Sewing top fives: Misses

This is my favourite part of the sewing top fives: writing about the ones that didn’t work. And the good news is that I’m struggling to find five complete fails from 2019 – this year there are only four.

The first was a pair of trousers for my son. I traced the pattern (Burda 127 03/2018), cut them out, and then left them for a couple of months. Which was stupid because children grow. By the time I made them up they were much too small.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by the drafting either; they’re intended for that awkward size where the child may or may not still be in nappies, but you’d never fit a nappy under these. What I’ve learnt from this is that it’s a lot cheaper and easier (in the UK at least) to buy trousers for toddlers than make your own.

The next fail was also for my son, but the same pattern (a RTW copy based on Burda 138 03/2014) also featured in my top five hits. I first made it in green polar fleece as a trial run, and he loved it. The red ‘real’ version here is made from soft shell and is not loved – in fact I can’t get him to wear it. I think the problem is that the fabric is too robust. It’s much more of a coat fabric than a sweater fabric. Pity because it’s a lovely colour and I was very pleased with how it came out. I may have to pass this on to one of his friends.

Now on to things for me. I made a toile of Burda 118 09/2010, a coat I’ve loved for years, thinking the pattern couldn’t possibly be as bad as all the reviews said. And I think it could be made into a wearable garment. But have I done all the work needed to fix the many problems with the pattern yet? No. Maybe next year. Maybe never.

This last one is probably my worst fail. It’s a remake of Burda 128 10/2010 in black sateen. It’s a bit tricky to sew and I put quite a lot of extra effort into adding pockets to the design, but I’ve hardly worn it. It’s too short and tight. The first time I made it I used a knitted fabric and I suspect I’ve also put on a few inches since then, so it was silly to think I could use the same pattern pieces this time around. Funnily enough it doesn’t look too bad in the picture. I wonder if there is some styling trick that would mean I can get some wear out of it.

So that’s one poor fabric choice, two fitting fails, and one bad pattern. The only one I’m really frustrated about is the black dress – the too-small trousers were made from leftover fabric, the coat never got beyond a toile, and at least I got one good garment out of the toddler top pattern.

12 thoughts on “Sewing top fives: Misses

  1. The dress looks fine – though the color makes it hard to see the details. It does look like it fits oddly through the torso (a bit big, or is pulling happening from somewhere I can’t see). I’d suggest belting it, but you’re right, it’s short. Do you have any leftover fabric? Perhaps you could add a panel at the hem? I think styling it with opaque tights was a good idea, but perhaps taller boots (it might help offset the shortness of the dress, make you feel less exposed). I find sateen doesn’t drape well on the body, so that may be why it feels “less” for you? Just some thoughts.

    1. You’re right, I don’t have the right shoes for it yet. But I really should just add a panel to the bottom as that would help. I have more if the fabric somewhere..,

  2. That black sateen dress would work if you put in a side panel – maybe get a bit of velvet ribbon or faux leather – and do a tuxedo stripe down each side to give you a bit of room. I love the neckline on you – this dress can be saved!

  3. When my now 21yr old son was a toddler, in fact right up to around age 10, I made most of his trousers as he was long & extremely lean, I found I could get the best fit from Ottobre patterns choosing the longest length & smallest waist!

  4. I agree with the above comments, the dress is great and worth some tinkering with. Panels (bottom and/or side) would work well with the tech/sci-fi look. Or you could go experimental and insert panels looking like inverted T-shapes , for sides and bottom, with a radius in the corners to make them look integrated. Tricky but potentially cool and architectural. Trousers for toddlers are indeed not really worth the effort, though sometimes I find boy fashion too sober, so I’ve at times sewn some funky boy stuff just out of frustration. Thanks for posting.

  5. I feel that so often it’s hard to see why things are misses in photos – often it’s the way the fabric moves (or doesn’t), or the way the fabric feels, or just the sorts of things you notice by living in a garment and not just photographing it. But I also find the misses to be one of the most informative things to post about – it really helps you learn what work on or improve moving forward!

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