Fairy fail

15 May

I basically just finished the Red Grape Fairy, and it looks terrible.

I think I can say with certainty that the problem is not on my end, except that I bought a shitty pattern. My bad.

The big problem is the waist, where the bodice joins the skirts. First of all, why isn’t the gown cut in one piece? I don’t know. I didn’t get paid a bunch of money to make this terrible pattern. Anyway, the bodice and skirt are supposed to be sewn together at the waistline, but the widths didn’t match up. There’s something like a 3″ difference in the back measurements alone. I finagled seam allowances until they finally matched, and stitched it all together, and wound up with a boxy, misshapen, unflattering mess.


I wanted the opposite of this.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I should say that I haven’t added the elastic. The pattern calls for an elastic waistband to run where the bodice and skirt meet. I haven’t done this yet because I cannot possibly conceive of how it will help. There is literally nowhere for the extra fabric to go, except to bunch around my midsection (flattering!). The bodice itself is boxy and weirdly shaped and doesn’t fit right, the facing is a joke, and BAH ON YOUR  STUPID PATTERN, SIMPLICITY.

I’m pretty much done with this pattern. Unless some brilliant idea comes to me in my sleep, and I remember it when I wake up, or I come up with something else, I’m returning to the fabric store and starting over with McCall’s 2895. It’s not Grecian and neither is it of a style appropriate for Roman women, and I think the one shoulder thing will make the wings difficult, but it’s only two long pieces, front and back, joined at the sides and shoulder, and I should be able to get it done in the limited time left to me to complete this part of the project. I’m also looking at chiton tuorials, but frankly, all the finished product pictures I’m seeing are just…boxy and unflattering. I want sleek, like a wine bottle. I suppose, now I think about it, I could also use the body of the Elizabethan Smock Pattern Generator, avoiding the sleeves, dropping the neckline, and 86ing the side gores and leaving it open from the knees down. I guess?

I don’t even know anymore. I’ve become paralyzed with failure and can’t decide what my next step should be. Should I pull this shitty thing apart again and try to figure out something else? Should I start cutting what I can of the other pattern? Should I just go the fuck to bed? Adding to tonight’s awesomeness, I was so certain it was going to work that I worked on both fairy costumes simultaneously, which means I’m out ~$40 worth of fabric as well as three solid days of sewing.

Maybe the problem is me. I swear I did everything carefully. I really did. Making the sheer fabric and the cotton play nice together was horrible, but I did my best to be careful and conscientious. I transferred markings and followed them, and I was careful with my stitches and I was so, so close to being done with this, and now I’m so, so frustrated, not least because this isn’t just for me; a friend is counting on me to make this work. And I’m  tired, and hungry, because dinner was like four hours ago, and desperately homesick, and my fucking back hurts.

ben and jerrys

I am awash in hate for my chosen hobby.

12 Responses to “Fairy fail”

  1. emily May 15, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    What a shame i hate it when that happens. I knit more than I sew and despite my endless projects I’ve got a whole heap of jumpers that I’m not happy with.
    The colour of the fabric is really pretty and definitely suits you. Its a bit hard to tell from the photo but it only looks like it needs to come in at your waist, but i’ve not idea how you’d solve the mass of fabric you might end up with.
    You might need a strong drink of alcohol to do it, but can you not pull it apart and make something else with it?
    Perhaps take a break from it altogether till you can face looking at it again without screaming.
    I hope you can salvage something from it as the colour is definitely you x x

    • stonebiscuit May 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement! I really do love the color and fabric, which is part of why I was so upset.

      I wonder where abandoned projects go. Is there a purgatory-type repository for them? “She’ll come back and fix me. She said she would. I could be pretty. She will…right?”

  2. Ann Coston Neff May 15, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    Chitons are rectangles, not seamed or darted, but shaped with brooches and sashes, and with your height should be super flattering. The later version for women, with the folded over part at the shoulders, would give the foundation for your wings.

    You might want to toss away patterns completely and just drape it. Simplicity et al make me crazy anyway. http://amtwiki.net/amtwiki/index.php/Chiton and http://www.bethgalbreath.com/journey/costchit.htm give straightforward instructions with very little hand-waving.

    You both will look lovely.

    • stonebiscuit May 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      I think I was unfair to chitons before. :D I do like them. Mostly I want more structure for my own purposes (not least of all my horrible posture), and also to add a bit of a Tudor look? That being said, I am definitely going to use some of the draping methods suggested for the sheer over layer. I’m pretty sure that will help a LOT.

      I really appreciate your encouragement. It was a rough night. :)

  3. Kat aka Radclyffe May 15, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    We all mess shit up, most of us just aren’t brave enough to admit it and post it for others to see. Don’t get too discouraged. Sometimes you’re just too close to see the problem. Going to bed, refreshing and refueling your body and mind, and removing yourself emotionally from the project before readdressing it can help you refocus. Stay positive about your abilities. If you can tell it’s fucked up, even if you don’t know how or why, let finding out be exciting and adventurous rather than discouraging. That’s how one finds their way from being pattern-follower to pattern-maker.

    • stonebiscuit May 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you do much. It’s hard yo remember that in the middle of the night–or even during the day sometimes. I really appreciate the encouragement. :D I’m pretty sure I know the problem, but addressing it would be more time consuming than making something new and I can’t guarantee it would actually fix anything. I’m going to eat myself stupid on sushi, and then I’m going to try some serious belting options, and if those don’t work, I’m going to salvage the fabric for the new plan, which I’m very optimistic about.

  4. Cathryn Lyons May 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Hon, you’re 1 wide belt away from making this work. If you’re absolutely against the idea of a belt or mid-section sash, then yeah, you may have to start over – but all you need is a band of green to pull in the waist and you’ll have that hourglass you’re looking for.
    What Simplicity pattern were you using?
    I hadn’t looked into much Roman clothing before, but there are some fascinating ways of draping and tying rectangles of cloth! I still think all you need is some rope or fabric or even a leather belt and then your outfit will be more pleasing.

    • Cathryn Lyons May 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Followed the link to the pattern you used.
      Perhaps it was the type of fabric used? It may be more drapey and less bulky if a thinner/silkier/less stiff fabric is used, which is why it’s not so bad to have a waist elastic…
      STILL, they didn’t have elastic 2,000 years ago, so my thinking is find a way to cinch the waist to create the look you want.

      I made a fabric belt when I cosplayed Megara by using heavy iron-on interfacing to line it – so the belt wouldn’t fold or shift around. Depending on how you’re doing the wings, that would also add some stability.

      So. TRY A BELT.

      (Because with period clothing, the only thing standing between me and a good look is appropriate corsetry. ;)

    • stonebiscuit May 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      I tried a little tying/belting action last night, though admittedly I was not in the best frame of mind to be making decisions. :D I’m going for sushi, and then when I get back I’m gonna give it a more rational go. You may be right, but there are issues other than the waist, and I think they mostly hearken back to trying to treat the sheer and cotton as one layer. I’m not so good at flatlining. I will give it a shot, though. If it doesn’t work, I’ve got some other ideas, using patterns I’ve successfully used in the past, and that I know will respond well to what I’m wanting to do. Also I’ll be making two separate layers rather than they to work with both together. :)

      I appreciate your encouragement. It’s probably not as bad as I think it is, but as you know, I tend to react dramatically to disappointment. :D

  5. Megan May 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    This is why I hate sewing sometimes. You get to this part of a project, and it just doesn’t work the way you wanted it too. With me there is generally yelling and wadding up of the project into a ball that i let my cat sleep on.
    This happens to me all the time though, and I think some of the earlier people are right, if you added a green belt, with some flowers on it since you were going to a fairy thing, it would work a lot better than you think.
    Also, I’ve done a fair amount of editing, and rewsewing in my day, when stuff like this happens to me, my immediate reaction is to either put in a zipper or darts to give it a more tailored look in some places put not sacrifice my skirt, I’m a big fan of big 50s bell skirts. The belt would be simpler, but I might give that a thought as an alternative.

    • stonebiscuit May 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

      I know! The almost end of the project is the worst, because if the bottom falls out form under you you’ve lost SO much work. I’ve finally returned from stuffing myself full of “poor biscuit screwed up a project” sushi and frozen yogurt, and I’m about to try some serious belting. We’ll see how it works!

      • Megan May 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

        Well good luck, and definitely let us all know if it turns out or not. Generally if I work at it long enough, I can figure something out and I don’t see any reason why you can’t either. And if it takes a little longer, that just means more frozen yogurt and sushi, which I’m sure is not a bad thing :)

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