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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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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mistakes sewers make

Feel free to add to this list, most of which was generated by my own mistakes over time. 

Some times I learn my lesson, sometimes I don't.

Here we go:

1. Using up some really good fabric on the wrong pattern because of some dumb head idea that just because you have had it on your shelves for decades it is time you used it to make something. Guaranteed about six weeks after you do this the absolutely perfect pattern for that fabric will show up.

2. Spending huge amounts of time altering and trail sewing the same pants pattern again and again instead of just trying a new pants pattern from another company that just might draft closer to your shape.

3. Killing yourself making a everyone should have one in their wardrobe item, like a hand stitched Chanel jacket, when you know in the back of your head the shape doesn't suit you, and that you are more the kind of lady who makes lunch than the kind of lady who lunches.

4. Having a little bit of thread on all your bobbins and winding not enough for current projects over each one.

5. Cutting out a multi sized pattern because you are too tired to trace it, and then realizing that you want to sew a different size next time.

6. Sewing black fabric with black thread after 10:00 p.m.

7. Not using the pressing cloth because you are in a hurry.

8. Thinking the stitching will look better when you turn it over to the right side.

9. Adding a few inches to the bottom of a pattern and marking that and then cutting out along the pattern pieces, cutting away that extra you wanted to add.

10. Using a light coloured interfacing on a dark fabric because it will never show will it, until you cut those buttonholes open.

That's a start. 

Time to go to bed. Have company this weekend and just realized that I have also volunteered to babysit my daughter's moose sized Golden Retriever male adolescent who likes to sit on people, even those who have allergies.

This list will definitely be continued.

By me, and by you.


SilverMom said...

1. Sewing after 10 pm, period.
2. Sewing after wine, at any time.

(And about that white interfacing showing inside the buttonholes - I use a Sharpie to color the inside of the buttonhole to match the buttonhole thread. A set of colored Sharpies isn't that expensive, and it's been worth every penny. Works a treat.)

Courtney said...

#9 gets me every time! Or I will remember to leave the extra length on the front, but then forget and cut it odd of thw back piece. Thanks for the laugh (in the momwnt it never feels like a laughing matter -- and tellingly, usually happens after 10pm)

Carole said...

Sewing for the Bride (family) who would rather perfect their make up techniques than come for a vital Fitting - until you kindly remind them their dress won't be ready in time. Result in in immediate appearance of Bride and Bridesmaids. Only sew for those with a full appreciation of time and effort, as if, lol!

Jan said...

Yup! #6 and #9 everytime. :)

KS_Sews said...

I made a new pattern twice and neither quite worked and I said it is DONE and someone commented I should try again because I knew what to change now. Nope. That's how I felt after #1. I will not spend all that time trying to make something work. WAY too many patterns in my stash for that!

And Beth at SunnyGalSewing mentioned this once and it is now my gets sewn with navy thread. Unpicking black stitching on black fabric is a horror to avoid! :)

Otherwise, do not rush. Rushing is bad.

dicca85 said...

Cutting on a single layer and forgetting to turn the pattern piece upside-down for the second cut!!!

garnet128 said...

1. YEP
2. Absolutely
3. Not a Chanel, but sewing for someone that I am NOT then not wearing it because it is not ME. DUH! I have finally learned to sew for who I am now. Boy did that take a while.
6. Who hasn't? But the older you get the more you realize why you shouldn't.

My biggest mistake though is being afraid to make a mistake. I have made so many 'choice' mistakes of recent (color or pattern shape for me, etc.) that I now second guess my choices and become stagnant. Hubby is my biggest cheerleader and says "go for it" all the time. If it doesn't work, move on. Easy for him to say when I feel deflated, but I know he is right.

badmomgoodmom said...

Done all of those.

But at least #10 is fixable with a Sharpie in color to match your fabric or buttonhole thread.

Kathleen Meadows said...

This post was TOO much fun to read. I must thank the woman who suggested sewing black fabric with navy thread!! Yes! Brilliant.
My most recent (although I've pretty much done every single one mentioned) unpleasant surprise was making up a V neck blouse with a centre front seam. In my cotton practice run, it turned out just fine for fit etc. I excitedly moved onto my beautiful black silk charmeuse and being the smarty pants I like to be, I sewed that front centre seam with flat fell seam. That of COURSE fell on ONE side of the V. I sewed a fancy wool/ribbon around the neckline making sure to V it at the V to (hopefully) camouflage this horrible error. To be honest I doubt anyone would notice but me but every time I wear it, I feel this inexplicable and almost irresistible compulsion to bang my head on a wall.

Martha said...

These are great. I would add trying to fix a mistake too quickly and making matters worse.

kim nath said...

1. After 40 years of sewing, cutting out a size 12 pant because that is my RTW size and realizing as soon as I am done cutting what an idiotic/rookie move that was. What the heck was I thinking???

2. Making alterations to the fabric but not doing the same to the pattern thinking I will remember (and because I am lazy) and then having to make the same alterations the next time because I forgot.

AlaskaBerninaGirl said...

EVERY.SINGLE.ONE! Not that I want others to suffer the same, but I am so glad I am not the only sewer making these mistakes because I sure feel stupid when I make them! Have a good visit and kick the dogs outside.

Ccmel said...

So many to add. Thinking that puckered line of stitching will press flat-it never does. Forgetting to reset the tension dials on the overlocker after rethreading. Sewing wrong side to right side instead of right side to right side. Pressing iron on interfacing with the shiny side up. I had better stop there as I'm feeling depressed now! Nice to know that I am not alone though.

paloverdeblooms said...

Yup, yup, yup, yup, yup!!!

Chabe said...

Oh, thank you for putting these into words! We all know it, and we all nod our heads, and we all keep making the same mistakes :)
But for me, sometimes seeing what I already know put into words by someone else just makes it finally click (I am SOOO visual!).
My number one mistake is spending too much time thinking and re-thinking, and starting more than one project at a time.
Second one would be underestimating how much work it is to alter thrifted items!

becky said...

Done all of these more than once LOL. Add: Reading the instructions and FOLLOWING them even when your common sense says they are wrong and it won't work. Ruined many garments that way. Tried and true methods work best for me. And I love the Navy thread on black idea!

Gwen Van Kleef said...

Patterns that just don't suit my body type/age. I am now trying on similar ready-to-wear clothing and see if the style suits me before sewing one up. Saves a lot of heartache.

Helen Marshall said...

Oh yes , all of them! But not all are fatal are they? In Friday's sewing group, a colleague's no 9 mistake was brilliantly fixed just be adding a piece with a horizontal seam to the back and claiming that the resulting hi-low was a design choice.

barkcloth said...

Last stupid mistake: sewing front jacket pieces together, beautiful topstitching included, and than finding out that there are pockets in this seam.

Phylly said...

How about sewing the neck facing to the armscye not once, but twice, and thinking bad thoughts about the pattern company when it is really your own stupidity. I did finally realize the problem--on the third try. Also, I use charcoal thread to sew black fabric.

Valerie said...

#1 - YES! I have fabric from ages ago that I keep putting aside because I know the moment I cut into it, I will find that perfect pattern, haha! Also sewing while hangry, never works out in my favor.

Anonymous said...

Never use a shorter stitch than the seam needs - my machine defaults to a stitch length that's not easy to unpick. You'd be surprised how many seams aren't particularily 'load bearing' - for example, the seam attaching the facing or waistband on a skirt. And you just KNOW you'll need to alter that one eventually!

And I have a rule that one mistake is OK, but two means it's time to go to bed!


hanne said...

I know that this is an old thread, but I just read it.
You are spot on! I have done each and every one of these things, over and over!
So glad that it is not just me!
I enjoy your blog.

Elizabeth said...

I know too this is old but I had a laugh at the last one because I didn't do this with black. I wanted a pair of red pants and I even had a nice deep red thread.slowly the sun rose and I was all'hmm this is a little orange'. By the time I was finished and the sun had fully risen I realized i had a lair of neon orange bell bottoms