Dealing with mistakes is an important sewing skill, as we learn what not to do by making mistakes !

Make friends with your seam ripper.
It’s much quicker, easier, safer to use for unpicking than scissors.

You need a finer one (left) to unpick most machine stitching. A thicker one (right) works well for basting, and much hand stitching.


Get a seam ripper with a cover, and keep it well away from children and pets as it’s sharp.

Two methods for using one.
Here’s a video from Deborah Moebes at Whipstitch.
Only use the second method if your fabric doesn’t pull out of shape.

Then pull off all the little pieces of cut thread.
And try again 😀

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After a mistake

from LDT2011 at Pattern Review

I would add “Keep Calm and Completely Re-Thread the Machine”.

How do you react to mistakes ?
Some of us laugh.
Some cry.
Some scream.
Some get dispirited.
Some battle on.
Some get very critical.

When you make a mistake, do you need to cry or scream?
Do you need a pause to rest and cheer up or calm down?.

If you need to scream, make a sewer’s frustration tool (from Shirley Adams at Sewing Connection).
Make it from the worst bit of your “wadder” (throw away reject) 😀

What went wrong ? Were you just tired, frazzled, trying to hurry ?
Or do you need to find out how to do it better ?
What’s the best method of learning for you ? (Here’s a Sewingplums post on what helps you learn.)

Very critical ? Try some re-thinking.
“Even though I made a wonky patch pocket I deeply and completely accept myself. Making mistakes is what learners do. I’m still a good person. And, difficult though it is to believe, the world hasn’t come to an end.”
Caring about quality is good. But perfection is often impossible.
What would be “good enough” for you to accept ?

Can you simplify the project or your learning sequence so you’re less likely to get upset ?
It’s impossible to learn without making mistakes.
But some of us get more upset about them.
Unless you laugh about mistakes, it’s best to try a project which only needs one new skill, or has very very good instructions.
I make lots and lots of practice samples until I feel confident enough to do a new technique ‘for real’.

Those of us who focus on mistakes tend to home in on everything wrong with our finished projects.
Instead, try to celebrate and enjoy what you managed to do.
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

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Links available January 2015

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