December 30, 2015

My Top 5 Sewing Fails of 2015


With highs must come lows! Here are my misses or fails of the year, all for different reasons.

  1. The Green Coat

Ah, the green coat of doom. Clearly the least successful of the three coats I’ve made. What can I say, it was a learning experience. I had high hopes. In the end I think my main errors were: using a pattern variation that was never going to be flattering on me, trying to over-fit the pattern, using the wrong kind of interfacing, and using too much heat during pressing. Pretty major ones! But I certainly won’t make those mistakes again.


2. Sound Of Music B5929

Sorry Maria, but turns out making clothes out of curtains just isn’t a good idea. I loved the fabric print and the concept but it just doesn’t work because the fabric is way too stiff, weirdly creases but doesn’t press, and isn’t comfortable. Boo!


3. Tilly & The Buttons Coco Top

No fault of the pattern at all: I made one mistake after the other, and the fabric proved flimsy and prone to pilling. Ended up at a charity shop.


4. Shirt refashion

I love the concept of this look and I may well make another attempt at it with a shirt pattern from scratch. But, as a re-fashion rookie I made a huge mistake: using a “no press” shirt. Turns out… wait for it… they don’t press. Which means they’re practically impossible to sew with. And, it’s horribly sweaty. Men, how do you manage?!


5. White Ginger Jeans

Yep, Ginger Jeans were both in my Top and Bottom 5 this year! One key thing I’ve learned is that fabric quality is EVERYTHING with jeans. I snap up Heather’s Cone Mills kits whenever they’re available because the quality is night and day with everything else I’ve tried. I had high hopes when I finally found white denim but alas, these just don’t look good on. They stretch and bag in all the wrong places and make me feel uncomfortable.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans

So there we have it! A mixture of reasons for my “fails” but also lots learned, and what is sewing but a continual learning experience?

Did you have any major fails this year? Do you try to salvage projects or do you just chuck ’em over to the charity shop like me?

14 thoughts on “My Top 5 Sewing Fails of 2015

  1. Ah – how refreshing to see the failings of others with sewing. I realize after sewing all my life and still (!!) failing on some that my visions are often not the same as reality, my hopes just don’t align with the …quality, fit, color I should put on….I LOVE your blog and zest for the whole process. Thank you so much for sharing and encouragement.

  2. patsijean says:

    I like the green coat, a lot. But I do not know what it feels like when worn. Send these garments off to charity, for someone else will love them and start over; Hopefully there will be another green coat in your future.

  3. pam says:

    If you are looking for quality denim go to You will find cone denim there, the same S-gene denim that Heather offers in her kits! The denim itself is inexpensive, it is the cutting fee and shipping that is expensive. The way to get around that is order with a group of sewing friends!

  4. gilliancrafts says:

    This is why I love these lists – I never would have guessed any of these projects when on to be unloved after the blog posts! (Well, I do remember the saga of the green coat… :P) I’ve also made a pair of light-coloured Gingers, and fabric quality aside, I found the light colour a lot less forgiving of bagging/fit issues/etc than a nice dark denim. Guess that’s why dark jeans are a classic!

  5. PsychicKathleen says:

    My biggest fail and hearbreak was the Orla blouse by Tilly & the Buttons. I absolutely LOVE this pattern and blouse. I had such a problem with the FBA and finally when I thought I had it nailed (with some professional help I might add!) – completed with a gorgeous Cotton & Steel I had been saving for just such a special event the bust dart swooped up and over my bust and I had sewn that dart following someone else’s advice (sewing small stitches at the tip to secure it instead of tying off the threads) I couldn’t unpick it either!! Every other part was lovely – the collar, the fit but that dart made it unwearable and tossed into the garbage. In a fit of despair I threw out the pattern too in case I’m tempted again!

  6. Janet Clark says:

    Thank you for sharing what you have learned. Especially regarding choosing denim for jeans.

  7. erniek3 says:

    I know I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. So I have learned a lot this year, and look forward to learning less next year.

  8. I always enjoy reading these outcomes, an opportunity to learn from others mistakes but also from their successes! My constant mistake is not choosing the right fabric!!

  9. liz n says:

    I absolutely ruined the School Days jacket from Oliver & S, and I NEVER have problems with their patterns, but this one I messed up from the get-go and didn’t have the good sense to just set it aside and clear my head.. Instead, I kept trying to fix this and fix that….ugh. I ended up ripping out all the seams, salvaging as much fabric I could, and using that fabric to accent another garment for my niece. I may or may not have angrily thrown a spool of thread across the room… Honestly, I’ve never used so much foul language when sewing anything! The thing is, every single thing I did wrong was because I knew better, but tried to weasel my way out of what I knew I should do. Oy.

    However, I will revisit the jacket when I’m feeling more Zen, because my niece really, really, really wants it! How could I say no?

  10. Kelley Camp says:

    I completely botched a very simple A-line skirt by using the wrong fabric. I loved the fabric, thought they would be perfect for each other, but once I got everything together, it was horrendous! The fabric was so stiff, and with my short, round frame it made me look rounder and shorter!

    Good to know about the denim! I really want to make a pair of Ginger jeans, but the only pants I’ve ever made have been for pajamas! I guess I’ll wait for another kit to come around.

  11. Jane says:

    Thanks for sharing your fails as well as your successes! There’s so much to be learnt from both. I’m sad for you about those jeans though!

  12. Judyy says:

    Hey! I totally get the frustration of fails…..however, you look so cute in them anyway! I wouldn’t have thought they were fails without your descriptions.

  13. is it wrong that I’d be proud & pleased with ANY of the things you call fails? hahah

  14. Lisa Bunnage says:

    These are your fails?! They look like masterpieces compared to some of the crappy stuff I’ve made over the years, lol.

Let me know what you think!