Failure is Part of the Journey
We all see the pictures of perfect stuff all over Facebook, Pintrest and IG of perfect sewing projects, perfect quilts, perfect lives, perfect this, perfect that, blah blah ad nauseum. And so many of my friends think that when I sit down at a machine, miraculously perfect things happen immediately. Well, I’m here to tell you that is not true. While I might consider last weekend completely wasted because my project was a COLLOSSAL FAIL, I actually learned a great deal. The trick is not to allow failures to deter you from your goal, no matter what the task at hand is. Try, try again. Right?
I’m making this little guy. Isn’t he adorable?
He was going to be for my grandson’s 6th birthday this week, and I’d diligently planned it all out. I bought the softest, most cuddly blue Minky fabric for the body and had some gray Cuddle Bubble on hand for the belly. Someone put a pic of the blue/gray version on FB and I just had to make it. I found some awesome silver scuba knit at Walmart for the wings, I ordered the safety eyes from Amazon, and was all ready to go… on time. Then I sat down at the sewing machine and every thing changed.
First of all, I cut the pattern wrong. No biggie, I had plenty of fabric. That’s normal in my world so I wasn’t discouraged. Mind you, I’m covered in Minky shreds from hair to flipflops but that’s part of the adventure. I was prepared for that.
Now the wings. The pattern says to cut two pieces of fabric and one piece of foam in the shape of the wing, and then to sew them together. Sounds easy enough but the result was a silver blob that no way resembled a wing. See top wing in first image below. Things shifted everywhere in the machine, pins/clips or no, and was a real beast. Needless to say, I’m glad my grandson wasn’t around because a sailor appeared somewhere in the room. On my 2nd attempt, I cut the foam and sewed it to two squares of fabric (2nd photo) and then cut out the wing around the foam. Success! See bottom wing in top picture. This method allows the best shaping possible. Also, if you do sharp points like this, there is a little garment sewing trick for collar points to take a small single horizontal stitch (or two) at the tip before beginning the next upward angle. This single stitch gives the fabric room enough to make a beautiful point without a bunched up rounded wad.
The hands and feet were no trouble and sewed together just fine (after I figured out I had to hand-baste the bottom of the foot to the top) and I placed them in the same location on each side of the body pieces. I added the wings – no problem and he was coming along nicely!
Now the tummy. You’d think the biggest piece would be the easiest. WRONG! Much like sewing a sleeve into an armscye (arm hole), the tummy must be positioned perfectly to make it all match up. There are points on the pattern for notches to match but I couldn’t see them in the Minky. So I gave it my best shot and sewed the tummy gusset to the body. The result was a lopsided, unbalanced, wonky kinda dragon thingy.
My husband was a sweetie and said to finish him anyway because my grandson wouldn’t care, but oh no. That’s not how I roll. There’s perfection or close to it (which would be nice) and then there’s something that will embarrass me every time I lay eyes on it. After 10 hours of this project, I tucked it all into a drawer, got myself a cold beer, and ordered him a set of binoculars on Amazon. However, I’m not deterred. I’ve already picked up a half yard of blue fleece to give the next dragon a try. Cross your fingers!
I’ve found that the smaller the stuffed animal the harder it is to make. I like making “ragged” animals, like the ragged quilts. You still get an A for great effort!!