Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"If you don't have anything nice to say....

don't say anything at all."

This was told to me by every adult I looked up to as a child. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." That's why I've mulled this blog post over and over in my head. Should I do it? I hate to say anything negative about anyone or anything. I believe in karma and what goes around comes around! BUT...being in the craft trenches, I believe I need to be honest for my customers sake, so here goes...

I bought a book a while back. It's a GORGEOUS book! The photography ( by John Gruen) alone was worth the $27.50 I paid for it. Inspiring pictures! But I bought it because it was full of "More than 40 projects and ideas for inspired stitching". Totally couldn't pass that up! This book is by Heather Ross and it's called Weekend Sewing. I LOVE Heather Ross' fabric lines.

This is Mendocino which is a line she designed for Westminster. I'm in love with it. If I was independently wealthy, I'd own every bit of it just to ooo and aah over. When I saw she had this book out, I scooped it up hoping it was something I could carry in the store. Thumbing through the book I happened upon the Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt. There is a beautiful picture of a woman wearing the skirt while picking peaches. Oh my, I want to pick peaches too! In THAT skirt (yes, the one on the cover)!

Now, I am a curvy girl. I'm 6 feet tall, I have hips, I'm a size 16 and not necessarily proportionate. So, imagine my glee when I read the pattern and it said "This pattern will fit just about everybody...". REALLY? EVERYBODY?? (See, I guess I didn't catch that "just about" in there.) The only measurement she had in this pattern was a waist measurment. If your waist measures between 31"-44" the Large/Extra-Large will work for you! Got the yellow tape out and wrapped it around my waist while crossing all fingers and toes. (Which is pretty difficult!) Can it be? YES!! This pattern will work for me! Only 3 yards of fabric was needed in total and within 2 minutes, that fabric was cut and in the washer. It was a Saturday morning and the family was out fishing so what better time to whip together a "weekend sewing" project?

The only pattern lay out given in the book is on 60" wide fabric. Problem #1 and a little annoying. Well, I only have 45" fabric so I double checked to make sure I can still make this skirt with 45" wide cotton. Sure enough, only 2.5 yards was listed for 45" wide fabric. Surely, I can figure this out. I got to cutting! My skirt panels were all cut out. I started cutting out my waistbands and ties. Hey...there isn't enough fabric here to cut these on the bias like I'm supposed to. Hmm. I must have done something wrong. I figured since the ties wrap around my waist, it really didn't matter much so I just pieced a couple pieces into it and I started sewing immediately.

This pattern uses French Seams which I loved! A blessing to those of us without sergers. All of my panels (6 in total) were together and I couldn't wait to wrap it around me to see my first glimpse of my almost-done wrap skirt....(wrapping....) Are you kidding me?? This overlaps at the waist by like 3"!! How in the world is this supposed to "wrap" around my waist and not give the ole' farmers in my town a peep show? Surely I'm not that horrible at sewing that I screwed up this bad! If that's the case, I better hang this up now!

Several ideas floated in my head. I could just sew it up, put an elastic waist in it and call it a day. OH, wait! Let me check online and see if she has any corrections to her pattern book.

SEWING LESSON #1: Before starting a pattern, of ANY kind, check to see if any corrections have been posted to the designers web site.

Within a few clicks I was on Heather's Blog...Down the right side of her gorgeous web site, I see "Weekend Sewing Errata". I have no idea what errata means, but that has to be it. Sure enough. Corrections to the Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt. From the downloaded Errata file:

"Yard Sale Skirt
This skirt requires the joining of at least six panels, not five. For size 10-14, add two panels. For sizes 16-20, add four panels. For each panel added, make the waistband ties eight inches longer. Once your panels have been joined, test them by wrapping them around your waist. Then do the same with your waistband. Then attach your waistband to your skirt."

I re-read this about 10 times to make sure I was reading correctly. So for a size 16, I needed to add another 4 panels?!? And on top of that add another 32" total to my waistbands? So much for making a skirt with 3 yards of fabric. I was so discouraged. Thank goodness I own a fabric shop and am able to grab a bolt of fabric off the shelf and cut more. I would hate to think that someone my size bought 2.5 yards thinking it was going to make an adorable skirt and come to this conclusion. Talk about depressing. The errata doesn't even mention that you'll need a total of 2 yards more fabric just for the panels. I have no idea how much more you need to make the 32" extra in the ties. I was so mad that I just started piecing a bunch of bias pieces together to make the ties long enough. I don't tuck in my shirts so no one will see the waist anyway.

Long story short, ( I know, too late) I cut the extra panels I needed, made the waistband work, hemmed the skirt (by machine which was against her instructions. She wanted me to hem this by hand but I was so annoyed at this point, I just wanted it done.) and tried it on. Not bad. In fact, it was pretty cute. I even got a compliment from my daughter who acts like skirts are the devil. All in all, a successful sewing venture although, not a smooth one.

I guess I'm sharing this with you not because I don't want you to buy the book. There are 39 other projects in here that are cute and look like a lot of fun. And, if I were a size 8 or under, this pattern would have worked perfectly. I just know that we've all probably had projects that just didn't work right by our fault or the designers. Designers are human too! The important thing to remember is that we don't let it frustrate us to the point of quitting. I didn't touch my sewing machine for 3 days after this fiasco. But, I'm back to it and I'm even wearing my wrap skirt today. Now that I'm cooled down from this project, I'm anxious to start the Summer Blouse...and guess what....

Weekend Sewing Errata:

"Summer Blouse
The “sleeve” pattern piece for this project is missing markings. There should have been dots indicating where to begin and end basting stitches along the edge at the shoulder. Basting stitches should be placed along the curve that will become your shoulder, starting and ending about three inches from each corner."

Deep breaths, I can do this.

Pic's of me in my new skirt taken by me...try taking a picture of YOURSELF in a wrap skirt. Not easy. Hope you don't get dizzy easily. Sorry for the abstract angles!


Anonymous said...

I think it is adorable. Do you still have some of that material left or is it all gone. And believe me I have been where you have been on this one.

Linda said...

I don't blame you for being frustrated. Looks like anyone larger than a Size 8 will not have a good set of directions. That seems a little more serious than just an "errata". It's a whole different pattern and a lot more fabric. I have that book, too, and thanks for sharing. Probably saved a lot of us from disaster.
By the way, From the picture your skirt looks adorable.

Mom said...

You sooooo crack me up. Such a rotten day I had, and now I'm happy. Thank you!

Rachel said...

hee hee thats a good and important story. I made a 20 mins skirt the other day with 1 mt of fabric it worked too lol

ParisMaddy said...

Oh! roller coaster ride. I had a similar experience with another author (can't remember who right now) but my adventure is folded up in my closet. It was adorable fabric, graphic black & white with Eiffel Towers in a pretty coral color and I loved it.

Love your fabric. and I'm so glad you had a happy ending.