DIYdiy projectssewing 101

sewing in a straight line: project + video+ book giveaway!

by Brett

Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara — How to Sew a Round Bowl with Straight Lines Only from Rarebit Productions on Vimeo.

We’re very excited to announce that our resident sewing expert and all-around awesome crafter, Brett Bara, has a new book out titled Sewing in a Straight Line. To celebrate, Brett is sharing a DIY video for her round nesting bowls above and giving away five copies of her book to D*S readers!

To be eligible to win, just leave a comment below telling Brett about your biggest sewing disaster. Broken bobbins? Tangles of thread? We want to hear it all! Share your stories below, and Brett will pick her five favorites. We’ll announce the winners on D*S next week! — Kate

*Brett is also giving away tons of sewing goodies on her blog, including a sewing machine and serger (!!!), sewing tools, fabric and more.

Read more about Brett’s book after the jump!

Sewing in a Straight Line features 26 projects for home decor, gifts, clothing and accessories that can all be made by simply sewing straight lines. I got the idea to write this book when I realized that more and more people were telling me that they’d like to learn how to sew but that they didn’t know where to start because it all seemed so overwhelming. One day it dawned on me that so much of what I sew really isn’t hard to make — in fact, much of it is made with straight lines only! And anybody can sew a straight line. So I set out to make a book that would show people that it can be really easy to sew cute things, even with basic skills.

My goal was to come up with a collection of projects that looked stylish but were deceptively simple to make. I wanted to give readers a good go-to reference for sewing the basics like curtains, duvets, pillows, simple clothes, accessories and quick gifts. I also wanted to help readers build their skills and confidence, so some are projects designed to help you learn new techniques, like installing zippers, working with specialty materials and even making quilts. Every pattern in the book is formatted so that the reader makes the project to his or her own measurements — so whether it’s curtains or a dress, it will be custom-made to the exact size you need. — Brett

DIY Duvet Cover

Quilty Zigs and Zags: A Quilted Belt

Suggested For You


  • Brett, my biggest sewing disaster is how many free evenings I have had and not sat down at the sewing machine and made something b/c I am too afraid I will create something terrible and waste fabric!

  • Biggest sewing disaster was when I actually sewed my sleeve in between two layers of fabric while making an apron…I ended up just trimming off part of my sleeve and leaving it inside the apron trim. The friend that I made it for has no idea that a piece of me is really inside the hem of her apron! That taught me to wear short sleeves when sewing.

  • I don’t sew. I broke my mom’s machine once when I was 12 and was banned ever since. Maybe with a book – I would try again!

  • Hey Brett, My biggest sewing disaster would have to be making a skirt a few years ago, I sew pretty often, but when I was laying out my pattern on my fabric I was watching tv and realize I was cutting into the wrong fabric! I didn’t even realize until I started sewing the pieces together that I was doing pretty much everything wrong! Moral of the story pay attention when you sew! – Laura K A p.s. This book looks amazing!

  • lol it just took me forever to get started–i couldn’t figure out how to thread my sewing machine for the Longest time!

  • Oh gosh…biggest disaster? As a brand new sewer, I feel like everything I do is a disaster! Particularly with two little kittens who are obsessed/frightened of the sewing machine. If I had to pick one, I would say that my worst mistake was to wear my comfy baggy sweater wrap while trying to piece together a quilt. One of the kittens jumped up onto the table to attack the fabric, I got scared and instead of lifting up on the pedal, I pushed down. Before I knew it, the sleeve of my sweater was now a part of my quilt. Yikes!

  • Worst sewing disaster?
    How about spending hours of careful work installing your very first zipper (in the back of a dress) and then holding the garment aloft in great triumph and pride to find the zipper installed in all it’s centered perfection …. at the bottom of the skirt.

  • I tried to alter my own wedding dress!!!! A lot of tears later, I had to scrape together a budget for dress purchase number two – and professional alterations!

  • I’ve sewn quilts together for a time now and I will always make each square a different size somehow now matter how hard I tried to get it go straight. So when I go to lay the squares out it would make this really weird shape, but I guess that’s my signature look!

  • My sewing disaster wasn’t during the act of sewing but involved my equipment, I finally decided it was time to rent an art studio to give my various machines a home and packed everything up in one of those granny grocery shopping carts with my sewing machine crammed inside of a loom for support on top. As the birds were singing and the sun was shining, 2 blocks from the studio my cart hit a granny-wheel-sized crag in the sidewalk and inertia sent my machine flying like a rocket through the air as I screamed bloody murder. People literally came out of their homes with concern. The old girl broke into a million pieces, but gave me an excuse to get a new toy!

  • I am in definite need of a new sewing book! My worst sewing experience… sewing four giant curtains with a cat in the room. He clearly thought it was playtime. Lots of claw marks in my curtains!

  • My mother was an amazing seamstress — wedding dresses, suits and more. My biggest disaster wasn’t mine alone — my brides maids and I picked out a pattern and fabrics for their dresses. Mom was too busy to help until she discovered that one woman had skipped steps when they didn’t make sense. Mom saved the day. What a close call!

  • I don’t have a sewing disaster….YET. You’re thinking that’s a good thing right? No disasters?

    Well, the only reason I don’t have a disaster yet is because I haven’t started. Fear is paralyzing me. At this very moment, I have $150 worth of amazing fabric waiting for me to get up the nerve to make curtains. I need all the encouragement and training I can get!! Your book would certainly be the help I need.

  • My biggest sewing disaster … well that includes most of my attempts, or at least it feels that way! I remember sewing a pillow cover and the thread and bobbin got so bound up so tightly that I couldn’t even raise my needle up to cut the thread nor open up the lower bit to get at the bobbin itself. It was a big mess!

  • I sew on my grandma’s Singer from the 60’s, it’s a metal work horse but the in-machine bobbin can be a pain to load. It once took me 13 attempts and a lot of tears (no exaggeration) to get the bobbin to wind properly; it happened while I was finishing Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve.
    Despite all that, I still love that machine.

  • When I was in college, I worked summers in a weaving mill, and to say that it was hot in there would be a huge understatement. I had picked up some shorts and wanted to make some cute short-sleeved, collared shirts to go with them so that I could mix and match. I bought material for 5 shirts and got started. I decided to do everything assembly-line style. Everything was going along fine until I got to the collars. I pinned them in place (5 times), stitched them in place (5 times). I then held one up to inspect only to realize that I had neatly stitched it into the armhole and not the neck opening… 5 times.

    I think that’s the last time I sewed a piece of clothing for myself!

  • My worst sewing project ever? The “gathered waist” skirt that spent more time around my thighs than my waist due to my not so great “gathering” skills..

  • Brett! I would LOVE a copy of your book – my biggest sewing disaster is that I have always wanted to sew, and have yet to try! My whole life has been spent at the tailors (I have the shortest legs.. ever.) and I’ve always had the idea of making my own clothes. Thank you!!

  • Trying to quilt a queen size quilt using a cheaper singer sewing machine with a super small armhole opening!!! Never will a tackle this again! It pretty much involved me trying to stranglehold the quilt and the machine at the same time! :(

    Love your book idea and can’t wait to see more! :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was probably the time I was frantically preparing for a craft fair, sewing all hours of the day and night. In a moment of sleepy inattention, I hit the foot pedal and jammed the machine’s needle right through my fingertip. I was literally stuck in the machine– but “luckily” my camera was in easy reach of my free hand, so I was able to snap a photo. Needless to say, I pay much more attention now when I’m sewing!

  • One of my biggest sewing disasters is one of user-error. The stitches on the bottom of my fabric kept coming out all loopy and weird. I threaded and rethreaded the machine, rewound bobbins, checked the tension, stitch length, everything! Finally, I went back to the good old manual and found that I had been threading the machine incorrectly the entire time! DOH!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was a broken needle, right around Christmas time. I had only one day to finish sewing a baby blanket for a friend of mine that was having twins before flying back to Aruba the next day. So, I was frantically looking for the right needle and found it at Kmart and I manage to finish sewing the blanket.

  • I love Brett and would really love to win this book! One of my biggest sewing disasters occurred last fall when I was working on a quilt for a Christmas gift and my machine just. stopped. working. I had to send it away for repairs, but somehow managed to finish the quilt in time! Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Would LOVE to win this book! It looks amazing! My biggest sewing disaster was when in college I took a basic patternmaking class offered during winter session by the apparel department. Our final project was to create a piece of clothing to fit out mannequins (totally acceptable to do it out of muslin) and pin it together. I decided to create a complex jacket, make it out of an amazing brocade, make a collar out of velvet and line the coat tails (oh yes, coat tails) with velvet as well. I sewed on mightily and pulled a couple all nighters to get the jacket to come together… then I discovered my velvet was stretch and IMPOSSIBLE to make work with my project. I was overtired, working on an ancient machine with crummy tension and had an 8am deadline… The jacket is still just the shell. But I’m proud anyway :)

  • I was a fashion student who didn’t have a home sewing machine. I spent countless hours at school using the equipment until my husband finally purchased me a sewing machine for my birthday. I was elated and thought it was the answer to my prayers. Upon getting my machine up and running I kept having issues with the machine not being able to perform a basic stitch. It could do buttons, zig zag and everything but NOT a basic straight stitch. I took it in for inspection and none could find any problems. To this day four years later I do not use that machine. I do think about the sewing machine often and I miss it. I got a job in trend forecasting so sewing isn’t mandatory.

  • I would have to say forgetting to put right sides together would be my mistake i’ve made a few times (oops!) I love to make fabric purses and bags and it can be tricky to remember it all….zippers, lining, right sides together. Then I flip it to be right side out annnnnnd it’s inside out.

    This book looks like a ton of fun. I promise to always put my right sides together when making the projects ;)

  • Congratulations on your book Brett! I love reading your blog as well as your posts on D*S. I’ve had so many sewing disasters it’s hard to know which to pick. Probably the most demoralizing was sewing a pair of a Capri pants from a pattern based on my dress size and not the measurements of the garment. They were nearly finished with only the hem left to go when I tried them on for fit. I could barely wrangle them up my thighs. When I yanked them off in disgust, my husband put them on (easily) to prove all my hard work hadn’t gone to waste. Needless to say, they went straight to the scrap box.

  • I once tried sewing a Halloween costume – something along the lines of a St. Pauli girl. The bodice turned out looking ok, but needed some structure. The party started in a few hours so I had no time to run out and get boning materials (nor the knowledge of what to if I did happen to get some). So I looked around the apartment and decided to use a few cardboard containers and a plastic milk jug. I just cut them into strips and started trying to sew it in. Now, my sewing machine didn’t quite appreciate my ingenuity. I broke a needle, jammed the bobbin and nearly had a meltdown. Very slowly I managed to get the mangled “boning” pieces sewn to the bodice. The costume was a big hit and I was only mildly uncomfortable with jagged pieces of plastic sticking me in the ribs all night.

  • Oh, sewing disasters. I’ve had so many, but mymost recent one was trying to sew a sunhat about two hours before we left for the beach. What could go wrong, right? Hahaahaha. It was waaaay too big, and while I was cutting out the brim I managed to cut right in my
    already interfaced crown piece. Oh well :)

  • While making a bridesmaid dress for a friends wedding I accidentally let the iron get too hot and burned through the exact center of the front panel of the green tea length skirt. I had to special order another yard of fabric and have it rushed to my house.

  • I had a bit of a disaster only yesterday! I had decided to make a pin board. I got everything together and had decided to have a cupcake design with applique on a square background. I was merrily sewing around the cupcake and was feeling most pleased with myself as even I thought it was looking ‘okay’. It wasn’t until I had completely finished that I took the fabric away from my machine and realised that I had folded the backing fabric over and had now managed to sew the whole lot together. I then had to unpick all my hard work, hoping I wouldn’t make any holes (I did but they were on the edge so not too bad) After an age I unpicked, re-sewed stapled together (including firing one of the staples in to the dining room table! using the pliers to get it out I took a chunk out of my finger) and finally sewed the ribbon and buttons on to finish. I was pleased with the results, but what a hassle to get them!

  • I have a niece and nephew, ages 6 and 4, respectively. Near my nephew’s last birthday, my niece asked if I could help her make her brother something for his birthday, and she wants to make him a teddy bear. From scratch. Now, I’m pretty much always aiming to be the coolest aunt EVER which means I have no sense of when to say no. So we head to Michaels and buy some felt scraps, googly eyes and yarn. Because people sew with yarn, right? And felt? Anyway, 5 broken needles (no clue that a yarn needle might have helped), 2 blisters, a couple dozen staples where thread just wasn’t happening, and seriously 5 hours later, we had the most mangled, lopsided, flat-faced, stuffing-popping-thru-the-seams teddy bear on the planet. My niece was excited for about 5 minutes and that was the day I vowed to learn to sew in the next year, rather than vowing to just learn to say no to a sweet 6 year old. ;)

  • Ooooh I could really do with some guidance. my sewing machine is ancient and my nightmare is threading the bobbin properly – leads to much bad language! :(

  • My worst sewing disaster is collectively everything I tried to sew the first week I got my treadle sewing machine… adjusting the tension on those old machines took me ages to learn. Everything was a snarl of yarn that week.

  • Last month, I attempted to make a crinoline without a pattern in two days. Why I thought I didn’t need a pattern, I’m not sure. I bought tons of beautiful yellow tulle and after reading a few vague tutorials on the Internet, I was ready to go.

    First, I used cheap thread that kept breaking off whenever I tried to do a stitch. Secondly, I didn’t measure anything correctly so it was way too big. Since I didn’t measure it right, my edges were super crooked. I tried my best, but it looked like some weird tulle diaper-to-be. So after spending all hours trying to get this together, I pretty much gave up, realizing it was a lost cause.

    I still plan on making a crinoline one day, but I’ll actually use a decent pattern and thread the next time.

  • While I was altering a wedding dress for a friend of mine, I unknowingly pierced my finger with a straight pin. You know the rest….I bled all over the dress….some spots were small, others looked more like polka dots. Of course, I freaked! I knew I had to get to them before they dried. After hanging the dress up under a good light, I ran to the bathroom, grabbed my oil-free eye makeup remover, cotton swabs, and jumbo cotton balls. I dipped the cotton swab into the makeup remover, blotted it and dabbed the blood spots while holding a cotton ball underneath. Once the blood was out, I “dried” each spot by pressing each area between 2 clean, dry cotton balls. My guardian angel must have been in the room….SUCCESS!

    I never did tell the bride to this day

  • These projects look great! I have had more than my share of sewing disasters. The sewing machine we have now was a purchase that my husband insisted on, though I tried to talk him out of it. I have had birds nests of tangled thread, bobbins put in backwards, seams that look decent on one side only to be flipped over to reveal a mass of chaos, etc. My hubby is an engineer, though, and he would not let a machine get the best of him. He has had more success with sewing than I have…but I’d love to learn! :)

  • As a novice, I have had many a sewing disaster from bobbins fringing to gathering coming out over and over again, to sewing part of the backside of my pajama pants to the leg! Sewing in a Straight Line looks absolutely adorable and chock full of inspiration! <3

  • Oh my goodness where to start? It seems that more often than not my sewing projects are disasters with an occasional mediocre result that doesn’t look that bad. I attempted to make a dress a few summers ago and out of pride I tried wearing it once. I soon had to change as it started to fall apart and pins I had missed were poking me.

  • Gorgeous photography and projects! My biggest blunder would be finding out I used uuber thin liner fabric as part of my first quilt for my cousins unborn child. I was too far into the quilt top to redo everything, so that’s what they got! I also tried to machine quilt the same quilt on my regular sewing machine. BIG mistake. So I hand-tied it together, much easier and faster and it’s what my grandma did, so it’s heritage, right?

  • My biggest sewing disaster so far… hmm… how about my most recent attempt at sewing myself a dress – took my measurements, followed the pattern for my measurements EXACTLY, followed instructions for hem allowances to the T, and ended up with a MOO MOO! I just don’t get it… :( Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Tangled bobbin threads? Yes. Making a straight line then hitting a ‘bump’ in the seam and having to rip it all out and start over? Absolutely. Dropping an entire bobbin and watching helplessly as it unrolled down the hall? Been there, done that too. Sewn something TO myself? Yup. Wrong sides together, instead of right? Oh boy. But the biggest disaster happened because my youngest thought my machine was a coin slot, and put a plastic play ‘dime’ into it. The machine was positively possessed!!! When I picked it up from the repair shop, the gentleman handed it to me and said “I’m pretty sure this was your problem…” The plastic ‘dime’ was pretty far down into the bowls of the machine, mucking up the mechanical parts. Thank goodness it was an easy fix.

  • Once, I was making a reversible jacket, and I ended up sewing the right arm completely shut at both the shoulder and the wrist! I have no clue how I did that, but it also resulted in tangled threads everywhere in the machine. Needless to say, it was a very upsetting day, haha.

  • I need your guidance Brett! I received my first sewing machine last Christmas from my incredibly craft mother. One of my first projects was making cornhole bags for my husband. I used a very heavy nylon thread (suggested by the salesperson) only to find it knotting up and shutting my machine down every time I reverse stitched! I finally finished the project with different thread, but it’s left me a bit discouraged. Learning with your straight-line style would be a fantastic way to grow my sewing abilities!

  • Brett,
    I NEED your book — years’ ago I resorted to using my machine for paper crafts only! What a waste of a Bernina! HELP!

  • No real disaster but when I was in 4-H I missed going to the state fair because three of my stripes were off by 1/8 of an inch. I’d already ripped it out three times I wasn’t doing it again. Currently though my sewing machine is in the shop where it has been for three months!

  • It seems like I’ve had it all, but I’d say the number one sewing mistake I JUST CAN’T STOP MAKING is sewing things which need a hole left open so that they can be reversed TOTALLY CLOSED. You would think after twenty years of sewing I would remember that little detail, but it seems I like to use my seam ripper too much. :)

  • My sewing disaster was the first time I tried to put a zipper in the skirt I was making. I kept sewing the zipper in the wrong way, sewing the material shut over the zipper and trying to sew in the zipper when the bobbin was empty of thread. Finally after a couple of hours of trial and error and frustration, I got that zipper in place. I must say the skirt turned out nicely and I was so glad I didn’t give up. I wore that skirt constantly. It was a sad day when I had to relegate that beloved skirt to the rag pile.

  • My worst sewing disaster occurred while i was in college working on a collection for my university’s annual fashion show. I had never really sewn garments much before, so throughout the experience there were a lot of mistakes, seam ripping and four letter words.

    Then, with less than a day left before the show, I somehow managed to serge and cut off a rather large portion of long gown I was finishing. Needless to say, there were lots of tears. But I managed to cover the mistake and ended up with a better design than I originally had. Happy accidents.

  • I’m a college student studying English with barely any experience sewing, but with a deep appreciation and love for fashion. When I realized that my university had a student fashion show, obviously (or not so obviously) I was persuaded (read: forced, by friends and peer pressure) to make a collection. Naturally, with my busy schedule, I waited until the last week to start. I chose the wrong fabrics, none of the sizes were accurate (at first), and the actual show-day was a complete madhouse. But after many many many fittings, lots of boob-tape, and lots of not-breathing (on the models’ part), everything fit and looked great. All 5 of my looks (7 pieces all together) walked down the runway to music that I had dreamed of hearing on the catwalk and all of the my looks were praised. The 200 people who attended the show clapped and cheered for my attempt at somber empowerment. If only they knew the disastrous, sleepless, exhausting week I had just survived…. Perhaps if I had known how to sew a little better, it wouldn’t have been so difficult.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was while using my mom’s new embroidery machine while she wasn’t in the room. I am confident in my sewing ability so I figured, how hard can this embroidery machine be. Well, they aren’t that intuitive. The embroidery machine started making weird noises, but seemed to be still doing its job. I was creating a small wrist bag with an embroidered design (for a silent auction that I promised a donation to), and as I was changing the color of the thread for the embroidered pattern I realized the thread under the cover had created a jam the size of almost a golf ball, and had torn through the material. Needless to say, I had to toss the wrist bag, and restart the whole project to complete it that night before handing it in the next day to the auction organizers.

  • I took on a massive project early in my sewing “career”: a Tumbling Blocks quilt for my then-boyfriend. The lady at the fabric shop cautioned me that it was a tough one, but I persisted. It was painstaking to cut all the pieces and sew them together (did I mention it was a king size?) but after many long months I finished the top. Then I paid what felt like an arm and a leg to have it quilted as it was too big for me to do by hand. After everything was done, I tool it back to the fabric store proudly to show the lady that I could, and did, finish that quilt! She admired it, then vert sweetly noted that I should not have used a basting stitch to piece it, as the stitches were already coming out. Heartbreaking!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was in 7th grade Home Economics class. As I was fiddling with the needle on my machine it started to go… and sewed straight through my finger nail! As it turns out my pedal was switched with my neighbors, so she accidentally turned me into a sewing project! Whoops!

  • I’d have to say that my biggest disaster was losing the manual for my sewing machine. I’m very, very new to sewing on a machine and I have no idea what I’m doing so I haven’t touched the thing in months (read: years). Every time I walk past it feels like there’s a sleeping monster behind my spare bedroom door.

  • My biggest sewing disaster is not having a machine that works consistently. There is absolutely no reason in the world why I shouldn’t be sewing away like everyone else, but now live in the mountains far away from the closest sewing machine repair man…..alack alas! Would love to win a copy of your book!

  • Thanks for doing the wonderful giveaway!

    What sewing disaster haven’t I had? I’ve broken needles, tangled the bobbin thread up inside the machine, cut my pattern pieces out wrong, had the bottom fall out of a handbag I sewed, the list goes on! But I keep trying and learning, and I get better every time!

  • I got really into sewing when I became a stay at home mom 15 months ago…I have ‘SEW’ many ideas of things I’d love to do and to make for her and for our new home – and yet I find myself scared to start anything. I’ve attempted to make her a tooth fairy pillow (made it way too big, could hold a mouthful of teeth…my husband thought it was an appliance cover!) I’ve made a small curtain for the kitchen window (turned out ok, a little crooked). I’ve also made for our mothers for Mother’s Day cloth napkins…which I didn’t finish correctly and they get all tangly when you wash. They still work, just need to be trimmed of all the extra string afterwards! :) I enjoy it so much and I love to be crafty, just need a little more practice and nod in the right direction. I’d definitely benefit from straight line projects! :) Thanks for these great project ideas! Much appreciated (from me and my husband! HA!)

  • biggest disaster? while sewing a skirt, accidentally stitching together the opening at the waist, and not realizing it until late in the game! hello seam ripper!

  • I am 51 years old and have been sewing since I was 10 so there are many disasters to report. However my first disaster happened when I was 12. I wanted to make a dress and hat for Easter. Of course, we had no money (this was 1971). I had to use fabric that was in my mother’s stash. I picked a light cotton dotted swiss ~~ white with blue dots. The dress had beautiful pleating, a big bow in the back and puffy sleeves. It was beautiful!! I had never made a hat before. I didn’t realize that I needed to use a very stiff interfacing for the wide brim. I made the hat and as you can imagine, the brim was awful!!
    I couldn’t see, but I wore it anyway! To make matters worse, it started to rain on our way to church. I proudly wore my beautiful dress and bedraggled hat through the doors. I will never forget what our Pastor said. He said, “Melodye that is a beautiful dress and um… an interesting hat.” My confident 12-year-old self did not realize it was a disaster! Only as an adult, looking at pictures and laughing with my Momma, did I realize what a mess I was. How I wish I could have carried that fearlessness through my life. It has only been in the past 5 years that I have rediscovered my courage!!

  • i am new to sewing and am trying to learn at the same time as my son. we decided to make his halloween costume. he drew his own ‘ugly’ doll and we traced it onto felt. he cut out the different parts of the face and sewed them on himself but then i realized i had to figure out how to sew the thing together and have this huge head balance on his head. needless to say my husband and i were up really late the night before trying to sew with NO sewing experience!

  • in high school, I was pretty into altering vintage dresses from thrift stores. I made one fit (and it was super cute!) but then a seam (on my butt!) broke. During the middle of the school day. I had to borrow an (equally embarrassing) skirt from our secretary’s “emergency supply”.

  • Once I sewed and completed an entire project (making a pair of pajama pants) without first turning the fabric to the “back” side! I learned to appreciate the wrong side of the fabric although I was the only one who ever saw the pretty floral as it should look on the inside! this book looks perfect for a beginner sewer like me!

  • I’m a beginning seamstress. My lines are not the straightest, yet! But my biggest sewing dilemmas are always around zippers! Zippers haunt me. I would love to win Brett’s new book for a fresh perspective and pointers to help put me on the path to sewing success.

  • kate-in high school we had a wonderful home ec class and future homemakers of America group (my friends bellylaugh when i tell them i was the president) that did sewing work as a class. What i remember most vividly is sitting across from “Marisol” who sewed directly through her middle finger and index finger with red thread in the sewing machine. I was so freaked out and scared, that even after she left the room for the nurse I sewed my dress inside out and backwards along with three other students. It was a bad day for our Home Ec teacher…and that keeps me from getting too close to the needle 20+ years later!!! EEEK

  • When I was at school, we had to practice sewing on the machine with kitchen paper. I managed to break 2 needles using the paper and was basically banned from any school machines. Now I’m into my 30s and have just treated myself to a sewing machine, so this book would come in really handy to get me going and start making lovely things!

  • My biggest sewing blunder was almost an indecent disaster! I had been given this great vintage fabric and decided to make a dress. I must have bought the wrong weight in thread and/or the fabric was too vintage! Because I made the dress, loved it, and wore it to church. I was walking to my seat when I felt like I was stepping on something. I looked down and the side hem was unraveling! leaving trails of threads dragging behind me. It was all the way to my knee on one side and the other side was not far behind. To save everyone and my self from a most awkward unveiling I raced home to change. I couldn’t reach around and unzip my own dress so in my haste I cut it off!!! It was a sad and hilarious project gone bad.

  • My husband and I were going to a costume party dressed as Sonny and Cher (he was Cher, I was Sonny). I made him some gold lame pants for his costume, and the inner seams gradually came apart during the party so that by the end, his underwear was completely visible from all sides. Luckily, we were among close friends!

  • I took a basic sewing class in which we were assigned a pattern for a simple faux-wrap top. Essentially two side seams and a hem–dead simple. Except that I didn’t know what the tension setting was. After all the work of sewing the top, I got to wear it only once–the entire side ripped open because the stitches were too tight and the fabric ripped along the entire side seam. I don’t remember where I was when it happened, but I do remember being mortified!

  • In an attempt to make a skirt (just a few straight lines, mind you :), I ended up getting the thread so tangled up, I ended up kind of blindly snipping away at the mass that has accumulated around the bobbin. Not my proudest sewing moment, but I did manage to finish eventually!

  • My mother made me a beautiful set of window seat cushions, but asked for my help doing some of the basic sewing. I think she regrets that to this day….

  • My biggest sewing disaster was a couch. Yes, an entire couch. I didn’t attempt a pillow, or anything else first. Nope, I got a sewing machine on Valentines day, and decided to recover my couch. It was terrible! The sewing was okay, but I definitely had to hot glue some places. I used new foam, and instead of a cushy seat, it condensed into a hard flat rock within a few weeks!! I’ve since worked on smaller projects (and not going to lie, I gave the hunk-a-junk away on Freecycle and then reupholstered a NEW couch), but my husband is forever dubious of my projects after that first “oh, no, I can do it” sesh. I’d LOVE one of these books :)

  • Definitely would love the book partly because my biggest sewing disaster shows how I can be a spacey sewer without inspiring instruction! I was making curtains for a friend–trying to show her how easy it is to sew things in a straight line. Well, in my enthusiasm for instructing, I actually managed to sew right over the top of my pointer finger. Of course, the height of the comedy was me trying to keep smiling, look enthusiastic, and not bleed all over her beautiful toile. I’m not sure that I accomplished my goal of teaching the ease of sewing, but I certainly learned a valuable lesson about focus.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when I told a friend I would make her a computer bag and it never got finished. I made the bulk of it and when I went to fit the computer inside to test it out, the computer was too big! I had used up most of my fabric so couldn’t start over so I ordered more and when it came in, it was the wrong colour. I took the bag apart and tried again decreasing the seam allowance but still the computer didn’t fit. I was pretty disappointed and embarrassed but I had had enough and told my friend I just couldn’t make it :(.

  • oh, i have many sewing disasters, since i’m self-tought sewer, but i still have so much to learn. one of my disasters is when i tried to make a dress by sewing together a halter top (which was in a knit fabric) and a skirt made from lightweight cotton fabric (not stretchy at all). easy, you’d think. just one straight line to hold them together. but i didn’t know how to make the stitch stretchy so when i finished sewing it didn’t stretch at all and i couldn’t put on my “new” dress.

  • My biggest sewing disaster to date is when I was making costumes for a Halloween party last year. My husband and I decided to be characters from Toy Story 3… but my husband didn’t want to be something easy – he wanted to be Lots-O-Huggin bear, a giant purple, strawberry-scented bear. It turned out alright, but once he put it on at about the 80% completion mark, we realized he had no way to go to the bathroom! He’d have to get someone to unsnap the back and then take off the entire thing! I thought I had just completely ruined many hours of work and a lot of material, but luckily I was able to figure out a way to fix it.

  • My absolute worst sewing disaster happened in collage. I was hemming a pair of pants at midnight and in my sleepy bleariness, I managed to guide my thumb right underneath the machine’s needle. Ta-Da! Needle right through my thumb. The best part was calling my mom (normally an extreme worry-wart) in the middle of the night to ask what to do. Her response? “Everybody who sews does it at least once. Pull it out and go to sleep.” Ha!

  • I seem to always break needles, but the biggest disaster was probably jabbing my finger into the broken needle – still attached to the sewing machine. Yikes, ouch…and yeah, what was I thinking? Exactly, wasn’t thinking!

    Beautiful book and just amazing design…wow!

  • I just recently started sewing and chose an open studio group crafting night to touch a sewing machine for the first time. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I just slipped some thread through the needle and went at it, basically punching holes in my fabric for an hour before someone came over excited to see what I was working on. She was very nice and threaded the machine for me, but I was embarrassed I had been sitting there so long. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  • Hard to decide if this is a bigger disaster than the one I just submitted above, but here it is, true story: In high school I was very inspired by the movie “Pretty in Pink” in more ways than one. I was also a big vintage clothing shopper, like Andi. In my thrift and consignment store wanderings, I had found a gorgeous 1950s cocktail dress with a full, organza skirt and later found a cool 1960s long evening sheath dress with a velvet bodice and a metallic skirt. When I decided, at the last minute, to attend my prom and NOT skip it like Iona did hers, I needed a dress, quick. Since neither were quite right, I decided to take the skirt off the 50s cocktail dress and marry it to the top of the 60s evening gown. It was a fairly simple surgery, stitching the two together along the waistline, and the dress turned out great… Except that on the way to the prom, as I bent over to get into my date’s car, the entire back seam along the zipper ripped open, from neck to waist! I hadn’t thought about reinforcing the existing stitching, and I guess the vintage thread had become brittle with age, and gave way at an inopportune moment. Had to wear my date’s tuxedo jacket the rest of the night!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was making a princess-line strapless dress and fudging the seam allowances (because I didn’t want it tight). It was WAY too big and I had to re-sew all the seams. Did I mention I was on a deadline? I was hemming the dress at work before the event that night!

  • As a novice, most of my experience has been going rogue and trying to mend things on my own. Read= all disasters. Last time I did buttons, I sewed them crooked and didn’t notice til I WORE the outfit! Grand.

    I just joined a sewing bee for beginners (called the “new-bees”), and I think a book (and a sewing machine) would help!

  • want to know my biggest sewing disaster? getting my first sewing machine when i was in high school for christmas. i attempted to put it together while following the directions… and i put it together wrong. i found out the hard way when i tried to start sewing some fabric. basically in one moment the whole thing fell apart… i’ve been sewing by hand since.

  • Hi Brett! The sewing disaster that stands out most to me is when I measured incorrectly for the button down shirt I made as part of my son’s Halloween costume. He was a doctor and I made him scrubs with a button-down shirt because pulling non-stretchy fabric over the head of a baby just sounded like a disaster. I was using an old shirt I had on hand so I didn’t have a lot of room for error but the first version of the top was too small. By a lot. It all worked out in the end, but the back of the shirt ended up having a seam down the middle. He was still adorable in it!

  • My biggest sewing disaster happened when I was around 15 and still living at Mom’s. She taught me the basics and left to the kitchen and when she came back I was a mess! the lines where NOT straight, the thread was all over and I had manage to completly ruin the needle, don’t ask me how… and I still haven’t learned how to sew!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when I decided to make a quilted bag (Vera Bradley style) for my sister for Christmas one year when I was in college. I finished the bag the night before I went home for break and realized that I had entirely forgotten about the lining!! So I gave it to my mom in utter defeat and she graciously figured out how to sew a lining into an already finished bag and I was surprisingly still able to give it as a Christmas present. (My worst knitting moment was my first “doll blanket” at age 7 where it some how quadrupled in stitches from the initial 25 to over 100 within about 4 inches. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever made. My mom saved it.)

  • My biggest disaster was when I was sewing a super thick quilt for my boyfriend on my elementary sewing machine. The thread kept breaking every few inches. I said he has better love that quilt!

  • My biggest disaster was when my boyfriend’s mom gifted me a sewing machine she never used. I already had some metal bobbins, but they were slightly too big. Instead of going out to buy the correct size bobbins, I thought I could save time and money by getting out my hammer and whacking the edges of the metal bobbins so that they would curve in and then fit in the machine. I thought I was totally MacGuyver.

    Two hours later, I was in line at Jo-Ann’s with new bobbins.

  • I had a favorite t-shirt when I was in 9th grade that I wanted to fit just a little slimmer through the middle. So I got out my Mom’s archaic Singer sewing machine ( I believe it’s a 1970’s model) and got to work. Somewhere between trimming the sides of the shirt down and properly threading the top, I found myself with not nearly enough fabric and a softball sized clump of tangled thread! I gave up and threw my now not so favorite shirt away, and went out and purchased my own brand new Singer sewing machine. I’ve sewed with it for years now with no mishaps!

  • When I was about 12, I used to take sewing lessons. It was great. I would pick out the pattern and then go with my sewing class to choose a fabric. Looking back, I made some pretty decent outfits. But, the idea to make a baby doll dress using florescent pink and florescent green fabric wasn’t exactly a high point. I wore it once….until my classmates told me that I looked like an oversized cabbage patch doll.

  • I thought it would really nice to make all my friends vests for Christmas (this was like 1988). They were all really old lady-ish and my friends were totally underwhelmed. I was bummed, but when I look at the picture I took of those 5 vests, I’m not surprised; they were pretty dorky. It doesn’t stop me from sewing though and I can’t wait to try out the bowl with my 6 year old daughter. Perfect for barettes and barbie shoes.

  • The “disaster” of my sewing experience is actually a painful one, I had decided to make a quilt for my uncle and aunt for Christmas and spent days pouring over it, sewing tiny blocks together and my machine kept jamming up , the bobbin getting all knotted together, I guess at one point I had pushed the machine to fast and suddenly my finger was stuck- with the needle sticking out of it. It had snapped off and impaled in my ring finger just above my knuckle. At first I tried pulling it out myself, running cold water over it and yanking gently, then realized not the best idea… A hospital trip later and several weeks I braved it enough to finish, though I did spend the last four hours before delivering it in the back of a van tacking it together- very nauseating four hours.
    I hate that quilt.

  • I really need help with the straight/curvy sewing … my grandest sewing adventure was making a t-shirt quilt… I really thought that we could make some of the curvy lines that I had cut in the shirts work. I ended up turning most of it over to my mother who patched it over using a lot of zigzag topstitch. Looks good enough to take camping!

  • i haven’t had any sewing disasters, because i haven’t managed to thread my machine properly and make anything!

  • everyone who sees my sewing machine asks me what i make, and i say “i only sew straight lines.” so, therefore i am exactly who this book was intended for! curtains – i’m your gal. pillows – check. pennants – all day. anything else is a disaster.

  • Sewing disasters? Oh boy. I have lots. When I was little, I fixed them with duct tape. (I like to think I’m a bit more sophisticated now.)

    Most recently, I tried to make a skirt without really using a pattern. It didn’t turn out. So I ripped out all the seams, tried again, and it still looks terrible. But there’s not enough fabric for another try. And it was nice fabric too! I may have shed a couple of frustrated tears but I like to think I learned my lesson. Next time, I’ll sew a muslin.

  • My biggest sewing disaster ever was making a full length, lined, wool winter coat for an advanced sewing class. I had been sewing for only a few years and this was an ambitious project. The night before it was due I still wasn’t quite done some of the hand stitching to finish it so I took it to work with me. At the time I was a junior interior designer, working with two wonderful women who owned a small interior design company. I was in a state of panic and near tears at lunch time because I realized I wasn’t going to get it finished in time for the class that night. They spent the afternoon letting me work on it and helping when they could. Big lesson on biting off more than I could chew and the rare compassion of employers.

  • Brett,
    I am new at sewing and have never taken a lesson. I always buy fabric that I can use white thread ( front and back) with, because the thought of threading the machine and bobbin with every project still frightens me!!…..So, I was making these fantastic pennant banners for a baby shower I was throwing. It was about the third night in a row that I was up till after midnight working on craft projects for this shower and all of a sudden ( or so I thought) , my sewing machine would no longer sew a zig zag stitch. I tried everything, changed the thread length, taughtness, etc and nothing would work!! I got so mad, and was so tired that I called my mom ( because that is what everyone does when they can’t figure something out, right?). She tried to give me solutions by phone, with no avail. So, she offered to finish the project for me the next day! Given that I am a stubborn person, I packed up the whole machine ( minus the project) and took it to my mom. I told her I didn’t want her to do the project, just to fix the stupid machine ( and I might have said some other things other than stupid about the machine…lol). Well she brought the stupid machine back to me the same day and told me I didn’t have the bobbin threaded correctly…….Hello??? How dumb is that??!! I was sooooo frustrated but all I could do was laugh!! Well, I finished the project and the shower was a huge success, the mom-to-be even took the pennants home and used them as a window treatment in the baby’s nursery!!!!

  • Trying to make a “pouf” with deconstructed Orla Kiely for Target laundry bag fabric. No matter what I stuffed it with–old t-shirts, sheets, even shredded bills and junk mail–it always looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

  • My biggest sewing disaster: during my first sewing project, I wanted to sew a pillow shaped footprint. The curves for the toes were a disaster to handle, and on top of that, I was using a thick furry fabric so I couldn’t see the stitching at all. It ended up like a limp toed pillow will small portioned toes compared to the rest of the foot!!

  • About 50 years ago, in my 7th grade sewing class. In those days it was called Homemaking 1. Our project…a simple gym bag with our initials embroidered on it. Straight lines only, but somehow my initials ended up on the very bottom of the bag where you couldn’t see them unless you turned it upside down. Lesson learned: plan ahead, and visualize!

  • My biggest sewing disaster is currently underway. I’m in the midst of a year of not buying anything, which means I have to make gifts when I want to give them. For my friend Bethany’s wedding, I did her flowers — bouquets, corsages, boutineirres, table centrepieces, the whole deal. It was perfect. My friend Cara is getting married in September and I decided I’d sew her a quilt — I haven’t quilted before. I did most of the cutting in March … and it’s been sitting in my sewing room ever since. I work at a summer camp, and that means when I’m not ferrying children to the doctor, calming wild cabins or finishing payroll, I’m sleeping because there’s no other time. I’m going to have one week after camp ends, before the wedding hits … one week to recover two months of sleep and sew an entire quilt (it’s a simple design; I’ve done the cutting; it’s technically more of a lap quilt than a bed quilt, so I do think it’s possible). The disaster is really that I procrastinated my spring away. Oooops.

    I starting to consider bending the no shopping rules, and finding something sweet and handmade on Etsy …

  • My biggest disaster was a string of little disasters… back-to-back! I was quilting my very first quilt on a large sewing machine at my Aunt’s house. She has been very generous to teach me how to quilt! While quilting, I heard something SNAP. About 1 minute later (I’m not very observant) I realized that the machine was not stitching! I called in my hospitable Aunt to see what the problem was. I broke the quilting needle.
    I kid you not… within the next 20 minutes, I broke a total of 5 needles! Snapped. Right in half.

    To this day I do not know what I did wrong. I could tell my generous Aunt was forgiving… but got a little irrated around the 3rd broken needle.

    Point is? I need help. Your book could just be the miracle my Aunt has been praying I’d receive :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was in middle school home ec class. I was pretty inept with the sewing machine in general, so I eventually decided to make my animal pillow project (a pink pig, which my parents still keep in the guest room, even though I’m now 26 years old) via hand-sewing instead (and a few cheats with fabric glue).

  • I was in the process of making my own stuffed critters, when, I don’t know how many sewing machine needles I broke in one sitting. My critter made it and was completed – 4 needles later on my mom’s sewing machine. I was determined. I continued to use her sewing machine to simply alter a skirt. When I thought, with great success, “I did it, done!”, I turned to the underside only to find the underthread had massively gathered through the whole seam and used up a half of the spool. Ahhhh … maybe something to do with the tension? This happened again and again until we took it to the sewing machine doctor.

  • My disaster was to bad, after running ribbon through 12 yards of eyelet, I finely get to take a break when my mother told me I had the ribbon upside down. Well I pulled it all out and the skirt and top turned out quite nice.

  • My worst and best sewing mistake was telling a Sudanese Refugee Center that I knew how to sew (and I don’t!) and ended up accidentally becoming a sewing teacher! I watched youtube videos before each class and taught them what I had just learned. I now have a sewing machine and am ready to truly know how to sew :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was actually back when I cross-stitched as a teenager. I left my needle in the arm of a chair for when I came back. Well my brother happened to go to the chair I long forgot about and smashed his hand down. He had to have surgery to remove the needle out of his hand. I’ll never hear the end of that one.

  • I just recently got my sewing machine for my birthday. I have sewn before, but on my mom’s machine and my friend’s mom’s machine. So I was familiar with some troubleshooting. I was sewing together some napkins to make wrapping “paper” for my sister-in-law’s shower gift. Half-way through the first seam it all went wrong. My needle was stuck, I couldn’t use the hand wheel to get it up, and it was the first time I used this brand new machine!! I panicked, cursing was done, fabric was thrown, cat was scared. I took as much as of the under machine apart as I dared, call Mom crying for help. All she could say was to take it to the sewing centre down the street for help. So I did.

    Once there, the owner took apart everything I did, and then one more piece. I didn’t even know that one moved!

  • My biggest disaster was making my daughters Alice costume for world book day. I ended up cutting it too big so had to take it in. Made the costume in 2 days as the pattern wasn’t in stock and I only just got it the week before world book day. Great fun especially as I’d never used a dress pattern before or made puff sleeves

  • well, i have had many a sewing disasters, seams sewn the wrong way, broken needles, jammed up tight sewing machines and many a seam to rip out and start again.
    but the worst story is that of a friend’s mom, while quilting, she sliced off the tip of her finger with a rolling cutter. they did reattach it and the doctor said that he had never seen such a clean cut on a severed finger before.

  • sewed a carefully puckered sleeve on inside out, only to realize it after all that work….blerg!

  • My most recent fiasco was during the making of a book purse. If anyone has attempted to make a purse out of an old book, you know that it involves tacky glue. Note to all: once the tacky glue is on the fabric, it’s a bad idea to make sewing corrections! The glue bubbled out of the fabric and, within seconds, it was inside my machine. It was like watching an oil derrick move in slow motion.

  • As a youngster, I tried (and failed) many times with various sewing machines. An extremely crafty neighbor attempted to teach me one day and left me alone with her sewing machine. It wasn’t really working and I got bored so I said goodbye and headed home. I later found out that I had not only broken the needle but jammed the bobbin and completely tangled the thread as well. No wonder it wasn’t working, right? I’ve come a long way since those days and I’m happy to say my sewing machine and I get along just fine now :)

  • A few years ago I decided to take a sewing course to brush up on my skills. I chose boxer shorts as my first project to perfect a French seam (and they are hidden when worn). They were white and blue pinstripe and looked great. My husband was duly impressed and tried them on. He then attempted to touch his toes and there was a horrible ripping sound. He quickly said “Great they’re air conditioned too!”.

    My first attempt was a fiasco but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Your new book is inspirational!

  • A dress, that lost a sleeve when not concentrating on cutting, morphed to a skirt….
    Which after machining to the skirt I was wearing, finally became a duffle bag. I came top in the year for sewing at school. Either everyone else was REALLY bad, or the teacher was in the wrong job.

  • I’ve definitely put my share of pockets in upside-down, sewn half the darts on a skirt inside-out and ended up with SO many ill-fitting garments/torn out seams because of my wretched, wretched math skills – who knew that so many years after high school I’d be dealing with so many fractions?!? My worst mistake – that I make over and over – is procrastinating and under-estimating the time I need to make a garment. I can’t tell you how many hems I’ve hand-stitched on the morning the dress was going to be worn. Sewing often has so many little frustrations – broken needles, running out of thread, stabbing yourself with straight pins, being best friends with the seam ripper – but the satisfaction of making something yourself is so worth it! :)

  • Let’s just be honest, sewing in a straight line has always been a challenge for me. My greatest sewing accomplishment came from my biggest defeat. I attempted to sew roman shades for my enormous three-window-wide kitchen nook. In my swath of destruction lay my sewing machine. The repair guy gently told me that it wasn’t really cut out for the task. But he worked his magic and I finished it along with two more (smaller) shades!

  • The story of my biggest sewing disaster pretty much tells you how much of a dork I was in those oh-so-beloved middle school years. In 7th grade I opted to take a Home Ec. sewing class. All the cool girls were sewing scrunchies and boxer shorts – this was the early 90’s in CA when girls wearing guys’ boxers over leggings was on trend. I opted to sew a jumper with a gathered waist (see where this is going?). Needless to say I ended up working on the sewing machine in the furthest corner of the room. In the end I received a C- on my project: the hem was shockingly asymmetrical and the gathered waistline ended up being a series of pleats, flat areas and wads of fabric bunched up in a lump. It took me almost 20 years to start sewing again after that fiasco, but I’m glad I did!

  • I am fairly new to sewing. I can only do straight lines. Your book would be perfect for me. I am reallly excited to try some new things. Confidence booster needed!!! I really need your new book!!!!

  • I was taking sewing lessons from my grandma in 7th grade. I picked out a pattern for a halter top and a bright floral, 60’s style fabric. I poured my whole 12 year old heart into making a halter my mom would actually approve of and it was great when I finished it. That is, until I spilled grape juice all over it 10 minutes later, ruining everything. I’ve been skiddish ever since.

  • My biggest sewing distaster is a sewing machine gone wild!
    It was a while back. I was sewing on my grandmother’s old sewing machine. I can’t remember what it was, but I think I was hemming something.
    Suddenly the sewing machine got faster and faster. Naturally I stepped off the pedal, but it didn’t make any difference. The machine picked up the pace and started smoking. I went for the plug. After a little while I plugged it back in. I just got down to start again and once I sat the machine went off again… I think that was the end of it. It went to see a mechanic, but didn’t recover ;]
    Monster machine!

  • I am interning for a design studio in Dallas this summer that specializes in reupholstering furniture. Me and the other intern were coming up with different DIY projects for the blog. Well I decided to make fabric coasters from our extra fabric. This wasn’t my first time using my mom’s Bernina sewing machine but it had been so long I had to have some of her help. Well there was one night I was sewing without her help and I thought I was doing a pretty good job without her. Well somehow my thread got knotted up in the sewing machine and in my coaster and I tried to lift the needle up, well as I was trying to do that, I realized the needle BENT! I was like oh no what did I do? Well I accidentally kept lifting the needle and it broke! I was freaking out because I didn’t know how to fix it because that had never happened to me before so it was really late at night and mom was already alseep. I just left it there, broken, until the morning when I was able to find the right needle and fix it, with the help of my mom. But man was I freaking out because it’s a 35 year old machine, and I thought I had just ruined it!

  • I love sewing for special occasions, and right now I’m working on a set of dresses inspired by Ms. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus. Last year I was searching through the bargain table at Hancocks and I found some fantastically adorable cotton fabric covered in images of baby endangered animals. It was so perfect for an Earth Day dress!
    My “disaster” occurred when I utterly procrastinated starting the project…until Earth Day! At first, I thought, no biggie, I’ll use one of my “quick-and-easy” dress patterns. I had until 6:30 that night to finish it anyway, right? I actually managed to stay on target until about 6:00, but I hadn’t even started to get ready for my date. And there was still the hem! That horrible, obnoxiously long, seemingly unconquerable hem! It must have been yards long, and the sewing machine just couldn’t stitch fast enough, literally! In dire desperation, I recruited my little seamstress sister and we both began making huge giant stitches on opposite sides of the hem. Together we accomplished not exactly a high quality job but still avoided tacky safety pins. By 6:45 that is. My sweet fiance lovingly waited in the dining room the extra 15 minutes. :)

  • It’s not really my disaster, but I was involved…My mom was making me a Victorian-inspired party dress for my 8th birthday, and was working on the puffed sleeves, which involved the fabric, interfacing, two layers of “puff”, and a lining. She got them done, pinned them to the dress, and had me try it on…they went to my elbow and stopped. She had made them the wrong size. That was the first time I ever heard my mom swear.

  • Prior to the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle a dear friend (a public defender) asked me if I could make her a full body Lorax suit. We spent the weekend creating it and it was a very accurate representation of the Suessian character and a big hit.

    Months later this friend was asked to defend an officer accused of using excessive force on the protesters. Video of the incident was used as evidence. In the video footage, in the background trotted the self same defender unrecognizable to anyone but herself… in the Lorax suit.

  • Oh, Lord, do I need this book. Recently, I tried sewing some small catnip pillows for the cats. In order to be truly lazy, I refused to hand stitch the last gap where the catnip was poured in. Bad idea. After the fourth pillow the needle decided it had enough of me forcing all the fabric under it and snapped off IN MY EYE. But I wear glasses, so it was okay.

    If I don’t win, I’ll just buy the book anyway. So there.

  • Brett, I love to sew. I have all sorts of dreams for what I would like to sew. But – I break out in a sweat whenever I try to use a sewing machine because of the bobbin. I had a machine and could never get it to work right, until my mom showed me how to thread the bobbin. So – it worked for 1 day, and I was able to sew a door-ganizer for my kids papers. It worked until I had to hem around the outside of the fabric and I ran out of thread on the bobbin, and couldn’t get the bobbin threaded correctly or get the machine to work. Sigh. I finished the hem by hand and since then have looked longingly at different sewing projects and dreamed of a day when I could legitimately use a sewing machine.

  • I never really learned to enjoy sewing until I was in my 50’s! when I was young I would try and try to follow patterns and end up sewing sleeves in turned inside out or the wrong side to the right side…then a friend just had me sew some artist trading cards—and I discovered art quilt type sewing and have been enjoying sewing ever since ….

  • Disaster 1. Eye balling measurements is NOT a good idea!
    Disaster 2. Never assume you know what you are doing! I was making a quilt for the first time and you were supposed to make each half and then sew the 2 halves together, however, when I held it up after sewing the 2 halves, somehow the patterns did not match up and were about 8″ off of the other side.
    Disaster 3. I make a lot of crafts, whatever comes to mind at the time, so I decided to make a tote bag. I sewed right sides together and then with each other in assembly and THEN realized I made the whole tote bag inside out! Me and My seam cutter are best friends!

  • I am a walking sewing disaster. From the poorly chosen machine–I am in the vicious cycle of not wanting to spend money until I can sew but not being able to sew on this terrible machine–to the two(!) classes I have paid for and attended yet learned little. In the last class the skirt was going okay until I torn the fabric with my seam ripper. It was a lost cause after that.
    I have made simple curtains and pillow by making up my own rules, so your book sounds perfect for me!

  • When I was in my late teens I would often buy dresses from thrift stores to wear out on a weekend. I would always eyeball the adjustments to the dress whilst wearing it, which is fine for taking it in, however my hem lines more often than not were indecently high and I would have to wear hot pants and as it was 92′ stripy tights and Doc Martins lol!

  • Holy frijoles! I need this book! Ever since my mom gave me her 1973 Pfaff sewing machine 15 years ago, I have had more sewing misadventures than I can list. The most recent debacle involved burlap and an attempt to sew a round “bucket” bag. After making one successful bag, I got a little big for my sewing britches and ended up jamming my machine, breaking the needle, and tangling my thread so badly that I had to pull hard and rip out the whole burlap mess. A visit to the local repair shop and $180 later, my Pfaff was back in my sometimes-not-the-best care. She’s an old gal and I put her through a lot, but, despite some setbacks, I have gotten better!

  • I’ve probably had bigger disasters, but the most memorable one was a few years ago when I made my boyfriend a full head to toe unicorn costume for Halloween. I knew it would be a challenge, but couldn’t resist the idea of this gruff, bearded man walking around in a white unicorn onesy. Unfortunately, he lacked the patience to actually stand and be fitted for it for more than a minute or two at a time. I tried my best to improvise, but learned my lesson when I realized I didn’t have enough fabric to cover…well…the crotch. Oops. It all worked out though — some patchwork, a tail to cover the worst part in the back, and few beers to distract people at the Halloween party – no one even noticed.

  • WELL!! I just began sewing in December, have always wanted to and decided I would try a round dog pillow last month out of an old standard pillow i was going to throw away. Creative right?! :) Took out the stuffing, re-measured for the new size, and went to town.
    >>>>I guess sewing in a circle isn’t for beginners?!?!<<<<<
    It was all gathered and bunched where it shouldn't. I'll have to stick with curtains for now. :/ My husband came home from work and asked what it was. It was so mis shapen and not attractive in the least. The dog did actually cuddle on it later but, it's just too awful to keep around. I thought I would pick it up so quickly. A lot of the sewing sites I have found don't explain well in "beginner terminology".

  • Hm, seems like I’ve been sewing off and on for most of my life. When I was very small, it was hand stitching (and I love to do French seams on my costumes). Generally I do quite well, except for cutting too close to my stitches sometimes for those corners.

    But, I guess the biggest disaster was when I was concentrating too hard on my stitches and managed to get my thumb under the needle and sewed it to my fabric! Needless to say, I had to concentrate on stopping the machine and manually backing up the needle so I didn’t have thread trapped in my thumb!

  • i’ve had it all! inside out sleeves, folding fabric over and then sewing right over it, accidentally RIPPING the fabric while using a seam ripper. it’s pretty devastating when you’ve dropped $20 a yard :(

  • Fresh out of college, I’d just moved from my small home town to the big city to live with my boyfriend, and I couldn’t have been happier. Until, that is, his overbearing mother (whom I had heard Anna Wintour-esque horror stories about but never formally met) announced on a whim that she was flying cross-country to spend Christmas with us in our tiny one bedroom apartment. We still had unpacked boxes in the house, and I couldn’t cook a meal to save my life, but I was hell bent on making a good impression so I spent literally weeks preparing. Cue Christmas Eve: the honey ham is in the oven, side dishes prepared to perfection (thanks Martha, Paula & Julia!) and the only thing left to be done was sew the table runner. Well, skipping the gory details I sewed straight through my finger, my boyfriend rushed me to the emergency room and we were three hours late picking his mother up from the airport. When we finally make it back to the apartment building (at 2am) we walk through the lobby to find the whole hallway filled with smoke! I needed five stitches, blew my chance at a great first impression, and nearly burned down our whole building in the process. Bah Humbug!

  • Biggest sewing disaster…spent 24 hours straight working on my final project for one of my fashion classes, a jacket with a bagged lining. Jacket turned out great, but I slept through the final class. alarm clock fail.

  • I was making my wedding dress and had put in some padded gel inserts in the boob-area. Well, I kinda forgot that they were gel and sewed into them..a LOT. I took the bodice off the dress form to find that the bodice and dress form were covered in slippery goo. I had to start all over. But I did it better the second time!

  • While I do a pretty good job of erasing my sewing mistakes from my memory, I do recall having tried to lengthen a pattern (I’m tall!) and then accidentally cutting some pieces from the long pattern and some from the short.

  • My biggest sewing disaster is that I own a Singer Promise, and before I learned how to properly raise the bobbin I kept getting the needle stuck in the thread below the machine and having to take the whole machine apart every single time I stopped sewing. Let me tell you, that was not fun! I’m happy to say I figured it out (by myself!), and now can sew in a straight line without always taking apart my machine! :)

  • My biggest issue is sadly ongoing–I will be sewing along just fine, and then out of nowhere the underside of the fabric suddenly has a big birds’ nest of thread! This happens without my changing the tension or touching anything. It just happened the other day and I adjusted the tension, which didn’t work at first but then was fine, and went back to the original tension a few minutes later and it was fine again! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • my biggest disaster is to drop all the pins EVERY TIME I’m starting sewing…it’s a classic …I’m pretty clumsy, and the movement of the sewing machine does the rest. But now a magnet is my best friend! :P

  • I tried sewing a hem in my pants with one of those really cheap hand held sewing machines and it got stuck. So, I had to cut the hem higher and have my dad, who was an excellent taylor hem my pants at a height that was fit for Peewee Herman!

  • In my first attempt ever to create something wearable, I made my son’s Halloween costume – Bam Bam, easy right? Well I had no idea that you were suppose to have some room for give, so it looked like a mini skirt on him… whoops!

  • My problem isn’t so much sewing in a straight line as cutting in a straight line. I ruined a whole panel of curtains once, because my ruler slipped and I didn’t notice.

  • I made an entire shirt with sleeves, collar stand, nice stiff collar, button plackets… It all looked great. Then I tried to put the button holes in and ruined the whole thing. Never even got to wear it.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when I thought I could make a dress without a pattern. I thought draping looked easy so I just planned to pin and tuck as I went. It looked awful!! I sure would love to win a copy of this books I can learn how to make some simple clothes! :)

  • honestly, everything i sew is a disaster…but i keep on trying! i finally took my machine in to get fixed as it was “frozen” and wouldn’t zig zag stitch…of course, i didn’t know what was wrong – but my loving and lovely mother-in-law flew out just to teach me how to sew only to find my machine broken. we still managed to make a dress and THAT is a miracle I accredit to her. i will keep trying!!!

  • I only sew intermittently so basically every time I sit down at the machine there’s some sort of minor disaster related to threading it wrong or installing the bobbin incorrectly.

  • My sewing disaster story makes me giggle to this day. Home Ec, 8th grade, make a pair of shorts out of sweatshirt material. I cut my pieces but clearly didn’t realize that the back pieces are larger than the front, so I sewed the shorts together without paying attention: and ended up with one very fat leg and one very skinny leg. A bunch of us all had to put them on to laugh at ourselves!!

  • I’m still a novice, and while making a small little project, I managed to get my thread all knoted up, and in trying to un-knot, my needle just SNAPPED! I didn’t even know it was possible. Needless to say, I started over on that one.

  • That belt is fantastic!

    My biggest sewing disaster happened right out the gate. I had sewn a few simple shift dresses and, feeling confident, decided to splurge on “fancy” fabric to make myself a bag. Well, I somehow missed the “right sides together” part of the directions and sewed up the interior and exterior of my bag incorrectly (with wrong sides facing). You would think someone would notice right away that the technique was wrong, but I pressed forward oblivious and put the interior inside the exterior, sewed all the way around, and then couldn’t figure out how to flip it all right side out.

    That was my first date with the seam ripper…and we’ve been off & on ever since.

  • I am just now beginning to take on bigger projects than hemming again since my last big project was a quilt with my mom’s machine and broke her machine since the fabric was too much for it to handle.

  • Your book looks so good! As far as disasters go…I would say having trying to sew elastic and jamming up my machine. I was so awful that it would actually pull thread from the side of the bobbin up and get completely tangled!

  • My biggest disaster was making an entire twin size quilt for my neice without using a pattern. I felt so accomplished when I finished the top, but when I got to the quilting part I realized that the quilt wasn’t flat (it was made with a bunch of curves) and it had a bunch of peaks wherever corners met. I pleaded with my mom to help me salvage it and she ending up spending the next few weeks with a seam ripper. She took the whole thing apart and used the pieces I cut to create a new appliqued quilt. I’ve never felt so guilty about asking someone for help. But now my niece has a beautiful quilt that was certainly a labor of love! Sewing straight lines is my new policy.

  • Mine actually started out as a disaster; but ended quite well… had to make a yeti costume, although I’ve never done a project like this before… underestimated the amount of fabric to buy and only had 3 yards; and don’t know how to use a sewing machine, so had to do it completely by hand. it took a couple weeks; and didn’t start coming together til the end but now it’s one of our favorite props. check it out here: http://ohsnapstudios.com/events/2010/12/uniqueladay1/large/20101211ula-029.jpg

  • My biggest sewing disaster was not learning how to sew. I took Home Ec in high school. The teacher only helped the kids who already knew how to sew. The few times she came to us she told us what we did right was wrong and what we did wrong was right. That left us clueless and confused. We just gave up and watched the people who knew who already knew how to sew. Years later when my brother had the same teacher she took sewing out of the class totally. We think she didn’t know to sew herself. I still want to learn badly.

  • I just made curtains for my son’s room and after careful measuring several times, one panel somehow ended up 1 1/2″ shorter than the other one. It looks like bangs that were cut horribly crooked.

  • biggest sewing disaster: 1st machine quilting attempt. Sigh. Good thing I can lay the quilt on the bed so nobody can see the disaster that is the backing.

  • I went to school for shoe making and when I left I wanted a post machine so badly that I researched it to try and find one in my price range. The cheapest I could find was 5 GRAND… so I kept looking and then BAM, I found a NEW one for six hundred dollars! Then it arrived on my door step in six different boxes and came in like a thousand different parts. I had not realized that I needed to put the entire thing together. It took me another 5 months to find a retired army vet who sewed for the ARMY! He put the thing together in two hours flat and would not charge me! I still keep in contact with him and thank god that I found him!

  • My friends and I got together one weekend to sew up a storm and hopefully make new clothes. Three of us brought our own machines and plenty of thread, pins, and pairs of scissors, and we all sorted through a massive pile of delicious fabric and patterns. Once we had everything in hand and had made sure the dog was far away from the area where one of my less fortunate friends was still picking up pins she’d spilled on the carpet, we sat down to sew. Machine #1’s on button was pushed with a satisfying click, but the poor thing failed to accomplish any other action the entire weekend. Slightly confused but still in high spirits, we moved on to Machine #2. Owner of Machine #1 spent hours trying to get the bobbin threaded right on this second one but to no avail. At this point minor panic began to set in as the dog, suddenly tired of his previous confinement to the outdoors decided to tramp all over the pattern and fabric we had so carefully laid out on the floor (Thankfully without pins) Enter the “Last Hope” Machine, mine. I plugged my darling machine in, turned it on and she was off and running beautifully until…. For some inexplicable reason, after working perfectly fine for some time, my machine stopped working in the hands of Owner of Machine #1! She didn’t do anything odd but suddenly the tension was off, the rest of the thread kept getting tangled, and a very strange sound emitted from my machine, the likes of which I’ve never heard before or since. Needless to say, none of us but I actually got any sewing done and Owner of Machine number #1 was dubbed “The Singer Slayer” from that time forward.

  • I have been sewing since I was young as my mom was a sewer. But I took “Home Ec” (does that ever date me!) and we had to sew a dress and then have a fashion show for the school. I spent hours on this dress, gorgeous huge button offset down one side, big long pointed collar, just gorgeous! Still finishing the hem at the start of the fashion show, went to put it on and I couldn’t get it on! I had made the wrong size. Teacher was really nice and complemented me on the nice job I had done but still took off half the points for the project because it was the wrong size! I cried.

  • DISASTER: When I was 11, I made my first coat. It was when polarfleece just got popular. I didn’t know that it stretched a little and didn’t know that I might need a different foot. So the finished product was a curly “pea coat” with no straight lines. It was hard to pass off as not homemade, but I ripped a “GAP” tag out of a shirt and sewed it in my coat. I wore it for at least one season. So my disaster turned out to be not ‘sew’ bad after all.

  • It seems every time I sew ends in a disaster! I have two older sewing machines, both of which I was able to get for free (freecycle is pretty awesome), but they both have issues. I can’t seem to sew anything without ending up with a tangled mass of bobbin thread!

  • My biggest sewing disaster happened when I was making curtains for a neighbor and besides being VERY TEDIOUS, VERY BIG and too many panels, the fabric was VERY THIN and SLIPPERY. One of the panels ended up much shorter than the others and was “chewed” buy my machine while I was hemming and the weights got in the way of the needles….COMPLETE DISASTER!

  • Brett! I love the look of your book! I’m familiar with mishaps in sewing – I attempted to “freehand” a cover for an overstuffed chair in college, and only made it out alive because of my mom. Later, when a friend and her soldier husband were having a baby, I came up with an alphabet quilt where each letter block featured a call word from the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie). In the middle of the project, I had made such a mess of hand stitching that I had hours of stitch-ripping to do. The quilt was adorable in the end, thanks again to Mama. :)

  • I grew up using my Grandmother’s old machine – it weighed about 40lbs and was really finicky. Among many trials, errors, and breakdowns I managed to sew the sleeve of my shirt to the project. I didn’t notice until I tried to pull my arm back and the whole machine came with it. When I finally got my own *new machine, it was similar to the invention of sliced bread. Everything was exponentially easier and my machine mechanic skills learned from the old machine are no longer needed.

  • Unfortunately, I do not own a sewing machine (single tear) but I have been sewing by hand as much as possible. While I was in college, I was making a costume for a large event where the theme was Disney. I decided, being a bigger girl, that the most appropriate character to emulate would be the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland! I decided to attach cloth to an existing dress since I was doing it all by hand. Starting with a tea length black strapless dress, I attached panels of red and then a panel of yellow and black to the front! The process took me days!! I always remember now to make sure that I have something in between the front and back of what I am sewing… after have to undo and redo a lot of stitching because the dress was sewn shut you tend to learn an important lesson as such! In the end the costume turned out really cute! I paired it with a cap sleeve white tee and a large felt collar and it looked like a modern interpretation of the dress the queen wore! Even got the chance to shout “Off with her head!” as a carried my pick lawn flamingo that was standing in place of a bird croquet mallet. Hopefully I will have a sewing machine of my own soon and I can continue all of the DIY projects that I have on hold! If I get bold enough I might just go ahead a tackle the ottoman upholstery by hand! Wish me luck!!

  • I, like so many people, have incorporated pieces of my own clothing into things I was trying to sew. Particularly memorable was the super lightweight tent I attempted to sew using silicon coated nylon…..complete slippery mess ensued and fancy pants runied!

  • My biggest sewing disaster? I would say it would be letting piles of fabric and my sewing machine sit together on my desk and never come together into anything.

  • the first project i ever tried to conquer was a pair of pillow case pants for my DS who was 6 months old at the time. what resulted was what looked to be two leggings sewn side by side with no room for his little bum…it was just two straight pieces of fabric. i was bound and determined to make them a success, but they wouldn’t go passed his knees. lesson learned: make room for the hiney, unless you want them to be chaps.

  • I was sewing one Sunday morning and broke six needles in a row. Clearly something was wrong with my machine, but it was unbelievably frustrating! My husband came into the room to see if I was ok and to tell me that I was scaring the dog (and him) with all my cursing. I was sewing a quilt of fabric swatches that friends and family brought to our wedding for us. Clearly I had lost sight of the romance of the project and there was no sewing happening that day- straight lines or not!

  • I made my own formal dress for a dance in high school and used the wrong type of zipper for the top. It was supposed to be a tight top and the plastic zipper I used kept opening and my top was falling off! I stayed in the bathroom asking every girl that came in if they had a safety pin or anything I could use to keep my top closed and after half an hour someone lent me a hair clip that held it long enough for me to find a phone and call my family to come pick me up early.

  • In high school I asked for a sewing machine for my 18th birthday. The start of my senior year was full of ….um…interesting…attempts at anything I could frankenstein together out of old jeans. I decided the most amazing creation would be to sew a pencil skirt out of a pair of old jeans…only I didn’t really know how strong my seams should be with such a thick strong fabric (and such a tight skirt). Well I was so proud of this skirt, something I could wear and covered my body made with my own two hands, that I wore it on the day I knew I had a theater monologue performance during drama class. I should have given it a dry run because the skirt did not make it through my one minute on stage. Unfortunately I did not know there had been a tear (when? I wish I knew…maybe even before I got on stage?!). My classmates kindly started laughing and pointing, not what I was going for with my rendition of Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was a trooper though and bravely waited in the bathroom for my step-mom to bring me a change of clothes. After that I wore new creations for a few days at home on weekends before strutting my bottom into school with a Kendall original. Luckily I still love making clothing and I learned so much from that little mistake!

  • Oh Brett, I’m so excited! I don’t have too many big disasters – mine usually involve the frustration of too little or too much tension that involves messy clumps of golfball sized yarn balls in my stitches. I pre-ordered my copy ages ago, and I have been counting down the days til its release! I’m ready for the weekend, so can get started practicing my straight lines.

  • Aside from the time I managed to sew through my skirt for three rows of needlepoint, while waiting for an appointment at a boarding school, the biggest fail with my sewing machine was the time I had offered to make a tablecloth as a wedding present, so my mother and I went off to find the fabric. There were three pieces of the pattern in total, but not a single long piece. I thought it would be OK to piece them together. Which it would have been except the repeats were longer than the pieces that I had. So after three tries of pinning and sewing (and ripping out and cursing), I ended up with a tablecloth with different areas of repeats.

  • I have tried many times to use a sewing machine and each time it has ended in disaster…broken needles, feet, tangled bobbins, thread….my sweet 90 something year old quilting instructor finally had to get out her old machine for me to use as I kept screwing up her good one! She was so kind and patient and worked very hard to help me have a positive sewing machine experience. Taking away the anxiety of using her best machine and letting me make mistakes on her older one was a wonderful gift. I actually finished a few quilting projects under her gentle guidance and care!

  • After creating some birthday gift rag dolls for my daughter’s friends { and hearing endless praise for they’re adorability} I signed up for a local elementary school craft show. I had about a month to complete and conquer sewing a fleet of cutesy little dollies. Piece of cake! Right?…. the nightmare only began. Mr. Machine (as I like to call him) and I had a horrible love/hate relationship. When I needed a quick sew-me-up he balled and loosely threaded pieces together. He’d quit working. An hour later he’d work again….I contemplated just chucking Mr. Machine right out the window and giving up on the craft show all together. But I didn’t, I used my sisters machine instead. …Her’s was even worse. In fits I’d go back from one bad machine to another-hoping to catch a ‘good run’ with one of them. My dining room had become my own sweat shop- I called it ‘The Megan Factory’, I was a one-woman show- my fingers were raw, my patience was strained, my children never covered their ears so many time in their lives, and I never thought I would hate sewing so much or even ever sew again until one day…I sewed directly through my finger. Luckily- I had a few ‘unfried’ braincells left to realize I had to (first) take my foot off the pedal and (second) slide my finger down off the needle. Talk about being in shock!!
    I kept that doll for myself. My literal own blood and tears went into the makings…and perhaps as little reminder not to over do it with the sewing machine! :)

  • Trying to make a Dorothy Halloween costume sewing by hand- it looked terrible on me! I have now learned the wonders of elastic for getting a better fit, now have a sewing machine, so things go much quicker.

  • clothes are often a disaster for me, so i thought baby items would be simpler. tiny does not equal ease, my friends. one attempt was the quick change trousers (http://annamariahorner.blogspot.com/2011/06/quick-change-to-quick-change-trousers.html) without using the actual book or pattern. it was all guesswork. oh & my son was still in-utero so I couldn’t measure him or do trial-&-error sizing. needless to say, the pants never fit him even in a disposable dipe as a newborn. the crotch looked ridiculous.

  • My biggest sewing disaster… I was about 9 and sewing while watching my younger sister. I got up to get the scissors and turned around to find that she was sitting in the chair and was turning the wheel down with her finger until the foot of the machine, pushing the needle into in her fingernail. I was in trouble!

  • My biggest sewing disaster would be the attempt to transform some bell bottoms into skinny jeans in the late 80’s. yikes. not pretty.

  • When I was around 12 years old, I attempted my first alteration. There was a bedazzled patch of denim on an old pair of jeans that I wanted to cut out and attach to a skirt, and because I couldn’t get the needle through all the thick fabric with my bare hands, I tried to use my teeth- BAD IDEA. I ended up chipping my front tooth! I’ve never told my parents how it happend and my tooth remains chipped to this day.

  • My biggest sewing disaster happened a few weeks ago. I was so tired of putting off my sewing projects (it’s been months) that I decided to just figure out a way to make my machine work. The thing hasn’t been used in the last 6 years and it was missing the foot. I was able to “sew” about half of the nightgown before I forced myself to stop and look at the facts. The white thread was now grey from running through the machine and the stitching, if you could call it that, varied from clumps to loose threads hanging and being restitched. The thing looks like it belongs on Frankenstein. I’ve since decided to put off my next attempt until I can make a trip to Joann’s and get my bf to clean up the machine for me.

  • One of my biggest sewing disasters was when I was a sophomore in college. I had just joined a sorority and was going to my first costume party. Trying to save money, I sewed my very first costume: a tight little pirate dress. Mid-way through dancing the night away, I heard a split. Sure enough, my dress had split completely up the side, exposing everything! Luckily I had a large head scarf on that I ended up wrapping around my waist for the rest of the night, but not before giving a few people more than they bargained for!

  • The first item of clothing I ever made was a total disaster. I was about fifteen, and I was determined to make my own clothes. Pink polka-dot fabric was everywhere, the hem looked like a bad halloween costume, and the zipper never really functioned, but I wore that skirt proudly. Why did my mother allow me to leave the house wearing that?

  • I am 4’11” so finding clothes for my height is very difficult. So, I’ve been very eager to learn how to sew not only so that I could be crafty, but so that I could start hemming my own clothes. So when I received a sewing machine for Christmas I was excited to try my hand at being a beginner seamstress. I’ve always wanted to wear a maxi dress, but at my height there’s no chance at finding one that hits at the right length. I set out on a quest to find the right pattern and cut and bought a maxi dress that I could simply trim the hem. Who knew that viscose is not an easy material to start of your first sewing project with? I certainly didn’t.

    I meticulously measured, re-measured, ironed and re-ironed my trim seams. After 10 hours of constantly messing up the hem, in a fit of rage, I took a pair of scissors and began cutting the excess fabric. I was so disappointed that I ruined the hem and that the fabric kept bunching because I wasn’t using the right thread and stitch– I ended up shredding the bottom hem. To this day the dress still doesn’t have a sewn hem. :( Next time I’ll try using cotton.

  • I would say my biggest sewing disaster was the pair of shorts I had to sew for high school Home Ec. They were supposed to be pajama shorts, and in the end, my bedroom was the only place decent enough for me to wear them. Not only were they WAY too short, the legs were uneven lengths and bunched up in all sorts ways too unflattering to describe. Thank goodness we didn’t have to model them for the class–THAT would have been humiliating.

  • I have two disasters, the first was in college when I was just learning to use a rotary cutter to cut fabric. Not paying attention and “slice”, off with the very top of my ring finger tip. Luckily it healed but I didn’t have feeling in that finger for a few months!
    The other one happened last year, I use my machine frequently to sew through thick fabric and canvas. One day I was turning the balance to wheel to “walk” my needle through some thick canvas and “snap!” it just came off the machine! Turns out the plastic had just worn grooves over time. It was very depressing as I couldn’t sew until I had a replacement part shipped!

  • MY disaster was in 5th grade in sewing class. I was learning to sew when I accidentally drove the needle through my thumb! Needless to say, I was in a lot of pain. Hoping my teacher would notice and come to my rescue, I played around with the machine, trying to retract the needle. Finally, my teacher came to my rescue and pulled it out. Despite the initial bad luck, I managed to avoid any further disasters in the class for the rest of the semester :)

  • My daughter Sara’s high school graduation dress. I designed and made the dress, which ended up being white georgette with pleats all the way around on the bodice and skirt. I’d never taken on anything like this and it took forever. I made a dress form of my child w/ duct tape and a tshirt. I did a muslin mock-up. I went through 5 different sleeve options. Finally finished it the day before graduation. Popped the dress in the washer that night and got up at 4 am to hang it to dry. But the blue quilter’s chalk I had used to mark the pleats did not come out! Nothing worked except scrubbing the marks w/full strength bleach and an old toothbrush. So, I put the dress on an old white towel and went to work, fully expecting at some point I’d have to give up and go buy a dress that afternoon. But even though the towel ended up disintegrating, the dress and the lining held up and did not turn yellow. My daughter proudly wore the dress that night. Lesson learned: ALWAYS test the marking material to make sure it comes out.

  • I tried to sew a pretty basic quilt last year as my first big sewing project. It was super tricky to sew something that big, so i found myself bunching it up just so that it was easier to handle. I was super proud of the finished product…until I opened it up and realized i had sewn the two sides together in about 7 places.
    Maybe your wonderful book can persuade me to take the dust cover off my machine again.

    Love Holly

  • Ah, I can tell many little crisis stories of my machine – most of them seem minor now, but not so minor at the time. Most involve tension issues (does sewing on paper hurt my machine?) that I can’t seem to get a permanent fix one. I sent one card of quilted paper squares to my Mom for her birthday that had little loops of bobbin thread on the back. My husband saw it and said, wow it looks so fancy! But when my Mom got it, she called me and said, honey you have to fix the tension on that machine! Yeah. Shouldn’t have sent her that card!

  • My biggest disaster was moving house – we moved across the country last year. The removalists came in with my poor sewing machine, which had been dropped on the road and had totally busted open – arrgghh! I was so upset. She was my first sewing machine, and we’d learned so much together! I was too scared to try to use her after they tried to put her back together, so had a big hiatus in my sewing. Now I feel like I’m starting to learn from scratch again.

  • Oh, the sewing machine and I have a long and complicated history, where to begin. But perhaps the worst sewing disaster I’ve ever had was in the costume mayhem of 2006. I was working on my costume for my dance showcase. The costume that I got was just a bit too revealing and too sheer for my personal taste so I wanted to adapt it to match my personality and bring it down into my comfort level. So I attempted to fix. I just tried to add some extra fabric where the dress itself receded and tried to bring the v neck up a little bit. What ended up happening to my DIY project? I ended up snatching the sheer fabric, thereby causing me to cut off whatever parts of the fabric I had added (therefore making it even more short and more revealing than before). I’m not sure what happened to the neckline, but apparently, I didn’t sew it back correctly because it completely came apart during my dance performance the following night. Thankfully, I ended up wearing an extra leo underneath so it wasn’t a complete wardrobe malfunction. But here’s the lesson I learned: try on costume with PLENTY of time to spare before any dance performance and NEVER try to fix anything yourself the night before the show…


  • I once tried to make one of those beach tote/towel things–you know, the one where it’s a towel, but folds up into its own pocket? Not only was my workspace an absolute disaster, with bits of terry cloth flying around and clogging up my machine, but I managed to break no fewer than five needles in one hour. Furthermore, I tried to overstitch the edges of the strap and knotted up all my thread, and the pieces of the bag were all wonky and mismatched. I ended up cutting it into rags.

    Since then, I’ve never sewn with anything heavier than suiting material.

    I love sewing, but I can’t handle anything complicated–I would love this book!

  • My biggest sewing disaster, there are so many. Right now I have one machine so messed up I can’t use it and I need to take it in for repairs. Apparently it didn’t like making corsets. But the worse would be the year I made my whole family fleece jackets and TWICE put a needle through my thumb while installing zippers. That takes talent :-/

  • Here are two of my sewing disasters :) The first was 3 or 4 years back when I was using a dress I had bought as a “pattern” to make another one because I loved it so much. Instead of making a paper pattern from the original dress I used the actual dress by folding it and pinning to the other fabric. Not sure how it happened but I ended up cutting a huge hole into the original dress much to my dismay.

    My other disastor was when I was in grade 6 I made my own “grad” dress. I thought it was fantastic. It was an awesome dress with a drop waist and a big ruffle for the skirt, a cap sleeve on one side and a strap on the other (off shoulder kinda thing) in huge floral print (plus matching scrunchy!). It came out perfect and exactly how I imaged myself wanting to look in 1993 at the age of 12. The sewing disaster part of this story….is the fact that no one stopped me from making this dress! Oh the photographic horror! :)

    I would love a copy of the book since I’m always looking for new projects to make. Thanks! Brooke

  • My worst sewing experience happened when I was helping my friend thread her machine in our school sewing class many years ago. I think that I forgot to mention to my friend that the machine should be turned off during this process. The end result was a thumb that got in the way of the needle just as her foot pressed down on the pedal. It was a very memorable experience, and I always think when I see the scar on her thumb, from the surgery to remove the needle, and just hope that it wasn’t really my fault!

  • I just started sewing and I’m still learning but I haven’t had too many major disasters – yet. My biggest problem is sewing fabric together accidentally – I’ve become very friendly with my seam ripper!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when I tried to sew a fabric tassle using my mom’s sewing machine. The fattest part was about an inch thick but I shooved it under the foot and stepped on the pedal. The needle snapped and went into my right pointer finger! I was afraid to tell my mom but had to in order to have her pull the broken needle out. I learned my lesson: Don’t sew if the fooot doesn’t go down!!

  • My mom taught me how to sew by hand when I was very young, around 4. Well, my biggest sewing disaster (or maybe it was hers!) was when she told me we would be sewing a dress for me, together. I was very excited. She had me baste two large pieces of fabric together, and I painstakingly made the *most* perfect little stitches my 4-year-old fingers knew how. When she fed the fabric through the machine and then ripped out my basted stitches, I thought my world would end! When she finally managed to calm and comfort me, she explained what basting was — basically sewing big stitches to hold fabric together instead of pinning — and I never made that mistake again. It didn’t put me off sewing, thankfully, and she went on to teach me cross-stitch and embroidery, memories I will cherish always. I have even continued on into the new generation by beginning to teach the rudiments of sewing to my 3 and 4 year old sons, who adore it :) I haven’t done any big projects in years, but have recently found myself inspired. Your book would be a great additional bit of inspiration!

  • my biggest sewing disaster is still sitting in a box – I bought a pattern, fabric & all notions to make myself a dress about 15 yrs. ago. I was soooooo slow, that I worked on the dress only occasionally until eventually it was no longer in style. I still have the cut pieces pinned to the pattern. I don’t know why I haven’t thrown it away by now. Guess I don’t want to admit that I couldn’t finish what I started!

  • I’ve had my share of sewing disasters but they are uasly related to tension or constuction problems.

  • thanks for the giveaway brett, your book looks fantastic!!

    i have always been one of those sew-ers that picks patterns based on the picture of the finished project, rather than what skill level they require, which often got me into trouble in my 4-H days. unfortunately, almost four years later, i haven’t learned my lesson and still go nuts for vintage Vogue patterns… only leading to weeks of slaving over a stupid dress and crying and freaking out and calling my grandma and nearly giving up but eventually turning out something dang classy.

    my worst disaster, though, had to have been the time i was hand-stitching something and stuck the needle in the arm of the chair while i took a break…. i totally forgot about it and came back the next day, gleefully leaped over the back of the chair and landed with my palm right on the needle. it really didn’t hurt that bad, but the funniest part was when i went to go make my mom pull it out, she took one look at it, freaked and was like, “DON’T DO ANYTHING, I’M CALLING GRANDMA!”

  • My mum is fantastic at sewing and I have always wanted to follow in her footsteps. She has been too busy to do much sewing over the last few years so I borrowed her machine and tried to make some things myself. I failed epicly – I broke a couple of needles, used the wrong thread, got things stuck inside where the bobbin goes…
    A few weeks after I gave the machine back to her she started complained about how it was not working properly and needed a service. Whoops! I didn’t tell her too much about my misdventures!

  • Mine occurred the day before my senior prom and of course I was making my prom dress. I couldn’t get the invisible zipper to look like what I wanted and I didn’t have time to hem the full circle skirt, so I had my mama do it last minute. She couldn’t get the zipper to work, either, so she ripped it out and put a regular zipper in as quickly as she could. It ended up looking way exposed– and not like in the trendy way. More like the this dress looks like the worst kind of homemade way. I was so stressed! My boo didn’t notice (do boys ever notice these things?), so I didn’t care as much about it. And we’re still together two years later! The dress is tucked in the back of my closet nonetheless.

  • One time I dropped a needle on the carpet and forgot about it/couldn’t find it. Guess what? I found it later… in my foot.

  • I think my brother will agree with me that my biggest disaster in sewing for him is stepping on my lost pins in the golden 1″ deep thick shag carpet in our childhood home. He still freaks out when he comes to my house and sees my sewing machine out. Wigs out completely!
    Brett your book looks fantastic from the sneak peek above :)

  • The worst was when I was trying to sew patches onto the inner thighs of a pair of cutoff shorts (formerly jeans) and managed to sew the legs together, but as a new sewer I feel like everything I make is somewhat disastrous!

  • I learned to sew on a borrowed sewing machine from the 60’s. It was great for the first year, then I made it forever angry at me by having it cleaned. Never could get it going again the way it used to. I guess it needed that fine layer of grime to run properly. Made for incredibly frustrating projects and balls of knotted thread the size of my head.

  • My biggest disaster is the pile of UFO – all because I may have done something wrong and just don’t have the patience to remove and redo

  • Luckily my mother sent me to a Singer Sewing class when I was 10 (40 years ago) and have LOVED sewing ever since (straight A’s in Home Ec all through school). But the disaster was just a month ago….I had to finish a project for my business, sewing velcro tabs on curtains. I broke 8 needles sewing 10 tabs – really – for some reason the thread was becoming stuck and I was frantically going through the manual oiling, unscrewing the bottom, sides anything I could do to fix the machine and ended up with spare parts (that was a first). I finished the project and ‘needless’ to say took my machine in for repairs. Come to find out I was using the wrong type of bobbin for my machine. YIKES!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when, at 13, I sewed an entire dress from a pattern I chose and fabric I picked out only to try it on and realize I hated it! All that work…

  • I had been sewing trombone slide covers (bank dork alert!) for quite a long time and got tired. I decided it would be a good idea to lay my forehead down on the top of the machine as I finished. Unfortunately, I forgot about the thread take-up lever and got a deep gash in my eyebrow. I was fine, if a bit bloody and startled, so it has a happy ending, but I still have a scar that makes my eyebrow grow with “character.” I’ll never sew when exhausted again!

  • I’ve been sewing since I was 5 (with an old wheeled White sewing machine, the electricity turned off, and me turning the wheel with my right hand to make it go) and that means 52 years of disasters and successes. I’ve sewn dresses and suits and jackets and coats and skirts and pants and slipcovers and curtains and napkins and placemats – you get the idea. I’ve sewn EVERYTHING! But I have to say the most embarrassing sewing outcome was when my ex-husband asked if I’d sew a cushion cover for his wicker couch seat. He bought the fabric, upholstery zipper, etc. He brought the seat to my house — normal seat – curved in front, straight in back (it actually had a metal frame) and I did a beautiful job. Gorgeous seams, a zipper sewn in with a flap so perfect it could almost speak, I carefully trimmed all the seams and corners and there weren’t even any errant threads on the inside to get stuck in the zipper. In other words I did a MUCH better job for him than I usually do for myself. All was fine until one day, about 6 months later I had to stop by his house to pick up my son, and I saw the cushion on the wicker couch on his porch. Did I say curved in front, straight in back? Uh, well, no – there I stood, looking at the front of the couch where my beautifully flapped zipper hung out in all its glory. I had made the cushion backward!

  • In the late ’90s, when I was in junior high school, my best friend and I decided to sew our own clothes. With no help or training, we walked to the fabric store, bought supplies and patterns, and set out to make pants and a jacket. After a few “creative” cuts, we decided to make patchwork pants, but since the fabrics we bought were not meant to coordinate, we ended up with about ten brightly-colored fabrics all sewn together. The result was a pair of flared pants that looked like a cross between a kaleidoscope and a clown’s closet. Nonetheless, we persevered. We cut the pants and made a patchwork skirt – something that fell right out of the ’60s – that we then shared and wore for a long time to come. Though I guess the outcome wasn’t a total loss, the process definitely felt like a disaster. I remember our parents were very amused to watch us cut patterns and fabric scraps for hours – all the while giggling – but I bet they weren’t as happy with the mess in their living rooms!

  • I spent hours putting together a zig zag quilt and was so excited to finish. Of course, once I got done, I wished I would have picked different fabrics and wanted to make the whole thing over again. Such is life I guess! Your book looks awesome – I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  • I was sewing a hem back up, while wearing the skirt (dumb, I know…but I was in a hurry). I sewed it right up and then realized that I had sewn my sleeve to the skirt. I still have no idea how this happened. I also had no idea how to get up and get out of my new sleeve/skirt.
    Needless to say, the skirt and shirt were ruined. That is only the beginning of how perfectly inept I am. Let’s not talk about the button holding together a (different) skirt that came off mid-day. Thank goodness for safety pins and staplers. Hopeless, but determined!

  • In 8th grade home economics, I had a terrible time completing one particular project – which was to make a sweatshirt. I could not get the thin white fleece under control and ended up ripping out 10 times more thread than the end product had. I barely managed to finish the neck and the waistband, and then told my teacher that I wanted to leave the sleeves unfinished for that “Flashdance” look. Oh man, it was bad. I never wore it.

  • My biggest sewing disaster has been the hours I’ve wasted trying to undo tangled threads inside my machine!

  • A few weeks ago I was working on a felt push for my soon to be born nephew. It started out okay but about 5 min. in the thread started to get caught on the bobbin hook. So I took the bobbin casing apart, cleaned it, and put it back together. This kept happening, over, and over again. I did everything I could think of, oiled it, cleaned it, changed the needle, the tension, stitch length, bobbin tension… nothing worked! Luckily I inherited my Grandmother’s Singer 401A so I haven’t had to battle the 2000 something Singer. I assume that if I turn it back on it will do the same thing. Although I have a very nice machine I would love to fix that one.

  • I started sewing when I was about six years old, I had the cutest little pink singer (wish I still had it) I’m sure there have been many disasters that have been forgotten. One disaster that has often happened for me, is I am not in the habit of pre-washing my fabric so I’m not sure I can even count how many garments no longer fit after they are washed. You think I would have learned the lesson, but instead I make quilts now and like the look after it is washed and shrinks.

  • My biggest sewing disaster is that I have JUST gotten into sewing (I got my first machine this year at Christmas) and I am a grown women. I wish I had just learned from my Grandmother or Mom when they offered to teach me. Think of all the fabulous things I could have created by now, if I had learned in my youth. :)

  • I made a halter top in college out of this horrible lime green cotton fabric. I didn’t sew very well and it ended up two sizes too small. I ended up giving it to my 6 year old sister!! I am so excited about this giveaway- I am trying to learn how to sew (better) since my baby son was born!! :)

  • I have had many – I swear I’ve spent years of my life picking out serged seams and threading the various sewing machines over the years. Of course there have been injuries (sewing over the fingers, iron burns etc). I would have to say the craziest one was when I was sewing on an industrial machine, and I was almost done a project, and was EXHAUSTED. I was sewing up the second to last seam and of course I ran out of bobbin thread. I was pulling out my bobbin case and accidentally pressed on the foot pedal very lightly and the hook that takes the thread around went right through my thumb, and hit the nail on the other side. For some reason it swung backwards and came out the same way it went in… Man that hurt! Though I was on such a roll that after a 1/2hr of swearing I finished the last seam with my thumb wrapped in scrap fabric, and then promptly went to bed.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was hands down the time that i sewed three my finger. Not once, but several times. Foolishly, I was sewing on a very low table, so after I had refilled the bobbin and was re-threading the machine, I accidentally knelt down onto the pedal WHILE my finger was underneath the needle. Luckily, I hadn’t yet changed the needle back to the sewing position, as it could have been much worse!

  • The time I made my prom dress and my best guy friend’s cummerbund the same weekend as prom. The dress was beautiful….vogue wedding dress pattern with some raw silk handed down to me by my grandmother. The cummerbund was left to last and was a rush job right before prom started. I finished just in the nick of time, but not before sewing through my finger and bleeding through my bandage all night at prom!

  • Oh, man! Can I narrow it down to just one? There was my first quilt attempt when I had no idea what I was doing, but enough confidence to make up the quilt top only to totally destroy the whole project I had saved so long for when I attempted to machine quilt it. More recently I started a super simple skirt for my daughter and got the fabric caught in the serger cutting a hole in the middle of the skirt.

  • My awesome sewing disaster happened at my very first quilt making class. I had never really sewn before but I wanted to learn and thought taking a class would be the best way. I asked if any prior experience with sewing was needed for this “beginner” class and was thrilled to find out that I could hop right in, “all I needed was a sewing machine!” So… I ran out, bought myself a machine, practiced loading the thread, and headed to my first class.
    SEWING IN A STRAIGHT LINE proved to be the hardest thing I had ever done! I looked around me at all of the other “beginners” sewing their straight lines with no problem at all. I was tempted to throw in the towel all together but I didn’t. I persisted and eventually produced a beautiful quilt top AND learned how to sew in a straight line! :)
    Needless to say, I’d love to have a copy of your book! PLEASE!

  • I was a prolific pillow maker in my early sewing days. I got into it a couple years after home ec class and had forgotten some sewing basics. For whatever reason, I decided that I needed to switch the sewing machine around to accommodate my left-handedness. This meant that I had to do all my sewing in reverse and burnt out the motor of my great grandmother’s antique sewing machine!

  • Currently, my sewing disaster is that my beloved 1969 Viking 6010 has a broken belt that will cost so much more than such a tiny piece of reinforced rubber could possibly cost to make.

  • After reading all these comments I don’t feel my mistakes justify winning a book. I’ll just have to buy it instead. : )

    Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, start with a simple project and inexpensive materials! You can’t lose, and you will have gained knowledge and experience.

  • my sewing disaster was asking my son what he wanted to be for Halloween and getting “snow leopard.” I went to the fabric store with him to try to put him off that idea since I thought I’d have to cobble something together or dye another animal print fabric, but instead we actually found “snow leopard” fabric. Then i knew i had to make the darn thing, and wouldn’t you know there was a pattern too. The disaster was staring with dread at this pattern with a zillion pieces — it was bulging out of a fat envelope. But it finally began to resemble a great cat and he wore it a bunch, all over town, for months before and after Oct 31.

  • i took a sewing class a few years ago at a local fabric shop. though everyone in the class was working on a different project and the teacher was pretty scattered, i felt i’d learned enough to try a project on my own at home. i bought my pattern and all my materials and set out to recreate the skirt i’d made in class. once i began, i quickly realized i had no clue what i was doing. frustrated, i put the sewing machine up in the closet and that’s where it’s been ever since. i keep meaning to take more classes but am intimidated by my first experience. i had a baby 8 months ago and would love to be able to make her cute little dresses. surely baby clothes don’t require more than a straight line, right?

  • I once decided to shorten a mid-length skirt. But I cut it unevenly, ironed the hem even more unevenly (attempting to makeup for the bad cut). It didn’t matter though, I had the tension set wrong on the sewing machine and the thunder rayon material shredded. It was terrible.

    I did get much better at cutting, ironing, and sewing, thank goodness. Excited to see more of the book!

  • In 7th grade I decided to sew my own genie Halloween costume with no previous sewing experience and no instruction. What I ended up with can only be called clothing in that it did successfully stay on my body – but that was only because it was too small across several dimensions. I painted my face blue to match the costume and nobody had any idea what I was. My best friend couldn’t stop laughing when I showed up at her house. I looked like raspberry-flavored roadkill.

  • My biggest disaster was sewing what a small squirrel that everyone had thought was a cat. It’s the bushy tail that everyone missed out on! So now the squirrel is aptly named Cat, and sitting on my dresser.

  • Oh lord, biggest sewing disaster, huh? That would have to be the time I tried to make my own wedding dress. It started when I thought it would be great to hand cut a bunch of fabric flowers to adorn the hem. I cut them while sitting on the couch watching TV and wound up cutting through the skirt I was wearing. Then I misread the pattern for the dress and made it 2 sizes too small. And didn’t cut it on the bias so it stretched incorrectly. And the tulle got caught in my machine. And I kept putting in the bobbin clock wise instead of counter clockwise so it got caught up in a tangle of thread in the presser foot. I cried. A lot. And after destroying most of the fabric I bought for the dress, I found out it had been discontinued a month earlier when I went to buy more. In the end, I bought a very simple black and white polka dot dress from target instead. But the good news is that when I got divorced 3 years later, I made a fabulous dress to wear to the courthouse without a single hiccup…

  • My biggest sewing disaster has a happy ending. One summer when I was on break from college, I decided to make my boyfriend a quilt. My mom is a quilter, but I had never even attempted to make one myself. So she started me out. Well, I procrastinated to the very end of the break to finish the job and found myself pulling an all-nighter in order to finish the job. The quilt came out okay, but that boyfriend is now my husband of 10 years.

  • my worst disaster was choosing a completely wrong fabric for a knitnpattern. I worked and altered for hours tryig to force it to work, but to no avail. Had tothrow everythigng away there was no salvaging everything.

  • My sewing disaster happened today! I haven’t sewn in a long time but was asked to sew four really simple quilt blocks as part of a beautiful quilt for a friend undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Straight lines only, but apparently the size of the seams really matters! After sewing sixteen pieces together, I realized the seam was too large. As I was ripping the seams apart, I focused on the fact that what I was doing was nothing compared to the patience and courage it takes my friend to get through what she is going through. Lesson learned and the block are completed and beautiful.

  • I recently decided to practice my (poor) sewing skills, and thought it would be fairly easy to replicate a plastic bag caddy in the shape of a chicken, which I saw in a design shop. WRONG! When I turned the thing over thinking I’d done an excellent job, I realized I had stiched over several creases in the fabric, making my poor chicken look pretty deformed :(
    I eventually managed to fix it by hand, but I think Brett’s book would help me master the daunting art of machine sewing…

  • When I was a kid, mum used to give us simple hand sewing lessons every Friday night. A testament to my beautiful mums patience and my own stupidity, she was aways disconnecting my piece of fabric from my pants or my jumpers as I always managed to connect the two – even my little brother was better than me. But because of her perseverance I now love to sew – even if I am not all that good:)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was in college when I was learning to use a serger. I had chosen a beautiful Ralph Lauren fabric for a simple skirt and was finishing my seams with the serger. Enamored by the speed and finished seams, I didn’t realize I was cutting into my finished garment. Needless to say I had to go from a perfect fitting skirt to a skinny tight fitting skirt to avoid the hole I had created! But I learned a hard lesson to take my time with the serger and make sure I just have my seam allowances running through!

  • My worst sewing disaster? How about all of them. Hastily cutting uneven fabric for pillows, spending a ton of money on projects that, when the thread gets impossibly tangled I give up on, or when looking close to the projects that do get finished, all you can see are uneven, ugly stitches. Anything that involves sewing in this household is a disaster!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was the time I tried to make a bathing suit in high school. My friend tried to warn me that it was a difficult project but I was young and fearless and I wasn’t having any of it! I had no clue what I was doing and it turned out to be a disaster from start to finish. But to this day, I’m still astonished by my bravery and I try to channel so of that when I’m afraid to tackle a tricky project!

  • Wow, my biggest sewing disaster was simply purchasing one of those stupid handheld sewing machines. I never even figured out how to use the thing! One day, will be able to invest in a real sewing machine!! :)

  • My sewing disaster was when I carefully hand embroidered a stocking…to my bed sheets! I was 9mths pregnant and making my soon to be born baby’s first Christmas stocking. Putting my feet up I set to work while in bed, unaware I was stitching it to my sheet. Good times. :D

  • Brett, I have not sewn anything in quite a while, but when I was around 7 years old my grandma bought me “my first sewing machine”, which I would use to entertain myself by sewing clothes for my cats. The biggest disaster (other than the poor quality of my garments) was the fact that my cat (18 lbs) was such a fatso, so all the clothes I made for him would rip apart at the seams!!!
    I would love to start sewing again and this book seems like an awesome place to start!

  • Not too long ago, after many hours of sheer bliss at my machine— I sewed through my finger. It hurt. Bad. And for the next week, that poor finger was very bruised and sore. A sewing buddy of mine assured me that I was now a real seamstress and that alas, it would heal without major, life-long consequences. She was right.

  • At age 14 I opted to stay home and sew on Friday night rather than go out with friends. Home alone, I was finishing the overalls I wanted to wear to a “country” picnic the next day. Carefully feeding the thick fabric, I fed a little too close and got my finger. My reaction was to pull it away, thus tearing my fingernail and the tip of my finger. I bravely bandaged up the wound, and finished the overalls. (that was 40 years ago…)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was actually my first ever attempt at sewing. My aunt sewed a doll for my cousin (her daughter) that actually looked like her. I thought I’d try my hand at making one that looked like me. Seeing how I was only 11 it could have been worse, BUT any and every thing that could go wrong did.

    I thought I’d use pantyhose (since it’s skin colored) and filled it with stuffing. But as I stuffed it, I ripped the sheer hose. So, my doll ended up with runs across her face! Next, I sewed some brown yarn to the top of the head for hair, but it kind of stuck up in the air like a horizontal mohawk. Last, I attempted to embroider eyes, a nose, and a mouth onto the doll. It ended up quite crooked and deformed – more like a Garbage Pail Kid than anything else. I ran out of pantyhose, so while the arms are a proportional length the legs finished as two short stubs.

    The funniest part is that the doll was so ugly that I couldn’t bring myself to throw her away… until I saw my brothers using her as the Monster their GI Joe’s were fighting against.

    I’ve gone on to sew a purse, a dress, and a few other things… but I haven’t attempted a doll since!

  • my biggest sewing disaster… where to start.
    i started sewing for my dolls when i was 12, their were many many disasters during that time, but my biggest was trying to make a tunic, i had the most beautiful fabric, cut out the pattern all correctly, but when i started to sew it up…. disaster ! sides not straight, edges not aligning, it had a v cut out at the front which needed reinforcing – don’t even go there, i did that about 5 times before i gave up! it is still sitting in the craft box waiting for another attempt… :( i so wanted to wear that tunic, the fabric was so beautiful and so….. well ….. me.

  • Several years ago in art school, I was working on a costuming project that comprised of several dresses adapted from everyday sewing patterns but made up of felt cubes. The idea was to make clothes that primarily maintained their own structure and shape while conforming to the body. There was a robot/Mandarin dress, a maternity dress (with a large cube as a bump) a sixties shift and a few more. Just trying to explain it now makes me shake my head and say, “What on Earth was I thinking!?” The entire project was totally convoluted and ill conceived and to make matters worse, I was completely new to sewing. My grandmother was a seamstress and although she passed away before I was able to learn the trade, I inherited all of her lovely supplies. So, armed with her old Singer, I went to work. For weeks on end, I cut square after square, assembling them into cubes that would then make up the dresses. It was a disaster. One late evening, completely discouraged and sleep deprived, I sat defeated over my machine and cried. In true martyr posture, I extended my arms out, palms up and dropped them into my lap. In one fell swoop, my left hand hit the edge of my sewing scissors that were laying partially off the table, causing them to pop up into the air and descend straight down into my wrist. I panicked! I was new in town and the only person I thought to call was my very recent ex-boyfriend. He listened in silence as I told him about the project and how I accidentally stabbed my left wrist, to which he finally asked very carefully, “Uh…did anything accidentally happen to the right one?” Suffice it to say, the entire episode was a fiasco, the dresses were hideous and I had to wear a bandage on my wrist for several days while assuring those around me that the only help I needed was from a seamstress, not a therapist

  • When I was in 7th grade, I was making a skirt for 4-H and mom had just got a new sewing machine. She had the TV on, and I wasn’t really paying attention and I sewed my finger! Fortunately, with mom’s new machine, the needle went straight up in down automatically, so I just had a piece of string through my finger nail and finger!

  • For me it’s not one but a series of sizing disasters that befell me in my junior high sewing class. I started with the intention of making myself so pajama pants-nice and simple. I ended up with some cute pajama pants, for someone the size of a small child. To this day I do not know how I didn’t see it coming. Undeterred, I chose a skirt for my next project. Having learned my lesson I erred on the side of large – 3/4 sizes too large, as it turns out. At the time I vowed never to sew again. Now my maturity allows me take the time to measure and read carefully and follow the pattern and I can report several accurately sized pieces pulled off without a hitch.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was the curtains– that I never made. Curtain rods up, fabric purchased, sewing machine threaded. Never got it done! Total execution anxiety. I need this book!

  • I’m a newbie, I recently started to sew 5 months ago, inspired by the DIY sewing guides on Design Sponge. I have had many sewing disasters and still continue to have them but the worst was when I sewed a zipper for the first time, I was sewing too close to the zipper when suddenly I heard a *SNAP* and I felt something stab my neck, it was the needle! It had broken trying to go through the zipper and the broken piece just happen to hit me in the neck >.< . I had the ugliest pimple looking spot on my neck for days from the needle stabbing me. Sewing can be dangerous!

  • Just about everything I’ve tried to create has been a disaster. I’m a beginner (read: no sewing machine) and have semi-successfully created one project…a “decorative” pillowcase…for a body pillow. After hand sewing the seams of the fabric, I realized I had cut the fabric 4 inches too short. Determined to finish the project, I had to sew three additional pieces of fabric. (I didn’t have enough of the original fabric) Now, I have a pillowcase made from two semi-matching fabrics with four inch blocks of the opposite side sewn at each end. It’s not cute…but at least it’s finished :)

  • So my biggest sewing disaster was quite recent, only last week as a matter of fact. My boyfriend and I have just moved into a new house, which has oddly shaped windows that need custom made curtains. I haven’t sewn in a very long time, I am a full-time college student so my time and devotion has been going into homework for a few years now. So, I busted out my sewing machine, brushed off the dust and made my first attempt at sewing curtains. I have heard that curtains are amongst the easiest things to sew, so I wasn’t too worried. However, the whole process was one sticky, stringy mess from the beginning. I was sewing with a lighter sheer fabric and forgot to change the tension, so I wasted a ton of thread trying to figure out why I was getting thread fuzz on the bottom stitch. Once I figured THAT out, I ended up running out of thread on my bobbin about halfway through one seam. I filled my bobbin and must have put it back incorrectly because I got the fuzz on the bottom stitch again. I finally managed to correct all of this and finished both panels for one of my windows. However, when I hung them up, I found that not only were they too short for that particular window but that one of them was shorter than the other. It was then that I went straight to our booze cupboard and took a shot of tequila.

  • I was trying to fix the sleeve on my Cleopatra costume so I could go to a Halloween party I was rushing to get ready for. I thought I was almost done when I realized I had sewn the costume to the pajama pants I was wearing. Good thing I had a seam ripper! I fixed it in the end and had a fun time.

  • I’m still a newbie at sewing, but my biggest sewing disaster: cutting off the very tip of my finger (all skin so no permanent damage!) with my rotary cutter while I was cutting out a piece of fabric. Definitely learned the hard way not to put my fingers too close to the edge of the ruler!

  • Oh goodness, of all my sewing disasters the one that comes to mind is when I was in high school and wanted to make all of my holiday give aways. With never having touched a sewing machine, other than playing with my grandmother’s singer, I went to the craft store and bought as much green and red felt as I imagined I would need. I showed up at home with materials in hand, a few things missing (e.g. matching thread) and summoned my mom for help. Several hours later myself, my mom and a friend who I somehow convinced to take on this project with me were up to our eyeballs in felt, thread, several disasters and few “good ones”. 4 hours later we had finally made enough, of what looked like stockings, to give to our 20 or so friends stuffed with candy and cards. The next day when we arrived at school with our goodies, deprived of sleep, our friends were very impressed. Little did they know our luck in how long this little favors had taken us to make. I never again attempted to make such a project; hoaever, I can say now that with that experience I am fearless when it comes to trying new projects. I can no successfully install an invisible zipper. GO ME!

  • Biggest Sewing Disaster: Button holes. Like those folks who will do anything to avoid making a left turn in traffic, I came to the point of avoiding anything that involved button closures. My anxiety was well justified after I mauled, in six out of seven places along the front, the blouse of exquisite, delicate silk I had so carefully – and expensively, created. The buttons I had covered in the silk were lovely, but even they could not hide the puckered, misaligned, rude holes. WOW, THAT WAS A PAINFUL FLASHBACK.

  • I´m a freelance fashion designer specialized in active sports and haven´t been sewing for ages, apart from mending my kids pants. I´d love to get back to doing things myself and dust off my old sewing machine.

  • When I was about 13, having never sewn from a paper pattern, I figured that Vogue’s ‘intermediate’ level meant “heck, I know my way around a machine, and can probably put in a zipper.” Oh dear lord. My mum came home to a living strewn with two kinds of lining and metres and metres of lace and one angry, frustrated teen girl! She salvaged most of the dress, but made me handsew the 5.5 yards of lace scallops onto my new cocktail dress, as punishment.

  • I had bought a bunch of clothes from the now defunct SJP line, ‘Bitten”. So freaking adorable, actually comfortable, and not in the least bit expensive. I believe everything in the entire line, including an adorable pair of patent purple pumps that I STILL rock, was below $8.

    Well apparently it was too good to be true, because I had a number of wardrobe malfunctions (including a friend tugging too tightly at my t-shirt dress in a bar and all of the buttons coming unglued and flying around like popcorn). When the closure button of my adorable green plaid shorts popped off, I was upset, but determined. I grabbed my sewing kit that my parents bought me when I was 8 and feverishly stuck hot pink threads through the button holes. I cannot tell you what happened, but by the end, my green plaid shorts looked like they had a 4 inch fuzzball protruding from the button.

    That was 4 years ago. I still wear them with pride.

  • I started my first ever sewing project 4 years ago, I was told to pick something I really wanted rather than something I could make. THe dress I chose is still in a bag waiting for me to finish.

  • This book is definitely going on my wish list. My biggest sewing disaster was when I was making my first dress. I attached to bodice to the skirt inside out three times in a row.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was on a shirt I was making for my boyfriend in the 70’s. I had hand embroidered a design on the back yoke and was doing some hand stitching on the cuffs and spilled a bottle of make up on the shirt sleeve. OMG! It stained it badly and I was crushed, but my high school home ec. teacher came to the rescue. She showed me how to bleach out the stain from only the sleeve which turned the off white fabric white. Then she showed me the trick of tea dying to get it back to the original color. Presto! It worked and not only have I tea dyed many things since then, I went on to become a home economics (AKA Family and Consumer Science) teacher. I learned so much from that amazing woman, I wanted to give back and I do. Everyday. Lucky me!

  • The Great Vogue Pattern Disaster of the 90’s – as a teen I found an amazing Vogue pattern that I loved and set out to make it a stretch fabric – instead of a chiffon – it turned into an ugly mess and as a result I was unable to make any more clothes for myself…almost 10 years later I am starting to sew clothes for myself and this week I conquered the pattern and finally made a good version of it! I’m back!

  • Biggest disaster? Trying to match uneven plaids for an entire suit. Top to bottom, died to side It took forever

  • My biggest bewing disaster is ongoing – I can never get the tension right! And then the bobbin runs out of thread, and I can’t figure out how to fix it quickly, and I have to go off and scream a little. And then start all over again. ;-)

  • To be honnest… everything I touched is a disaster. I tried to sew but even attaching a button looks messy. I still hope that I can do some simple projects one day!

  • waiting for one!
    have got lots of scrap pieces of cloth from the tailor nearby, waiting to turn them it to cool stuff, may be starting from here will get in to stitching disasters. need to buy a sewing machine too :P

  • The machine just stopped. Stopped!! About three hours before the little darlings in the Musical Review were to go on stage. I tried every trick I could think of to get it to go again. Nothing worked. I cried. Then I called my friend to borrow her machine so I could finish the costumes. Whew. I finished them. They went on stage. The show was beautiful. :)
    I took home economics classes in high school and learned to sew and knit and cook. I would love to teach my three daughters to sew with some of the fabulous projects in your book!

  • Biggest disaster. The most recent one was, I made a dress for a mother’s day shindig I was going to. I was scrambling at my parents house baking the last of the cookies for this same shindig and I quick changed into my new, never worn, dress I had made. I helped my sister carry something to her car and tore a whole in the dress right at butt level, so not something i could hide for the shindig and fix later. I couldn’t imagine how I would fix this when I was already late. Thankfully, I had asked my mom to sew the zipper in for me and she had some of the right color thread left. I patched the hole and off I went.

  • My biggest sewing disaster is from when I was young. I wanted to learn to sew, oh so badly. Having no one to actually teach me how to sew, I “attempted” to sew a little change purse for myself. I made, I used, but man was it ever ugly!!!

  • My biggest disaster was when I was rushing a project for a craft swap. I had an old machine and wasn’t paying attention – I managed to sew so that the needle broke off through my nail / fingertip, needed my housemate’s pliers to pull it out, and obviously got blood on the project – so had to start again.

  • Sewed over a pin that broke and took a bit of pin shrapnel in my cheek. Thank goodness it was the 80s, and I was wearing my giant, Sally Jessy Raphael glasses. Most of my face could see through those things. Safer than industrial goggles and RED!

  • My sister gave me a bag sewing kit for my birthday. Everything was included – I should have just sit, follow the instructions and make it! But… it was a disaster, not a bag at all! Simply because I was hesitating, sewing and unraveling, poking needle anywhere I liked, and in the end it was like dead shot with needles holes. Sister, I am sorry to this day for ruining your gift so shamelessly…

  • Biggest disaster was my daughter’s prom dress. We did the final fitting before she went off to swim workout. I finished the dress, sewed the zipper in and when she got home of course she was excited to try her dress on. We couldn’t get it zipped!! Both of us were devastated and I was thinking I had to make a new dress the next day. Her muscles of course had expanded and by the next morning it fit to perfection. She didn’t work out the next day, either.

  • My biggest sewing disaster is that I keep lining up projects, while my sewing machine gathers dust in the closet. I have all the material and the time, but have yet to pull out the machine and start working on one. The minute I do, I’ll be hook and this book might just be the motivation I need to start making pillows, clothes, curtains, purses, etc.

  • Biggest sewing disaster: Tried to repair a seam in a really nice satin slip. I couldn’t understand what was going on — I pretty much ruined the slip — then I realized that I had left on the walking foot that you use for thick fabric like fleece. Arg.

  • Brett,
    One of my biggest sewing disasters? I had unwittingly sewn one pant leg with outside and inside sides facing and then had sewn that leg with another pant leg to form a very messed up pair of pants! I hadn’t basted, but sewn the seams, so it was a lot of work (and cussing) to take everything back apart. That taught me to always check and double check that “right” sides are facing!

  • I have been sewing clothes for my two daughters their whole lives. A couple of years ago when both girls said they and their husbands were coming home for Christmas, I thought I would start a new holiday tradition by sewing pajama pants for all of “my kids”. I carefully selected fabric with each person in mind and used my favorite pajama pattern which I’ve made at least a dozen times. On Christmas morning everyone opened their present and agreed to don their pants for the prerequisite family photo. There were shrieks of laughter as soon as the girls saw their spouses in the pants I made. Having sewn exclusively for girls for 30+ years, I completely forgot that there are *ahem* anatomical differences that need to be accommodated when sewing for men. Never have I seen such SNUG flannel pants! Everyone was a good sport and a new tradition was started: the tradition of “remember when Mom made us those awful pants…”

  • I always admired this skirt that my friend had hanging in her closet. It was made out of this beautiful vintage fabric. Upon asking her where she got it, she took it out and handing it to me. She said she never wore it and that I should have it. I was super excited. The problem was it was a tad too big and maybe a tad too long. So, I decided to alter it. Without paying much attention I grabbed what I thought was my fabric marker and started making marks where it needed to come in. Needless to say those marks are still there. Regardless, I’m bound and determined to wear it. I couldn’t let it go to waste in another closet. Moral of the story…. use pins.

  • My biggest disaster was the first sewing project I ever did by myself, when I finally felt like I could get through it without my mother in law helping me. It was a bag, and I ended up sewing half of it inside out. I had to take the whole thing out and was really embarrassed.

  • One time I decided to make my own dress without a pattern. It basically was a rainbow burlap sack with a belt. It was terrible, and I spent DAYS on it…

  • My first attempt to follow a pattern: I didn’t know anything about the grain of a fabric so the A-line skirt that should have been cut on the bias ended up with a mind of its own, going every which way.

  • I recognize Brett Bara from the PBS knitting show! At least I think I do.

    My biggest sewing disaster happened when I first started fashion school and was only then learning how to sew. An early project was to sew a basic muslin block, or simple dress, that fit our dressforms. I had never set sleeves before. My first and all subsequent attempts at this resulted in sleeves that ended up being attached not just at the armhole but down the front of the dress, elbows landing near the ribcage area. Try that for a second. Not too comfortable, eh? No matter how many times I ripped out the stitching and tried again, always the same result. I’m still not sure what was going on but even my husband, cheerleader that he is, tried to help and keep me going. I ran out of time and eventually just had to show up to class with this dress that looked like it was the garment a mental institution might supply to its patients. So, needless to say, the idea of sewing in a straight line is hugely appealing. Can’t wait to read the book!

  • My first sewing project ever was my biggest disaster. In college, I was making a costume for a historical presentation about life in classical rome. This teacher meant business; no bed-sheet togas allowed, and my toga ended up having three or four pieces to be accurate—I was a vestal virgin. I bought yards and yards of cheap, plain, white cotton, and asked a acquaintance with a sewing machine for help. Her help was: “Here is the sewing machine. I’m going to the library”! At least it was threaded! All I was trying to do was seam up the sides of the tunic that went under the toga, but it was a TON of fabric, and I didn’t consider how narrow the space is between the needle and the right-side column of the machine, so, instead of turning the garment around to do the right-side-seam, I just slid everything over, bunching it all up in that tiny, tiny space, and ended up sewing wonky bits of the middle of the toga right into the side seam! I tried to rip it out, but ended up having to start over and sew the seams by hand with a running stitch. When I later had to do a medieval presentation of the same ilk, I suggested to other newbies that they cut out the material for their costumes and staple the pieces together to save the time of sewing lessons! Thank goodness this didn’t turn me off of sewing for good; six years later I’ve gotten pretty decent. (also, I got a good grade on both presentations, which helped too…)

  • Io have to say my worst sewing experience was when I was doing an all night sewing marathon and I was extremely tired. I managed to have the needle go through my index finger. The needle broke! I had to wake up my husband to pull the needle out with plyers..ouch!

  • I’ve had many sewing disasters in over 50 years of sewing…I don’t think I EVER do a project through from start to finish without making some mistake – sewing a seam inside out, putting a sleeve on the wrong side, something that always requires so much ripping out and starting over. But the worst thing I ever did was get distracted one day while zipping along on a long seam, listening to music – LOUD music – and dancing in my chair. Before I knew it, I had sewn right over my thumbnail, in and out, clean through, with the thread actually making a completed stitch in my nail. I was in such shock, all I could do was stare at it for a moment in disbelief. And then it hit me! It hurt for days, and took months for that hole to grow up and out! I still sometimes sew things wrong and have to rip them out, but I have never sewn my own flesh again!

  • When I was in the 8th grade my Dad and I borrowed a sewing machine from an aunt and decided we would make a Moo-moo (caftan-like house dress) from a bright Hawaiian fabric. No clue why we chose that project! We didn’t “get” the pattern part and sort of “winged” it even though we had the pattern. The first thing we did was to cut the large front piece of the dress down the middle by mistake and then it went from bad to worse. The good news was that we laughed about it for years afterward. Home Ec in the 9th grade wasn’t much help. I made a skirt and in a rush to turn it in I stapled the hem. Amazing that I’m still interested in learning how to sew now that I’m 60 years old!

  • I embroidered some flowers to a lovely piece of muslin and the green skirt of my Girl Scout uniform when I was ten or eleven. I thought I was done with sewing that day. Ha!

  • um, how do i pick only one sewing disaster?! Every time i get inspired and pull out my sewing machine, i spend more time fixing a broken needle, jammed bobbin, empty bobbin, etc. :)

  • It was back in the 70’s (gives away my age) when my big disaster occured. Was married for 6 months and got pregnant right away. Inherited my mom’s Singer and away I go. Made my first pair of maternity pants. I was so proud to have figured out the front stretchy panel from the not so detailed instructions. Put those bell bottom maternity pants on and guess what. I put the panel in the back–my stomach would outgrow them but I surely could gain in my hips!

  • A broken bobbin and tangled thread. Yes! How did you know? The machine broke and I had to take it in to be repaired. Also I was in the middle of making my daughter a night gown. I kept accidentally sewing one of the sleeves on inside out. (I’m not that great, as you can tell.) I use an old machine that was my grandmother’s from the 70’s. It doesn’t do all the things that a new machine would do, but the repair man said it’s easy to fix. :-)

  • This book looks amazing! I only know how to sew straight lines! I think my biggest disaster in sewing is just the fact that I am not very talented at it. I aspire to be better though!

  • The first time I attempted to sew a garment I decided to use my mother’s Singer. The machine is old, and hadn’t had a lot of use in the previous five years. But, my mom set up the bobbin and showed me how to troubleshoot. I got to work making a wrap-around skirt and when I was finished, I proudly put the skirt on and went out to show it off to my friends. What I hadn’t realized was that the entire time, the machine hadn’t properly stitched, leaving loose stitches that didn’t fully perforate the material (to this day, I don’t know how that happened!), so when I stood out of the car on the busy street to show my friends, the skirt delicately fell away from my body, leaving only my worn-out underwear to show off.
    Now, I stick to quilting (by hand) but would love to try again at more ‘public’ projects…

  • D umbest disaster to date
    I nvolved a
    S ewing machine
    A nd a cup of coffee
    S itting precariously much
    T oo close to the
    E dge of machine and fabric being sewn.
    R ule #1: Don’t drink and drive!

  • I would say that the saddest thing is my sewing machine has been broken for five years and I have a serger that hasn’t been used in a year. I am a very good seamstress when I want to be, even have made Halloween costumes and drapery for my house and all of my daughters skating dresses and others , but have been ill the past several years. Now that I am finally better, epilepsy, I am itching to get back to my threads and dig in, right after my daughters December wedding that is! Looking for inspiration, have my first Grandchild on the way and can’t think of anyone better to sew for!

  • I just recently returned to sewing after keeping my mother’s 1951 Singer Featherweight sewing machine in its case for many, many years. I sent it to a wonderful older gentleman in our small town to be cleaned up and to replace the bobbin holder which I had somehow lost. When he returned the machine, now in good order, he gave me many, many attachments including a serger, edge stitcher and rufler all of which probably cost more than I paid him for the tune-up. While I was excited at his gifts and thanked him profusely, I am still searching the internet to find out not only how to use the attachments but how to attach them.

  • I dont know that I have really had a disaster, mostly because I haven’t been sewing very long. The only persistent problem I have is with tension. I have had to rip out a lot of stitches because of tension problems.

  • Lena: You can get copies of sewing machine manuals off of the internet, usually for a small fee. Try eBay.
    As far as my worst sewing disaster goes, it was the Wedding From Hell ™. I was a quite accomplished seamstress, but I had the silly idea that I could sew renaissance outfits for the bride and groom and myself, AND teach the rest of the wedding party (6 women and 6 men) to sew their clothes, too! (most had no sewing experience). Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck afterwards and I think I slept for about a week and a half!

  • I’m pretty new to sewing and have already had quite a few disasters, but probably my biggest would be when trying to make a phone case for my sister. I had already made a couple of phone cases for myself and they’d turned out pretty well so my sister asked me to make one for her. 5 attempts later and I still haven’t managed it! No matter how hard I try it always comes out the wrong side, too big, too small, too short, too tall…I think my sister is starting to suspect I didn’t actually make the original good ones!

  • I am sure my biggest sewing disaster is the hundreds of yards of fabric I have purchased that are tucked away in my sewing room like so many photos in the family album – there, but useless unless seen. I am a novice but dogged seamstress. I just need the right book to get my fabric off the shelf and used the way it should be…:-)

  • I was making squares for a blanket i was making and had been sewing for hours, at this point i was in the zone! perfectly focused on my work and i was so excited to get the blanket put together i didn’t even take a break! I had just started putting the pieces together when my needle snapped and went flying by my face! It was pretty terrifying! needles to say (no pun intended!) i took a little break got a new needle and put some safety goggles on ( and since i don’t own safety goggle being a little paranoid i wore sunglasses to finish the rest of that project )!!!

  • My biggest disaster occurred when I was making a table cloth. I kept sewing super crooked lines, the thread broke every two stitches and eventually everything was such a tangled mess I was stuck with a three sided table cloth. It was hopeless.

  • When I was 8 or 9, I took some sewing lessons. I went home to practice my new-found skillz by making a scrunchie (perhaps that’s disaster #1!! but give me a break; it was the ’90s!). So I pulled up my mom’s sewing machine and got to work on this scrunchie, and as I started sewing, the needle snapped in half. I was so horrified, I put everything away and never told my mom.

  • I echo the sentiments of many previous posters – my biggest disaster is that I don’t experiment enough and learn how to sew things better! I just imagine the frustration and can’t get myself to go try! These posts are good inspiration for me.

  • Hmm…my biggest sewing disaster (selected from quite a large pool) would have to be the first time I tried to install a zipper on a dress I was sewing. After sewing in the zipper, pleased with the time I took before hand to accurately measure my patterns this time (I’m a notorious careless-measurer), I tried on my newly fashioned dress. Unfortunately, I did not include the fabric that would be needed to sew the zipper into the dress in my measurements, and the dress now refused to zip up!

  • This book looks amazing! I’ve successfully made a couple pillow covers, but wanted to expand my skills and try my hand at making clothes so I took a class at JoAnn fabrics. The instructor glossed over pretty much everything and the dress I ended up with was at least 3 sizes too big – and I have no idea how to make it smaller. Ok, not the biggest disaster in the world, but it definitely put me off sewing clothes! :[

  • My sewing diseasters are many over the last five years. When I was in college in the early sixties I sewed up a storm and paid my way thru college, leaving no debts. I was so proud. I didn’t sew for many years and five/six years ago while thinking of retirement I decided I wanted to sew again and make quilts, maybe to sell. So I went out and bought a new middle sized machine. It sewed well and I learned alot, I upgraded a year later, and again a year later and have continued sewing with top of the line machines with embroidery features. My biggest problem now is not always readying directions, taking classes but instead DIY attitude which has taken me into the world of never never land. I am now fully retired and taking lessons and basically starting at the begining sewing a straight 1/4 seam. I can, I will, I am going to continue lessons.

  • My worst disaster would probably be when, as a child on vacation with my family. A friend of mine decided she wanted to make a simple skirt, without a pattern & asked for help. We measured her waist & she cut two pieces of fabric sewed them together & made a simple waist band. Of course, we had forgotten to take in to account, that even though she was quite thin, she still had hips…I think she used the fabric to make a bag, instead.

  • I made a perfect knit summer dress while on a sewing vacation with my aunts, delicately piecing and backstitching properly and doing everything right! When I went to try the amazing thing on, though, something was horribly amiss. My aunts realized immediately–I had laid the pattern wrong. The entire dress stretched vertically rather than horizontally! I added extra bands to the side seams and still squeeze into it now and again, but I threw a pretty good tantrum at the time.

  • Brett,
    My biggest sewing disaster was when I was making a beautiful pair of pants from scratch. I put in the fly zipper perfectly, topstitched all the seams evenly, made both side pockets and back patch pockets, had my yoke seams straight, my belt loops perfectly placed, my hems even… and the pants were so small I couldn’t even get them over my knees!
    Suffice it to say, I laughed, cried, and vowed to forever try things on constantly as I’m sewing them.

  • I’m big into crafting and sewing and knitting and the list goes on and on. So when I got married I decided “I’m going to make my wedding dress!” Naysayers could not sway me and I marched on planning and faking my skills till I got something that was pleasing to my eye and wouldn’t fall apart as I walked down the isle. I was more than proud of myself, I was thrilled. I LOVED (and still do) my dress. But, a few days before the nuptuals, I decided to do a bit of just making sure everything was perfect on it. As I was trimming off bits of string that I had forgotten about I SNIPPED RIGHT THROUGH THE BODICE! I freaked! I mean i cut a nice little v shape about an inch long right on my bust area. And this was maybe 2 days before I had to wear it down the isle. So I did what any crafty girl would do and found masking tape in a nice cream color and put a giant piece on the inside holding that snip together. Not a big sewing fiasco I suppose, but it was my wedding dress mind you. But no one seemed to notice and the day went off without a hitch, except for the us getting hitched part.

  • I’ve had lots of disaters but lots of fun, too. One of my worst moments happened when I first started sewing. I had been taking a basic sewing course at our local fabric store. The culmination was supposed to be a ‘fashion show’ of students wearing what we had made following our first patterns. I did great with all the cutting and sewing but nobody said anything about fitting! Needless to say when I tried my jumper on, its slim fit didn’t go over my hips and the back buckled…sort of like a camel! I was sooooo discouraged….it took me a year to try again! I went on to sew quite a bit but I still hate tailoring garments!

  • After going through PACKS of needles because I’m wreckless with a sewing machine, it has long since been retired. For some reason whenever I brought a thicker material around my needles started to cry and breakdown. :)
    Hopefully this book could get me going again!

  • I have managed to mess up even straight lines; I’m working on my first quilt top and when I washed it half the seams came apart. Must have sewn them too close to the edge aaargh!

  • My biggest disaster was trying to sew with a TERRIBLE machine that was bird nesting all my thread. I would use almost an entire spool of thread on the smallest project because of it. I had to replace the machine because there was no fixing it. That’s what I get for buying a $50 machine at Canadian Tire…

  • I was a traveling vagabond in the 1970’s off to see the salt of the earth in America. I arrived in Purvis, Mississippi and applied for a sewing position at Movie Star of Purvis. Movie Star made women’s slips.
    The test for the job was lovely. They gave me a large wooden box in which I had to pound in nails and screw in screws. They placed me in the top position on the serger – a machine I had never used before.
    I’m afraid the job entailed a bit more “salt of the earth” than I had in me. Fifty piece bundles piled up near my machine. From 7 am to 4 pm, I had to serge the bodice to the slip itself with the goal of creating a perfect triangle point at the center of each slip. Oh my, the poor woman who had to wear my slips with their curved or buckled point. My work must have annoyed many. I did improve; but not by much. I took mercy on Movie Star of Purvis and left after a six week try.

  • I got a D in sewing in middle school and my sewing teacher hated me.
    At different times in my life later, I sewed for a living.
    The worst disaster was sewing through my finger. I had babies sleeping and couldn’t yell! My brother took me to the ER in the city where people were shot and stuff, and I had to tell them I sewed my finger.

  • What a fabulous looking book. I have owned a sewing machine for years, and am still intimidated. Now that my 6 (almost 7) year old is getting interested in sewing, I am trying to learn more. This looks like a wonderful find for me to learn and pass on to her!

  • When I was in college, I got a residency in a newly renovated building dedicated just to art projects. I brought my sewing machine all the way up from Long Island to Vermont, lugged it about a mile downhill from my dorm to the arts building, and happily started sewing a dress. Unfortunately, as I started a weird clicking nose from the bobin became more and more apparent. I went into investigate and the entire bobin case fell out in my hand (as in the entire mechanism that holds the bobin in place, not just the little metal piece that surrounds it)! I panicked and called my grandma ASAP and tried to describe the problem to her while freaking out and wondering where I could find a sewing machine repair service around here….until about an hour later when I realized these two clips that hold the bobin case in place had become loose and the whole thing just clicked back into place after tightening them. Crisis averted!!

  • I have had my share of goofs, like everyone else. One that sticks in my mind was when I was younger and learning to sew. I came in second in the state, through Singer, which sponsored my classes, so I thought I did a fairly good job. However, making a dress shortly after the classes ended, I some how managed to sew the sleeves on the wrong sides. It did not look good or feel right. My mom was a great seamstress and figured out what I did wrong, and then, very patiently, pulled out all those stitches! To this day, I still do not know how I did that!

  • When I was about 8 or so, I really wanted a sewing machine, because sewing slap-dash doll clothes by hand was getting old. A real sewing machine was a little out of the budget, and neither of my parents are crafty, so for Christmas I got one of those little portable sewing machines that you hold in your hand. It didn’t work at all. Then, next holiday, someone else gave me another one of those little hand-held machines. It also didn’t work at all. After so many failed attempts, I ended up giving up on sewing until I was an adult, and got a real sewing machine for my high school graduation. So, my biggest sewing disaster was having to give up on machine sewing as a kid.

  • In college, my roommate asked me to make her a “bee girl” costume in the style of the Blind Melon “No Rain” video. I procrastinated, mistake one. I didn’t measure her waist, and used mine, mistake two. I gathered yards of yellow tulle for this tutu skirt and stitched it directly to a facing, rather than making an adjustible , mistake three. When my more athletic roomie put it on, a gap of several inches remained where the floofy skirt did not form a complete circle. She wore it with aplomb, but I was embarassed because she told everyone I was the one who made it for her. I have made many, many mistakes in sewing, but this is one I wish I could take back!!

  • My disaster occurred recently when making a simple blouse for my daughter, instead of sewing the sides together, I sewed the top and bottom together. The front top edge had a small curve it it to ease under the bustline. Thinking that I had cut really wonky, I took the seam out and trimmed it straight and them resewed. Now the whole thing was beyond repair. This was just last month. Haven’t sewn since. Licking my wounds, I suppose.

  • I am a self taught sewer, and it has all been trail and error. I think I undo more stitched than I actually sew! My current disaster is the yoga bag…. I was so proud of myself for sewing a strap on the bias, that I completely forgot to sew the strap into the seam of the bag! I had to basically rip up the entire bag in order to insert the strap!

  • I was sewing a decorative pillow for my sister and hanging out with friends. Silly me, I had my sewing machine on the floor and was just about finished when I ran out of thread and with only 6 inches to go! So I changed the thread and while doing that, my knee landed on the pedal and I literally threaded my finger! I quickly ripped my hand away and the need broke in half, leaving my finger stitched and with half a needle poking through. My friends quickly took a photo and then took me to the emergency room where I became the joke of the night amongst the doctors and nurses because I had “injured and stitched myself up all in one fine swoop”. Because the thread had been sewn into my finger and wrapped around my bone, I needed to have the needle and thread surgically removed and 3 stitches! After a week or so, I hand stitched the final 6 inches of my sisters decorative pillow. She still has it 13 years later. It took me several years before I picked up the machine again and yes, I still sew on the floor.

  • That’s any easy one…….I spent weeks on a white blouse with pintucks, lace inlay, vented sleeves and sew on. It sewed unusually perfect to the last stitch.

    If I only would have tried it on….it didn’t fit!! To make matters worse all the seams were serged leaving no extra fabric along the seams. Oh well, learned a great lesson – the hard way!

  • My biggest sewing disaster is a quilt thats “in the processes” of being made. Long story short, my husband (boyfriend at the time) really wanted me to make him a quilt, so I picked out a pattern and together we picked out the fabric and went to work on making the quilt. I was in school at the time so I got busy and the quilt sat there. Little projects came up and his quilt got pushed to the back of the line. Going on 5 years later, I started on his quilt again and realized that my skills have gotten better and so I ended up undoing pretty much all the pieces I had sewn together and can’t find the motivation to finish it! :( Maybe one day…. love the book!!!

  • I borrowed a sewing machine to a friend.
    I spent hours to make and unmake the same stitch line.
    BUT…! I want so badly to do new things that I don’t wont to return the sewing machine :)

  • My mom had this great sewing room when we were growing up. It was absolutely filled with fabric and craft supplies. As kids, my sister and I would sneak in there and create wildly — without much supervision. We did things like cutting out small circles of fabric right from the center of $20/yd. wool, essentially ruining it for any large projects my mom had planned. Not good.

  • Hey Brett! When I was first learning to sew I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine, because I wasn’t sure if I would like sewing enough to buy my own. While working on my first project, a pair of baby slippers, I broke the only piece of plastic on the machine! It was a tab that clicked into place on the different stitch options. I searched high and low to find a replacement, but no dice…my mom had owned the machine for 20-some years. It now sits at her house, unable to be used.

    She bought me my own machine for Christmas a few years ago and I use it just about everyday. I love simple projects that are functional and beautiful, just like the ones in your book. I try to make every gift I’ve given since I got my machine. It can sometimes by time-consuming, but it’s sooo worth it!

  • OMG I feel so much better after reading! My boo-boo seems almost insignificant…but it was traumatic…Pregnant with my first son, nothing to wear…created a ‘tent’….with zipper. Zippers and I have never gotten along very well….from 4-H to pregnancy. Long story short, I installed and removed that thing 12 times (I am NOT exaggerating!) The thirteenth time, I breathed a sigh of relief until I realized I had ripped the thing out so many times that the coil had separated from the base. I whip stitched that coil down to the base and the dress lasted through two pregnancies! — Did I mention that I haven’t inserted a zipper since?…..and that son is now 44?

  • After finishing a quilt that involved a convertible pillow pocket with embroidery and applique… I was sewing on the pillow pocket and there were so many layers of fabric my little Kenmore was struggling. I was so stressed out and anxious to just be done with it that I was forcing it to DEAL and pushed through… It eyelashed, burned some of the quilted front, and ripped a bit. I haven’t gone back to even try to fix it. It was two years ago.

    I have gone back to make some other things though…

  • I don’t care for many of the matchy-matchy bedroom ensembles I’ve found in stores lately. Instead, I would LOVE to make sophisticated quilts and duvets (like the one pictured above), with coordinated pillows for my grandchildren (and for me). My best efforts at home crafting so far have been…rustic…like the giant floor pillow I made for us to pile on and watch movies. I used old denim jeans and cut LOTS of squares and arranged them into a beautiful triangular pattern of graduated colors. I even developed a great assembly line and got it done quickly. It was great and the kids loved it, but the pillow fell apart after the first washing. Seems I needed to finish the edges so they wouldn’t ravel? I’m not really sure. Later, I found squares in all their drawers. I’d love to make projects they can really hold hold to. I’m excited by your book because I believe it will help me do that the right way–with straight lines!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was a result of teaching myself how to sew using YouTube and using an ancient Singer single stitch sewing machine that I found in the basement of my old apartment. Despite all of this, I felt confident that I was capable of sewing MY WEDDING INVITATIONS. Sewing the invite to backing paper was the last step (after laborous stamping, embossing, and positioning on backing paper) before sending things off, so on the eve of the planned send date, I sat down to stitch the tops and bottoms of the paper and all I was getting was huge tangles of thread. My fiance and I tried to rethread the bobbin for HOURS, looking up sewing manuals online and watching…more YouTube videos, and finally got it work. 80 invitations and several days later, we sent them off! Crisis averted, but now for some sound advice with this new book!

  • My worst sewing memory was when I was 15 years old. For one of my dance recitals, our teacher had asked us to wear a tail coat. For a reason or another, my mum decided to sew it for me. She took my measurements, we picked the fabric together. On one Saturday afternoon, mu mum sat down at the dinning room table as I was watching tv and started sewing the whole thing and that’s when trouble started. Half way through the project, the thread snapped once. My mum rethreaded the machine and started sewing again. 2 inches later, the thread snapped again. And after that, everytime my mum sewed a couple of stiches, the thread would snap… Eventually my mum snapped too!!!!! She started cursing at the machine, threw the tail coat across the room, cursed my dance teacher, shook the sewing machine pretty badly and then decided it was time for a cigarette break!!!!She ended up finishing the coat a couple of weeks later and I rpoudly wore it at my dance recital!
    Many years later, whenever I sew, I think back to that particular moment and I make sure that when sewing starts getting on my nerves for a reason or another, I turn off my machine for the day and do something else!

  • I broke three denim needles while trying to hem a pair of jeans… I managed to hem some cords before I tried the denim and they ended up with squiggly lines… I dedinetly have been afraid to try sewing again but want to…

  • My biggest sewing disaster was totally taking apart a skirt that barely fit but had a pattern I loved to turn it into a tank top. (I could have–should have–let it out, but decided a tank top would be cooler.) I was going to use my second-hand sewing machine for the first time… and when I ran the first piece of cloth under the needle, the sewing machine made this weird loud noise and broke, somehow getting the cloth stuck in/on the needle. Freeing the cloth meant cutting it away from the machine… ruining my plans for a top. I’ve done all my sewing by hand since.

  • While, I have had many sewing disasters, I would say the greatest of them would be not cleaning out my sewing machine. So many projects and poor stitches were because of a jammed machine. When it finally dawned on me to open up my machine, I was shocked. There was years of lint and tread jammed down in there. Once it was clean, it was a different machine and I could finish my projects with ease.

  • I think my biggest disaster was a project I was working on after getting my embroidery machine combo…..I managed to figure out how it all worked and proudly pulled the item off the machine, only to find out I had stitched the other side to the bottom of the hoop!! UGH!!! was all I could think to say!! So I cut it off and tried again. After all, sewing is all about trying again when we make mistakes or something doesn’t turn out!! Because when it turns out, it’s the most wonderful feeling! :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was my first dress in high school. Aside from breaking 3 needles in the process, when it was all finished I realized I didn’t wash the fabric before I started the whole thing. Blue stretchy denim. I wore it to a school dance and when I got home everywhere the dress had touched my skin was completely blue. Mortifying when you are 15 years old…

  • I’m really excited about this book! I want to learn how to sew better so badly! My grandma passed away a couple years ago, and I got one of her sewing machines! I had no clue how to use it, but iwas determined…so I bought a tote bag pattern and sat down with the instruction book! It took me forever to figure out how to get it threaded, and even longer to figure out what I was doing. But, after disastrous thread mishaps and a couple bleeding fingers, I had myself a cute lil tote bag. Even though my lines were crooked and it is far from perfect, I was excited that i made it myself! Since then, I have been excited about all of my new creative possibilities, but definitely need some instruction, a lot more practice, and eventually a better machine!

  • Biggest disaster? – Let’s just say that my seam ripper is my best friend. I love to sew and quilt and my biggest fault is not being careful enough when sewing a seam. As a result, down the line, something will not quite match. I used to try to “make it” fit, but have learned that its best to let my frined the seam ripper help me now than regret it later.

  • When I was young, I broke a needle trying to hem a pair of jeans and I thought I had ruined the machine. I didn’t know that the needles were interchangeable!

  • My first sewing disaster was in 7th grade. We each had to take on a project so I made a skirt. Well, I tried, we ended up taking it to a family friend who was a seamstress for her to finish the mess I had made. Made a good grade though!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was accidentally cutting out something wrong. It pays to look at the cutting out directions FIRST!

  • Hm, disaster… probably the sleeves on my wedding dress. It took me two weeks to get those things right!

  • When i was hand stitching folds into my wedding dress, I accidentally sewed two pins into the folds and I couldn’t get them out without ripping out the seams and resewing it. I was using a very lightweight silk and I was super nervous I’d destroy it, but I managed to get them out. I almost left them in there but then I figured I’d probably end up stabbing myself in the butt on my wedding day. Somehow that didn’t seem like a good idea.

  • This year, I took sewing classes togehter with my sister. The other ‘students’ were interested in how to make your own curtains and all that stuff, but we wanted the real thing; making our own clothes! But it seemed we were the worst students. Sewing really isn’t so easy as it seems (especially on designsponge ;-) ). When we sewed our pyjamas, I had to make the shirt three times again, because I always did something wrong. And when I took place at my sewing machine for the fourth time, my teacher said in front of the whole class: “Look, she’s going to explode!”

  • Biggest and funniest disaster was making a bridal gown for my granddaughter. Design was my own at her request and that was stressful but went ok; however, she and her maid of honor came for a fitting and she put on the dress and they laughed and laughed. I finally asked them what was so funny, almost in tears. Well it seems grandma sewed the strapless bra in the gown upside down.

  • Hi Brett! I am so excited about this book! My mother is an excellent seamstress and she graciously purchased a sewing machine for me (her non-sewing daughter) several years ago and then set me free…with little to no instruction. For the first week I had the thing I repeatedly forgot to lower the presser foot down BEFORE I started sewing! This lead to many a tangled mess. Embarrassed, I called in my big sister for assistance. It only took one afternoon of her yelling “PUT THE PRESSER FOOT DOWN!” before I started each seam of a set of curtains for me to remember. Now before my foot hits the pedal I hear my sister’s voice echoing in my head …

  • I borrowed a neighbor’s sewing machine once, thinking that those home-ec classes from middle school would be enough for me to re-learn to sew. My project was a pillowcase. I wasn’t able to make any of the seams, as I ran into endless problems and finally just gave up. I still wish I had stuck with it – there are so many projects I dream up but am unable to complete because sewing is involved!

  • My first sewing project was home ec, and I sewed the sleeves inside out. I’m a little bit better now but any help is appreciated!

  • Well talk about a disaster times 2. I have a 30 yr old Kenmore that has lost the ability to wind bobbins. I have not sewed for a couple of years, not having the wherewithal to buy a new machine. Wait, I did buy a new machine at a famous discount store, but whenI took it home all it did was jam and they had no replacements Got my money back but no machine. So finally a friend gave me another old machine, a White. Well, this machine would wind bobbins but it won’t sew anything other than thin cotton type fabric. So now, I have one machine to wind the bobbin and another to sew! Makes for a crowded table, but I am happy to be able to sew after a few years of wishful thinking. I have been sewing since about the age of 14,and a few years without a machine is a dreadful time, to say the least!

  • OK, biggest sewing disaster: I was sewing a headband for my daughter, which was tiny and when I was making an effort to push the ribbon through the machine, I pushed my finger under the needle, sewing through my fingernail. What made it worse was that I pulled my finger back in horror, breaking the needle off inside my finger. Yes. It took a trip to the ER to have it removed and all these years later, if I press on my finger just so, I can still feel the hole where that needle was.
    *caveat* this was long before starting my business; I’m a much better (more careful) seamstress now.

  • Biggest sewing disaster: I was sewing a bag for a friend, didn’t have enough extra fabric to do it twice, and sew it together more than 50% backwards, then had to seam rip and try again. Guess what I did the second time? Yep, the exact same thing! 3rd time was the charm.

    The book looks awesome!

  • This isn’t a disaster per se, but when I moved cross-country I didn’t have room to bring my sewing machine. On the next trip home, I was flying back and had decided to bring my Singer as my carry-on item. I even took out the needle (you never know with TSA) and gingerly wrapped it up in my overnight bag. Of course it was searched, but ultimately it made it to the other side….or so I thought. When I unpacked everything, the bobbin case had mysteriously vanished! To this day, I have no idea what happened, but somewhere my bobbin case is in airport purgatory.

  • Brett,

    Congratulations on your lovely book!

    My worst sewing disaster was a combination of knitting and sewing. I was only 14 years old and I knitted all the pieces to a beautiful cabled long sleeved jacket, hand sewed it together and then sewed in the zipper by hand. It was absolutely gorgeous! I decided to wash it as it was a little grubby and when I took it out of the washing machine it had gone all loose and floppy and was about four sizes too big. I was devestated and cried and cried, but what I did not know then, but know now is that by putting it into the dryer it would have shrunk right back to normal. I always thought that you weren’t supposed to put knits in the dryer, but little did I know anything then and it was 100% acrylic. I never wore the jacket and it was many, many years before I made anything again.

  • My dad bought me a sewing machine when I was in college. I was so excited to start making everything! I bought a pattern for a dress and attempted to teach myself how to use a pattern. There was a gathered part on the front of the dress that I didn’t like, so I thought I’d just go ahead and leave that part out. I finished the dress and felt so proud of my accomplishment… until I tried the dress on. Apparently you can’t just skip the parts of the pattern you don’t like, or you end up with a neckline that is about 10″ too wide! My mom took the whole dress apart and made it just the way I wanted it. I still wear it 11 years later!

  • I tried to make a chairpad with cording (!) and a zipper (!) and boy does it look bad. It was my first time doing cording, and also with a new machine, so I was also learning to use the zipperfoot properly. At least the chairpad is functional!

  • My worst sewing disaster happened during the sewing classes at school when I was 9. The mistake I made wasn’t actually even that terrible, I simply just cut the fabric for a skirt very badly so that it wasn’t actually possible to make a skirt out of them anymore, but the real disaster was the reaction of my teacher: she got so upset she started crying! Luckily I didn’t get traumatized too bad and now many years later I still keep sewing – and I’m always extra careful when cutting fabrics!

  • One night in college I got on a sewing kick and decided to make a purse in one night (i.e. not super good quality). I had this really fun off white and gold burlap lying around and some gold contrasting fabric that matched. I hand sewed some fake pearls and gold flowers on the outside of the purse, then continued to finish it. About a month later I was grocery shopping with some friends when all of the sudden I heard a little “plink”, then another and before I knew it, all of my embellishments were falling off and rolling down the isle! Next time I will definitely take more time with my embellishments!

  • While sewing a bow tie for a junior high dance many years ago I lifted the presser foot to push through the folded polka dot fabric. I pushed hard to make it fit, the machine grunted and to my horror the needle went right intoy finger and broke off. Needless to say I didn’t go to the dance that night and went to the hospital instead. I did get back on the horse though and finished the now tie a couple weeks later and still love to sew.

  • The following story is by far my biggest and most traumatic sewing disaster. I am a teacher and so I usually use my summers to do different projects. Well, last summer I started making handbags. I came up with my own pattern and everything. They were really cute with lots of eclectic fabrics, handmade appliqués, and flowers and I made them in all shapes and sizes. I was really proud of them! I made sure they had no showing seams and were as professional as someone with my level of experience could make. Needless to say each bag took hours to create, not counting the hours it took to hunt down all the unique fabrics-some of which were vintage. During the hours I spent pouring over each handbag my 15 year old cat sat with me and kept me company. Finally I had them all done and I was ready to post them on Etsy. I took pictures of each and loaded them up to my store. I put all the bags neatly in a pile on a chair in my craft room. One night shortly after my aforementioned cat was going nuts in the middle of the night meowing and carrying on. So my husband could sleep, I put her out of our bedroom and shut the door. This did not make her happy. A few days later I noticed a strange smell in my craft room. I looked everywhere but could not tell where it was coming from. I looked at my beautiful handbags and they looked exactly as I had left them. I picked one up and underneath was a smelling present from my spiteful cat!! She had managed to pee and poop on each bag and somehow cover it all up. The were ruined… There was no saving them. All those hours of work were destroyed! I have since only had the heart sew on missi g buttons and fix hems. That is why I need this book. Perhaps this book can inspire me to move past my traumatizing sewing disaster and start my projects again!

  • Oh how I wish I could sew. I tried to do a t-shirt quilt once with my friend…. oy. Was that a mess! I had no idea what I was doing and bordered on frustrated and pissed to hysterically laughing at the situation I found myself in. I finish the quilt eventually…. boy will I never do that again.

  • The worst sewing experience was when I was really young. There I was, a seventh grader in home economics, trying to make a drawstring bag. The fabric was being stubborn, and I kept moving my hand to make sure the fabric moved just the way I wanted it to. Well, it did move just so, but it moved to where my finger was right in the way of Mr. Needle. No blood was drawn, no thread to pull out, but being a seventh grader, it was Armageddon. I wept and wailed and didn’t get the bag done until the next day. I’ve since learned to wear thimbles whenever possible.

  • I love the concept of this book!!! One of my biggest sewing disasters still haunts me today. Probably because I still have the dress. I guess I like to punish myself or something. Anyway, I had picked a dress pattern for, what was to me, the most feminine, fun dress a girl could want. I picked the perfect fabric and got started. All was coming out fine, stitches looked great and collar folded perfectly. Only problem was, well, it was way, way toooooo small. I didn’t know about pattern changes back then. Anyway, that faux pas held me back for many years. I still hate to sew for myself. No matter what I think the pattern won’t fit.

  • I have long legs and always have to adjust patterns to add extra leg length. I cut the pattern as directed and added the length needed. However when cutting the pants out I neglected to cut past the gap I made and turned in and ended up cutting the leg too short. The extra piece was still waiting to be cut. Not much you can do to fix that one.

  • Ugh, what isn’t a sewing disaster. I am not good at using patterns so every time I tackle a sewing project I usually have to do and un-do it about 6 times before it is ok. I have had a jammed machine, broken needles etc to boot. And yet I still really like sewing for some reason. This book looks fabulous!

  • Wow there is a plethora of stories here… What are the odds of winning ? Anyway, worst sewing situation for me was in high school. I set out to make my homecoming dress. i planned it, sketched it out, made the pattern or didn’t. Due to my crippling procrastination I finished the dress minutes before my date arrived and overlooked taking some pins out. You know the rest.

  • well I’ve had plenty of problems,but the first thing that I thought of when I read the question was a sewing project in 9th grade. I was going to sew a cowl neck from a knit. We had Bernina machines. I had mostly used my mom’s featherweight w/ the occasional sit down @ my grandmother’s ‘new’ 70’s era Singer. Now I had quite a bit of experience, hand sewing since childhood & a sewing class @ age of 12, but I had never sewn w/ knits orfancy machines. I let my teacher convince me to enlarge the pattern I bought & use a stitch along the edges-no seam allowance. It was HUGE & the strange stitch ruffled made all the seams wavy. Worst of all? I had to wear it to school to get the final grade. I never wore it again.

  • Well apart from sewing sleeves on backwards, waistbands on backwards, my dog eating my patterns, taking the zipper pull completely off the zipper, and making faux ostrich skin burgandy pants (fashion disaster, youth, what can I say?), I think the worst was when I used a non-washable pen to mark up my fabric and realized my mistake after the coat was beautifully finished.

  • My daughter wanted me to make a flag like banner for her wedding reception decoration…350 feet long. I looked everywhere for decently priced bias tape but I needed 350 feet in chocolate brown…it was just too expensive for that much. So I bought 3 whole rolls of (50 yards each), piping in off white cotton…but it had to be brown, so I bought rit dye and soaked 350 feet of piping in brown rit dye overnight. The next day my daughter said I couldn’t use the piping to sew the banner, because it wouldn’t look right with the theme she had going…..and it had to be bias tape…….so i searched for brown bias tape 1/2 inch for 2 days online….finally found one person that actually had 350 feet of it for under 100 dollars, and managed to get her to mail it to me in 2 days ……..
    the brown dyed piping still sits in my back yard……..looking like a huge snake, to remind me to never buy anything before making sure it was what the person you are sewing for wanted! lol!

  • I was moving across the country from LA to NY in my bright orange, 10 year old vw station wagon. I packed everything I owned into the back and the only things I couldn’t fit in were my sewing machine and all the afghans I had crocheted. I finally figured out I could fit them into the very small trunk over the engine in the front part of the car . I drove from LA to Flagstaff and then was headed towards Gallup, New Mexico…It was Memorial Day weekend, and no one was on the roads out there……but this one car pulled up along side me and was waving…..I looked at them, and they were yelling. I wanted to ignore them but I opened my window…they were yelling “your car is on fire!” I thought they were joking, but they kept yelling …..so I pulled over, and stepped out of my car…and looked back…..sure enough, there were flames spitting out the back of my car. I was terrified. They had stopped and they helped me get everything out of my trunk. We called the fire department but because of the holiday weekend , they couldn’t get there for an hour……In the meantime my car burned in bigger and bigger flames till it moved from the back to the middle to the front…We watched as the tires and seats all melted……then the fire reached the front and I guess that’s where the gas tank was, because all of a sudden the whole car went BOOOM, and exploded. We were far enough back to not get hurt…but as it exploded, I remembered…….my sewing machine and all my afghans were in the front trunk. It was years before I got another sewing machine!

  • My biggest sewing disaster(s) have always involved messing up the tension setting on the sewing machine. It makes such a mess of the bobbin thread!!
    someluckydog at gmail dot com

  • Biggest disaster ? My son’s sleeping bag. It took a long time to make. I ordered the fabric from the internet, it was gorgeous; I found some organic cotton batting, used very light cotton fabric for the inside, almost like silk, for comfort. It took about 10 hours to stitch, and I finished by hand. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Probably the most beautiful project I had ever done.

    So, what about the disaster ? I had chosen a newborn size template. Wasn’t I going to have a newborn ? It seemed logical. What I didn’t know is that I’ll have a son so tall he would never wear newborn clothes. So, I have this gorgeous sleeping bag I love so much and have never, ever used.

  • Everything I sew turns out to be kind of disastrous… I have the greatest plans, but when the skirt/trousers are finished I only dare to wear them at home.

  • The most recent of my worst sewing disasters was this past Christmas. I had decided on doll clothes for my 6-yr-old step-niece but was disgusted by the price of the commercially made ones, so I decided I could make them myself. I found a cute, easy, free pattern online for a top and bloomers set that I thought I could handle. No problems with the tops, and no problems initially with the bloomers. Then I started sewing the velcro onto the bloomers. The thread tangled, caught, broke; the bobbin thread tangled, caught, broke. A needle even bent. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I’m not much of a seamstress, but I’ve sewn a little ever since I was 9 or 10 and making doll clothes for my own dolls. But I’d never had so many problems. I took my machine apart. I cleaned it. I checked the manual to make sure I had it threaded right. I even went online and found a more detailed manual for my rather simple, cheap sewing machine. My 3rd or 4th time through that manual, I finally saw what I’d done wrong, in the section on hook and loop tape, the only instructions it had were to not use adhesive-backed velcro. D’oh! Of course, that’s what I was using. And the thread was getting gummed up with adhesive, not so much that it was obvious, but enough to make the sewing impossible. Naturally, I saw this on a Saturday evening in the middle of December, so I would have had to wait until Monday for any store with sewing notions to be open, and I needed to have this in the mail Monday. So I got out my needle and thread and sewed it by hand. Even that wasn’t easy, since I hate hand-sewing and the gumminess from the adhesive was very obvious during the hand-sewing and made it very slow-going. So sewing 2 little squares of velcro on took me about 2 days instead of the 10 minutes it would normally have taken. And I was just lucky I didn’t do permanent damage to my machine.

  • I do not believe I have ever had a sewing experience that did not end in disaster! Winning this book might help!

  • Mine was more a problem of assumption than anything else… I was working on a project in college and had a team mate helping me transform a bunch of thrifted clothing into a bunch of costumes for a medieval presentation. I had him on the serger taking in a pair of pants… When I turned back around, there was a third leg in the pants!

  • I learned to sew on this old sewing machine that only worked if the light was on, and one day in the middle of a project the light bulb worked its way out of the socket, stopping the machine from working. I, however, had no idea that this was so key to the machine working so I took it to a sewing machine fixer and like two weeks later the guy figured it out. It was so annoying! I think of that every time my new sewing machine turns on and there is no light!

  • When I was in elementary school I wanted to sew something basic with a needle and thread. During the project, I had misplaced the needle. My mom told me that I had probably stepped on it and the needle would be carried through my veins. I waited for the moment when it would pierce my heart and I would bid the world farewell. It turned out that the needle had fallen into my jacket pocket and my mom was either playing a cruel joke or naive.

  • I have had more sewing mishaps than I could possibly count (choosing the wrong size on a pattern, cutting pieces of nap fabric upside down, sewing through my finger, breaking needles, knotty tension…) Most of my mishaps have disappeared now that I own a Bernina machine which I don’t have to change the tension on, and jumps over pins so I don’t have to take them out while I’m sewing.

    But there’s definitely always more to learn, and having a good foundation of skills like how to use my machine properly and how to read/use patterns has made everything SO much easier. I would definitely love to own your book!

  • It seems the simplest projects are the hardest, I sewed the pants legs together wrong,on my hubbys pj’s ,I ripped it out and resewed them, BUT THEY ARE STILL UNFINISHED ,I need to put in the elastic and a fly opening,also I have many sewing books and can never find the basic how-to’s for what I’m doing ,looking forward to seeing your book Brett for clear simple instructions, to get my confidence back

  • This is a great giveaway! My first sewing disaster I remember was when I was about 7, and was sewing my first tracksuit. Mother was hanging curtains while she was giving me instructions step by step and, she being somewhat distracted and I being young and inexperienced, I ended up with trakky-daks with one huge leg rather than two normal ones!

    Around the same time I also remember Mum sewing through her thumb on the machine – not nice to see, and I’m sure even less nice to experience.

  • wow! tons of response. I would just LOVE Brett’s new book! I am in desperate need of a how-to guide and i’m excited to see what the book entails. Congrats to your staff member, i’ll look for it on shelves! xoxo

  • Somehow I manage to tangle my bobbin every time I sew. I guess I would say I have many sewing disasters, not just one!

  • I’ve sewn through my thumbnail (luckily missing my thumb!!!) and broken a needle in a folded seam and had all kinds of bobbin mishaps. I think the biggest sewing tragedy is my lack of time devoted to it! There are so many nights when I want to be sewing but all I can do is lie on the couch. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was an sewing an ‘infinity’ dress in a light knit without a serger! Needless to say it was a total wadder.

  • I have a sewing machine and big aspirations – but no skill. Last year, I bought a cute coat that was way too big, because it was on sale. I thought it would be a cinch to resize. After spending a month working on it pretty steadily, I ended up using fabric glue for some of the pieces, and never got the lining in. It was the worst coat to wear this past winter.

  • When all the girls at school senior year were talking about where they bought their prom dress, I decided I would be a rebel and sew my own. I chose black and ivory silks, black lace, and a strapless design I modified to be off-the-shoulder. My grandmother helped me get started, and it was really exciting when the pieces began to actually resemble a wearable piece of clothing. Trouble is, I’m very impatient and I didn’t finish the dress properly–none of the seams were finished and I didn’t put enough boning in. On prom night, the dress looked good but I had to do some last-minute sewing around the bust (literally sewing myself in the dress to keep it up) because I reasoned that two strips of boning were plenty. At prom, everyone had good things to say about the dress, but by the end of the night I was discreetly yanking off unraveling silk threads from the hem that I kept tripping on, and the inside of the dress was a frayed mess when I took it off. It was only much later that I found out how to actually prevent this from happening!

  • My sewing fail may be the first thing I tried to make on my sewing machine. I tried to repurpose an old favorite button down shirt into a halter top. Halfway through cutting off the sleeves and and collar, I realized I should have done a little more measuring and pinning on the front end. Lets just say that random, uneven pintucks appeared on this Frankenstein’s monster with an uneven neckline. I was proud of the finished product for an hour, but after sending off pictures to friends, I realized that I would never wear it in public. Relegated into a corner, I haven’t sewed anything more complicated than a curtain since. I’ve starred all your tutorials for when I regain my courage.

  • Oh Brett. There are so many. Let me just say this. My sewing machine gathers dust as it has been replaced by my hot glue gun. Yes. That’s right. Rips in cuffs, hemming, embellishing, even BUTTONS are not just – hot glue gunned together. Your book would be well used in my house.

  • My worst (but fairly small) sewing disaster occurred a few weeks ago. For a graduation gift last year, my grandmother gave me her old serger. After letting it sit in its case for a year, I decided to pull it out and see if I could figure it out. I’m the type of person who hates reading instructions, but I’ve found that reading instructions is a must when figuring out how to use a serger. I threaded it successfully the first time, then tried to “run a chain” to test it out. I did, it messed up, broke the thread, I had to re-thread it again. I did this about four times, threading, trying to run a chain, etc., all with the same luck, broken thread, no chain. After the fourth try, I decided to re-thread the serger one last time, telling myself if I didn’t get it to work this time, I was done with it. Thankfully I successfully ran a chain, but after fooling with the thing for an hour, I completed my chain then decided to put it away, making sure it stayed threaded correctly. Who knows when I’ll attempt to use it again.

  • I broke 3 needles, and tangled the thread countless times before giving up on making a garland out of felted sweaters last December. I haven’t touched a sewing machine since. :)

  • Biggest sewing disaster? Sewing my shirt to the pillow I was making. REALLY sewing it. With lots of bunchy, tangled thread. Bad for pillow, worse for shirt. Boo.

  • Once, after acquiring what I thought were considerable sewing skills, I made double-sided curtains…that were really just suspended lumpy pillowcases. I hung them up anyways, thinking that gravity would hide some of the defects. I had told a friend of mine, an art director from New York, about the curtains and she was excited to see them. I showed them to her when she visited, and she reviewed them with a frightened scream.

  • I’ve been sewing since I was quite young. Mom always gave me scraps and left me cut and plan. When she wasn’t at the machine, I could be quite creative. Made my first dress and wore it to school at age 11. Then after graduation from high school I went to work in the sewing factory. Bras and girdles. I was not prepared for sewing lace to elastic without the use of pins to line things up. Of course this was a no-no. So I sewed and ripped, sewed and ripped while my co-workers were waiting for their next piece of work. I felt like Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory: quit the job and became a nurse. I continue to sew anything today and can even do it without straight pins, but the sewing factory production line was definitely my worst disaster.

  • i made a duvet cover for my boyfriend but during the process my mom and i measured incorrectly 3 disastrous times which left the top part a little wonky but he still uses it of course. :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster is not sewing at all…but I want to learn so bad! I just graduated from school and will actually have time at night and on the weekends to learn how – yay! And this book looks perfect for beginners – another yay!

  • I am currently teaching my self how to sew and being quite ambitious about. I took one class (a day camp sort of thing) on how to make shoes. when I got home from this class I decided that I was ready to make a pair of boots for myself. I whipped up a pattern and started sewing with a long stitch so that I could undo anything if needed. After sewing the edges that I wanted to have a finished looked I started turning the boot right side out. I was so happy with the way it was coming out that I decided to go ahead and reinforced everything. Well needless to say my cute little boot turned into a christmas stocking :l so I spent the next hour and a half seem ripping the long stitch and the reinforced zig-zag stitching… it was exhausting!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was in 5th (or was it 6th?) grade. For class, we all got an egg that was our “child” we had to take care of and keep “alive” for a week. I decided that I was going to make my egg child (I wish I could remember her name, I think it was Princess Carmen or something like that) something to wear, like my mom would do for me. After thoroughly tangling every thread in my mom’s sewing machine, I finally hand stitched my egg an outfit out of some of the fabric my mom had bought for a specific quilting project. She wasn’t happy about that, at all. When I dropped my egg, I was more upset about the fact that the outfit got dirty than that I had “killed” my egg/child. My mom helped me wash the outfit so it was good as new (which was pretty ugly, b/c I wasn’t a very good patternmaker or sewer), and she gave me a new egg, helping me out even after she had to spend hours getting her sewing machine untangled. I guess it was a pretty good parenting lesson afterall.

  • Have you ever sewn the inside seams on a pair of pants in the wrong order? I say no more………

  • Oh, Coming up with my biggest sewing disaster is hard because there are SO many of them!! I once tried to sew a doll dress with gold thread, somehow the thread was too thick and the exterior part that made it gold started coming apart inside of my machine! It took me hours to get all of the tiny bits out of my machine and to get going again!

  • How’s this for a disaster, and I’m not lying (ask my classmate)…
    I sewed through my pinky. Yes, with an industrial sewing machine.

    How? I was threading my needle while my foot was on the pedal. Then for some reason, my foot pressed the pedal. Yup, yellow thread all the way through the pad of my pinky, barely missing my nail/bone.
    The worst/most painful part wasn’t that. It was pulling the thread out. “Gotta do it fast!”
    Oh man, imagine… the WORST paper cut ever. Two hours later, at the ER getting a tetanus shot and Xrays. (=$1800 in debt)

    “Keep your foot off the pedal until you are ready to drive!”

  • There is a Cosby Show episode where Denise sews her brother Theo a ‘designer’ shirt to save him $. It was a funny episode because shirt turned out crooked, lopsided, and jagged. Well, my first shirt turned out exactly like this. It was a shirt that was un-even and my arms wouldn’t fit in the shirts because length was too short, the width was too wide, and the armpits when up to my shoulders. Disaster!

  • I spent over a month working on a quilt with a pinwheel design (so lots and lots and lots of triangles) in various purple and pink tones. My husband had designed it for his birthday. I finished it and realized that this huge quilt that was about 5’x8′ wasn’t straight because I had willy nilly cut out ALL the triangles without knowing about grain. So I had cut my pieces with cross, length and bias grains. The quilt just never looked right :( Sometimes I take it out and hang it, but there is really no way to fix it.

  • I always have a disaster. Each time I sew something I manage to tangle up my bobbin and I can never figure out why. I clean everything out, but it still tangles. I keep taking it to get it serviced. Maybe one day I will take a class and finally figure out what I am doing wrong. I am tired of only doing 1 project a year as I have to keep spending $75.00 to get my machine serviced. Please help.

  • There is a Cosby Show episode where Denise sews her brother a ‘designer’ shirt to save him money. The show was funny because the shirt turned out lopsided, crooked and uneven. My first shirt reminded me of this show because it turned out jagged and unwearable; the length was too short, the width was too wide, the sleeves were too skinny and the armpit section went up to the shoulders. Disaster!

  • I am a beginner sewer. My husband bought me a beautiful machine I don’t know how to use. Every time I do a project (really only straight lines) the thread tangles in the bobbin area and even though I clean it out, it keeps tangling. I then have to spend $75.00 getting my machine serviced so I only do one project a year and it has to be small. I am tired of paying 75 and only getting one project a year done. Please help me learn!

  • My biggest sewing diaster in grade 6 was while I was making a dress. I was so absorbed in sewing that I did not realize I had sewed over my finger until I saw the blood – ouch!! I am a much better sewer now. Would love a copy of your book.

  • Well I was attempting to sew together a Hobbes doll for my boyfriend (you know the adorable little guy from the Calvin and Hobbes comics). Well let’s just say my procrastinating didn’t help and it ended up taking me wayyy over the time I allotted myself (8 hours). Of course my boyfriend came while I was still trying to finish it and I was trying to sew his arms and legs on so I could stuff the body and sew him up when my sewing machine jammed. I had a huge clump of string that got all knotted up and stuck inside my sewing machine…. I eventually finished it and he loved it, but man was it a pain in the butt.

  • I will not divulge my age, but lets just say that my sewing machine is my mid-life crises. My husband new that I had been wanting a sewing machine for a long time so he gifted me one for my birthday. I had never taken a lesson but I received a free one with the machine. I finally got enough nerve to sew a skirt by pattern. I had to use my seam ripper at least 3 times, install a zipper twice, tangled a bobbin while winding it and broke 3 needles in the process. By this point you would have thought I’d give up, but I didn’t and I have not stopped sewing since.

  • I recently… well, a year or so, maybe a couple ago, inherited a solid steel bodied, commercial sewing machine from a friend who was leaving the country. My mistake was thinking I could carry it by myself the 6 blocks home! After half a block I couldn’t get any further, that machine is the heaviest thing I’ve ever tried to lift! So it would be nice to have a book to help me get it out and use it even once, even if I couldn’t walk “in a straight line” with it.

  • I don’t yet have a big sewing disaster, but I have discovered my mom’s old sewing machine and I am really excited to learn how!

  • my biggest sewing disaster,well i got my sewing machine for my birthday, and i guess it was sitting there in her box for like 3 months, until i decided it was time to start on, frigthend on what would come out since ive never used one before, i started turns out to be that i broke 3 needles in one pillow sham…and the outcome was that the cover was way to small for the pillow to come inside.
    so i had to do it all over again…..but as we say “we learn through trial and error”

  • So many to choose from…
    I was trying to impress an artsy boy. I decided to make him a pair of cuff-legged PJ bottoms. I got out my most comfy store bought and made a pattern. I did a great job. No, really, the were awesome. I was so excited to give them to him for Christmas!
    He was honored and went to try them on.
    He came out with a weird look on his face. The length was right. The soft men’s shirt material hung nicely. Put he pointed out one thing I had forgotten. Yup, forgot to take in account his, ahem, manliness.
    Oh, so embarrassed.
    I think we both were.

  • Hi Brett! thank you so much for the oportunity!
    Well..my biggest sewing disaster…wasn’t too bad after all…I remember when my best friend married… I made bridesmaids dresses…it was a great stress period…because I had exams…and not time at all…so I decided to finish the other girls dresses first…and make mine the last…ERROR…I had just one day to finish it…and as a result…I sewed the front backwards … my dress was different from other bridesmaids dresses … the front of the dress was a lighter pink .. and it had all these beautiful seams everywhere LOL…they liked my dress after all!

  • My Boyfriend thinks because I have a sewing machine i should be able to make anything. So he suggested that I make new cushions for our sailboat. So we got the fabric, foam, & piping, and I started out by making the pattern for the first cushion. Everything went fine, so then I cut the fabric and started sewing. Turns out piping and I dont get along. 4 broken needles and a bent stitch plate on my industrial machine later I had to walk away. Who needs piping anyway!

  • My biggest sewing disaster came in high school. I envied a classmate who sewed loads of her own clothes. I decided to try my hand at it and purchased some fabric and thread and proceeded to cut out a skirt using a pattern she had loaned me. Instead of asking my mom for help, I jumped right in. I learned a few things: not all patterns have seam allowances, if a pattern says to use a stretch fabric there is probably a reason why and sewing machines have bobbins that require thread if they are to work properly. I can laugh about it now.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was when I decided to sew a leather clutch, when I have never sewn in leather much less a bag! I bought all my materials and cut everything to the size I wanted. I even had a simple how to from a blog I found. I began working and everything was going okay until I came to the zipper sewing, that’s when all h*ll broke lose. My thread got badly tangled in my bobbin and in the leather. I had to cut it out of my sewing machine. Then my needle that was meant for leather, BROKE! My lines were definitely not straight. I actually have a little zigzag from where I just moved the material back and started sewing again. If you would like I could show you a picture of the finished product. I do use this “clutch” as a bag inside my huge tote. I just don’t use the zipper and try to not show anyone the opening of the bag. It’s a reminder to me to keep learning and practicing.

  • I decided to sew a Hawaiin print wrap skirt without a pattern. I managed somehow to finish the skirt, after having to reshape from a long wrap skirt to short wrap skirt (I think i re cut the fabric uhh 4 times). But the real disaster is that I wore it for 3 years, the print was god awful. If you pick me, I promise to only sew tasteful things form now on!

  • I’d LOVE to have this book!

    My biggest disaster? Being a professional tailor and still having NO SERGER.
    Arghs, zig-zag stich is so no-go.

    Many greetings!

  • My biggest sewing disaster would have to be seeing curtains for my baby’s room upside down. I was so focused on the stitches that I forgot to look at the print….. Oops. :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was in home ec class in 7th grade… we had to make this really ugly stuffed porpoise or dolphin-looking thing and for the life of me I just could not figure it out. My attempt at sewing it did not in any way, shape or form resemble a porpoise or a dolphin! Many tears later, my talented seamstress Mom helped me finish it and I just barely passed home ec! I did not sew another thing until last year, some 30-odd years later.. guess it scarred me pretty bad!

  • My biggest disaster was sewing the needle through my thumb!! I was at a quilt retreat and tired and it all happened so fast. I just pulled it right out without even thinking. I’m so glad. If I had thought about it, I would have been in a panic!

  • Hello! Biggest disaster: high school home-ec. We had to make a jumper or skirt and wear our finished project to school. I was the only student that the teacher took aside to say I did NOT have to wear mine. Well, let’s hear it for all us stubborn women who refuse to take a negative as a stop sign. I went on to make my prom dress with full-length coat that got rave reviews from all, to reupholstering, making slip covers, etc. My last project was my very favorite so far. After my parents both recently passed away, I made both my children grandma and grandpa quilts from my dad’s beautiful cotton shirts and my mom’s wild bermuda shorts. (And it was all done with straight lines!) So, let’s never give up too easily in sewing 101 or in life.

  • Hello! Biggest disaster: high school home-ec. We had to make a jumper or skirt and wear our finished project to school. I was the only student that the teacher took aside to say I did NOT have to wear mine. Well, let’s hear it for all us stubborn women who refuse to take a negative as a stop sign. I went on to make my prom dress with full-length coat that got rave reviews from all, to reupholstering, making slip covers, etc. My last project was my very favorite so far. I made both my children grandma and grandpa quilts from my dad’s beautiful cotton shirts and my mom’s wild bermuda shorts. (And it was all done with straight lines!) So, let’s never give up too easily in sewing 101 or in life.

  • I had ordered a 1960s vintage dress from Etsy for my flight attendant Halloween costume… And when it didn’t arrive Halloween morning, I dusted off the old sewing machine to whip up a flight attendant dress real quick (not an easy feat) I was 3/4 finished and we had to leave in about an hour AND that’s when the needle arm fell off the machine. Not the needle, the entire piece that holds the needle. Whaaa? I was flabbergasted, but somehow figured out how to fix it and finished the dress, we left fifteen minutes later than we planned, but we looked amazing :)

  • Oh wow, biggest sewing disaster? That’s an easy one. My first day of seventh grade home-ec class, I started sewing our required standard pillow shame. The first pass through that I made on our dated school machines, I sewed through not only my pillow case, but the big bell sleeve on my sweater as well. The fabric from my sleeve got yanked into the machine and so entangled that the teacher had to call the janitor to take the poor Singer apart and extricate me from it. It would be close to 10 years before I’d get up the nerve to try to sew again. but to this day, even in the dead of winter, I only sew while wearing tank tops (better safe than sorry ;)

  • Sewing Diaster! Which one? It seems the sewing gremlins like to play with me. I think I must be dislexic and have a problem with measurements. I was working on a baseball quilt for a donation and had cut all of one print the wrong size. I was so mad at myself.I ended up having to order more yardage to finish. From now on, I go with the Measure twice, Cut once!

  • i have a desire to learn but just feel intimidation every time I think about it..would love to learn to sew at 32!

  • Dearest Brett – Please choose me.
    My biggest sewing disaster was when, as a frugal highschooler, I thought it would be really cute to wear a pillowcase as a skirt. I disassembled one of my mother’s discarded pillow cases, sewed a button on one side, cut a hole in the other and after a little tucking here and there that skirt became a confident piece of my wardrobe. It was only after several people pointed out the “skirts” sheerness and asked whether it was indeed a pillowcase that I decided it would be better to just buy my clothes.

  • When I was young, my mother used to sew the elastic on my ballet shoes. 20 years later, I decided that I would take an adult ballet dance class to relive my childhood and to get into lean shape. Two hours before class, when I opened my newly bought ballet slippers, I remembered that the shoes don’t come with the elastics attached. Have you ever tried to sew elastic to a ballet shoe? It hurts. You have to use very thick thread and a very thick needle. I’d never done it before, but I was in one of my “this must happen” moods. If I didn’t get that elastic on, then, I would not go to class, and likely never get up the nerve to go. The sewing disaster was evident the minute I started using the slippers in class. One grand jete later, the shoe went flying across the room!!! Everyone looked at me and started to laugh!! It was one of those adult classes that are filled with professional dancers doing “warm up” before their advanced class. Everyone was in their best attire with tights and little sheer ballet shirts, tight buns, and perfectly worn in slippers!! I was in my gym/pseudo yoga garb and now, half barefoot. I sashayed off to get my shoe and when I got back to the bar, the teacher softly hissed – “Just go barefoot for tonight…and for next class; make sure you attach the elastics to the inside edge of the slipper, NOT the outside.”

  • A year or two ago I found sheets on sale for a great price. It was a box with two complete sets. I never use the flat sheets, but the extra fitted sheets come in handy if you need a quick bedding change. So I had a great idea of what to do with the extra flat sheets. I could just buy some batting and stitch them together quickly into a comforter. All my husband and I had was a fuzzy blanket that matched nothing (unless I wanted to make wolves a theme in the rest of the house…). All I can say it is was a project born of naivete. Little did I know there are special long arm machines, or at the very least walking foot attachments meant to help feed the thick layers through evenly. I fought and tugged and pulled that thing around for about a month. I’d accidentally sew wrinkles and folds into the underside and have to seam rip out large portions and start over. I would do a tiny bit each day because working on it for too long was so frustrating. I finally finished it though. And it is still on our bed. The diamond pattern on it is all wonky and there are a few wrinkles and fold still in there but oh well. Eventually I’ll replace it, but for now it’ll do. It’s still better than the fuzzy wolf blanket.

  • I had a nephew on the way and I thought it would be fantastic idea to MAKE him a gift (first mistake)…a teddy bear to be exact. You know, the proverbial bear that my nephew would grow up loving and lugging around. My cousin and I took on the daunting task, which included making our own pattern (second mistake). Here is a picture of the masterpiece. https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/photos-ak-ash1/v103/208/72/1401450184/n1401450184_30078256_1846.jpg He came out all crooked and spindly with various holes. Needless to say, he was far too fragile for a baby so he must forever remain on the shelf.

  • I usually don’t have too big of disasters, but I make quilts and when I don’t sew in straight lines, things get bunchy – not good ;)

  • I don’t even know where to start! I’ve sewn right side to wrong side, had to replace zippers, rip and rip and rip! That’s just part of the process sometimes. And then again, sometimes it means you need to take a break and come back to the project.

  • I really have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machiene. The poor girl gets swore at more than she should! But, I still LOVE to sew. Worst disaster ever had to be when my in-laws asked me to patch up their car cover that had been destroyed. It somehow got melted in spots and I took on the task of patching /sewing this baby up. After twisting, pulling, sweating manuveuring this lug of commercial fabric through my machiene :), I had many broken needles, picking and un-picking thread forever. Then it was complete. Handed it over and when it went on the car …GASP!! I had sewed the ENTIRE thing inside out…Mortifying!!! Not to mention I was a new daughter-in-law.It looked like a grey cow with dark patches on it..MOOOOO! Good story, makes people laugh. And yes, I am still brave enough that I sew still. :) So yea, about that book???!! It would find a good home here!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was to use a fine embroidery thread that was unsuitable for the sewing machine. It looked fine but when I flipped the fabric over, the stitching at the back was in huge loops. Wasted the expensive thread that was made in Switzerland! ;(

  • I had searched local stores trying to find that special dress to no avail. I have a lot of sewing experience, so making a gown for a black tie event was not beyond me. Finding the proper fabric proved to be the insurmountable challenge! I was searching for a silver silk…seemed simple enough, however when I could not find desired fabric I settled for a ….I can hardly type the words…polyester (ekkk) substitute. (I do not know what came over me??…all my life I have disliked synthetic fabrics…I think my vision of my creation clouded reality!) On the bolt it did not look bad, the feel of it was tolerable. I went home and started to cut out and construct my one of a kind, designer gown. All was well and it was looking pretty good until I got to the first fitting. I felt like I was wearing a plastic bag! The fabric was heavy and did not breathe…at that moment I realized this project could not be salvaged. There was no way I could wear this article of clothing, let alone feel beautiful and comfortable in it. So I neatly folded it up, put all the materials and remaining pieces into a bag. It spent a few months on the shelf and then one day after the sting of the failed effort had dulled I put the entire mess into the trash. Fortunately I had a dress in my closet that I wore to the event!

  • I was almost done sewing an apron when sewing the last stitches I didn’t realized that the bottom was folded underneath the section I was sewing and that I had sewn it together in to a mess. My husband comforted my crying and ripped out all of the seams for me!

  • Have trouble with the “underthread” of my machine – My worse projects I just give up on! (So I try to do only very simple things.) This looks like the perfect book 4 me…

  • I took a sewing class from Jo-Ann fabric and learned how to sew french seams. I made a bag (to hold sewing tools) and a skirt (which I like to look at but never wear). I have to say, there was no real disasters, but I took the class 2 years ago and never did follow up with buying a sewing machine to practice more at home. I’d love to win this book so I can be motivated to get started again!

  • Sewing class during Home Economics in the 80’s was a three-year disaster! Projects sewed wrong-side out, cross-stitching that looked like hieroglyphics and never an invisible stitch. But I loved the creativity of sewing. Sewing in a Straight Line will help me build up the confidence Home Ec stripped away!

  • Every sewing project I have ever tried I have had some sort of disaster and get stuck in the middle. You name…it happens. captainliss40(at)gmail(dot)com

  • I was using fake fur for a Halloween costume and didn’t trim it at the seams. It was such a mess and then I had to spend time pulling the fur through with a skewer. Yuck!

  • My biggest sewing disaster was that I bought top of the line wool to sew a dress, but I based the measurements on the size I purchase at the store not what my actual measurements were at the time. It was a beautiful expensive dress that were two sizes too small. I would never do that again. I learned a major lesson: always use muslin!

  • Like so many here, my sewing experience has been littered with backwards blunders and battles with back-stabbing bobbins. This particular story’s victim was my boyfriend. I convinced him and the other three members of his band that matching vests were a good idea. I measured four men, neglected sleep, and vowed to finish by the big show. Twenty minutes before they went on I had cried, re-committed, flipped off any and all inanimate objects that got in my way, developed new mantras, and alas ONE vest was almost finished. I’d like to shake the hand of the soul who invented safety pins! I threw the vests on the guys just as they went on… not bad, though I wondered if the mass amounts of hidden metal could create feedback. I heard an audience member greet the guys with “Nice Vests!”. I’ll never know if the holler was true admiration or if it was a sarcastic school yard stab at four guys on stage in matching outfits. I do know that I was never asked back to create coordinating accent pieces for the band members, and I know I’ve got a pretty gracious guy.

  • I sewed into my finger and yep it made a mess-terrified to start again! In some need of some serious sewing tips!

  • love love love what this book is all about
    I come from a family of sewers, and have decided to start and pick up the craft while I am away at school. I have no idea where to start as I have always sewed everything I needed by hand, so a book like this would be an excellent place to start! I am loving the duvet cover & the belt, I can’t wait to find out what else is in the book!

  • The book must be great! The biggest disaster for me is that I can’t sew! Well, I have never tried it but I wish to! I adore all the sewing project of the bloggers whose blogs I like.
    I am interested in 1940s clothing and the best way to have many interesting pieces is to sew them…
    So, the real “disaster” is that I can’t it…

  • My mother is a great sewer, she even made my wedding dress! so i’ve always wanted to learn… 3 years ago i bought me a sewing machine witch i just decided to use (3 years later). First thing i did was to make some shorts, that for my surprise, turned out to be ok. then i was pumped to make my second thing! i decided to sew a blouse for my mother-in-law as birthday gift… oh god! i picked out the worst fabric, cause i have no idea about that, the color was nice… then i made a pattern, all with help from you-tube videos and then i tried to put it together… that’s when the fun began: I had no idea what side was right, but i kept on going having an awesome time… then the machine broke, i tried to fix it, then it got worse and even made a holes on my blouse… and then the light-bulb of the machine exploded! at the end of the day i was left with a bunch of cut fabric and a broken old machine…oh! and no gift. I still want to learn and i am sure i just need a little guide and hopefully a book! :-)

  • My biggest disaster so far… I was sewing up some pj’s for my son and I had the pj top all assembled & was serging the front edge so I could sew it down, and I didn’t realize the fabric had folded…by the time I realized it, the serger knife had cut the front panel of the pj’s. I was able to selvage it, by sewing a piece over the hole & adding an unplanned pocket. This book looks awesome! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  • Biggest disaster was when I was rushing to finish a tote bag for a birthday present. I had made patchwork front and back panels using a very complicated pattern I wanted to try out. I was really pleased with the result and decided to practice free machine quilting on them. I had only recently been learning to free machine quilt and was rather nervous to do it on a proper project but felt this was the right time to give it a go. I was so careful and checked my tension and even had a practice beforehand. The finished result was lovely, best I had ever done; lots of very close intricate machine quilting all over the panel. Only problem was that at this point I discovered that somehow I had managed to have both the front and back panels on top of one another and had stitched them together! How had I done that?? There was far too much stitching to pull put and so the bag never ended up being finished and I just kept the piece as a sample.

  • Sewing disaster? Using a German sewing machine (with German instructions)scored at a garage sale and not knowing any German other than, “This is not my luggage.” I’m learning this baby, but it’s a labor of love for sure. Not a huge help in the sewing department :)

  • Brett, love the idea of this book, and your blog! After a lifetime of yearning to sew, I finally learned last year. I would say that 90% of my sewing mishaps happen because of my near inability to sew in a straight line! My last project, a super cool grommeted leather double-wrap bracelet, never made it to production. After using every feasible piece of leather from the big swatch I had, each bracelet came out with seams that looked like mountain ranges, instead of the cute sideline trim I was going for. I’ve printed how-to’s from blogs, watched videos, and used every trick in the book – I feel like I need straight line help from a real pro like you!

  • i have taken significant breaks between sewing projects – and basically relearned each time…usually with a very tight deadline….biggest disaster was sewing 25 capes for my nephews birthday party. i only had 2 completed the night before the party (i complicated it unnecessarily with a collar and gold trim!)…luckily my family swooped in to help me…my mom and girlfriend were cutting, my nephew (he was 5) was helping stack the material and i was sewing like a crazy person. 20 capes completed by the start of the party – and luckily only 15 kids came…so it wasnt so much a disaster afterall….it takes a village to sew capes.

  • My biggest disaster was sewing a snuggie into a cape for my son- that thing was not meant to be repurposed!

  • To understand my sewing disaster, you have to understand that I have a knack for winding up in situations where I’m subject to public humiliation. In a sewing class I took at a local sewing studio, we were making basic a-line skirts with elastic hems. In the process of taking my measurements, I must’ve overshot the diameter of my waist. Fast forward to completion, I was so excited to try on my skirt. I ran to a closet in the sewing room, noticing the waistline was a little baggy, but not paying attention. My classmates asked me to model the skirt for them. I did a little walk, in typical Leo-like fashion. As I strutted around the sewing tables, the skirt started to fall lower, just enough for me to step on the bottom hem. As I did this, the entire skirt came down below my hips, revealing a yellow, cotton thong. My class was comprised of all females, so this wouldn’t have been so terrible, if one of the other classmates wasn’t one of my middle school English students. I have since learned to be a bit more careful when taking my measurements. :/

  • My own sewing disaster was buying yardage on ebay for curtains…then cutting and cutting & realizing I needed about 8 more inches. Measure twice (or 3 times), cut once!

    My mom’s biggest disaster…probably not paying attention & putting her hand right under the needle in her college sewing class. yowza!

  • I just started sewing this spring by taking a few sewing classes. Although my teacher was very patient with my, my biggest disasters are when I have to sew a curve! It took me 3 classes and a migraine to get the curves right for sewing in the sleeve to a short robe. I always joked with my teacher, I’ll love sewing when someone writes a book on sewing projects with straight seams only! And now you’ve done it! Thank you!!!!

  • When I was a kid, I took sewing as a 4H project for ten years. Somewhere around my 5th or 6th year,, I got shipped off to my aunt’s house to do that year’s summer sewing project because my mom and I always got in huge fights over the sewing machine. My aunt had a serger, which was new to me (four needles! a blade to trim the fabric as you sew!). That year, I was making this awesome purple gabardine suit, and in the process of putting it together, managed to catch a piece of the fabric in one of the side seams while I was serging, cutting a GIANT HOLE in the back of my jacket! It took a lot of tears and panicked phone calls to find enough matching fabric to re-do the back panel, but in the end we fixed it. And I got a blue ribbon :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster is going to happen soon because my very first sewing machine arrived at my doorstep today. The last time I turned on one of these babies is more than 15 years ago and I was under the supervision of my grandmother. But I say bring it on! ;)

  • Most sewing projects involve crying and me wondering why on earth I ever decided that I liked sewing. I’m a novice with a sewing machine and have many times put the bobbin the wrong way inside the machine. As a result the needle and thread get stuck in a constant loop, stitching the same spot over and over again. Despite all the frustration, when I see my finished product, I am always so proud of myself. And so I keep sewing, tears and all.

  • My worst sewing disaster is when I attempted to sew my own graduation dress! Two years later and I am still intimidated by that heap of paper, pins, and fabric! I was too stressed out from classwork and finals that I made a ton of dumb mistakes and it is no where near being done.

  • Trying to get my grandma’s old singer sewing machine to work. I’ve pulled apart the tension mechanism to try to investigate why the cotton kept catching – and I haven’t had a chance to put it back together again! Though I have found a new rubber belt off ebay which was also a bit of an issue for a 50 year old machine…

  • Sewing a giant (maybe four feet tall by 6 feet long?) cavy in my tiny dorm room on a desk with 1×2 feet of working space, I somehow managed to stumble my way through the hardest bits, like the face, only to have one side be much longer than the other on the belly (final seam)! Out of time, I had to patch it closed with masking tape. Oops!!

  • I love trying new projects–which is why I have so many pieces of them in bags around the house. I always end up with a big tangle of thread that I have to cut off the machine. But then I want to make something, find a book that looks simple, and start all over again. Even the disasters are fun, and sometimes they even end up working out okay.

  • I don’t have one huge disaster that stands out above the rest, more a lot of little things. One of the most frustrating is when I am embroidering and finish the area I am working on only to realize that I have sewed my work to my skirt, blanket, or whatever else and I have to un-stitch all my work and re-stitch it all over again.

  • my biggest sewing disaster was trying to get my mom’s old machine to work! i couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get the thread to pick up and then get it to sew through fabric. i’d just end up with HUGE tangles of scrap fabric and thread. luckily, a friend of mine helped me figure it out. i’m still having a bit of trouble with it, but eventually i’ll get the hang!

  • Hello Brett!
    As a newbie, my sewing experience so far has seen some disasters.
    The worst was when I first bought my sewing machine and wanted to start with “something simple”, namely, a tote bag made by just sewing the bottom of a tank top together.

    Did I say “just sewing”? Well..threading the machine was fine, but my sewing foot got stuck & I ended up with a big mess, with the thread tangled all up. Trying several more times made no change. I was so frustrated that I set my sewing machine aside for an E N T I R E 2 Y E A R S and only in April this year, managed to get my guts together and try again.

    I’m so glad I did try again! It’s a fascinating hobby & I already made my first curtains with a matching round (!) tablecloth. Not to mention, tons of projects in planning phase =)

    I’m looking forward to sewing more!

    Thank you so much for giving away copies of your books!
    Happy sewings,

  • My most recent sewing disaster was while sewing a quilt (my first!) In preparing my long horizontal strips to be joined, I sewed squares to the right and left of each strip. Which meant, I had double rows (or one extra row) on all but the outside edges! A friend of mine told me her mother (a seamstress) always said you don’t really love sewing if you don’t like ripping. I guess I must love sewing because I am forever ripping out mistakes!

  • I managed to spoil a special dress by sewing long straight seam without noticing the fabric was tucked up underneath. when I unpicked the folded bit two lines of stitch marks ran down the bodice and could be seen from miles.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was trying to sew for the first time when I was really young. I wanted to make a denim purse out of some old jeans, and I had no idea how to use the machine or that I needed to change needles or adjust the foot height … needless to say, it was a mess.

  • Everything I ever made in home ec during high school went directly into the garbage. Fifteen years later, while pregnant, I had the urge to sew for baby and am now sewing more complicated patterns and having a love affair with fabric!

  • On my 30th birthday, I was hemming some curtains I’d gotten at IKEA. They came with iron-on hemming strips, but I thought that stitching would look nicer. I was on my very last panel, maybe tired & definitely impatient to move on to hanging them & then going out to a nice dinner. Suddenly, the machine stopped. I had stitched right through my index finger nail. Half of the broken needle was sticking out of my finger. My husband pulled the needle out with some pliers, which is when the blood started gushing. I was so scared that I made him take me to the emergency room, which was happily empty. A doctor washed the wound & put on a superglue-type bandage (which turned out to cost $200). Most expensive bandage, most lamely eventful birthday. But the curtains still look good.

  • My biggest sowing disaster is that I am about to throw down hundreds of dollars to have my tailor make me custom pillows because I am too afraid to make them on my own. Help me by giving me this book!

  • The book looks fantastic.
    I feel arrogant saying I’ve not had any, I think I’ve always tried to make the best of disasters even if it’s meant leaving them in the loft for a few years until I’ve had the courage to sort them out! Now I’m thinking and remember there is a pair of never to be finished trousers that were started 6yrs ago for my baby girl I thought I could do it without a pattern!
    thanks for the giveaway

  • Brett, I think the topic of your book is brilliant; I think quilting became so popular because it was straight-line sewing. Perhaps now that so many folks are comfortable with the quilt world, they’ll venture into other types of sewing too.

    My biggest disaster with sewing was the same thing that led multitudes to a fear of sewing; home ec class! I loved my teacher, but the sewing machines were always out of whack, and we were never taught anything about adjusting fit. I was a young girl with an, err, abundant bosom, and nothing came out right — including a hot pink A-line dress that jutted over my shoulders and buckled with at least four extra inches of fabric around my back waist. The whole disaster convinced me I couldn’t sew by machine, and I went back to hand embroidering pillows and wall hanging. So sad.

  • For my senior prom in high school, I attempted to be thrifty and cute by purchasing a cheap gown and altering it to, not only fit (it was 4 sizes too large), but look fashionable as well. My mother is a superb seamstress and patternmaker, but I was convinced I could do this on my own. Needless to say, it did not work out on any level. I still bravely wore it to prom trying to avoid a complete hit to my pride. I think wearing the same dress two years in a row would have been less embarrassing. It was ill-fitted, the bow fell off, seams split and ruching fell out. I ended up leaving early to put on a different dress before going to any after-parties.

  • Oh dear. Probably the rust silk crepe de chine blouse. Elaborate pintucks, expensive fabric, impeccable sewing; I even made a muslin. The perfectly sewn garment! I was so happy. I wore it to work for the first time. As the day progressed various co-workers kept stopping in to ask me how I was feeling. I got home and my boyfriend asked if I was feeling well. ?? Next week I wore the blouse again and again, same reaction from my co-workers. I took a long hard look at myself in the bathroom mirror–rust was not my color, definitely the *worst* color for my skin tone, so bad that even I was wondering if I was sick. I never wore the blouse again.

  • My biggest sewing disaster was a shirt dress I made in college. I’d been sewing since I was 5 years old and had already made 2 wedding dresses and tailored jackets, so thought nothing particularly challenging about this dress. Until the buttonhole make chewed up the dress. It was one of the last things I needed to do to complete the dress and it was completely ruined. 30 years later, I still haven’t gotten over it.

  • Hello, My sewing disaster seems to be ongoing. A big part of the problem was my beginning, cheap-o sewing machine that jammed up whilst attempting to sew a simple straight line, or use a fabric that was ever so slightly thicker than the average size. Once it took 3 hours to sew a little make-up bag that generally can take me 20 minutes. I have since bought a nicer, more quality line of a sewing machine, and my problems have magically seemed to have gone away. I hope I win a copy of your book! Weeeeeeee! Oh yeah, I stink at cutting fabric in a straight line, so last week when I made a baby blanket, easy one would think, it came out crooked and uneven. Wah wah.

  • oh, dear me …… this book would be a change of pace for me, so winning one would be an absolute pleasure. but, my sewing has produce no big , bad disasters. just smooth sailing, but for occaisional inside out seams or a slip of the scissors. no drama. simple straight line sewing reminds me of my home ec sewing in eighth grade all those years ago [58 years] making pajamas, pillow cases and place mats.

  • I’ve had a few sewing disasters but i keep trying. From incorrect tension to breaking a needle and having it fling in a boyfriends eye. Yes, it’s true and i still cringe and feel really awful when i think about it, i was only 16 at the time and it was my first real boyfriend. I now sew alone, it’s safer that way… Maybe me having a copy of this book would be safer for everyone!

  • Biggest disaster was when I was sewing a blanket for my new puppy. I was attempting free-form quilting and suddenly the needle broke and embedded in my thumb. It was a very big piece and pretty far in. I was alone so I had to stay calm and pull it out. No big damage but it was so scary!

  • trying to remake a thrift store dress but then forgot about how to put it on – looked cool, on the hanger….

  • I love sewing. Your book and ideas are just fantastic. And, uhm, sewing disaster… Not disasters, but just usual “problems”. Something sewd in wrong way, pricked fingers, broken needles (during both sewing in hand and machine)… But when I was working on one of my term projects (as student of design) – if I did something incorrectly then (particularly during cutting the fabric), that would be A DISASTER. All materials cost quite a lot and my parents pay that for me. So I had to check every my step at least twice… you know – measure twice, cut once.

  • Well my biggest sewing disaster happened about 20 years ago when my husband and I were first married. I decided to make him a vest out of this gorgeous parrot fabric because he liked to wear vests. I cut it out very proud of myself and sewed and sewed . It looked perfect, the sharp edges were perfect, the topstitching was perfect……..except i cut out one vest front upside down making it not so perfect!! It became one of the best inside jokes in our family!!!

  • The little tray where you keep the bobbin down under the needle? Well, a tiny tiny piece of plastic that held the bobbin in somehow broke, but I didn’t realize it for the longest time and kept trying to fit the bobbin in and it never ever stayed. I wasted hours trying to get it in!

  • wanted to make a chairback slipcover to hold crayons and books for my husband’s little niece. everything went well until i tried it on a chairback. ARRGHHHHHH TOO SMALL! had to send my husband and child off to the party and worked until 4pm, sewing a customised felt laundry bag instead…

  • My dad bought me my very own sewing machine when I was in college, and (literally) the second time I sat down to sew, something inside the machine jammed really badly and it stopped working. I was so sad!

  • i’d imagine that the time i managed to set my mother’s old singer on fire while trying to sew through too many layers of pleather would be too easy a target. So i have another disaster that resonates to my very core. in my eigth-grade sewing class, i learned how to make pyjama pants. excited with what i had learned, i went home and drafted a solid, albeit completely cracked-out pattern for these culottes that i thought would be so bad-ass. while i managed to make them really decent without sewing my hands together or breaking a needle into my eye (that would come years later), i actually wore these horribly unflattering bed-sheet, tea-length culottes ad nauseam for several months. oh, the humanity!

  • Brett, you are asking a miracle from me here, to just pick ONE disaster! LOL I have so many, from sewing zippers in backwards & not noticing until the item was gifted/worn, to trying to make my own “princess dress pattern” (meaning I just took measurements of my 4 yr old & attempted to sew a dress)…this is my latest disaster…Halloween 2010 my 4 yr old daughter finally decided she wanted to be a princess, I’m horrible at following patterns as the intimidate me so much! (I never learned to sew just how to patch holes in jeans) So I measure her under her arms, waist & length from under arms to floor….I figured if I doubled her waist it would give the dress a “flare/bell” look at the bottom….lets just say I was almost too small under her arms & it only “opened” about 2 extra inches at the bottom from right under her arms…..so straight dress….I added a see-thru light sparkly pink overlay & went with it…she loved it, but I still have no idea how to make a pretty flowing dress/skirt! HELP!

  • I think the worst part of personal sewing history is that my sewing machine just gave up (needle thread tension broke) when I was sewing my dress for my prom night. I had to finish the corsets hemline by hand, sewing through plenty layers of fabric. Afterwards I sewed my skirt using my serger (I had no second sewing machine), everything went quite well except for the last hem. I wanted to “close” the skirts last two panels and of course! I sewed into another panel and cut it wide open. When I then hit my index finger with a hammer when i really smacked the puncher tool for the corsets eyelets I just didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry.
    I don’t have to mention that this happened two days before the prom night, do I?

    (ended up with a quite nice black fingernail that vanished only 6 month later. Remembered me the whole time… )

  • Putting a zipper into a fitted skirt, I thought I did a great job and did it right the first time! When I took it off the machine to admire my wonderful work, I realized I had stitched part of the hem in with the zipper!

  • Using a sewing machine in need of a significant tune up, I sewed an extremely large curtain panel, only to realize that the lower bobbin wasn’t feeding thread properly, so all of my careful stitching came out with the smallest pull of a string. I thought I’d never sew again… but alas, there are so many beautiful things I want to make myself that I try, try, try again!

  • My biggest disaster was when I decided to make a skirt to wear at my friends destination wedding. It was my first major project ever and my first piece of clothing. I finished the skirt the night before I left and didn’t even try it on, so when I arrived I was surprised that I had created a gold brocade I’ll fitting nightmare not suitable for…anything! And I had no backup out fit. It was a bad weekend.

  • Hi Brett – My story begins with me 8 months pregnant. I was big, ready to meet our new baby and couldn’t finish the sewing projects I created for myself fast enough! Feeling confident about my skills (i’ve been sewing since my early teens), I knew I could outfit our son’s nursery with love & sweat equity in every stitch. With that said, I didn’t take into account my irritable nerves and lack of patience I once possessed with previous projects. All that to said, I was so anxious to finish his quilt, I stayed up way to late to make it happen. After I stitched piece one to pice two, I realized I had stitched the entire first piece to the base piece inside out. I flipped the fabric out to blind stitch it together and realized my mistake. It was a 2 hour “seam ripping” fiasco that left me tired, frustrated yet ever so humbled! The devil is in the details and I will remember that mistake for many sewing projects to come…

  • My biggest mistake is not taking advantage of my lovely grandmother who was an incredible crafter and seamstress. This woman had a talent for all things feminine (cooking, sewing, and parenting). The talent of sewing skipped a generation and landed on my lap at birth. My passion is to create! So as my sweet grandmother is on her last years, the family gave me her sewing machine! I am thrilled to have the machine she crafted on, but I am so new to exploring the way to sew that I use the machine, fail at a project, get courage to try again, fail… and the days go on. I have been contemplating buying a sewing for dummies book, but I would love to have your book help me put sewing and all things crafting back in my family line. Are you up for helping me?

  • Brett, I have been promising christmas stockings for my family for 2 years. Last year, I actually went and got the fabric. I chose gorgeous silk velvets and drew my own stocking shape. I worked on them through Christmas Eve until I got so frustrated with the fabric, so decided to give up and wait until next year. My biggest problem? Figuring out how to sew stretchy fabric with interfacing that didn’t function….AND the stockings are all different sizes. I still haven’t finished them, but maybe this year-mishapen and all :)

  • My biggest sewing disaster was having to sew a 1″ zipper on a curve connecting two different colors of spandex….It was a penguin costume/wetsuit…The zipper wouldn’t curve, the spandex stretched in directions that warped it and stretchy thread was out because it would dissolve in water. A total redesign had to be done because nothing was working out!

  • My mother has always been an amazing seamstress but I am still a novice. My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas so I decided to get started with sewing projects. I had this t-shirt which I wanted to turn into a tank top. Well, the result was that it wasn’t a tank top at all. I cut too much fabric away so I couldn’t fit in it and a sewed the opening for the arms shut so I couldn’t even try to wear it ! I tried to fix it several times and managed to make it wearable, at least once just at home lol I didn’t give up though in sewing. I keep making small things, little projects and learn from website like yours! :)

  • After taking a dress-making class at a local sew shop, I decided I was pro enough to make another all by myself. The dress was finished in time for the wedding I wanted it for, but along the way I had to seam rip and re-do several pieces as I sewed the bodice and midriff piece on back to front, sewed the pleats in the wrong direction, the darts on the wrong side, and the invisible zipper in completely wrong the first time! I also ripped the fabric with my seam ripper, but managed to hide that when re-doing my zipper! All the mistakes just made me wear it more proudly though, knowing that no one could tell that there were many tears (and several drops of blood) shed over it!

  • A catastrophic Error “E6” on my sewing machine mere days before my wedding with no time to get acquainted with a new sewing machine! Everything worked out thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law coming to the rescue!

  • i sew my pretty tunic shirt to some pants! since the tunic was wide i did not realized i had part of it under the pants :s

  • I have been a sewer since childhood, my mom was a Master Seamstress, I didn’t inherit that gift, so I was making a top and pants and during the serging process, I sergered the two together, needless to say I ruined that beautiful fabric. I also learned to pay attention to fabric content, another outfit I made correctly, wore it once, washed it and ended up being a outfit my daughter could wear. LOl

  • I can’t wait to try your skirt, thanks for the insiration and easy to follow directions…

  • I just found this blog and with it ‘sewing a straight line’ and I LOVE the idea of making easy, but impressive little sewing pieces!

    My biggest sewing disaster was when I started sewing (at around 14):
    I had just bought my first jersey fabric (very opportunistic at this beginner stage ;) ) – I was so excited to start out and make wonderful things – that I sewed my finger to my new fabric in several stitches – that hurt like hell!! Even after that I didn’t loose interest in sewing and enjoy it today more then ever!

    PS. That jersey fabric turned into a classic rock shirt (black+triangular cut) later ^^

  • I got a sewing machine for Christmas 2010. So far I have completed one project. I have not even mastered straight lines. This might encourage me to get my sew on.

  • I have a sewing machine that I want to use to teach my daughter and my son to sew on. She is 8 and he is 7. I am a down to basics type of person. No electronics for our family except or the basic one television in the living room for our family. The internet is used to learn how to do things so that I can teach my children or to use the camera to see and talk to relatives across states. I want my children to be well rounded. I want to put myself through school for my bachelors in teaching as well as teach my daughter how to make clothes for her dolls and possibly sell them to teach them simple economics. So I have patterns and scrap fabric and your basic thread but I do not have the know how. I am eager to learn and to teach my children what I was not taught. This book would be a blessing and a tool to allow the progression into the next generation and to their generations ahead of them. This book would not only be used or me but for the future families we will be blessed to welcome into our families. I want to be that mother, grandmother and great grandmother that can pass down a piece of know how. Thank you…

  • My blunder (and it DEFINITELY is a blunder when it’s more than once!) is sewing when there is NO thread in the bobbin! I get so excited about a project that I forget to check the thread and zip through a seam, zipper, etc. ( all the time thinking what a great job I’m doing) and find out I didn’t do ANYTHING at all!

  • My worst sewing disaster is: i sat down at the table, and did all my measurements, prepared and started sewing. i was watching tv and my favorite show came on. i forgot to stop pressing the pedal and then chaos broke out my dress was attached to the project, there was a big vicious bump of orange thread on the cloth the size of my nail, and everything was messed up. i almost sewed through my hand!

  • My worst sewing disaster is: I like working with patterns and I almost always do. But I wanted to make a dutch costume for my only girl for Tulip Time that happens every year in May. I didn’t want to pay ridiculous amount of money for the pattern and all the fabrics to make one! So! I tried my hand on making my own pattern. Everything was going so well until it was time to see if it fit! I had made a beautiful costume but for someone else; it was too small for my daughter. Needless to say, I broke down and bought a pattern and upon finishing her costume; my sewing machine that was my Mother’s (an antique) had broken. I had to hand sew the apron but it was complete!