Saturday, February 22, 2014

What was I thinking?

was in JoAnn's buying a piece of fabric for a project I had planned , when I got sidetracked and fell dangerously in love, with this:
I mean, how could I help myself?!?  I was smitten with the saturated colors; there was vivid red, bold orange, rich turquoise, brilliant yellow, deep blue, and vibrant green.  Oh, and some lovely violet, too.  All reason went out the window when I saw this stuff.  I've been sewing most of my life, but I absolutely DESPISE sewing on either stretchy or slippery shiny fabric. And this stuff is of the ridiculously slippery and shiny variety.  I took it to the cutting counter thinking "maybe I'll make a summer dress" totally forgetting my distaste for working with this type of fabric, and also not thinking about my casual summer lifestyle.  I'm usually in shirts and t-shirts in the summer; and I don't even own (or desire) the proper shoes for a shiny dress, so why would I make one?

When I got the gorgeous fabric home, I decided to be more practical and make a summery bathrobe, kind of shaped like a boxer's robe.  Easy construction.  I took an old summer robe, traced the simple shapes to make a pattern, cut my fabric, and started to sew.  And then I remembered why I don't usually buy this stuff.  Slipping and sliding, it was a nightmare to sew, even for an easy construction, and my simple one-afternoon project became a major enterprise.  Then, I discovered this:
Can you see it? A pull in the fabric. They are everywhere.  Simply pinning a seam causes pulls like this.  And a cat who likes to keep me company when I sew did not help the situation either.  "Good thing it's just a bathrobe" I thought.  And if you make a sewing mistake on this fabric?  It is next to impossible to take out a seam without damaging the fabric.  So every time something didn't go as planned, my solution was to cut it off. Hemming the sleeves was a disaster.  The hems twisted and looked so awful that I cut them off; I actually cut them off THREE times, leaving the sleeves too short and still unhemmed, and in the end I made a fake cuff out of a piece of blue fabric I had intended to use for a different project. And I found a piece of red to use to make a tie belt, since I hadn't bought enough of the patterned fabric for the belt.  I also used the red for some invisible on-seam pockets. (Gotta have pockets!).  I think the red belt makes it look like gift-wrapping.  I do not like it, and may still come up with some other belt.
I finally finished it today, working on it for so long that I never did anything else I had planned this afternoon.  And my realization is this: the final product is not worth the amount of time spent sewing. The fabric frays terribly, and I don't think will hold up well at all for many wearings. I expect it will quickly tear around the belt loops and the pockets.  And it is so slippery, it won't easily stay in place when worn anyhow.  I picture myself on Project Runway, with the judges mocking my sloppy construction, and Tim Gunn telling me it's time to go clean up my workspace because Heidi says I am OUT.  My love affair with the fabric is over.  


  1. You get an A+ for perseverance!! I think I would have tossed the whole thing out with the first snag in the fabric. What a shame, because the colors are just wonderful -- especially the way they swoop up on the back!!

    1. Yes, Christie, I agree about that swoop!
      Now, here writing this, looking at the photo, it looks like one sleeve is WAY longer than the other. I hope it's just the way I have it draped, but if not...oh well; I'm not going to fix it!

  2. Wooooo, I totally feel you on this post. I've done this exact thing SO MANY times. I once made a shirt for one of my daughters out of plaid and it took so much time to match, had so many problems with it all through. The very last seam I was trimming (a sleeve, I believe) I cut through the whole thing! I sat at my sewing machine and cut it all to bits. Most satisfying part of that whole experience! Let us know if it does do all the things you think (fray, not wear well, etc)

    1. Oh, Aimee! I would have gone NUTS if I had done that, after all the work! My solution would have been to pig out on chocolate to cheer myself up. Though cutting it to bits does sound therapeutic too! ;)

      Meanwhile, it's gotten cold here again, so I don't expect I'll be wearing this robe for another month or two at least, so hopefully it will stay in one piece until then!