Thursday 25 June 2015

When a Project Goes Wrong...

Keeping it real here at Threading My Way today and sharing a project that did NOT go according to plan.

I tend to find that when I make one mistake, it'll be quickly followed by more mistakes. And that's exactly what happened with the baby gift I was making to welcome an extended family member into the world.

I thought a matching long sleeved t-shirt, with matching pants, would be a practical gift, as well as being relatively quick and easy to whip up. Should have been!!!

Mistake #1 - I misaligned the neck opening and had to unpick the overlocking (serger) stitches, only to discover Mistake #2. I had been using the wrong needle in my overlocker. Instead of a ball point or stretch needle, I'd been using one for woven fabrics, which resulted in the holes you can see.

Why I didn't stop at this point I don't know!!! I'm not sure what I thought I was going to do about all those little holes.

A change of needle in the overlocker and the neck binding went in perfectly. I like to finish off necklines with a twin needle and have used this method very successfully before:

I didn't have any small spools of white polyester thread for the twin needle, so improvised with two overlocker cones. I'd seen this done somewhere before, but couldn't find the details. I just sat the two cones on the table behind the machine.

I'd read a lot about woolly nylon; apparently the ultimate thread for sewing stretch fabrics and so I purchased some. As I'd read, I filled the bobbin with the woolly nylon.

Mistake #3 - the neckline was no longer perfect. It has that stretched and wavy look. I'm not sure why this happened. At least I can easily explain mistakes #1 and #2. Adding the double row of stitching to the neckline has never been a problem before.

Perhaps the cones of thread on the table altered the tension or maybe I should have altered some settings due to the woolly nylon.

Sometimes I reduce the presser foot pressure when sewing with knits, but this time I didn't. Maybe that added to the problem.

I know you can use a walking foot when sewing with knit fabric, but I've never needed to do this for a neckline.

HELP!!! Any suggestions you can give me will be gratefully received.

The pants look cute, don't they. Looks like there's just the waistband to finish. These were sewn before the t-shirt, on the overlocker with the WRONG needle, so there'll be lots of little holes everywhere.

This cute little label will have to wait for the next handmade outfit. 

I did what any good sewist would do - packed everything away, had a glass of wine and at a later date, purchased a store bought gift for the little newborn.

What would you have done?

... Pam


  1. I would have done exactly the same! Relaxing with a glass of wine is definitely better than getting frustrated! 😄

  2. A glass? You mean a bottle of wine ;)
    I do not have tips, hope someone will give you the answer so we can all learn! I have seen the tip of sewing with tissue paper, but not sure if that was the solution for you.

  3. I haven't any tips cuz I've still not gotten the time together to work on sewing knits, but thanks for the tips. I didn't even think about needing to put the right needles in the serger! The pants are sweet.

  4. Hi Pam, Is fabric the same as you normally use? The neck is very stretched so it is possible a combination of too much pressure, too small stitch and as you said too thick thread. Why don't you try different settings on scraps?

    1. Hi Moh, I have never used this particular fabric before and can't remember what type of stretch it is. It looks similar to others I've sewn with, but could well be totally different. I have lots of it left and I love the pattern, so I'll definitely be sewing with it in the future. I'll most certainly test on scraps first, so I don't ruin more of this gorgeous fabric. Thanks very much for your suggestions.

  5. I have never stitched T shirt material so have no helpful advise to offer, but I've had plenty of projects go wrong. Hopefully the wine took the edge off your frustrations! xx

  6. Hi Pam I too hate when I forget to change thread or needle.. But All in not lost...Grab your iron and give the neckline a good press with steam.....and I mean steam...then pin in place if your ironing pad can hold some straight pins are going to BLOCK the neckline as you would a sweater that was handwashed and squeezed too much....then when good and dry remove the pins...the neckline got a little stretched out when the stitched were removed with the seam ripper...I know, no matter how careful we are when we handle the fabric when using the seam ripper..knits are like worms...they like to change shape as they are touched....But just a reminder...when using 2 spools of thread, place them in a they do not meander around the table...the thread will not pull so tightly then....and when you are placing into the needle...left needle gets thread that you put through the guide just above pin where the needle screw is and the 2nd thread ...only goes to right needle...but thread from spool just like any time you sew.....this prevents the 2 threads getting tangled and pulled taunt in the machine....Have fun...and that little set is still so cute with the fabric prints.......

  7. I would have done the exact same thing!lol There are times when it's best to quit while we're ahead and go with Plan B. The fabrics you chose are cute and would have made a darling set for a new baby. Next time!;)

  8. Oh good, I'm not alone with mistakes lately. I was making me a new tunic and decided it looks better as summer pajamas! Sorry Pam, no tips from me, I need to take more lessons on working with knits.

  9. They may be far from perfect, but they still look very cute! I think I'd have sent the outfit with a note as well as the bought gift - depending on how well I knew the parents and the kind of people they are maybe - but then I'm not too precious about my childrens' clothes!


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