It Just Doesn’t Add Up

It was half term last week at Morley College, but I didn’t have time to hang around. I cut out my pieces for the V8667 dress, using the pattern pieces I’d adjusted with masking tape. I started to sew together the bodice, but then ground to a halt:

Left above: bodice pieces that are out by 1.5cm at the bottom.

Right above: Pattern pieces lined up seamlessly next to each other.

I couldn’t work this one out at all! I had to put the sewing down and wait until I could talk to my teacher. She was able to show me my mistake immediately. When you want to check that your adjusted pattern pieces line up:

  • Don’t line them up side by side, as above.
  • Place the edges together as you would the pieces of fabric you’re going to sew ie face to face.

Got that? Good.

I recut my bodice pieces in class and sewed them together. Success! Look how neatly they lined up:

Nice neat lines

But peering closer, it became clear I’d made another mistake:

Can you see what I did there?

Even with a tutor in the room, I was still managing to mess up. I spent most of this week’s class recutting or ripping out. Baby steps, baby steps…

I did a little bit of extra work at home, where I indulged my dirty little habit of sewing over pins. Hot on the heels of Tilly’s post requesting details of sewing accidents, this happened:

My sewing machine and I both survived, but this pin is a goner and I’ve learned my lesson. But get this – the needle didn’t even break on my machine! Sewing machines are hard core, aren’t they? If I was having a scrap in the playground, I’d want a Bernina on my side.

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14 Responses to It Just Doesn’t Add Up

  1. Steph says:

    I can no longer keep track of the number of times I’ve sewn the wrong sides together. And then usually ruin the fabric trying to get it apart!

    My old machine used to be able to sew over the pins without bending them or breaking the needle (I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not), as long as I put them in the fabric horizontally to the stitch. My new machine does not like this, and the needle breaks every time! I figure this was natures way of telling me to slow down and be a little less lazy with my sewing!

  2. You have completely drawn me into the drama! There was I was stressing in case you didn’t have enough fabric for cutting new pieces… & then … relief!
    Anyway, I’ve calmed down now – many many many bent pins in my pot too.

    I’m glad it’s all coming together. Like you say, definitely the slow way compared to some of the other things you have managed to whip up in a thrice. It’ll be so worth it.

  3. Bold Sewist says:

    I can’t believe that pin! That’s what happened to me last week, except the pin survived while the needle snapped and the machine sounded like it was in death throes. I need a Bernina – either that or to listen after all these years to that home economics teacher who insisted we baste everything rather than sewing over pins. I don’t think so!

    Love love love the colour – and so well coordinated with the ironing board and iron to boot!

  4. rosyragpatch says:

    I’m not going to stop basting over pins either – but I have started to sew a bit slower to avoid the broken needles I kept getting.

  5. lindsaybobindsay says:

    I love that color too!

    I recently got “Design-It-Yourself: Patternmaking Simplified” and it talks about “truing” your patterns– measuring each seam along the seam line (not seam allowance line) to make sure the pieces will all match up. It’s such a simple step but I’d never thought to do it either! Sure, it would be great if geometry could give us something a little more sophisticated, but at least now we know what to do!

  6. sewer says:

    It can help to thread trace the sewing lines. It’s more work, but it avoids the confusion you had.

  7. sewer says:

    I also make a mark on the wrong side of the fabric, sometimes with chalk, other times with thread. It’s easy to get confused.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Haha! I have had my share of sewing mistakes. Don’t worry, I’m sure I have you beat by a mile. 😉 I love the color of your fabric. You’ll look lovely in it with your complexion.

  9. KC says:

    That’s going to be a beautiful dress, and with the added bonus of a story to tell!

  10. Lovely colour of wool. Can’t wait to see the finished dress. Its going to look lovely on you.

    Yikes! I never sew over pins, I’m a bit too chicken! If I need too many pins to hold something together, I hand baste. Just found that I get a better result and then I’m not cursing or worrying about sewing over pins.

  11. Caroline says:

    I used to be a ‘sewer over pins’er too, but I got too nervous that a pin / needle was going to snap in half and whack me in the eyeball! Pretty dress and color, look forward to seeing more.

  12. Sharon says:

    Ah yes. I’ve done that with patterns in the past and stood looking at the sewn seams pondering why they didn’t match. It took me awhile before the light bulb went off so you’re very fortunate to have someone to ask!

    As for sewing pins – never! Sewed over a pin once, needle must have hit it just right because it flew towards my eye. Yikes! Cured me of sewing over pins that’s for sure.

  13. Jane says:

    THANK YOU for the tip about pattern pieces, that’s happened to me before, but I’m afraid I just cut the other piece so they lined up, closed my eyes and hoped for the best. Luckily it was OK but obviously I can’t keep doing that! x

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