What do you do when you hate your work-in-progress?

There are always going to be projects which don’t work out so well.

A poor choice in fabric, a cut which isn’t quite as flattering off the pattern envelope or even just the sheer effort of trying to force a project to go your way can turn a work-in-progress to an unfinished garment. These are the projects which make you want to run out to the shops and just buy a similar garment because it would be oh-so much simpler.

This is where I find myself with my Twitter dress. It started out so well! I found the fabric in Boyes while I visited York, even found some super-cool buttons and was planning to whip up a turquoise version of the sixties dress featured in the blog’s first giveaway.

So I cut out the pattern pieces and started basting them together to fit. Despite my best efforts, I don’t think this garment has ever not looked like a potato sack, that is, a potato sack with an uncanny resemblance to medical scrubs.

As it stands, this dress would probably be more at home in a doctor’s surgery than wherever I would be wearing it. I toyed with adding a collar, but it didn’t really work out too well.

I don’t know about you, but when I hit a brick wall with a project, my sewing motivation goes right downhill. Add to this a couple of failed job interviews and you haven’t exactly got a match made in stitching heaven.

I need to claw back my motivation. As I post this, I’ll be searching for another style in the hope I can salvage what I have left of the fabric before I forever associate it with the medical-scrubs gone wrong.

What’s on your sewing table at the moment? Have you ever had to turn around a failed project?

25 thoughts on “What do you do when you hate your work-in-progress?

  1. gingermakes says:

    Aw man, I’m so sorry about your dress. I usually try to force myself to finish things that I’m not happy with in the hopes that I’ll end up liking it in the end, but that’s not always the best course of action. What about a cute little crop top sort of thing? You could pull that off!

    • Elena Cresci says:

      I know what you mean, normally I power through but sadly those garments tend to be the ones most likely to be abandoned in my wardrobe. I think I might have found a solution, but I like your crop top idea! In fact, I’m planning to refashion a make of mine into a crop top – it’s currently a far too-short skirt.

  2. Rozann says:

    Two thoughts, first you could put it on the back burner for awhile until inspiration strikes; or my take on it would be to make a skirt out of it (the crop top idea didn’t occur to me because I never wear them). It’s a shame to let that really pretty fabric go to waste. I love the color! But then I’m a redhead and am drawn to turquoise. Best of luck.

  3. dottiedoodle says:

    I hide failures in a drawer – very mature, I know. Then it doesn’t hurt so much when I find them later and remake/throw away. I’ve had two successful remakes recently, so all is not lost! Look forward to seeing your solution.

    • Elena Cresci says:

      I know the feeling, I’ve stared collecting my fails in a suitcase for when I get around to making something better out of the fabric. Once this dress is done, I’m planning a little Summer challenge on the blog for remakes, so watch out for that πŸ™‚

  4. Anne W says:

    I leave them for a bit, then return to them and generally take them apart to make something else. I’m sure you could chop this in half and made a skirt, pop some colour onto it to get rid of the scrubs association, red or coral? Maybe lace trim at the hem? Good luck!

  5. CherryPix says:

    I hang not-so-successful WIPs on the back of the sewing room door – to remain hidden til I forget my annoyance and try them on again….sometimes magic happens and they look OK …sometimes not…(and then I cannabalise them for other projects…very satisfying!)

  6. Crafting A Rainbow says:

    Oh dear! I hope that blogging about it has magically given you inspiration – That usually happens to me when I complain online! The venting helps clear the air, somehow, and then I can get on with it. If not, I say ditch it… put it away until later! Life is too short to loose your sewing mojo over a dress!

  7. Roisin Muldoon says:

    I can feel this! I started making a Colette Peony months ago and I like the fabric and I like the pattern and I got it to the stage of being basically done and then stopped, and it’s been unfinished ever since. I just can’t feel any enthusiasm for it. So I say this not to offer advice, but in the spirit of understanding! x

  8. Aniko says:

    I’m learning to finish projects. I went through my fashion designer-maker course giving up on my projects all the time because I started hating them halfway and abandoning them. I finished some (way over the deadline), and when they were together with details and finishes in place I saw them differently, and most were not that bad at all.
    So now whatever I start I push until I’ve finished, emotions and judgments set aside, to save myself a lot of unfinished garment related stress. I figured, until I have given the garment (or other sewing project) a proper chance to be seen how it looks when ready, I’m not really allowed to judge. And if it’s bad when finished, that’s a clean decision πŸ™‚

    • Elena Cresci says:

      That’s a good attitude to take – I guess it is difficult to tell what something is going to look like when you’ve only basted it up. I think I just need to soldier on and get it finished! Thanks for popping by πŸ™‚

  9. sue says:

    This happens to me a lot, actually! I find that I either must abandon the project to the UFO pile, or finish it as quickly as possible and throw it in the closet. Then I’ll come back to it after a couple of weeks of not thinking about it at all, and I’ll find myself much more attracted to it than before. πŸ™‚ Sounds a little weird, but works for me!

    • Elena Cresci says:

      I’ve done this so many times with some of my mass-made clothing, falling in love with an item I hid away months after I’d decided I hated it. Good tactic πŸ˜€

  10. walkingthecat says:

    I really like Sarah’s idea with the black waistband and skirt — I can see the dress in my mind.
    But in more general terms — why don’t you try to organize some sort of “this project needs fresh eyes” exchange? Everyone offers a few of the ugly ducklings they’ve been hiding in drawers and suitcases and wherever and swaps them for other swans in the making?
    Susan @ I’d love to be able to make my own clothes…soooo envious of you all

    • Elena Cresci says:

      This is actually a really good idea! I’ve been thinking of organising some sort of challenge to sort out unwanted projects and I think a swap would work really well! Thanks so much, I’ll let you know if I end up doing it and credit you accordingly πŸ™‚

  11. Tricia Thomas says:

    I’m just back to sewing after many years hiatus, and you’re blog is inspirational. This weekend it took me 24 hours (with a sleep break) to make my first jersey project – a summer dress. There were two dresses in the pattern – one with three parts and one with 12, so naturally I picked the one with 12. Got to the final bit – the yoke, and realized the yoke was going to be waaaay too small. I pinned the dress to a tanl top instead and worked on trying to adapt it but ended up finishing the pattern as it was designed, figuring if it made me look pregnant when I put it on, I could always give it to my daughter. It didn’t fit like I wanted it to fit, but it looked good anyway. I’m happy with it – yay jersey experiment!
    On a side note, here in Portland we have a couple of good fabric shops but as a single mom back in school after a long period of under-earning, I don’t usually buy from the nicer shops. My daughter, who doesn’t sew but is showing interest, is in Hailsham in Englamd right now, coincidentally. I asked her to bring me back something truly English that I can’t get here. She started with tea and biscuits, then got me some toothpaste we don’t have here (win!), and just yesterday texted me from a fabric shop, “Mom – how much do you need for a dress?” Sadly I didn’t get her text til after she left, but she is under instruction that if she finds something unique to buy me 3 yards of it.

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