Category Archives: Stupid Mistakes



I’ve been ruminating again on process.  How sewing is all about process.  How I abhor process and yet keep picking activities where process is the main theme.  And it got me to thinking about how I would rather skip from A to Z without learning about all the letters between.  Z being an expert sewist who makes no mistakes and never has a wadder. 

Although I intellectually understand that mistakes are learning experiences, I still want to be the person who never makes a mistake.  The one who never creates a wadder. 

But what if we reframe the term wadder so that it has a positive meaning rather than a negative one.  What if we thought of wadders as badges of honor.  As proof that we have learned something along the way.  As proof that we took some risks, that we had faith in our abilities.  I look at Carolyn who recently stepped out of her TNT comfort zone and tried a new pattern.  She didn’t like her first dress with this new pattern (although I thought it looked fab), but she’s already changed the pattern and is going to try it again. 

I have always feared failure and wadders, sewing ones or otherwise.  You see, I’m a perfectionist.  Perfectionists don’t like mistakes.  I once told a mentor of mine that I couldn’t possibly be a perfectionist because I wasn’t perfect yet.  As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized that I was one.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a perfectionist in every part of my life.  I do pick and choose my battles.  High on my list is loading the dishwasher perfectly, but my apartment is far from neat.  I will settle for a zipper slightly off at the top, but not at the bottom.  I will jury rig a lining so that it won’t show below the hem of the fashion fabric, but take a finished garment completely apart to fix it. 

But what does perfectionism do for you?  For me?  Nothing good.  The bad it creates (anxiety, fear, disappointment), cannot be good for me.  In fact, it’s what holds me back.  It’s why I am so slow to start each new project.  It’s why I procrastinate.  It’s why I hired my teacher Thea.  I wanted her there for every project, each step of the way, so I wouldn’t ever have a wadder. 

What is there to be afraid of though?  Am I going to let my perfectionism or negativism stop me from learning?  From progressing from a beginner level to a couture level (who knows if I will ever get to that level, but I will keep trying)?

So, I am going to reframe my sewing world.  I am going to be positive.  I am going to embrace wadders for what they are, as pieces from which I learn a lot, like what not to do or how to do it better. There’s enough negativity inherent with sewing when you throw body image into every aspect, from fitting your patterns to what size you are in pattern sizing.  Why make a learning experience a negative thing? 

What do you think?  This is the question of the day.  Should we reframe the term wadder?  What should we call it?

Happy wadding everyone!


Detour to Wadderville

OMG! What happened here?  Things were going swimmingly well with my version of the Knip Mode skirt… that is, until tonight.  I bagged the lining and attached the waistband last night.  Tonight was going to be all about the buttons and buttonholes.  I was at my sewing machine testing my buttonholes out on the fabric and checking to see if I liked how my Emerald 183 attached the buttons by 8:15 this evening. (Oh, fyi, I decided to go with the white buttons.) 

The testing was very successful.  I cracked my knuckles and got to marking  my buttonholes and button placements on the skirt.  The first pleat was beautiful.  The rest of the pleats are one fat droopy, slobbery mess.  Ok, there was no actual drool involved, but if pleats could drool, these would be dripping oceans of drool.

Where did I go wrong?  I ask you.  I beg you.   Can this wadder be moved back to the land of beautiful clothes?  (Oh, and if it could make me look 20 lbs thinner, I wouldn’t complain.)

Here’s my sad wadder:

And here’s Cidell’s gorgeous sculplted pleat beauty, full of life and awesomeness:

Cidell's amazing Knip Mode perfection

My skirt needs a makeover.  HELP!!! 

Any and all suggestions will be desperately accepted.  Thank you!

Is there a cure for stupidity?

I hope so.  Can you tell me what wrong with these pictures?

Yep, that’s right.  Yours truly, idiot extraordinaire, put the ties of the dress on the side seams, not at the front edges of the bodice.  How am I supposed to wrap this wrap dress?   I don’t know because it ain’t gonna wrap without those ties in the right place. 

I made great progress last night and thought I only had to attach the sleeves and hem the dress tonight.  But when I tried on the dress last night I was at a complete loss as to how to wrap the dress.  It took me 10 minutes and a lot of staring at the instructions before I finally saw my glaring error.  DOH!!!

I’m sure I can fix this hot mess too, but I was too tired to do it last night.  I hope you’ll all still be my friends after this comedy of errors.  😉  

On the good news front, I was able to patch my cutting error and solve the facing problem.  Instead of removing the facing, I just topstitched it down.  And I used fusible knit interfacing to patch the cut.  Here’s a blurry picture of the patch and topstitching for your viewing headache.

Anyway, tonight is another night.  Let’s see what miracles I can pull out of my butt tonight.

Happy idiot-free sewing to you all.

Disaster averted, hopefully

Last night I was happily making progress on Vogue 8379 and not one, but two disasters struck. 

First, I was clipping the seam allowance 0n the neck facing and cut a v-shaped hole in the front of my bodice.  *sniff sniff* 

Then to rub salt on the gaping wound, the stupid #$%$^*^%$# facings wouldn’t stay put when I tried on the bodice.  I had heard tales on PatternReview many times before of the faceless facings flopping in mute mutiny.  Did I listen to these tales of woe from more experienced sewists than me?  Did I give in to my misgivings regarding these $#*&$#*&% facings? 

No, as a true 4 (sorry to interject numerology here, but my friend Cayce has determined that I am the epitome of a 4, doomed to face a lifetime of having process beaten into me — sounds like fun doesn’t it?), I stolidly carried on, faithful to the Vogue instructions, stubbornly disbelieving all those who have walked before me.  They must have sewed the facings on wrong somehow.  Why else would Vogue have you put facings on these dresses?  Right?


And to make matters even worse, Vogue tells you to interface the facings.  In my heart of hearts, I knew this to be wrong.  But did I heed my heart’s warnings?  Did I listen to the reviewers on PatternReview?  No, because Vogue is God.  OMG!!!!!!  Those facings were stiff as a board (note: I did use a fusible knit facing).  And my facings didn’t want to be hidden inside the bodice of my dress.  They wanted to “face” the world dammit.  Whether I wanted them to or not.  Even despite my meticulous understitching. 

So I thought I could take off the offensive facings and finish the bodice edges differently.  I sat on my couch with my friendly neighborhood seam ripper and commenced to unpluck stitches.  After an hour of studious and hard work, I had managed to undo less than one inch of the understitching.  The UNDERSTITCHING mind you!  Not even the actually seam stitching. 

I was ready to run out and throw myself under a bus to Kashi’s at Metro Textile today and buy more fabric and start all over.  And then Thea, my teacher, talked me off the roof told me how I could bring this project back from the dead the UFO pile.  She said to cut the facing off as close to the seam line as possible and attach a binding instead, possibly in a contrasting color as a design element.  And if I compromised the size of the front bodice, I could add some width with the binding.  GENIUS!!!!  This is why Thea gets paid the big bucks!  😉  

Needless to say, I did not run out to Kashi’s and I will attempt this fix tonight.  Oh and I will use fusible interfacing to fix the snip in the front as invisibly as possible.  Phew!!!

Despite these major setbacks, I am loving this dress and this fabric.  It’s a dream to work with (when you don’t deal with #$(*#%&*%^ interfaced facings).

Happy non-disastrous sewing to you all.

I picked the red border print

But not just because my mom chose it.    😉

I thought the pattern of the border print fit my dress style better and was more user-friendly.  I cut it out last night and am ready to sew all night tonight.  I may be tired tomorrow, but it will be worth it.  I had to laugh when Carolyn asked if I had a date tomorrow.  I do have one, but not the kind she was asking about.  Although if we’re all being honest here, I think I may be ready to dip my toe into those waters yet once again.  Maybe in a month or two. 

I’ll tell you all about Friday sometime this weekend.  Patience is a virtue my friends.

And more from the honesty corner…  I was happily cutting out my dress last night and contemplating how I placed the border print and making sure there were no “bull’s-eyes” and all when I decided that I wanted a different motif on my sleeves.  I thought what the heck, I have enough fabric, I’ll cut a second set out to highlight the border part of the border print.  I was all proud of myself for my design genius when I realized that I used the short sleeve pattern pieces and had completely forgotten about using the view B 3/4 length sleeve pattern pieces.  Doh!  Well, guess I am making the same exact dress as the last two after all. 

Although I think it will look completely different using a border print, so I don’t think anyone will notice it’s the same pattern.  At least I hope so.  I am also going to make one teeny tiny change to the pattern, courtesy of the genius of Patti: I am going to change the gathering on the front (underneath the empire band) to pleats to reduce the maternity look of the dress. 

I can’t wait to sew tonight!!!  I set up my serger and my sewing machine last night with the right threads and needles so I can just start sewing right away.  I’m going to stay away from the computer and the tv and just get to work.  And hopefully, momma will have a new dress for Friday!

Happy sewing everyone!

Trench disaster

Ok, it’s not on the scale of the Titanic, but I had a mini-disaster with my trench last night.  Click through to the Trench Sew Along to read all about it.  If you have any advice, let me know!

Also, I’ve turned to cannibalism.  I explain that too.

Happy sewing!

Another Simplicity 3678

I know I said that I wasn’t feeling like making another Simplicity 3678 again the other day, but I made another one anyway.  I tried some out some new-to-me fitting techniques.  Nothing fancy, but as a beginning sewist, it’s all about learning these different methods. 

Fitting changes:

  • Since the purple rain dress was a little tight in the bodice, I went up a size for the back bodice piece and back waistband.  Now it fits perfectly and is very comfy to wear.
  •  I also took out the back gathers which required me to jigger the width of the back skirt piece.  I kept it in size twelve but then just eyeballed how much I had to cut off the sides (while still on the fold), about a 1/2 inch, and used my rotary cutter.  All’s well that ends well, and I love it without the back gathers.

If you’ll recall, I confessed earlier to serging one of the sleeves inside out.  Well, I unpicked the serged seam which didn’t take as long as I thought it would.   Then I disengaged the knife on my serger and reserged it back on the correct way.  I was, of course, very careful to attach the second sleeve correctly. 

I like this version a lot: it’s comfy, swishy and fits well,  but (you’re probably going to get sick of hearing me say this) I am still not convinced it’s a great silhouette on me because it appears slightly maternity-esque.   My teacher, Thea saw it last night and loved it.  She said that I should make it again without the front gathers.  I want to try something new now however, so it’s not likely that Simplicity 3678 will be in the queue again anytime soon.

Here are some pictures…

final dress 3

final dress 3 back

final dress 3 side


Things I learned on this 3rd iteration of Simplicity 3678:

  • Every fabric behaves differently.  Not all knits are created equally.  Ergo, make sure to practice your stitching on scraps before sewing your garment together.  It takes time initially, but saves you heartache and time later.  Honest!
  • Don’t be disappointed when things take longer than you think.  It’s all a learning process.  Appreciate it.
  • DON’T SEW LATE AT NIGHT!!!!! Bad things happen when you sew late at night and you’re tired, i.e., sewing on sleeves inside out.

Next up in the queue, my first pair of pants (made from my sloper)!!!  I know I’ve been talking about these pants for months now, but my sloper is finally tweaked for a hip (lower than natural waist) band and I’m ready to start.  Last night, I worked on the finishing touches to my muslin with my teacher Thea.  I’ll be working with the fashion fabric for a pair of capri pants over the next couple of weeks.  I’m not a fast sewist like others out there in the sewing blogosphere.  But I will get there my friends.  I will!

Happy sewing!