Menu
Handmade Wardrobe / Inspiration / Maternity & Baby

first drafts

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.

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
20 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
poppykettle
7 years ago

Couldn’t agree more with that. Love this top too – the concept is wonderful! Let the tweaking begin :)

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

I love the last sentence! ;)

Jo
Jo
7 years ago

It’s a brilliant idea – looking forward to the tweaks! And ohh baby’s hair! She’s gorgeous!

lisa g
7 years ago

ahhh so true! “it is not magic…” i love that. good luck with this design, it has a lot of potential!

Lesley Scott
7 years ago

Thank you, thank you Megan! My drafting teacher was just saying this today. She thinks we home sewists are a bit hard on ourselves.
What a gorgeous bub, go you. That top has a lot of potential. Let me know if you need marketing advice, as an ex midwife I think this would be incredibly useful for breast feeding mums.

Helen
Helen
7 years ago

How cute is baby bird? Gorgeous! Love the top too. Great idea.

oonaballoona
7 years ago

that shot avec baby! so perfect!

yeah, now when i think back on all the fabric i “ruined”, i lament it less and think of it more as learning. still, some of that fabric…i grow misty eyed…

what if you had a little button closure at the bottom tips of front & back, like on your crescent blouse?

Marie
7 years ago

what a cute design!
And what a cute baby bird :) do I spy a little ginger? sweet!
I would’ve probably tried to fix the problem by using ties and making bows at the waist (one on each side)…
Can’t wait to see your solutions put into action.

Reana Louise
7 years ago

I scrolled through this post, intently reading, and then that little face! Now my attention is lost and I’m giggling.

Ginger
7 years ago

Baby bird! She’s so sweet!

Sara
7 years ago

Love this Megan, such a good (and hard, sometimes) thing to remember. And that baby is CUTE! Good work ;)

Annette
Annette
7 years ago

Great design! And your words are very true. Even following patterns can be hit and miss.

I love that you have nursing friendly designs. Makes life so much easier for nursing mothers.

sallie
7 years ago

Awww! BABY!!!
Great insight into all the tweaks it makes to perfect a garment! I love seeing this in it’s early stages. Can’t wait to see what changes you make!!

Sage
7 years ago

I can’t wait to see the final product! This top looks lovely. I saw a similar styled sweater at Madewell yesterday except it had side zippers! Oh My Goodness, it was so cool. I immediately thought about how easy it would be to nurse in. I’m not sure about the hardware of the zippers with newborns, but my toddler still nurses so it would be entertaining for her to fiddle with hehe. :)

Karen
Karen
7 years ago

That reminds me so much of this (non-maternity) shirt I own. It is hard to see in the pictures on the website but it has open sides, although only from about the bottom of the ribcage down – it overlaps in the armpits by about 2-3″ and the overlap is attached from the armpit down to the ribcage.
http://aritzia.com/en/capucine-t-shirt/46067.html?dwvar_46067_color=1275#start=34

Rochelle New
7 years ago

I love that you’re showing us this type of sewing project. I have so many ideas that turn out like this too and it’s nice to know everyone has some sort of “try and try again” process. Have you thought of adding ties or button tabs to the back? Like a chic maternity apron? It would be a simple fix and has the potential to look really nice. I’m sure you’ll think of something :)

Miss J
7 years ago

So true Megan, This post is do real.

sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negative “oh, I ruined my lovely fabric” or “what a ******* waste of time”.

But – in reality those “mistakes” are the way to seeing new ways to do things better, differently, more fit for purpose.

See – sewing is like life, and life is like sewing.
Bit profound for me as I sit here drinking tea, watching Murder She Wrote and getting ready to cut out my new pattern design.

All the best for top 2.0!

Freya
Freya
7 years ago

This was really encouraging for me, Megan! Especially since I’ve absolutely botched some of your designs my first go at them =(. But I definitely persevered and now they are my FAVORITE maternity pieces of all time and I wear them over and over and over again!!!! Thanks again!

trackback

[…] on from my last post, there was such a great response to sharing the in-progress-not-quite-right side of designing, that […]

trackback

[…] I sent this image to a friend of mine, she told me I had to read this blog post FIRST DRAFTS by Megan Nielsen I had a good laugh and felt so much better! Hehehe Great post Megan! […]