Dumb and Dumber

I was all set to blog about how dumb my rotary cutter is, how I’d totally fallen out of love with rotary cutters, weren’t they just the most stupid, blunt, clumsy, useless pieces of equipment?

Then I went to change the blade, and look what fell out.

For months I’d been using my rotary cutter with two blades inserted and an (admittedly pretty) little wad of fabric slivers clogging up the mechanism. I wondered why tiny scraps kept covering my work surface whenever I was cutting!

My rotary cutter works like a dream now. What with it only having the one fresh blade correctly inserted.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done? Is there anyone out there who can steal my crown of Dumb Sewist?

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54 Responses to Dumb and Dumber

  1. annie says:

    Love it! Do you remember the project(s) that caused all this angst?

  2. Jane says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, can’t stop laughing! That’s just HILARIOUS! Mind you, in my case it’s not just Dumb and Dumber, it’s Dumb and Dumberer…. I worked for several weeks with my new cutting mat, bemoaning the fact that it only had inches printed on it, when occasionally I might need centimetres. One day I happened to turn it over and there was the other side, printed with centimetres all over it!!!! Duh!! Do I steal the crown? x

    • Shams says:

      LOLOL. That is very funny!

      • MrsC says:

        Gosh I rang up the supplier who sent me some cutting boards and berated them for only having centimetres on them – useless for quilting. They were very polite about it all, and didn’t point out my mistake. I only discovered the inches side weeks later!

  3. Andrea says:

    Oh, have you forgotten my Pyjama Party party foul of sewing the legs together upside down to make Oompa Loompa pants? Also, the first set-in sleeves I ever did, after all that basting and easing and pinning and cursing and basting and sewing and cursing and seam-ripping and re-stitching, I realized both sleeves were sewn wrong-side-out. Oy.

  4. I have a few of these. I think my most annoying one was when I first got my sewing machine and while I was fine on my first make, by my second I think my brain had taken leave of my body. I couldn’t figure out why my stitches were all tangly and uneven. I HAD FORGOTTEN TO LOWER THE PRESSER FOOT. It took me about half an hour to figure out the problem. The shame! I always remember to lower it now, but really someone should have taken my poor wee sewing machine off me for that.

  5. Risa says:

    Hahahahaha! I was gearing up to buy a pattern for my daughter’s PJ and for the life of me I couldn’t find a size chart to tell me how much yardage to buy on the back of the envelope. I ended up buying both packages which is all sizes possible. I still couldn’t find the size chart and figured I’d look online somehow. Then MIL came over one day and spotted that and mentioned how cute of a pattern it was and asked why I had two. She goes to those envelopes and proceeds to show me where the size chart was. ::slaps head:: There it was, it was neatly tucked INSIDE rather than over the envelope. I never checked there! I now check the back of the envelope AND seeing if there’s anything tucked inside. At the least when my daughter is too big for the smallest size envelope, I have the next sizes up!

  6. pandorra7 says:

    LOL – that’s funny. My most recent smart move came when I was knitting the sleeve of a sweater and instead of turning the page I continued the pattern from the top of the same page. Then it took me about 14 inches of knitting before I realized that I was actually knitting the left front on top of my sleeve…

  7. oonaballoona says:

    how completely awesome.

    i know i’ve done something dumb (many things) but yours is so stupefying i can’t think of anything.

  8. Kerry says:

    I think I have done loads of silly things but the most recent was when I made up a pattern, carefully added to the pattern pieces that the darts needed to be considerably shorter, then proceeded to ignore my new annotations and made them exactly the same length next time.

    Quite often I make a mistake, unpick it, then sew it wrong again exactly the same – duh!

  9. gccmom says:

    we have all done our share of dumb things while sewing. I try my hardest to forget those! The dumbest and mot dangerous thing I ever did was try to sew without a presser foot (can’t remember why) and I sewed through my finger. Won’t ever do that again. At least you solved your mystery!

  10. Hehehe .. Ohhh funny. I done loads of dummy things… Sew R/w inteade of R/R side, sew with pressed foot up on the over locker …

  11. That’s a good one! Here’s my Big Dumb: for over a year I thought there was something wrong with my sewing machine because the bobbin thread kept bunching up periodically. I even had it serviced, and still the problem existed, baffling me.

    Turns out I was THREADING THE SEWING MACHINE WRONG the entire time.

  12. alibobs says:

    My recent errors don’t seem that bad now!
    At the weekend I carefully matched my jeans yoke pieces to the pattern, got them the right way up and then joined them to the wrong leg. I switched them round and stitched them upside-down. Then I repeated my first error, before getting it right fourth time lucky!

  13. Oh my, I’m sure I’ve had to rip out some seam on every single project. On multiple occasions I’ve made two cups identical rather than a left and right. Bras don’t fit like that.
    Or when I couldn’t understand why the twin needle was making such thick stitches. I went to bed hoping sleep would sort it out, tried again the next day, rethreaded, rethreaded the bobbin, still a mess. Then I realized it was set to an overlock stitch on a width of 0, not a straight stitch. So it had been going back and forth and “over” again and again…

    I must say, this is going to be a great comment thread.

  14. symondezyn says:

    Oh my gosh … my rotary cutter has never worked well, so maybe I have the same problem!! :O I’m so gonna check as soon as I get home!! LOL

  15. Rehanon says:

    I was already to take Brenda (my sewing machine) for a service as I had tried everything and she was gathering all the material and getting knotted. I then realised she was threaded wrong whoops! Glad you got to the bottom of it 🙂

  16. Bold Sewist says:

    Tee hee! I tend to go with my perennial favourite of sewing the wrong (sides) together but I’m sure it doesn’t end there, just that I’ve blanked everything else from my mind!

  17. gingermakes says:

    Gah! That is hilarious! Just the other night I popped on my new invisible zipper foot, pressed the pedal a little, and immediately snapped the needle in half because…. I had it on backwards. You know, so there’s no hole for the needle to go into? Uuuuugggggghhhh…

  18. LLADYBIRD says:

    The very first dress I mde from a pattern- it was one of those sundresses with triangle cups that gather under the bust. Well, I couldnt exactly decipher the instructions, so I omitted the gathers. My chest did not fit in that dress AT ALL lol… I still wore it, though. Out in public, unfortunately haha.

    My rotary cutter barely works, now I’m curious to take it apart and see if I find any, eh, treasures.

  19. MrsC says:

    Lordie. Too many, too traumatic to recall. Sewing button holes on the wrong side of a man’s waistcoat TWICE, when trying very hard not to. Breaking countless needles setting the machine to zigzag with my quarter inch foot in, thinking my new to me Bernina 1230’s bobbin winder was busted because it didn’t work (you have to use the foot control to operate it, weird as with the 1120 you didn’t), And most recently, making a lovely class sample for a vintage apron class with a pretty strawberry fabric. Had to recut the skirt on it due to a strange mark in fabric – now strawberries are all upside down!! How dumb is that! I tell everyone it is satanic strawberries. Easier to make stuff up than remake the blasted thing!

  20. Jo says:

    In my previous sewing life in the 1980’s I decided to sew some jodphur style trousers. They had a kind of opening at the bottom of the legs with button fastenings. I spent ages sewing the tabs really neatly and doing lovely neat button holes only to find when I came to assemble the trousers I had two left legs! I was devastated. My partner couldn’t speak for laughing (he still mentions it now given half a chance). I am so paranoid now. checking and checking before I sew. It was really nice fabric too which I had paid proper money for, from Berwick street. I think I am still devastated!!!

  21. Marie says:

    Oh Karen, I’m in much needed hysterics. Your post has come at a perfect time as I’ve needed a pick-me-up from my disastrous day of sewing. EVERYTHING I’ve touched today went wrong at least once. There was a lot of unpicking, swearing, crying and stomping of feet. I swear I unpicked more than I sewed and I was at it solidly for at least 8 hours. Even my equipment was playing up – overlocker thread snapping, sewing machine eating fabric. And the worst thing is that I’m only working on a pretty simple blouse…gah!

    I think my funniest faux pas though was sewing my pyjama pants Andrea/ Oompa Loompa stylee!

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Been there, done that!

  23. Meg@Mood says:

    For the longest time I didn’t realize I was ironing with the protective plastic film that was placed on my new iron’s sole plate at the factory. Felt so stupid when I realized it was there.

  24. Molly says:

    I can sympathise, I don’t often use my rotary cutter and the last time I did, I switched the (blunted from cutting modroc) blade for the pinking blade and then couldn’t for the life of me work out why it wasn’t lining up with the edge of my rule, it was the cutter width away. Took a while to click I’d screwed the blade onto the opposite side of the cutter for a left-handed cutter but using it in my right hand! I didn’t realise it could be a swapped around for a left or right handed user.

    I’m often doing stupid things, I forget about them as quick as possible, but I’ve done the classics like sewing both front legs of trousers together in one leg, sewing sleeves on inside out, sewing seams on the right side instead of wrongside, leaving the presser foot up…. the other day I was using a work machine and couldn’t get it to operate, eventually I spotted the on-off switch on the front… 🙂

  25. It was a very patriotic mistake 🙂

  26. Rose in SV says:

    I don’t like inset sleeves. I carefully pinned and sewed the same sleeve (TWICE!) into a shirt–UPSIDE DOWN. Those rotary blades are stick together (I think that they are coated with oil), so I can understand how that happen!

  27. Pella says:

    Yes, I like that one and the other ones above, all coffee splutterers. How’s this for an entry into the competition though?. My lovely, totally reliable, adorable mechanical Bernina suddenly just stopped working after thirty years. I fiddled with the plug sockets, peered in the inners, defluffed, oiled, prayed, posted a cry for help on a sewing forum, looked up the number of the machine shop, rang to find out their opening hours. Then I tried it again. Magic. If you press your foot on the foot pedal which belongs to the machine you’re trying to use rather than the three others cluttered about under the table, the balance wheel turns, the needle goes up and down, and the feed dogs feed, perfect stitches form.

  28. Bridget says:

    I once cut out 3 left legs when making a pair of trousers before it dawned on me that I had to TURN THE PATTERN OVER so as to make it a right leg!!!!!

  29. I’m guilty of most of them: inside out collars are a perennial favourite for me (I just don’t seem to learn), though I haven’t done the two left legs in my jodphurs (probably only because I’ve never made such things) but, you know, we all sew when we’re tired and have 57 different things trying to distract us so I think it’s amazing we don’t make bigger fluff-ups far more frequently!

  30. Jane says:

    I’ve done the exact same thing Karen, and wondered why the cutter wasn’t working very well until I changed the blade!

  31. Erika says:

    Wonderful thread! =) I’ve also done a bunch of dumb thigns while sewing, like lining a bodice and then realise I’ve sewn all the way around it and how earth am I now suppose to turn the whole thing inside out now? There’s no opening! Rotary cutters are made for sewists to screw up with. I figured mine was quite useless, it didn’t cut properly. I mentioned it to the boyfriend, he picks it up and cut clean, sharp and straight through the fabric. Oh, so one needed to put real pressure on it?
    Also, I was filling my tailor’s ham with sawdust but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get my hands on some from a lumber yard (they’re not exactly central). Then I finally realised it’s sold in pet stores… Not so hard to find any longer =)

  32. Kat says:

    When I was sewing my very first evening gown I ended up with two left front bodice parts. The upper layer was made out of a flimsy chiffon. The right and wrong side could barely told apart. So, I unpicked the wrong piece and sewed it back together to have two left front bodice parts AGAIN!

    • Molly says:

      I find that most of the time when I unpick a mistake, I sew it back together exactly the same way – no matter how many times I checked and double-checked it was right this time! It usually takes me three attempts (sometimes more) to get mistakes right, perhaps because they happen when I’m tired and unpicking doesn’t solve that issue!

  33. Vicki Kate says:

    Heh, the most I can offer is setting in a sleeve so that the under arm seam was on the outside! That and getting stuck in a toile (last week) because I got so fed up struggling with a back zipper I decided to rip it out and just sew up the back seam for fitting purposes instead.

    It’s pretty fabric though that took up residence in the rotary cutter!

  34. Cathy says:

    Ugh, this post (and the great comments) are beautifully timed for me! I’d been fighting with a jacket collar facing for ages- it was puffing up around my neck and wouldn’t sit right for the life of me. I thought maybe I’d cut the fabric funny, but nope. Maybe my sizing alterations had messed something up? Not that either. I took the facing out and sewed it back in several times and cursed at it plenty more, to no avail… until I was sitting staring at it yesterday and realised (to my growing horror) that I’d simply sewn it in UPSIDE DOWN. And I’d done it more than once! I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time =’)

  35. Sandy P says:

    Loving everyones comments!
    Mine isn’t a mistake as such (I think?) but I discovered this year after 27-28 years of using my sewing machine that I’ve been using the zig-zag presser foot all the time. I didn’t even know I had a straight stitch foot! I do switch between both stitches a lot so I’m sticking with the zig-zag foot. I’m not ever sure I could sew with the straight now anyway.

  36. oh yes, i cut 2 left fronts instead of flipping the pattern for the right front in a pair of trousers for my daughter. then i did the same thing again. then i cut it right and managed to snip through the other fronts i had already cut. then i realised i didn’t have enough material to finish. as i was only making them to use up a metre of fabric i bought by mistake, she doesn’t have that pair of trousers now.

  37. Oh thanks to you for your post and to everybody for their comments, I laughed so much I ended up crying. One mistake I made so often I may finally, maybe, perhaps, be able not to do it again (hahaha, I shouldn’t say that), is to forget to switch the pattern to make a right piece and a left piece. Also, I’m surprised no one mentioned going to far with the seam ripper when opening a buttonhole (not that I ever did that, mind you. Hum).

    There’s this other one that happened to me after we moved from France to America… The container with our stuff took 10 weeks to cross the ocean, so I was all glad to see Becky again (yes, I named my sewing machine after a Vanity Fair character I don’t even like, Rebecca Sharp, because when I first got it I marveled at how sharp and accurate everything was compared to my previous machine). My first Becky-project in the US was to sew curtains for my studio (yawn – I hate sewing curtains). And it was a catastrophe. Nothing seemed to work! No backstitch. Completely uneven sewing. Not the usual motor noise. I wondered if Becky had been sea sick in her container, if the box fell. I looked for places where I could have her serviced but everything seemed inconvenient. I tweeted my despair. And then my husband came back from work, and I felt dumber than the dumbest: he casually looked at the bottom of the machine, and here was the switch between the european electrical 220V and the american 110V! You want to know the better part? I did actually sew my curtains that day, before he came back, with the uneven stitches and everything. It seems my obsession for meticulous details don’t really apply when I sew curtains :).

  38. Oh please, let me add another that I just did right now, may I? I just spent 1/2 an hour trying to figure out why the two side seam pockets I just fitted into the skirt pieces didn’t match up in the same place on each side of a center front pleat (which of course I didn’t notice until I was trying to pin it to the bodice). Unpinned it all, tried it on the dress form, re-basted… still off. I mean how hard can it be? A center line, two matching pockets that are turned towards the center. One further away from the center by about 1/2″.

    Then I realized: I pinked the seam allowance on one pocket and not the other…which was exactly as much as that pocket was closer to the center. Gah!

  39. Amanda says:

    This happened to me too!!! For weeks I couldn’t figure out why every time I cut fabric there’d be a little slither of fabric popping up. They should tell you that they include 2 blades in the tool, and that you need to take one out – sheesh! This post confirmed that I did the right thing though. After removing the second blade I still wondered if I was supposed to do that, or if you were supposed to keep both in and I was doing it wrong. This post made me laugh 🙂

  40. Amy says:

    Confession: I’ve never changed the blade on my rotary cutter, in the 18 or so months I’ve had it. I have no idea how. It’s probably as blunt as a toothbrush. Where do you get your new blades?

  41. Suze says:

    Reverse applique applied (at great length) without reversing the fabric. Gawd did I swear! Taking my sewing machine back to John Lewis because it was making a funny noise, only to be patiently shown that I had the slow speed switch turned on. Gawd did I blush! Great thread, this!

  42. Molly says:

    I was reminded of another blunder today, one of my costume student though… she’d been having great difficulty setting in a great, drooping, two-part sleeve into a buccaneers type coat and eventually set it in – but with the seams on the outside of the sleeve. She cussed a bit, ripped it out and reset it then presented it to me. I burst into a fit of giggles, which puzzled her until I explained she’d sewn the sleeve in upside down with the cuff end set into the armscye! Luckily she saw the funny side too, although there was a lot more blue words in the air 🙂

  43. ZoSews says:

    Hahaha! I’ve sewn my sleeves closed and only realized when I went to try the dress on – in front of my sewing class… still funny.

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