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Tired + Sewing = Mistakes + Frustration

2011 May 10
by elizabeth_admin

Okey dokey now.  Last night was a study of what not to do when sewing.  Sheesh!

But let me back up a little.  At lunchtime yesterday, I went home and laid out and pinned the pattern pieces on the fabric.  I thought I saved myself a bunch of time for my sewing session later that evening.  *patted self on back*  Fast forward to last evening and things took a minor detour.  I cut out my fabric and then…

*sigh*  I knew I was tired.  I knew it.  I should have stepped away from the machines.  Instead I decided to plunge forward.  I wondered at what point should I apply the rolled hem edges to my dress: before or after construction.  I finally decided that it would be better after construction so I wouldn’t end up with interrupted bits of rolled hem everywhere.  I had emailed Robin to get her construction order, but didn’t hear back from her right away.  So while I sussed it out myself and waited to hear from her, I experimented with the rolled hem function on my serger (a Brother 1034D).  I found that I had to crank the differential feed up to the highest setting (2.0) in order for the fabric to feed through.  This setting gave me a great a great rolled hem with very little distortion (lengthening or waviness). 

At this point, I felt comfortable starting construction on the dress.  If you will recall, I had the great idea of using the self-lined cap sleeves from Simplicity 3678 instead of the long sleeves that are included with KS 3408.  I knew I would have to futz around with the sleeve caps as they both had vastly different shapes from each other.


Eager to see if my cap sleeve experiment would work, I started to use the serger to attach the sleeve to the dress armscye.  I carefully pinned it matching each marking to the sleeve opening and serged away.  I took my bodice to the mirror and voilá, the cap sleeve had the wrong side of the fabric showing on the outside and inside.  Darn it! 

I used my fave tutorial to remove serged stitches and carefully unpicked my sleeve. 

Then I carefully pinned again and re-serged the sleeve right sides out.  Only to find out that I put the sleeve seam on the right side of the dress!!!  ARGH!!! 




Did I step away from the machine?  No, of course not!  I ripped out that serged seam again and tried again.  Third time was the charm.  I worried that I had stretched out the armscye and sleeve, but it doesn’t seem too bad.  Sorry, no pictures of it now, but I will post some later when I finish the dress.  Oh and BTW, I love the cap sleeve!  It looks great.  Can’t wait to see the rest of the dress finished.

So long story long, the moral of this tale is:  Don’t sew when you’re tired!!!  (Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, I think this lesson needs to be pounded into my head repeatedly.)

12 Responses leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011

    Is it possible to sew a sleeve correctly the first time? My experience says I will always sew it incorrectly in SOME way. If I don’t put it on inside out, I’ll miss a bit of the curve when rounding the edges with the serger. Since I’ve started serging garments, I have much less room for error, since it takes away a bit of the seam allowance.

    Of course, if I manage to do the sleeve cap correctly, I’ll do what I did this weekend. A GORGEOUS twin needle hem- on the inside of the shirt… my seam ripper and I are best friends.

  2. Auntie Allyn permalink
    May 10, 2011

    I make so many stupid mistakes when I sew late at night/when I’m tired!!! Now if I get a sewing urge in the evening, I might cut out a pattern and maybe baste the darts and tucks, but no sewing for me!!!

    • May 11, 2011

      Yes! That’s exactly what I do too. Takes me ages to actually get a whole pattern finished, but it’s good for the blood pressure 🙂

  3. May 10, 2011

    I’m glad you got there in the end! I remember a horrible moment when I was tired and sewing a top. I planned to wear it the next day, but right around midnight as I was clipping curves, I slipped with the scissors and took a chunk out of the front! Did I give up? No! I re-cut, re-sewed and went to bed at 2am! I did wear that top the next day after all!

    It’s exciting about your trip to London. I am based about 3 hours north (near Liverpool) so finding a sitter and travelling down might be difficult. But do keep us all updated via the blog! I’m sure there’ll be lots of UK sewists glad to show you around!

  4. Steffie permalink
    May 10, 2011

    Argh, I need that lesson over and over too. I wish it’d just stick so I wouldn’t make mistakes.

  5. Linda permalink
    May 10, 2011

    One year on the night before Easter I was finishing up a dress for my daughter…the last bit to be done was to sew the fluffy ruffled-back skirt to the bodice, which I carefully did. The gathers were adjusted beautifully, and I was so careful not to catch the sash in the stitching. Can you guess? Of course, I sewed the right side of the bodice to the wrong side of the skirt, lol. 18 years later I can laugh at it, but it was sooo sad then!

  6. May 10, 2011

    Yep. slow and steady wins the race.

  7. May 11, 2011

    Wow, I’d have given up after the second disaster! Good for you for persevering. When are we getting pictures? 🙂

  8. May 11, 2011

    Sorry I wasn’t there for you right away when you needed me! My phones are usually in the bottom of my purse when I’m at home, and also some nights I go to bed early as I am up every day at 5:20 to get my workout in and to be at work early. But anyway I was going to say that I admire your courage in setting in the sleeve with the serger. I usually never do that. What I like about the pattern you made is actually the uniquely flat sleeve cap, as it fits my upper arm well AND is flat enough to set in flat instead of in the round. That always results in a perfectly set in sleeve for me. What you can also do is buy the other Kwik sew wrap dress pattern and use the short sleeve pattern piece from that one interchangeably with both patterns as both armscyes are the same.

  9. May 11, 2011

    We all know better, but we get so excited that we can’t help ourselves. I’m sure things will work out great for you.

  10. Meg permalink
    May 11, 2011

    Ya know I love ya kid, but what the heck are you doing serging sleeve caps?! Especially with a new sleeve!

    Here are two rules of thumb for you:

    1. Always baste sleeve caps first, try on, adjust as necessary, then stitch. Last, serge the SA. You need a stronger seam at the armscye than you can get with a serger.

    2. Do not operate heavy machinery or scissors after 10 p.m. You may hand sew but that’s it. No cutting of patterns or using the scissors unless to snip threads.

    This comes from a loving place, because you know I’ve been in your spot before!

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