Always knit a swatch for a garment. ALWAYS. Always sew a muslin for a dress. Always????
Last week I mentioned that I was going to sew up the Anna dress from By Hand London. This dress I was hoping to have sewn in time for me to wear to my cousin's wedding. Why would I decide to sew a dress when I haven't sewn a garment for myself in years? I am picky about dresses. I could spend the whole day at the dreaded mall trying on dresses and wishing they were just a little different. Maybe just a few shades lighter. The waist sits too high on me. Blah, blah, blah. The people next to me in the dressing room can hear me go on and on, talking to myself about the fit and color of the dress.
When I saw the Anna dress cross my Instagram feed, I knew I found the dress I was looking for. Why not try to sew it in three or so weeks? I was smart. I started sewing a muslin of the bodice...and then I fell off the grid.
As a knitter, I know how important prior planning can be. I know this. In my logical brain, I completely agree with the idea that I can sew a muslin, a practice dress in cheap fabric to discover any problems before I cut into my nice fabric.
I did finish the bodice to check that it laid the way I wanted in front, but I didn't sew the zipper in to see how the true fit would be. This could be a massive failure or it could be a shortcut that motivates me to actually finishing a dress rather than sewing the muslin and never getting around to the actual dress because my time is short. Once I'm in the thick of a beautiful dress and I can see it's potential, I can fight through the difficulties, but it is hard to fight through for a nude colored practice piece.
So knitters that don't swatch before a garment, I throw you no shade. It may not be the most prepared way to start a garment, but maybe it's what you need to motivate you.