The One with All the Fail

Sometimes a pattern has so many things going wrong that in the end it’s no surprise it doesn’t work out. But in the interest of learning, I feel the need to blog about this fail as well 🙂

When I discovered the Grainline – Moss Mini skirt I just knew I had to make it. It was perfect. I had visions of me walking around in tons of them. I had fabrics picked out. Drew some sketches about what I wanted it to look like, so I was all set.

I taped the PDF pattern together and traced the pieces. Somehow I lost my courage there and then. There were just so many pieces. I managed to pin the pieces to my fabric and it stayed that way for a few weeks. Initially I wanted to make a muslin out of it, never having done a fly front and all.

But I think everything went haywire right from the start.

  • I didn’t mark the notches when tracing the pattern pieces.
  • I needed to cut 2 sizes as my waist and hip wasn’t the same size, but I didn’t know how to grade it down so I decided against grading it down and picked the larger size.
  • I gave up on the muslin and opted for a wearable muslin, so I took a piece of fabric that I had in my stash and initially wanted to use for something else. It was a dark blue stretch cotton, with the flowers only on one selvage side. The flowers followed the grainline, which meant that if I wanted to use them at the bottom of my skirt, the stretch wouldn’t go around my body but up and down. I didn’t think this would be too bad, as the pattern didn’t ask for a stretch fabric.


  • I made a mistake when cutting out the front of the skirt. Somehow I mislaid my fabric pieces so I ended up with to identical pieces instead of two mirrored pieces. I had to cut both front panels in half so I could flip the flowers with the right side out. At this stage it was pretty clear this was turning into a disaster.


  • The right top pictures shows that the pockets and the side seams didn’t meet up at all.
  • I was pretty happy with the fly front though (as it was my first)
  • But somehow the waistband ended up being 7 cm short (almost 3 inches). I tried turning it upside down, but that didn’t make any difference.
  • I decided to take in the side seams as it was supposed to be too wide at the waist anyway. I took it in enough to make the waistband fit.
  • Sewing on the waistband wasn’t that hard but in the end it didn’t match up at all were it was supposed to match up.
  • I tried it on eventually and …

voor en na

This was the result (left: sketch, right: result)

  • I managed to squeeze into it and even close the zipper without to much effort.
  • The waistband is gaping but it won’t go any lower as I took in the side seams and it kind of gets stuck on my hips.
  • Because it sits too high now, the skirt is just too short to be decent.
  • It’s fair to say that this isn’t even a wearable muslin.

Did all this fail influence my opinion on the pattern?

Not at all actually. It made me want to kick myself because I think a large part of all this fail was just my fault. It was the result of a lot of bad choices.

I’m going to restart this skirt from scratch (including tracing the pattern pieces) because I want to know where it all went wrong as other people don’t seem to have the same problems (apart from the waistband being to short).

I still love the print on the fabric so I might just go and get me some more.

I learned a lot doing this so in the end it wasn’t all a waste of time.

But any suggestions to make this go easier the next time would be helpful though 🙂

16 thoughts on “The One with All the Fail

  1. I almost never try to make a wearable mockup – something always needs tweaking. I would try it again with fabric you would never wear and adjust the fit. Definitely get into the habit of trying an outfit on many times during the build – you might be able to fix a lot of problems as you go. I make a lot of my skirts without waistbands (just finish the top with some bias) since I very rarely tuck my shirts in.

    And to paraphrase my 1952 copy of Singer Sewing, almost all sewing failures are the result of wrong fabric choice. =)


    1. Ooooh, I had no idea the 1952 Singer book said that!! Because every failure I’ve had to date, has been due to fabric choice and, in fact, yesterday just tweeted that choosing fabric for a project was my weak point. Ah, Singer! So smart. 🙂


    2. I’m definitely using my bolt of twill for the next mock up. I think part of the problem was that I had it lying around for weeks and I just wanted to finish it. Bad me for not thinking about slow sewing 🙂

      I don’t know if the fabric choice was the real problem. I just can’t get my head around the fact that anyone would choose a print on a fabric and then have the stretch go the wrong way. Which evil manifacturer does these things!!

      But it is true what Singer says, I’ve noticed it before. Trying to make a dress meant for a knit fabric in a woven fabric 🙂 That was one of my first projects and I didn’t know/understand why it wouldn’t fit 🙂


  2. Oh that fabric is soooo cute! Sorry it didn’t work out but now I’m all curious to try this pattern… must focus on jackets though… I just traced off two Burda jackets…


  3. Stephanie, I came over from the daring Gillian’s blog.

    Here are my 3 point strategy to set myself up for better fit.
    1. I measure my ready to wear garments width and height and compare them with the pattern piece to determin the size before I even trace or cut it. This is a Peggy Sagers idea.
    2. I also add 1 inch on the sideseams aka Aandra Betzina.. She calls it the fitting insurance.
    3. If its a woven pattern, I try to tissue fit before cutting the fabric… not as detailed as what Palmer pletsch suggest .. But a quick and dirty version to see if it’s too long, too short, too wide or too tight …


  4. Oh and also fit as you go… Baste the side seams, try it on .., like this- try to see check fit during each phase in seeing that garment.


  5. Maybe this will help you on your next try with the Moss: Shivani’s try at it. I would suggest going up a size and making sure that you cut out the right size for each pattern piece. Maybe you missed a piece of the waistband that needed to be attached. Good luck!


  6. Pingback: Love - Teach - Sew
  7. I had the same problem with my pocket pieces not matching up with the dude Seams. Dud you manage to get it sorted the next time round?


    1. I did, they aren’t meant to line up, well they are but the pocket is just not meant to sit flat as to make it easier for your hand to slide in and out.


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