My #SewingTop5 Misses (Fails) of 2020

Fails. Misses. Cock-ups. Chances to Improve One’s Skills. Whatever you want to call them, these are the things I made this year that didn’t quite work out for some reason. It makes me happy to say that it was really quite hard to find five items that come into this category, so my hit rate is steadily getting higher. Nevertheless, there were some. Here are my misses from 2019, 2018 and 2017 if you’re interested (last year is a personal fave of mine) and here are this year’s:

  1. Flor top by Bella Loves Patterns

I saw this top on Instagram and fell in love with it, bought it immediately and used the black broderie anglaise I had in my stash that I thought of the second I saw it. What I didn’t do – and Lord knows I should have – was make a muslin. I wrote all about it in my Flor post, but let’s just say that on the designer the top looked like this:

Meanwhile, on me the Flor Top looked like this:

And lest you’re thinking, “But Claire, the designer is clearly wearing high-waisted pants and it does say it’s a cropped top”: I am wearing my high-waisted Dawn jeans, to which I lengthened the rise an additional inch or two. Any more high-waisted and they’d probably reach a regular-waisted person’s nipples. The problem is not the pattern – the problem is I didn’t make a muslin for my long-waisted/hipped body. Oh well.

It’s nevertheless a really pretty little top and I had some great suggestions as to how to save it. My favourite was to add a little peplum, so I think I’ll do that soon. I just about have enough fabric left for that, I reckon.

2. Seamwork Willis top

In all honesty, I had a hunch that this might not be the best fabric choice for this top. I really wanted to make the Seamwork Dorian shorts (and they were a bona fide hit) and I also wanted to give block printing a go, for some fun, so I decided to make the corresponding Willis top by Seamwork.

I’ve seen a lot of nice versions, but I somehow managed to screw up the fabric cutting. I’m also not sure about the shape – it looks fine from the front, but from the side is not too flattering. And finally, this double gauze was not a great choice for a collared top. It crinkles right up in the wash and it’s a bugger to iron and I HATE ironing. So it’s probably not going to get worn much. C’est la vie.

3. 1975 Stretch & Sew skirt

Admittedly, this was intended to be a “fun” challenge as you can tell from those pockets, but I actually rather liked the pattern in the end. I didn’t expect a ton from a pattern that was called “Big Skirt”, but it was a clever construction. What made this project a dud was ultimately another misjudgment of fabric, as I wrote about in my blog post.

This pattern was intended for knit fabric as it’s a vintage Stretch n Sew pattern from 1975. However, this knit corduroy, while being as soft as a kitten’s whisper and of great quality, was very, vereeeeey stretchy and an absolute b&*^h to sew. It marked like a lump of Playdough and was thick as an elephant’s hide. Which led to a not-too-flattering fit around the waist. This was actually unsalvageable as a proper outdoor in-public garment. Boo. The bright side is that there has been no “public” this year, so I’ve actually been wearing it! Ha!

4. Robinson pants from Ensemble

This is more of a kinda sorta miss because I actually wear these trousers a lot. I made them as part of my capsule wardrobe this year and they go really well with a lot of other things. They’re also really comfortable and I love the zip-ankle design.

However, I’m calling them a miss because I had a bubblehead moment when making them and went ahead and cut the fabric without checking for my usual adjustments. As you can see above, I should have made quite a few of my usual adjustments, because they’re really short at the front and pull forwards. I end up hiking them up quite a bit. I also had a few issues with the project sizing and instructions (see the post here), but, overall, I wear them a lot. I just don’t know if it would be the first pattern I’d reach for next time.

5. DP Patterns 5001

This is my last miss of the year and I haven’t even written a blog post on this one. I’ve almost done it a few times, but I sort of wanted to bundle it up in one post with another project, so it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, I haven’t even finished the top yet… and probably never will. I have quite a number of DP Studio patterns and I love them. They’re quirky, full of design detail and quite advanced. They’re also translated from French, possibly using Google Translate*, so are not for the beginner.

Ooh, lovely sumptuous curves, beautiful fabric, coo, coo, etc.

*this may well not be true, but after working in localisation for some years, I can tell you it may also be true.

The problems with this project are multiple, but can mostly be summed up by saying that I started it several years ago as a seamstress of much less knowledge. It’s a simple and very well-designed top. When I look at it in front of me I just adore the dramatic curves of the hemline and the really nice finish you get.

Aluminium or aluminum? The eternal transatlantic foil debate.

On the other hand, when I look at it on my actual body, I see… a sandwich board, a cardboard robot or some other such rectangular object fashioned from plywood. Alternatively: a back up singer for a Ziggy Stardust tribute band. Or an American football player from the future. Or, since it was just Christmas: turkey about to go in the oven? You decide.

What do you mean, I need an FBA?

I made two grave mistakes. One: I had the cool (and I do still think it’s cool) idea to do the back with a slightly diaphanous white lawn and the front a total contrast. Unfortunately I chose stiff-as-a-pirate’s-plank-in-winter shot silk with which to make said contrasting front. This gave me the beginnings of the enviable cardboard effect.

Look at those armholes!!! Argh! Although I do like the hem shaping.

The second mistake was to make NO adaptions to the pattern. None. Zip. Nada. The pattern range is somewhat (cough*French*cough) limited and I might just about squeeze into the largest size on a fast day with a decent FBA and a possible letting out of some seams, but I made, I repeat, NO adjustments to the pattern.

Now that I’m older and wiser I don’t know if I’d even try, given the clean design. It seems like a lot of faff. Either way, it ensured the full 360 degree 3D cardboard effect with the most unflattering shaping known to man.

Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me May-jah Tom???

And there we have it. I actually cut out a second DP Studio pattern a couple of months ago and started excitedly working on it. And then realised I’d also not thought through my fabric choice, for a different reason. Argh. I put it aside to consider the issue, but will probably go back soon. I really REALLY want to make some more of my DP Patterns, so I hope this one works out okay! Also – no, I didn’t notice the bread roll in every picture. Don’t ask. Seriously – it’s not even a bread roll.

And there you are! My 2020 misses! I hope you enjoyed them and it gave you a small chuckle. I’m excited to see what I can screw up in 2021. Are you with me? Happy New Year everyone!!

9 thoughts on “My #SewingTop5 Misses (Fails) of 2020

  1. Aluminum! I love this post and you. The last one was especially brilliant. Maybe the top can be some sort of costume for next year?? Hope 2021 brings you lots of sewing fun and a few spectacular fails for good measure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Aluminium! Lol. You know, I was thinking it might make a costume component, so who knows? The tin man perhaps? I’ve always wanted to do a Wizard of Oz Halloween costume, although I was thinking more Dorothy or Glinda the Good! πŸ™‚ I wish you the very best for 2021 too and let’s hope for lots of successes and, as you say, the odd spectacular fail.


  2. Ah we all have our moments. I had been sewing for just a few years and would mash together a pattern with some unsuitable fabric. Some of my “brilliant ideas” include a sundress out of plaid flannel. Don’t be discouraged I kept going. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carol! Don’t worry too much – I find my “fails” pretty funny usually. Some more than others, but I always learn something, haha. I would love to see your flannel sundress though! Sounds hilarious! Have a lovely New Year!


  3. Thanks for a great bit of light relief πŸ˜… I don’t think it’ll be long before the Ziggy Stardust tribute band come calling πŸ‘πŸ‘ stay ready πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ€πŸ§‘β€πŸŽ€πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ€ xx

    Liked by 1 person

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