See, the universe doesn't care if you've spent 4 days carefully considering the geometrical implications of your pattern in your bid to alter it successfully. The sewing goddess does not concern herself with your fragile ego - your near paralysis at the thought that what you've been striving for, lo, 3 painstaking versions over, may never come to be.
Sewing, like so many things in this wonderful world, is an act of faith.
To paraphrase Kenneth King (big shot teacher), if you don't wreck thousands of yards of fabric, you're not really learning to sew. That makes me feel good and terrible, all at the same time. I mean, hello, I'm well on my way to meeting that goal :-). And yet, really, who has that much fortitude?
I spent the last week altering my gather dress in the following key ways:
- Redrafted the skirt in an ML (rather than the too-big, Large), added 1 inch to the hem.
- Grafted it onto my still Large bodice pattern.
- Adjusted the Large bodice with a 1 inch FBA (that was incredibly challenging given a) I didn't know what I was doing with such a weird pattern i.e. where does one cut that sleeve off exactly? and b) I had to figure out where the apex was, then dart it at bust, then move the bust dart to the waist, then slide the waist dart out the side seam (of which there isn't one?!)
Then this weekend, I cut some muslin (the real, woven cotton kind - without stretch), and got to work. Ten hours - and one freakin' invisible zipper later - I tried it on to learn that:
- The arm holes are so tight I had to open them and cut half an inch off of each immediately.
- The bust is still way too small. Admittedly, I'm kind of an idiot - I couldn't figure out how much of an FBA to do on this pattern. Last 2 times I've increased the bust dimension, I've completely overdone it. This time, on a hunch, I was modest and it wasn't enough.
- I think I need 0.5 inches onto the back seam (or should I do it on the fold?!), just to give everything a bit more room. Cotton has no fucking give.
When I get over the horrendous disappointment, the feelings of inadequacy, I suppose I'll redraft and try again. Gotta say, though, I loathe muslin (the fabric and the concept). I suppose I should be grateful I didn't waste a ton of time making something - and beautifully finishing seams - that was not going to fit. But I do think next time I'm going to throw some real fabric at this. I have some woven synthetic crepe that has a beautiful hand, drapes nicely and has a modicum of give. (It was on sale for 5 bucks a yard.)
I don't know if, every time I try a muslin, the fit fails miserably because I'm only doing them on the things I have true fit concerns about or because the unseen powers feel my ambivalence. I'm a pragmatist and I'm extremely goal-oriented. I do believe a garment shouldn't need 6 cycles of construction - wrecking fabric (albeit hideous fabric), and eating time as I go.
I know I'm learning a lot with every experience, but how do I find a way to be ok with this non-starting? Somehow, I truly believe that my (extreme) effort should yield results rather than my talent, knowledge and experience. Crazy, I realize.
Anyone, got some feedback for me? Maybe you sew. Maybe you do something else that's really hard? Do share your thoughts.