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Jan 12, 2018

Meet the Misses, PART 2 (including the Cathy outfit YOU NEVER SAW!)


Oh, readers, once I started excavating the sewing atrocities, I realized that there were many, many more fashion fiascos than I had originally thought.

You may have never seen this square-cut swimsuit (up top) I made for myself four years ago, and I've only worn it once or twice.  Aside for the unflattering cut for someone with legs on the short-and-stocky side, once you see that black banana leaf (a mistake, I swear), which looks like I'm dressing to the left (look it up) you can't unsee it.  Call me old-fashioned, but it's tacky, though it might be a hit on an Atlantis cruise

Do you remember when I got into hat making?   I was really excited to make a bucket hat like the one on the front of this McCalls father-son pattern envelope.


Mine looked great initially -- look at all that perfect topstitching!


Then I put it on my head.  I must have an extra-large brain.  Dreadful.


Moving right along.  I thought a nylon mesh underwear set (i.e, top and bottom) would be a fun sewing project.  In the end (no pun intended) the bottoms left little to the imagination, not to mention it was like sitting on chicken wire.



And the top?  File under Nipply.


The less said about the boxtop the better.  During our photo shoot, a group of Japanese tourists cast their eyes down in shame, except for the few that laughed out loud (below).  I know there's a very similar, French version called the calchemise, but all I can say is quelle horreur.  



Pants, you need some pants.

But wait, there's more!

This band-collar shirt had some nice details but was made in the MOST UNFLATTERING COLOR I have ever worn (British Khaki?  Cafe au Lait?  Cat poop?)  The band collar did nothing for my thin neck.


Not one to give up easily, after a year of having the shirt hang in my closet unworn, I had the brilliant idea of redoing the collar.  Voila!


But I still hated the way it looked on me, so I decided to remove the color (it came out like the photographic negative of the original) and re-dye it. Oh, yeah, I also removed the back darts (it was over-fitted) and added pocket flaps (I'm a masochist).



I forgot that while the cotton fabric would hold the dye, the polyester thread would not.  My somewhat sloppy topstitching was visible to the world and the color was still ugly.   It had to go and so it did.  But it was a well-made shirt.


I have created dozens of Cathy outfits over the years and many of you have enjoyed them.  There was one dress, however, that never saw the light of day.

Here's the vintage McCalls pattern I used, which dates roughly from 1939.  Pretty, no?


The muslin (yes, I even made a muslin) was promising, if drab.


Despite going to the trouble of making a matching buckle and covered buttons, this dress just didn't work for me.  Cathy never wore it and it still sits in a storage box somewhere.  Maybe I chose the wrong fabric, or maybe Cathy needed a waist-cincher and a better bra.




Let's end on a truly instructive note.  I made this silk (silk!) blouse, complete with self-drafted bishop sleeves, as the final project for my first patternmaking class at FIT (Fashion Institute for Technology).


What was I thinking when I marked my darts with RED CARBON PAPER????


Needless to say, the red ink never came out.  I was so embarrassed that I made an entirely new blouse.

Never, I repeat, NEVER use red carbon paper (or yellow for that matter) on your fashion fabric.

But you probably knew that already.


Readers, this post is feeling long and I'm still not finished so I think "Meet the Misses -- PART 3" is a strong possibility.

In closing, I hope you have had a laugh or two and learned a little something from my mistakes, if only that your shirt and your underwear must always be two separate garments.

Have a great day, everybody!

43 comments:

  1. I needed the laugh today. My last two knit tops turned out to be abominations.

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  2. Oh my goodness. Thank you for sharing this, you are a very brave man. Now I don't feel as wretchedly awful about some of the makes that have come out of my sewing cave. I'm just glad that I never took photos byes they have been that bad.
    Stay warm
    Becca G

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  3. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a blog post. I never would have thought you could outdo yesterday's post but you did. Thank you. :)

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  4. Thanks so much for provoking outright guffaws! I follow all your posts even though I rarely make garments. Maybe seeing these is why I don’t. Love learning vicariously. Keep up pointing out all the do’s and don’ts.

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  5. I am having a disastrous sewing day, but this post lightened my mood as I LOL!

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  6. Oh I love your boxtop! It looks amazing on you! The colour is perfect! The fit! At the very least you could amputate the bottoms and have a lovely shirt out of it!

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  7. PS the dyed purple shirt is gorgeous!

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  8. oh Peter, how I've missed your daily presence! Thanks for the laugh. You are amazing!

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  9. I laughed so hard, these posts have made my day.

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  10. I think the banana leaf looks great! ;)
    --Erik

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  11. I'm so happy to see you posting more frequently!

    Drawings of models are so deceptive! I was so happy to see real people wearing real clothes in the pattern books when I started sewing for myself again as an adult. Cathy never stood a chance with that McCalls.

    I don't even want to think of some of the atrocities I made and wore before the reactions of others let me know they were better served as dumpster fodder.

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  12. I have had a bad cough all week and your Japanese tourist comment sent me to the couch to recuperate I was laughing and heaving so badly. Whoah! That Atlantis Cruise is uh..uh..(no words here). I have my doubt though - are those paid models? good looking people given a free day aboard in exchange for photos? That passenger base can't be real, can it?

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  13. Sorry, I did laugh! But at least you have been adventurous and sewed outside of everyone else's comfort zone :)

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  14. Haha! Glad I am not the only one who has done that with tracing paper. Ironing over wax tailor's chalk is another good learning experience. Both of these items are now gone from my sewing area. :)

    Thanks for being such a good sport about your misses. I know I have had my share of "what was I thinking?!?" projects.

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  15. By the time I got to Pants, you need pants I was laughing hysterically. I am always so impressed with your talent so it is refreshing to know you too make serious fashion fails. Thanks for the laugh I needed it.

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  16. These are all beautifully made, & I wish I had half your skills. However my initial thought when I saw your trunks was that they were slightly indecent 😏 Thank you for sharing your misses with us!

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  17. Thanks for making me laugh. I'm at the stage where I feel anything I make is as likely to be a failure as not (due to fit issues). I could get discouraged. Thanks for the laughs and the perspective.

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    1. Hi Leigh Anne, I'm sorry you're feeling discouraged! I've found that my biggest help with fit issues (& I have many,starting with being a flat-butted apple shape) is the Curvy Sewing Collective, & the PBS series, Fit to Stitch with Peggy Sagers. Hooray for fitting help!

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    2. Thanks! I'll check those out!

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  18. Your fails are so much more excellent than any of my successes, I usually just can't see what the problem is. However, now that you've coined "file under nipply" (and found so many opportunities to use it) and had to modesty blur your butt, I guess I have to admit that I would not wear these either.

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  19. Every single miss has been worth it for these posts alone. Bring on the duds, I say!

    Spud.

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  20. Fun post. I love it. The sewing of course is great. I'm sure they seemed like a good idea at the time. It's all sewing

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  21. I always look forward to your posts! This particular post made my morning. Couldn’t stop laughing! You have a great sense of humor Peter😊❤️ I was looking forward to meeting you last Saturday at the sewcial, but the weather was so bad that it kept me from attending. I am sure I will meet you at one of the upcoming events!

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  22. Love, love love...keep them coming. It's a great idea to share our mishaps as too many people get hung up on everything turning out wonderful. Which, of course, only happens in the town of Perfect. I think I will start my own collection to share with my students.

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  23. Is there an over-flowing donation bin in an adjacent zipcode?

    Make that happen, and soon you can blog about the day when one of your misses skates by on a sidewalk. A veritable, "Who wore it better" blog is certain to elicit a lively discussion.

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  24. OK, I'm with you - but I do think the swimsuit is a keeper. That leaf MAKES it!

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  25. Guy, you've got nerve and a tremendous sense of humor. I laughed out loud several times. Keep it up.

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  26. I agree...great sense of humour....from now on I'll look on "my" misses with a smile...thanks
    elide

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  27. So funny Peter. But I think the swimmers look better on you than the majority of men in speedos here in Sydney Australia. Maybe you should come to Australia and check out Bondi or Palm Beach sometime.

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  28. I finally stopped laughing long enough to say that the dress meant for Cathy is a beautifully made example of its type and time. Back when girls were taught and women were expected to be proper ladies at all times. Anyone for historical reenactment?

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    1. Too true about the red dress for Cathy. It's more my Aunt Maybelle (the one that worked at Bullocks in shoes in the 40s - 60s). It needs a white pocketbook and short gloves. I'm vacillating on the shoe type though, but a hat for sure.

      I love your boldness. Beckett would be proud. Fail more, fail better.

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  29. ..and you know the most important thing about mistakes is that you know what went wrong so you can avoid the error in the future.

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  30. Ive made two of these mistakes this year! I dyed a dress and forgot about the polyester thread. I made a mesh back tank top for the gym. It chafes. A lot. Like, “omg, is it razor wire or mesh?”
    It makes me feel less ashamed that someone with you skill level can make similar mistakes!!
    Thank you for sharing!

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  31. I respect all the extra you gave to save that shirt! Pity it still ended in the miss pile. Please donate it for someone else to love.

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  32. Thanks for sharing...the swim trunks gave me a good laugh. Yes, you are right, once you notice that black leaf you can't un-notice it.

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  33. Very entertaining Peter! Glad I'm not the only one with sewng disasters. I admire how you attempted to save some of these.

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  34. I sewed a sleeve on today, inside out. Bloody thing was perfect too - no wrinkles or puckers... so thank you for the smile! 😁

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    1. In design school I was known for making 2 left sleeves! Made that mistake several times...always perfect, but left sleeves none-the-less, we have to learn to roll with and laugh at ourselves!
      --Erik

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  35. I rather like the bathing suit but I don’t mind a bit of suggestion in my beach wear.

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  36. Peter...i have been thinking about this. Cathy's muslin dress, if paired with the right hat, gloves, and purse, would be perfect for a day at the fair or ice cream social! Just sayin...

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  37. Since no one has yet mentioned it, that is not a banana leaf on the swimsuit (I live in Florida where they grow.) If it were, the effect would be even more, uh, you know.

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  38. Oh! What a tonic, on a drab rainy January day!
    Thank you for your good-natured humour.

    I rather liked the swimming trunks, until you mentioned the fig leaf!

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