How do you define a sewing success?
This top was made from fabric selected by my 5 year old daughter as a birthday treat and then sewn into a top (as requested) within a week of purchase, with instructions for "no ironing!" followed strictly. The fabric is from Tessuti Fabrics, and the pattern is # 151 from
BurdaStyle issue 11/2010 (also made in textured Japanese cotton for summer here and in riotous winter colour here) with the gathered raised waist turned into
pleats and centre back zip omitted. The bodice is lined in a soft lyocell fabric for comfort, and the whole thing sparkles and shimmers beautifully in the sunlight.
But this is a top that will not be worn because the style is wrong. Apparently 5 year olds wear tight stretchy tops; looseness is for dresses and little girls. So that's a fail.
What about this?
This is a top made for Mr Upsewlate to test out a pattern I put together based on one of his favourite long sleeve t-shirts. The fabric is cheap stuff from Lincraft (and I've used it before for a quick & dirty top for myself) but soft and cottony with a nice weight. Remarkably for a cheap fabric the stripes run pretty straight (and have been matched on side seams, sleeve seams, shoulder seams as much as possible - of course). The neckband and sleeve bands are made from a coordinating rib knit.
You'd think that basing the shape on an old favourite would be smart...hmm. Apparently this top fits better than the original (now you tell me!) and feels comfortable on, but obviously the shoulders are way too broad and the sleeves are also too wide and too long. I think this will get worn but I will always be conscious of those ridiculous shoulders, so this is a fail too.
What can I say... I think you know the answer already. I hate it on me! I do like the neckline and the shoulders / sleeves but that's it.
This fabric was an interesting remnant from Tessuti fabrics that I
held onto for ages because it didn't really seem to be my style - I
don't like brown and I don't wear 70s. The pattern started with the top
from Vogue 1310, the recent Chado Ralph Rucci pattern, which I turned into a dress (and obviously it's not cut on the
bias). I made this dress as a tester for a planned winter dress which I
am now very unsure about.
It's better on my dress dummy, and the zig zags are reasonably symmetric and reasonably matched on the side seams, and the neckline and shoulders are properly stabilised with clear elastic, and the self-fabric lining matches pretty well on the zig zags too - but all that doesn't make me want to wear it. Another fail.
So I think for me sewing success is about wearability - part and parcel of that is whether it's been sewn neatly, whether the fit is decent, and whether the fabric / colours / style look good on. I don't require my sewing to look perfect on the inside so long as the imperfections aren't evident to my eye from the outside of the garment, but I don't think I'd be happy wearing noticeably wavy hems or puckered seams - I don't want people to know from 50 paces that what I'm wearing is homemade. I don't require immaculate fit because I haven't had much experience of it to date, but I expect to get more picky as I become a better seamstress.
I see that the success / fail metric varies a lot across the sewing blogs. Some of us are happy to make something we can wear, but others are really tough on themselves. Do you think some seamstresses are seeing errors that the rest of us don't even notice??? [That's my hypothesis....] And what about finish? Should RTW be the yardstick for garment finish, or should we be aiming for couture perfection? I haven't ever seen couture IRL, but my David Coffin trousers book shows there can be couture seams with no finishing - so how does that reconcile with my serger ownership aspirations? Can I still justify one?