Pattern Testing...why free isn't always a bargain

Trying out a new pattern for fit, so I sewed it up in a free fabric I had on hand. What a nightmare this pink waffle garbage was. It has no stability at all. The neckline stretched out of shape, and even with hem tape the hem is wavy. End result–a terrible looking garment that doesn’t even work as a fitter because of the uncertain amount of stretch.

Second try, from some navy blue knit. Another free piece of fabric. I don’t know exactly what it is–it’s lightly brushed on the inside. No problems with this fabric. I only had a yard, so I had to add cuffs to get more length on the sleeves.

I think I’m ready to cut the “for real” fabric.

Pattern is McCalls 6964.


Second time’s the charm on this one; it looks great!

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I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your sharing this topic, most especially your first-fail version. For literally decades, I’ve had a mental block about sewing garments because I tried several times, but always wound up with unwearable results. (Unless my expert-seamstress mom was constantly looking over my shoulder and guiding me.)

You make me think I was maybe too hard on myself. If YOU - a skilled and experienced stitcher - can have fails… then maybe my fails weren’t a lack of talent for sewing, just maybe a lack of adequate experience with the tools and materials.

Thanks so much!


@endymion This was was definitely “garbage in, garbage out.” It was supposed to be a wearable toile. I failed to consider that I was using a fabric totally unlike the one I planned to use for the actual garment.


Also, didn’t mean to imply this was a fail for you… just actually a part of your expert-sewist process of pattern testing. Would never have thought to include that in my process. Just would use the nice fabric straight away and then would be frustrated with my less-than-stellar result.

So bottom line, thanks for teaching me more about your processes and the way you approach sewing patterns and projects.

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Oh I know! Everyone shows their best work, but there’s always the flip side. Sometimes it’s fun to see the hideous :).


Here’s a question. I don’t work with knits a lot, so I’m wondering if that wrinkle in my armpit is the released dart, or it it means the shirt is still too big above the bust.

Thinking out loud here a bit…I moved the fullest part of the bust down an inch to match where my bustpoint is, but I did not scoop in the sides above it. Huh. Maybe that’s it.


This is the ACTUAL fabric. It’s a POP knit from Joann. I made it to wear when I read The Rhyming Dust Bunnies.


Oh, that looks great! Funny too :smile: