When You Stop Loving Your Handmade Items

What do you do when you stop loving your handmade items? Maybe you have some finished sewing projects you never loved to begin with? Can you toss them out and move on, the same way we do with old clothing, or do you feel emotionally attached to the things you’ve made?

Here’s the thing about sewing – it’s not like shopping. And that’s both good and bad! The good part about shopping is you can try things on, and decide whether to buy or not. The bad part is that you’re limited to the items in store and in-stock. With sewing you choose the fabric, and the pattern, which gives us a ton of freedom! All that freedom gives us the ability to make bad choices, and sometimes we make questionable decisions.

Like this one – somehow the pattern, style and fit didn’t mesh well. I love the look of the pattern, but the actual sewn garment I don’t love! It’s cute but it’s so not me. Don’t forget to consider how your sewing project will work into your everyday wardrobe! A lot of commenters suggested wearing this with jeans and a tee, or with slim skirts. Things I rarely wear!
So what do I do with it? Like regretful shopping purchases, it hangs in my closet unworn. I’ve started sorting my wardrobe into Me-Made and purchased items, so it will be easier to get dressed in June – and I just know I won’t wear this one even then! Even when it’s cold out and I have no other Me-Made jackets. I really want to love it, but I don’t. It’s not you, bolero, it’s me…
This next one I’ve worn, two or three times, but don’t love. I do love the construction of it! I love the matched plaid, I love the pad-stitched collar, I love the softness and quality.

But it lands at my widest part, and wearing it with jeans exposes the not-so-great area between waistband and thighs, the part I prefer to cover with long coats or full skirts! I know I’m being critical but all I see is thighs in this picture. An extra six or eight inches would have made a world of difference!
The cape is a lot harder to say goodbye to, because it’s so pretty in construction and fabric. So it stays, even though I think of those thigh-photos whenever I consider wearing it. If I’d tried it on in a store, I would have vetoed it for the length, and looked for a longer cape. I’m still thinking of making a longer cape for next fall – something I can bike in!

Looking back through my photos, I see I picked the ones with the least amount of thigh to post on here.. or cropped them like this! It works for blogging, but in real life we’re visible from all angles.And you’re not supposed to sell anything made from a commercial pattern. So we can’t recover the costs from our less-than-loved sewing projects. I suppose we could give them away, but they’re made to fit us. What to do, when we fall out of love with our sewing projects?

What about you? Do you have anything sewn that you would never have purchased in-store? What do you do when it’s finished, you know deep down you’ll never wear it, but feel so bad getting rid of it? (And know that if it goes to the thrift store, no one will appreciate the hours of work that went into it?)

What’s the solution when we stop loving our handmade items? Are they doomed to hang in our closets, unloved and unworn? I’d love to hear what you think!

84 Responses to When You Stop Loving Your Handmade Items

  1. Stephanie May 30, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    I have a dress that ended up with major wonkiness in the chest area. I even made a muslin and everything for it! :( Right now it’s just hanging in my UFO pile. I am secretly hoping my brain will one day come up with some way to selvage at least part of it because I really love the fabric but no such luck yet…

  2. Stacy May 30, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    There are two sides to every story. I have donated my handmade wares, the ones that never fit quite right and the ones that no longer fit my ever changing style. I have done this without guilt for two reasons…One – it’s better to let it go, and hope it find a new life, rather than have it take up needed space in my closet. Two – as someone who has been shopping exclusively in thrift stores for the last 3 years (unmentionables excluded from this equation) I love finding something handmade that fits me! I do appreciate all the hard work someone puts into these garments.

    As for what you might consider with these two pieces – I would suggest removing the button and flap from the bolero and wearing it open and. I have a bolero that buttons, a bit differently, but I never wear it buttoned. Leaving it open looks a little less formal, and I get more use out of it this way.

    The cape is really cute! If you can’t bring yourself to love it, then I might suggest a giveaway here on the blog. Then you will know that it has gone to a loving home that will appreciate all the work that went into it.

    Hope this helps. We all make things that we don’t love, whether it be because of the fabric we chose or the patter – it is the nature of the beast.

  3. Mary May 30, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Sometimes I refashion…sometimes I donate to the local thrift store. Kind of cool to see someone else wearing your creation!

  4. gina May 30, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    I understand this, good post. I recently went through my closet and realized I had a “perception” of the way I viewed my clothing. If a piece of clothing was pricey or had a certain name brand or made by me, but didn’t look good, I would stay under an illusion that it “looked good”, trying to keep what I spent money and time on. After facing the “reality” and trying it on all the clothes in my closet , I knew in my heart what really didn’t suit me. I also got rid of everything that I would try on in the morning and decided against wearing it that day. Mostly because if a garment doesn’t look good today, it won’t look good tomorrow. I finally let go of my own fantasy that certain clothing could work for me. So I let it go and freed up my closet for what I love. Donate to a friend or have a really great give away to your lovely followers. I am so glad you did this post!

  5. Amy May 30, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    I completely agree with Stacy’s comments and suggestions. I too donate to thrift stores. My style has changed and some times things were just experiments that really needed to be found and loved by others. And I do cherish handmade items I find along the way. It is exciting when you discover a handmade item in a secondhand shop. You can enjoy the creativity of a fellow sewer.

    Oh and the cape is divine and a giveaway is a fab idea!

  6. Salvia May 30, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Usually I try to make something new out of unwanted clothes. But sometimes this is very hard. I have some things that don´t fit me anymore, but I don´t had the time to alter them. It´s just more fun to make new things. It´s hard to give away selfmade things. Most people can´t appreciate the afford that went into something selfsewn.

  7. Rachelle May 30, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    It’s really hard to walk away from a finished garment you put time and effort into, but in my experience, the best thing to do is to either donate it, or Etsy it, and use the money to buy supplies for a project you think you might love. That way, the energy and attention you put into the unwanted garment will benefit the next item you make.

  8. woolcat May 30, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    I think you look great in that cape! I don’t see “thighs” at all in that photo, and I am very envious of you curvy pear shaped girls – as for you Tasia, your hips might be the widest part of you, but they are certainly not wide in absolute terms. I think you are being more critical of yourself than you need to be!

    Still, it is about what makes you feel comfortable I guess. I just don’t think anyone but you is going to look at you in that outfit and go “Wow, thighs!”

    And if you really can’t see yourself wearing it – I second the idea of a giveaway! :)

  9. Tia Dia May 30, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    This is a really good topic, Tasia. I’ve often made things because I liked the look on the pattern, but once it was put together and the hours were spent (not to mention the $$ for the materials to begin with!), I just didn’t like the look of it – it was not flattering to my curvy shape!. And I do have a money “conscience”: I spent the money, so I feel I should just wear it. But I hate feeling like a frump or uncomfortable in my self-stitched clothing. A few years ago, after my 3rd child was born and I was lamenting the significant changes in my shape, I thought… y’know, I see a lot of women of all sizes that look totally fabulous, so it’s not about my shape. It’s about how I dress it. So now, if something looks off after I’ve done putting it together, I do one of two things: see if I can tweak it somehow so I like it and it’s flattering, or give it to my local thrift store. Like Stacy says, it will find a new life and make someone happy. And I’ve learned valuable lessons in the process!

  10. TanitIsis May 30, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    It depends on why I don’t love it. If it’s well-made but just not my style, I’d pass it on gladly (in your case, why not have a blog giveaway? I’d gladly take that bolero off your hands ;)…). A little more problematic are things that just aren’t quite well made. I have a not-really-successful jacket I made last fall that I’m pretty sure I’ll never wear, but it’s wonky enough that I don’t really want to inflict it on anyone else, either. Still not sure what to do about that.

    Oh, and your thighs are lovely.

  11. Maureen May 30, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Just last month I sewed myself a dress for my daughter’s wedding. The pattern was gorgeous, I loved the fabric and the dress looked amazing – on my dress dummy! On me? Well, let’s just say, it wasn’t the dress I ended up wearing to the wedding. I’ll be donating it to the community theatre company I work with. It was a serious blow to my ego that because of lack of time, I had to wear a store bought dress!!

    As far as your cape is concerned, how about adding a solid band of colour to the bottom of the cape to add the extra length? Edge the collar and the armholes with a bias strip of the same colour and it will look as if it was designed that way.

  12. Kathryn May 30, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Both items are beautiful, but if you don’t like them you won’t wear them. Right now I too have a “wedding” dress I spent weeks on and then was hospitalized and couldn’t attend the wedding. But I truly doubt I’d have worn it. I do love the fabric and am thinking about cutting the dress up and re-using the fabric, even if it’s for scarves to give away. I second Maureen’s suggestion about lengthening the cape, if you can find suitable material.

  13. Kathleen May 30, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Can you sell the handmade items? Maybe etsy or ebay? They are such gorgeous items and they look great on you!

  14. Rachel May 30, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    What a brilliant idea Maureen – adding a bit of contrasting fabric would look chic and avoid the issue of having to decide whether to donate or toss. I always struggle if I make something that ends up being unlike what I had imagined. I feel like I shouldn’t give them away to a thrift store as they are homemade (whether that is valid or not is another story), but I don’t like to look at them as they remind me of how I’ve stuffed up. If I’ve learnt a new technique sewing it then it isn’t so bad, as then it wasn’t a completely lost cause! Sometimes I have to remind myself that the actual sewing can be as fun to me as wearing something I’ve made. I hope you come up with a plan that suits you!

  15. Angela May 30, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    It’s so hard to look beyond our own flaws. But truly, Tasia, I hope you see here from comments made by your loyal readers, they are apparent only to yourself. Everyone struggles with their shape. I wish we could all look past the “ideal” and value our own beauty, however it curves. I’ll remind myself of this next time I go swimsuit shopping. :/

    You look FAB in the cape! Really, adorable. I am still coveting it and WILL make my own this fall. And I love the suggestion to lengthen the bolero. It might do the trick.

  16. Marie-Christine May 30, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    It’s sweet you say you can’t sell something made from a commercial pattern, but that applies to manufacturers, not home sewers who’ve slaved for days/weeks over something. Are you really thinking of quitting your day job so you can sell these capes? Right. And did you think all those Etsy people for instance are designing everything from scratch? Besides, fashion-incubator.com rightly points out that using a commercial pattern is a really good way to sink your business before you start it.

    Were you thinking it’s illegal to sell your used clothes? Somebody designed them, and the brand usually holds the copyrights. Don’t you see thrift shops all around you? Just go ahead and sell the one-off stuff that you don’t wear. It’ll be hard enough to find someone who both likes it and fits into it.

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with your thighs, you should get over them already and perhaps just practice wearing something which isn’t your usual. I’m sure you can find plenty of blogs with very glamorous women with more thigh than you if you need encouragement. Or something to help with fat phobia and distorted body image.

    It’s painful to admit to yourself that you’ve spent money and time on a sewing mistake. But it’s more painful to be reminded of it every time you look in your closet. I think your bolero is very cute, and cute on you too, but it wouldn’t be me either, so I understand there’s no reason it should stay there, staring you in the face reproachfully. It’s better to rip the band-aid off and get it over with. But don’t forget the ‘magic closet’ effect, where if you keep looking at something, and trying it on, and reminding yourself of how much you like the plaid and what a good job you did on the collar, it kind of grows on you :-)..

  17. Nina May 30, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I never really liked a lot of my first sewing projects, just because I didn’t use patterns and I didn’t know that much about fitting things yet. I have a dress that’s very hippie-ish and doesn’t look good with a bra on underneath so I wear it over my swimsuit when I go swimming, so I found a way to “work” with that one.
    But even the ones I don’t ever wear, I can’t give away, 1. because they’re just not good quality items (messy hems and seams etc.) and 2. because I’m emotionally attached. I like to keep them to look at, to see how much I’ve learned on my own in the past 2 years since I started sewing.

  18. Pam May 30, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Yes Tasia,

    I’m in the same boat – right now I have a pair of pants (really not attractive – but comfy and a bit high water:)). And, a second dress from a TNT pattern for some reason is too Hawaiian and too tight – just not a good fit. Yet, there they sit.

  19. Katharina May 30, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Its so sad, when sewing projects just dont turn out as expected. When this happens to me i usually put them aside first, as i am too frustrated to work on it any further. But usually i come back to them later as the unworn garment makes me sad of my work. Then i consider what`s wrong with it, and if/how i can solve it. What about lenghtening the cape in a leather that matched the color of your buttons or a navy blue velvet?

    If i decide i cannot alter an unloved garment i`ll give it to my sister. Luckily she doesnt sew but appreciates handmade clothing. And we are more or less the same size.

    I dont know about canadadion law, but here it is ok to sell a garment thats made from a comercial pattern, if you didnt make it with the idea to sell it in mind. So a second hand sale is fine (thats what they do in the thrift store).

  20. Sunni May 30, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Gosh! I know exactly how you feel. There are and have been a few of these items that just really don’t work for me that I’ve made and put in tons of time and effort on. And I just can’t bear to get rid of them. At least not just yet. But they never get worn. So I don’t know what’s worse, them not getting used or the fact that I just don’t like the garment on me. It’s hard, I’ll admit to give something to my local thrift store when I’ve put so much into the making of something that was made to fit me perfectly. Then again, there are so many treasures that I find at thrift stores that sometimes I think that maybe someone who really can wear and cherish the item will find it and use it and that makes me feel better about giving it up. I don’t know. Especially that plaid number – I just couldn’t part with it.

    Sometimes though, I get into these spells of things that I’ve made and bought over the years that at first I never wore, but all of a sudden now they are just the thing for me. They’ll go years sitting in the closet and then on a whim, I throw it on with something and it becomes my new favorite item. It might be that my shape changed just enough for it to work on me, or that my hair is different or what have you. So maybe, that’s how it might be with these two items. Keep them for a couple of years and see if maybe then you pull them out and wear them all the time. You never know!


  21. Jennifer May 30, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    i Just had a giveaway on my blog because I made a little girls blouse and before I put the buttons on I decided I just didn’t love it and wouldn’t put my girls in it. It was made well but I just was never crazy about the fabric. Anyway, for a long time I have been wanting to start a hand-made swap on flickr. I have so many bags, etc. that I didn’t love after making it but I know someone else would. I can’t sell it unless I have permission so how will I get rid of it but recoup some of my $$?? So how about swapping? But I’m not sure how it would work and don’t want to be in charge of it! Anyone else like this idea and want to start a swap??

    I do think having a giveaway is great too. Everyone loves your work so you’ll have no problem with entries!

  22. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Thanks for all the feedback so far! Lots of great comments and ideas. It’s encouraging to hear that this happens to everyone!

    I just wanted to add, I don’t think I’m fat, and I’m not fishing for compliments! I just wanted to point out *why* I don’t like the look of the garment when it’s worn. Though I love it on the hanger and on the dress form! So don’t worry, I like the way I look, in fact I want to dress to flatter my body in the best possible way. I just don’t like how the cape wears, now that I have it finished and have tried mixing it into my wardrobe. I hope that makes sense!

  23. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    @Stephanie: I know the feeling! How about making it into a skirt instead, if there’s enough of the dress to work with? Or if you love the fabric but it’s not salvageable into a garment, you could always cut apart the dress and use the fabric for inside facings, contrast pieces, or other ways to add little touches into your projects. Good luck!

  24. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    @Stacy: I like what you’ve said here “it‚Äôs better to let it go, and hope it find a new life, rather than have it take up needed space in my closet:” I agree! Otherwise it’s a lot harder to get dressed in the morning if there are things in there you don’t like, don’t wear, or don’t fit your lifestyle.

  25. Sahina May 30, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Well .. since everyone loves Swap Meets for exchanging patterns and fabrics, what if there were Sewn Clothes Meets? Like, everyone bring all there sewn handmade items that either didn’t fit well, or was too big or half finish and forgotten and someone else could pick it up and try it on like a match made in heaven or finish that half forgotten item with all the lovely fabric patterns cut out and make it theirs?


    Happy Memorial Day!

  26. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    @Mary: Has that ever happened to you – you’ve seen someone else wearing your donated items? It’s such a big city here, that would be really surprising if it happened to me! :)

  27. Corinne May 30, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I believe from all prior comments that you are not the only one with this problem. When you put so much work and money into a project and it falls short it is disappointing and frustrating. That said, it’s not going to work and you already know that. Time to let them go. I suspect that even refashioning either piece will not work either. So, now the options to consider. 1. Give it to someone you know who will appreciate it. 2. Have a blog give-away, this I know will garner so much interest. 3. Sell it. It is my understanding that you can indeed sell something made from a commercial pattern as a single item. This is not a production piece. 4. Consignment. We have some high-end consignment shops here and I know some people do fairly well with that. I am just not so keen on thrift shops etc. I really well past that phase of my life and I am afraid of bringing home bugs. I know someone who had this happen, it is really not so funny. Now, of course, bugs hitch hike in high scale RTW too, I know. But I would hate to see something so nice and made so well come down with the cooties. Geez,,,now I feel itchy!

  28. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    @gina: Really good points – it’s like we talk ourselves into keeping certain things in our closets, to justify the cost or the time we spent on them. Someone made a really good point once – Keeping clothes you don’t wear, is like keeping food in your fridge that you don’t eat. It’s not quite the same thing, but it does remind you not to collect or keep anything that isn’t going to get used!

  29. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    @Amy: I love finding handmade things in thrift shops, too! I always try to picture the girl who made it first and what she was thinking. Thanks for the giveaway suggestion!

  30. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    @Salvia: I know – it’s so sad when people don’t appreciate how much work goes into making clothes! Especially when they’ll sell it for $5 or something super low, because there’s no brand name or label attached.

  31. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    @Rachelle: Good point! It’s much better to make a decision and move on, rather than stressing about whether I’ll wear it or not, or dream up ways to fix it.

  32. Jessica May 30, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    A friend of mine works at a shelter for victims/survivors of human trafficking and abuse, and she’s always looking for clothing donations for the girls and women who come into the shelter because they have so little! Recently I’ve been thinking of donating my well-constructed but not-often-worn handmades there. Perhaps you have a similar such organization in your area?

    When all else fails, I’m pretty sure if you offered up those items on your blog as a giveaway, you’d get a huge response!

  33. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    @woolcat: Thank you! Don’t worry, I don’t hate my body or anything. It’s my own hangups, and also feeling comfortable. I always feel like I’m ‘adjusting’ my jeans and the part around the thighs gets wrinkled and bunchy by the end of the day. You know? It’s not quite the crisp, elegant look I aimed for with the cape. I was hoping for a certain look and silhouette with the cape, and it didn’t come out like I thought it would!

  34. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    @Tia Dia: Great point – I love how you’ve worded it here – “I see a lot of women of all sizes that look totally fabulous, so it‚Äôs not about my shape. It‚Äôs about how I dress it.” Absolutely! It is about how you dress yourself, not about YOU. Our bodies are awesome, and the fact that we sew means we can dress them and fit them just the way we want!

  35. Tilly May 30, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Tasia, that cape is absolutely stunning and I think it makes your thighs and hips look really slim, because the cape itself is so wide. If I were you, I’d wear it all the time!

    I have a couple of makes that I don’t wear. The first is a Sencha blouse that I made in a quilting cotton – a beginners’ mistake. I can’t bear to cut it up or throw it away as it was one of the earliest things I made, so it’s just sitting there. Maybe I should upcycle it into a make up bag. The second is a 1950s blouse that rides up so high I can only wear it with a pair of really high waisted jeans, which I don’t wear anymore because they’re uncomfortable. But I’m planning to give it another go during Me-Made-June.

  36. erin May 30, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    I know how you feel. I spent a TON of time on a crocheted full length cape with a hood. It was really cute… in theory. It is one of the few large scale crochet projects that I have actually finished, and it just sat there. It probably sat there for 3 or 4 years and I never wore it once! It just didn’t go with anything. It was a neutral color, but it didn’t suit my wardrobe or the weather around here (when it’s cold it’s always windy and not great for holey crochet lol) I finally just sent it to the thrift store. I feel better now, actually. I no longer have it taking up space (it was huge) or staring me in the face making me feel bad that I don’t wear it.
    If you can’t find a way to alter the items to suit you, then just let them go. You will probably have a big sigh of relief when you look at your closet and see things you love and wear rather than “mistakes” and things that you don’t love :)

  37. nommh May 30, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I can see where you were coming from when you decided to pair the bolero with the dress, but could not you wear the dress on its own? I think the bolero looks a little severe while the pattern of the dress fabric wants to twirl and have fun.

    And the hips? You realise that your hips might be the envy of at least half your readers? Those who have hips, but less slender ones and those like woolcat and me who may be fairly slim, but have narrow hips? A longer Cape might be more practical for cycling, but do not make it to hide away in it.

    I myself have no problem of throwing out things I made myself. I have had so many different sizes. And I have done a fair share of “seemed a good idea at the time” sewing for special occasions. In my early sewing years I was so sloppy, that was a long time before the internet raised the standard to the dizzying heights of today.

    It took me a while getting there, but one day I decided to treat my self-made items with the same (haphazard) severity as shop bought clothes. Otherwise after almost 30 years of sewing, I could not breathe by now. Think of all the space you have for new creations after a cull!

  38. Alice May 30, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I just started sewing a year ago, and i have a bunch of beginner’s mistakes in my closet that i haven’t been able to get rid of – or cut up and re-use the fabric for something else. one in particular stuck with me… i adored the fabric, and thought i’d love the pattern too, but when i cut it up and stitched it together… ugh.

    that really converted me to making muslins, not just for fit (i’m just starting to get a handle on making alterations to patterns), but to make sure i genuinely liked the style on me. and i kinda like slowing projects down. fewer projects = more expensive fabric :)

    I’d add my voice to the chorus of “thighs? what thighs?” but i know it’s all about how comfortable we feel. i’ve got a couple places i’m self-conscious about too, even if i know that to the outside world, they look just fine.

  39. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    @TanitIsis: Thank you! I didn’t meant to be fishing for compliments, I just meant that I don’t really like the look and feel of the cape, on me. Great idea about the giveaway, I thought about it but wasn’t sure if anyone would want my handmade items, you know? Because it’s so personal, choosing fabric and pattern and putting the whole thing together. Also because I didn’t want to be like ‘I don’t like it, but YOU can have it!’ If it helps, I see lots of handmade items at the thrift store, some with very wonky thread choices and non-matching zippers. Someone will love it!

  40. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    @Maureen: I totally know the feeling! It’s beautifully made, it looks just like the pattern, and looks great on the hanger – just not on a body. Ah well! Live and learn. It’s a constant learning process, don’t you think? I like the idea of lengthening the cape but with all of the new projects I want to make, that seems like a lot of work. (Undoing is no fun!)

  41. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    @Kathryn: Yup, I know what that’s like! Cutting up the dress and saving the material for a new project is a great idea, saves at least part of the project from the trash bin!

  42. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    @Kathleen: Thank you! That is an idea, but I think I’d rather give them away than sell them. I’m not sure of the exact rules regarding selling garments made from sewing patterns. I know that I’d hate for someone to buy my patterns and start selling Pendrell blouses!

  43. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    @Rachel: Very good point – sometimes it IS the sewing part that’s the most fun, and we always learn something from every project! I totally agree that having your unloved projects hanging in your closet just reminds you of them. It’s like having clothes that don’t fit, well these don’t *fit* in a different way. From the cape I got to talk about plaids, padstitching, sewing buttons and all kinds of things! So it’s never a complete loss.

  44. Yzobela May 30, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Hi Tasia, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I just met your mom at the fabric store a couple of weeks ago! She is a great marketer for you! I just wanted to add that I have the same issues – especially with knitted items, which can be really painful when I’ve spent months sometimes working on something that ends up not being flattering. I have learned to be more thoughtful about what kinds of items I would buy RTW, and trying to meet those criteria with my handmade items. Eg., even though it’s a lot faster to make a sweater of thicker worsted weight wool, the only kind of sweaters or cardigans that I buy are finer, drapier wool – now I take the extra time to work with finer wool and end up with a product that I love.
    Re: your unloved items here – my first thought is that these would both look lovely with a Mad Men-style wiggle dress, a la Joan. I don’t know if you like these kind of dresses, but I think that, if styled properly, they can be very flattering on pear shaped figure.
    Oh, and I am always thrilled to find a handmade item at the thrift store!

  45. Lisa May 30, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    I think that the “no selling from copyrighted items”law is more of a “don’t make it to sell it” law. If you made it for yourself and it isn’t right for you, in my opinion, is a ‘re’sale – and like selling a vintage item. If you are selling JUST ONE that doesn’t really count. I and would try contacting a pattern company and see what they say but the law was made to protect against mass production.

  46. Sewingdina May 30, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Sorry to hear you don’t love your cape. I guess quirky items are a bit of a gamble and another reason to muslin. If the style doesn’t look so great on the muslin it can be abandoned. I find it’s the simpler garments that I wear most often – jersey tops / dresses, skirts and anything in denim. I have things that I love more than others. I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about this. How many RTW items have we all brought that we have never worn and ended up throwing out? We shouldn’t be surprised if we have a few self-stitched items that we don’t always wear. If you like or love wearing the majority of your work then this is brilliant. (I suppose if you don’t like wearing any of your things – and I have read bloggers in this category – you may need a re-think!).

  47. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    @Angela: Thank you so much for the kind thoughts! I didn’t mean for this to be a body-shape post. More just to point out how things can turn out different once they’re on a body, and trying things on a dress form is not the same as trying them on your body! I don’t hate the way I look, honestly. I just wrote exactly what I was thinking, I’m sure it would sound less critical out loud! Thanks for the awesome compliments on the cape, too!

  48. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    @Marie-Christine: Thanks for the comment! Don’t worry, I don’t really hate my thighs, not in a destructive way! Honestly, I like the way I look. I don’t think I’m huge, I just was hoping for a different look when I made the cape, and it fell short of expectations. Not the cape’s fault, not my body’s fault. Just a good reminder to make a muslin, as you never know what projects need a little tweaking to be exactly right!
    Thanks for the comments on copyright, it seems to be a grey area, and something I want to avoid! Besides, I don’t ever want to get into the clothing business, the clothing-selling business I mean, what with returns, and damages, and proper labelling and safety laws. It’s a complex world! I’d rather give it away to someone who loves it, and is willing to accept the things that come with a handmade garment – no labels, no washing instructions, one size only, etc. Rip off the band-aid, that’s exactly right! No sense having things taking up closet space and mental head-space if they’re not going to get worn.

  49. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    @Nina: That’s a great point – keeping your first sewing projects is a great way to see how far you’ve come! Luckily, I have my blog for that. Everything is here, the good, bad, and ugly! :)

  50. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    @Pam: Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone! It’s almost harder when they’re close but not quite. When projects go downright bad, it’s easier to toss them!

  51. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    @Katharina: My sister is about the same size but with a slightly different style – more sophisticated, less crazy colours and prints. My other sister is much taller, lucky girl! But it’s great to have family that can wear some of the things we’ve made that are more suited to them, than us. :)

  52. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    @Sunni: This is true – sometimes our tastes change, or our lifestyles change, and things we rarely wore before are suddenly very useful! Great point. Sometimes it’s another item that we need to complete the outfit, and then both items become favourites! Maybe not favourites, but at least something we’ll wear as opposed to something that never gets worn. Thanks for the feedback!

  53. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    @Jennifer: A swap would be a great idea!~ I’ve often thought about a fabric swap, I have the same thing with fabric. I buy it, then later on I know I’ll never use it. Or I buy something in two colours, when I only needed it in one. Although, I’m not a fan of organizing things like that either. If I hear of anything, I’ll post it here! :)

  54. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    @Sahina: Happy Memorial Day to you too! It’s not a holiday in Canada, so I forgot you all have a long weekend! That’s a great idea. Swaps and trades are fun, and don’t cost a thing! I know the Sew Weekly has organized swaps and meet-up events through their community, but never in my area. Great suggestion!

  55. Tasia May 30, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    @Corinne: Ew, I never think of bugs when shopping at thrift stores, but it’s definitely a possibility! I’ve heard you can put things in the freezer and that gets rid of any bug potential. A giveaway sounds like the best idea, especially then I know someone really wants the item and it will be appreciated, probably by someone who knows how to sew, and knows the work that goes into these kinds of projects!

  56. Sewingdina May 30, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    I totally get your comment about not really wanting to give away your items in a giveaway. I think the cape is too lovely for a giveaway, as much as we would like to receive it! I think giving away fabric and notions are more relevant to people who love to sew. Personally I don’t think you should give away the cape. You’re still a young girl and in a few years time your tastes may change and you may love it. If you really want to donate it maybe a charity auction or something, but I’m not really sure to be honest.

  57. Caro May 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    The shape of the bolero is perfect! I can see that bolero with a same-fabric or slightly different fabric on the bottom as a fitted jacket. You could take the bottom off any fitted jacket pattern and make the bolero as long as you like. I do agree that it might be too severe for the dress, which is also cute.

  58. Rebekah May 30, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Because my two sisters and I are close in age but very different in height and body shape, we like to give each other clothes and shoes that don’t fit or suit the first person. Such as I own a pair of black flats that were too large for my sister. Maybe giving your hand sewn creations that don’t suit you to your sister or mother? You know for sure they will cherish them and you will be able to see them whenever they come to visit!

  59. Cat May 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I Looooove finding handmade items at the thrift store. I’m 500 times more likely to buy something when I see it’s handmade. I try to imagine who made it, where she worked on it etc. So great.

    But, the pain of letting it go!

    Why not have a swap? All the sewing gals can swap their no-longer loved(s). And document it. I’d love to see that!


  60. Cat May 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I clearly didn’t read all the comments before posting mine!
    Jennifer is on to something.


  61. fangaroni May 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Hi Tasia great post, and excellent comments by your readers! I totally understand where you are coming from. It is hard to part with something you worked so hard on…. I have a dress I made that I will never wear because the bust area is so wonky, but I don’t want to donate it because it is not up too par! I recently found out my city has textile recycling, maybe yours does too? Apparently they sort through and see if your clothing is usable, if so, they donate, or if your clothing isn’t usable, “These commodities are then sold for reuse as clothing, linens, etc or to recycling markets that turn materials into wiping rags, fiber for car seats and insulation.” I haven’t tried it out, but I hope this will be a place to donate fabric scraps.

    I think you should hold onto the cape for a bit longer. It is really awesome, and I don’t want you to part with it and then regret it! Perhaps if you tried it with wide leg pants, you’d like the silhouette more? I know what you’re talking about re: cape length, once i bought cropped cape/waist-length (have no clue why, except that it was on clearance), and while I loved how it looked on the hanger, it was kinda ridiculous to wear in real life bc you can’t wear it when it is cold, and it’s too hot to wear when warm!

  62. Reana May 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Hey there pretty thighs!
    Personally, I love the cape on you but like you said, it might be your clever photography. And, like many others I am more than happy to take that little bolero off your hands!

    I’m keeping my first made skirt for sentimental reasons, even though it’s basically unwearable unless I’m, I don’t know, changing a tyre? But it may get the chuck eventually!
    RL x

  63. Rachel May 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Another thing to go along with the giveaway idea is you could also set up an auction for the items (or patterns if you’re never using them again) and then donate the money won to a charity of choice, or the choice of whoever wins the auction. That way you get a double dose of something you put a lot of love and effort into going to someone who’ll appreciate it, and you’re helping a good cause without getting any sort of gain from whatever money is acquired. Just an idea.

    I think we’re a lot more critical of our bodies than others are. It baffles my husband sometimes when I go on about how something’s unflattering and he just can’t see it and thinks I’m delusional, and it’s not just him being a guy because he does have good taste (most of the time) with what he likes to see on me.

    I do think the cape is adorable on you. Have you tried it with a pencil skirt? I don’t know if a full skirt would look right just because it might be too much fullness to have a cape paired with it. Or what about Katherine Hepburn style pants? The straight, unfitted leg would balance out your hips, but also keep the lines sleek on the bottom so it doesn’t look awkward with the cape. I think that style of pants look amazing on pear shapes just because it does such a beautiful job of balancing out the hips. Maybe try a new style and see if it does fit your personality and wardrobe before you give it away?

    Sometimes making something new to go with an unloved object introduces something new into your wardrobe which creates a pleasant surprise even when you thought it wasn’t your style or ‘you.’

  64. Gail May 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    I agree that sewing gives us the freedom to experiment with new styles and move out of our comfort zone, but this can lead to mistakes. My most obvious mistakes were like you, making a cropped jacket to wear over a dress or pants. I looks ok with the dress, but is very dressy in a way that I’m not. Worn over jeans I look – well to put it plainly – fat and busty. My other mistake was a vintage summer flowery dress. Nice dress but so not me. What was I thinking!

  65. Jane Elise May 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I’m with those who have encouraged you to give the cape away. Although you do look great in it you need to FEEL great and sometimes us and clothes just don’t gel. But I am sure there is someone out there who will look great in it and FEEL great too.

    With regards giving away hand sewn garments…I wouldn’t give mine away because I am an amateur. You on the other hand sew superbly and you’ve shown us the details inside and there are never any bodgy short cuts. So I think someone would truly love one of your hand sewn garments. And much better for someone to wear it and love it than it to languish in your closet. It’s a sad cape right now :( lol

  66. elise May 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    I’m with Kathleen– I don’t think it’s accurate to say you can’t sell the item because it came from a commercial pattern. Certainly there’s a distinction between mass-producing clothing from a commercial pattern with the intent to sell them (definitely illegal) to making one item from it, wearing it a few times, deciding you don’t like it, and reselling it. I mean, I sell vintage clothing from time to time and some of that stuff is obviously homemade. Chances are, those clothes were made from a commercial pattern– so, am I breaking the law to resell them?

    Now, if you don’t want to sell them because of other reasons, that’s a different story. But, I think it’s best to keep those reasons separated from the “it’s illegal to sell it” excuse.

    That said, I LOVE that cape– and your tutorials to go along with it are fabulous. I hope you’re able to find a good home for it– AND to make one that you love!

  67. Laurie May 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I have recently found your blog, fallen in love with it and have been inspired. I gave up sewing modern clothes several years ago and bloggers like you have inspired me to give it another try.
    Anyway, this is such a timely post, because I have very recently gone through my closet, tossing onto the floor (where they still lay because of guilt) various un-loved store bought and sewn items. I completely understood where you were coming from about the cape/thighs. I have a pear shaped body and certain cuts and styles of clothing look better on me than others. In the last few years I have learned to work with my body shape and a few tidbits here and there from many of you bloggers, have helped me to analyze patterns that I buy more closely, rethink fabric choices, etc. I’m sure I’ll still run into mistakes but I’m trying to free myself to use it as a learning process.
    Meanwhile I think about my sad pile on the floor of the closet, to think if I can rework the garment. I’ve recently set aside project days, one being to rework things. Sometimes it’s still a learning process (meaning I still don’t like it) and other times I am pleasantly surprised. When all fails, I sometimes find a way to reuse the fabric in some way. I saw a comment you made about facings and remember reading about that somewhere.
    That cape and bolero sure are cute. You’re extremely creative, so I’m sure you’ll think of something great!
    Many thanks!

  68. Lydia May 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Hi, I think this topic is so timely — I had a large closet cull, and parted with some handmade items — they were so well done, with great finishing (I didn’t rush as much then…)as well as great fabrics. It was really hard to part with my sewn clothes, but It feels great to move forward, rather than to ‘stare and not wear’ at my closet. I noticed that the handmade items that stayed usually had linings, were finished carefully, and were made out of silk or really wearable and light cottons. The handmade ‘keepers’ that now remain in my closet are ready to wear and I look forward to combining them with other clothes I have — before the pieces that didn’t work made me cringe, and increased my stress because for me, they were not usable.

    I also culled fabrics and patterns that I have had for years — even some really special fabrics that were gifts — as much as I loved glancing at them (for years…), I realized they were holding me back — a part of me still misses them (they were part of my ‘collection’, but I can now go out and buy new fabrics that are suited to a specific project and my current taste.

  69. Casey May 31, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    This is so timely for me–right now I’m going through my closet and am finding a lot of the things I’ve made in the past just don’t suit me for whatever reason. Whether I’ve never been happy with how the silhouette looks on me, or I’ve outgrown the style. I have a drawer of handmade items I weeded out in January to think about donating to the thrift store. I haven’t really missed any of them, so it’s time for them to find new homes! Plus some of the items I wasn’t too pleased with the construction, so I’m trying to decide whether to cut them up for scraps or what… It’s tough when you put so much effort into creating something only not to really love it. One lesson I’ve learned over the past couple years with my sewing is to thoughtfully think out each *large* project before I go headlong into it. Yes, it’s boring to stop and contemplate whether it’s worth making a muslin or even rethinking the entire thing, but helps avoid some of the larger pitfalls. For instance I’m currently planning out a lace day dress based on the late 30s/early 40s styles. I know it is something I’ll get lots of wear out of–if I pick a style that isn’t too cutesy and is simple (so it can be worn lots of different ways and washed easily).

    Anyway, enough rambling! ;) I love that cape–but I completely understand as a fellow “pear shaped gal” what the hangups might be when wearing it. And let’s face it: if you don’t feel 100% fantastic in something, it won’t get worn. However, let me put this idea to you: some pieces that I don’t wear often (or plan on wearing ever again!), I do keep as my personal “sewing archives”. Sometimes I’ve put so much thought and care into something, I know I’d rather keep it for the memories and as a showpiece. I think that cape perhaps falls into that category for you. ;) There is nothing wrong with hanging on to a few things that you’re really proud of–even if you don’t wear it!

  70. Ali May 31, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Great post! You know I find the easiest way to get rid of anything is to pass it on to someone I know who will love it. That way it’s not the anonymity of the thrift store donation. Do you have a sister or friend whose a similar size? That way, every time you see them wearing it, you can still admire your work and not feel guilty about not using it. And they’ll love you forever, of course ;)

  71. Erin May 31, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    I have the opposite problem from you. When you say you would have vetoed the cape for being too short in a store – well – being petite and short-waisted, for me everything is too long! Half the time something made cropped for a normal-size person fits me like a normal length item. I totally understand the emotional connection to something you’ve made. I made a wallet as a gift for a cousin and even though the initial attempt came out all mismatched seams, I can’t bring myself to reduce it back to scraps or otherwise get rid of it. I made that!

    On the other hand, sometimes you have to be ruthless. Everytime you look at something you don’t like in your closet you’ll have the negative emotional response of “If only . . . ” and it will stay. If you give it away, someone else might find it and love it and alter it to fit them and get joy out of it, enjoying your excellent craftsmanship. Plus, you have the negative emotional response to getting rid of it, but then you move on and don’t have that negative thought every time you see it. After some time you won’t think of it all the time, you move on, and focus more on the positive things in your closet instead of that albatross hanging in the back.

    Good luck.

  72. Lauren May 31, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    yo tasia, you can give the cape to me!! oh, hell, i’ll take the bolero too :)

    i kid i kid
    but seriously, you should put them in a giveaway… or list them on etsy. yes, it is *illegal* to sell clothes made from commercial patterns, but i think this is more of a case of closet-weeding & less of a case of running a factory that makes illegal clothing out of your home, you know?

    that being said, i make a LOT of clothes… and so many of them never get worn. well, not so much these days now that i spend more time making muslins/doing alterations/using certain techniques/etc… but it was a problem in my early days. some stuff gets fixed – like the wool dress with the collar that gapes to no end, i’ll rip it up and reinforce it with some silk organza. some stuff gets repurposed into different clothes – lots of circle skirts from sundresses. some stuff gets saved for the fabric & turned into something completely different – pincushions, make-up bags, curtains, idk! and you know, some of it ends up at the thrift store – some of the bad stuff, but some of the good stuff too. i figure someone out there will love it… and although it pains me to admit it, someone out there might just love the fabric.

    basically, just to repeat what everyone else is saying – you gotta just let it go! let someone else love & enjoy it! if you put a lot of $$ into something and can’t bear to give it away for free (and believe me, i know your pain… i have very expensive taste in fabrics lol), then try to re-sell or host a giveaway. don’t just let it languish in your closet & be forever unloved :(


  73. Allison May 31, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I am facing this same dilemma as I am in college and moving is a nearly yearly occurrence, I’ve been trying to parr down but it seems a lot of the clothes I’ve stopped wearing but can’t let go of are ones that I’ve sewn. I feel so attached to them despite not wearing them in the past year… I need to get over it as I’m starting to feel a bit like a clothing hoarder but I definitely agree that this is a big problem. I think I just need to bite the bullet and pass the item onto the thrift store and hope someone else enjoys it more than I would justing having it hanging in my closest or stuffed into a drawer.

  74. Rhia May 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I totally understand your problem. I am very emotional person and develope emotional link to everything I sew. It was very difficult for me to part of my own creations but over the years I have learned to let go. Just recently I packed away into car boot sales-bags waistcoat I’ve never worn and knickerbockers that I’ve only worn once.
    And I still have some things in my closet I can’t let go even though they never get worn. Most of the stuff, however, I am now able to let go. I know I can’t just stack and stack illfitting or unflattering stuff I never wear (I make most of my clothes myself, or alter a thrifted treasure) even though I have used loads of time and love on them. I’m sure that they will find another purpose somewhere else.
    And I have cunning plan aswell. Since I’m also seamstress by profession with my own tiny unknown label, I have started putting my own labels on my own clothing aswell. So if/when I sell them forward in car boot sales or where ever, people will see my labels and start recognising them ;) That is also clever way of making your label known: in parties when people ask did you make your own dress, just reply it’s “Evil Dressmaker-design” (that’s my own label) or what ever your label happens to be.

  75. Darci May 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    @Corinne: I consign all of my sewing mistakes! They actually fly of the shelves faster than my RTW consignment pieces.

  76. Becky May 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I go through this sort of thing all the time. Between my sewing and my thrift shopping, it seems like I’m always adding new things to my closet, and I have trouble taking things away! Though I certainly find the handmade stuff harder to part with, unless it’s just worn to the point where it’s falling apart or something along those lines. If I have something I made that just isn’t working for me anymore, my first instinct is to throw it into my refashion pile and see if I can make it into something better. And I have managed to save several of my handsewns that way.

    I know it’s a case of you not liking the way the cape makes you feel when you wear it, but I’ll echo all the other comments and say that you do look fabulous in it. And I wonder if it would work better for your wardrobe if you lengthened it? Or even shortened it? I’d be reluctant to part with it just yet.

  77. Loretta June 2, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Tasia, you look cute in anything! But I understand what you’re saying and you should sell your lovely items or have a giveaway. I’m so inspired by your fantastic blog that I actually cut out a dress pattern last night while listening to the Canucks game. If it turns out I’ll post a pic on my blog. I haven’t made anything for myself in ages.

  78. Scooter June 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Well, as a sewist, this

    “I always feel like I‚Äôm ‚Äòadjusting‚Äô my jeans and the part around the thighs gets wrinkled and bunchy by the end of the day. You know? ”

    says to me, make yourself some jeans that fit your body, flatter you, and are comfortable! Then the thighs won’t feel all wonky, and you’ll feel better about your body just the way it is. :)

    I think the cape is fabulous, though, for the record, and very flattering.

  79. Sewing Princess June 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I just gave away a couple of my sewing creations to charity…they were nice but not my style. Certainly you could sell them or give them away. I love that bolero but I understand it’s difficult to pair it up…have you tried with a shirt?

  80. Lisette June 13, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Maybe we could all do one giant swap of unloved items? I just ball mine up and put them in the back of the closet :(

  81. sarah July 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    When I realise that I don’t wear a particular me-made article for one reason or another, I generally try to refashion it into something else that I will wear. I wouldn’t have bought the fabric in the first place if I didn’t like that, so it seems a shame to not get use out of it in some way. Or if that won’t work I will try giving it to a friend who will like it. When I started sewing again a year ago there was an adorable dress pattern that I paired with a happy bright check/plaid fabric, lovingly stitched it together, and only then realised that it was too short for comfort, and that empire wasted dresses with pleated skirts are about the worst thing a pear shaped girl can think of wearing. The bodice wasn’t salvageable, but with the top edge at the waist instead of the under-bust the skirt was long enough, and the dress straps made a reasonable waistband :)

  82. nehmah July 22, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Good morning Tasia, Regards the cape; it needs a nice co-ordinating skirt for those times (however seldom) when jeans just won’t be suitable. It’s a handsome piece, and needs a good public airing to boost it’s “self-esteem.” Cordially, Nehmah

  83. Amanda July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    This is an old post, so I hope you get notifications for comments. I wanted to tell you that I saw a cape very similar to yours today(almost exactly the same print too!) in a shop window. It only hit 2 or 3 centimeters above yours. I live in Paris, so you are exactly right on trend this fall!

    Don’t give up on it yet!

  84. boocat August 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I’m a Catholic and our church has a jumble sale once a year to raise money. We donate all kinds of things to them for the fundraiser. Maybe you could investigate an option like that.