Project Success, Project Failure

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It wasn’t something that I expected to find on my sewing table. A tiny bunny, complete with little felt lace-up boots, a gingham shirt and trousers? It’s not what I usually choose to sew. But when a friend tells you that’s what she wants for her baby shower, you make it!

GrayBunny1I saw Alicia Paulson’s adorable bunny kits and patterns when she first came out with them, and alright, maybe I was looking for an excuse to buy one. The pattern was easy to put together, and I really enjoyed sewing the tiny clothes. I honestly thought I’d be a lot faster at sewing this bunny. It took a lot of time because I wanted my stitches to be as miniature and perfect as possible.

GrayBunny2

I didn’t change anything about the patterns, except that I made the bunny ears longer, and I also stitched around the shirt buttonholes, instead of only using a seam sealant on them. I love him so much!

GrayBunnyDetail

The hardest part to sew was the tiny boots. I don’t think I was holding the little shoe pieces together correctly. I didn’t overlap the top part of the boot over the bottom part, which I think would have looked better. Next time!

GrayBunnyShoes

Overall, I’d say this little cutie was a success. But I’m not here to show you, “Oh, look, everything I make always goes to according plan.” NOPE. Not at all, not one bit.

I’ve been going through some of my older works in progress this month, and trying to decide which ones to move forward on, and which ones to pitch. For a few Β of them, the future doesn’t look too good. The first one I’ve decided to sacrifice is my Brandywine Shawl. This shawl was my first time attempting to follow a charted lace pattern, and it’s AWFUL. I almost didn’t want to share pictures, because I’m kind of ashamed of how much time I went ahead and wasted on it, even after seeing my glaringly obvious mistakes.

Brandywine1

I told myself it would all disappear when I blocked it. Right! Yeah! No one will even notice!

Brandywine2I showed it to a friend of mine who is a very experienced knitter, and she gave me a sad face and laughed.

“Oh… no. No, that won’t work,” she said.

I stuffed it back into its project bag and now I need to frog it. I hate to do it because I spent soo much time on it, but I can’t get away with it as it is. I guess the lesson learned is that I can’t drink wine, watch Downtown Abbey and follow a knitting chart at the same time. Try again, right?

  • Oh my, bunny is too cute for his boots. What a little darling.

    And don’t worry we all have those failures, we just learn from them.

    • Thank you! I am quite fond of little Mr. Bunny. Alicia is going to come out with a fox, dear, cat and mouse soon, which I may not be able to resist.

      And I agree, we learn a lot from failures. I learned there is no way I can ever be a knitting multi-tasker. It takes all the brain power I have!

  • If I ever get over bra making, I am going to get into making dolls. I have an affinity towards all dolls – something about there small size intrigues me. Luckily, I am a good seamstress and I don’t dabble in too many different areas of sewing. So until then, I’ll just have to sigh at what you made. I love it! Love love! It makes up ten fold for your knitted lace.

    • I tell you what, it was so satisfying making that little guy! Tiny clothes can be sewn so quickly, it’s almost instant gratification. I adore miniatures, so dolls and doll clothes are irresistible to me.

      Maybe you should dabble! I interned for a designer in college who always made her designs on a miniature dress form. The tiny scale saved on wasted fabric, and she could get her designs and patterns made more quickly. It was really fun to watch. You might really like that method of being able to see things come together a bit faster.

  • julie

    Love how your bunny turned out! Darling!

    • Thank you! It was certainly fun to make!

  • Marcella Jean Schechter

    Failure can be successes if we learn from them and forge ahead

    • I agree, Marcella. I learned that when it comes to knitting, I can’t do two things at once! πŸ˜‰ Hopefully the next time I try it out, things will go much better.

  • annpower7

    Wow Amy, that is one sweet, yet handsome bunny!
    And, I must admit, it’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only one who has trouble with knitting patterns at times. It was a lovely idea!

    • Thank you! I had a lot of fun sewing him up.

      I also enjoy (is enjoy a weird word to use that for this?) seeing that not everyone who is creative is successful with what they make. I think it’s important to share what works, as well as share what fails. I like to remember that I don’t have to only show the “good”. The failures are important!

  • Angie M

    Oh…my…gosh! I want to hold him and squeeze him and call him George! He is SEW cute! Um…I have a bit of a stuffed animal addiction and your guy’s new friends say they have a perfect spot for him, right next to Paddington bear! Absolutely adorable. (And waaaay cuter than lace, meh, forgedaboutit!) And you’re killing me here…wine & Downton Abbbey is just about the most perfectest evening eva!

    • Wine and Downton Abbey is my definition of a perfect night in! Add in a big warm sweater and I’m happy as a clam. You should make a bunny! He was so satisfying to stitch up. She’s coming out with a deer, mouse, cat and fox soon, which Paddington would probably love. πŸ˜‰

  • Karen Bingham

    gimmee, love your shawl, im not a perfectionist at all, I love wonkiness nature is full of it.

    • Haha! If I hadn’t already frogged it, I would have sent it to you! Shoot! The next time I mess up it’s all yours! πŸ˜‰

  • Sarah

    Turned on OPB this morning and there was Amy on Sew It All! Super Star!

    • Hey, hey! You can’t escape me- I’m everywhere! πŸ™‚

  • Ira Glass (of This American Life) has my favorite take ever on success, failure, and doing the work to get there: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/22/ira-glass-on-the-secret-of-success/ I think about this a lot when my project isn’t going as well as I’d like, along with the fact that if I’m not failing at least every once in a while, I’m probably not trying hard enough or learning as much as I could be.

    I’ve frogged some big pieces of knitting, but been really happy about it all in the end. Those are some dang cute bunny boots!

  • Robin Grunzweig

    mr. bunny is adorable!! so happy I found you (just today: thru craftsy!)… and to see your post about success and failures gives me heart… I’m getting back into sewing after years of wanting to but not doing it, and I’ve never been a confident sewer… but now, I am determined to make a go of it!

    • Hi, Robin, and thank you! I try to remember that posting about failures is just as important as posting about successes. We all are constantly learning and growing, and while not everything will go the way we plan, it’s important to note the less-than-ideal results we sometimes get and appreciate what we learned along the way. I hope that you do jump in to sewing! Don’t let fear take away your creativity, and remember that EVERYONE, at some point, makes something ugly! πŸ˜‰

  • Oh, I love Ira Glass! Thanks for the article, I will definitely read it today.

    I read a conversation online earlier this month, and someone (of course I can’t remember who), said that the reason some people aren’t happy with what they make, is because they learned so much along the way, that they improved their methods and know they can do better than the result they ended up with. At least, it was something like that! It makes sense to me particularly with knitting. There is quite a learning curve for me when it comes to yarn!

    • Yeah, I am a really slow learner sometimes too. My students usually don’t believe me at first when I tell them that, but it actually makes me a much better teacher because by the time I get something, I GET it. πŸ™‚

      • I understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes I get things right away (like with sewing) but other things take me forever (like knitting). Once you have an “ah-ha!” moment, though, it all comes together! I do like being able to identify where I went wrong with past projects now. It at least shows some learning/improvement!

  • Amar

    I have a question about when to start sewing and designing clothing. I am 14 years young and i have wanted to start designing for 3 years. I have always had an interest in sketching designs, but i have not actually made them… What is a good machine to start off with and what clothing should i start off with? This is my most recent design, can i please get an opinion? Thank you!