previous entry :: next entry

Disappointments and new clothes

I consider myself an intermediate-to-advanced knitter. I don't do intarsia patterns and I have no desire to go near lace, but I feel fairly confident carrying multiple colors for fair isles or other such things, and I'm precise enough with my finishing techniques that most of the time I can turn out a finished garment of the same or higher quality than you'd buy in a store. Overall my failure rate for knitting is about 10% ... of the projects I knit I'd say one out of ten of them will end up so hopelessly ill fitting that they need to be discarded completely. Sometimes it's the pattern that's bad; sometimes it's the overzealousness with which I launch into a pattern, and sometimes there's no pattern at all and I should have known better.

I consider myself an intermediate-to-retarded sewer. I know a lot of sewing techniques, but I'm so impatient sitting up in that little room that I skip some steps and rush through others. I often end up doing something stupid, like cutting a pattern piece mirror-flipped or sewing right side to bad side. All that means that my success rate with sewing is abysmal. I'd say about 50% of my attempts end up in the scrap bin, and I'm never 100% happy with the things that do make it to the closet.

So it should only be expected that some months come filled with disappointments. You can't win em all, either sewing or knitting. March was such a month. Here's Dan's birthday sweater which took me most of January and February.

dan in herringbone sweater

a warm sweater for a cold march day?

The measurements of the sweater were perfectly tailored to Dan's body... that is until I washed the thing and the sleeves and body each stretched about five inches longer. I have no one to blame but myself for this. I should have knitted a sample swatch in herringbone and washed it before starting in on the project. The thing is, I wasn't 100% confident on HOW to do herringbone before I started in on the line-by-line instructions. Indeed, it was only by the time I got to the end that I really understood what was going on. To do all that learning up front would have made the sweater never happen at all. So yeah, I never knit a gauge swatch and now Dan has a $60 / 50-hour alpaca sweater that's too long in the arms.

dan in herringbone sweater, close up

trying hard to model, even though it's too long to put hands comfortably in pockets

At least he looks cute with the sleeves rolled up. I've told him that now I'm out of my mourning period and am willing to cut off the bottom of the sleeves and re-knit the cuffs. So far he's declined the offer.

After Dan's birthday I was happy to turn to some sewing. Harvey is desperate for pants, since he's wearing an average of 2-3 pairs each day (can I get an amen from my people with the cloth diapers?) so I thought I'd make him another up-cycled pair like the last two I threw together. Of course, this involved drafting a whole knew pattern for 4T. They ended up way too baggy in the legs, and more than a little haphazard in the construction.

harvey sitting in his patched pants

raggedy Harvey

I used a pair of women's pants generously donated by my friend Katie. I thought I would be wise to re-use the pockets in front and back, but when I put whole thing together it turned out that the women pockets looked really, er womanly on Harvey. The cuffs also looked dumb when rolled up, so I cut them off and added contrasting cuffs to match the patches. All together my second-round edits took more time than the initial construction... I should have just ironed my fabric well and done it right the first time.

harvey outside in his patched pants

crazy pants match crazy hair

It's draining when I feel like everything I make comes out crappy. Since it takes so much time and energy, since it means somedays dinner didn't get made or the house didn't get cleaned, to have it all come out disappointing is, well, disappointing. I say to myself: how am I supposed to be on my way to clothing self-sufficiency if I can't even turn out a well-tailored baby pant? Dan keeps asking me for suit jackets. But the last long-sleeve shirt I made Harvey had half the seems accidentally inside out. And that's only a 4-step t-shirt! You want a jacket with a liner? I'd likely strangle myself in tweed before I finish.

On the other hand, they're clothes. They done got worn this week. Better than going naked.

harvey's bum in his patched pants

the end


I love the pants, Leah. They're beautiful. After being told for years by my gran that I needed to sew (otherwise what will you children wear?? [clothes from China, gran]), reading your blog has finally inspired me to learn to sew because the possibility of using old clothes to make new little clothes is just that brilliant. So thanks.

comments closed for this entry

previous entry :: next entry