Makers Mistakes

This blog post has been brought to you by a recent project disaster. Over the past months, I’ve been considering sewing the Helmi Tunic from Named, a lovely fitted tunic with a stand collar and hidden placket. I finally ran out of nice things to wear and decided it was time. I had sewn a placket before...darts...rounded hem. Whatevs…I was ready to take this on.

Things really seemed to be aligning when we received several lovely rayon fabrics in a recent shipment, one of which was going to be perfect for my new tunic dress. With all this coming together, I got busy. Fabric chosen, pattern traced, instructions read numerous times, I was ready to make the perfect tunic dress.

Why, then, did this project not turn out so great…Well, let me count my mistakes, friends:

  1. Transfer all the marks to your fabric: People—I sewed the back skirt to the front top. And consequently, spent a LOT of time ripping seams. Most patterns will have notches or markings to signify the front from the back. This one did. But, I ignored a few of them, apparently.
  2. Read directions carefully, don’t get distracted: Also, I sewed the wrong side of the sleeve to the right side of the dress...possibly while I was watching my mystery show and sewing…and again with the seam ripping.
  3. Test your buttonhole foot on your chosen fabric: It had been a little while since I made button holes, but I’d done it so many times, I thought it would be like riding a bike. However, I had never used this type of rayon, which liked to slide around and get stuck in my machine with my buttonhole foot. The first button hole I created was absolutely horrible. AND, impossible to remove without destroying my precious fabric. (Thank goodness for the HIDDEN placket.) After that little mistake, I spent a while practicing on a scrap of my fabric. I also took a photo of my machine settings so that I could remember in the future.
  4. Fit: Truth be told, I haven’t been practicing what I preach. “MAKE A MUSLIN before you cut into your beautiful, expensive, irreplaceable fabric.” Make a wearable muslin, even. I just wanted something to wear and fast. Had I taken my own darn advice, I would have made a muslin and realized that the sizing was about two sizes too large for my body. Even though I had examined the finished garment sizing and my own measurements, the sizing had a lot more ease than I wanted for this piece. So. That’s that.

All these mistakes didn’t stop me from wearing it out that evening. There’s a lot of pride in working so hard and having something different to wear…even if it doesn’t always look perfect. But, I’ll certainly be bringing this back down to the sewing room to sort out how to make it fit better. What are your favorite lessons learned?