Monday, August 13, 2018

Failure is part of the learning process

A post shared by Sara (@knottygnome) on

So my jeans were a big fat fail. I made it all the way to topstitching the waistband but I could not get the top of the waistband to stitch smoothly. I ripped it out probably 4-5 times and got so frustrated that I gave up. This was just the final straw though--I had several other bigger problems that led me to this point.

  1. In the process of sewing my way though 5-6 muslins, I made so many fitting changes to the original pattern that it was no longer recognizable. and that's fine--it's better to have a pattern that custom fits your body. However, I made one very large mistake: I forgot to true up the pattern to make sure that the fronts/backs fit together properly. So when I tried to sew my actual jeans the side seams and inseams did not quite fit together the way they should and it made for some twisting seams. Because of that I'm not sure if it was the twisting seams problem or if it was still another fitting issue but I had some weird wrinkles on the back of the thigh that I could not get rid of.
  2. In all of the learning materials I consulted most of them said that when fitting pants, putting on the waistband was optional or not necessary so I skipped it. This turned out to be a rather large mistake, because when I put the waistband on my jeans i found that it gapped a little bit in the back and was too tight in the front. I was able to mostly fix the back gapping problem, but I couldn't do anything about the front. so i have a pair of jeans that is too tight.
  3. I decided to modify the mock fly front in the original pattern to make it a true fly front. In doing so I made a mistake and my fly is not actually centered over my center front--instead it is just slightly off to the side. it's only off by a small amount but it's enough to look weird when the jeans are worn.
  4. I believe I mentioned this last time but I had no idea what I was doing with the distressing and it looks strange and unnatural.

At the point where I gave up, I knew I would never wear these jeans. I had been trying to finish them just so I could have the practice of going through all of the steps. and I can still do that whenever I'm ready to try again. My machine often screws up buttonholes so whenever i'm ready to tackle pants again i could use these jeans for a test run.

I have several things to keep in mind for whenever I am ready to go through this process again. I will start over from the original draft and make all the same changes but I will true up the pattern next time. I'll make sure to fit the waistband and I'll probably convert it to a shaped waistband rather than using the bias cut rectangle. I'll use the mock fly in the original pattern. On one of my muslins I actually sewed it up as directed in the pattern and it turned out fine. I'm not sure why i felt the need to change it. I've also purchased a thinner topstitching thread. One other thing I may consider is using my first pair of pants to sew up a flare or straight leg jean, rather than a skinny jean. It'll enable me to get the fit in the hip/thigh area correct before needing to also worry about my larger-than-average calves. I will also take it easy on the distressing and use it more as a tool to soften the fabric rather than trying for the perfect hip whiskers right off the bat.

So there it is. I feel like the crafting world often focuses only on our successes but there is value to be learned in our failures too. I put away these jeans on Friday evening when I got home from work and spent the rest of the weekend working on something else, and I already feel much better about sewing.

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