Tales of Trial and Error


Sewing is an adventure. Like any creative hobby, it has its jumping-up-and-down satisfying highs and hair-pulling lows. For those who don’t sew, it seems almost impossible to get fabric to stay together and y’know…look good, especially by doing it all yourself. Recently Eclectic Threads wrote a post called So, Why Sew? which had me nodding the whole time. She nailed my sentiments about sewing exactly. My grandmothers both taught me how to sew and it saddens me that so many people in my generation didn’t have the skills passed to them. Sewing is one of our oldest crafts, so why should we lose it now?

The biggest reason I have heard for not getting started is that it seems really difficult. It’s intimidating. There’s so much at stake, what if I ruin good fabric or clothes? Guess what. It can be intimidating. But if you break down the skills and start small you can build up your skill set.

The fundamentals get easier with time and practice and new methods can be explored. Mistakes do happen. AND IT’S OKAY.

If a mistake doesn’t really affect the overall look of my project, I usually just leave it. (Exhibit A- the skewed bias on my Bamboo Case)

Sometimes, mistakes will really get me frazzled and freaked out. When I was cutting striped fabric for a chevron top, I was so meticulously careful to line up my stripes perfectly, and then I cut my fabric…only to realize I had not reversed my angle on the bias, so my ‘chevron’ stripes were one continuous line! I panicked, since I made myself a deadline for this project, and I had little fabric left. I managed to squeeze my pattern pieces into place to match the stripes properly, at the expense of my grain lines…so this happened.

Can you see the lumpy and wavy way the fabric is pulling? And how the back doesn't fit at all?

Can you see the lumpy and wavy way the fabric is pulling? And how the back doesn’t fit at all?

You’d think I would know the old “measure twice, cut once” adage but I was so excited to move the project forward I didn’t focus on my actions. It was disappointing, but a learning experience. And with all creative endeavors, once you jump in, you can expect a lot of these.

Sometimes you expect mistakes, for example, in school we were tasked with making a tailored jacket. I wasn’t confident enough with my button-holing skills that I didn’t put the button on by the time it was due for class.


Sometimes mistakes jump out at someone else, and you didn’t even know you made them. You can probably see that my pockets are at the complete wrong angle. You have to twist your hands sort of to get them in. I didn’t even notice until class presentation and someone asked me about it. Seriously. I drafted the pattern myself and even made a voile. I didn’t see it at all. I honestly had nothing to do but laugh about that one.

Sometimes, it doesn't even matter though cause it still looks awesome! [Photo credit: J Jackman Photography]

Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter though cause it still looks awesome! [Photo credit: J Jackman Photography]

And sometimes you can fix your mistakes. I had done the back pleat in a method that didn’t work for my fabric. I didn’t have time before I handed it in, but once I got it back, I tore up the seams and made it into an opening vent.

I promise you that NO ONE is perfect when they start creating. Heck, you even aren’t perfect after 10 years of practice (or is that just me?)

Weird unfitting lines. Oh well. At least I tried it!

Weird unfitting lines. Oh well. At least I tried making something!

Have you ever had any infamous sewing blunders? What did you learn from it?

2 thoughts on “Tales of Trial and Error

  1. Great post! Love the yellow jacket 🙂 I had a bit of a sewing disaster recently – I spent ages making a dress, only to have to unpick the whole top section and start again! It was my own fault – I decided to freestyle the neckline rather than following the pattern and the shape was all wrong. Don’t think I’ll be doing that again! Hasn’t put me off sewing though – I just need to remember to walk before I can run!

  2. Mistakes are always going to happen… i’ve irreplacably ruined so many metres of fabric in unsalvagable ways :(. I don’t regret it one bit because i’m suddenly good at sewing! I recently finished a dress without unpicking once, a real achievement for me!

    I wish everyone knew it’s never perfect before you start, even if you’re extra careful!

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