Failure Roundup

 Once upon a time, when I was more active on Ravelry, I rather enjoyed the Ugliest FO thread. People would post their knitting mishaps, usually with self-deprecating humorous descriptions, for others to enjoy. But, alas, most people who sew do not post their failures online. This can make it hard to learn from others' mistakes. So, here I go--this is the first in a (hopefully not too prolific) series of patterns that didn't work for me, especially if I wasted fabric on them. I am not going to promise to post pictures of myself wearing these garments, but I will try to detail what exactly went wrong.

Failure 1: Burda 2018 - 02 - 120, raglan blouse with back bow tie

 I made this up in a black charmeuse, following the instructions almost to a T (the only thing I did not do is use the wrong side as the right side). 

What went wrong?

The instructions for the top band are just wonky. The band is not interfaced--it is cut on the bias. This all but guarantees that the top part of the blouse will look messy and crooked. And it did. 

The other thing that went wrong is that, lacking any solid support around the shoulders, this top slides around and rides up or down. The fit is rather alluring in the model picture. In reality, those shoulders will be anywhere but on your actual shoulders. I had to cut a good three crooked inches off the hem just to make it hang sorta straight.

Any way to fix it?

Probably--raise the back so it's not angled, and use an interfaced and more tailored trim. In other words, just use a different pattern for a raglan top. They're out there.

Failure 2: Burda 2020 - 05 - 120 Asymmetric top with bias trim

This one was SO popular when it came out in previews. The model picture is truly gorgeous:

 My version, on the other hand, is not gorgeous. 

What went wrong?

Well, there was a lot of discussion of this on the Russian Burda site.

Problem 1: the pattern means for you to leave the yellow bias trim unfinished on the outer edge. Everyone felt this would make for a wear-once garment. Even bias trim ravels after a while. I decided to mitigate this by using a rolled hem finish. Others cut the trim as two (really, four) pieces, sewed each in half.

Problem 2: the armholes are low-cut, and not especially flattering on most bodies. This is apparent, once you know to look for it, in the model photo. You sit this way to hide the garment fit. Several people pointed out that the bra sides are visible at the armholes. Mine aren't, but a lot of flesh is visible, and I don't like it. The arm scyes are cut a bit high into the shoulders, making for an unflattering fit--on my body, anyway.

Problem 3: The bias trim looks like butt, or is impossible to make look good, around that 90-degree turn. Again, people discussed this problem on the Russian site, and the solution some used was to draft their own side trim pieces by drawing around the body pieces (like here, and here--the only successful projects from this pattern, in my humble).

Problem 4: the positioning of the darts, and their width, was a problem fit-wise for many of the Russians (too wide apart, too deep, etc). Not for me, that part was actually perfect.

I thought I'd be clever and solve problems 1 and 3 by drafting 4 pieces and joining them pairwise using a rolled hem on my serger. It looked fine, and worked okay, until I tried the dratted thing on. No muslin could have prepared you for this. The double-thickness trim refuses to drape around the armhole and looks all tight and twisted.  

For reference, I used a tencel in a denim color. Unfortunately, the fabric is different on the right and wrong side, so it would have looked weird/lame if I used the original design, hence I cut a trim piece using the wrong sides of the fabric as a contrast. It looked good until I tried the thing on.

Any way to fix it?

I think there might be, but I'll have to rip out the trim and replace it with something less "designer". Possibly just a simple bias cut trim. I don't know if it's possible to duplicate the Burda piece's look using their methodology, though. This might be one of those cases where a piece photographs well from one angle but doesn't actually work in real life.

Failure 3: Burda 2021 - 02 - 101, Faux wrap dress

Here is a dress that everyone else is praising to the skies. For me, it turned out to be a bitter disappointment.


What went wrong?

You can see a little preview of what was going to go wrong in the model photos. See, in the back picture, how the back bodice seam ripples? That is difficult to avoid when the bodice is cut on the bias. The same is true for neck trim. The v-neck ripples because it is reinforced and not subject to the dire pull of gravity the way that the rest of the bodice is.

We have a bias-cut bodice supporting a straight-cut skirt. See how in the front view, the waist seam hangs below the ties? That was probably taken shortly after the dress was made. We all know that with bias cuts, you have to wait a while before, say, hemming. Circle skirts, bias dresses, etc. all need to hang so you know how much the bias drops, then you trim off the crookedness.

But when you invert the formula and use the bias on the bodice, then it all gets dragged down out of proportion.

I sewed my dress out of a light, drapey viscose (just like Burda recommends). It used a TON of fabric, because I had a difficult stripe repeat to match, and I didn't have enough fabric for it in the end. Like, 4+ yards was not enough. And the resulting garment is close to unwearable.

Any way to fix it?

Maybe some "innovative" cuts aren't more popular because experience has shown that they do not work as well as traditional, tried-and-tested designs. This is one of these cases, I think.

What I plan to do, now that my dress has spent a lot of time on the hanger, is to (a) redo some of the seams in a zigzag or chainstitch, to give them room to drop; (b) cut off some of the bodice "droop" to raise the waistline to a proper place, and (c) maybe try an elastic around the waist seam, as some of the Russians on the Burda site have done. My problems are not unprecedented--others remarked that the wavy back seam was an issue, for example. And I do not expect this dress to rise to classic status, either; I don't think it is going to turn out to wear well. 


And there we have it: three Burda failures. I have plenty of non-Burda failures, too, but those will have to wait for another day!


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