One of the big mistakes i see home sewers make is beating themselves up for a garment not turning out “perfectly” the first time they make it. If you have that attitude when it comes to sewing, you will be constantly disappointed, and will imagine that everyone else is better than you. That is not the case. The best attitude you can have with sewing is considering each “failure” as a draft along the way to your final garment.
You’ll see people call these muslins or test runs or toiles. It’s all the same thing. A practice run. You try something, and it wasn’t right the first time, so you learn from it and make a new one.
So today i have an example for you! This is a nursing tunic that i dreamed up with i was pregnant with baby bird. Here is the sketch, ahhhh so cute yes?
The idea was to have slits up the side of the tunic for easy feeding, and also for the front piece to act as a bit of a nursing cover. I planned to wear it over leggings & jeans with one of my many nursing tanks underneath (love those things to death). I was envisioning comfy but cute postpartum wear for that period after baby is born and you feel like a gross blob.
So this was the first draft. It seemed pretty good when i made it, so as per usual i put it through my wearability test. I’ve worn it for almost 3 months like this, and have found that this first draft needs some tweaking. It looks very cute and perfect when you stand still (See above), but if you move a little too vigorously or dare to pick up your cute baby. DRAMA. The front and back pieces get caught (sometimes separately often at the same time) rather unattractively exposing your entire behind and/or midsection. And the seam of your tank top which you tucked into your leggings (it was comfy okay?) making it look like you have VPL when you don’t. Ummm no, not a good look. See the below exhibits:
Obviously changes will need to be made. I am very happy with the length, so i’ll keep that, but for my next draft i will either add another layer underneath to bridge the side gaps, or i’ll cross over the front and back pieces under the arms. Perhaps i’ll do both. We’ll see.
So as you can see, this one little design will be going through a lot of changes before i’m happy with it. I will probably make this top around 5 times to perfect it for my personal use. If i decide to release it as a pattern, there will be more drafts as each size and variation would need to be tested.
So if you take out a pattern for the first time, or draft a little piece of awesome to sew up for yourself, and it doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped the first time, take heart! It will never be perfect the first time! The Briar and Virginia both took years of development before i was completely happy with them. Consider this a first draft, make your notes, implement your changes, it WILL be better next time. That is what sewing is all about. It is a craft because it must be worked at it, it is not magic my darlings.