Learning to love (tolerate) my sewing mistakes…

I’m that person that makes a mistake whilst sewing, gets really frustrated with it, then hides that project in a bin bag in the darkest corner of her sewing room never to see the light of day again…

Well that was me until more recently anyway. When I started out sewing I really made a hash out of a lot of projects – a fact I noticed when I moved house and they all came with me… Nothing had gotten binned surprisingly! I must’ve thought I’d go back to them and either finish them off or repurpose the material!

Nowadays, well, firstly I’m a better dressmaker (in my opinion)! There’s are less mistakes being made. Secondly I’ve becomes more patient at unpicking things and remaking things. My thread snips help! I’ve also started to embrace some mistakes and use them as embellishments and styling choices. But realistically the thing that has changed the most is that I’ve learnt to turn a blind eye to those little mistakes which are never going to be noticed by anyone else!

Like this…

(My non-matching side seams 😢! Just so you know, they were matching to start off with but I had to adjust the side seams slightly and off they went!)

Or this…


(That visible overlocked edge was not a design choice on purpose. I sewed the binding to the wrong side and decided it was too much work to unpick it all so I had to leave it!)

In the past, these clothes would probably only see the back of my wardrobe but I’m trying to be better! It’s such a waste of time and effort not to wear your creations for the sake of some tiny errors!

I wish I could sew perfectly every time or have the patience to makes 10 muslins before making my final garment but I know me and I know that’ll just never happen!

So my new ethos with regards to my me-made items? Chin up and smile and no one will ever notice your zip is wonky…

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  1. You are so right Emily! I think generally people are quite impressed when we say we’ve made something ourselves and they would certainly never notice an imperfection – even if we think it stands out a mile! Mind you, there are still things that get thrown/hidden in the corner in my sewing room!

  2. Hi Emily. True true true. In my case, I can be a little obsessed with the preparation and getting everything in place before sewing, that I end up having more WIPs than finished projects

    1. I used to have tons of WIPs lying around and they never got finished. I’d always find a fault then just stop… Such a bad habit! It’s definitely good to be organised before starting to see a project – I hate being interrupted because I’ve forgotten to get something for it!

  3. Thank you for this post, Emily! Just yesterday, the buttonhole setting on my machine glitched… on a very visible buttonhole on my almost finished shirt dress… I turned off the machine before it became a complete disaster, but, still, there’s a visible error impossible to unpick.

    But I don’t want to give up on a dress I put so much work into. I’m trying to not only accept the mistake but think about it as a unique save. Working on it 😉

    1. Put a really nice button over the top and no one will know! I think this is something that’s happened to all of us at one point or another. Definitely don’t throw away all that hard work over it!

    1. So true!! I think a lot of us don’t look at shop bought garments with a critical eye which is odd given how much we criticise our own work!

  4. Yes! Love this!! Although, to be honest I usually have the opposite problem when sewing…. “F*ck it, good enough for government work” is a common phrase heard when I’m sewing! A sentiment I’ve taken to heart (perhaps a little too much 😉 ) is that the tiny imperfections are how you can tell it’s handmade- I find this particularly true when knitting.

  5. I’m in the “uh…what have I done…oh well! Meh!” camp, *shrug*. And a no-muslin girl. I’m meticulous in my day job/work but I see dressmaking as an adventure. Mismatched? Wonky? Those will be evidence of growth when one day I look back as a more experienced dressmaker 🙂 Embrace the journey!

  6. My Dad always said, “The best carpenters are not the ones who don’t make mistakes. It’s how they hide their mistakes.” Invariably we had done something stupid working on the house. I think the same goes for sewing. It’s all about recovery!

  7. Couldn’t agree more! So many people will never notice the tiny little things that previously, we would have agonised over. Oh and my friend was actually wearing a RTW top last week which had the the overlocked edge as a design feature on the shoulder seams, at least that’s what I assume. 😉

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