When a Good How-to Goes Bad

When a Good How-to Goes Bad

When I saw the tutorial for the fabric portfolio pictured above, I was smitten. So, last Tuesday I made a special trip to my local fabric store to buy my supplies. That same evening after the dinner dishes were put away, I decided to 'treat' myself to an evening of sewing. After having all my pieces cut and prepped, I sat down to sew. In my excitement to get started, I neglected to check the needle in my machine. It was the wrong size, something I didn't notice until it started piercing--and cutting--the threads in the fabric. Okay, no biggie. I had plenty of fabric left over to cut another piece, which I did. I also changed the needle to the appropriate size.

Everything was going fine....until I sewed the inside to the outside of the portfolio, both of which are lined with fusible interfacing. The 'slippery' nature of this stuff confused my machine and my seam turned out a bit wonky, so I decided to remove it. As I did, my seam ripper went through the inner lining making a not so little hole. Okay, not THAT big of a deal. I still had enough fabric and interfacing to make a new one. 

From there, things seemed to get better...until I was finished. I noticed that one edge of the portfolio wasn't exactly straight and the strip of fabric used to hold the writing pad somehow 'shrank' meaning the pad didn't exactly fit. I went to bed figuring I'd throw the whole thing away and start over. 

The next morning, I accessed my little portfolio. It wasn't that bad. I loved the fabric. I loved the tutorial. Those issues I had with it, the strap for holding the pad, the sloping side could be repaired. I was certain I could make everything right!

I took my seam ripper to the wonky side and got started. When I was done, I accessed--rather optimistically--what little work lay ahead of me. And then I noticed that I had ripped out the WRONG SIDE. I slumped back in my chair and laughed. Not a hardy laugh. More like a chuckle, because, really, if I hadn't thought this was a comedy of errors before, it certainly was now. 

But I continued, figuring I might as well open the whole thing up and start over. As I began ripping out the next side--the one I should have in the first place--I jammed the seam ripper into my finger. And then I started to bleed all over my little portfolio. This project was NOT going to get the better of me! I bandaged myself up, washed out the blood and pressed on.

At this point my machine started to protest, skipping stitches and such. I stopped my sewing to open the hood, as it were, and cleaned out the bobbin case, shuttle and etc. After my maintenance was complete, I started the home stretch with no further hiccups. The result....take a look:

My seams are straight; the pad fits perfectly. Although, with all the seaming and UN-seaming I'm surprised it isn't see-through. 

Would I give this project another try?  Absolutely...blood and all!!

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DIY Maven on Apr 07, 2010:

Kimberly, that's the same brand I used. Yes, I did end up using tons of pins! I think slowing down, sewing speed-wise, helped too. 

Niesz Vintage Home on Apr 06, 2010:

I used Pellon's Craft Bond. I also tend to use an excessive amount of pins, so I'm sure that helps.  :)

createcass on Apr 06, 2010:

Just did it the other day (seam backwards).   At that point I corrected it and got a cup of tea.

DIY Maven on Apr 06, 2010:

Becky...P.S. I've done that 'forget to do the seam backward' too. I think EVERYONE who has ever sewn a French seam has done that!! :)

DIY Maven on Apr 06, 2010:

Stick with it Becky! Your story reminds me of my purchase of my Bernina a few years back. I was making a 'furry' skirt with/for my niece for Halloween, and all the fancy stitching it can do and I could NOT get that thing to sew fur, so I pulled my old $150 machine out of the closet to do the job, which it did perfectly. As you can probably imagine, a bit of buyer's remorse set it after that project. Although, I'm pretty sure it was a 'just me' situation and not the Bernina's fault. ;)

Becky on Apr 06, 2010:

Oh, I SO understand.  I am currently working on the dress from Hades.  One quarter inch seam allowance for a woven, done on my "new" 1915 treadle.  So first, add 3/8" to seam allowances for french seams, since I have no zig zag.  Then, forget to do the first seam backwards, and have to rip.  Discovered that 5% spandex makes a REAL STRETCHY fabric.  So baste the collar.  End up hand sewing the collar.  Do some more seams backwards and rip.  I have spent more time with the seam ripper than I have with the machine.  

All the fancy attachments that I wanted to try!  The felling foot!  Worked grand until it jammed on the embroidered "stripe" in the fabric.  Ditto the hemmer...which also doesn't like seams, which is a real shame as the skirt has 6 panels.  Growl.  Now, to put the skirt on the bodice, across the very stretchy grain.  Probably have to hand baste that, too.  Twice! for the french seam.  Double growl.

So goes my two day dress...dragged into over a week.  And haven't even gotten a chance to successfully play with the attachments!  Sigh.

But, your story and the beautiful portfolio gives me hope!  

DIY Maven on Apr 06, 2010:

Hi Kimberly!! Actually, your instructions were great. The only thing I'd do next time (and I'm going to make more!) is baste the front and back together before seaming so they don't slip around. (I used craft weight fusible web, so that may have added to the unwieldy nature of things. Is that the weight you used?) But, honestly, all the problems I had were created by me, not you! Thank you for sharing the design! It really is darling. 

Niesz Vintage Home on Apr 06, 2010:

I'm so glad you tried the tutorial!

Your folder turned out wonderful.  Love the fabrics you used.

I am sorry you ran into a few problems, though.  If there is something you think I should add to the instructions that would make it easier, please let me know.

Kimberly  :-)


DIY Maven on Apr 06, 2010:

CC...That was my problem...I wasn't thinking! Sometimes, I find, the easier the sewing project, the easier it is to assume I've got it in the bag with that, "I'll just whip one of these out" attitudes, which always seems to come back and bite me! 

createcass on Apr 05, 2010:

I have had creative days like that too.  It is good you pressed through and got the project done.  The first time is always the thinking time, the second time will be more fun.  But I bet you know that already.

DIY Maven on Apr 05, 2010:

Thanks Tricia Rose. I found some cute fat quarters in the quilting section of the fabric store. (This is a great project for such things.) I would have had enough to make two portfolios...if I hadn't hadn't messed up twice! 

Tricia Rose on Apr 05, 2010:

There, there!  The end result is charming even if the process was character-building.

DIY Maven on Apr 05, 2010:

Thanks Sharon, I will! :)

Sharon on Apr 05, 2010:

It turned out beautifully! I have to admire your tenacity 'cause I'm pretty sure I would have given up!

Pat yourself on the back. (with your good hand)

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