sewing catastrophes

That Jumper

front back

Remember that jumper I designed, or rather thought up in my head and then sketched, way back in December? I can’t really say I designed it since this sort of jumper has been around since the beginning of time. I just couldn’t find a pattern for it anywhere. Everywhere I looked I found patterns with multiple parts and gathers and pleats…I just wanted to sew a simple jumper for Bug with over-the-shoulder buttons.

Well. I finally sewed it! Praise the Lord.

So many people tell me they cannot draw a straight line and I always think to myself, That’s silly. Who wants to draw a line straight? And what’s wrong with stick figures?… Well, now I understand admiring something you do not find simple. Sewing for me is not simple. This silly SIMPLE jumper was NOT simple!!!

It took me months just to get the courage up to cut the fabric and then when I did, the pieces did NOT match perfectly…and THEN I had to complicate matters by making it reversible with two differing fabrics, but still! How hard could it be? It’s just basically a tube sewed together with wingy strap things at the top.

The linen on top, the fabric you see with the super cool birds and zebras, was a little bit stiffer and less stretchy than the cotton polka-dot calico I chose for the underneath and no matter how much I pulled and pushed, it never ever ever lined up perfectly. Throw in some beginner-style stitching and it just wouldn’t be perfect. It was frustrating. The only way this simple jumper could be finished was with my mom’s help and a zillion pins.

berry picking dress detail

I had visions of sewing dozens of these dresses in every imaginable fabric and pattern. I might even make doubles and sell them on Etsy. Well, phooey on that! I know I probably only need to sew one more to get over my fear and trepidation but I don’t see it happening. I think I’ll stick to computer designs. At least on my laptop if I want a line to go straight or curvy, it does; and if it doesn’t then I shut the lid and come back to it later. No seam ripping involved. I can click and make things disappear.

I know what I really need to do is suffer through five jumpers. The only reason designing logos on my laptop is easy for me is because I used to have to design maps for eight hours a day in Illustrator. It was hard when I started but by the end of my map-making career, I could make a map a minute. Yes, they were basic two-street maps with an “x” for the store, but still I could mask and create multiple lines with just a few clicks. Something like that is probably pretty tricky for a beginner.

I don’t see myself sitting down and sewing five jumpers though. Sewing is too messy and since my living room is my sewing room, I constantly have to clean it all up and put it away. I told Toby I’d sew all the time if we had a sewing room and he said if we had a sewing room there would be a relative living in it so I dropped the subject. Maybe someday.

In the meantime, I will be super proud of this jumper and make Bug wear it every chance I can. Which should be interesting since she’d rather be a rock-star princess.


  • Annika

    It looks great! I have been thinking of sewing something similar for Gracie. And I, too, have visions of making many of them. Let’s see how quickly my mind is changed. :)

  • auntie keren

    I bet if you came to my shop…the one with the great website banner that has yet to be published, I could get you crackin’. You’d be on fire! I could teach you shortcut stuff that would convert you in a flash, but first I’d get you started on a more sensible pattern.

  • Madge

    It looks great! I would never have known it caused you so much trouble. The whole time I was reading this I kept nodding my head and thinking, “this is why I knit!” :P

  • Sam

    It’s totally sweet. Such a great summer dress! What about a pillowcase style of dress? Those seem looser and maybe not so straight-lined. Little Southern girls wear them like crazy here and I think they’re so lovely.

  • Calee

    That fabric turned into such a cute jumper! Even though our sewing space is the kitchen table, I think Audrey may need me to try one of these

  • Sonja

    Not having a place where you can leave all your in-progress-sewing laying around is a serious bummer. I’m pretty sure I’d never sew if that was the case in my house. :)
    That Jumper turned out super-cute – totally worth the trouble, if you ask me.

  • Kuky

    It looks very cute. I love the fabric. I don’t know why I don’t make more clothing with fabric I love instead of fabric that is only ok but more affordable. I mean I am making something unique, I may as well make it with love through and through.

  • silver

    So is the fact that the jumper was sewn mean you found a pattern? Or were you brave a draft a pattern yourself?

    SAJ says: No. I wish I could say I was. In my head I drew it. But when it came time to really make a pattern, my mom drew it.

  • Elizabeth

    LOVE this fabric to bits. Remember seeing an adorable dress on etsy made from it almost a year ago and fell in love with it. Bug looks adorable sporting it, too! Good for you jumping in and whipping this up. Too cute!

  • Karen

    That is exactly how my sewing projects come out — I think, OH, that looks so simple and then, it takes 9x as long and nothing lines up, and I say, “Never again!” I really do like to sew but the putting things away every time and shoving it into a closet, it’s tough.