Monday, January 13, 2020

Learning from Mistakes: A New Pencil Skirt

A lot of beginner sewists are easily frustrated when they make mistakes. I know I was, when I was first learning how to sew. I want all beginners to know--you absolutely cannot improve unless you make mistakes! Today, I have a good example of a failed project that was valuable anyway.


I made this cardigan just over three years ago. I had been inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest, but the final result did not at all match my idea (original blog post here). I probably wore the cardigan once or twice, but that was a shame considering how nice the fabric was. For no particular reason, I pulled it out of my closet last week and realized that it would make a fantastic pencil skirt.


Luckily for me, the seamlines on the pattern were few and far between. The back piece was huge with large kimono sleeves. I sewed the front closed (after removing the draping parts) and the shape was just right for my body. I chopped off the top/sleeves, and made a waistband with them. I added clear elastic to the top edge of the waistband for stabilization. The bottom was already coverstitched.


Making a mistake feels icky. I didn't like to think about this sad cardigan. But when I did, when I analyzed what went wrong, I realized some important facts:

1. Cardigans need pockets
2. I don't like cardigans make from heavy knits like ponte
3. I don't like weird drapey fronts
4. I prefer cardigans that are not super long
5. Short sleeve cardigans are not that useful

Right off the bat, I think you can see that these stipulations remove a LOT of cardigan patterns. In the future, I can avoid the same mistakes and save myself time, effort, and fabric. Luckily for me, I was able to rework this cardigan, and I absolutely LOVE this skirt.


A second piece of advice, about my sweater. It's handknit by myself!


I started it a few years ago, when I was just learning how to knit. I got a few rows in and then became completely overwhelmed by the directions. They made no sense. I literally did not know what to do next. I set it aside for TWO YEARS. When I finally came back to it, I had multiple sweaters under my belt. The directions made sense. I finished it in only a month! Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you're stumped. But these roadblocks can always teach you something, and they don't have to be permanent. Ask yourself, what did I learn?

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