craft failure

Thursday, 11 November 2010
I seem to have tempted fate lately with all my bragging about finishing a whole outfit in one week or conquering a 3 dot Burda jacket equally quick because now I have experienced fundamental sewing failure of the most simple kind: I made something that is way too small for me. Much like an earthquake in San Francisco, it's expected it will happen eventually but it's still a surprise when it does because we all know Sewing 101 is to know your measurements and use the right size pattern.....

I bought McCalls 5391 a few months ago when had a 99c sale. It has six differing styles of shorts, not a complicated pattern but just something decent to wear when hanging at the playground. According to the measurements on the pattern envelope I needed a size 10 for the waist, but nearly a size 16 at the hips which was a small problem since the pattern I bought only went up to a size 12. So I laid a pair of well fitting shorts over the paper pattern to compare sizes, and it seemed that a size 12 would not only be fine, but possibly a little baggy. Typical excessive ease in commercial patterns, I smugly thought to myself.

Well, I don't know exactly what I was looking at when I did this comparison (maybe the front of the shorts to the back pattern piece?) because when I sewed up the shorts and tried them on I couldn't even zip them up they were that tight! And to make matters worse, not only did I cut one pair out in black linen, but in a fit of efficiency I also cut out a second pair at the same time in another fabric. So that would be two pairs of too small shorts. Luckily neither were expensive or precious fabrics, and it's not like I have a shortage of fabric either so no big deal I guess.

One of the good things about having a small person in your life is that small people wear small clothes and I was able to cut out some shorts for Anna from the pieces of my failed project. So I consider this a scale version of what is to come:

I made these using McCalls 6016, another 99c pattern purchase which I used for the beige shorts I made a few posts back. This time though I altered the pattern by lowering the waist and the distance between the bottom of the fly and the crotch so that Anna isn't getting around like a harry high pants. Seriously, even with her cloth nappy on the original fit of this pattern was ginormous. Too bad their adult pattern aren't drafted the same.

I also made a black and white top to go with the shorts, recycled from a shirt I made for myself last summer that seemed to acquire an unshiftable stain right in the front, but again with the little pieces required for kids clothes it was easy to cut around it and use the rest of the fabric.

I've become a typical mother haven't I? Literally giving my child the clothes off my back LOL!
I used Kwik Sew 3665, which is a raglan sleeve peasant style top. It has elastic around the neckline and the sleeves, so it doesn't matter if your kid has a huge head it should still fit (unlike a t-shirt I made for Anna once!) If you can get over the thick paper that Kwik Sew use for their patterns which I find extremely annoying to stick pins through, Kwik Sew patterns are great for being appropriately sized in my experience and very simple to make.

That would be Anna up there sticking the thermometer in her ear. I seem to have a developing hypochondriac on my hands because her favourite thing to do is to check her temperature and declare 'sick'. I suppose I should just be happy we have an ear thermometer and not a rectal one....

And now I need to make some pattern adjustments and I suppose I should do what I'm sure some of you are thinking I should have done in the first place: make a muslin. It's so much easier to sew skirts and dresses!


  1. This is too funny! I often find halfway through a garment that it won't work. but great that you got a garment for little miss from it!

    BTW - my standard prop to get photos of my little one these days is a nurafen dropper!

  2. that gingham shirt is adorable!
    I love all the stories about your daughter. Keep 'em coming!
    Sorry to hear about the too small shorts, I hear you! the too small dress I made this summer I gave to my smaller (adult) friend and she loved it! But you are so tiny to start, it would be hard to find an adult smaller than you!

  3. " I suppose I should just be happy we have an ear thermometer and not a rectal one...." And I thought the line about a developing hypochondriac was funny!

  4. Sofie www.sewdarntired.blogger.com11 November 2010 at 23:56

    You kill me Kristy!
    I often make stuff that I am sure will fit and then it's too small and have to give it away. I am just getting started in my sewing again and have cut a burda skirt so hopefully it fits.. or it goes into the Christmas gift basket!
    (I hope it does, I need the clothes but also I love the fabric and i don't want to give it to someone else but how may things can I keep till I get thinner?)
    (when will I get thinner?...

  5. I had to laugh, because when I do something like that I first think,
    "Can I get my daughter something out of this wadder?" And that is what you directly did. Sewing mothers think alike. Your daughter looks beautiful in the black and white ensembles.

  6. I have the opposite problem - I'm terrified of making things too small - so they always end up too big! My daughter (I think close in age to yours) also has a fixation with the ear thermometer. She takes her temperature, her stuffed bunny, mine, etc.

  7. I don't think you've got a hypochondriac, you've got a future doctor there!
    I always trace kwik sew patterns onto tissue paper. That thick paper really is annoying.

  8. How very resourceful of you to find a way to reuse your shorts. Anna looks gorgeous. You still managed a lot of sewing in a week, even if it was refashioned.

  9. Could you have saved the shorts by placing a panel down the sides. By pin tucking the extra fabric and it becomes a decorative feature or use contrasting fabric like liberty

  10. Pity about the shorts for you but your daughter is looking so cute in her new outfit.

  11. Very, very cute clothes for Anna! Isn't it nice to be able to redeem all the "wasted" time, fabric, etc. and make little girl clothes??

    I can empathize though - I've started two tops for myself and neither one fit right. I'm just procrastinating on cutting them down for the girls.

  12. I made a pair of those shorts last year and something was weird about it. However, it magically worked out. I'm sorry yours didn't but I'm glad you were able to make it into something for your daughter... she's so cute!!

  13. I laughed so hard I cried! Good writing.

  14. What a great outfit! And this will not be the last time you give the clothes off your back to this beautiful young lady...teenagehood is approaching! *LOL*

  15. hilarious! (who doesn't love a little rear end humor!)

  16. Hey! I just found your blog and I love your sense of humor.

    I'll make sure to keep coming back =)

  17. Very cute outfit for the little one though,I ran into trouble a couple weeks back trying to match my fabric print, did not think that one through and cut a few too many times. epic fail on my part.
    Just found your blog and am enjoying :)