kcw: mistakes

mistakes: sara from made by sara

Hi everyone! It’s Sara here from Made by Sara and I am going to let you know all of my secret sewing mistakes. You are about to see the things unblogged, untold and unseen.

It is actually rather funny that I am writing this today. I just finished sewing something that had a mistake after another… Let’s say this piece of garment was all about blood – I pocked myself really hard with a pin… -, sweat – making two double welt pockets on some trousers is not a job for babies – and tears – I had to call Mr. S. Ripper several times and I even had to cut again one of the pattern pieces because I messed the first one really bad. Sometimes sewing is a humbling thing.

When I first (re)started to sew – I think about 4 years ago – I made a lot of mistakes: stitching wavy wonky lines, sewing with an inaccurate seam allowance (SA) like 3/8” instead of 1/4”, sewing right side with wrong side when it should be right sides together (RST), just to name a few…

With time the lines got a lot more straight and aligned, and SA is now super accurate, but sometimes I still sew right side with wrong side. LOL


This peplum tee was made for KCW (January 2014) and it was my first thing ever featured on KCW’s blog! It was also the first thing I ever made with knits! I was so thrilled!

The thing is, I didn’t knew a thing about sewing with knits! I took some sewing lessons with a wonderful professional seamstress for about three years. She taught me a lot about couture sewing techniques and also industry methods. But we never had the chance to dwell into knits… So a lot of mistakes were done on this one and the following ones until I learned from my mistakes and started to read something about it. To begin with I have used a regular straight stitch instead of a stretch one or a narrow zig zag… and I didn’t used a ball point / stretch needle (didn’t even knew they existed!)… and to top it all I have used a 100% cotton thread. Can you guess what happened? The stitches started to break and it only lasted a couple of days… (whomp, whomp, whomp…)


I love to pattern test. To me it is all about hard work and providing the most nit pick feedback. When I was testing these trousers I sent an urgent message to the designer saying that  “The front leg piece is way shorter than the back leg piece!” only to find out later that the mistake was mine… That front piece has some small knee pleats that should be made with an exact accuracy. It turned out I was sewing them adding about 1/8” to each, so in the end the front was about one inch shorter. Lesson learned: Always be very accurate with the SA given!


See this dress here? Can you spot what is wrong with it? Yes, that peter pan collar is asymmetrical on the back. I honestly don’t know what happened but one side of the collar is shorter than the other… I guess it was a matter of wrong SA again… Lesson learned: always check if both pieces of a peter pan collar are exactly the same…

This dress had another problem that I managed to solve at the time – sewing the zipper across two pattern pieces (through bodice and skirt) When I started to make dresses for my girls I could never get it right at first attempt… I always had to unpick everything and try again. Now I have a super good trick for this! After sewing one side of the zipper I use a tailor’s chalk and draw a line across the zipper (on both sides) along the bodice & skirt seam. That way when I am sewing the other side of the zipper I just have to match the chalk’s mark with the seam and that’s it!


Oh, this one is very good. (Not.) See where the elbows are? That’s where those elbow patches were supposed to be… I decided to add elbow patches to the pattern I was using and it didn’t turned out that great… And the most hilarious thing is – I even made a tutorial on how to add elbow patches to any tee when I blogged about it! (LOL)

I made this tee the night before we were going on a week’s vacation and I didn’t had the chance to try it on my son before we left. So we were in the middle of the woods when he tried it for the first time so I could take the photos for a blog post I had to make that day for a pattern tour. I didn’t had a sewing machine with me so I couldn’t fix that major mistake on time… Lesson learned, now I know where and how to place those elbow patches on the right place.


I love love love this blouse. It is one of my favorites of all the things I have ever sewn. The pattern is amazing – super professional -, the fabric is lovely, the piping is perfect and those vintage buttons I have used from my granny’s stash? The cherry on top.

The thing I didn’t tell you on my blog post about this blouse is that it had a huge  mistake! The sleeves are switched… The right arm sleeve was sewn on the left side and vice-versa… On woven garments the sleeves must be asymmetrical and preferably set in, otherwise they won’t fit properly and they won’t be comfortable.

After the blog post this blouse went to my mending pile and when I finally grabbed it to unpick the sleeves and place them correctly, my little girl had outgrown it. That gorgeous blouse was never worn. And because I love it so much I wasn’t able to give it, so it is being kept for my grandchildren.


Well, enough with this session of self-humiliation. Now you know my dirty little sewing secrets. Would you be so sweet as to let me know some of yours? It would make me feel better.

In the end, I don’t mind  doing some mistakes because although some keep happening (like sewing the right side with the wrong side…) most of them make me learn something and help me to improve my sewing, and that is something I really love.

I hope that by getting to know my mistakes you will realize that you are not alone! Don’t give up on sewing! Practice does make perfection.



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  • Reply Soraia de Sousa Mendes May 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Loved the post! I am so happy to read these posts… I honestly though I was the only one messing up! Thank you Sara, I feel much better now! 🙂 

  • Reply Lisa at Mabey She Made It May 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Aww, that last blouse is adorable, but so sad she never got to wear it.

  • Reply Laura May 15, 2015 at 12:07 am

    The mistake I continually make is not paying attention to the amount of stretch in knits. most recent instance – one of the skirts I made during kcw for my 3 year old is going to my 18 month old.

  • Reply Diana May 15, 2015 at 3:53 am

    Great post Sara! Loved reading it! I forgot one mistake, I too keep sewing right and wrong sides together! It usually happens when I sew at night. I’m so tired, my mind wonders and I stop paying attention to what I’m doing.

  • Reply Renee May 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

    great post Sara – I can relate!! I have done many of the same mistakes – like sewing knee patches in the wrong place. Best one was cutting a hole in a skirt with the serger blade 🙁

  • Reply Fiona May 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    This is why I stopped sewing at night, because I kept making little mistakes that I had to rip out the next morning! I made knee patches that were too high, so were essentially useless. So, no, you’re not alone 🙂

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