Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Oops, or Why I Shouldn't Sew at Night

Have you ever had an off-day sewing? They happen, right? I feel like they come more readily when I've pushed myself too much with sewing. That medallion quilt really took up all of my quilty energy the last couple of weeks (yes, the quilt is still in time out).

Last week, I need a quick finish and decided on one of my guild bee blocks. Myra gave us the cutting instructions and I was game for a good churn dash. In my mind, I recently completed an oversized churn dash quilt, so what could be the trouble? I have confidence in my sewing abilities!

The block had to be 12.5" unfinished. When I first made it, my points all matched up (yay! that's been happening more and more often over the last year, which is cause for celebration)! BUT... the block was only about 12 inches on all sides. What had gone wrong?

I sadly took the whole thing apart - my best friend (the seam ripper) had been on call the whole time anyway. I consulted Jess via text message. It turns out I hadn't trimmed my HSTs correctly, one of my rectangles was off a bit, AND a couple of my seams weren't scant enough (something I struggle with). So, a simple block turned into a whole hour-and-a-half ordeal. I finallly decided to put it away and come back to it the next day. I learned two things:

1. Don't cut fabric at night (this is sadly a lesson I've learned several times) and/or it's time to get better lighting.
2. Don't sew when you're tired.
3. Don't keep sewing when you are tired! Gosh, Jess, when will you learn?

At long last, I finished the block the correct way (I did have to do a little re-cutting but Myra generously included plenty of fabric) and I was only 1/8th of an inch off on all sides. I'm calling that a victory! Bonus - the points still line up!

It's not always easy for me to admit defeat, and it's not always easy to walk away and try again. Also, in blogland, everything seems so happy and productive all the time, but it isn't always so! ;) What kind of mistakes have you made sewing when you are tired?


  1. haha I can so relate! I often sew at night after the kids are in bed, and I make a lot more mistakes, especially with simple math, planning and cutting! But it's one of the best times to sew...so I do it anyway. Sometimes it's hard to throw in the towel when you feel like you're got a good groove going.

  2. Most of the time I sew at night after a long day at work and I have the same problem. Mistakes, mistakes..
    I should also not try to match fabrics, thread, etc. in the yellow light but must wait for day light :)

  3. Let's see, I've sewn pieces wrong side to right side (luckily it was a print that looked great on both sides, some linen-like print). Cut the wrong sized pieces, cut too many pieces, sewn random scraps into other seams/quilting, spilled, chocolate smears, done all the miter/joins on binding backwards.....feel better yet? :D Most of my sewing is done when I'm tired, and at night in poor lighting. I just look at it as skills building. Seam ripping is a skill, right?

  4. Lets see last night I was removing some buttons off a quilt when I dosed off. I woke up after I felt a pinch. Seems I was just getting ready to close my finger in my scissors. I have also sewn my finger to my sewing machine!

  5. Things do seem so perfect in blogland don't they? Thanks for this refreshing post! My last mistake included incorrectly sewing all of my sashing pieces together because I didn't look at the instructions :( Not my favorite part of piecing so it was very de-motivating to take apart everything and do it correctly. I get off track for days because of things like this!

  6. Oh, I can commiserate. I have learnt many times to not do any sewing at night. I tend to make my best mistakes then!! Yet I still do it! I chant in my head "just one more cut.. well if I just stitch these peices together...w ell now they're stitched I might as well press them... now I want to look at how they go together so I'll just stitch a couple blocks together...".

    I recently did some bee blocks too and instead of using 3.5" squares I used 2.5" squares so I had to re-do it!! :(

  7. Oh frustration! I've sewed things to my clothing, I've cut myself with scissors, sewn my finger and generally been a hazard to myself and others. Good Luck! and Be Safe!

  8. Probably one of my saddest was successfully completing a feathered star block using the last of my paper piecing templates. There were so many seams and pieces. It was late when I went to trim it. All was fine until the third side. Ssssssslice!!!! There slipped the ruler and there went almost the entire seam allowance. Gah!

  9. YUP. Definitely been there! We wouldn't love it so much if it was easy though would we? :)

  10. I tend to not notice when the backing of my quilt has folded under the quilt and so I quilt it into the quilt. I realllllly hate ripping out fmq stitches! Your block turned out beautifully in the end.

  11. Not sewing at night is tricky for me. On the one hand, I have the most uninterrupted time, but on the other, I'm tired and less focused, like you found, Jess. I've learned to not start anything at night - no cutting and no new projects, but I will plug away at things I have underway that are in a nice groove and already cut : ) Glad it all turned out well in the end!

  12. If it is wrong I have done it. Not just at night either. I am fine with night sewing IF I am not tired. If I am tired it seems most of the brain cells are asleep. LOL


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