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You may or may not know by now that I love birds. They're even on my wallpaper.
Heck, I even have a bird clock from the Audubon Society.
(Support the Audubon for All Union. Join a union yourself, while you're at it!)
So when I saw this lovely bird fabric from Joann Fabrics, I knew I had to get some.
The picture featured on Joann's website is actually strikingly different from what the fabric actually looks like. The fabric on the site looks gray, whereas the actual fabric in person is a lovely bright pink. I was obviously immediately drawn to the swallows on this fabric, and initially was going to use this fabric for Saira's nightgowns. But after I looked through all my old fabrics, I realized it would be a lot easier to use up those fabrics on a project like nightgowns for a 2 year old than it would be to make something for myself. I have been excited to make myself some new shirts for the summer, especially after going through every item in my closet and deciding what to keep and what to give away. It's amazing to realize how many items you still own from college or from 10+ years ago. (They were good quality!)
I had been looking for a pattern for a longer shirt, as someone who has now had two children and wants something that accentuates what I want to accentuate while hiding what I want to hide. After lots of searching, I came across a free pattern from Lowland Kids called the Women's Baggy V Neck Tee.
I loved that it was free, it was baggy, and it was cute. I printed it out and cut out the pieces for a size medium, my usual size.
The shirt itself sewed up really easily. Typical construction, loose and easy. The fabric is a little stiffer than is probably meant for this type of shirt, but I figured it would still work out in the end. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The size medium was huge on me. It looked like a potato sack. I know I have had this issue before with larger sizes of t-shirts, so I don't blame the pattern creator for this. This was more a "user-error" situation. I did not look at the measurements before hand (strike one) to see whether medium would actually be my size. I didn't check what types of fabric would work best with this type of shirt (strike two). And I know due to my use of chalk, I still sometimes have issues with my cut pieces being larger than I mean them to (strike three!)
I did not even want to take a picture of myself wearing this large pink sheet I had just created. I always feel like the wind has fallen from my sails when I make a mistake like this. Especially when I really like the fabric. Crestfallen, I think, is the word. I am really starting to feel like most of my posts involve a mistake, an adaptation, or something stupid that I do that creates more work. This really is a work in progress skill for me.
I happened to have a conversation with a student that I work with about trying even in the face of failure. I told him that I've been learning to sew, and that I don't like not knowing how to do something right away. I was always the "smart kid" at school, so I always had an expectation of myself as someone who should know how to do things immediately. I have realized this about myself, after many heartaches and frustratedly stomping away from things. Now that I know this, I am able to stay calm and keep going, even in the face of failure. I told my student how freeing this has been for me, and how it's taken me such a long time to figure this out. I hoped that this would help him too. I guess I was giving both of us a pep talk.
The next day, I went back to my baggy t-shirt and pulled out my Dolman sleeve t-shirt pattern.
I measured the sizes based on that pattern, and cut off a large chunk from the armpit and sides. I tried it on again. It was still somewhat baggy, which is what I wanted, but it fit so much better and looked more like the type of shirt I was looking for. I ended up wearing it to school the next day. I got compliments from six different people.
It felt good to know I had stuck it out and that I could turn things around, even when I made a mistake. I talked to my student again about making mistakes. He still has a hard time when he doesn't know something right away, just like me. But I am hoping to keep giving him that message, that he can accomplish the goals he is setting himself to, if he keeps trying and is willing to work through the failure to get to the success on the other side.