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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, June 8, 2012

When the mistakes aren't your own

I have a long history of dumb sewing mistakes.

The left sleeve sewn into the right armhole for example, say three times in a row, and that was when I was trying.

But still like all sewers I have had my moments when I thought the pattern instructions were just wrong. 

Typographical errors, misprints. Of course nine times out of 10, to quote my favourite sewing machine repair guy, the problem was sitting in the chair.

Despite this I don't think all pattern instructions are perfect. 

If you, like me, have sewn a lot there are so many, many times when I read instructions and think:

Come on now, there is an easier, more current, more effective way to do that and nearly every one does it that way these days, so why are you telling the poor stressed beginner to do it the hard and most likely to get all balled up way?

You know like  the stay-stitching the neckline that is going to have a stretchy band sewn to it.

Techniques need to be updated, although I think this is getting better. Even words like "sew or serge" are an improvement. I drives me crazy when pattern designed for knits only tell the sewer to do it with a straight stitch.

But apart from some of the independent patterns, where I have run across with pattern pieces missing or notches all wrong, not sure how many real printed mistakes I have seen lately.

How about you?

So I am intrigued by all the discussion boards, chats and blogs (including comments here) that there are some real mistakes, particularly with the sleeves, in the new Claire Schaeffer jacket.

My plan is to do my own close look at the paper pattern pieces and weigh in with my own opinion this afternoon.

This will happen after the big event of the day which is when my daughter is having an industrial machine delivered and installed at her place.

I am definitely going over there to watch and test drive. Definitely. I still can believe she sews.

Might even take some pictures.

Now there's something to look forward to.


Jeanneke said...

Years ago I stumbled over some silly advice for sewing a patchwork ball.
Did it my way and it looks so much prettier. On top of that it was a much easier and faster way!



annie said...

I've gotten to the point where all I need are the dots on the sleeve and on the bodice marking where gathers should start and where sleeve cap and shoulder seam meet. Probably could get away without the former since gather beginnings coincide w/ bias on sleeve cap. Unless it's couture, which I don't often do, side seams, center front seams are still the same w/ or w/o the notches. And since you alluded to it, all the markings in the world don't prevent one from putting the wrong sleeve in the wrong side. Done it myself and while taking "proper care." Some sort of brain disconnect.

LinB said...

It is too, too easy to blame the patternmaker and/or instruction writer for our own mistakes. Sometimes a pattern piece is designed to be eased into place, to give that special "je ne sais quois" to a handmade garment that raises it above the level of rtw. Many times sewists want to lop off the bit that doesn't seem, to them, to be needed. (There's too much sleeve head -- it doesn't fit exactly into the opening," etc.) They condemn the pattern for not being well-designed, when, in reality, the designer took great care to assure that everything works well together IF YOU FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS. Even the independent, self-published patterns I have used get almost everything right. Use of updated techniques requires some work on the part of the sewist. And, if you are using vintage patterns, you may find that vintage instructions are laughable -- or you may learn a new-to-you technique that will prove very helpful in the future. Sorry if this sounds whiney and rant-ish. It is not intended as condemnation of anyone.