August 4, 2013

Failure: Everybody’s Doing It

I was on the wrong end of a giant project fail this past weekend. I thought I’d branch out a bit and test my sewing skills by trying to make a “simple” shift dress, but it was a complete disaster. I couldn’t find a pattern at the fabric store that I liked, so I thought I would just take apart a t-shirt that fit me pretty well and use that as a dress pattern. I obviously planned on lengthening the t-shirt a bit to make the dress because I’m not a Walmart lady-of-the-night that just goes out in a t-shirt and no pants. Although when I realized that there was only a six-inch difference between the t-shirt length and my desired dress length, I did have to take pause and think about my life choices. I concluded (like anyone would) that this particular t-shirt was in fact a veryย long t-shirt, and the thus the small different between my shirt and skirt lengths made total logical sense.

Anyways, I spent about 5 hours trying to sew, what should have been, an adorably short black and white buffalo plaid dress with leather sleeves (don’t you already want one too?!?), but I ended up tired and sad at two in the morning when I realized a few things: One, I’m not sure I can sew a dress that I have the correct pattern for. Two,ย I definitely cannot sew a dress that I completely made up a pattern for. Three, this dress will never see the light of day.

Charlie (our cat) also almost died at the hands of this project after she sprinted up to the dress and grabbed a straight pin in her mouth. I yelled so loud in horror that, thankfully, she dropped the pin and all cats were well (although one human in particular was shaken up).

Anyway, the point is I tried something new and I totally failed. I hated that feeling of being exhausted from working so hard on something and having absolutely nothing usable to show for all my time and effort- it’s the worst. But you know what? I know where to buy more fabric and more leather, and I’m determined to find a pattern that will work for me.

Today’s moral: don’t allow failure to stop you completely- just let it be the pause button while you regroup and gather a new plan of attack before pressing play again.

I don’t know what small or giant obstacles you might be facing, but I plan on wearing a fabulous plaid dress with leather sleeves this fall, no matter how many more times I have to try.


12 thoughts on “Failure: Everybody’s Doing It

  1. Jen @ Jen Darling

    Good for trying Laura!! I have a pile of sewing projects that I haven’t touched because I’m terrified of messing something up. (It helps that I can blame the fact that my sewing machine hasn’t been unpacked since we moved!)


  2. Katja

    Never stop trying! I’m learning with every sewing project and I messed up a lot of beautiful fabric over the years.
    But you were a lot braver than me tackling a project like this!!
    So what does your dream dress look like? Maybe we can find the perfect pattern?


  3. Georgia

    I just failed a HUGE career-altering exam. Needless to say, this post really spoke to me. Thanks for reminding me that failing is not the end of everything (: wish me luck round on round 2!

  4. Vanessa

    Oh man! I’m glad no harm was done to Miss. Charlie! Reading this gave me the push to try to fix my newly thrifted dress I just found this weekend. I tend to sow slightly on the crooked side. Hey, but at least it’s my crooked dress! Right?!

  5. Sarah

    This was simultaneously hilarious and inspiring. I got to the end of this post and started singing “Don’t Stop Believing” for the whole neighborhood to hear!

  6. kristi

    oh my gosh! i feel your pain! one of the things I wanted and got of my late grandma’s was one of her sewing machines. my aunt even showed me how to hem my jeans since i’m only 5’3, we did one pair together…a road trip to bring it back to california with me also cleared my brain of how to properly operate the thing! I’ve tried once and it was a complete fail! I definitely want to try again, maybe something simplier, not that I assume hemming pants is that complicated in the first place! ALSO, I have a kitty and the entire time I was trying I was terrified he was going to have the same thing happen to him! Glad I’m not alone – and good for you for being so optimistic about trying again!

  7. Alexandra Pettinato

    I would love to learn to sew.. It was on my list of summer goals, but is the ONE that I haven’t even attempted as of yet ๐Ÿ˜› The dress idea sounds lovely, stick with it and I’m sure you’ll have your dream dress for autumn.

    I like that you posted a DIY fail :). I find that out here in blog-land people only show the times they succeed, which is great, because we get to look at nice things. However, I know that when I DIY sometimes the outcomes aren’t always perfect (more often than not I’ve measured something wrong, or edges are wonky, etc.) But it’s nice to know that DIY’s don’t always turn out, and that it’s ok!

    Alex from


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