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May 16, 2010

You Look "Meh"-velous

OK, so remember my "meh" Kwik Sew pants from last week? (The ones with the mysterious pocket gathers?)

Well guess what?  I now have a "meh" jacket to go with it!

First, let's define terms so we're all on the same page.

I know, I know, in the photo the jacket looks nice, and I suppose it is nice, in a way.  But, not unlike its wearer, it has some issues.

My plan was to use this vintage princess-seam shirt pattern, cut off everything below the waist, and then add the same size waistband as my Kwik Sew jeans.  It worked!


Loyal readers, after completing my last buttonhole, after yards of flat-felled seams, I came to the unwelcome realization that I had attached the wrong sleeve to the wrong shoulder -- or is it the wrong sleeve to the right shoulder.  Anyway, I think you know what I mean.

I tugged, I pulled, I twisted, but there was no getting around the sorry truth that, unless I was willing to re-attach my arms, I was going to have to perform some major surgery on this jacket.  And this after 6 pm.

I got my handy-dandy Gingher shears and I sliced those limbs right off (the jacket's, not mine).  I then removed all the remnants of the flat-felled seams, made new faux flat-felled seams (basically just folding under 1/2 inch and topstitching the armscye) and then re-attached the sleeve by edgestitching.

From the outside, you'd never know it.  (Just to clarify: the edgestitching on the seam running top to bottom below is holding the sleeve on; the second row to the right of it is purely decorative.)

From the inside....not pretty, but it works, and it didn't take hours to do.

Of course, this still leaves me with cuffs that button under rather than over (see pic), but I can correct that easily enough by zigzagging the old buttonhole closed and creating a new one on the (new) top of the cuff.

Never a dull moment, huh? 

It's annoying that I never seem to make these mistakes on Cathy's clothes, but only my own.  I hope this isn't a signal of creeping self-neglect or something.  I really do care about having my sleeves on straight, insofar as my arms are on straight and have been for years.

Readers, you can comfort me by sharing your own tales of "meh"-velous sewing.  Remember, these are not the gouge-out-eyes, bang-head-against-wall tragedies, but rather the D'oh! What was I thinking? experiences that, while generally not fatal, leave you with a garment that is, upon close inspection, an undeniable "meh."

Thanks for being there.

Happy Sunday everybody, and please, for my sake, take that extra minute to make sure your sleeves are on straight!


  1. Well let's see. There was the pair of 1-hour knit pants that I put together and took apart no fewer than 5 times! The play suit I made for my infant daughter where I planned to cut the 2 fronts/backs out of alternating prints, but instead cut both the backs out of blue and the fronts out of red. Everyone said it was precious, but I knew it was wrong, wrong, wrong. That's just a couple and I've been at this off and on over 30 yrs. Nothing I've EVER made looks as good as your stuff does. : )

  2. Patch pockets are my most hated thing. Invariably, they're crooked, or I sew the two of them in different places, or.... Last night, while making McCall's 5416, I did it... again. Despite carefully pinning the pattern in place on the front fabric and then following the placement dots on the pattern and then repeating on the other side, one pocket was 1/2 inch below the other! So, I took my ripped, ripped off one pocket, and then used my quilting ruler to make sure the dang thing was straight across from the other and resewed it in place.

    The worst thing was that when I discovered it, I'd already sewn the back to the front, making replacing the pocket harder. In fact, I had to rip off the pocket in process of attaching it, because I managed to sew the back into the pocket seam! And this one was a simple fix. A few weeks ago, I had to cut new pockets because I'd ripped the stupid things off five times and still not gotten them completely straight!

  3. My mistakes tend to be very advanced, Peter, so I don't know if I can share here :-)

    I have only made 1 pair of "pants" - yoga pants (Kwik Sew). The directions were utterly excellent and still I managed to sew the 2 fronts together and the 2 backs together. It took me way too long to figure out why it wasn't working. Then I had to rip out all the stitches. But I hazard to say I won't make that mistake again. And I'm wearing the pants right now!

  4. This isn't a sewing story, but I have a nine year old. If you want to see pictures of his mopey blond mess, let me know. Anyway, that kid can't wear his shirts in the correct direction. Even when they clearly have a tag that indicates, as his mother has told him many, many times, the back of the shirt, he still puts them on wrong. If the shirt goes over his head, it ends up backwards. So, if you were designing clothes for careless boys that pay no attention to what they put on their bodies--like my son--you wouldn't be meh but would be perfect. I'm sure Cathy wouldn't not approve.

  5. If you figure out a way to make sure you are always paying attention at critical moments (like choosing which sleeve to sew into the armhole), please let us know. :-)

    Since you don't do it on Cathy's clothes, maybe part of the answer is to really like what you are sewing?


  6. I tace off this fab little dress. So after confirming fit etc., finish the corselett I start slamming away on the fashion fabric and lining - life is grand. I get to stitching in the lining and...WTF? Swear to friggin' all that can go wrong but the lining was drafted inside out and I didn't check my pattern pieces like NORMAL. Ugh!!! Whatever. I've sewed backs to backs and then done it AGAIN, reversed sleeves, etc. I had a dress I made my second year in college that had the same unfortunate sleeve episode you had happen last night. Yeah, ticked me off too. Nobody ever noticed but I sure did and it made me crazy and not in a good way. I hardly wore it. I don't know if a friend took it off my hands or what - it's long gone now.

  7. I tace? I trace. My fingers were cold....

  8. I've made 2 left sleeves, buttonholed the wrong front,hemmed up the right side. sewn right and wrong sides together.I now make huge pencil markings on all pattern pieces, a shirt looks like a novel!

  9. Perfectly setting a sleeve into the neckline of a shirt, then serging . . .


  10. I was so happy yesterday morning. I was sewing along on a beautiful cornflower blue cotton/silk voile blouse. I had defeated the dreaded collar band and collar assembly on the squishy, voluminous, walky fabric. I had the bodice fitted perfectly. I was about to attach the gathered puff sleeves when my two-year-old son walked up with some thread scissors and went SNIP! and cut a damned hole right in the center of the fabric, right under the collar. Where everyone in the world will see it. I can hear the echoes of my voice screaming "NOOOoooooo!!!" as I lunged towards him.

    It's now in the garbage can, and I'm still dabbing my eyes from the tears that spring up uncontrollably.

    Oh, and I have a very cute two-year-old for sale, if anyone is interested. Kidding. Kind of.

  11. At least we have all done it. I am merely quilting, straight lines, a diamond pattern. But it alternates boxes in boxes in boxes with stripes. Quilting it corner to corner. Yesterday, I ripped more seams than I stitched. Because I kept heading for the wrong corner. Over and over and over!

  12. I have done the wrong sleeve in wrong armscye so many times that now I take a piece of chalk and put giant R's and Ls on the inside of the sleeves...and even then I have managed to do it wrong more than once. It's a special talent I have

  13. Oh, many "meh" moments!

    Beth, I think you nailed it: I wasn't very interested in this project. That's the critical difference.

  14. Aw, that definitely sucks. I've made many a meh article of clothing but usually just to poor patter and/or fabric selection. My MIL told me about a jacket she made once with the sleeves in the wrong holes. She wore it anyway, uncomfortable though it was, cause she wasn't redoing those suckers!

  15. Dear Peter,

    I'm an advanced "buttonhole undoer". I don't think you can use this combination of words in English, but I have sewed several buttonholes and had to "take" them out again. It takes you ages and you have to be very careful not to cut into the fabric.....Of course this never ever happened to me.........!


  16. Well, you are still working it. You make "meh" meh-velous, indeed. lol

  17. I was very proud of myself when I finished my first outfit. It was a loose tunic-y top and some simple wide-leg elastic-waist plants. It was nothing fancy, but remember the day when finishing any simple garment was a source of pride? The first time I decided to wear it out, my husband said something like, “You’re not wearing THAT are you?”. I looked at myself again, and realized I was wearing a shapeless tent.

  18. My attempts at sewing this week were also meh-vellous. I was turning a soft toy into a handbag (pic on my blog), and was literally three stitches away from finished when I did the zipper up and snagged the bag lining and ripped a big hole in it.

    So I decided the lining bag could be a little wider, cut out a new one and 2 different sewing machines decided they didn't like me. One tangled up and the other went all sloppy. I finished it and it looks great, but the secret is that all the crappy sewing is in places where you can't see it :P

    I'm knitting this week. I have 8 pairs of leggings and a pair of leg warmers to overlock and I don't want my crappy sewing mojo to screw them up so I'm waiting until the universe decides to stop picking on me. (My car got stolen and I had the flu too, I think the universe is picking on me this week/month).

  19. On every garment I always sew a seam wrong at least once. Meaning the two wrong sides together, leaving an exposed seam. Even worse is when you are doing French Seams and are trying to do it intentionally.
    Never mind the fact that I just finished crocheting a pair of socks (which I have re-done the various parts many times already) only to find that one of the cuffs is too tiny to get my foot in. Boo.

  20. One day when I was drafting a pattern I forgot to add the seam allowances and of course I realized until it was too late

  21. Oh, there isn't a seamstress on the planet who hasn't done something like that :-).
    And I just spent the entire weekend hemming a particularly drapey (read: squirelly) knit, so I'm in a bad mood too.
    But I have 2 observations for you. One, the most important, being that you seem to be recovering just fine. That's the only thing that matters in the end. Two is that you probably need to get in the groove of trying things on sooner. The earlier you catch a problem and the less hassle it is to fix it (as in many other domains).
    So perhaps since Cathy's clothes are more unusual, more fun, you try things on more? Certainly we see pictures of Cathy works-in-progress and nothing of the sort for you, which might be revealing of a practice that leads to trouble..

  22. I have set pockets backwards into a jacket. The only way to use them was to fold your arms and use the pocket on the other side. Kinda straight jacket style. Meh meh meh

  23. Scored 2 yards of Paul Smith green-stripe shirting, v cheap. Copied favorite pyjama pattern, felt v smug. Cut out fabric. Decided to use serger, cos that's like, professional. Forgot only left 1cm for seam, serged at 1.5 cos picked wrong marking on footplate. Can't get them past knees. Can't undo cos pieces now too small. Use as haphazard 'dust cover' for serger to remind me never, ever to do that again, eedjit. Grr, arrgh.


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