Saturday, 28 June 2014

Oops! Owning up to sewing mistakes


Oops!
Image courtesy of kjnnt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I interrupt the normal blogging service of showing finished items to talk about another side of the construction process. All too often, I make mistakes when sewing. Most are ridiculously silly and many times I don’t want to share them with you. Hands up if you feel the same. Yes, I thought I wasn't alone! I’ll often include a few small mistakes in a post but that’s as far as I have gone, until now! Last weekend I had an epic fail and while I can’t bear to bring you the details in all its glory, I thought it would be fun to share some of my mistakes and invite you to tell me your stories. 

So deep breath and here goes. My mistakes include (please don’t judge me too harshly):
  • Bravely stitched over pins and then heard a loud crunch. I wasted 30 minutes taking my machine apart to dig out the broken pin pieces. Have I learnt my lesson? No, I still stitch over pins!
  • Spent ages carefully hand stitching bias finishing on a neckline and arm completely forgetting to clip the curves and thus forcing unpicking and more hand stitching.
  • For a dress, I spent time getting the toile to fit well but a “in progress” fit revealed it wouldn't do up. For hours I couldn't figure out why until I eventually spotted a giant (we’re talking 5cm) accidental tuck in the waistband.
  • Traced a pattern carefully and then found I had traced the wrong size for the sleeves and only found out when I stitched the top. As the top was loose fitting, I didn't bother with a toile!
  • Chose to move the zip from the centre back of a dress to the side and then didn't add it in. No wonder it wouldn't go over my chest!
  • Lost track of how many times I have stitched the right side to the wrong side. It's more embarrassing when most of them are with the darts on the outside!
  • Took my eyes off of my overlocker for a second and found the blade had cut the fabric well over the seam line.
 And the worst?
  • Merrily cut out perfectly and stitched up the item, only to find on step 20 (or whatever) that I didn't have all of the pieces. Not only that, I didn't have enough fabric to complete the item. To add insult to injury, the store is sold out of that particular fabric! Seeing the look on your boyfriend’s face when you admit what you have done is an interesting experience...

I should say that tiredness and alcohol played a very small part in the above. I learnt my lesson quickly when I looked at my stitching following three glasses of wine... Hangs head in shame.

Your turn now! Please tell me I’m not alone in making (big) mistakes when stitching.Go on, don’t be shy - be brave and think of this as some form of group therapy until it is all swept under the carpet again.


21 comments:

  1. I've made most of these in earlier days, but I'm old enough now for most of the lessons to have sunk in. Also do be careful stitching over pins - I used to do that, and sometimes at speed - the needle would shatter and fly everywhere. That can be dangerous - a penetrating eye injury is not a good thing. So take care.

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    1. I think we've all done many of these! I agree with the pins. I never stitch over pins at high speed - that's how the pin broke but if you get the angles correct and pay attention to how quickly you are going, it can work very well.

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    2. I can now add: sewing buttonholes on the wrong side of a men's shirt I have worked on for two month. But only realising my mistake when I gave the shirt to my boyfriend to try on :( now I have to somehow try to close these buttonholes and make new ones on the other side!

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  2. Oh no! I really really hope you will find the fabric somewhere. It's so sad :( I'm sure I have made loads of mistakes as well, but can't remember them now - probably because my mind is trying to forget about them. I'm also sewing over pins because I was taught so in a swing class, but luckily so far nothing has happened. I often make my notches to deep and having stitched up the garment discover wholes at seams! Then I have to go over them again, which makes the garment smaller :( I also sewed a jersey top and forgot that the seam allowance us only 1 cm instead of 1.5 cm. I had a very tight top! So nobody is free from doing mistakes. Silly things happen!

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    1. Don't they, just?! A 1.5cm seam allowance is something we so often take for granted...

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  3. Where do I start? Cutting fabric when trimming seam allowance; melting fabric with the iron; wrong side to right side; putting right sides together when doing French seams (every time!). But my worst was attaching 2, yes 2 sleeves upside down - ie attaching the sleeve hem to the arm scye. On a black knit with the smallest ever zigzag stitch. I blame tiredness and baby brain for that one!
    Glad I'm not the only one!!!

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    1. Ooh, on black! The unpicking! I feel this one with you.

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  4. Soooo many silly mistakes! The latest big one was when I was removing the basting from the neckline of a blouse. I never remember to remove the basting just after I have properly stitched two pieces together, and this time I noticed I still had some thread ends dangling after finishing the collar. Some parts of those threads were inside the collar, so what do you do? Of course, you pull gently to take the threads out. What do you do if the entire thing doesn't come out? Anyone would have left the threads be, but somehow I decided it was a good idea to pull as hard as I could to just take them out. Result: hole in the fabric and cursing while darning.
    This should teach me to be more gentle, I guess...

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    1. Oops! I have been tempted to do that before but if the thread doesn't move easily (has been nicked somewhere etc) then I leave alone. At least you were able to save your project!

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  5. Oh goodness, I've been nodding along to a few of these! Forgetting to snip notches is something I do a lot, and those wee notches are pretty handy when matching things up. And then there was the time I thought I was too smart to need to mark skirt waistband and facing pieces that where all the same fabric - complete dogs dinner! Ah well, we live and learn!

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    1. We've all been there with a waistband...

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  6. I was in a class environment with an industrial overlock machine, the kind with a blade. Anyway, the deadline to turn in my pants was fast approaching and I had forgotten to overlock the back rise inseam seam allowance and hurriedly ran it through. Unfortunately, in my rush, I wasn't careful enough about making sure that only the seam allowance was being overlocked and a fold of fabric from the seat of the pants got sucked in as well. When I unpicked my mistake, there was a nice big hole in the seat of the pants, no way to salvage it. I almost cried right there in class!

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    1. Oh my! The fact that you couldn't salvage them makes this so much worse after all the work that went into them. I'm pretty sure I would have cried!

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  7. Unpicking on velvet right now as, somehow, I did not line up the two pieces of fabric correctly so that, instead of the seams ending together, one side is longer that the other. Other common faults- not changing the stitch on the sewing machine to the correct one so I start off with decorative satin stitch instead of stretch jersey for an example. Drafting a pattern and forgetting to add the seam allowance ...and so on, and on...

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    1. Good luck with unpicking the velvet! It is so annoying when the ends don't meet properly. I'm a little obsessive around seam allowances after too many bad experiences!

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  8. I'm sure we all make far more mistakes than are ever admitted to on blogs! All of these sounds familiar - my worst was probably ripping the neckline of a dress while trying it on in progress, or stitching darts on the right side of the fabric instead of the wrong side. Hope you manage to find some more of that fabric that you're missing so you can finish off your project!

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    1. That sound of stitches stretching or breaking is a sound none of us want to hear! I'm not sure if I will get my hands on the extra fabric although the store owner has promised me some more if she can get it.

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  9. I almost always sew across pins. I know that professional sewist call it a cardinal mistake but it works well for me (because I have to be more focused so as not to break a pin and therefore my stitching is more accurate; not to mention more control over the fabric). OK, I have to admit that I have broken a pin, but really, only once, and I sew across the pins during each project I complete :) So, in my opinion, no need to call it "a mistake" ;)

    When it comes to silly mistakes - what's happened to me quite a few times was sewing with left sides together (and I'm not taking about French seams :D ). It's so difficult to distinguish between right and left side of the fabric when they look very similar.

    Another one - not bothering to stabilise a neckline with interfacing. I have my interfacing stuffed somewhere at the bottom of my "sewing chest" and usually am too lazy to get it out ;) But now, seeing some tops in which I ommitted this step I decide to take the effort in the future (hopefully!)

    And fitting mistakes... Whoa! I should really be ashamed about that... But now, when I try to pay a little bit more attention to the fit, it seems to be getting better in this area.

    I think we all make mistakes while sewing, even the most experienced seamstresses. I tend to thnik that it's mainly caused by wanting to have a project finished as soon as possible - when you rush, you are more likely to do something wrong. At least that's what I've experienced.

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    1. I certainly see the number of mistakes creep up when I'm rushing to get something finished. The trouble is, we can't always be patient! We all have fitting challenges too...

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  10. One of my repeated mistakes is melting fabric with the iron. I normally remember to test the iron on a scrap first, but not always!
    My most recent mistake was sewing the lining of a bodice piece to the wrong side of the outer, and only realising after I'd understitched and trimmed the seam allowances. Putting it aside overnight, I worked out how I could fix it, only to discover the next day I'd cut a size too small and it wouldn't fit anyway!

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    1. Good tip about testing the iron on a scrap - I never do this but I haven't melted my fabric either (guaranteed to now though!) It must have frustrating to find you had the size wrong after problem solving so well!

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