I found a website called www.sewgeeky.com, which I loved. My favourite bit was a section of confessions. (It was a LONG section!) People posted their confessions of using fusible web instead of sewing hems, pinning their children into their clothes, buying more fabric than they will ever use, cutting things out the wrong way, and on and on and on. I think it’d be fun to hear some of the Threads Readers confessions! Personally I have such a long list, I hardly know where to start, but the most recent was the zip I was sewing into a yoked dress for my 2 year old daughter. I had just finished a satin and organza wedding dress with beaded detail, and thought that now I could relax a bit. Bad move – I lined up the zip (to measure the slit needed) with the yoke line, not the neckline, and ended up with a beautifully sewn in zip and a big hole. I covered the hole with sporty trim, which leads to my mantra for sewing – There are no sewing mistakes, only opportunities for design details.
If anyone else has a yen to confess their sewing sins, I know you’ll feel better afterwards, and so will all those of us who say immediately “Thank goodness I’m not the only one who’s done that!”
Okay, I'll bite...
I don't know if this is a sin, but it is truly the mark of a fabric addiction! I have found myself now scrounging through all clearance sales and garage sales for ridiculously cheap clothes that I don't particularly like, but have enough usable fabric to add to my stash.
A couple of weeks ago I found three black stretch vinyl skirts for $1 each. You should have seen the look on the poor cashiers face when I waltzed up to the checkout line pleased as punch with my three black stretch vinyl skirts that were easily 6 sizes too large for me! (I figured, as long as I was going for yardage instead of fit, I should get the largest sizes they had...)
By the way, anyone have any good ideas for projects calling for black stretch vinyl?
LOL - black stretch vinyl?! The first thing that comes to mind is either halloween or catwoman! Actually you could make a funky short jacket, if there was enough yardage to piece the sections together - a jean-style one with a yoke and vertical panels front and back. Now I want black stretch vinyl skirts to play with! There's another addiction feature - as soon as you hear about anyone else's score, you feel envious and imagine what you'd do with their haul.
My weakness is notions - bags of zips and buttons and stuff from manufacturers clearance sales - what will I do with a couple of hundred mock tortoiseshell buttons? I needed about six, but the bag was such a bargain.....
A jacket is actually a really good idea... I have a feeling they still have some of the vinyl skirts so I could probably go grab a couple more to make sure I have enough to cut the sleeves...
Speaking of notions, I guess I should also admit that my plan is to rip the zippers out of the vinyl skirts. Not that I really NEED them, but they're there and I might be able to use them one day. I should be careful - it's a slippery slope between a couple of zippers and a thousand tortoise-shell buttons!
Trust me, you WILL need the zippers one day - I saved the zippers from a skirt I altered for a friend about 12 years ago, and lo and behold, used them last year! Then I felt so smug about having the foresight to have saved them, and hence saved myself money. Still wondering what to do with the buttons though.....
AND I want to make that vinyl jacket too. Now I'm jealous. Oh well, I have enough bargains in my stash. (Well, almost exclusively bargains, as I'm too stingy to buy anything retail if I don't need it RIGHT NOW).
May I jump in? I noticed your dilemma with the tortoise shell buttons... The quilt shop where I buy most of my fabric has a huge old washing machine (the old wringer style) full of buttons which she sells by the piece. She also will trade a pound of buttons for a yard of fabric. Could there possibly be anything like that in your area??? I find I am positively green with envy at the women who have been collecting all these buttons for so many years. She has some fabulous flannels that I would love to have to make a huge winter quilt for my bed and if I had some buttons...... <sigh> Like I need another project!!! :)
Edited 4/7/2002 2:25:25 PM ET by QUILTERQUEEN
You mean people give up their stash buttons!!!! It just occurred to me that they'd look great on a really plain patchwork quilt. I'm not a quilter (yet....) but I could easily make a patchwork quilt with just buttons instead of all the gorgeous stitching. My year old son will need something cute for his first bed......
I can't imagine anyone giving up stash buttons either. I buy cheap clothes at the local thrift shop just to take the buttons off. I usually hunt for buttons on my own, but I actually had my husband combing the racks of ladies' blouses looking for interesting ones when he came with me! Meanwhile, I can hardly get into my sewing room, and I accepted bags of pieces of fabric too small for adult clothes from my mother-in-law at Christmas. Got rid of her guilt, but now I have to do something with it (I do sew kids' clothes!). Hey, it was free, I couldn't turn it down, could I??!!
buttons! i made a great jumper for my 4-year old daughter. just a plain sleeveless bodice (lined) with a gathered skirt, zipper up the back, and ties, made of black cotton faille. had a big box of silk flowers from the pic'n'save. bea and i had a field day ripping the flowers off their stems and taking all the plastic spacers/shapers out and restacking the layers back the way they went. then i sewed a border of flowers (some of them are on leaves, also ripped from the stems) along the bottom 3-4" of the skirt hem, using a shank button in the center of each to hold it in place. some of them had to be tacked at other points, but most of them just have the single button in the center. and because they're silk and the dress is cotton, i just throw it in the washer and dryer and it looks great, a little shabby now, but hey, that's fine by me.
buttons? i've got two shoeboxes full.
notions? a 30-quart sweater box full.
patterns? two file cabinets full, plus two more file boxes in the garage (if anyone's looking for maternity patterns, i've got 'em in spades, and am happy to share!)
fabric? 11 30-quart sweater boxes full. yes, 11. i did manage to fit them all into a single closet when we moved to our new house with (drum roll please...) a sewing room!
i have another idea for a skirt that is covered with a single layer of closely spaced flat buttons. bea helps me sew them on and it's fun for both of us.
A dedicated sewing room? Oh I am so jealous.... I have a desk in our living room, with kiddy proof latches on the drawers in which I keep scissors, pins et etc etc. Two work boxes with other equipment live on the desk, along with two A4 sized flat plastic boxes in which I keep my threads. When I lay out and cut, I have to wait till the littlies (aged 1 and 2) are in bed, clear off the desk, (there's plenty of other stuff out of little fingers way on it too!) then replace everything. My fabric is stored in our sunroom (which I dream of converting to a sewing room when the children are a little bigger) in boxes and black plastic trash sacks. After confessing to having these buttons, I went looking for them. I didn't find them, but boy did I find some neat stuff I'd forgotten about!
I love the idea with the flowers - my daughter is only two, but would probably love that one. My friend's 5 year old would think she'd won the lottery!
I like buttons too. I saw a photograph of a once-famous celebrity wearing a plain white cotton shirt with a yoke. Buttons in different shades of white and clear buttons were sewn all over the yoke. It was very pretty. The clear buttons sparkled like diamonds. I've been collecting leftover buttons to duplicate it ever since.
I wrote a story for the paper I worked at about button collectors. These women take their favorites and display them in the most unusual ways. One lady had a glass box display end table filled with ivory buttons. It was very pretty sitting in her living room. She also used them in shadow boxes and made pins out of them. All were very pretty.
I also bought a full, black skirt at a garage sale just for the fabric once. I took out the zipper, let out the back seam and it was instantly transformed into a Batman cape for a little boy I knew. He played with it for hours and hours. So much entertainment for 75 cents.
very early in my sewing life I inserted a placket zipper perfectly, I was so proud of the placement and the top stitches and then saw it was UPSIDE DOWN.
Diane - LOL. I can relate to that! Never done it, but my favourite when I was young and hasty was catching large sections of extra bits of garment in seams and not noticing till I got to the end. It was ALWAYS a perfectly topstitched seam, not something you could just unpick the extra bit of. After a while I got the hang of how it felt when I gathered a bit too much in the seam.
Now to tattle on my best friend. She has been sewing for about eight years, and recently confessed to me that in all that time she has only done 6 buttonholes! She put snaps on everything, and was very proud of her recent attempt at buttonholes 7, 8 & 9. I should have guessed that she had issues with buttonholes when she asked me to do some on a pinafore for her daughter!
<blush> LOL I have been sewing since I was about 9 and still avoid buttonholes and zippers at all costs. Last fall, when I did a haloween costume I had a friend sew in the zipper. She said she used to have the same problem and decided it is a mental block. Maybe I should get a couple of zippers and some scrap and just do them over and over again until I am comfortable with them. :)
Have a great afternoon/evening!
Speaking of zippers....
Just last week I was making a pair of pants and I had to put in a 6 inch zipper with a fly front. Of course, I couldn't find a zipper less than 7 inches, so I just cut the thing off. No big deal, do it all the time. I cut the zipper short and put in my fly front, which was near to perfect. The problem came when I began to doubt whether or not the pants, which were looking smaller and smaller by the minute, were going to fit around my ample hips & butt without looking obscene. So, I very quickly baste them together. (I had originally basted them together before I put in the zipper and they fit great, but then I changed up the pockets which made them seem narrower, thus my doubt...) Anyway, I put them on but it was a close enough call on the hip/butt room that I thought I should zip them up to see for sure. I'm sure you know what's coming next.... Yes, I zipped them up and next thing I know there is a zipper pull in my hands that is no longer attached to the zipper because, of course, when I cut the zipper I cut off the stops. So I had a zipper in my pants, and nothing to zip or unzip them with. Luckily, my husband was able to take the zipper apart at the bottom and shove the pull back onto the zipper. It took him some time and he told me "Don't ever do this again..."
You'd think I would have learned my lesson. But I sewed the side leg seams and began doubting, once again, if these pants were going to fit or not. So I basted again. This time, I thought I would be smart and pin some safety pins at the top of each side of the zipper tape, sort of like temporary zipper stops. But, of course, as I zip up the zipper the safety pins pivoted out of the way and off went the zipper pull yet again. My husband walked into the room and saw me standing there with the zipper pull in my hand. He just walked out of the room without saying anything. (After some begging, I convinced him to fix the zipper again, which he did and then told me I was not allowed to try the pants on again until I got them done!)
And then there's the story of me at work one day (a pre-Threads job, thank goodness!), wearing pants I had made. Something bad happened to the zipper and the pull got stuck in the up position, a fact I discovered in a ladies' room stall. I really didn't think I could get any of my non-sewing colleagues to fix the problem, so I had to drive home and cut the zipper apart! I confess this now, but believe me, I did not bring it up during my Threads interview.
A tip for zipper-phobes: try invisible zippers. I really think they're easier than regular zippers in so many ways, as long as you get an invisible zipper foot that works OK. I use one I bought in Walmart for $1.89 or thereabouts, and it seems to do the job nicely. One thing that helps is pressing the teeth up before sewing, and using an awl or other somewhat pointed tool to encourage the teeth to stay standing up so that you can sew pretty close to them. Not too close, or the zipper will balk, but close enough that the finished installation is invisible.
I know this is a discussion on something other than zippers but let me make a zipper comment anyway - please
I never use a special invisible foot anymore. I use my regular adjustable foot with the foot as close to the needle as possible without restricting the needle. Press the zipper flat and sew in the groove next to the coil. If you ever get a thread caught in the coil, STOP! Take it out and start over. Don't ask questions, just do it. Oh, and slow down too - lots easier to stay in the groove if you're not racing. When the seam is closed, the zipper is truly invisible.
Crish, your method is a good one--I've tried and found that it works well...with some zipper feet. I've run into a few that just don't seem to let me get as close as I want to the zipper teeth, in which case the cheapy plastic foot does the job (even though otherwise it's a pretty poor excuse for a presser foot!).
I agree the invisible zips are easier only after reading Threads article several years ago. I disagree about the foot though--Threads referred to the Unique zip foot (only available at Nancy's Notions now) and since I have used it a lot of trouble disappeared. That foot has rollers that keep the teeth up that enables sewing closer. The mag article had lots of tips that helped me get a professional look--check it out! Note: I've referred so many friends to the Unique foot and they all agree the application is better! The foot is now back in the catalog too.
Hey, thanks for reminding me! I have never tried the Unique foot myself, but will look into it.
Carol Jean....there's one in the basement. I didn't like it and the old way is faster for me. ("Old dog...new tricks?")
Hi Liz, Have you ever handpicked a zipper in? It looks great and doesn't take a whole lot longer than sewing it? It's especially good on soft wool that could stretch and shift out of shape. Or on a curved seam. rjf
I loved Reading about everyone's zipper and button worries. I'm glad I never knew that some things were difficult. Like putting in zippers or making button holes. All though I used to use two pattern companies pant patterns, baste zipper, sew in zipper, rip out zipper sew in zipper, rip out zipper. Say a nasty word or phrase as I through the pants across the room and leave them for a day or two. Then I tried the pattern company I use now, and the first time I did a zipper I waited to see how many times I would rip it out. Once when the pants wore out. So instructions make better sense to me than others.
I am going to use some of my collected buttons to decorate a vest I'm designing in my head. I'm going to have to use a good strong interfacing and maybe a interlining of flannel. I think there will be a couple hundred buttons used.
Fabric is a passion with me, I admit to being addicted to collecting fabric. Our third floor has three rooms and two of them house my fabric collection. This is handy for times when I need a new outfit to go out in or need to whip up a gift for someone. As a quilter I never through away what can be used.
Wow! this is a great topic. I guess its time to confess ;-)
I am not going to pen down all my confessions cause it would take too much time and space and frankly I do not want to bore you all with it but here are a few of mine:
Ever since I started sewing on knits, I find it really hard to sew anything in woven because of 2 reasons mainly: a) I dont have to finish the seams and b) I dont have to worry too much about fitting. Plus knits almost always look better than wovens.
In all the garments I make, I am always looking for sewing shortcuts or cheats ;-) for example I just made a new look top 6179 (read complete review here: http://www.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?readreview=1&ID=599 ) and instead of slashing the front, I just made a buttonhole. Worked great
I hate making garment which takes more than 2 sessions. I work full time and the only time I get to sew is a few hrs after work or on the weekends.
Zipper :- ah yes... always looking for the easiest application method. If the centered application works I use it otherwise I use an invisible zipper. Better still if I can find my way around not using one..that is the best way out!
neckline: if turning under and topstitching works I use that instead of bias binding it. But now that I think I should really start using some other 'nicer' techniques...
This one is really big... I sew mainly for myself cause its easier and I am always worried if the garment will fit others or not. I really should start sewing for others cause half the fun of sewing is gone otherwise.
Patterns and Fabric: If I like a pattern or fabric, I just buy it. And most of the time I don't even get around to making it. I am becoming a stasher!! help me...
Have you had enough... oh well.. I could go on and on... It feels good to confess.
Try an invisible zipper, you will be amazed at how easy it is to install, and that there is no unbalanced stitching (in relation to the opening ) to be seen. You will have to leave the seam undone, as the zipper instructions will tell you, so sometimes this takes a little bit of thought during the garment construction, but it is well worth it! You might have a little trouble getting the seam to look smooth just below the zipper when you sew it (after the zipper insertion), but it is well worth working out. Also, I use a pin-tuck foot on my sewing machine (rather than a plastic adaptable one available at the generic fabric store), and that works very well, allowing the zipper teeth to pop up into the groove of the foot. Good luck!
Not only did I catch a piece of fabric in a seam, but it was in a serged seam with the Blade engaged. I had to rip out the entire pattern piece and cut out a new one to replace it.
okay , here is my latest major error. I spent four days sewing an all over pattern on white linen. they were swirls and x's in white cotton. Everything was perfect until it came to sewing them together. I had marked wrong sides with a piece of masking tape..... but to no avail. For the front I used the right sides out and for the back I used wrong sides..... and I serged the seams before I had noticed my error.
Luckily the bobbin side didn't look horribly different, lingerie thread was a shinier and harder, but I am wearing them anyway.
Well I'm not 29 I've been sewing a "long-time" but avidly sewing for 3 years. I have made so many "unsmart" mistakes including sleeves but in wrong, collars turned upside down and let's not talk about fabric disasters. But its nice to know that I'm not alone.
As a long time threads reader, since number6 and along time sewer, since I was ten, that's thirty years, I must confess I just committed a sewing sin. I bought some fabric that had a sort of coating on the outside to give it a funky snake skin look. the hang tag said machine wash cold. Hang to dry. I didn't have time to hang it because I was anxious to sew. I tossed it into the dryer on low heat, thinking. . no I was not thinking. I pulled out a smelly stuck together mess. I have finished, after two hours, scraping the gunk off the innards of my dryer. I will never have my funky snaky long skirt. Thank you, I feel better now.
The fine wool blazer I am wearing today has a buttonhole in a Very Strange Place.
Nobody seems to notice, and over the years I have gradually managed to get over it.
I AM enjoying these confessions - they make me feel so much better about my own little hiccups. My signature line on Sewing World is "There are no sewing mistakes, only opportunites for design features". I'm good at unintended design features. Not always my fault though - there was the very tall bridesmaid flying in from overseas who mismeasured how long her skirt was supposed to be. Despite the extra I added for safety it was about 4 inches too short. I sewed extra to the bottom, and sewed narrow matching ribbon over the seam. The brides mother later told me how many compliments that ribbon had had! (I put it on the other bridesmaids dress too, so they'd match). So there you go - a mistake can lead to wonderful things.
What a good idea! And it's a good idea to think about design opportunities. I've got some things in the attic that need that approach but I'm not sure I can find them. One horrendous mistake, tho, worked out okay. I cut the front of an assymetrical wedding dress with the pattern piece upside down and there's was no disguising it. So I drove 20 miles to buy more fabric but the "bad" piece ended up as the background for a wall hanging of pink, apricot, yellow transparent seashells sewn on with gold cloisenne (sp?) thread. It's one of my favorite things. rjf
That was a wedding dress bodice??!!! I didn't know that! We should take a picture and post it online. I'll try to bring the camera next time I visit and will document your sewing and weaving projects.
Yeah! I had a roommate in college whose yellow slicker was down to her ankles so she blithely stapled it up. At the time, I was appalled, having been sewing for awhile but now I see that it was a great idea. I think she went throught life that way....whatever worked was fine, no need for finesse. rjf
Is it appropriate for my first post here to be a confession of mis-sewing? I certainly hope so - because here it is. I've been sewing since i was about 10, so you'd think that by the time i was in my late 30's i'd have had a clue. But no. I'd bought some extraordinarily soft corduroy at a designer's warehouse sale. I was making myself the most beautiful jumper. Beautiful. I was nearly done. Thought I'd try it on. Oh, it was beautiful, and I was beautiful in it (well not really, but i was kinda cute). and then ... I decided to put my hands in the pockets. <sob> I'd put them in backwards <sob> I know i should have taken them out and put them in correctly but i just COULDN'T. 7 years later, the most beautiful deep green jumper sits in my closet waiting to be rescued. As the song goes, Someday soon.
Oh dear! There's gotta be a way to fix those pockets. What kind of pocket did you put in? Are they in the seam? Are they welt pockets through the jumper front? It doesn't seem that they can be patch pockets? Let us know and I'll bet someone comes up with an answer. rjf
rjf - the pockets are in the side seams. i know how to fix them - open the bottom hem, open the side seams - take out the pockets - flip and reverse them and pop them in on the sides they should be on (because of the way they are lined, they are very clearly directional, on top of your hands having to go backwards). I just don't have the, i don't know, heart? to do it. That project was going so beautifully and rapidly that the disappointment was just HORRIBLE. I've gone on to make other, more complicated, things since. I suspect the jumper will end up a retirement project (like everything my dad is doing these days - catching up on 20, 30, 40 and 50 (his stamp collection) year old projects). I do thank you for the offer of help. If I do get courageous and decide to face those pockets again, I'm sure I'll be back for moral support! %%; D
Send it over, I'll open the seams for you, that's the really traumatic part. :)
Jean - you're right about the trauma of opening those seams. I have unravelled so many people's knitting projects and then restarted them, because they couldn't bear to do the unravelling. There must be something particularly meaningful about some projects that doesn't let the creator take them apart. A question of 'crafting' philosophy perhaps?
I once knitted my yarn marker into my knitting while knitting during a movie in the theatre... Two hours later I had three inches to unravel. My roomate had to do it, I just couldn't! I've gotten more philosophical over the years and projects now, and can now unravel with abandon! You get calmer about ripping seams as you have more projects completed. (Of course, there's still that Kaffe Fassett cardigan with the pocket in the back stashed away in the bottom of my knitting tote)
I hope you meant to give a chuckle to other knitters because I certainly was smiling. That's one I haven't done but there have been enough other gaffes that I could just see you knitting away and later the shock of discovery. Do you think it ends up being a garment you love a little more when it's done......kind of like the black sheep? rjf
I should have realized I was tempting the fates writing that... I decided last night, that I didn't like the color changes in the vest I'm knitting up, and unravelled about two inches of it to start over continuing with the same yarn, rather than switching from one to the other.
You're a knitter after my own heart. Sometimes I try to tell myself "It's only a little mistake. Keep knitting!" and then I end up ripping out more than I needed to. But there's great satisfaction in doing it right, don't you think? After all, we could buy not so hot sweaters and vests. rjf
Here are some sweaters by rjf that are not at all "not-so-hot." How many times were these unravelled and redone, I wonder?! And by the way, maybe I should move this to the knitting folder? Anyone want a knitting discussion to start?
Edited 7/17/2002 4:27:09 PM ET by CAROLFRESIA
Look at the inside. No long floats visible. Very nice!
ahhhhhhh those are lovely! another reason to really enjoy these forums - the ability to post pix. i've really enjoyed exploring here during the last week or so. wonderfully friendly, helpful (and funny) people and so much to learn!
I've been meaning to enter into this discussion and I just couldn't thinkwhat I might tell you all. Now I have it.
My husband is like many others in that he can't help making jibes about the ever increasing stashes of fabrics (gorgeous, all of them!) clogging up the spare space in our home. I have to hand it to him this time because with another one of his jibes he let me off the hook, BIG TIME.
We haven't always had a good income so I always look out for a bargain. We had been in our house for 4 years before we finally found a fabric for the curtains which we could both live with and afford.
I had it for probably another 6-12 mnths before I finalised a style and another 6 mnths before could afford the tracks etc.
So I jumped in and started cutting! And you guessed it ! I cut it to small, and it was always only just going to scrape in with the amount we could afford.
when I realized my mistake it all sat there gathering dust for more months until I confessed to my husband my mistake. I had left a half made curtain laying across the back of the lounge and the darling said-
"Why don't you use it to cover the lounge instead"
Oh blessed relief!!! I now have the great pleasure of finding a new fabric for the windows and I don't have to think about what to use to cover the lounge or how on earth to make too small curtains fit were they just don't. We're a lot better off than we were then so I can go for something of better quality.
don't you just love them !!
CLAIRE in Oz
Let's see, where shall I begin? When I cut an entire pattern on the wrong side of the fabric? Or when I fused Fusi-knit onto knit jacket pieces--against the grain (my weft woofed!).
You know what? Some of the "confessions" I read are confessions of mere shortcuts, not hairbrained mistakes.
Do you think the "guys" in Fine Woodworking have "confessions" like ours? I don't think so. We "gals" worry too much about doing it the way we think it "should" be done--by the directions (no matter how poorly written), no short-cuts, etc.
I think everyone will have more fun sewing if they stop thinking about the "ideal" way to sew and take satisfaction in making things for those you love...the "real" way, shortcuts and all!
(Yes, my daughter's bedroom curtains were done almost entirely with "Seams Great"!)
This isn't so much a confession as ratting on my sister...
We all have fabric stashes, and we all talk about how they have taken over the house, but she has us all beat. She has taken to storing fabric in the bathtub in an extra bathroom! She just stacks it tall and then pulls the shower curtain in front of it!
better than having to wash the tub :)
I'd better not tell my mom that one, or she might get some ideas, too!
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