Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The best laid plans...

Remember my spring sewing plans from a few weeks ago? Oh I had it all worked out - a Peter Pan Collar Blouse pattern and a beautiful Liberty lawn, both courtesy of Sewbox. With the help of my readers, I finally decided on the fabric (believe me, it took weeks!) and was all set. But sometimes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.



This is the pattern, from the new-to-me pattern company Simple Sew. The line drawings are a little misleading - the shape of the pattern is actually much more triangular i.e. wider towards the hem, than the pattern envelope suggests. I knew this beforehand from Marie's review, and thought it could be easily remedied by adding a few darts. As I was using precious Liberty fabric, I decided to make a muslin first, then I could work out the dart placement. As suspected, the blouse was roomy and unflattering, but it was actually the tight fit around the arms and the high neck that were very, very wrong for me.

Now it's always been my policy on this blog to offer an honest review of fabric, patterns, books, or whatever people are good enough to entrust me with. And on this occasion - I have to be honest - I just didn't like it at all.  My dilemma was whether to continue with the pattern given that it clearly wasn't going to work for my shape. So I asked myself the question, "Would you continue with this pattern if you'd paid for it?" Despite the allure of the Peter Pan collar, the answer was "No." The other consideration was the Liberty fabric that Susan had kindly gifted me. Could I really cut into my beautiful fabric to make a top that realistically I'd never wear? Again, the answer was "No." So I'm sorry to say, I didn't continue with the pattern. I do like to support independent pattern companies when I can, so I'm disappointed not to be able to give a full review. I just think life's too short to slave away trying to get a pattern to fit, when it's clear from such an early stage that it's not going to work for you.

If you're a bit smaller in the bust than me and you like your tops to have a looser fit, then I still think the pattern is worth trying out. It looks relatively simple to put together (only three pattern pieces and no sleeves to set in) and although the instructions are brief, they're still easy to follow. There are no facings either - the neckline and kimono sleeve hems are finished with bias tape, which is a nice touch. If you want a better idea of the true finished look of the blouse, have a look at the beautiful pictures on Marie's review.  It's a perfect pattern for many people out there - just not for me.

As for the Liberty fabric, it certainly won't be going to waste (as if!) This is the design I chose….



….and I have plans for it! x



30 comments:

  1. I completely agree, you should be honest in your reviews. It does no-one any favours to pretend everything is fine when clearly there's room for improvement–especially where money is involved. I've had a similar problem with an independent pattern maker's product (although thankfully only the once) and wish I'd had unbiased reviews to turn to before making my purchase. You're right about the fabric too, it's far too lovely to waste on something you won't wear!

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    1. Thank you and yes, the fabric certainly won't go to waste! x

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  2. Oh my, that fabric is divine. Honest reviews are the best sort. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Honesty is always the best policy. We forget, sometimes, in our rush to belong, to find community, that we are still individuals. What works well for one individual may not work well for another individual. And, dear Handmade J., you are so right -- life is too short to waste with make-work. I salute you for being strong enough to admit your disappointment with a new toy. I salute you twice for having the grace to pass the new toy along to someone who may enjoy playing with it (I am not that person.) I hope that Sewbox realizes you are not rejecting her, personally. You are just not quite the right customer for this particular pattern.

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    1. Thanks Lynn. I have to say, Susan at Sewbox was absolutely lovely about the whole episode and even offered me another pattern to choose from. x

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  4. I totally agree with you- there's just not enough time in the day to make something fit that's not working for you. I don't always know if it's a drafting problem or just not a good match for my shape, but I'm not one to spend a week and a half making six muslins to try to sort out major fit issues. The lawn is absolutely beautiful. I'm excited to see what your new plans you have in store for it!

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    1. You're right Sonja, there really isn't enough time in the day sometimes! I think this pattern was a combination of drafting and my shape. Onwards and upwards though! x

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  5. That's a shame, but you're right - no point continuing if you knew you wouldn't like it. This pattern is actually on my wishlist - I love the Simple Sew trousers I made and like a looser fit. Look forward to seeing what you do come up with!

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    1. Aha! When I was writing about the top being the right style for other people, I immediately thought of you! You really suit the looser fit. I've already cut it out in my size but if you'd like it, it's yours! I'll drop you an email. x

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  6. I've looked at this pattern too so thanks for the honest review. Like you, I definitely need a more fitted outline, which the packaging does suggest :-( I'm sure you'll find a more useful project for it, good luck!

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    1. Thank you! It was an exercise in realising what doesn't suit me, which can only be good! x

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  7. It's good to be honest about our sewing and what we're likely to wear. Sometimes I think we get swept up in a bit of mania over a pattern, and there are a few items in my wardrobe that I look at and wonder if I will ever wear again! Honesty is the bext policy, and if you weren't happy with the look, then that's totally ok!

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    1. Yes, I have a few items like that in my wardrobe too! x

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  8. Beautiful fabric. Far too good to waste on something you won't wear! And not all patterns will work out for everyone. Good for you for being brave about that!

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    1. Thanks Helen, it should be obvious that not all patterns work out for everyone, but sometimes it's not! x

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  9. I see where you're coming from. You suit fitted tops and this is pattern is a bit swishy. Good call to step away from the sewing machine, life's too short and there are so many other patterns to sew. Lovely fabric choice, can't wait to see what you sew with it.

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    1. Thank you! It was definitely too swishy for me! x

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  10. I completely agree with you! Reviews like this are so helpful! Thank you, Jane :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah, glad the review was helpful. x

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  11. Love that fabric and look forward to seeing how you use it! :)
    I think you're right not to go ahead with a pattern if you know it's not feeling right for you. I often see gorgeous, beautifully-made garments online but steer clear myself if I think I won't wear it. Better to save your lovely fabric for something you'll use :)

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    1. It's hard sometimes, especially when you see other bloggers totally rocking a particular pattern, but I think it's much better in the long run to steer yourself away! x

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  12. I totally agree that it was right for you to stop this one and choose something more suited to you for your Liberty fabric, which is lovely. It can be so hard to know where to turn to as there are quite a few new indie pattern companies around at the moment.

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    1. Thank you - I think the Liberty fabric will be put to much better use on something else. x

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  13. I really appreciate your review for the reasons that have already been mentioned. I have a few patterns that I tried out and they just weren't the right shape for me. I am learning.

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    1. Thank you. I'm still learning too! x

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  14. It's sometimes difficult to be honest, on one hand you want to support and encourage indie companies but on the other there's no point in making something that just isn't right for you. Now we want to see what the Liberty will be transformed into....

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    1. I know, it's a very fine line. I'm passing the pattern onto another blogger who will hopefully be able to do it justice! x

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  15. I"m sorry it didn't work out, but kudos to you for knowing when to stop! Sometimes it's just best to do that. It does look like a cute blouse but not everything is great for everyone, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves that. I can't wait to see what you do with the Liberty!

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    1. Thanks Tasha, it's taken me a while to realise when to stop! x

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