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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.



kcw: mistakes

mistakes: lisa from mabey she made it

Hi again, it’s Lisa from Mabey She Made It! I’m glad we get the chance to share some mistakes and lessons with you. It’s so easy to believe that great sewists sew perfect garments every time, but the truth is that we never stop making mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them.

There are no end to the number of mistakes I make in any given day. Sometimes it’s frustrating to think about all the time and energy I use up because of simple mess ups or oversights. But the thing that makes me hopeful is all the things I’m learning from my mistakes. (Like never leaving a seam ripper laying around or the dress you just finished might end up in shreds.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 10.26.45 PM

You see, I have to believe that mistakes are really opportunities. A chance to rethink, try again, and learn to do things a little better.

I’ve been sewing for about 5 years now, and I’ve learned everything I know from trial and error. And by that, I mean a lot of error. The first project I worked on was putting a binding on a quilt my mom and I tied. She was helping me pin and showing me what to do, and I was amazed at the sense of accomplishment I felt. There’s a spot on that blanket where I totally missed the binding on the back side. It’s a small spot, but it’s there. And although I’ve thought about fixing it many times in these five years, I can’t help but love that it’s not perfect. It was a learning experience and my first project.

After that I started experimenting with different kinds of fabric and projects, but I’d use fabric I found in the remnant bins or had been given by friends. My thought was that I wouldn’t learn unless I was willing to try and (most likely) fail. But at least I hadn’t invested a lot of money into the learning process.

And I did learn. A lot of the clothing I created at first are long gone–I couldn’t look at them or wear them without seeing the poor quality and crooked seams after a while. But all the lessons I learned from those misshapen garments are with me still and have helped me become a better seamstress.

Mistakes are also a great way to get you thinking creatively. When I was sewing for my first Kids Clothes Week, I was cutting a cute little dress out, and all of the sudden I realized I’d cut the tunic length not the dress length for the front. I was so sad! But then I had a lightbulb moment and realized I could use that miscut piece to add extra detail to the dress. I cut an extra band for the back and front panels, and added some piping to the seam to really make that “mistake” shine. It’s something I find over and over again in my sewing. One misstep leads to problem solving and brainstorming.

Evelyn Dress by Peek-A-Boo Patterns | Mabey She Made It #kidsclothesweek #sewingforkids

It has also led me to being more brave about creating my own alterations to patterns. I was creating an upcycled dress, and out of necessity (there wasn’t enough fabric to make the first dress completely, I mashed a couple of patterns together and it’s probably one of my favorites ever.

Pinstripe Dress | Mabey She Made It | #upcycle #sewingforkids #sewing #pr&p

So much so that I created another just like it and I’m positive I’ll continue making this same creation. But it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to make a mistake, problem solve, and figure out my own style and creative process.

9 Tips for Upcycling Clothes | Mabey She Made It

So I’m grateful for mistakes. For the lessons they teach, for the opportunities they provide, and for the fact that my sewing abilities have grown because of them. So don’t despair when you are reaching for the seam ripper for the millionth time tonight or when you’ve just serged a SECOND hole into your nearly completed dress–there’s always an opportunity in your mistakes!

kcw: mistakes

mistakes: diana from miss castelinhos

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a fun Kid’s Clothes Week. I had a blast! I made two t-shirts and they were WILD, if you don’t mind me saying. But the best part was seeing all the great clothes in the project pool everyday!

Today we go on talking about mistakes…

Let’s face it, we all made a few (or more than a few!). I’ve done my share! When I first started sewing, I would get really frustrated (I have to admit I still do, a little bit!), which was completely useless, because when you’re learning, you are sure to make many mistakes. That’s how you learn and improve. So just take a deep breathe and keep on going!

The main reason to why I make mistakes is that I’m always rushing to finish a project. I’m like a little kid… I want to be done as soon as possible! We have a saying here in Portugal (did you know I’m portuguese?), “A pressa é inimiga da perfeição”, which ruffly translates to “Haste makes waste” (now you know a little bit of portuguese!).

So let me tell you about some of the mistakes I’ve made…

The first pattern I ever bought was the Elm Poncho Raincoat. It was quite a task! I had never sewed with oilcloth and that was my biggest concern, but I figured I’d manage just fine. My first mistake was not reading about the amount of fabric I needed, in the instructions. I didn’t realize that I needed a bit more fabric to match the print in the different panels. I had to cut the back side panels with the print upside down. Lesson learned! I now always check the amount of fabric needed for each project.

The Twisted Tank is pretty simple, so I chose it for this last season of Kid’s Clothes Week and added a hood with some cute ears. Now, you probably are saying to yourself: “I know what went wrong! Adding the hood!”. Well, sorry to disappoint you… That was a perfect fit! What I did wrong was that I forgot to add interfacing to the ears and also sewed them with the wrong side up. I was so eager to finish, that I missed these simple steps. Don’t rush!


1. Elm Poncho Raincoat; 2. Regular Twisted Tank; 3. Small Fry Skinny Jeans; 4. Rowan Tee

The Small Fry Skinny Jeans were another project I rushed. I wanted my son to wear them on his birthday, and as a result, I forgot to topstitch all around the waistband. I’ve done a few Rowan Tee’s, so I have no excuse for this one. The neckline came out too big (you can see how bad it is, in the picture above), because of the red ribbing, which was too stretchy.


1. Sea Change Top; 2. Marthe Blouse; 3. Bubble Shorts

Every now and then, I sew a little something for myself. A little bit of “self-care sewing” as my dear friend Sara put it! And of course, I can’t wait to wear what I’ve made (again, always rushing!). If you look closely at the first picture, you’ll see that the stripes on the waistband are not exactly straight. That’s because, I didn’t iron the fabric before cutting, so it was all wrinkly and that happened. Another top I sewed for my self was the Marthe (did you notice how much I love stripes?). This one I didn’t even finish. I burned one of the sleeves while ironing, cut the fabric for the peplum all wrong and ran out of fabric.

I don’t usually sew for little girls, so there’s not a lot of gathering techniques and ruffles in my “portfolio”. The Bubble Shorts were a nice change.  Some how, the instructions, on how to sew the second leg, were not making sense to me, so I decided to do it my way. Of course, my way was completely wrong and I ended up doing it all over. This time I followed the instructions!

Hope you enjoyed reading about some of the many mistakes I’ve made.

No matter how many mistakes you make, big or small, the truth is, you made something from a piece of fabric, and that is AMAZING! And not many people can say : “Yes, I made that!” 😀