#SewingTop5: The Editors’ MISSES!

Sewing Top 5 of 2019

This is my favourite topic of the #SewingTop5 series! We tend to share our best pictures of our favourite projects on social media, but what about the real clunkers that you tossed in a corner and ignored as soon as you finished them? Maybe you wore them once, maybe they never even saw the light of day… or maybe, they were destroyed in the wash, lost, or otherwise became fails! If you want to have a good giggle, read on!


I’ll be honest, I sew a lot of things that don’t turn out. Most get passed on to friends and family immediately, some marinate in my closet for a while before admitting defeat, but it’s only a few that never even get finished. This, my friends, is my worst fail in 2019! Behold, a big mistake:

Gillian wearing a pale pink boxy blouse with lantern sleeves.

Nude-to-me fabric +boxy style + huge sleeves = no no no! I’m in the process of trying to save this Closet Case Patterns Cielo top, because I’ve loved different versions of the pattern that I’ve sewn. I dyed it burgundy and shortened the lantern sleeves, but it’s still not working. I think it’s time to admit that these sleeves aren’t for me, rip them out and recut them as the slimmer short sleeve. But that doesn’t sound very fun, so I’ve been ignoring it for two months!


Two pictures of Chloe wearing a white and blue striped top.  In one she is looking at the camera and is slightly turned to the side with her hand on her hip.  In the other she is looking away but her body is facing the camera.

I love this top. On other people. It’s the Paper Theory Kabuki Tee – an oversized woven tee with interestingly set in sleeves. Unfortunately on me, the sleeves are so far apart the design elements of the top are lost. I actually emailed Papercut about this, but they indicated that pattern testers (I wasn’t one) had indicated a need for more room in that area. I am OK with that answer (people are just built differently), but it doesn’t work for me. I am having a fiddle with it to try and adjust it a bit because I love the design, though it might be worth starting over with a few adjustments up front…either way – the as-is version was this year’s fail for me!


Rushing often leads to a miss. While I love the Hey June Union St. t-shirt pattern that fellow Editor Erin recommended, I wanted to crop it and slim it down….but I didn’t do it correctly. I needed to consider an FBA in my cropping/tightening madness, and it just looks like my Old Navy t-shirt shrunk in the wash. Ditto my own T-back tank pattern… I was rushing…and it’s just this very wrong Sporty-Spice-thing going on. I am not Sporty Spice. I’m not any spice. I don’t own any Old Navy. The whole POINT of my sewing is to NOT look like Old Navy. Yet, here I am. Reppin’ late 90s (the worst time EVER for fashion, really) and Old Navy late 90s at that. Sigh. I really liked that sweater knit.


Sophy facing the camera and smiling.  She's wearing a dark top with a yellow design, a long gold cardigan and a belted jean skirt.

Honestly, I have had a fair few misses this year, mostly my fault for sewing while tired, sewing while my body was in a state of dramatic postpartum flux, and choosing woefully inappropriate fabric/needle combinations for my projects. I toyed with sharing the photo of the epic wardrobe malfunction I had when I chose to wear a toile of some shorts made in cheap fabric out of the house (if you wish to retain your dignity and leave people still wondering what colour knickers you are wearing, heed my warning and don’t make trousers or shorts in a loosely woven lightweight fabric!). Anyway I chose this particular “miss” because it links nicely to my goals for next year – 2020 is the year I get over Zip-phobia. This is the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons, and the miss is that I inserted the worst ‘invisible’ zip you have ever seen. Well you can’t see it because I have cleverly misled you by only taking a photo of the front. The back waistband gapes, the zip ends in a huge dimple and gets stuck as I try to drag it past the bulky waistband seams. Basically this is a total failure on so many fronts and I have never worn it. I have a pile of denim to be repurposed and this is in there, maybe one day it can be used for something that actually looks good!


Picture shows preschooler with a stoic expressing in an ill fitting blue shirt and cropped pants with various motor vehicles printed on them.

This year I actually did not have too many misses but this shirt I made my kiddo was a huge miss. I decided to try a new basic t-shirt pattern in a cotton lycra which was a different weight than what I typically sew with. I really should have paid more attention to the commentary I was seeing online about the binding instructions being weird and the neckband measurements seeming off. NOPE, ya girl was way overly confident about her sewing skills and chugged right along. So I was left with a horribly over stretched bound neckband because in addition to not the best directions I did not take the time to practice binding with this new fabric. So in the spirit of laziness I chopped off the binding instead of picking it and sewed on a (calculated by me) neckband. Nothing could have saved this poor shirt.

Now, all of these garments have some redeeming qualities, and perhaps you are tempted to convince us that they aren’t so bad… but the point of this post is to poke a little fun at things that didn’t work as well as expected, so let’s just enjoy laughing at ourselves! Sometimes it is just so cathartic to admit that life (and sewing) isn’t perfect.

‘Fess up: What do you do with your sewing misses? Throw them in the corner of shame? Give them away? Refashion until they are a success? Please let us know in the comments!