …Well that was a huge flop and I can’t help but feel guilty about not committing to such an awesome project, especially because I enjoyed making this one block so much. I did well the first month but as the year went by I got sucked into other things, making it all too easy not to return to the quilt project at all. The only two quilts I’ve made in the past I finished because I set aside one entire long weekend to dedicate to the quilt. I did all the planning, cutting, and piecing in three or four days so I never had to stop anything in the middle and push things aside. I just sat down and got it done. I’m realizing I work best like this, especially with larger projects. One of my goals in 2017 is to make another quilt, and now I know how to set myself up for success in order to see it done.
4 & 5.) Rosebud Hat and All Day Beret
I had some unfortunate misses with knitting projects this year too. I wear hats A LOT. I love hats! I wear them all year long, in any season, and anyone who knows me has probably seen me in a hat more often than not. Because of this I’ve grown to be pretty particular about which kinds of shapes I like to wear. It can be hard when you have short hair to find a hat that doesn’t totally overwhelm your face. I loved knitting the Rosebud hat but I found the shape to be too slouchy, which surprised me because I love slouchy hats! It was just a tad too droopy in the back and I feel like it swallows my whole head. This blog post is one of my favorites though because of the photos I took with Lucille 🙂
I over compensated with my follow up hat project and made my All Day Beret too short. It’s not slouchy enough which makes it look more like an ill-fitting skull cap and I’m just not into it. Two things I did get right on these hats are the colors and technique. I finally narrowed down a good color palette for myself this year, plus I improved my knitting tension and hand posture so that’s a big win, too!
Through these “misses” I learned a lot about what kinds of shapes and fabrics I like wearing most and I’m feeling really good about my sewing and knitting in the coming year! I’ll be doing another “Make Nine” challenge in 2017 because I really liked kicking off the new year with a solid set of goals and plans, so I’ll be sharing that list soon as well as three more prompts from Gillian’s Sewing Top Five.
How about you? What are some things you made this year that missed the mark but taught you something?