Monday, September 3, 2012

Project Runway, home edition

Not everything I make is a winner.  In fact, I'd say that I am at a certain point in my creative journey where my "successes" are less than my "fails".  I am certainly not lacking in inspiration for color, texture or design details.  Asymmetry, style lines, collar shapes, color blocking all swirl around in my busy brain.  Much as I love Pinterest, I fear that overload is just one pin away.
 design details board
This is just one of 36 boards I maintain!

Finding inspiration, and then finding the support to attempt new techniques is our job as artists and crafters.  Making the climb from the safe and familiar into new territory pretty much ensures that we will hit some trouble and not have the same level of success as before.

This is where I am recently.  I can easily make a very nice knit top, or yoga pant, or even a passable pair of woven slacks.  I can sew with a variety of fabrics and make a variety of silhouettes.  I know what will get me immunity at home.  I know what colors, what fabrics and what styles will give me a "win" from the public around me.  This one did not get me immunity-

"One day you're in, and the next day..."
Just like a contestant on Project Runway, when I heard the evaluation of this, I said: "Really? I thought I was looking good in this."  I wasn't hurt (though my public would say that's a lie) and I was truly surprised.  I love the bright colors, the shape, the ease, the color blocking...I think my vision is good and I need to try again, taking in the critique I received.  Because I was truly surprised.

Below is my version of the Colette Crepe dress, and I also like it.  It hasn't yet been judged by my panel at home but I am pretty sure it will receive a better score than the tunic above.  Quieter colors, a little body conscious, and it's feminine.

So, Readers, do you try new patterns and styles, only to be disappointed in the result?  Do you continue with your original vision and try again?  Or, do you discard a style or color or design detail and go back to TNT (tried and true)?  How do you nurture your creativity and vision?


  1. I don't sew, but I do try different clothing combinations all the time. Sometimes after snapping a photo, I definitely realize that an outfit I thought would look good when I concocted it during a period of insomnia, actually doesn't look so good. And I won't post it on my blog.

  2. I generally don't decide if I like something on me until I take photos. Generally if I have a niggling concern that a design won't work on me, I'm right. Sometimes, I wear them anyway, but I know that it's not my most flattering look.

  3. Hmmm, not sure who your "judges" are, but I like the turquoise. The color is beautiful on you. Maybe the length? can't tell from the picture... are you wearing jeans? Perhaps the proportions are off. I don't know, but I like it.

    Your "crepe" is beautiful, too, though.

  4. To keep my creativity thriving and vision alive, I try new patterns fairly often. I always make a muslin, which often shows me the design won't work for my body. Sometimes I can tweak a design to "make it work", but I have piles of discarded muslins. I do sometimes go back to TNT patterns, but I'm always trying to expand my options.
    This dress looks very good on you. I think the problem with the top might be the empire seam. The fabric colors are nice, but the styling is just off, imo.

  5. I'm probably my own worst critic, and I don't really trust most of my "public", because they're too forgiving and flattering. I could always count on Mom to tell me the truth - bless her, she DID tell the truth!

    I NEED to keep trying new things - the whole concept of a TNT was foreign to me until fairly recently...and I get, but even so, I need to mix it up somehow. And I will keep at a potential fail until I've exhausted all possibilities - that's often where my creative comes out of hiding; I try something just because I have no idea what else to do!

    I wonder if the turquoise top isn't a bit too cutesy? You've been creating so many beautifully elegant, yet fun & creative, pieces lately. There's nothing at all wrong with it, really, it just doesn't quite look up to par with what you've been doing, imho.

  6. Excellent feedback dear readers and friends! It is helpful to look to one another for honest and forthright public gave me that and some of you echoed what was said. Thank you very much.

    Terri, your blog is wonderful and I will definitely be visiting it again.

    Keep the comments coming so we can all think about our work in this way :-)

  7. I'm another that likes that tunic on you, but it is a first run through and if I was to tweek it for you, I would lower the neck a bit and probably adjust the shoulder to be a bit narrower.
    The dress looks wonderful, how does it feel? As to creative, I do try new patterns often and then I like to change them. I'm not as daring as I think I sometimes should be but I do try to stretch my creativity regularly.

  8. I liked the blue too. In fact, yours saved my copy of the pattern from beng eliminated....

  9. Oh, I really like the blue tunic top on you! I think the fabrics and colour blocking are great and the colour looks beautiful with your hair. I say if it makes you feel good, wear it with confidence!

  10. The blues in your tunic really suit you so well - they make your skin and hair glow .Did your public say why they didn`t like it ? Could you lengthen it into a dress by adding some of the plain blue at the bottom ??
    Most of my creativity inspiration comes from sewing blogs = I much prefer these to fashion magazines = I like to see clothes styled on women who haven`t been airbrushed etc etc.If I get the chance though I do like window shopping to get further ideas.

  11. Hi
    I love the colours of the first picture on you. We have similar hair colouring and I personally am happiest in bright clear colours, and strong contrast, I would be tempted to have a slightly lower neckline (my personal choice)

    Over the many years of dressmaking, Ive made some disasters. and I now tend to play safe and follow similar shapes that I know will suit me, Unless its something I really love, then I may take that feature and adjust it, which is probably why I dont have loads of patterns. How about going to a shop and trying things on if your not sure about the style or colour, that could save you time and money.

    At the end of the day its how we feel in them that matters.

  12. A big ah ha for me with my figure type and facial features - which are similar to yours - was the need for soft fabrics and drape. Too crisp doesn't do me any favours no matter how flattering other aspects of the design are. I stay away from anything that has a quilting cotton feel to it and lean towards soft and flowing.

    A lot of people quit when they reach the phase that you're at because of the high failure to low success ratio but as you've identified it means you're growing and exploring and that's fabulous. As you push through each successive piece will get more and more confident.

    For me, not knowing all the answers is what keeps creativity the most fun. I like to learn about fit and to perfect it but I don't want a bunch of perfectly fitted clothes that do little else. For me, developing a T & T is a first step to experimenting with ideas but it doesn't have to be stagnant. One can have numerous T & T patterns and frankenpattern parts back and forth and add in our skill base and it's just more and more fun.

    Overwhelm is one of the reasons I don't bother with sites like Pintrest. Another is that I'd rather spend my time creating than thinking about it. I'm constantly coming across inspiration and ideas and there will never ben enough time for all of them so I follow up whatever one is tickling the most and then keep adding on to that. Some inspirations are simply stepping stones to future projects. This way of being gets me somewhere so I guess it works for me.

  13. I agree that the photos are a great indication if you look ok in something and oh boy yes I have made things only to say "not for public display" and of course its always something that has taken ages to sew lol

  14. I don't spend enough time on Pinterest. I need a Design Details board like yours also. And I'll be repinning some of your pins. I vote for the dress; I think you look lovely in it.

  15. I am still relatively new to sewing and have only successfully completed 6 garments - many more in the bin but mainly due to my errors. I am still finding out what works for me (at this late stage in my life) as I have always shunned the camera and now I actively take photos of what I have sewn. This is really showing me what suits. Love your dress.

  16. I really like the blue tracings tunic. You seem very comfortable in it - love it, do it some more!

  17. Oh, what thought-provoking comments. I'll need to share these with everyone. Stay tuned for a blog post about creativity, success and failure, and what to do next.

  18. Oh, yes, I LOVE trying out new and different things. Sometimes they go completely wrong, but I am determined to "make it work!" There are times I do have to let it go, chop it up, and know that half the fun was in trying to create something different.

  19. I only have two T&T patterns - a tee and a pair of stretchy/yoga pants. So nearly everything I do is from a new pattern, although before even making a muslin, I always check the pattern against a sloper I made a few years ago since I have a difficult-to-fit body. And, boy, yeah, I have a fair number of wadders. I like your turquoise top but I agree with Myrna that the fabric is too stiff, although maybe it will soften up considerably with a few washes. The color is fabuloso on you. The dress is lovely but a safe choice.

  20. I am a TNT fanatic. If I come across a pattern and the end result is a positive one, I am of the mind 5 is better than one. I like the tunic, the color is vibrant is whispers I am feeling carefree.

  21. I love to try new patterns and designs, but this past year I've definitely been working on patterns that I know work for me. I have been buying quality fabrics in prints and colors I love so that the final results make me feel great. Sometimes the first go around on a new pattern is with fabric from my stash that I am just trying to use up, because I've grown tired of it or because it wasn't quite what I expected when it arrived. If I like the silhouette on me, then I definitely want to make the pattern again in a fabric I adore. When I do have a "fail", I like to go back to a TNT to rebuild my confidence. I love the color mustard, but haven't found a way that I can wear it yet, and actually like it on me. This is my new challenge! Fashion magazines, sewing blogs, and Project Runway are all ways that I like to get ideas for new outfits. I really like your Colette dress, and how you have styled it. Turquoise blue is such a beautiful color on you. Your tunic does not look like a fail at all. It looks cool and comfy, but not sloppy since it is so beautifully fitted through the bodice. I like the idea of lowering the neckline as some have suggested, but I think it is important to keep in mind what it is we want in our wardrobe. Sometimes we feel like wearing something with a higher neckline. I guess in the end, we should wear what we feel comfortable in. Some days that might be a body conscious flowing dress and other days it might be sweats! Oh the twists and turns of the journey to keep it interesting, eh? PS:I loved looking at your design board. I'll be revisiting for sure.

  22. I have to agree with others that the blue tunic is a perfect color for you. Everyone has different taste. Sometimes, my hubby really dislikes some of the things I make that I LOVE, like the scarf neck Jalie.

    It IS like Project Runway. Do you every watch an episode where you totally disagree with the judges? Last week was like that. I thought the middle should ALL have been the top, and the top were middle or even bottom.
    Fashion is a personal thing, as much as it is also a public thing. Trying to find the right balance between the 2 can be hard.

    I, too, like to try new styles and things, and it does get to a point where you are trying so many new things that you get a lot of failures. And if not full failures, things that might get worn once. My recent attempt at a few cowl neck styles were like this. I like them ok, and I made more than one in an attempt to like them more, but they just aren't something I'm going to wear often (or at all, lol).

    Although I do like to experiment, I also go on little streaks when I just want to sew what I am pretty sure is going to look good and be my style, which may be a bit boring, but can produce satisfying results. I don't mean super easy Tees or anything, I mean button blouses and vests, things that still provide a bit of challenge to make. I think I'd get bored if I just made a ton of super easy things (though an occasional tee is still nice).

    Oh, and that dress is SUPER lovely on you,it is very feminine and very figure flattering on you. That one is 2 thumbs up!!


I love your comments and enjoy the conversation that results.