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Apr 21, 2010

Sewing and the "Oh, $&%^*$!" Moment


We've all had them (I hope).  Everything's going along swimmingly with your latest sewing project...la la la...when suddenly ugh:



Of course, an upside down sleeve can work -- if you have a dislocated shoulder.

Sometimes mistakes can't be helped: you're overtired, you've grown a little weary of your project;  basically, your concentration is shot and you shouldn't be sewing at all.

As I'm winding up my 1937 Hollywood dress project, I'm having a few of these moments.  I'm tempted to show you what I did to the inside of my sleeve with my serger but I'm afraid it will work against me if I enter this dress in the Pattern Review vintage sewing contest.  The competition is ruthless: I'm up against one of my very own Bloggettes! 

Luckily, I am not a competitive person, no siree, ot nay ee may!  


I have a lot of studying to do, peeps...p. 174, blind hem stitch...

But wait!  Today is April 21, the day that officially cements me in late middle age -- middle, that is, if I live to be 96.  I will be spending most of the day massaging almond oil into my laugh lines.  And hemming my dress.  Maybe dinner out.   

 
And how is that purple 1937 dress coming along, you ask?

The big unveiling is coming soon!


So, loyal readers, what's been your worst sewing "Oh, $&%^*$!" moment?

Please share, it will make me feel better -- not younger, but better!

And speaking of defying advancing age...

We should all look so good at 29.

47 comments:

  1. Well, Peter, that's always a bummer when you sew something on backwards (or inside-out...nooo, never done that...). Not much to do but suck it up and rip it out. Fortunately the last mistake I made was wearable, I put a piece in inside out, not upside down, and felt like quite an idiot. You can do it! I'd suggest leaving it be till you get some sleep, though. It's even worse to make the same mistake twice...

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  2. thank goodness it's not just me! just on this skirt I've done backwards, upside down and along the wrong line (on the waistband) That's 3 times!

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  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    I ruined a beautiful piece of silk by serging(with blade) through layers caught underneath... most of my *&%^%-ups involve this kind of carelessness.

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  4. Happy birthday! Looking forward to the big reveal on the purple dress.

    Let's see: I have set jacket sleeves in backwards, sewn the inseams on pants as the crotch, sewn a neckband inside out four times, sewn a garment to the clothes I was wearing .... but my biggest "Oh, $&%^*$! moment" was pressing and burning a velvet skirt (complete with an impossible invisible zip) that I had just finished.

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  5. My worst moment was sewing the most expensive fabric I have ever bought. I bought this gorgeous satin-backed crepe to make myself a dress for my graduation from my PhD. It had to be beautiful.

    I burnt the absolute life out of the shoulder seam, trying to get the lining to stay flat. This was the day before my graduation. Queue in major cursing, hysterics, tears and a little bit of hair tearing out. Needless to say I wore something else.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Hope you got to eat out and do some much deserved celebrating.

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  6. I'm almost inclined to say that I believe in reverse birthdays and therefore you have to give me a present. That present would be, of course, the purple dress. However, as it's a lovely Autumn day here in Oz and I'm feeling mellow, I shall just say that I wish you a very Happy Birthday!! May you have a great day (and year).

    PS Just how old is Cousin Cathy or doesn't she let on?

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  7. Mine was also a serger mishap. Serged right through the middle of a tablecloth I was hemming to get volunteer hours in high school. Oops.

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  8. Happy Birthday! (We're the same age, so I'll see you when we're both fully aged at 96!)

    Can't remember what my biggest Oh $#*^@ moment was - there's been so many of them!

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  9. Peace to you on your BornDay!

    If you get drunk I'm certain the dress will look better.

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  10. To you, or to me! LOL

    Thanks everybody!

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  11. Happy Birthday, Peter!

    My latest was pockets on an outfit for Evie. They're patch pocket, you see. I pinned them on, triple checked for straightness and such, and then sewed them on. Not only was one crooked, but it was int he wrong place. And typically, one was not only crooked, but in the wrong place, and I'd triple stitched the top, so it wouldn't come off! Fixed that, but now all the elastic in the house has walked off, due to our sweet kleptomaniac toddler. I'll have to go to Wal-Mart to get more today or tomorrow. Can't make little pull-on shorts without elastic.

    To make matters worse, none of my vintage patterns have arrived yet for the contest. While it's true that I have a small collection of vintage patterns, I refuse to make one up if it won't fit anyone. It's a waste of time and fabric, IMHO. So I've ordered some for Evie's summer wardrobe, but they're not here yet. If I'm to make the deadline for the contest, I'll be pulling all-nighters to get it done. Tomorrow, I'm going shopping for the rest of Evie's patterns and a bit more fabric to fill in the holes from my stash for her clothes. (For example, I don't have plain green fabric. Need it to go with a pattern green.) I'll pick up the fabric I've chosen for my vintage patterns then. And some bits and pieces like teddy bear shaped buttons for her new overall shorts.

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  12. Oh lord, thanks for the video! Gotta admit, Joan had a damn good figure for a woman her age (I'm thinkin' she was 60ish at that time). Good jawline, too. As for sewing mistakes, sheesh, I've made them all, usually later in the evening when I'm tired (I know better than to sew when I'm tired, but sometimes I just want to plow through and get things done). What frustrates me is when I incorrectly sew a couple of pieces together, I tear it apart, then do the same mistake once or twice more!!!!

    Have a lovely birthday. Before you know it, your letter from AARP will be showing up in your mailbox. Don't worry, it isn't so bad!

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  13. Oh, Peter. Almost forgot. I learned this from a Kwik Sew pattern. Have you thought of installing the sleeves flat rather than doing set-in sleeves? Just sew the shoulder seams, pin the sleeves in, matching the raw edges, and sew it before sewing up the side and sleeve seam. Looks the same and it's easier than setting in the sleeve. (I'm a lazy sewer. If I can possibly take a short cut, I do.)

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  14. Laura, that's the technique I use for mens shirts. But for a gathered sleeve cap, I'm not sure it would work as well.

    Oh, Joan, why did you bother with "Strait Jacket?"

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  15. Thank You for that! It was wonderful and I really mean that. All of you guys out here in blogland are such wonderful at sewing. Even your upside down sleeve looks wonderful--although upside down. Since I am doing sleeves flat I can still admire your skill quite easily. Laughter is a great gift.

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  16. Peter - been there, done that! I can sympathize. But my worse "oh @#$%!" sewing moment was when I knew I was too tired to sew, so I thought, "Ok, well I'll just cut out the next shirt!." Pretty smart, right? Still getting something done, but not screwing up the collar that needed to be set in. So what went wrong? I ran over my left index finger with my rotary cutter and cut to the bone.

    Sigh. At least I didn't bleed on the fabric.

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  17. Happy Birthday! OMG, I found that Joan Crawford vid to be scary on so many levels, that I feel the need (at 9:30 am) for a calming martini!
    I just 3 weeks ago cut the hemline of a bias cut chiffon inset lying flat, eyeballing it! AGH!!!! I was a bit tired at the time, and thought "if I do this now, I can just get up and hem in the morning". It was a mess,and I was a bit distraught; didn't think I had enough left over to cut another piece. (Didn't think I was really that stupid either, but apparently...) Well, morning came and I faced my disaster calmly (and hopefully learned a lesson for the future...)

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  18. Happy Birthday Peter! I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Now, I'm certain that you meant to ask "What's been your worst sewing mistake THIS WEEK?" For me that would be sewing a perfectly topstitched collar in wrong side up.

    I think my all time dumbest mistake was sewing a sleeve in to the neckline.

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  19. happy birthday, peter!

    i am in the middle of my worst sewing moment... there are 3 mysterious marks on a silk evening gown i'm in the middle of. right across the side hip. i have no idea what it is, i keep myself & my workspace hospital clean when tackling this dress... ugh. when i think about it i get scared like i'm in a stephen king story.

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  20. Happy Birthday Peter!!
    My worst sewing mistake has been sewing a two-piece sleeve in backwards, on both sides, of a jacket. You'd think the notches would tell me ... wouldn't you??? But I was totally oblivious until I put the jacket on my dressform and the sleeves hung backwards, looking ridiculous...lol

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  21. Happy Birthday! I wish you a year filled with fabric and successful sleeve set-ins.

    My worst sewing moment was notched lapel, which remaineded wadded up in the corner of my fabric closet until we moved five years later.

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  22. Happy Birthday Peter! Perhaps your next blog entry should be "When I am a Bold Woman I Shall Wear Purple" (apologies to Sandra Martz)

    Good luck with Sleeve 2.0...look forward to the big Reveal!

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  23. Happy Birthday, Peter! I hope you have great weather, a lot of laughter and good friends to share it with.

    You're still smokin', mister. No matter your age!

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  24. Happy birthday! I have a zillion #$%@%$ moments when sewing, the most recent when I sewed the wrong side of the fabric to the right side. It was not fun ripping stitches from a stretchy knit.

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  25. Funnily enough, it was a pattern with a gathered sleeve cap that I learned to do that on. Remember, the whole point with gathers is to make it fit in the hole. So just use the gathers to make the length of the sleeve and the armhole length the same. I pretty much do every sleeve that way. It's very useful for doll, baby, and toddler clothes with tiny little armholes.

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  26. Happy Birthday Peter!!

    I don't know if this is my biggest Oh #%$& moment but when dress making, I've definitely attached the right side of a bodice to the wrong side of a skirt...several times!

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  27. You're an April baby too? Oh how wonderful! The best people were born in April. he he he. Happy Happy Birthday! You look terrific. And laugh lines only make you look more distinguished and sophisticated.

    Sewing disasters? You are talking to a perfect seamstress here. Well, there was that time that I cut a big gash right in the middle of a silk dress. No more fabric either. Did you read about my sister's zipper experience? She took all this time to hand baste in a zipper put the skirt on and then couldn't get the zipper to go down. Finally the zipper ripped out of one side of the skirt, but not far enough down to get the thing off. So she had to unpick herself out of the skirt. Literally, get and unpicker and unpick to get the skirt to come off. Now that's pretty bad.

    Best wishes on your top! Can't wait to see the finish.

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  28. Happy Birthday to my favorite male blogger!

    All of my "Oh $&%^*" moments seem to occur during the cutting process. I was once working with a very limited amount of lining and ended up cutting two left sides. I then went to cut a right side out...and ended up with another left. After much cursing and fabric finagling I managed to finally cut that right side out properly.

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  29. Happy Birthday, Peter!

    I think I've repressed my worst sewing mistakes but I can think of two that stand out. I recently sewed some black pants and realized toward the end that I was using the wrong side as the right side. One time I made a fabulous velvet dress that had a zipper up the back. It was a low back, too. I had to redo that zipper THREE TIMES because EVERY TIME I did it, I zipped the zipper pull right off the top and could not get it back on. I drove back to the fabric store over and over....But the dress turned out fantastic and I wore it A LOT. But most of my mistakes come more from poor fabric choices rather than sewing mistakes.

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  30. Not exactly a 'sewing' mistake, but I had just finished quilting a section of a pure white, corded jacket, and rinsed it to get the blue water-soluable marker off. I hung it on the line in my school's dye kitchen, and put a drip pan under it. About 15 minutes later, some one knocked it off the line and into the drip pan, which had some nasty brown dye dried on it from whoever used it last.

    Thankfully, it thioxed out, but I nearly had a heart attack.

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  31. Is that Bette from "What ever happened to Baby Jane?" A classic moment in movie history and the exact same expression demented glee I wore when I realized I cut into my cherished knit, I spent weeks looking for, in the wrong spot not once, not twice, but for third time!

    My love, rip that sucker out and slap it back in. :)

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  32. Happy birthday! I would never have guessed your true age. Also, I am envious of your old sewing manual with the psychedelic illustration. If only my sewing machine looked like that.

    Best regards,
    Monica

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  33. Happy birthday!! Hehe... I have those moments all the time, but one time it was so bad that I didn't feel like sewing for 3 months!

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  34. Happy birthday! I have made a million sewing mistakes. Lately, I've been sewing a lot of silk, and I usually use French seams on silk. The first seam I do in such a garment I ALWAYS sew right sides together first, rather than wrong sides for the French seams. Every damn time. No matter how hard I try to remember.

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  35. Happy birthday!

    I have those #*&^#@ moments for sure! The more you sew, the more you have!
    Once, I sewed the sleeves to a blouse inside out, it was a print so the sleeves were lighter than the rest of the body. Recently I ironed a hem too hot a setting and melted my fabric, and I've done my share of serging accidentally through bits of my project that strayed too close to the blade.
    Good luck and hope you have a fantastic day!

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  36. I quick pop in to say Happy Birthday! I've had too many sewing mistakes to even start listing.

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  37. Rather Be Sewing - Lynne WApril 21, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Happy Birthday, fellow April young'un!
    My recent mistake was detailed ad nauseum here - the swashbuckle blacksmith shirt with the sleeve and back pieces swapped. But my worst mistake was in high school tailoring - I can still feel my face burn hot at the memory. I had just finished a nifty nautical blue kettle cloth blazer and matching bell bottoms - adorable, if I do remember correctly. Sunday evening at home (due Monday) - I clipped the notch on the left lapel right through to the point of no return. Focal point completely ruined. Rather than write my project off, I still needed a grade, after all), I did the next best thing: ran to the department store for a cute 70's red/white/blue sailor pin and covered that gash right up. I got an A for resourcefulness. LOL.

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  38. Happy, happy!

    Oh $#@% moments in sewing?... too many to remember I'm sure, but I avoided one today, so I'm feeling smug. Hope that won't come back to bite me in the butt.

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  39. Happy birthday! I'm sure you'll live to be 110, in which case you haven't hit middle age yet. And I have so many blunders I can't choose from them. I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one who lives through those sewing moments.

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  40. I've decided that I hate the current pattern. It has a round yoke, and I've had to rip the dang thing apart five times already! Now if I can just get the zipper installed without teaching the baby some new words....

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  41. Happy birthday, right under the wire! I hope you had a fabulous day, and a fantastic dinner out :)

    I always seem to sew my garment to itself when putting in a zipper. I try to avoid it, but no matter, it seems to always happen. There was the one time it didn't, but then I realized I had put the zipper in backwards :( I am convinced that no project will ever be free of those moments!

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  42. Think of it this way, Peter. If both sleeves are sewn in upside down, she will look fabulous playing volleyball.

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  43. THose are the only moments I've so far with my dress. ;)

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  44. Happy Belated Birthday Peter.. I hope it was wonderful!

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  45. And the oh $#@% moments in sewing... I have done them all more then once... but the most notorious mistake was the time I was talking to my mom while trying to put in a zipper on a dress that was going into my suitcase in moments to get on a plane which was going to leave me if I did not get on with it.. and wouldnt you know I zipped that zipper pull right off the zipper... Well I have done that a few times but never with my mother on the line... That was years ago... and my mom is still shocked that I knew all THOSE words... She never guessed I could swear like that... lol

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