So what happened to the white dress you mentioned?

Remember this white dress? Probably not, as it was back in March, but I thought I’d post about this little piece of unfinished business, just to wrap up a loose end.

There are many conflicted views on posting works in progress, unfinished projects, or total failure projects. On one hand, it’s nice to know we’re all human and nobody turns out ONLY perfect things. Certainly not me – hello Beach Hat!

On the other, talking about potential projects can sometimes doom them to failure! Or at least, it’s a good excuse as to why things fail. Some people never talk about the things they’re going to make, just in case they bomb.

So anyways, here’s the original inspiration photo:

And here’s how the dress turned out:

This is a lesson that not everything turns out like it should. This dress should have been totally cute, just like the model in the professional photograph! Sadly, my work-in-progress reminds me of a nurse uniform, and not in a sexy way.

What my half-finished dress really reminds me of is the white dresses they used to wear at Safeway. I actually wore the white old-school dress when I worked at Safeway, because I thought it was cooler than black pants and a polo shirt. You know, the thick polyester 70’s style dresses with red piping along the seamline? I even got a set of the red flared polyester pants and the tunic-style version of the dress. (Which totally made me cooler than the other clerks in their polo shirts, right?) So unfortunate there are no photos of that time in my life.

Anyways… I was originally too embarrassed to even post a picture of this sad half-dress, but figured you would be curious.

What’s your theory on writing about works-in-progress? Do you post about planned projects and half-finished projects, or not? And if not, is it because you think it’s not that interesting, or because you’re afraid of ‘cursing’ the finished project? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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21 Responses to So what happened to the white dress you mentioned?

  1. Tanit-Isis August 20, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    I LOVE seeing works in progress. I not only like to see the construction details, but also the drama of sewing—the struggles, the triumphs, and also the failures. :) That’s what makes blogging interesting, in my opinion. I have relatively little interest in blogs that show only pristine, complete garments (although I do read a few of those when the finished garments are particularly spectacular or the writing’s particularly awesome).

    YMMV :)

  2. A Sewn Wardrobe August 20, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    Ha – “nurse uniform” was my thought when I saw the picture. Relieved I didn’t scroll down to see “I love this work in progress and can’t wait to finish it!” haha.

  3. Beth August 20, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    I like to show works in progress – and if I have a “fail” I will post -seems only fair, we are all in this together.
    Yes – nurse uniform, or bakery lady? but you certainly have a lot of winners. I am coveting the Vogue 9668 in red, just might have to steal that idea.

  4. CGCouture August 20, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Hmmm….I had a couple of thoughts on how to save it, but you have probably already thrown it away. It kind of does look like a nurse uniform in it’s current state though. :-?

  5. Darci August 20, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    Is there a way to style it that might be‚Ķcuter? I really don’t mind a uniform, and I think you could totally rock it a la The Uniform Project. Maybe look at that site for inspiration if you haven’t already tossed this little number.

    I’m loathe to post my wadders, but I do it anyway. There’s always something to learn from other’s mistakes, I think. Like Tanit-Isis said, we’re all in this together. :)

  6. Crystal August 20, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I could see why sewists wouldn’t want to post failures, but it really helps remind we beginner sewists of what realistic expectations should be. I have this starry-eyed view of sewing and how in one year I am going to be able to fill up my entire closet of things made by me (not realistic at all!).

  7. G August 20, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    I love to read about work-in-progress’s or see failures or UFOs, BUT I would never post about these myself. I can’t tell you why, though. I think I’m just too ashamed of these UFO’s sitting around merely waiting for buttons, or too disgusted about my failures (really, most of the time, I can’t even bare the look of them).As far you white dress is concerned, why don’t you try adding a ruffle or some kind of embellishment to the neckline? I’d also ditch the patch pocket and make in-seam pockets as well. And then cinch it with a bright colored belt (like red or turquoise)? No? Worst case is: you know what you’re wearing next Halloween…

  8. B @ Sweet Limes August 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    I don’t mind reading about WIP’s or in waders or future projects, but I don’t write about WIP myself because I don’t think it would be that interesting in my books. Why? I dunno, as for future projects I don’t because I never know what I want to sew or out of what until last minute. I just sew what I choose on such a whim that there is no planning stage it’s just, WHAM! I’m sewing it. As for wadders, I do post about those, why not? But I don’t try to focus on them the same way.

  9. Molly August 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I like seeing failures, and people always leave positive responses. I post about WIPs when I am sewing slowly because I’m busy, or it’s a really long, involved project like my cape. Which is still unfinished….

  10. poplin August 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi, hellooo… been following your blog. Thank you for all the hard work that you do reviewing your sewing projects. I’ve enjoyed learning from all your sewing projects, even the two (this white dress and the sun hat from what I can remember) that didn’t quite make it.

    I’m not familiar with pique fabric. Just by looking at the picture, it looks to me that this fabric might be a little too crisp or stiff for the wanted effect. Adding to the crispness, this shade of white resembles much those uniforms. All in all, the combination is bright and crisp, rather than casual, slouchy, and soft.

    If there will ever be second chance for this pattern in your future, try linen with a soft hand in a beachy white… the kind of white you won’t need shades to look at. :)

  11. Gail August 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    I’d punch some oversized silver eyelets through the waistline and thread a tie cord to cinch in the waist. But I’m not sure if the zip would sit right.

  12. Joyce August 21, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    I think you should show everything you make good and bad. This will show the rest off us
    that it is OK to have a failure now and again . If we know we are not the only ones who make a mess of projects. that is how we learn by our mistakes

  13. learningnewtricks August 21, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    I thought the same thing — nurse outfit! I looked at your version then scrolled back to see what was needed to change it up a bit. I agree with cinching the waist. You might also use cap sleeves, and change those huge pockets. I personally think the pockets are one of the major things to change. I’ve seen lots of refashions using Anthropolgie garments as inspiration. Maybe adding ruffling ideas, or flower choices:;;

    In any case, I wouldn’t get rid of it so quickly. Love your hat!

  14. Tara August 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Something similar happened to me with a tank top I was working on. I don’t like posting unfinished projects because it feels like there’s more of them than good finished projects. But sometimes I need to post them to see my sewing progress.

  15. Celkalee August 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Hello, I’m a nurse, the dress has potential but maybe not as a uniform:) A little too short, bending over would be tricky. A little top-stitching or maybe some piping (color choice…yellow) with a cute little scarf belt tied like a sash…there is hope. White fabrics are almost always complicated secondary to see-through. Interlining is frequently required. However, like over-staying visitors wearing out their welcome, some things just need to go away. I think it is much more interesting to see all information related to the project. The good and the not so good, the keepers and the wadders. So my vote is lets see the construction process… check our Gertie’s blog too…as well as the finished project. Keep up the great blog, it is a real inspiration.

  16. Freya August 23, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    As another nurse, It does remind me of one those ‘naughty nurses’ outfits that you can get and not the standard issue uniform I have been used to! I’m glad you wrote about it though. My current UFO is the Vogue 1174 which you made a lovely version of! I started writing about it, made the muslin and then saw how badly it fit me that I promptly hid it and tried to forget about it’s existence! Despite that disaster, I think writing helps with my motivation and finishing things. I will finish that dress, someday!

  17. amber August 23, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    I’m always so bummed when the vision in my head doesn’t match what the garment actually becomes in real life. :/ Since I rarely have time to even write about the good stuff that I finish, I leave the UFOs and bombs to languish in my sewing room by themselves. Heh.

  18. Sofia August 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Ha! Oh man, I know what you mean. I thought nurse outfit. You could sew red crosses over the boobs and turn it into a sexy costume?

    OR, finish it, and try seeing what works with it? Maybe it’s a brown leather belt, navy long blazer and brown wedge sandals that could cuten it up?

  19. Sara August 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    I totally own up to my sewing mistakes! The worst offender was what my husband so lovingly dubbed “the chastity shirt.” It’s every bit as bad as you can imagine. It was supposed to be a boatneck T. Except that the boatneck hung BENEATH my breasts. [shudder] And it was also about 6 sizes too big in spite of measuring myself obsessively. I took pictures that are somewhere floating around on the intertubes…

  20. Tasia August 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Ah, I love that there are so many comments to this one.. guess it’s nice to know we all make dud projects! It makes us feel better about our own failures, kind of like seeing celebrities without makeup. We’re all in this together, like @Beth: said!
    I’m so done with this one, thanks for all your wonderful suggestions on how to make it not ugly though. It’s got too many problems. If it was just ONE, then I’d fix it.. but it’s sheer, and white, and doesn’t fit well, and doesn’t look like my original vision, which may have been flawed to begin with anyways!
    @Sara: Whoa! I love the description of your failed shirt, and isn’t it awesome when you get the man’s opinion on things? My sister made a pretty little white eyelet skirt recently, and yet my dad commented that it looked like a First Communion skirt. As in, for eight year old girls. Gotta love the men’s perspective!
    @Sofia: Aha, red crosses over the boobs. So tacky, I love it! Just need the red fishnets and white patent pumps. You know, I’d much rather make a cuter white dress for the outfit you described instead of fixing up this dud!
    @amber: Makes sense, whatever works for you! I know, I gave up on this dress months ago and only brought it up since I’d already mentioned it online. Otherwise, it would likely be hidden away in a drawer and never spoke of again :)
    @Freya: That 1174 is a HARD dress! Even the fit’s not 100% perfect on mine and I made a muslin first! Also, strapless in general is hard to fit and flatter every body shape. Good luck when you do go back to it!
    @Celkalee: Agreed, I should have interlined it. It’s way too sheer! I love how Gertie explains the construction process as well, it’s so inspirational. It makes you think, I can do that too!
    @poplin: You’re probably right, the fabric is too stiff for the casual beachy look I wanted. Pique is a textured cotton, think of a men’s cotton golf shirt? That’s what a knit version of pique feels like, this is a woven version but the texture is the same.
    @Crystal: That’s an excellent point! I could imagine it would be intimidating, reading sewing blogs full of perfect projects, that all seem to be sewn up practically overnight. There’s definitely a failure rate when you sew, not everything will turn out as beautiful as the dress in your mind (sadly!)
    @Beth: Copy away! The Vogue 9668 in red is one of my favourite projects I’ve made this year. Probably because it’s in a solid colour, and it fits well, but the colour still shouts “look at me!!”

  21. Heather August 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    I think it is good to post upcoming projects – for me anyway it helps to kick my butt into gear to actually do them. I also have no problem posting fails, or even pointing out the failures on successes (I have come to the decision that everything I make is destined to fail in some respect, but think that maybe that just gives it a little more “character”)

    As for your white dress, I have to agree the first thing I thought was nurse. My second thought was add some colour details – then I read on about your safeway uniform and had a laugh that it would probably make it even more horrific for you.

    So all I can suggest is to put some funky applique on the pockets, or change the zip for a bright coloured one.

    I am of the opinion that anything can be salvaged given enough thought – but as someone who has about 10 half finished and failed projects to salvage I really should go and practice some of my preaching.

    good luck.