kcw: mistakes

mistakes: saskia from vera luna

Hi there! It’s Saskia from Vera Luna again. How did Kids Clothes Week go for you? Did everything  go as planned? Did it involve smooth sewing or a lot of swearing and seam ripping? Are you satisfied with the results?

We decided that this week would be devoted to mistakes. Of course it is tempting to  only blog about our highlights and ignore our failures, but the truth is, we learn most from our mistakes (at least, if you’re not me…ahem. More on that later)

So without much further ado, here -in reverse order-  is my Top 4 of Mistakes:

Coming in fourth are serger mishaps. Fortunately, these don’t happen very often anymore (hence fourth place), but they were quite common when I started using my serger. Especially when serging sleeves, fabric would fold up at the underside of the garment, and be caught in the stitches or even cut off. Having learned my lesson the hard way, nowadays I always take great care in making sure that all fabric is nice and flat when feeding it through the serger. Still, sewing an item only with the serger -apparently the way to whip out clothes in no time – is lost on me. Too scary!

At third place, you’ll find necklines.  I sew mostly with knits, and the main hurdle of each tee or sweater is to create a neat, non-wavy neckline. I think I might finally have mastered them: during this KCW I actually made two reasonable necklines in a row…. The trick: measure the circumference of the neckline and cut your ribbing at 3/4ths of this length. That is enough, really! Another strategy is to avoid necklines altogether, by adding a hood, cowl or envelope neck.

The second place is firmly taken by sizing errors. I never really measure my kids’ sizes, and usually just eyeball it. I take a garment that fits them quite well and estimate the measurements based on that. Whereas this strategy usually works out quite well, I often end up with clothes with weird proportions.

ahoy5I wanted to be sure that this sweater would go over the baby’s head. It did… It even fit over my head…. O, and did you notice the weird placement of the elbow patch? That’s what I mean… (not to mention the mismatched stripes on the sleeve)

Here’s a random list of some of my measuring mistakes:

  • A sweater for my baby with a neckline that was so wide that it fit around my own head,
  • Veery skinny jeans,
  • Sweaters with sleeves that were too long (not a big problem, just extra work to hem them again),
  • Sweaters with sleeves that are a tad short (a bit more of an issue),
  • Highwater pants,
  • Elbow patches placed too high and knee pads well below the knee…. (oops),

However, my most epic sizing failure must have been when I started off making a tee for my one-year old, and ended up with one fitting my tall four-year old… Can you believe that?

The stupid thing is, I know that this is my personal pitfall, but I don’t seem to learn from it. A lot of these errors could have been prevented if I had taken the time to measure my kids and adjust the patterns accordingly. But I always want to get to the fun part as quickly as possible, and skip this important step.

space raceThis started out as a tee for my one-year old. It ended up large enough for my four-year old. See the lightblue patch on the waistband? Yeah, also a measurement error…

My  number one mistake -beyond doubt-  is the yarn-dyeing experiment that resulted in exploding wool. Last autumn I tried my hand at yarn dyeing with food coloring, vinegar and a microwave. I had read some tutorials on the Internet, but they all prescribed slightly different amounts of  ingredients  and cooking times. So I decided to wing it and follow the instructions loosely (recognize a theme here?). I put the yarn in a bowl with water, food coloring and a few spoons of vinegar, put the stuff in the microwave, and let it simmer for a few minutes. As you can imagine, it looked and smelled as if I was brewing some toxic concoction. At some point, I left the kitchen to fetch something upstairs, leaving the microwave simmering on. Suddenly I heard a loud bang, followed by an outrageous shout from my husband. I came back to find the inside of the microwave completely covered in blue spatters. My husband was furious, and wasn’t calmed by my remark that it was just food coloring and  perfectly safe… I had to promise him never to do it again.
However, I might secretly repeat it, because the end result was great!

yarn dyeingMicrowave yarn dyeing – very cool, but explosive!

So, those were my mistakes! I’m not sure if you learned a lot from it, but I do hope you had fun reading about my stupidities…

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  • Reply Inspinration February 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Oh I love reading such posts, full of self irony. Once I cut through the middle of a skirt while sewing with my serger, I actually, literally cried, with tears… My own top mistake is not mirroring my patern pieces well enough and ending up with two back left leg pieces for example..

  • Reply annika February 18, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    What a fab read!!! You’re fantastic. My husband would totally freak out if that happend inside our microwave

  • Reply Holly February 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    what a wonderful post saskia! i too am completely guilty of not measuring my child and getting an ill-fitting result. luckily my kid is small so i just call it “room to grow” like it was intentional! 
    thank you for the guidance on neckline ribbing! i’m constantly trying different lengths (was 90% successful last time? or was it 80%? i can never remember.) now i’ll just go with 3/4 the length of the neckline and be done with it!

  • Reply A Jacobs February 19, 2015 at 3:41 am

    The part about the microwave is very funny! I can so see myself doing that. and yes, repeating it also 🙂

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