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Has This Ever Happened To You? Aaargh!

HappyToSew | Posted in General Discussion on


Today I had the most frustrating experience to date. As I was about to finish a beautiful bias, sheer fabric skirt, I noticed a spot where the iron had eaten up the fabric. Was devastated. For one moment, I forgot to use my ironing cloth. Mind you, I had serged finished the seams, was getting ready to insert the elastic and hang it up for 24 hrs. as recommended for a bias cut. Only thing I can do now is purchase more fabric. What would you do? The spot was not large, however, I just did not know what to do.

Thanks for your input.





  1. SewingSue | | #1

    Olgis,  I feel so sorry for you.  It's a good thing we enjoy our craft so much and don't let these misfortunes keep us down for long.  Could you cover the spot with Lace applique or something similiar and bring another element into your design.  Maybe an applique.  You're probably limited since you're working with a shear fabric.  Keep us posted, I'm sure you can find a creative solution.


    1. GhillieC | | #2

      Oh dear!

      I guess this kind of thing has happened to all of us. Where is the bad spot and how big is it?

      I think being a bias skirt which moves around increases your options as they are never as accurate as a tailored skirt and can take a bit of adjustment.

      If it is near the waist can you lift the skirt so that it goes into the waistband? If it is near the bottom can you suddenly decide you want a slightly shorter skirt?

      If it is in the middle at the front (as these things often are) can you rotate the skirt so that it is somewhere less obvious? and then if it is REALLY small, just forget about it? or mend it flagrantly?

      Is it near a seam, which you can decide it is not quite wide enough? as you can see, I have had to make these kind of alterations!

      I used to work with someone whose motto was 'the best is the enemy of the good' I am sure you can turn out a GOOD skirt even if the workmanship is not the very BEST.



      1. BYDEZINE | | #3

        once a little bit of fabric on a gauze skirt got caught in the serger blade. I didn't want to go shorter or add an applique so I did what someone here suggested, flagrantly patched it with a narrow rectangle of cloth.

        The spot gets caught up  in the swirls of the skirt and the only one that ever sees it is me.

        I hope you can fix it and wear it with ease.

    2. HappyToSew | | #4

      Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. As it turns out, I was so frustrated, the skirt is now at the bottom of the garbage can. Fear not, I only spent $6.00 on the fabric, had it been something really expensive, I would have tried one of your wonderful suggestions. Everything happens for a reason, I take my mishap yesterday as teaching me to be more careful. Besides, I have learned so much from your wonderful replies. Looking forward to hearing from all of you again. Loved all the ideas, we sewers are really a creative crew.

      Happy Sewing!

      Olgis (Smiling again :)

      1. cottonbets | | #9

        About that "melt down", I was at the end stage of  a story teller vest I was making. The vest had been made of cotton, a dragon guarding his collection of coins. Well, I'd decided to use some of the then-new slimey knit fabric that was in the bridal section of fabric stores. This stuff was black nylon with shiney gold swirly designs on it. I'd appliqued dozens of qold coins under the dragon, liked the look, and was pressing the side seams, when I saw that the coins were melting! I really don't think that I touched them with the iron, but I do use a very hot iron, and there they went! Luckily, they had been appliqued on, and I could replace them, but I have since become a great fan of the teflon iron cover. For about seven dollars, I have prevented many accidents, and I find this much easier to use than a press cloth. You might want to get one of these. Keep a chopstick around to remove the teflon plate if you need it off and the iron is still hot. (Practice slipping it under the spring while the iron is still cool, and remember to figure out what you are going to do with the hot thing before you drop it on something else that might melt). This guard is also a dream when you are using fusible interfacing or bonding sheets. I don't own stock in the things; I just try to learn from my mistakes! Who doesn't have a melted fabric story?

    3. HappyToSew | | #5

      Dear Sue:

      Thanks for your advice. By the way, I love your name: SueScatLady. I hope you like cats as much as I do. My cat is named Princess Isis, she is a Maine Coon Cat, who just loves to plop herself in the middle of my pattern and fabric. Perhaps she was a dressmaker in another life?



      1. SewingSue | | #6

        Hi Olgis,  Sorry about the skirt but I have done that also.  I miss Shirley Adam's "Sewing Connections".  In my book, she was the best.  She did several different shows themed around recovering from mishaps.  I remember one very distinctly where a fitted wool suit jacket came back from the dry cleaners with a mystery stain.  She showed several different methods of concealing the mishap.  Heavy lace applied around the hem and carried through on the sleeves, she showed a couching technique with yarn and a painting technique.  She didn't do all on one garment but showed the technique with scraps of similar weight fabric.  She also showed how some techniques could be done in a non-permanent manner and then you could do a different technique for another ocassion.  I always found her work very inspirational.

        Yes, I believe in a former life I was a cat.  From my earliest memories there has always been a cat in my life.  When my seventeen year old male persian passed away a few years back I was completely heart broken.  Shortly after we went to the humane society and adopted three persian females that needed a lot of TLC.  The middle girl passed on early this spring and we drove from Gainesville, FL to Atlanta, GA to get a registered female persian.  Her nickname is Happy, from the seven dwarfs.  We also have Grump and Bashful.  Sneezy was the one that passed on.  Except for Bashful who doesn't really care for people very much all of my cats have been sewing enthusiasts.  They help straighten the fabric, lay out the pattern, cut, etc.  I say help with a big grin because when they help it takes at least twice as long to get anything done.  They also get on the machine and want to help there too.  Needless to say lots of cat hair but wouldn't have it any other way.  Gotta love them little kitties. 

        Good luck to you and your kitty and hopefully there will be many many more sewing projects for both of you.


        1. HappyToSew | | #7

          Dear Sue:

          What a lovely reply, thank you. Like you, I believe I was a cat too, and I have always had a cat or more in my life. My beautiful Samantha, went to cat heaven 5 years ago, and I still call her name when I come home. Our cats are really special little souls who come to us with unconditional love. Had to laugh when you described how your cats help you sew, LOL, reminds me of the many times, my "helpers" have made me restart a project due to their insisting on "helping."  Samantha, used to plop right in the middle of my fabric and claim it as hers.

          I am looking forward to picking up more fabric this week, and start all over again. Just know this time it will be a success.

          Thanks for writing, let me know what your projects are.

          Happy Sewing,


          1. SewingSue | | #8

            Olga,  I very much agree with you.  Our little kitties bring so much joy and ask for so little.  I also catch myself calling one of my girls Misty and catch myself before I complete his name.  He was with me for so many years that I still think of him as being here.  I love my little girls dearly but still miss my boy.  I am afraid I will be just as lost when my Grumpy passes on.  Hopefully, this will be many many years from now. 

            Since going through menopause I have gained a lotttt of weight and have been working on altering patterns to adjust for the weight gain.  Buying larger patterns doesn't really solve the problem.  The frame size is still the same just much more padding.  I really enjoyed the threads article on sizing patterns.  I had somewhat gotten to that point through experimentation.  I have read numerous books and magazine articles on the subject and have found each useful but still lacking in solving this problem.  I can fit the body part fine, it's getting the sleeve adjusted properly where I have difficulty.  I can get the sleeve to fit but then attaching it to the garment gets a little hairy.  I am approaching getting this right but it eludes me.  I have tried Sandra Betzina's tips but they don't really seem to work right and somehow her concept seems wrong to me.  If you need to add more width to the top of the sleeve I don't see how adding to the bottom of the armsyche of the body will work.  They should be adjusted together.

            Sandra Betzina showed a simple skirt on one of her programs.  You use fabric wide enough to go around you with at least eight inches of ease in the hip measurement and sew up a back seam with a walking slit.  Turn under the top to form a casing for elastic and hem.  She used a wool fabric I think.  Florida is almost to hot for heavy fabrics so experimented with a light drapey fabric from my stash.  Since the fabric was from the stash I didn't quite have enough to make it as long as I wanted and improvised.  I cut a strip from the entire length to create a waist band saving me length.  My fabric was not wide enough to go around so I needed to use panels, one for the front and one for the back.  (I wanted it looser and more flowing anyway.)  The waistband wasn't quite long enough to equal the width of my fabric panels so I used the serger to gather the fabric before attaching the waistband.  Surprisingly it turned out very nice.  I made this out of a coral crinkly polyester blend, similiar to cotton gauze but a little nicer looking.  I am working on making a little white sleeveless top to go with it.  Again out of the stash, so the back will get a seam to make it fit on the fabric.  I had bought some black fabric with a white floral print for a skirt and white fabric with a black floral print for a top but decided I needed to preview this first.  Now once I finish the top I can make it up with "real" fabric.

            When you get your new fabric let us know.  I've enjoyed chatting with you and will look forward to chatting again in the future.


          2. BYDEZINE | | #10

            I sell casual skirts that have fullness without adding gathers at the waist where we least want them.

            I make a simple yoke from the waistband casing to the top of the hips and the gathering then gets added to the bottom of the yoke, it takes the fullness to the top of the hips and surprisingly does alot to disguise a tummy and hips because the eye say that's gathering, not fat.

            Sometimes I add funkly three dimensional pockets to again trick the eye (it really works). sometimes I put them in the seam.

            My favorite materials for the skirts are patterned challis, sometimes the yoke is a firmer complimentary pattern and the skirt body a softer fabric that draps softly.

            you might want to consider this. and if you find the width of the fabric doesn't go around you - you can use soft fabric on the crosswise grain  (selvages at yoke and hem) and it still works beautifully. Did this make sense?

          3. SewingSue | | #11

            Thanks for the response.  I am very happy with the finished skirt.  I made it out of a very light weight drapey fabric and it hangs beautifully.  It is just that this was my first attempt at making a skirt from two rectangles and I was a little skeptical of what it would look like.  But surprisingly it came out great.  The fabric was quite similiar to a cotton guaze but from a poly blend and finer weight and hand.  The little "pleats" run the lengthwise grain of the fabric so having the selvedges at the waist and hem wouldn't have worked for this project.  I have switched the grains of patterns before and sometimes it's very helpful.  Especially when there is a border print.


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