If you’ve been quilting for a while, you may have heard tragic tales of sewing gone wrong. Late night sewing and last-minute projects are two big causes of quilting mistakes, and we’ve sure had our share of them! Can you relate? Today on the blog, Kimberly and the Fat Quarter Shop crew are sharing their tales of sewing slip-ups. Check out the stories and a special giveaway at the end!
Some Boos For You From Our Quilty Crew
So Many Squares!
Newsletter designer Kat shares, “I made the quilt sample for the 8th Grade quilt from the Precut Primer book (underrated tbh, the quilts are really easy), meaning it was one of the harder quilts in the book. It involves an hourglass block and patch squares, and I was quilting late into the night 😬… well, I accidentally chain-stitched ALL the patch squares together at once, thinking they were the hourglasses! I didn’t realize until it came time to start cutting them in half that the hourglass wasn’t finishing at the right size! I had blindly sewn over 200 of the WRONG squares together. 😱😭😢
Luckily, there was enough extra fabric to recut the squares and properly finish the quilt! It was a very, VERY hard lesson for a newbie quilter, and I definitely cried about it while seam-ripping. Always double-check your fabric stacks and the pattern before you start!!! Or else… ✂️”
A Scary Switcheroo…
Kenna from Customer Service learned a lesson that many of us can relate to. “So many patterns use very similar pieces. I sewed two samples back-to-back which required cutting long white strips. Quilt #1 used 9900-200, quilt #2 called out 9900-98. I did not move the nice starched and ironed 9900-200 strips from the quilt #1, they remained on the cutting table. When I was sewing the blocks for quilt #2 late at night; YES, I used those quilt #1 strips. The bright afternoon sun was shining in the window the next day and I could see the difference in color. I now have 2 extra blocks with different ‘white’ pieces and am saving them for a Kitchen Sink Quilt. Lesson learned! All fabrics from previous projects get put into a plastic bag and moved out of sight before starting the next one.”
Things Get Pressing…
Nova, It’s Sew Emma team lead, sews dozens of quilts each year for Fat Quarter Shop, many under deadlines! “My last big oopsies were with the Poinsettias Quilt (It’s Sew Emma Pattern) and the Roses Quilt (Simply Half Yard Book). I try everything possible to avoid pressing open just because I don’t like the extra time that it adds. So, when making both of the quilts, I decided I could make the seams nest by just rotating the blocks and I didn’t need to press open. With both, I had almost the entire quilt assembled when I realized the blocks could not be just rotated because that ruined the design! so I had to do lots of seam ripping to make the units go the right way. And some pressing open happened after the seam ripping. I did this for the first time with Poinsettias which added an extra week on to the making but didn’t learn my lesson and did the same thing on Roses! And both had to be finished quickly. Sigh, I’m learning to enjoy pressing open.”
Beware Your Background!
“Another frustrating mistake was making the flying geese for the Kaleidoscope Tablerunner. Somewhere in the cutting, I mixed up the background and the prints and made about 50 flying geese with the background where the print should be and the print where the background should be! Argh…”
Sarah has worked on many a quilt in her years at Fat Quarter Shop. She writes patterns, which can come in handy…sometimes. “I was making the Away We Go quilt sample, and after finishing the quilt top, I realized I put the middle quilt row on upside-down. After briefly thinking about re-writing the pattern to make it match what I had done 😊 I reluctantly decided to unpick the quilt row and flip it around.”
“Another time, when I was making a book sample quilt, I cut all my fabric for the wrong-sized triangles on a roll paper and almost didn’t have enough fabric to finish the quilt. I had to do some creative math and sewing to make it fit!”
Measure Thrice, Cut Once
Customer Service lead Elva has a story to which we can all relate! “I was working on a quilt that needed about thirty 6.5” squares. I don’t know where my mind was but I somehow managed to get my ruler turned around and ended up cutting them ALL at 6.5” x 6”! Ahhhhh!! I was so frustrated with myself, and there was no way to ‘fix’ this, so I had to get more of that fabric to complete the quilt. Luckily, it was a pretty cream fabric, so I was able to eventually repurpose those ‘not-quite-square’ squares for another project, so it ended up well. But I definitely check THRICE and cut once these days! LOL!”
“One time, a well-known fabric designer came to film with us. She was filming a video, and after we finished the video, she realized she was bleeding! She had accidentally cut herself with the rotary cutter and was trying not to bleed on the fabric.”
A Quilt That Crossed The Line!
Kimberly’s quilt mistake is one she’ll never forget. “About 23 years ago, I was making a quilt for my nephew (who is now in college!) with the cutest Humpty Dumpty fabric. He was just a baby. I was working on a pattern from a book called Stack-N-Whack by Bethany Reynolds, if you remember that? I had the quilt sandwich ready to go, with plans to quilt it myself. As I was new at this and not confident in my quilting abilities, I decided to draw the quilting lines on with a marking pencil I had picked up from a local quilt store. After quilting my quilt, I tried to wash off the pencil marks, but they didn’t wash out! There were black lines all over the quilt and it was totally ruined. I never gave it to my nephew! Needless to say, I was really happy to find erasable Frixion pens later on, and I’ll never draw on a quilt top again!”
Gift Certificate Giveaway
Giveaway Update: Congratulations to our winners Judith White, Teresa Robinson, and Paige Murphy.
You can enter to win a $50 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate! Share your own quilting horror story in the comments below! We’ll pick 3 winners at random and notify them by email. Good luck!
- Leave a comment on THIS post sharing your own quilting mishap to enter
- The giveaway ends on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 11:59 CST
- Three winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, November 2, 2022
- Open to all – both US and international
- We will notify the winner by email and update this post
Oh my, there are so many horror stories from my sewing room. The worst one, though, involved a king size quilt. A dear friend contacted me to ask if I wanted the stash of an acquaintance who passed away. Goodness, the stash was five Rubbermaid totes full! My friend commented that she would love to have a quilt made from the blue tumblers that were already cut. I happily started sewing them together and wound up with a king sized top! I loaded it onto my longarm and the problems began. I picked a beautiful thread to match and my favorite (dense) quilting design and started quilting. The thread kept shredding no matter what I did. After three rows of intense frustration, I took the entire quilt off the machine and spent THREE weeks ripping out the quilting. I could only manage an hour at a time because the quilt was so heavy and the quilting so dense that my hands wore out quickly. In the end, I reloaded the quilt, used a different thread and design, and was so much happier with it. My heart was so full when I saw her pictures of the quilt on her bed. She even painted her bedroom to match. Lesson learned… now I stop right away if things don’t seem to be going well!
I am new to quilting and my horror story is when reading the cutting instructions from a pattern and realized that I cut the wrong fabric and had to change the color scheme of the quilt because I didn’t have enough fabric to correct the mistake.
I was quilting a customers quilt and was almost out of time. I was using a tear away panto. Was on my last row and when I tore off the panto the tension had been all messed up. I looked and the thread had come out of the tension disc and I did not know it. Gee and lotvof time I spent with Jack late at night. Yikes
So many things but most recently stitching the wrong side of a white on white background. I like Kimberly’s suggestion of stacking them right side up after cutting so this doesn’t happen, but somehow it still does sometimes.
My quilting horror story was a mistake that turned into an major embarrassment…About 15 years ago the
church we attended had a Christian School that held an auction every year to raise money for it’s sports program. I made a quilt every year for them to auction that usually brought in about $2,500. They were always red white and blue because those were the school colors.
The best selling quilt was a bargello pattern that formed a heart and was done in 12 graduated colors, darkest to lightest. Auction day came. It was on prominent display. My husband goes up to take a picture. He comes back and says you flipped a block. There’s a mistake in the middle heart. I was sure he was joking. He showed me the picture. I didn’t see it. He pointed it out. Then I couldn’t NOT see it! I was mortified. A lady from Australia bid on it to give to her sister. She paid $4500 for a quilt with a big fat boo boo in it. We quadruple check now. We have now done 70 of that same bargello heart pattern. It is our most requested pattern to make and give.
I just recently cut 300 2.5″ squares and when I started piecing discovered they were too small. Should have been 2 7/8″. So I cut 300 correctly and have some all cut for a different project. The moral of the story is to put on my reading glasses and actually read the measurements.
My quilt mistake was using a charm pack to make a half square triangle (4 at a time) Christmas wreath Block. I sewed cut and trimmed them all then realized I needed some squares also. Since I had no matches in my stash I had to go back to the store and get another pack.
Oh yes, after reading g some of the contents, the worst mishaps of mine are also slicing the side of my index finger off while using a slotted style ruler AND sewing thru the same index finger with my long arm. Both excruciating but they healed after a few weeks and I’m still quilting.
I have astigmatism and have to be very careful when I measure and cut. I recently ended up cutting half my squares 6″ × 6.5″ instead of 6.5″ square. I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet because I didn’t notice it until I had made HST’s out of them! That quilt effort is currently laid to rest out of sight in a tote!
The worst was when I first started quilting. I was in a adult education class. I cut 253 hst wrong and had to buy more fabric for both colors of course. I had them all made of course and squared up before realizing the boo boo! 👎
For many months I have been working on Among the Stars Block of the Month ,(HarvestVersion). Beautiful blocks that calls for making 2 blocks each month with each block using opposite colorways . No problem right ? Wrong!The instructions are really nice and clear ,if you read them and don’t just look at the pictures ! I would work on them , get interrupted , come back and cut fabric using the first colorway instead of the second ! Duh ! My eyes would keep going to the first block ,needless to say ,thank goodness the kit has generous cuts of all the fabric needed to finish ! My horror is myself making silly mistakes ! This quilt has challenged me to slow down and study the instructions before jumping in !
Just last night was making the flying geese for figs and shirting sampler and my white tone on tone for half of the FG was upside. Needless to say I was short on my fabrics so could not recut the FG. That was a timely mistake and my seam ripper knows I don’t like it. We got to know each other quite well…
Hmmm just pick one? Well I stab myself with pins and bleed with just about every single project. I guess my worst story is a recent story. I made the Quilted Shopper Bag by Minki Kim. The pattern calls for Soft and Stable, I’m new to quilting and didn’t realize what that was and ended up buying 1/2” foam. It is too thick! I didn’t understand why my fabric was too short after sewing cross hatch on the big panels. Then I rewatched the video on your website 🤦🏻♀️ it was the foam it was too thick and messed up the measurements. It was also so thick when I went to sew the sides together that it took me seam ripping a lot 2 tries before I got all four layers on one side and 3 tries for the other side. I also broke a needle and bent another, it was so frustrating. Lesson learned – make sure you know what Soft and Stable is before you just go out and buy project materials. Did I also mention I used fabric that’s no longer in print so I couldn’t just start over? The recipient of this bag better like it! LOL
The first time I made a quilt with HST’s, I didn’t know you had to trim them. The quilt was impossible to put together and I ended up throwing it away.
Once l cut all squares except 2 l some cut them 2 short!
I had no extra fabric. So l tried my best to find something to match.
I now have a quilt with 2 bright colored courners.
Once l quilted with the wrong side on the back! Where was my brain that day?
Once l quilted with the wrong side on the back!
I couldn’t find the button for me to leave a comment, so I have to reply here to post my quilting fail.
For the first quilt I made I ordered batting online. I had no idea what I should be looking for, I only knew I wanted to practice all the quilting steps so I just bought a polyester cheap batting.
Long story short, the batting was 1″ thick, my machine couldn’t handle the height of the sandwiched thing and the whole quilt got ruined because the fabric was pulled and ripped.
Luckily all the other materials were cheap as well, so no real harm done, learned a lot and my second attempt resulted in a usable quilt (probably because I already worked all the steps once and used right materials this time). 🙂
I cut an entire quilt with wring fabric and wrong dimensions. I ended up cutting 2.5 squares for Pat Sloan’s traffic jam. Sent some yo her as well!
Not a horror story but often I am a bit too thrifty with my fabric and try to use every bit. Sometimes I end up piecing scraps of the same fabric together so I can get that last 2″ x 2″ square cut out. However, when it’s quilted you have a hard time finding it.
On one of my first quilts, I tried to save time by cutting several layers of the background fabric at the same time. I had to make over 100 half square triangles with the dark background and the focus material so I chain sewed them all. It wasn’t until I was finished chain sewing that I realized I hadn’t cut the selvage off of each of the background pieces and I ended up with quite a few of the squares with the writing as part of the block. It was pretty noticeable so I ended up unpicking a bunch of them as I didn’t have enough fabric to start over. Now when I cut multiple layers of fabric, I make sure the edges are lined up before I start.
I had this great concept to translate the image of a cubist painting – the knitting woman to a king-sized quilt. It was for competition in the California State Fair, art quilt category. It came down to the wire for the deadline and I rushed the quilting (and made fold-over mistakes on the backing). Because I so rushed the project, I ended up with a rotator cuff injury (still hurts today). I did earn an honorable mention but the quilt wasn’t chosen to go on display. So disappointed.
I spray baste my quilts and I thought I might be using too much. I decided to use less on my last quilt, I didn’t use enough and the layers came apart part way through quilting. I stuck them back together, but I still had to change my quilting plan to prevent puckers from the puffiness that had already happened. The quilt had a deadline so I couldn’t just rip all the quilting out and re-baste it.
I was new to quilting and was making a broken dishes quilt as a wedding gift. Well I had a box store sewing machine and I managed to get the tension stuck on tiny tiny. I had jumped in head first to quilt myself.
It was so tight it bunched up and I could not get a seam ripper into stitches to pick out. I’d done 1/2 the quilt before I figured out the problem. I had to just throw away.
The machine was not fixable. I ended up with a really nice BabyLock after this and have learned to test tension on a sample before I start in my big pieced project.
Oh, so many!!!!! But my biggest is the 1/4inch seam! On my machine I need to flip my needle over every time I turn the machine on!!! I have forgotten a few times!!!!
Been there done that way to often!!
I often have a turned block (or row) in a completed quilt. When folded it isn’t as noticeable. Now I hang the quilt on my clothes line and take a picture. Fixes can be made before quilting. I just try to remember how much I enjoy the process.
My worst mistake was recently when quilting on my long arm. I usually pull the backing fabric tight between each row before securing it on the second roll. I tried something new and didn’t check each row and when I finished I realized i had a huge wrinkle in the backing of the bottom 2/3 of the quilt. It took me about 3 weeks to tediously take out the design. I finally finished taking it out this week and I will go back to my old way of securing it on the rolls.
I was finishing the last big blocks of quilters cottage about two years after the fabrics came out only to find I weirdly cut the 6”? Blocks too small and I did not have any more of the teal fabric. This is why we (I) become fabric horders!
I was working on a quilt with embroidery panels for my first granddaughter when I cut some of the embroidered panels an inch short! I was so disappointed I put the whole project away, for over 10 years! Got it out o e day and decided to just seam the blocks, and it was ok. I guess I’ll save it for her first baby.
Just had one this morning! Was trying to finish my Christmas mystery quilt with the border by Pat Sloan. Had switched to my 1/4 inch foot but when starting the final border my machine “ate” the corner! Had to set it down and walk away! Will go back later to either replace that square or somehow make it work.
I love to hand sew binding on quilts while riding in the car. We were heading to Michigan the next morning and I knew I could start and finish the binding on the trip. I was trying to finish the machine quilting when I stitched into my finger…right through the nail. I didn’t have my cell phone by me to call for help so the only way to get it out was to break the needle. I then had to find my husband so he could pull the needle out with a pliers. Talk about a painful horror story, one that I won’t soon forget!
My first quilt project was a Christmas tree skirt..A diamond log cabin. It was a stitch and flip…quilt as you go. I was not very attentive to using a 1/4″ seam so the backing pieces were not large enough for the top piece. I had to piece the backing to make if fit the top. The 1/4″ foot has become my essential tool!
I was making a scrappy Tennessee Quilt by Eleanor Burns. The pattern had a light purple background for the 54-40 Star and Snowball blocks. I was making a queen-size quilt and ran out of the purple fabric. I looked for weeks, maybe even months, for the purple fabric, but I couldn’t find anymore in the exact shade of purple. I finally decided to get a shade darker purple and shade the blocks in one corner of the quilt and call it a design choice.
While making a purse, I had it all quilted, zipper in, made the bottom corners, and sewed the whole thing all the way around. Pulling the whole thing to the right side, I realized I had omitted putting the handles on! Of course I had lots of ripping out. Lesson learned!!
Early on in my quilting days, I was at a local quilt show and found a darling pattern for Christmas placemats that I decided to make as gifts that year. The tops went together quite quickly, but I underestimated the amount of time it would take to quilt and bind 20 placemats! I was also not very skilled in my binding technique at that time, and was not happy with how the binding looked on the first set of four. I was running out of time, and felt so defeated and frustrated…then a friend suggested I do a rolled hem finish on my serger. Genius! I whipped the finishing out in under an hour on the remaining sixteen and was pleased with the result. I’ve since gotten much better at binding, but every time I see that rolled hem finish on the set of placemats I kept, I just smile! I’ve come a long way!!!
Like most I have made my share of mistakes when sewing , fabric cut wrong size, sewed blocks together wrong etc, but I think my most memorable mistake was when I was having to rip out a block and somehow the seam ripper flew out of my hand and landed in the middle of my big toe lol I will never forget that , needless to say my big toe was sore for a couple days.
My very first blouse – I didn’t backstitch and the whole side opened up in the middle of the bowling alley. I was mortified!!!
Definitely the worst thing I did was slice the side of my finger off with a brand new rotary cutter blade. That was 13 years ago and now I watch very closely when I cut
Using a light weight batik scrap, I ran out of squares, of which I was sure I had cut the right amount. I had to find the squares, because I had no more fabric left to cut. I found them sewn together in pairs several times. A little ripping cured the problem. Another late night booboo.
My quilt horror story:
Made a quilt from a special shop hop and gifted it. Recipient called it a “blanket” and forever posted pictures of dog on said blanket.
As a newish quilter I have a to. Of stories 😂 most recently I was quilting my grandsons quilt and realized I put the backing on upside down. Ppl tried to make me feel better in the fb group but I ultimately ripped it all out (1 1/2 rows) and fixed it.
I’ve had many mis-cuts, but the worst horror stories are when I slice the fabric (in the already completed blocks) while being a little too aggressive with the seam ripper or scissors!
It’s so nice to read that even the professionals make mistakes. We’re all human and need to be gentle on ourselves and others.
Is it just me or do you machine quilt your clothes to a quilt? I’m machine quilting along, and, if I feel the tug on my shirt tails, then I’ve done it again! So, do I cut my shirt or try to unstitch the quilting? Really! I’m normally considered pretty smart – lol
My quilting horror story is still in time out. I was finishing the top of my first king sized quilt. I sewed the very last row on upside down. I didn’t realize it until I had posted a picture to Facebook and someone pointed it out. I was so excited to have the top done that when the mistake was pointed out I said forget it all and put the quilt in time out. That was 2 years ago. I’m still mad at it! Lol
I was not only a new quilter but a brand new longarm quilter. I was so proud of myself when I loaded my quilt and finished longarm quilting it. Little did I realize that I had loaded the quilt bottom right side up. It wasn’t until I had quilted half of the quilt before I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be seeing the wrong side of the backing as I rolled it to advance. Imagine picking all that stitching out. Yikes.
I once sewed through my finger while sewing fabric around piping! Ouch!!
my biggest quilting mishap had been applying iron on interfacing to the wrong side of my appliqué! Thankfully there was plenty of fabric left over but I will not make the same mistake twice!!
I thought I was ready to cut into my beautiful batiks and then I decided to increase the quilt size. My diagonal small square pattern didn’t repeat like I thought and I had to created to small lap square quilts.
When making my first quilt which was a log cabin quilt for my husband,
I was just zipping right along with each step and chain piecing, not being exact and thinking it will all work out just like on the tutorials I had been watching. Long story short, I had to seam rip 42 log cabin blocks and redo them. In the end it was worth it but that was a lot of time with my new best friend Jack (from Pat Sloan) the Ripper
For a Quilt along, I had to sew 16 square-within-a-square blocks. Unfortunately, I did sew a practice block. Every one of my blocks did not have a 1/4″ seam all around when finished. I ended up finding a 6 1/2″ paper-piecing block on the internet and re-sewed all 16 blocks using the paper-piece papers. They came out beautiful, but the bad 16 blocks are sitting in the scrap pile. Thank you.
I cut the backing for my niece’s college quilt incorrectly and had to stitch an additional seam. Fortunately, it was a busy print!
I am a very new quilter but my machine has this habit of needing the needle moved to a certain position with almost all the feet. Needless to say I was very new so sat down to sew, not knowing that it resets positions when you turn off the machine, and I bent a needle and scared myself to death bc the sound it made was horrifying!
This was long before cell phones…I was sewing a pair of pants and wasn’t watching very close when I came to a seam. I was getting to the seam and didn’t take my foot off the pedal and ran over my finger and fingernail with the needle. I couldn’t get my finger out and couldn’t get anyone’s attention in the house. I finally calmed down enough to get the needle out of my finger. Luckily, the needle didn’t break and I missed the bone.
So many horror stories, but I will pick the latest. I purchased the most adorable kit online and was so excited to get it started and finished. I cut all the squares out as the pattern is written and sewed the over 120 star legs on the 5 inch squares only to find out that the pattern has errors in the cutting instructions and there is no extra fabric to make the additional missing squares. I am currently searching the internet to figure out what the name of the background fabric is so I can cut the additional blocks needed. The background fabric isn’t from the line the rest of the blocks are in – yikes!
During the Covid mask making frenzy I had problems with my needle breaking. It hit a thick seam, broke in three pieces and one part flew up by my face! That was scary 😧
Hard to pick one with the gamut running from wrong fabric, mis-cuts, or lost blocks that were found after a new one was made to cutting myself with the rotary cutter and requiring stitches, the “best” (i.e. worst) ones are the ones where I have sewn through one of my fingers with a couple of my sewing machines as well as my longarm.
However, everything was survivable and I lived to quilt another day!
I was just working on a project yesterday. It was a quilt with appliqué and I realized that I should’ve place my pieces closer to my he center because the final directions had you trim the blocks to a particular size. Some of my appliqués are close to the 1/4 inseam line. I learned that maybe I needed to wait for finishing directions or that I didn’t read closely enough. It was a block of the month. But I decided I learned to check out things more carefully and I’m learning how to adjust. But I’m pleased with my end so far.
Live and learn.
While recently making the Laura Hein black cat, I noticed as I was quilting the final project that the hairy back hump was missing part of the fur. I think our own hairy black cat had taken off with a piece of fabric before it was pressed down. I had used dark fabric as part of the background and the cat just did not stand out. Lesson learned–don’t leave my project unprotected!
I will preface this post by starting that I’m really bad at math or numbers in all ways!Many years ago I was making a quilt for my granddaughter & was doing a flying geese border because I love them! So I calculated (haha)how many I needed & set about making 395 flying geese. It took a few(haha) days but I did it! In reality I needed 36! So I sent my sister (who has a Masters in math degree) a picture of all my math calculations, that took up several pages, & she said it looked like the work of a mad scientist!! Double Double toil & trouble! Now I have a degree in weird science! 🤣😂😂😂
I have learned my lesson the hard way as well……many shop hops directions aren’t professional and some are hard to understand. After using the shop hop fabric and making the block that is the wrong size I have learned to make a test block when its a shop hop pattern that looks questionable. Saves the fabric and the frustration.
I made a beautiful autumn colored quilt that I loved. I put it together in thirds. Sewed the thirds together and sent it off to the quilter. Neither she nor I noticed that one of the thirds was backwards. I cried and threatened to undo all the quilting. After much thought and beating myself up I gifted it to a non-quilter and she loved it. I was able to find the precut quilt pieces again and it is waiting for me to put it together again.
My most recent mishap deals with a baby quilt I designed and made, which had some machine embroidery applique’ incorporated. I made the mistake of cutting the fabric creating a hole where the applique is. I’m hopeful I can repair it with another round of satin stitch for the applique part, but I’m nervous. A bad mistake and I knew better.
I made the mistake of trusting the measurement of an old measuring tape! After lots of frustration of blocks not being the right size, my friend asked to see my measuring tape. She held it up to her mat and it had gotten stretched over the years and was an inch and a half off! I use quilting rulers now!
Oh my! I have had a few. The most memorable was the afternoon my daughter and I were working to complete some sewing projects. She was very pregnant at the time. We were having a lovely afternoon, sewing and talking when suddenly she very quietly whispered to me “I think I just swallowed a pin!” We both had the BAD habit of holding pins in our mouths. She ended up in the emergency room and we have a lovely xray of the culprit pin. Needless to say…”Never put pins in your mouth”!!! I spent that whole night staying with her 2 year old watching “Bubble Guppies” while the pin was being extracted.
I was late night sewing. All night! I put an entire twin size top together. I looked at the finished top on my wall and felt very pleased with myself. The next day I realized my completed quilt top was a parallelogram, not a rectangle. Also, I had ruined most of my setting triangles by ironing the bias edges. I had to buy more fabric.
I think I have done all of the mentioned Boo Boos! My horror story concerns buying kits and waiting until “later” to make the quilts. I lacked a 1 1/2 inch strip having enough fabric! I really only needed about 4 or 5 inches of that strip. I had to research the fabric and could only find it in a fat quarter bundle. So my kit cost me a extra $ because of not making it sooner.
my horror story is a cutting mishap. I was making a pattern using the stripology ruler, made so sure I was cutting in the correct slot but ignored having the ruler placed correctly on the fabric. I ruined a stack of blocks. So I made the “Kimberly” quilt with one less row and incorporated the extra blocks from the part of the row I didn’t ruin, into the pieced backing. Everyone thinks its so clever that I (ahem) made extra blocks for the backing.
I have two quilts that are both sampler patterns from the Fat Qrt shop. My sewing machine was not sewing properly so I was sewing each seam twice. I got so frustrated in put both of the quilt tops away and haven’t worked on the in almost two years. I finally figured out what was wrong with my machine from so very helpful youtube videos. I was loading the bobbin wrong!! Amazingly crazy!!!!
Sew fun to trim quilt for binding and get an edge stuck underneath!
Had to take apart, resew, best had more fabric to fix and ended up with a scrappy back. Lesson learned hard way.
My greatest tragedy happened just this year… I was starting totes for my kids. I realized I had cut one panel a 1/2″ short. Upset with myself, I pulled out the fabric again and went to use my rotary cutter. I had hit a chip in my creative grids ruler and the rotary cutter ran across my fingers. I heard a click sound and realized I cut through my ring finger, causing a partial amputation. My husband took me to a hand surgeon where I had to have my nail removed. Thankfully, I had missed the cuticle but I did manage to cut through to the bone. End result of this experience was 30 stitches and a silicone nail put as a place holder for 3 weeks. I did manage to catch and squeeze my finger saving all my beautiful LH fabrics.
I have a basic machine and it doesn’t have a large neck/opening.. and I don’t have a large sewing table top.. So just recently, when I was sewing long sashing on my quilt, other parts of the quilt was tucked under it and I was sewing a quilt sandwich lol
I was chain piecing HSTs for a quilt, 164 of them, and did not realize until I had every one of them sewn that I had cut the wrong size squares. Fortunately, I had plenty of fabric as I was using stash and ended up with a nice table runner to match my quilt.
About 9 years ago I had to retire due to health problems. I replaced working with quilting. I had quilted small items through out the years but nothing big. My niece was getting married so I made her a king size quilt, quilted it on a domestic machine and had it completed. I was cutting the strings off and cut a hole in the top of the quilt!!! Just so happen it was in an area that had a small flower print- I stitched up the hole – made a fabric heart shape from the same fabric and hand stitched it on top of the hole. I told her there was a heart on the quilt – she’d have to find it.
The next 3 quilts I made I cut a hole in the back!!!! That was where I placed the quilt labels. It took 4 times but lesson learnt – keep the scissors away from a finished quilt- cut strings as you go.
After spending many MONTHS working on a very intricate quilt. I had laid out the border, placed AND sewed ALL my applique pieces. Only to discover that the border pieces were upside down because they had very large words on them. I discovered this AFTER i sewed the border onto the quilt. Still trying to process how to make it right. UN-sewing applique just to flip a border is NOT going to be fun.
I was trying to finish a quilt that was trouble from the beginning. I was so tired but started quilting on my sewing machine and heard a loud pop. The needle broke, I found two pieces but couldn’t find the third then realized my finger was bleeding and nail was broken. Next morning I put a strong magnet to the finger and felt movement. Confirmed at urgent care the third piece of the needle was embedded and they took some time to remove it. I don’t quilt when exhausted anymore.
I was working on my chicken salad quilt and after all was done, including the quilting and binding, I was doing the last thing, sewing on the buttons for their eyes, and I noticed that one of my baby chicks only had one beak. The baby chick on top of Hattie’s back. So she’s my cute little one beak chick baby. I love this quilt so much.
While working on first first big quilt – started 6 years ago and still not done- I was on the final block of 12 different designs and when finished found it wasn’t the correct size! Needless to say I am having to rip the entire block apart because I didn’t use “scant” 1/4” seams and my points aren’t right! I had to rip out seams on almost all the other blocks as well to get them to work. I realized later that this was an intermediate skills quilt and I had just started piecing and quilting. This caused a lot of frustration but made me better. To this day I steer away from quilts when the pattern calls for scant 1/4” seams.☹️
My granddaughter contacted me on Sunday and needed an item, and she thought a quilt would work for her school’s fund raiser the next Monday! That’s only seven days away. I asked if any of the ones already made would work and she said it had to have her school’s name, logo and picture of the school on the quilt. She took the photo’s, I transferred them to cloth and pulled out a log cabin pattern. I’ll let you know if we made the deadline!
Just finished a Hocus Pocus quilt (Pattern Basket) for fall. I decided to sew a rod pocket on the back to hang it and so carefully hand stitched the pocket to the long side. Of course it’s a directional quilt and the pocket should have been on the top (short side). I might add it would have been half the work.
I was working on the Heartfelt QAL earlier this year and was chain stitching my squares to my strips for the top of the heart on the Buttercup block. I was rehashing work events in my head while I stitched and was surprised when I ran out of squares. I then realized that I had kept going well after I had the correct amount and had stitched all of the squares to the same end of all of the strips! I had none left to do the other end and no strips to build the body of the heart. I just turned everything off and went to bed. LOL I have invested in a click counter so that I can keep count even when I’m distracted!
When I firsted started quilting I always cut my fabric to slightly over sized as I thought more was better!! Then the frustrating part was trying to get things to match up. Also I didn’t think ironing is as important as it truly is. 2 lessons I learned and now I iron always and accuracy is key.
I have had many sewing “horror” stories. The worst was when I was rushing my pieces through my sewing machine and saw that the top piece was slipping out of line. I put my pointer finger to realign the piece without stopping the machine. Yup, the needle went through the tip of my finger, nail and all. I had to get the needle off the machine and my husband had to pull it out with pliers. Fortunately, it did not go through bone and healed very quickly. I always make sure I have the machine stopped before I put my fingers near the needle now,
I was trimming up a quilt after it had been professionally quilted, and accidentally got the edge of the border from the other side of the quilt under the side I was trimming. There was a 3 inch gash mid-way through the outer border on that side and with no way to fix it, I had to trim all the borders down. I lost ten inches of width and length on that quilt.
I was making my soon-to-be born great-granddaughter a fleece blanket. I was getting ready to hand sew the binding. I noticed I had machine sewed the binding on wrong side out. It is difficult to take out a seam from fleece and flannel. I will mail tomorrow. Hope she gets it before baby is born.
Measure, Measure, Measure. I was working on some quilt blocks and they would never measure the size of the pattern. I made 12-15 blocks -and none measured like the pattern. I wrote to the author of the pattern and told her that the measurements were wrong. We had a nice conversation with no solution. Afterwards I realized that my machine needle was not centered! Yikes. With a correctly centered needle they measure correctly!
I wasn’t paying attention and cut squares the wrong size, I didn’t have any more of the fabric, had to order more, ended up with a big stack of the wrong size blocks which I ended up giving to someone else. I started a One Block Wonder with a teacher, I was taking a workshop, the teacher was so bad that after I struggled to get the triangles put together, I ended up just giving away what I had done along with the very expensive fabric I had bought.
I was making HST and putting together and it wasn’t until I sewed them together in what I thought was the right way and discovered that they were all turned the wrong way! My brain and triangles has constant little skirmishes.
I was getting ready to apply the binding to a quilt after getting it back from being long-arm quilted. Somehow I managed to snip a hole in one of the borders. I had to applique over the hole as invisibly as possible to hide it.
I just finished A Ribbon Runs Through It. A kit I got from FQS. Each block has over 100 pieces. I got all done with the blocks & layed it out. I thought I was paying attention to the blocks being on-point when stitched in place, I had 4 of the center blocks upside down. It’s a miracle there were only 4. Taking them out & turning them was a horror story of it’s own! Nobody is getting this quilt! I’m keeping this one for myself!
After reading some of the comments, I almost didn’t add mine as I haven’t had a huge catastrophe (not bragging at all, just hasn’t happened yet). My biggest issue is not paying attention to my cutting and cutting wrong. From time to time, I have to find and order extra fabric.
Seriously, I have way more than just one! Everything from not enough fabric, repeatedly sewing a block together wrong, mis-cutting pieces and sewing through my finger or slicing my finger with a rotary cutter, dropping my rotary ruler on my big toenail and getting a big dent in the nail (more painful than you think!), to quilting through a quilt pattern caught under my quilt sandwich. My most recent one was a fall quilt I’m making for myself. Made all the blocks, pressed them, finished the sashings and and put everything into rows and then sewed the borders on. This morning I discovered I turned one of the pumpkin blocks upside down. Fortunately it was on the bottom row next to the inner border (haven’t put on outer borders yet). I definitely make more mistakes when distracted!
I’m new to quilting. Less then a year but I was making a baby quilt and wanted to get it finished and shipped before the tyke was two months old. Cut my finger with the rotary cutter but continued to finish it making sure not to bleed on the white fabric. Not sure how many bandaids I went through because as soon as it started to punish up I swamped it out for a new one so that that white stayed white. I did finish and send it but it could have been a real issue.
I cut out all the pieces for a tablerunner but they didn’t “fit” together. I even texted the author telling her she made a mistake. She got right back to me and pointed out MY mistake. The print was sooo small that I mistook 3/4″ for 1/4″!! Neadless to say, I was embarrased and then had to buy more fabric. Now I use a magnifying glass for tiny print.
I so appreciate this post. I am teaching a group of lady friends beginning quilting. They came out of our Covid crisis with a renewed desire to sew. They knew Quilting was one of the hobbies that really helped me get through the length of the crisis. When the ladies are learning to sew a new block, they get very deflated if they make mistakes in cutting or sewing pieces incorrectly. I was sharing with them the myriad of mistakes I have made over the years. In fact as I was demonstrating how to do a block, I sewed it in wrong side to right side (it was a tone on tone fabric and clearly I wasn’t fully focused on what I was doing). I had to pick up my best friend (my seam ripper) and rip out the whole block in front of them and then resew it. While it was frustrating, it gave the ladies an opportunity to see that you fix the mistake or remake the block and then move on. We laughed at my mistake and their tensions were diminished over their own mistakes.
I took a class in ONE BLOCK WONDER. After cutting and getting ready to put the blocks together I found out I had the wrong side of the block which when putting 2 halfs together would show a hole. So, what I have to do is cut down every piece to 3-1/2″ from the 3-3/4 size. Now I have my quilt pieces up on a design wall, all labeled and ready to sew together. Now I have to take each block, cut it down and reposition it on the design wall. This is 11 rows across and about that many down. So the 11 rows have 22 blocks in each row that need to be adjusted. Mercy, it will take me forever..it is quite a challenge and many hours to fix my one little mistake!
Several years ago I wanted to make a king size quilt for my sister for her birthday. It was quite large. After giving it to the longarm quilter she called me to tell me that the borders were wavy & she couldn’t quilt it without ending up with pleats. This was when she had it about 1/3 completed. With help from my quilting friends we removed all the stitching and I took off the border, made it smaller & resewed it. I still have the quilt unfinished as I’m afraid it may still be not be quite right. This is the first quilt I’ve ever had that problem with.
I’ve had a few mishaps in my quilting years, but my biggest “late night” quilting problems are cutting… when I realize I’ve made a cutting mistake, it’s time to call it quits for the night. Just happened two days ago. 😵💫
I needed to finish the backing on three quilts. I decided to save time and sew then press all three backings at the same time. I finished sewing all three and as I was pressing the first one, I realized I had sewn all the backs wrong sides together instead of rights sides together. I had to seam rip several yards of fabric. It was time to go to bed and start fresh in the morning.
Not a horror story but I am attempting my first quilt and some of the patterns for my fabric is directional. One of the images is backwards. It for me so I’m okay with it. But is something to keep in mind.
The night before leaving on a plane to attend a big quilt show where I was taking many quilting classes, I was trying to finish a quilt. It was late and I was tired, but needed to get that binding cut. The fingers & brain don’t move very quickly at 2AM and I sliced off the side of my finger with the rotary cutter.
One time was making a mini churn dash quilt. I sewed all the little HSTs and side, and middle pieces together. I then realized after I finished sewing them all it was wrong!!! I had to take out 2 pairs for every block, and there were 42 mini-blocks!! I finally finished it, but it took a while.
My biggest quilting mistake was last December, when I made a commissioned quilt – my first – for my best friend, who lived 2 hours away. The piecing went perfectly and the longarm quilting was beautiful… I was so excited! And then I delivered the quilt to my bestie, and discovered my mistake: when upsizing the pattern for a queen size bed, I’d failed to account for a super-thick mattress, and the quilt was too small!!! There was no fixing the quilt at that point, and I was already hundreds of dollars in… so I made a whole-cloth bedspread with the pretty backing fabric, quilted in the same design, and the *original* quilt is now layered on top of it. It’s ok, if not ideal… but what a humbling experience!
I took a class in ONE BLOCK WONDER. After cutting and getting ready to put the blocks together I found out I had the wrong side of the block which when putting 2 halfs together would show a hole. So, what I have to do is cut down every piece to 3-1/2″ from the 3-3/4 size. Now I have my quilt pieces up on a design wall, all labeled and ready to sew together. Now I have to take each block, cut it down and reposition it on the design wall. This is 11 rows across and about that many down. So the 11 rows have 22 blocks in each row that need to be adjusted. Mercy, it will take me forever..it is quite a challenge and many hours to fix my one little mistake
I took a class in ONE BLOCK WONDER. After cutting and getting ready to put the blocks together I found out I had the wrong side of the block which when putting 2 halfs together would show a hole. So, what I have to do is cut down every piece to 3-1/2″ from the 3-3/4 size. Now I have my quilt pieces up on a design wall, all labeled and ready to together. Now I have to take each block, cut it down and reposition it on the design wall. This is 11 rows across and about that many down. So the 11 rows have 22 blocks in each row that need to be adjusted. Mercy, it will take me forever..it is quite a challenge and many hours to fix my one little mistake!
My worse nightmare came when I cut a whole bunch of strips with my ruler turned wrong. Of course it had to be a kit so had to order more fabric. Lesson learned big time that day. I’ve gotten to where I remeasure on my mat before proceeding.
When I first started years ago, I was making an Americana wall hanging. I was embroidery shirts one day and while running them off I was working on the hand quilting on the wall hanging in my comfy recliner with a cup of tea near by . My cat got spooked and jumped on the table next to me sending my tea flying all over the wall hanging. I could not get the tea out, so I decided to put it in the washer! Oh what a mess, the batting curled and the edges raveled, I cried so hard it was ruined. That was my worse happening. Lesson learned -always beware of the cat when stitching.
Always underestimating how long quilting projects will take me.
And then there’s taking a Quilt of Valor out of the washing machine only to find the red fabric(s) bled onto to the adjacent white fabric(s). Yes, I had used multiple color catcher sheets, from two different brands, in the wash with the quilt. Multiple washings and spot-treating reduced the dye bleed enough to make the quilt presentable.
I think on a daily basis I am ripping out at least once if not more.My biggest one was when I first started quilting I decided to make a king size log cabin quilt, bed spread size, for my mom & dad. I got the whole quilt put together, borders even on and I stepped back to look at my work and to see the design I should have had:( Nothing, I didn’t put the squares in the right direction, so I had to seam rip the entire quilt! Looking back I am surprised that I didn’t get more fabricate make a new one
When I was finishing the first larger quilt project, I noticed that a block was upside down in the third row, second from the end. My heart sank. Taking it out meant I had to pick out a very large section and try to sew it back without ruining the job I had already done. Thanks to Kimberley’s “never give up” attitude and the way she teaches, I took a deep breath, carefully picked myself stitches out, turned that piece, and put it all back together. It wasn’t absolutely perfect, but it’s real hard to tell that all that re-working happened. I learned to be fearless from Kimberley. It’s just fabric, most things can be fixed, and you only learn by doing, so I go for it.
When I first started sewing I made an entire quilt with with a bigger than 1/4” seam. When I went to assemble the quilt I couldn’t understand why the sashing and borders didn’t fit. Now I always use my 1/4” foot and have no problems.
It was late at night and my allergies were acting up so I took a Claritin which made my groggy. I foolishly keep sewing and sewed right through my finger. Instead of using the needle up button to get the needle out of my finger I screamed and ripped my finger sideways off the needle. Not smart. Then I checked to make sure I didn’t get any blood on the fabric before I went to cleanse and bandage the wound. At least I was smart enough to wait for the next day when the Claritin had worn off before I changed out the needle. Please be more careful than I was.
Many horror stories, but here is the latest. I’ve recently been working on a BOM with very detailed and complicated blocks. The sashing also is patterned with two different sets running in different directions. When I finished the first batch, I started the second—thinking that I was turning the fabric the opposite direction. Thirty-six sashing blocks later, I realize I’ve done them backwards. I used them anyway—when I laid it out, I realized that it wasn’t terribly noticeable and only someone who really knows the pattern will see the difference. Finished, but not perfect!!
I took extra care when cutting a quilt top from denim that I barely had enough denim for. I had the top finished when I noticed I put a blue piece where a black piece should be. I ripped out the offending piece and replaced it with a black piece. I had no more black denim-close call. I sandwiched the quilt and quilted it. When I was taking a picture, I noticed a blue piece was supposed to be black. I had no more black, the quilt was virtually finished…. I used a sharpie to colour the blue piece to black 🤪. Hardly a good quilting practice!
My horror story is a recent one. I tried to be like Kimberly and add a strip of blocks across the back of a baby quilt. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well when I was doing it, and when I try to accomplish something when I don’t feel well, it always leads to disaster! I thought I had measured correctly-you know, measure 10 times, sew once, LOL- and I carefully pieced the backing so that I would have 3 blocks across the upper half of my backing. I then went on to layer and quilt it WITHOUT checking it. (I don’t know how I skipped this important step.). Anyway, I quilted it, made the label, washed it and held it up for the picture and…. The blocks across the back were crooked. Not enough to be slanted like a designer statement. Not enough to be slightly off and unnoticeable, just plain ole crooked. Badly so. I was so embarrassed. As an intermediate quilter, I should not let this happen, but it did and it was too late, it was quilted. I sent it on to the baby (with my head hung in shame) only because the family were non-sewers and the front was so beautiful. After all, a quilt is meant to be loved no matter what and a little baby doesn’t care if her beautiful quilt is crooked or not! A hard lesson to swallow, but from now on, my quilts will be checked and rechecked throughout all stages of the process. Both sides!
I learned two valuable lessons from a couple of mistakes from the same quilt. I was making a lovely picnic quilt for my daughter to give to her for Christmas. My first mistake was mixing “chain fabric store” fabric with a lovely fabric from Maywood Studio. They did work well together at all; I had no idea that mixing them would be so problematic. My second mistake was not trimming all the blocks to the same size before trying to add the sashing and cornerstones. Wow! I thought I’d never get them all sewn together. Lots of seam ripping, cutting, and frustration later I got it all finished. The finished product, while lovely, was far from perfect! So I learned two valuable lessons from one quilt!
I was working on a quilt during my church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting. A couple of the makers asked if I would like to have some fabric they, and their family members, were not using. Of course I would! I have a small team making small donation quilts with the fabric I sorted, laundered, pressed, and cut. The small bags are like Strega Nona’s soup pot. We sew and sew and there is always more fabric to be sorted, laundered, pressed, and cut. While my stash stays folded up. Sigh. Good news? Our small team is learning a lot and enjoying good fellowship sewing through our donated fabric. We are happy to be constructing quilty hugs for people who need some love.
I quilt all my own quilts on my dsm. I sandwiched a double size quilt while I was at a retreat using basting spray. I usually let the spray dry for a few days so my needle doesn’t get all gummy. I proceeded as I normally would. Did a whole bunch of quilting on it then noticed the back hadn’t stuck like it should and I had folds and puckers all over the place. I had to rip all my quilting out, re-baste using pins and start all over. It was very depressing, but it got done and my son LOVES his quilt.
I was using a white print on print in a dimly lit room and was very disappointed to discover several pieces were upside down in the finished project. Once in good light the dull side of the fabric was unmistakable and the lesson well learned.
My boxer, Barkley, was my shadow. He had to be right next to me at all times. I never allowed pets in my studio but I let him. He was just such a good boy. I had a quilt under my needle and had to take a little break. I went to get a drink downstairs and I did think it was odd that he wasn’t with me. He had curled up under my desk and laid his big block head on my pedal. I heard it just sewing away and ran up to stop it. It Was a mess! It sewed a hole in my quilt. I was not happy, but he sure looked cute curled in a ball in that tiny space. He has since passed away from cancer, id love for him to be here to ruin another quilt ❤️.
For my 2nd quilt project ever, I decided to make my new husband a king size quilt. He picked out the material (all blacks & greys) and I picked the Trip Around the World pattern. The cutting looked simple enough with basic squares and rectangles. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of little blocks that make up this quilt. When I was finally ready to piece my quilt top together, I could not get the blocks to look right when I laid them out. I finally realized I had not only switched the original Fabric A and Fabric B print but sewed them backwards as well. Luckily it ended up looking kind of like a spinning type of block and I had dragons quilted into it, so he absolutely loves it. I learned I will probably never make a giant quilt with such dark fabrics (I love bright and cheerful); I now label everything as I go from start to finish, and I lay everything out before sewing anything.
In over 50 years of crafting I remember the worst nightmare came when my needle took a stitch while my left index finger was too close. Still not sure how that happened but after looking for the tip of the titanium needle for 15 minutes in horror it dawned on me where it could be. OH NOOOO!! I felt nothing, there was no blood, but I went to get an xray and sure enough there it was! IN MY FINGER!! good grief!! I live in a smaller town that has no surgeons that could remove it. So I lived in fear for a week before I had an appt…then another few days to have the surgery. You better believe it I’ve kept my fingers far away from that needle!!
Wanted to sew an apron for a friend as an appreciation gift. When I had completed the entire project I learned to always plan for directional fabric layout. Yes my apron was wall upside down and no way to correct it.. thanks
I was at a retreat working on a quilt for my boss. I had these 1″ strips and couldn’t figure out where they went until I went back to really read the pattern and they were supposed to be put on before I put my borders on. Needless to say, Jack got some exercise that night.
I had finished a quilt top for a graduation gift. I was showing it off to my stepmom. As I spread it out in all it’s glory…..there it was!!!!….a square turned the wrong way! No, it wasn’t in the last row or along the edge! I had to rip up one seam and then another to get to that square. Then to add insult to injury, when I washed it after it was quilted, I had some of the fabric fray. I repaired that and gifted it. She loved it!
For my first ever quilt I figured thread was thread and found a deal on thread at a major thread company’s website only to realize much later that I had purchased serger thread — the quilt did not hold up after only a few washings.
My mistake came not in a quilt but in pillowcases I was making to match the quilt. This was the first time I was making burrito pillowcases and my fabric was directional. The first pillowcase went fine. And then the second….I kept getting the body of the pillowcase going in the wrong direction (not that it would have mattered). Finally it was correct. I unfurled (can’t think of the correct word)it and went to press the cuff seam…there was a pin still inside. There was no way I was unpicking that seam! I managed to get the pin to stick out all the way to the head and I clipped it with wire cutters. So somewhere there is a pillowcase with the head of a pin rattling around inside the cuff. You can bet I changed my pinning method when making pillowcases.
I remember making a quilt top that was quite involved and had finally finished. I photographed it and posted it online. One of the viewers informed me that part of the quilt was backwards. How embarrassing! However, I was grateful that a sharp eyed person noticed so I could rectify that error.
I like to make quilts with triangles but I don’t like cutting out the block with a 7/8″ measurement so I usually cut them the next size close to 1″ or 1/2″ and then trim to the correct size after I sew them together in squares. This design did not sew the triangles together in squares so I didn’t realize until I tried to sew the triangle rows to bigger triangles that my points didn’t match! Since this was only a pillow I did a little trimming and decided to match the best I could and live with the mistakes which no one else will probably notice anyway. Lesson learned
One of early quilts was a queen size quilt made up entirely with large half-square triangles, using the method of placing two 10” squares together and sewing all around and then cutting the square in 4 pieces. I did not know about trimming each half-square triangle, so I sewed all 14 rows together and only when sewing the rows together did I realize to my horror that none of the seams matched up. I unpicked all the rows, pressed all the pieces back into triangles and started trimming them…..I’m still waiting to finish trimming them….it’s been a few years. I’ve moved on and have multiple size rulers for trimming everything to the same size before sewing together.
My story was not a quilting error, but a sewing tool error. I dropped my seam ripper and went to catch it by pulling my legs together so it wouldn’t fall on the floor. I ended up cutting my jeans and my leg. Thankfully butterfly bandages pulled the 1″ wound together and I didn’t have to get stitches. I’ve learned that if something starts to fall to just stay out of the way.
I think that all of us sharing our horror stories may prevent others from the same fate.
My horror story has to do with using scraps. When I make a quilt, I usually just throw my scraps into bins separated by color to pull from later for scrappy quilts. Well I started a scrappy quilt and I when to my “white” fabric bin and pulled from there. I finished my quilt and went outside to take pictures of it. When I started taking pictures I kept adjusting it because the sunlight was off and it kept casting shades of yellow in my quilt. Come to find out, my “white” scrap bin had bright white, off white, bleached and unbleached white from several different manufacturers! I never fixed my quilt but ended up tossing the entire bin of white fabric and put in a system to keep all colors of white by manufacturer and number together!
My friends are beginning to think quilting is a dangerous hobby bc of me! In 2020 I fell off a chair while hanging a quilt and broke my right tibia and shattered my knee joint! Many months to fully recuperate!!! Then this past week I cut a piece of my left index finger off with my rotary cutter!!! Wow! What a sight to see a piece of my finger on my fabric!! I bought a set of rotary cutting gloves for future protection! Im certainly not going to stop quilting!
Luckily not too many mishaps, but I have also done the switch with bello solids 99 and 200 in the same quilt and didn’t realize it until after it was quilted and it was outside for photographs. It was for my daughter-in-law who is also a quilter so it became a mistake bonding moment.
I usually order 18/14 yard extra fabric when ordering fabrics for a quilt so I have enough to cover any cutting mistakes.
I think we all have had those moments in the sewing room. Lessons learned the hard way. The hardest for me personally was on my lemon machine trying to free motion quilt my niece the Stitch Pink Quilt from a couple years back that I made with Riley Blake’s Barbie Fabric. It was going to be a graduation present. I choose a beautiful fuchsia Shannon for the back. My machine is such a lemon, that I don’t usually use it, but I really wanted to free motion quilt it for her. So I decided to pull out all the tricks to get it working. It was going good. Somehow, it got a crease 😩. I was 2/3 done when I noticed. Had it not been for my niece the whole thing would have been thrown in the trash. I spent two weeks with jack, hours at a time unpicking that’s Quilt. Unpicking Shannon is a special kind of torture. With only a couple days to spare, I ended up having to quilt that quilt upside down on the machine straight line, on the 45. It turned out great but I think it took one of my life’s. I did write my niece a note how life is like a quilt and used it as an example about not giving up, and several other beautiful appropriate things. The lemon machine is officially a dust collector now. I will never FMQ Shannon on it again.
I made the perfect quilt for my first grandson’s big bed with treasured fabric I had collected and purchased overpriced online. When it came to quilting I knew exactly what I wanted and thought I communist to the longarmer. When I got it back, it was a disaster. I ripped out every stitch and had it done by someone else. Live and learn.
I was piecing the backing of my Christmas quilt, I selected a lovely print with deers with flowers on the antlers. The deer had a slightly mad look on their faces. The print was cream vintage with fairly large deers all over the print, with scrolling berries. After I pieced the backing I realized I had cut off a deer and had one deer behind in the center middle of the quilt, with no head, just a deer behind. I laughed. I kept making my piecing seam larger to get rid of the deer ‘Butt’ from my quilt backing. I laughed to myself saying the words I though I would never say, “I can’t get this deer behind off my quilt backing”. I finally successfully removed the deer behind from my seam. The quilt is now finished, back from the long-armer, and looks nice. I will always laugh when I see the deer on the back of the quilt, remembering the lone deer behind with no head or rest of body, with all the other deer glancing over with their mad faces.
I’m new to quilting so the closest I have is when I was trying to sew a nap mat for my granddaughter. I was in a time crunch and using a pattern off internet. The pattern had me put the top and bottom together then poly fill. Last step was to bind entire mat like a quilt. I had no walking foot and my machine kept telling me it needed a rest. Many tears shed that night arguing with my machine that we all needed rest and would get some if it would just let me finish. Amazingly I didn’t break the machine trying to bind that mat
I think the worst mistake I made was a consigned quilt for a bride and groom. We sent fabric squares to each of her guests asking them to create whatever they wanted and send back to her. Everyone was unique. I was still very inexperienced but would tackle anything! Several squares were iron on photos of the couple. I did not know that ironing my sashing would affect those transfers! I melted faces. The bride was very forgiving and she was able to recreate the three I ruined. The quilt turned out amazing but I will never forget that awful feeling!!
I love foundation paper piecing. I found the perfect fabric and pattern. I just wanted to enlarge the pattern one size up. I did it and and pieced first quarter LOVED IT. I had 3 more blocks to do. For some reason the next block came out smaller. So tried the next one and smaller again .Well it took three tries before I realized I never enlarged the rest of the pattern ! Definitely out to buy more fabric !
I made a baby quilt that was to be a gift. The quilt was made in 3 sections and the curving diagonal pattern emerged when the sections were joined. I sewed the quilt, did the quilting, and handstitched the binding. The final step before gifting was to take a photo. Only when I looked at the photo did I notice that I had sewn one section in upside down, which totally fouled up the look of the pattern. So I got out the seam ripper, undid binding, picked out quilting, and took out the seam joining the section to the others. I turned it around and redid all the stitching and quilting. My MIL said she thought I should have just left it, that nobody would notice. But once I had seen it, I couldn’t leave it that way.
I sewed my thumb into my EPP piece! The needle only picked up a couple layers of skin, so I didn’t even feel it – until I tried to put the piece down. I couldn’t figure out why it kept moving with my hand! You’d think I’d wear a thimble on my thumb now, but nah.
It’s not so much a piecing problem, but a quilting nightmare. I quilt my own quilts on my longarm. One quilt taught me a great lesson. After I got everything pinned on, I quilted as usual. However, when I got to the end, I realized I had pinned the back on the wrong direction, and it was too short. I ended up unpinning the backing and hand-sewing on an extra strip. Lesson learned!
My horror story involves a mistake made late at night – never a good idea for me to see when tired. I chain pieced a BUNCH of squares without realizing that they were not right sides together. Of course it was a project that had to be finished quickly ….
It was my first attempt at edge to edge quilting on my embroidery machine. The first row of quilting went smoothly so I put the quilt back under the needle and stitched the second row. Unfortunately, the stitching was upside down and I did not notice until I had completed the row. Lots of unstitching to fix that error.
I was making a baby quilt for my granddaughter out of 30’s fabrics. The top was so very cute when it was finished. After I finished quilting it, to my horror, I discovered an inch slit in one of the blocks. It was not in a spot easily fixed. So after crying for a while over what to do with the mess, I decided to applique a rose over that spot. I told my granddaughter that that rose was sent from my heart to her heart sending all my love every time she felt that rose. She was delighted!
Mistakes? I think I’ve done them all. I know better than to sew at night because my brain is tired. So I decided to cut instead. I was doing fine and decided that I was tired and would finish up the next day. Then I realized if I cut just one more strip, I’d be ready to sew a bunch of blocks the next day rather than having to do more cutting. Well, you probably guessed…I was too tired and wound up slicing my finger. As a true quilter though, I wrapped my finger in a paper towel to make sure that I didn’t get any blood on the fabric, made the last cut and then went to the ER for stitches.
Hi my quilting mishap was a few years back , I made an all red and white quilt with lots of red embroidery work with snow men all over and I reversed the patchwork on one of the squares and didn’t notice it until I got it back from the quilters! To late to fix! I still love the beautiful quilt though !
I have quite a few horror tales from my sewing room. I have a forge ahead mentality…”I’ll make it work” kind of mantra. Sure I take out mistakes that can’t be ignored…but I just finished assembling the Coriander Christmas BOM from FQS and the complicated sashing is an example of when my blocks should have been more precise…those sashing stars are all a little wonky….for sure…but it’s quilted anyway and ready for gifting…thankfully my sister in law isn’t a quilter…so hopefully she’ll still enjoy this gift! I guess I did “make it work”…but it wouldn’t win any awards!
Yup, I’m definitely a victim of horror stories when it comes to quilting mistakes!! I once appliqued a piece of purple fabric onto my Violet Craft’s paper pieced Elephant quilt. I had placed the wrong shade of purple on my purple version of the elephant and could not go and un-sew all of the pieces. So instead, I took the correct color needed, and appliqued it on top of the wrong color…..and BAMMM, problem solved!
As a fairly inexperienced quilter, I haven’t had too many disasters yet. But what comes to mind is my giant 100 Blocks in 100 Days quilt, which has 6″ blocks. When I began assembling the rows, I discovered that many of my blocks had grown smaller in the piecing process so I ended up having to add various small borders to the blocks to make them fit! Since I used a multiple of Tula Pink prints in the blocks, all is well because the many colors and patterns disguise those additions. Whew! I learned a lesson in careful seam sewing!
During Covid lockdown I passed the time by making the Modern Snowflake quilt for family and friends, a total of 5 in various colors. They were all beautiful including the one I found mistakes in! I got it back from the quilter and spread out on the floor admiring it before I added the binding when I noticed several pieces in the wrong direction! My husband told me that it was fine and no one else would notice! Well I had to fix it! After consulting with my quilter I ripped out a section of the quilting and the problem quilt blocks, fixed it and sent it back to my quilter. What a mess!
I was making a queen sized triple Irish chain quilt and did not realize I had all the lights and darks reversed until after I made the first 15″ block. I didn’t have enough of the dark fabric to start over, nor could I find any more of it online because I wasn’t sure exactly what color it was. I finally resigned myself to ripping out everything I had sewn to that point: 364 1″seams. Boohoo!! I did finally finish the quilt.
As everyone else, my FIRST mistake was not knowing that when one reads a 1/4″ seam, you best take it seriously … Nothing came together on one of my first quilts because of that. However, I made some great potholders with those blocks and 10 yrs later have made many more. The biggest mistake was made my longarm quilter. Right top, wrong back … Took me hours to take out ALL the quilting. Ahhh … the joy of quilting. Would not take back a minute of it!! A happy 85 year old!!
My main problem, and I’ve done it more than once, is to be merrily chain piecing and not noticing the bobbin thread has run out. I once “sewed” 17 pieces before noticing!
My quilting horror story is deciding to make the quilt smaller only to not be able to fit the pieces together; to top it off, then I quilted it myself and completely ruined it UGG
I am a relatively new quilter and I couldn’t figure out why my points on my triangles kept getting cut off. I would get so frustrated. On almost every seam with a triangle the point would be taken up in the seam. I seen a comment online about measuring your 1/4 inch seam guide foot and I thought that was crazy. I bought the 1/4 inch foot that went with my machine so it had to be correct. Finally I broke down and measured my foot and it was giving me a very very generous 1/4 inch seam. I took the ladies advice and put moleskin down at a slightly smaller quarter inch seam. I have not had a problem since. Not only am I sewing a straighter seam allowance -I am getting the correct size blocks and all my points are there. Lessoned Learn= always listen to the advice of quilters that have been sewing for years. They really do know what they are talking about.
I am newbie at patchwork and quilting my horror story was I didn’t know you needed a 1/4” foot, sew the perfect 5/8” haha. Also, I had to use the seam ripper and was distracted by shiny objects and cut through my fabric. One time, when I was basting I didn’t use enough glue and when I was quilting my backing got a huuuuge wrinkle had to take 3 rows out. With this tiny mishaps I was frustrated but now I can laugh 😂
I have plenty of stories of not having enough fabric to make up for cutting errors – I’ve finally learned to buy an extra 1/8 or 1/4 yard! But the along the lines of “horror” stories was me slicing my finger with a rotary cutter while the window washer was right there in my kitchen. I was so embarrassed, I did my best to stop the bleeding and waited until he left to figure out if I needed stitches – probably could have used a few, but by then it was under control.
Two Saturday’s ago- around 9pm, I was ruler quilting and somehow, the ruler slipped and I sewed through my left index finger. The needle went through the fingernail, and I jerked my hand away and tore the side of my finger away from itself. It happened so quickly and being a nurse, immediately applied pressure, elevated and did first aid. It was very painful and now I have a bit of quilting PTSD. Probably a few more weeks to fully heal! In over 50 yrs I’d sewing this is the first time for this injury. OUCH!
I don’t know if this would count as a horror story to an experienced quilter, but years ago when I was a newbie, it was horrifying to me!
I was taking my first quilting class, and at the end of the 6 weeks, our projects were hung on the walls of our small town’s local library. I was thrilled. I went to the exhibit with my husband and a friend, and there was my quilt. I had used a striped fabric and some florals in my simple 4 patch quilt. Right in the very center, one of the striped fabrics was horizontal, instead of vertical like all the other blocks. It screamed “mistake” to me, and I was crushed!
I was making a quilt for my brother. He loves nightmare before Christmas, so I bought of bunch of that fabric. I was doing fussy cuts and making coffin shapes within the quilt blocks, which took forever. I ran out of the fabric and had to wait a whole year before they came out with that same fabric again. Needless to say, he didn’t get his quilt that year for Christmas. I’m just grateful that the fabric was available “again” the following year.
Last year, a friend asked me to make a quilt out of these hand embroidered squares her mother made while recuperating from back surgery. I am still dealing with them, as I decided to machine quilt it, and used a very small stitch length – I somehow got the quilt all bunched up and it is a mess, and it is almost impossible to rip the stitches out! Grrrrr
I have made my fair share of cutting and piecing mistakes, and even sewed through my finger with my longarm! The most horrifying mistake however occurred at our local quilt guild meeting. A well-known hand quilting expert brought a beautiful Baltimore album quilt with a white background. When it was my turn to try I pricked my finger and dropped a bit of blood on her quilt top. She laughed and said to spit on the blood spot! I didn’t want to, of course, but she said only my spit would remove my blood. I was so embarrassed but it worked! Whew!
Too often I’ve worked on a cutting table that I haven’t thoroughly cleaned up. I’ve put fabric down to cut, only to find that I’ve also cut through fabric or a block that was hiding under it.
The worst was when I accidentally sewed over my finger/nail.
I thought it was time to try a quilt pattern after being a garment sewist my whole life. However, I had no idea a quilt used a 1/4″ seam allowance. The first quilt I made I used a 5/8″ seam allowance. Nothing would line up after making all the blocks. That quilt looked so awful it made me cry. Finally, a friend took a look at it, and she figured it out. We actually had a good laugh about it.
I made two quilt boo-boo. The first quilt kit I bought, 7 years ago, was an adorable Halloween quilt. I’ve read all the instructions once before cutting, and cutting all of my fabric at once. I posted on Instagram my cut fabric. Only after the host of the sewalong contacted me did I realize I made all 300 Half square triangles half an inch too small. I was so discouraged, I put away the kit and never tried to work around it. The last quilt boo-boo I made was not test washing a well loved fabric line. I made baby boy quilt with all kinds of blue fabric in that line. When I washed the quilt before wrapping it, I was heartbroken to see all that gorgeous blue fabric had run and discolored my white fabrics in the quilt. I washed it several more times, but that blue was not coming out of the white. I gifted it anyway, and the baby’s mother loved it because it was handmade. I hated it because I saw how beautiful it was before I washed it!
While cutting strips I didn’t notice my index finger was hanging over the ruler and cut part of my finger off. Trip to urgent care and five or so stitches later. Good news it healed nicely but I did loose feeling in the tip of that finger
While cutting strips I didn’t notice my index finger was hanging over the ruler and cut part of my finger off. Trip to urgent care and five or so stitches later. Good news it healed nicely but I did loose feeling in the tip of that finger
I was making a Buggy Barn type quilt where the edges don’t line up but part way through got the bright idea that I could make them meet and ended up with some less than quarter inch seam allowances.
My most memorable oops was using water soluble thread in the bobbin when I was piecing Stack and Whack blocks. You were supposed to sew pairs together, press and add more pairs. Every tine I pressed, my pieces kind of puffed up. I finally sprayed them with water to press the block and they came apart!! Glad I realized what happened before I made all the blocks…..
I have had many mistakes but to think of my worst one would be a sofa quilt I was making for my husband and decided to try a little fancier quilt design than straight lines. I got about half way through and decided I hated it and the color thread I was using and decided to rip it all out. It took forever and I ended up aggravating my carpal tunnel. I really hope I never do that again but as we all know it could happen. My husband bless him never thought anything was wrong with it to start with but I hated it. Oh well, lesson learned, I hope!
My very first attempt at making a quilt happened while living in Germany with my then active duty Army husband. I jumped into the project thinking all would go well. Initially it did until I realised how big and heavy the whole project had become=queen-sized quilt with wool batting! Not only was it heavy but I had somehow gotten the placement of (simple design) squares in the wrong places. What SHOULD have been queen sized had become an odd sized full sized quilt. By the time this was discovered I was beyond ready to be done with the whole project. Not knowing anything about the quilting by hand technique…I tied the quilt with yarn instead. I still have this quilt and can laugh now at the many learning experiences I had along the way.
A “mystery” quilt-a-long that had four blocks with English Paper Piecing … with a horrid crap pattern (not from FQS!). Say no more. It was just awful.
So many mishaps, but the worst was when I made my 3yr old a quilted sleeping bag and as I was finished and zipping up the bag, I stabbed my self with a pin. I searched the entire sleeping bag and couldn’t find the pin and 2 of my friends tried to find it too. I was certain it was sewed inside. When I couldn’t find it, I assumed I had made a mistake. My son used the sleeping bag every night for like a year and a half…playing in it, sleeping in it, etc. Then my husband was playing with him and he Yelled out “ouch! I found the pin”. After a year and half, many washes, and uses later, he found that stupid pin! I felt like the worst mom ever! That totally could have poked my little kiddo. Thankfully it didn’t and I was able to rip open the seam, remove the pin, and re-sew it, but geez did we luck out!!! (Although my husband would probably disagree with that last statement…pins hurt!)
With 50 years of sewing under my belt, I’ve made some truly gastly mistakes. My most recent was late one night I was finally close to completing a QAYG quilt for a Christmas gift. I left my iron on my last square (and my last fabric) and burned a hole through my backing. Had a order more material. Needless to say I gave my gift late.
I pieced a lap size quilt top for my grandson and decided to back it with minky. It was very late at night and I should have gone to bed because I was very tired. I decided to quilt the top myself using a really cute edge to edge design. The first row went great and I decided to take a little break before I did the second row. I quilted the second row and then the third. I laid out the quilt to take a look and I realized I had quilted the second row upside down. I was really upset and decided I would do all the unpicking the next day so I moved my machine embroidery hoop to the row above the 1st one I did and completed that row. Imagine my horror when I realized I had also quilted that row upside down! I gave up. That little lap quilt never saw the light of day. I wasn’t about to unpick my quilting on minky. I repurposed it by immediately tossing it into my dog’s bed and giving him a 3/4 quilted minky backed blanket. He loves it and burrows into it every time we are in the sewing room and I have a visual reminder to stop sewing and go to bed when I am tired.
The most painful mistake was picking up my hot steam iron and it deciding at just that second to break and all that hot, steaming water to pour into my lap because I was ironing while sitting down. I was wearing jeans and I think that is the fastest shimmy I ever did to get out of my pants. I ended up with a palm size 2nd and 3rd degree burns on the top of my thigh and I still have the scars to remind me about using an iron safely.
Sewing my fingers, cutting myself several times with my rotary cutter, dropping my scissors and then trying to catch them mid drop.. so many stories and learning lessons yet I continue to sew and quilt every single day. Sewing is a part of who I am and fills me with joy every day. I won’t stop sewing until they pry my seam ripper out of my hand and lock my rotary cutter up.
“It was a dark and stormy night”👻…ok maybe not but it was late September and I was making my very first ever quilt for my 3 year old grandson for Christmas. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. None. No Internet or Kimberly Jolly in those days so I winged it. I was to poor to take classes and I did not know one person who quilted. No one in my family had ever mentioned the word quilt. They sewed clothes but that was it. Didn’t even know there was such a thing as a quilt shop. I was clueless about everything quilting like the difference between quilt shop quality fabric versus regular store fabrics.
Anyway I thought I would make it easy on myself and I cut out (scissors) 4 1/2 inch squares out of different cute fabrics with bugs and snakes and “snips and snails and puppy dog tails”. I sewed them together with not a clue about a quarter inch foot. I put a really cute border on, sandwiched it with batting about 4” high all polyester (remember clueless about batting too) and a fun stripped binding and then I hand tied it. I was so proud of that quilt. I gave it to Ethan at Christmas and he loved it. He loved looking for all the little creatures and how soft and squishy, his word, it was. Then about two years later when I went to visit he brought it to me and he says grandma my quilt needs fixing the stuffing is coming out just like with my teddy bear. I unfolded it and was both horrified and embarrassed. Seams were wide-open everywhere and batting was spilling out all over the place and some of the, not high quality, fabrics had ripped.
I brought it home and looked at it for a while trying to figure out how to fix it. I finally just placed it in a bag and put it in, what I now call Quilt timeout, the closet along with my sewing machine, scissors, my one ruler (which I still have today and use) and the few pieces of fabric. I didn’t even attempt another quilt for a long long time.
Years went by and occasionally Ethan would ask where his Quilt was and I would say I was still working on it. Every time I looked at it it made me frustrated because I didn’t know what to do or how to start.
Fast forward a couple of years when I received a photo of my great grandmother Anna sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch working on a quilt, it was 1907. I still had the want to quilt and seeing that photo made me want to learn even more so I scraped together enough money to take a beginner quilt class at a newly opened quilt shop. Boy were my eyes opened and not just about 1/4” seams but these new fangled tools called rotary cutters. Genius. Well after making a couple quilts I was feeling like I had a handle on this quilting thing so I dug in the back of the closet and pulled out Ethan’s Quilt. I tore out the yarn ties, ripped off the binding, threw away the poly batting, repaired the tears, replaced a few pieces and patched others. Then I put on a new border, bought new backing and took it to someone called a “long arm quilter”. Of course I had to have someone explain what the heck that was 🙂 I explained to her what happened and she took great care and quilted it with an all over pattern making sure to catch every block and she used 80/20 batting.
Christmas that year I placed it in a box with lots of colorful tissue paper, wrapped the box in Santa Claus paper and gave it to him. He opened the box, pulled out the quilt, looked at me laughing and said “really”? He was sixteen years old by now 😁 We still laugh about it every Christmas but he still loves it at 23 years old and says it’s his favorite quilt out of all the quilts I’ve made him.
🦎🐌 🐍 🕷 🐛 🐞 🐜🪲🪳🪱🦗
I made a quilt as a wedding gift for a co-worker. She had seen the pattern and liked it. I surprised the quilt shop when I showed them how I had completely machine pieced it when they didn’t think that could be done. I even pieced in the bride and groom’s initials and the date of the wedding. A few months after I gave the quilt to the woman, she asked if I could fix it. She had been using it to cover the couch to protect the furniture from the dog. The dog had buried a fang in one corner and ripped it apart right through the binding. When I brought it home my husband said I should not return it to her as she doesn’t deserve to own it. I said I would fix it and give it back. I sewed an appliqued dog bone over the stitching to pull the pieces together on the top and backing of the quilt. Plus I appliqued “Do Not Bite” on one side and “I Am An Heirloom” on the other.
I came home on a Saturday afternoon and had no plans. I put on a pair of pajamas and decided to sew all day. I got one 2.5 block sewn and something fell off of the table. Automatically, my legs flew shut and caught it. IT happened to be an ergonomic seam ripper (yes, the big one) sticking out of my leg. I pulled it out and the blood started to spurt with ever heartbeat. I had cut through an artery in my thigh. I was running through the house mopping up blood and screaming to my husband, ‘we need to get to the hospital. NOW!’. Somehow, I pulled the leg of my pants up to see the damage and created an unplanned torniquet but still had to sit in a waiting room for three hours in the middle of the day in blood-soaked pajamas with one leg hanging out. We laugh about it now…the day I stabbed myself.
I’m a new quilter and I was making HSTs. When trimming off the extra piece, I put my ruler edge on the seam instead of 1/4” away and cut! Ugh! I’m horrified now reading about all the needle/finger mishaps and stories about mistakes while being tired. I’m going to be extra careful!
My quilting scaries came after cutting all of the smallest squares for my 4th of July pattern first to get them out of the way. I had purchased the correct amount of fabric but in the end, I had a bunch of a-little-too-short pieces left over 🤦🏼♀️ Now I know to cut the largest pieces first and the small pieces can be cut out of the leftover scraps much more easily than the other way around. Live & Learn.
I have been quilting soooo long I could make a book of all the crazy mistakes I have made.
The title would read
How the Good Witch Learned to Quilt.
My best quilting horror story is when I had finished up12 beautiful blocks using a kit with Ombre Fairy Dust Metallic fabrics
for Week 4 of a Mystery Quilt Along called “Floral Fantasy.” The blocks each had 22 small/half square triangles running down the center of 2 larger triangle pieces. The directions said to trim the 12 blocks to 9-1/2″ X 9-1/2″ so I trimmed them exactly and ended up cutting off my seam allowance so far that I could not use the blocks. At the end of the paragraph the directions said, “You should only be trimming on the outer edge of the 2 larger triangle units.” Needless to say, I ordered more fabric and will have to use my seam ripper if I want to use these blocks in the quilt. I was so upset the project is still sitting on hold in a box in my sewing room. I had also started another quilt along. After seeing photos of completed quilt tops for this mystery quilt along I was not thrilled with the design so I will be making some design changes when I start working on this UFO in the future.
My first quilt was a mystery quilt. Came out great…. until I left it at the long arm quilter.6 months to get it back. It was returned to me quilted with a hole flagged in the middle vs callng me first or just fixing it! The hole was just a spot missed when piecing. So now it has a patch in the middle!
I was cutting strings off the back of my quilt top and my scissors were dull. I got some aluminum foil and sharpened my scissors. I then went back to cutting strings. My scissors were so sharp I cut a hole in the quilt top. Lesson learned.
One time I was making a pictorial quilt for my sister. The center of the quilt was a pieced cabin that I designed to look like their real cabin in the forest. Around it I put pieced pine trees. As I was quilting the quilt, I realized that two of the trees were upside down. Since it was a gift and I was out of time and couldn’t fix it, I just told them that the trees fell down due to the monsoon storms that we frequently have in the summers. Lol!
One of my first quilts called for 6″ strips and picked up a 6 1/2″ ruler and cut all my background strips at 6 1/2″ so I had no left overs at all. At least I cut them larger than needed and not smaller.
I’m fairly new to quilting and don’t have much experience. I have pieced a quilt top that was part of a quilt-a-long. I’m making a multi-pieced backing and realized that my backing is the same size as my top; it should be bigger. Now I have to order more backing fabric and add a border to my backing before I can sandwich and quilt it. 🙄
2 weeks ago I was working on the Snowflake quilt. I bought the pattern and fabric from FQS in 2019. While putting the rows together, I scratched my leg with a pin and got blood on a 12.5” square and a small piece. Not enough fabric of white on white snowflakes left. I ripped the bloody pieces out, ordered more on Etsy, sewed the new ones in. The new pieces were slightly whiter. I tried washing the bloody pieces and it came out so I ripped again, put in the ones I cleaned and finished the top. Such an ordeal!
I just finished up 8.5 in blocks for a charity quilt top. 4 designs 22 blocks each. I wanted to finish the pinwheels late one night and did not double check the pinwheel design and sewed 16 of the 22 pinwheels wrong on final seam…there is a love hate relationship with my seam ripper.
On my first quilt I had a background fabric that was almost the same on the front as on the back…. Almost. As a new quilter I did not pay enough attention to that as I pieced along. I noticed the mistake as I was sewing on the sashing. I DID NOT go back and reset all of the erroneous blocks but I still have that quilt and I love it.
I used a yellow chalk pencil to mark quilting lines on a gift quilt. The lines finally came out after brushing the fabric and washing the quilt twice. I recently purchased a mid arm quilting machine. After quilting the first row I double checked the thread tension on the underside of the quilt. There were thread nests everywhere. After ripping all the quilting out I noticed the machine was threaded incorrectly. Problem fixed after a couple hours of extra work!
I found 2 blocks were put together wrong, after I had quilted it! Let’s say Jack was my best friend for several hours. I would have left it, if the quilt was for me.
My first attempt at quilting is my horror story – no idea how English paper piecing worked and made myself a heap of hexagons from fabric by just cutting and folding. They were all different sizes and not very shapely….it is still a UFO in my cupboard after 20 years….
On more than one occasion I have stacked finished rows RST to pin and accidentally pinned and sew the wrong seam 😩
Years ago, I worked on about a dozen fancy applique blocks while at my sister’s for a quilting weekend. I put the finished blocks in a brown paper bag to bring home. But in the confusion of cleaning up on the last day, one of my sisters threw away the brown bag and I lost those blocks. Needless to say, I use clear plastic bags now to store my quilting projects. So far, nothing has gotten thrown away by mistake. Lesson learned.
I tried saving money by doing some ‘fancy’ free motion which I had never done before on a quilt this large and technically speaking, only did once on a wall hanging size one. To make matters worse, I was making this quilt for a birthday present on fabric that I had purchased as a special printing. The task didn’t involve anything hard, but while doing some repeat lines I failed to pay attention to the corners which included the longer backing. It seems like an easy process to rip out stitches, but I had used INVISIBLE THREAD!!!!! ((loud screams and shaking of my head still reverberate throughout the house)). While this wouldn’t be so bad, I was fighting this on a machine with a throat width of 5-1/2″ and ended up doing not one but TWO corners that way…the backing got folded and sewn onto the quilt itself. The repeating stitches to make a starburst effect were a nightmare to see and rip out. Weeks later, the stitches were out and the birthday present was ready on time, but it certainly taught me the words “take your time” and I still hear the statement my husband said while I was working on my next quilt “are you sure you want to use that invisible thread?”. LOL Live, stitch, and learn
My story is reoccurring….. I need to adjust my needle when using a 1/4″ Quilting Presser Foot With Guide. If I do not adjust it will break the needle and cause the machine to error. I try to remember but it still seems to get me. It does make me change my needle more often. 🙁
I was using charms to make a table runner. The size required for the pattern was 5 1/2 inch squares, so I thought this would be easy. I thoroughly starched the squares and was horrified to find out that they shrunk to 4 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches. I called FQS for help and they suggested trimming the shrunken charm squares to 4 1/2 inches and just making my table runner a little smaller. It worked perfectly and I learned a valuable lesson: Never starch a precut!
I was making a quilt with a large heart that had a few HSTs. I calculated I would have just enough mini charms to make it. Halfway through I realised that the HSTs were made using the one at a time method and my two at time HSTs were now slightly small. I had some very narrow seam allowances int here to fudge it all together.
I try to never quilt in the evening because I will make some error or even run out of bobbin thread. One blunder that haunts me is running out of a white for the last few blocks. I was getting on the plane the next day about noon, to deliver the quilt to my new daughter-in-law. I didn’t have time to go to a quilting shop that carried the white, so as soon as a nearby big box store opened I went and picked up a half yard of a white that I was sure matched my little swatch. I hurried home, added those last blocks to the quilt, bound it, and got on the plane with the completed quilt. Once the quilt was washed & dried at my son’s house I noticed the difference between the whites. It doesn’t matter that no one has mentioned it to me – it still bothers me. I learned my lesson about buying a little extra…
I have a rule now that I’m not allowed to cut fabric after 7pm! Once it was late and wanted to prep for the next day and I cut all the background fabrics out wrong and was short 1/2 “ all around.
I’ve made many mistakes, but the most painful was on my very first larger quilt. Piecing completed, I basted my quilt layers with curved pins (I have allergies so can’t use spray basting), and my quilt sandwich was ready to try my hand at quilting it on my home sewing machine. Free Motion Quilting was so much fun I went a bit overboard. I didn’t notice until I’d finished and I turned the quilt over, that there were many puckers and pleats in the backing fabric. Devastating. It was too awful to ignore. It took months to unpick all those quilting stitches, but I persevered an hour each day so as not to be overwhelmed or defeated by it. Big lesson learned. Now I always check the back of the quilt as well as the top to make sure they are both secure and smooth before I begin quilting. And while quilting, I frequently stop and check that the sandwich layers are all nice and smooth so that puckers can never happen again. It’s my worst quilting nightmare. That and cutting pieces too small. I’ve done that too! Now I check, and check, and check, and slow down and take my time.
I have a few mishaps – I have put in rows upside down and blocks. smh!!
I made a red white and black sampler quilt and used wool batting. I don’t prewash and so when my husband perspired on it one of the red ran. Put aside for a few months and did research and finally got the nerve to wash it. All is well. The bleeding came out.
I’m almost afraid to admit this, but my horror story is about a large table topper I was making for my sister-in-law for her birthday. I was so proud of myself because I was coming to the finishing point and I had a week till her birthday. I had the quilt sandwiched and I was quilting it and was about 2/3’s done when I realized that the backing was wrong side out. I was to upset I threw it away.
Mine would be having the quilt done and explaining to my mom that a whole row in the center is all wrong. She told me it was beautiful, that she doesn’t mind having an imperfection, that I was still new at it and I wasn’t supposed to be perfect, nobody is. From that day on, I do check and recheck everything before the sandwich. I know I’m never gonna be perfect, I just do my best.
Very early in my quilting experience, I decided to make a quilt using the Grandmother’s Fan pattern. I decided to build each block by adding one piece to each block, then the next to each, etc. Only problem was when I went to add the last piece to each block, I realized my blocks were far from square. Sigh.
I donated the unfinished blocks and decided to try something simplier. 😁
I decided this spring to take part in the Red & White challenged that Primitive Gatherings is doing. Picked a pattern, progressing nicely. Found out I would be moving in July so quickly finished so that I could mail it to my quilter before I moved. So Many Red Threads! I was constantly picking red threads through the process. I got it back from the quilter and laid it out on the floor. Just gorgeous! I picked it up and the sunshine revealed all these stray red threads trapped in the quilt. So disappointed. But the quilting is gorgeous so it will be hung in a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight!
Have you tried fishing the threads out with a very fine crochet hook? Tedious, but sometimes worth it.
I started working on a BIG pattern for the Storm at Sea made from 3 basic block units. I bought the pattern and the template that was made for the pattern by another manufacturer. Well, I choose to use corduroy because I had it in my stash and the pattern had suggested using heavier fabrics. But I didn’t starch it and I didn’t try a test block before I cut all the pieces. It seems the designer used a SCANT 1/4″ for 2 of the blocks and the template used for the other block requires a GENEROUS 1/4″. With all the bias edges to the design, I definitely needed to starch the fabric, which I did AFTER it was all cut. Better late than never…and the quilt is getting done, regardless of nap and whether or not all the points match. Better finished than perfect. From now on I will always make a test block for each block required — and STARCH the fabric.
I told my son and future DIL that I would make them a quilt for their wedding. They chose an Elizabeth Hartman quilt. We had just moved and I trusted my new local quilt to get in the kit. She not only didn’t get the kit in but sold the fabric bundle she had received for me! I was able to order the kit on line but now I only had weeks to complete the quilt. There wasn’t any wiggle room for any mistakes. Luckily I was able to order replacement linen from Fat Quarter Shop when I did make a mistake. My husband was still working back in Indiana so he took the quilt to my friend who did my laq. She had made sure to keep that time available. I picked it up when I returned to Indiana for my husband’s retirement. Another friend lent me her machine to sew the binding. I hand sewed the binding while my husband drove us to SC. I was able to gift the quilt that Friday before the wedding.
My horror story involved a quilt I was making for a wedding gift. It was a beautiful pattern. I posted the quilt top on my blog and someone pointed out that two of my blocks were sewn in wrong. What! I did not even notice it. I was able to save one block and position it correctly. But the second block was too far into the pattern that I had to leave it. My redeeming factor was that the girl was not a quilter so I hoped she didn’t notice. She sent a lovely note saying how much she loved it 🙂
Piecing wrong sides together and making a cut I was not suppose to do. Had to order more fabric. 🥴🥴🥴🥴
Making tons of flying geese and realizing halfway through that the wings were the wrong fabric. Luckily had a “whoops” bundle, but still need to make a matching table runner with all those extra geese!
My biggest lesson learned from a mistake, is to use good thread. I was using some cheap cotton thread to quilt a quilt and the thread kept breaking every 2 inches. I plugged away for about a day, and then quit. I went to my local quilt shop and got good thread! I FMQ all of my quilts on my domestic sewing machine using really good thread.
I love to make the Fig Tree Mystery quilts. They have a large variety of blocks with many pieces. I hang them on my wall on a rotating basis once they’re quilted and bound. I spent 2 weeks looking at one of them every morning while eating breakfast thinking “that’s a really unusual block”. Until one morning I realized I had sewed it all wrong. It wasn’t unusual- it was wrong! So that night at dinner I said to my daughter “there’s a mistake in the quilt. Can you find it?” Without missing a beat she pointed to a mistake, which WAS NOT the one I found!!! Now I laugh every time I look at the quilt and I triple check the blocks in my mystery quilts.
I made a beautiful lap quilt for my dad when I was first stsrting out. I used Kafffe fabrics. It was beautiful. Then for some reason, I decided to wash the quilt top. A real no no. It was awful. Shrunk in some places and nt others. Had to throw it out!
I got back into sewing and quilting during Covid and I decided to do a granny square quilt. I sewed on that quilt in my spare time for 6 months! I finally got my quilt all sewed together and then I saw it…the very last block had an error. It was late at night but I was going to fix it and finish it. So, I pulled out the seam ripper and took it apart and then sewed it back together. I stood back admiring my work only to find I sewed it wrong again! So I took out the seam ripper and took it apart again and sewed it back together. I took a step back and looked at it and it was wrong a third time!!! I almost quit at that point but a part of me just wouldn’t give up. So I went back at it. All in all I sewed the block wrong FOUR times! But, in the end I got it right and finally went to bed.
I accidentally sewed my Supreme Slider to the back of my quilt 😑.
I totally messed up a log cabin quilt by having my 1/4 inch off. The each of the blocks were totally ruined so I now have 50 log cabin blocks in my scrap pile.
My very first quilt top was made by cutting my boyfriend’s “old” shirts into squares for a bow tie quilt. When he got home from work he told me that they weren’t old.
One of the first quilts that I made for my home ended up having a huge mistake. My idea was to make a wall hanging that looked like a wooden lattice with flowers behind it. It went together beautifully, seams matched, plenty of fabric, I was very pleased with it. Until I washed it. The wooden lattice fabric was 100% cotton. Floral fabric was poly/cotton. I ended up with a nice tight lattice design with baggy floral fabric all over the top. I had already quilted it on my domestic machine (no small feat for me btw) and finished the binding. I eventually made about 100 2″wide yo-yos is bright colors that coordinated with the baggy floral fabric. I tacked these to the floral areas in the quilt in an attempt to stabilize the baggy sections. It helped but anyone with an eye for quilts will be able to see my error. I’m still a bit embarrassed when I look at it.
Oh Nancy! I am still laughing. This is great! I look at clothing and see “quilt fabric” too.
And never post replies when you are tired!
Bowl cozies looked like the perfect fast and easy gift to include with a soup dinner I was making for a friend recovering from surgery. Shame on me for being so overconfident that I didn’t pay attention to the directions and sewed the fabric and batting sandwich right side to wrong side, but also forgot to attach the batting to the second piece of fabric! When I went to turn the bowl cozy inside out through the opening I left in the side seam, I discovered one side of the bowl cozy was now wrong side of fabric facing out and I had an “extra” square of batting still on the sewing table! Cue the seam ripper! Fixed everything but it was definitely NOT a fast and easy gift! Thank goodness the soup was still keeping warm and my friend did not mind a late dinner! Lesson learned: Take your time and do it right the first time and you will SAVE TIME!
I big frustration for me is when I’ve thought i was being so clever and doing a large batch of chain piecing (to save time!) only to learn that my bobbin thread had run out a LONG time ago and i just kept on merrily sewing along at high speed : )
Oh! So many! The worst was when I was squaring off the quilt before binding.
I did not noticed that a piece of the quilt was folded under, I ended up making a nice 4 inch slash in the middle of it. I managed to stitch it back together and hid it under some well placed appliqués.
I was making a quilt as a gift for my niece. I was so pleased when the piecing of the quilt had gone so well. I put the quilt on my longarm and quilted away. It wasn’t until the last row of the pantograph that I realized that the bobbin thread was making large loops on the back of the quilt. I had to take out the stitching on most of the quilt and start over. Now I make sure that I check the tension at the beginning of each row.
I made two quilts one for each granddaughter. The pattern was the same just different color ways. I finished each quilt, sent to quilter, got them back and then noticed one block was incorrect. I gave both quilts to granddaughters and no one noticed but it sure bugged me!
My quilting horror story is one I still could cry about, but…..I was making Vanessa’s Butterfly quilt in the same fabrics for two quilt tops, but different for the backings – for my daughter and one for my granddaughter. As I finished both tops, I only took a picture, to document, from the one top – thinking both will be the same 🙂 – :(! Ahh, no, the one I took the picture of was fine, but the other one, I had sewn the left wing on backwards, so not properly connected……and sent both off to be long-armed. No one noticed, till I got it back from the quilters. I could have cried buckets, as I was also under a timeline. But I quickly ordered more fabric and sewed another one (I couldn’t get the same fabric for the backing though). We got it done and sent off, but it wasn’t received till after Christmas. The one with the ‘broken wing’ sits in my home – as a testimony to always, always take a good picture and study the quilt top, before quilting!!
I managed to quilt a large scrap piece to the back of my quilt when I got my first quilting frame. Needless to say the quilting in that area had to be redone. This next is not a quilting story but I was teaching my sister-in-law to sew. We were making shirts for our husbands and she did a great job setting in one sleeve. She then sewed the second one, having a little trouble. While she was doing the collar she said she couldn’t get it to fit. When I looked at it I saw she had sewed the second sleeve into the neck hole and was trying to get the collar to fit in the sleeve hole! Never did figure out how she got it to fit. It looked so funny.
Several horror stories. Once I finished quilting only to find an extra piece of fabric sewn onto the back. Or the time I was cutting fabric and cut a slice of my sleeve off. (was a favorite shirt).
getting the machines needle stuck through my finger at midnight. Had to go to the urgent care and they were super excited to take turns trying to pull it out Excalibur style I really livened up their night. And got awesome X-rays
But most important I did not bleed on the quilt!
I sew every afternoon that i am home. Occasionally, my husband will come and talk to me. He wants to chat, i want to sew! I hurry up to finish the piece I’m working on, and then take it to iron or cut something out while chatting. After he leaves, i go over my work and always have to rip it out or recut. Every time! I have learned to put the fabric down and just sit and visit. Trying to finish with him in the room is a nightmare to clean up. Makes the work twice as long.
I was cutting strips for a witch panel quilt using Halloween Whimsy fabric. I was supposed to cut the strips 2.5″ x WOF. Somehow I decided that the ruler was 2.5″ and cut all my strips 3″ wide. Not only did I have to cut the strips down by a half inch, but I also had to buy more black potions fabric to complete the flimsy.
One time I was making a jacket and I took all the pattern pieces off of the fabric pieces after they were cut out. I got distracted and when I came back I started cutting a facing~ from one of the sleeves!! Now pattern pieces stayed pinned in place until I need that piece. 😮
My sewing horror stories always involving cutting the wrong size or not straight! I’d love to see those cute graphics made into stickers or pins.
I learned just the other day that an entire bottle of rose and sewing do not mix! I was appliqueing a super cute pumpkin and drinking my rose happy as could be, getting more and more excited about my project, all of a sudden the bottle was empty and I realized I was feeling quite tipsy, so I went to bed. Next morning I go to look at my cute little pumpkin and it is UPSIDE DOWN on the directional patterned background fabric. I am not sure what I will do to fix it at this point, but I learned my lesson!
My disdain for making geese any way other than the 4@a time method has me re-writing part of each pattern. I’ve had to get more creative than anticipated to make all the pieces fit correctly.
I go to retreats every year. I look forward to them so much. One year I left my power cord at home. I made the best of it and did a lot of cutting.
Hate to hear all the cutting accidents–I received a quilt back from the quilter and when I started to do the binding, I realized that a safety pin had been quilted into the quilt–I made a very small cut and was able to wiggle it out and repaired the cut with some hand quilting!!
My first “quilt” I did was when I was just a teenager and newly married. I didn’t have a clue on how to quilt and I didn’t have a sewing machine. I ended up appliqueing an old shirt and jeans of mine, next to an old shirt and jeans of my (then) husband on top of some funky looking knit fabric. The backing of the quilt was also some funky looking knit fabric. That had to be the ugliest quilt ever.
I have been quilting for a lot of years but wasn’t paying attention one night. I was making HST and had cut all the blocks on the bias like I needed to do. But when I was sewing them back together I sewed all of them together on the short edge of the triangle instead of the longer bias edge. They are still sitting in a box because I can’t decide what to do with them.
I have a few horror stories, and the one that I can laugh about is when I had to order more fabric for a quilt I was gifting because I misread the instructions and cut all the fabric incorrectly! It was such a waste!
The last quilt I made was a herringbone style quilt that I was carefully cutting the sections at 45° edges, but when I assembled the long strips together, none of the herringbone parts matched! Ugh! It still looks amazing, but still to this day I don’t understand what happened.
I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve cut my finger, mis-cut fabric and run out, had to seam rip countless blocks, but my latest mistake was in ordering fabric where I forgot to add all my fabric calculations together and shorted myself 2 yards. I realized a couple of hours after I placed my FQS order and sent an e-mail. They could not add to the order but helped me remedy my order so that I could get a single cut off the same bolt. Of course, I had to order enough to get more free shipping, so those ended up being 2 very expensive yards. Just waiting for it to arrive so I can start my new quilt.
My horror story involves a finger and a rotary cutting blade! I was working on half square rectangles that had to be cut corner to corner but half of them needed to be cut in opposite directions. One last look at the directions and I sliced off the tip of my finger (fingernail included) and had to go to urgent care. Have not done any such thing since because I wear a cutting glove on my exposed hand.
So think my worst was when I was making a quilt on point and I had it laid out on the floor where no like colors were touching or lined up next to each other. I didn’t even notice until I had the entire quilt sewn together and put the borders on that I had turned one of the rows upside down and there were two blocks of the same color right beside each other. I was seriously debating just leaving it but every time I looked at it that’s all I could see so, jack came out for a long play date.
I totally relate to everyone’s horror stories! Sewing my finger and cutting my thumb is my worst case nightmare!
I do all my quilting on my domestic machine. Unfortunately, in the past I didn’t always catch when the bobbin thread wasn’t getting pulled up and I once quilted half of a top before realizing it. At least this kind of mis-stitch comes out pretty quickly! And I am more attuned to the sound it makes when things aren’t working.
I have two horror stories for the same quilt! I had picked a bright red fabric to go into a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. I had sewn all the four patches needed with this red and when I was putting it together with the other pieces, that red stood out like a sore thumb! I decided to switch to a deep burgundy fabric which matched much better. I cut out all the pieces needed of this fabric (which had been in my stash for a long, long time) and started sewing. I pieced some of the four patches with the other pieces in the row and it looked beautiful! But, when I ironed the pieces my iron leaked water and that beautiful burgundy fabric bled into the neutrals it was sewn to. So what now? I did some research and found that Dawn original dish soap and hot water would clear the bleeding from the neutrals. So I had to wash pieces that were cut as well as blocks that were sewn. The quilt did turn out beautifully after all that!
I wash my quilts before I gift them. My horror story is due to a wool batting (from a company not to be named). I used a really cute layer cake for a baby quilt and worked extra hard on the quilting. When I washed it, the batting bearded on the front and the back and looked like I had washed a Persian cat with the quilt. The quilt was ruined. I was able to find the same layer cake after much searching and I remade the quilt. I will never, ever use batting from that manufacturer.
So many blunders in my years of quilting, but it’s still my therapy. My biggest heartbreak blunder was a quilt for my sister’s 50th birthday. It was a beautiful red & white log cabin. She likes vintage, so I decided to wash it to get a used look. Well, do I need to say it – one of the reds bled! It was all quality quilting fabric, so I thought I was safe. Now I always, always use a color catcher for the first wash – lesson learned.
I always hand stitch my bindings on….well I was rushed to finish this table runner and decided to machine stitch it on. Mistake. What a crooked mess! Washed it the morning I was to take it as a gift for a friend. It came out of the dryer raveled and a seam open. Mad mad rush to finish it before heading out the door.
I was learning how to make all kinds of Splendid Sampler blocks a few years ago, really challenging myself and pushing my skill set. I ripped out so many seams over and over until I felt good about the blocks. When it was time to square them up, I knew they were supposed to be 6″ blocks, but I forgot about the unfinished size. I had about thirty blocks made and was squaring them up to be 6″. I got through a dozen of them before I realized I needed a seam allowance and should have been trimming them to 6.5″. Needless to say, I had to redo all those blocks I had already spent so much time on. I’ve never confused the finished and unfinished size again though!
I had to throw away the pumpkins for last year’s Bats and Boos quilt. I had the cutest Halloween fat quarter bundle and wanted to use ALL the ginghams. After cutting, piecing, sewing and pressing all while keeping one eye on my sixth re-watch of Gilmore Girls, I finally gave the pumpkin blocks my full attention only to discover my cute gingham fat quarters resulted in pumpkins that were mismatched, sideways and absolutely broadcasting my often lackadaisical attempts at accuracy. My sewing room had hurt my feelings and I ended up cross stitching for most of October until I finally quit pouting, marched in there and redid all four pumpkins. Now the finished product sits proudly on my kitchen table, reminding me to never piece gingham against gingham!
I was cutting all the 6 1/4” strips from many fabrics to then cut into squares for the Hey Y’all Texas Quilt kit! I saved the state of Texas fabric for the very last. When I came back after taking a break. Upon cutting them from the strip into the 6 1/4” square I cut three before I realized I had cut them only 6”. Yikes! So thankfully, I had exactly enough from the scraps for 3/4” strip to find exact pattern match ups for the state and I sewed it to that side to get them back to 6 1/4” square. Then sewed it on the diagonal to the background fabric to make the half square triangles. Thankfully, when sewed in the whole quilt that additional seam is barely noticeable. Whew! So thankful I didn’t have to order more for just three squares.
I find that most of the mistakes I’ve made have been when I’m trying to finish something, and it’s gotten late and I’m really tired. Then pieces get sewn the wrong way around, or mistakes are made in cutting, or colors aren’t matched right due to low light. You name it, but mostly my bad…I should just learn to put it down when I’m tired.
My horror story is after making the Alaska Quilt by Edyta Sitar. I pieced the entire quilt and thought I carefully double checked everything. I mailed the quilt to my long arm quilter. When she received it, she noticed that 2 of the blocks were turned a quarter turn from the way they should have been. So, I had to bear the additional expense of having the quilt top mailed back to me, resew the blocks into the quilt correctly and the mail it back to her. It was worth it in end as she did an outstanding job of custom quilt it.
I don’t think I have made a quilt that I didn’t make a mistake on. My worst that I can remember is when I sewed the backing on, backwards so the wrong side was out. Not fun having to rip out all those stitches, but a mistake I could fix. Definitely never quilt when you are tired.
My horror story involves the first quilt I ever attempted. It was a mini quilt and I started it when I broke my ankle and had to spend more time than usual sitting. I wanted to impress my mom who always hand pieced and quilted all of her quilts. She made the most beautiful and tiny stitches, so I wanted to make my stitches super tiny also. Boy were they tiny! But my quilting lines were uneven, so I tried to pick out the stitches and make the lines straight. However, I discovered that I couldn’t pick out the stitches without destroying the fabric because the stitches were too small! My solution? Fill in between the uneven lines with even more stitches! After many hours of trying to fix the problem, I realized the whole thing was a disaster. I finally gave up and put it away in my drawer of shame.
I made a two color quikt and mixed up the 2 colors…my blocks were backwards. I had made them all before I realized. I ended up with 2 quilts!
So many disasters, but biggest is thinking I will be able to take on another project and piling them up. Then I start and can’t find the same fabrics when I cut wrong or screw up stitching. Getting impatient and wanting the project done always ends in cutting wrong and piecing incorrectly. But I’ll still keep on stitching and stockpiling fabric!
The first quilt I ever made was from my grandmother’s scrap bag. These were scraps left over from clothing she had made for her by a local seamstress. I didn’t know anything about fabric! I used cotton, green linen, yellow wool, blue knit and even red curtain sheer! I was all about the color. I still am. The curtain sheer started giving out when I took it to college. The red fabric I repaired it with was not quilt shop quality and ran. However the repair was easier because I had tied it. And I learned to sew in home economics making garments so all of my seams were 5/8”. No wonder the sheers lasted as long as they did! Oh, and this was cut with scissors and cardboard templates, cut from a cereal box, which I made myself, BRC (before rotary cutters). Lucky the pieces were all the same square. Frankenquilt! It makes a great draft dodger!
Very early in my journey of quilt making, I bought the sweetest pattern that had rows of appliqued owls. I didn’t like (mostly didn’t understand) the directions in how to applique the layers (owls with eyes, wings, beaks, hats, etc.), so I thought I’d do it my way. “My way” turned that project into a quilt that was so stiff that I could almost stand on its own! I had used way too many layers of Heat ‘n Bond to make it soft and cuddly. It still hangs in my sewing closet waiting to be finished…or thrown out.
I definitely have a few horror stories! Some I call a “design choice” and others I’ve fixed. Most recently, I was making the Dayna pattern by Sharla Krenzel and I managed to get the strip-pieced blocks going the wrong way in the first half of the quilt. I didn’t notice it in the picture I took of the layout! Since I was more than half done sewing the rows when I found the problem, I sewed the others “wrong” too, so now it’s a variation of her pattern. I guess I was too focused on making sure my fussy cut animals in the center squares were right and the colors looked good! It’s a really fun pattern and I think I’ll make it again, this time the right way!
Working on a pieces final border of a BOM. I did about a third of them and wanted to see what the quilt like. Laid them around and stepped and realized over half of the ones I did the fabrics were in the wrong position. My husband came when I got a little vocal about it. He suggested I lay the correct ones on one side and the incorrect ones on the inside. Then step and see which one I liked best. I liked the incorrect blocks better. As the saying goes when life gives you lemons make lemonade. My mistake turned into a design change.
When I was rotary cutting some 24” strips a couple of years ago, I ended up rolling over my left index finger just next to the side of the nail. Lots of blood, needless to say. I couldn’t maneuver a bandaid to close it as I’m a leftie, and my hubby wasn’t able to tightly wrap a bandaid around it either. So off to the ER we went. Over four hours later and quite a lot of $, I’ve fortunately not done that again.
I drove to Michigan from Texas one year to spend Thanksgiving with my family and to visit quilt shops and attend classes along the way. I went armed with several quilts that I had made to gift to my family. One that I made was a cute whale quilt for my great nephew. I quilted it myself with coordinating whale fabric on the back and since I hadn’t done much of my own quilting before, I was pretty proud of how it turned out. That was until he opened his present and held it up that I discovered that I had quilted it with the directional fabric on the back upside-down! All the whales were swimming on their backs!
Not a big mistake but it took three times to sew the seam around the outside of a nametag I was making for my guild meetings. I can’t figure out why I couldn’t get it right…..so had to pull the seam out three times. Finally after taking considerably longer a lot more work than it should have I now have a new name tag.
While sewing half hexagon blocks, I sewed the left angle to the top of a block. This right angle shape would not work. Ripped and sewed correctly. I wanted to complete the quilt block. Sometimes I’m too tired and need to quit for the night. I was focused on a goal instead. This is when I make mistakes and need to quit for the day.
I’m so bad about waiting until the last minute to complete projects and making sure that I have the correct amount of fabric. I have had to sew pieces of fabric together, trying to match it the best I can, to make a big enough piece to cut a square from. It’s usually not noticeable to whomever is receiving the quilt but I can spot it a mile away.
I’ve also been sewing and when I look at the back notice the tension has been off. Oh, such heartbreak to have to go back and redo it once I get my sewing machine working right again. I sometimes just turn it off and go do something else for a bit and when I come back it is just fine. Other times that is the sign that I forgot to change the needle.
I was making the Sewcialites 2 block yesterday. I was making the center blocks with the rectangles. Got them pieced and realized I need to turn some of them so I had to remake three of them.
A 6” block shouldn’t take four hours to make🤪🤪😂😂
There’s a little bit of “jack” in every project, but one in particular stands out – I was making a t-shirt quilt and cut down one of the t-shirts too far! Luckily I figured out a way to add just a tiny bit to the square so it wasn’t too far off!
I have so many – mostly around cutting the wrong side, but I have a good one that I just did this weekend.
I have a lot of finished tops that I haven’t quilted yet because I don’t have the extra budget to send them to be longarm quilted and it’s not my favorite thing to do on my domestic machine with it’s tiny throat space. I finished the Christmastime QAL and decided to quilt it myself last weekend. Everything was going well. I used a ruler and did an orange peel design. Finished it and it looks great. I flip it over as I’m trimming off the excess and there’s a scrap of fabric quilted into the middle of the back. Sometimes my workspace isn’t the neatest, so it must’ve gotten stuck as I was moving the quilt around.
Luckily, I had some really sharp scissors and snipped really close (and carefully!) to the quilting and removed the scrap without making a mess, but it was touch and go for a moment!
Well, there are several horror stories to tell however, the nastiest story would be cutting incorrect sized squares! It’s just soooo easy to turn your square and end up cutting 1/2” wider or narrower than needed. The larger size is easy to correct but that smaller size means more fabric is needed which can be problematic.
I was fairly new at using a rotary cutter and was being careful and didn’t have any mishaps for a long time. I had just finished making the cut and lifted up my cutter and it slipped out of my hand and landed on my left index finger and sliced it to the bone. Yikes!! I got 6 stitches to close it up. The next day I went out and bought a rotary cutter that closes when you release the pressure. 🙂
I was making a king size quilt and had the top completely pieced. I thought it looked great. Asked my husband for his opinion and he asked it the block in the top left corner was supposed to be different than the rest. I had turned the block incorrectly. Fortunately not quilted so I was able to use my ripper and correct the mistake. I always double check my tops now. I us a photo on my phone as mistakes seem to show up that way.
Wilma— I had similar experience as you! Only I had a whole section of my quilt upside down and also reversed. See my post a few down from here. I could not believe how many people I showed my photo to who did not catch the error – even seasoned quilters! And how long and how many times I had looked at it hanging on the wall and not noticed. But once I saw the picture, it was so obvious. I always take pictures now!
I was trimming off the edges of a quilt when the rotary cutter jumped the ruler and cut across my index finger and fingernail. I dropped the cutter and ran for a paper towel to wrap it up. Drove to my daughter’s. She took me to the ER where I got 5 stitches. Finger is all healed and just fine. Oh, and the quilt is fine. Not a drop of blood on it!
Always check your tension on the back when quilting frequently! I had recently been quilting away only to look at the back and realize the tension was sloppy and I had to rip out quite a bit to fix the issue, ugh!
I was working on a project trimming half square triangles when I had to stop midway. I came back to the project after a couple of days and realized that I had misread the instructions and trimmed the half square triangles too small. I had to redo everything luckily I had extra fabric!
I was free-motion quilting my Twirl by Joanna Figeroa a couple of weeks ago and the extra backing got caught underneath and I ended up stitching through both layers of it for a few minutes before I noticed. No way was I going to rip out all those stitches! Thankfully, it was along the edge far enough away from where the binding would go, so I trimmed the excess fabric around the stitching. I was able to recover! The threads of the remaining fabric were brushed out and all was well.
This is probably a mistake many of us have made at one time or another but you never want to actually be “the one”. I was machine quilting a lovely throw sized quilt on my domestic machine that was to be given as a gift. Overall my novice stitching was turning out well as one can hope. That is, until I was finished and turned it over to admire my handiwork and discovered a rather large area where the quilt had folded onto itself and I had machine quilted the design onto it. I managed to unpick the lump and “fudge” the design but it still haunts me.
One of the first quilts I made was a housewarming gift for my daughter. The design incluuded many flying geese. I’m not sure what I did, but throughout the process I tried a couple different methods for measuring, cutting, piecing and trimming. It wasn’t until I was sewing rows together that I realized they were not all lining up. Let’s just say I became friendly my seam ripper, but it eventually worked out and turned out beautifully.
My quilting horror story relates to energy levels of the quilter. I have occasional bouts of insomnia and over the years I have tried many types of activities to bring about sleep. One night after tossing and turning to no avail I decided to go into the sewing room to work on some quilt blocks. Despite the fact I had read the pattern more than twice, I cut half a dozen pieces incorrectly and then giving up on the cutting I went to the machine to sew blocks already cut and proceeded to sew one of the blocks with the wrong side of one fabric facing the right side of another. Picking out those stitches (I absolutely hate to “un-sew”) and having to dig in my scrap bin to re-cut the 6 pieces cut wrong did tire me out. The moral of this story is that I have learned not to cut or sew when tired.
I’ve made lots of mistakes, but my worst experience was when I had a quilt quilted by a friend. When I turned it over there were eyelashes everywhere! She offered to quilt it again, but since she was a friend I said I’d unpick the stitches. It took me a week to unpick the entire quilt. My eyes were so strained after that, I couldn’t do any sewing for another week. I already had trifocals, but now I have extra magnifying glasses for when I have to do a lot of unpicking.
My quilting horror of a mistake was here recently when I told a quilting friend in our quilting group to send her blocks in at a certain 10” finished size so, I squared my blocks to 10” and she sent her blocks in at 10”. To my embarrassment the size that should have been sent in was the 10.5” unfinished size. In the time that I had been quilting I never knew, considered or understood the term finished and unfinished size block. I thought that unfinished meant before you squared it up. I also was under the impression that finished size was after you squared it up and not the actual meaning of the block will be this finished size once you see it into the quilt. Needless to say I was so embarrassed. Lol My guilty friend laughed and graciously remade her blocks as I did mine. We both laughed about it and the saying is so true about quilting people are some of the nicest people in the world.
Like a lot here, I have had plenty of quality time with my seam ripper, but the story that came to mind was when I was sewing a quick game bag to hold some tokens while we were playing the game. I was rushing (“it’s just a bag…”) and ended up sewing through my thumb nail and breaking the needle off. I ended up at urgent care to get the needle and thread removed. I did make the nurses’ night as they hadn’t ever had this injury before and the x-rays were pretty cool. Needless to say, I did not win the game that night.
The first time I tried a stitch and flip method to snowball 5 inch squares all of the squares were not square – the table topper was very wonky but it sure taught me about that technique!!! Thank goodness for the rulers now that help me be more accurate!
I was helping my Mom make her number of “yo-yo’s” for a quilt her sewing group was making to raffle off for a fundraiser. We were on a trip with the kids and if you were not driving you were sewing yo-yo’s. Well, we get home and Mom volunteers to sew the 100’s of yo-yo’s everyone made into a quilt. Needless to say it was one wacky quilt as anyone out of 20 ladies made the same size yo-yo even thought they all cut the same size circle. It raised alot of money and everyone enjoyed the wacky yo-yo quilt.
I had just finished an around the world quilt top for my sisters birthday. It had turned out so pretty! I had it hung up on the wall and was admiring it, took some pictures of it and sent them to several friends. Everyone replied how beautiful it was! I was ready to start quilting it! But, it was late, so I decided to wait. Went in to a charity quilting place where I volunteer the next day and showed the pictures around. To my horror, I realized that the bottom 1/4 of the quilt had been sewed on upside down! All the pictures I had sent around to all my quilting friends, and no one had caught the error! It looked pretty good, actually, and one person suggested I just leave it and claim “a pattern modification”. I thought about that long and hard, and then considered how I would feel if a visitor at her house might see the quilt and ask my sister why the bottom part appeared to be upside down! So, I decided to rip the whole bottom section off and redo it correctly. It was another days work, but when done I felt so much better.
A friend suggested that before declaring victory on a quilt top, always take a picture of it and examine the picture. When it’s hanging on the wall and you are close you don’t always see the “big picture”, but a photograph lets you examine it for overall correctness. Great advice that I use all the time now!
So many, but the one that sticks out to me. I was putting together a block from the Row by Row that I received from a LQS the year the theme was music. You were to heat and bond the precut image of Mary Poppins dancing on the roof tops to a very pretty background fabric. Well I bonded it to the back side of the background fabric. I couldn’t fix that mistake and just ran with it. That quilt is now hanging up in my daughter’s apartment mistake and all.
Sadly, my scary story happened just a week ago. I was happily cutting fabric for a SAL and took off the tip of my finger with the rotary cutter. Nice clean slice but it still required a trip to the emergency department. It’s healing but I think I’ll be a very cautious cutter from here on out.
I’m a novice quilter and not always patient. I get so excited to see the quilt come together. In my excitement I don’t notice very many errors. I have 2 very pretty quilts that have incorrect block piecing that I never noticed until after it had been quilted. My eye goes right to those blocks now. Ugh…
So many I could share but the one that comes to mind first was when I sewed my finger. Beyond OUCH! and I could not get myself to continue on that project.
I am on the process of making a quilt for a wedding gift in November. The blocks are suppose to be hourglass blocks. I got about halfway through sewing the blocks together and realized I had sewed them wrong and I had pin wheels Instead of hourglasses. It was late at night after a day with my grandkids. I sometimes sew to wind down but this time I should have went to bed. Needless to say I had lots of seam ripping to do which In turn became my winding down project for the next couple of days.
I have astigmatism and have to be very careful when I measure and cut. I recently ended up cutting half my squares 6″ × 6.5″ instead of 6.5″ square. I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet because I didn’t notice it until I had made HST’s out of them! That quilt effort is currently laid to rest out of sight in a tote!
I feel sure we’ve all pieced scrap quilts. My biggest problem is trying not to place like fabrics side by side! I made a lap quilt, and I looked and looked up and down and sideways, came back and looked again. When I was quilting it, I found 2 like pieces together! How in the world?
I have been quilting and crafting for a long time and have had many uh-oh moments, most recently this week! Was chain piecing blocks with multiple pieces/ seams. Instead of getting up to press them, I was finger pressing to save time, however I was not paying close enough attention to alignment. It wasn’t until I went to do the final press at the iron that I noticed that the last triangles I had added were misaligned. Ugh! Time to unsew…
I wake up early, so I’m tired by 3:00 p.m. I learned by many mistakes never cut fabric after 3. I will sew because I can rip but that’s the extent of making anything.
Being frugal, I save the snowballed corners from blocks to use in borders. I “winged” it on one quilt and decided not to square them up. Oh my, what a wavy border I got! No, I haven’t taken it off yet…too disgusted with myself so it is a UFO for a long winter night to work on.
I had a bag of small squares from my grandmother and washed them in a mesh bag thinking I would start with clean material but the edges were not secure and frayed too far to use the material.
I remember making a quilt from a quilt kit I got thru Fatquarter Shop for a friend’s daughter. Somehow, I cut one of the fabrics the wrong size. I happened to be at quilt retreat with a fabric store next door. I ran over to pick a complementary fabric, since they didn’t carry the fabric line. I re-cut the pieces and went to put it together. Somewhere I made another error when joining the rows. At that point it wasn’t exactly as the pattern, but it was consistent.
I once started a pattern that was written for a jelly roll. I decided that I would try it using a honey bun instead. Thankfully, due to the fact that I’ve messed up so many times before, I only messed up one half of a strip. I know this wasn’t that bad of a mistake but it’s the most recent and the only one that came to mind. Happy quilting everyone!!! 🥰🥰🥰😍😍😍
I was making a shop sample for a local shop where I worked. It was a Christmas Quilt The binding was to be cut on the diagonal out of a stripe fabric. I got lazy and thought I could cut it without opening the fabric up. Opps. The diagonals we’re going in two directions. I managed to save it (and figured it out before I had completely cut it all out). I managed to make sure that the diagonal changed at a corner and it was pretty hard to catch. My latest is realizing that I must of pricked myself with the pins when removing my Sampler Spree quilt from the long arm frame. I didn’t notice the small bloodspot on the top of the quilt until I started to put the binding on. Any ideas for removing this stain would be appreciated since I’m entering it in my guilds Quilt Show.
One of many mistakes I’ve made was to cut one row of my fabric a half inch too short. I didn’t have enough scrap leftover to recut that row so I ended up sewing on extra to make up the difference on those few blocks. It was a quilt for my son and while I see it everytime I look at the quilt he has never said anything!
It was Super Bowl Sunday and my local quilt shop offered a quilt class each year. I was so busy chatting with my fellow quilters that I cut my corner blocks in half (like setting triangle) and now I have a quilt in the shape of a stop sign!
I recently had a quilt mishap. I just finished piecing a memory quilt made with my 96 year old Gramma’s pajamas. She passed away Christmas 2019. So I am ready to put it on my new quilting machine. I had only quilted two other quilts before attempting this one. I loaded it up and everything looked really good. I did some pretty flowers freehand. I get to the end and realize that I was beginning to quilt on my leader cloth. So I quickly stopped. Unstitched and then began to make sure that I didn’t make that mistake again. I paid special attention to staying away from the leader cloth. I am so excited to be done and I’m removing the quilt from the frame and as I unroll it I realized I had stitched the entire top of my quilt to my leader cloth. Oh! What a nightmare! Had to unstitch it all while standing because there was no way to remove the quilt from the quilt frame at that point. Happy to say it did not ruin the quilt. I added some stitches to the top all the way across three times and you cannot even tell. I am excited to give the quilt to my mom who lost her best friend when my Gramma passed. Hopefully it will comfort her.
I was trying to finish a baby quilt of dinosaurs for a baby shower later in the week. Realized after chain piecing several parts I realized I sewed it to the short side not long side. I had to rip out all of them. Decided to go to bed and start over early next day. Still was binding the day of the shower. Learned to walk away when I get frustrated.
My sewing mishap is more of a patience testing than a horror story. It is too similar to so many stories. Some amazing ones, too!
I had committed myself to gifting a baby quilt to a niece at her baby shower. To carry the baby theme, I embroidered some blocks to piece to the quilt. Finished the quilt top and I was going to quilt it myself. After a couple days of procrastinating on how I wanted it quilted,
then some family responsibilities came up, until I finally started it on my sewing machine. I thought this would go quick as it was deadline the next day. As the quilting (stitch in the ditch) went along, I was not too happy but thought it would work and kept on. It was until quilting 3/4’s, I knew I had to stop. I was NOT happy with it and felt it was not what I wanted, also thinking I could do better with my sit-down long arm machine. SO . . . I knew I was going to pull an all-nighter and starting unstitching all of it. OMG! At the end, quilt completed (label and binding were made ahead of time), I was HAPPY with it and everyone at the baby shower loved it! My lesson learned is to have a quilting plan ahead and only commit if I know I have the time.
I’ve done the “cut all the flying geese with the fabric placement wrong “ thing too. Broke my heart because I used a fat quarter bundle that was out of print.
I have a horror story! I was sewing a quilt for market, I whipped around in my sewing chair for some reason and the edge of the quilt caught the knee lift and before I knew it my Bernina bounced on the floor. I almost died, I got to the LQS ASAP and they were able get everything working in a few days time; thank goodness for carpet.
I haven’t had anything too unusual happen, just the usual sewing after the bobbin ran out, nicking a finger with the rotary cutter, sticking myself with pins, nothing bad.
I’m glad I’m in good company because when the mistakes happen it’s almost like I feel I’m the only one who’s made the mistake ever! Just a few weeks ago I saw making the Fireside quilt by Suzy Quilts (baby) to make a sewing machine cover. I accidentally cut one of my blocks in half the wrong way! Well I sewed it back together and proceeded to cut it right. I really love the sewing machine cover and I’m really the only one who sees it so I went with it! Oddly enough, the quilt totally still came together!
Being new to quilting, I find reading everyone’s horror stories comforting. I’m glad I’m not the only one making mistakes. I find my worst horrors occur when I try to sew late at night, so I just don’t do it anymore. Today I was quilting a gift placemat and messed up the pattern. I thought I could rip it out and it wouldn’t be noticeable, but it is. So, I will keep that one for myself. I don’t mind mistakes in my quilting for myself. I just consider them learning experiences!
My sewing time is usually between 9pm to 1am which is probably prime time for mistakes. The last quilt top I pieced had 185 half-square triangles. You know how it goes, I was zipping through chain piecing and had about half done. When I started ironing, I noticed one whole row was upside down. Thank God for my trusty seam ripper! I got it all ripped apart and completed sewing that section again. Well, duh, I had resewn it the exact same wrong way again! Time for fresh eyes and a new day.
Why is it that most quilting horror stories start off with a deadline? I was making a queen size quilt for a wedding gift. I was using Lori Holt fabric and a pattern by cluck cluck sew. I sewed 64 blocks with the wrong colors. Each block was a set of colors and I did it all scrappy. Each block had two 12 inch seams that needed ripped. I had to seam rip all the blocks and sew the right colors together. I was able to get it done before the wedding but my husband jokes that I made them two quilts. 😂
I had completely finished machine quilting a quilt and realized the tension was completely off. Every time I tried to “smooth” out the gathered stitching the thread broke. I now have a car quilt in case I’m ever stranded and need to stay warm.
7 years ago, my husband had just died of ALS. I had PTSD. I was making quilted thank you cards past midnight, of course aided by some red wine. I made a mistake, I could not find the sewing machine needle. It was broken off from the shaft. After looking every where, i noticed my finger. The entire needle was straight up my right index finger. I went to the bathroom. I asked myself to be brave andwhat would my husband have done. I fainted. The grandchildren I was raising at the time woke and helped me get up off the floor. As it happened, I had a physical the next day. I explained that I thought I would just keep the needle in there as a souvenier…as it no longer hurt…..Oh, no, the doc said. Ii had j ust had 4 joint replacements and an infection could affect that….Jeeze Louize…off I was sent to the hand doctor who scheduled surgery.. They pulled out the needle, I kept the needle. It was huge….the entire needle…OMG. I kept the needle in a little vise of water. Two months ago, I sold my house and threw it away… Really, enough was enough. No more sewing for old me after midnight xoxo
Years ago I wanted to make a tree skirt that as larger than the pattern I was using. My math went wrong and I ended up with a tree skirt that was large enough to go on a queen bed!
I made a Row by Row Quilt 1 year and 1 of the rows was House’s. You guessed it, 1 was upside down. I didn’t notice it until I was taking a picture of it before sending it off to get quilted. I didn’t fix it, I tell everybody that’s the Tornado House
After reading the blog post, I have a feeling I will be relating to many of the comments your readers share too. My most recent horror story came from a “slip of the hand”. It was late at night and I was tired. I remember thinking I should stop for the night, but decided to do one more cut. That’s when I made one long cut and my hand slipped causing the ruler to shift. Thanfkully, the only casualty was my fabric that was 1/2″ off from top to bottom of the cut, but my fingers came close to being part of “the cut”. After that I went to bed and told myself next time I am tired and want to keep going, I should remember how close I came to an ER visit.
I’ve had a lot of the mishaps mentioned in the post, but, mercifully, not at such a large scale. Sometimes I cut a strip the wrong width, sometimes I chain stitch a few mistakes and I’ve also sewed blocks wrong.
Reading all these post -at least I’m not alone. My second large quilt, sent it off to the long armer. I knew it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t until the longer sent me a picture that I realized I had a block not only sewn wrong but also managed to put it in the quilt oriented wrong. Yeah, me! I also managed to “burn a block”. Which didn’t look ok too bad until after it was quilted. I always take a picture of my quilt top now, something about that photo helps me see better what is right in front of me!
My most recent horror story, was when I was finishing up my Nebula queen size quilt top. After spending ages making the inner blocks\, cutting the surrounding fabric pieces and sewing them into larger blocks – and sewing these into six sections – it was finally time to join these sections into one quilt top. Everything went smooth – sections 1-3 were sewn together and pressed. Section 4-6 followed just as smooth. And then, while sewing the two halves together, I realised that one of the blocks didn’t match up with the same fabric as it should in the next block… 50 centimeters from completing the final seam of the quilt top I found that I had flipped one small block upside-down! I hadn’t seen it at all – neither while making the separate sections nor when these were joined together. Luckily I managed to undo just enough stitcing to get that block out and flipped (and sewn back on) without having to rip any more seams back. I’m very glad I caught the mistake before I had finished the quilt top.
Directional fabrics used in the background can be a real pain sometimes. I recently made a quilt where I should have turned half of the 48 blocks 90 degrees when prepping the background. The piecing involved double curves, and I didn’t realize the mistake until I was just about done with the piecing. I had to leave it as is because I had used yards of fabric and hours of time pinning and sewing all those curves.
I could relate a number of boo’s made during projects but this one stands out the most for me. Recently doing a QAL project using 1 1/2 ” 1/2 square triangle papers I made a large a large amount of these ready for the next part of the project only to find out that they should have been 2″ so back to the drawing board to make the the right size. Upside I can make a pillow or a mini quilt for a gift for xmas maybe….
My worst mishap was pretty recent. I was working on two beautiful and special quilts. After assembling my entire Designer Mystery quilt, I realized I mixed up the very similar background fabrics! Although I normally fix my mistakes, I decided it wasn’t that noticeable. Needless to say, I kept the quilt rather than gifting it. That quilt is one of my favorites and a great reminder to pay closer attention!
I was making a quilt for my adult son. It was the first quilt I had made for him. The blocks came together beautifully, and it looked great on the design wall. I sewed the blocks into rows, checking each row to make sure the blocks were oriented in the proper direction, since they alternated direction in each row. I sewed the quilt top together and did extensive quilting. After attaching the binding, I took the top outside to take photographs. This is when I realized the next to the last row had been sewn in upside down, and the orientation was all wrong. A glaring mistake. I gifted the quilt without mentioning the rogue row, thinking adult men (40+) may not be noticing the details. He was so appreciative I had made him the quilt, that I felt a bit badly that he got the quirky quilt.
a special quilt was made but to my horror when all the quilting was done realized some of the white-on-white patches were backward..
I was working on a twin size bed quilt (first time doing something so large), had all my pieces organize and pinned and ready to go. I chained pieced the entire stack only to realize my bobbin thread had run out. I didn’t notice they were falling apart. It was a mess and I had to reorganize, re-pin, re-sew it all.
I have had a lot of mishaps. But I have one that sticks out. Many years ago I made a tree wall hanging. I got it all put together, quilted and bound. Then I realized my backing fabric was wrong. It was backwards and the wrong side was on the outside. I was donating it to a church function. My friend purchased it and did not care.
I’m recently new to having a quilt frame with my domestic machine. I have fought with tension and ripped out many times but on this occasion I had the tension right. I was in the middle of a quilt and had taken a couple of days off. I quilted about half a row before checking the backside and was horrified at the mess of thread! I wasn’t sure what to do because all had been well two days prior and I only realized what I had (not) done when I started the unstitching process. I had forgotten to lower my presser foot!
I had a finished baby quilt on my cutting table with some other items on top of it. Still not sure how it happened but I had to make a quick cut with my rotary cutter. When finished, I realized I cut into the quilt underneath. That took some creative patching!
Was making a rag quilt and somehow had the idea to add extra flannel to the inside to make it “raggier” – which of course make the seams and corners too thick. Many many broken needles on that one!
One of the simplest mistakes I made years ago was having my middle finger too close to the edge of my ruler as I cut along with my rotary cutter. You guessed it ~ I lopped off the end of that finger! I wasn’t quite quick enough and did bleed a bit on the fabric. After I bandaged up, I had to rearrange the fabric to be able to get all my cuts out and I had enough. Boy did that hurt!
A few months ago, I was making a quilt for my friend of 62 years who was waiting for a liver transplant. She was an artist who loved all things bright, and Mexico was her happy place, so I chose Tula Pink’s Daydreamer, with cotton candy fairy flakes as a background, backing it with Mick Jaguar. There is a parrot print with different colored parrots and backgrounds. It wasn’t until I sewed the entire quilt together that I realized I had matched up ALL the wrong parrots together. I can’t believe I didn’t notice a pink parrot with a blue parrot. I decided it would just be a “happy accident” and left it at that. Last week, I drove to San Antonio where she had taken a turn and was in ICU. She LOVED it, and so did the ICU staff. I told them that the quilt, in all its happy, busy, boisterous colors and prints WAS my friend, in her better days. Sadly, she passed last Friday, but I was glad I had gotten the quilt finished, was there with her to say goodbye and tell her how much I loved her. Not much of a horror story, but her spirit lives on!
I made my very first quilt in 1972. We were very poor and I always had a yearning to keep my hands busy so I decided a quilt was the way to go. There wasn’t much around in the way of books or help and certainly no Internet so I designed the quilt myself.
There were 6 kids in our family and my mom kept tons of our drawings. They were mostly on 8-1/2 X 11″ paper. I chose 6 drawings for each kid. I got different colors of cotton poplin and traced the drawings on the cotton rectangles using carbon paper used in those days for making duplicate copies of typed papers. What a mess that was! Ink everywhere!
I embroidered each drawing, using the colors the kid used and adding their name and age. That took a really long time. I had a nice green and white gingham for the border and sashing strips around each block. Now for the problem.
Not until I began to lay out the blocks did I discover that all my planning had not included the fact some of the blocks were oriented to landscape and some to portrait! Having never made a quilt before, and having already invested the better part of a year to copy and embroider 36 blocks, I was thrown for a loop!
Once I had gathered myself, I moved ahead determinedly. Magically, I was able to set the blocks out in a cohesive order and put them together, making a full-sized quilt, hand quilting it and proudly presenting it to my parents.
My sewing sister and I were participating in the Fat Quarter Shop BooCrew QAL with Kimberly Jolly. Somehow, I manage to get ahead of my friend so I thought I would be nice and help set up her fabrics for the next sewing step. She dutifully sewed what I laid out for her. When we got to the step of laying it all out in the pattern, I realized I had a made a mistake on the feet of the cauldron. Of course, hers was wrong too since she did what I told her to do. I took out both the mistakes, “fixed it” and tried again. I had made the same mistake on both our blocks AGAIN! As they say, “Third time is the charm!” We finished them and now have something to laugh about since I was the “experienced” sewer.
One of my “not so happy” moments was when I was learning how to quilt on my domestic machine. I did not notice the quilt had folded underneath and I was quilting in a rather large fold in one of the corners of the quilt. Needless to say I too spent a lot of time ripping out the quilting stitches.
Oh boy. About 20 years ago when I was living in Fairbanks, AK, one of our wonderful quilt stores brought John Flynn up to teach some classes. What a fabulous quilt artist and teacher (and engineer)! I took a PaperPieces double wedding ring class (my first attempt at paper piecing), and used a beautiful brushed suede looking solid fabric (I can’t remember the name). In classes we always had a paper bag (lunch sized) taped on the edge of the table beside our sewing places. I’d taken an extra bag at the close of the day and class, to put my sewn pieces and printed paper templates into. Someone came around, like we did to help break down a class and collected all the paper bags. I didn’t realize until after that was done and I was ready to go, all my work, fabric, paper pieces were gone and had been thrown away. A hard lesson learned, to bring a container to put your sewn pieces into! And FYI, if, you ever have an opportunity to take a class from John Flynn, do so, you’ll learn so much about accurate piecing, up to 1/16” of an inch, and more!
I pieced a Jewel Box quilt several years ago, using swap blocks from friends. Got it layered and pin basted just before a hurricane was to come through Louisiana, so I put it in a plastic bag for safe-keeping. We moved north in 2015, and last winter when I decided to start quilting it found that most of the pins had rusted, so I’ve been slowly removing the stains and hand quilting a little at a time. I threw out all the older safety pins and made sure the new ones are all rust proof!
I was heading up a festival at work to make bring in donations for Breast Cancer. We were serving hamburgers and hot dogs, baked goods and some people had volunteered to donate crafts. I was making a cathedral window quilt to donate. I had been working on it was a week and the night before the festival, my sewing machine broke. At this time, I only had one sewing machine; now I have five. I was looking on the internet to find videos to fix my machine and ended up paying an online company to find someone who was familiar with my type of sewing machine to see if they could fix it. I did get a call and the gentleman was able to walk me through how to fix it. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to complete the original design I had planned for the quilt. I was able to do a mental reset and design a simpler, quicker way to finish the quilt. I made the cathedral windows I had completed the center of the quilt and added colorful fabric strips around the outside. I did a simple quilting stitch and add the remainder of the cathedral windows for the binding. The quilt was different and smaller than the original design, but no one knew and it was a hit at the festival.
My first quilt was a disaster. I ended up with 3 straight sides and one side that angles in by several inches. It is still in my WIPs stack. I keep thinking that one day I will know how to fix it?!?
Oh so many mistakes but the worst was when the quilt was sandwiched and quilted and then the rotary cutter was open on the table and somehow it made a big cut in the middle of the quilt, I just sat and cried and had to make a very small table topper out of it!!! I learned to close the rotary cutter every time i get done using it!!!!!
I remember my second large quilt. It was an Irish chain pattern we were making in a class. I was cutting the binding with scissors to join the final seam and the points of the scissors cut the top of the border. I did a zigzag stitch over it to keep it from raveling.
Those late nights sewing will have Jack join in every time! My worst horror is noticing I had the 2 halves of the quilt top together AFTER it was all quilted (professionally) and on my bed 🙃 Lessons we learnt from our mistakes.
It was a dark and eerie evening and bats were circling around the attic and my sew space. I could feel a witch’s breath on the back of my neck. I had a most troubling deadline looking before me…I set out that evening to cut some fabric for the quilt I was to make. I pressed my fabric to the sound of the ghost’s howling. Then I moved to the cutting table and got out my trusty creative grids ruler and rotary cutter. I made a few cuts and thought, as sacred as I was, this will go well after all.’ But it was not to be! I broke my concentration for a split second and before I knew it, there was deep, crimson red blood all over my fabric, ruler, rotary cutter, and the index finger I’d just sliced from the second knuckle all the way up to the cuticle! I bled for two days and the moral of the story is that when the bats are circling, and the witches breath is at your neck, it is NOT a good time to lose your focus!
My horror story is not about squares gone wrong (although I have had many of those!), it’s a lesson in checking your quilting tools before you start. I was making several tote bags, lined my ruler up for the next cut, opened my rotary cutter, put my hand on the ruler and started to cut. Well, my ruler had a knick in it so my rotary cutter jumped and landed on my index finger, cutting it from the first knuckle through the bone, yes, the bone, of my fingertip. It was a lovely sight. NOT. I had to have surgery to remove the tip of the finger. So, please, please, please, inspect your tools before you start! And always remember, those rotary blades can cut bone!
My quilting horror story is putting sew and flips on the wrong corners and trimming before checking.
I made a quilt with hand dyed fabrics and thought oh I better wash the top before quilting to set fabric. Haha the whole thing ran colors everywhere. It never got quilted or finished.
I bought a white “chalk” pencil from a quilt shop to mark the red fabric for top quilting. The markings have never come out despite washing. It is still in a bag in the corner of my sewing room never to be finished.
My horror story made me sick.
I worked on a king sized grandmothers flower garden for 4 years. Pieced by hand- not EPP. I finished it and love it! I consider it my greatest quilting achievement. About 6 months after finishing it I put on my bed.
We have 2 Rottweiler puppies- koa was still teething. She decided to chew 3 “bites” out of the side of my quilt! I followed the shape of the blocks so it’s not a straight binding. I am still trying to figure out how to repair. Do I just trim and rebind around her mouth shaped bites to make it a conversation point? Or do I just cut that side straight and rebind. Who knows what I will decide. Suffice it to say, I won’t put my quilts on my bed until our sweet Koa grows out of her chewing phase!
No real horror stories, but lots of lessons along the way!!
1. Always starch
2. Always measure precuts
3. Measure each block and trim as necessary
Then my number 1 rule for life, Always Have Fun.
I was making some applique bees from a Barbara Brandenburg (Cabbage Rose) pattern and I somehow ended up using fabric stiffener rather than starch to turn under the seam allowance on the bees. I managed to get a few of them actually sewn down, but each stitch pretty much took me using a pair of pliers to pull my needle through the fabric. I finally gave it up and have learned my lesson on making finished edge applique pieces. Thank you for all your wonderful videos.
Ok, so like so many who have posted I have my share of BooBoos for sure! But the first one that came to mind when I heard Kimberly mention this was the quilt I made a few years ago for Rubye, my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. A big party that took about a year to plan helped us celebrate that super big day. I had considered making a quilt for her early on but just could not seem to find the right pattern or the right fabric until one day I found “Little Ruby” fabric line by Bonnie and Camille. Perfect! Such happy and bright colors. I chose an easy hour-glass pattern thinking it would be beautiful! I made a bunch of the blocks and was so excited to see how they would look, so I laid them out on my spare bed to see! I could not imagine how terrible they looked. All of those colors all jammed up together was more than my brain could handle. No place for my eyes to rest. After consulting with my quilting friends, I decided it needed some sashing, which was not called for in the pattern. Super simple solution. The quilt was done and I had just completed the simple straight line quilting myself and was in the process of squaring up the quilt so I could sew the binding on. In one big swipe, my rotary blade cut through, like butter with a hot knife, the power cord on my sewing machine! Fzzztttzzzt! Everything went dark and quiet in my sewing room and in most of our basement. I had to sit down to try to think what I had done! First thing I did was to find a working outlet to plug my sewing machine into using a cord from my other (same brand) sewing machine. I was so worried that I had fried the electronics. Once plugged in to a working outlet the machine hummed once again. Whew! Since I was home alone I had to find the breaker box and figure out which breaker I had blown. Not an easy task but I pulled it off. Back down to the sewing room to continue squaring up the quilt. It never occurred to me what I would find returning to the quilt. Since my machine was turned on, electricity in the power cord, now exposed, actually burned a hole in the blade of my rotary cutter. YEP, it sure did. That’s what I saw first when I picked up my rotary cutter. Then I looked at my beautiful quilt. Black scorch marks marred the quilt in multiple places. AND a hole where the electricity went from the cord, through the blade and into the fabric. I went to work trying to clean up all of the black scorch marks, most of them being in the white sashing of course. I used almost a whole bottle of Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover. I was able to get all of the black marks removed but not without a LOT of tears and some really scary moments since the party was the next day and there was no time to wash and dry the quilt. Luckily the hole made in the quilt was able to be hidden in the binding of the quilt. When I replaced the power cord for my sewing machine I ran it along the front of the machine and not behind it, as before, where my cutting mat is. My mother-in-law loved the quilt and since her passing we now have it hanging on a quilt ladder in our bedroom. A reminder of how things can go wrong very quickly and I was very lucky the damage wasn’t much worse.
My horror story is much like Kimberly’s. About 6 years ago I got into quilting and figured it out as I went. Every time I went to Walmart I bought the $1 fat quarters. After buying way more than I needed I started cutting up squares with scissors eye balling the 4×4 squares🙄 then I pieced a baby size top. could not figure out how to baste or do the binding so I some how quilted and backed the quilt with a sheet bigger than the top. Then I finished it by laying right sides together sewing turning out then top stitching. It was a hot mess but didn’t look to bad. Here’s comes the horror. I washed it once and noticed seams were opening up so I top stitched them closed and chalked it up to bad sewing. Washed again a week later opened washer and the whole quilt was in pieces. The thread dissolved! I used the cheapest thread ever that came in a cheap sewing kit. Lesson learned. I buy very nice thread. Lol
As a long term quilter, I could write a book of my horror stories! One thing (I have done this more than once!) has to do with sewing sew-flip blocks and reversing the direction. Recently I sewed Leila Boutiques gorgeous butterfly quilt and pieced 4 of the blocks completely backwards and directionally incorrect and didn’t notice my mistakes until I was ready to put the rows together! That was a big “rip fest!”
One year I made quilts for each of my kids for Christmas. It was cold, and my hands were chapped, and I didn’t realize that the skin on one finger had cracked and was bleeding as I was pin basting the quilt, until I noticed little red dots on the white background! I rushed through the quilting so I could wash it as quickly as possible!
My first quilt. I bought a plastic template with flowers to hand quilt the over 100” x 100” quilt. The template was mis-stamped. One flower’s petal was obviously crooked. And I traced it and hand quilted it like that HUNDREDS of times. Bc the template had to be right, right?? Um, no. Using my experienced, critical brain now.
I’ve been quilting for over 25 years and have made dozens of quilts over that time. Of all the quilts I’ve made I only ever hand quilted two of them. One of them I treasure and display on a ladder in my living room. The only other person I would ever feel I could gift a hand quilted quilt to was my mother. At some point I noticed that my quilt was no longer displayed on the back of her couch. I asked her where it was and she sheepishly confessed that one night a bat flew into her tv room, she grabbed the closest thing at hand 😮, threw it over the bat, smacked it with a tennis racket and bundled everything up into a garbage bag…
I was seated next to a lady at a quilting retreat who was recovering from an injury with her sewing machine needle. She accidentally slipped her finger under the needle while sewing. The needle went through her false fingernail and into her finger! Unbelievable and horrifying!
One time I was doing free motion quilting on a quilt and was really into it watching the stitches, etc. When I finished, I tried to lift off the quilt only to realize that my cotton table cloth was getting caught up into the quilt and I had accidentally quilted my table cloth to the back of the quilt.
Needless to say, there was a lot of stitches to take out and now I always check periodically to make sure nothing gets caught in the back.
My first quilt was a disaster. I knew I wanted to be able to finish it all myself, so I decided to do quilt as you go. Being a you tube fanatic, I watched many videos about the technique. Let’s just summarize by saying you shouldn’t try to combine multiple methods when you’ve never made a quilt! It is in my crafting closet to this day. Maybe someday I’ll see if it can be rescued. I’m happy to say things are much better in my quilting world now!
My quilting “horror” story (I guess my definition is different but I’ll tell it anyway): I was happily chain-piecing late at night, after everyone (hubby and 2 grown sons) were in bed. Felt a creepy crawly slither down my leg. Screamed bloody murder and brought every single man in the house on a dead run. Turned out the creepy crawly was just the far end of my chain piecing….. 😲 I’m not allowed to chain-piece late at night anymore…. 🤣
So this happened in the beginning of my quilting journey. I was making a pouch for my Ipad and decided to try my to make the disappearing 4 patch, using left over pieces from a charm pack. Pressing open was not something I considered and I my moto was like, the faster the better… I did my front and my back. All looked good, I was pleased with the result. Now time to quilt. I had been watching youtube videos on free motion quilting and some didn’t use a darning foot, great for me because I didn’t have one. You know how you sometimes have to help the machine when you have bulky seams? That did happen for me. So I was just going to help it along, so I pushed the fabric forward and all of the sudden my needle hade broke. In my finger… After some googling I called my husband to come home and help me pull it out. And so he did. He was actually more freaked out than I was. Do I need to say that I bought a darning foot after that? And when I’m handling real small pieces I press open.
Much of my frustrations and fixes have already been documented in the blog and comments shared by so many. It’s actually comforting to see so many share the same series of unintentional mishaps. Something pretty recent for my was to make the Chandelier quilt for my daughter-in-law. Loved putting together the quilt top. Then she asked me to quilt it with straight lines going horizontally. I had visions of beautiful ornate swirls and loops. Yikies!! But I quilted it in straight lines for her. She loves it! And she sleeps under it ever night. Worth every minute of love and effort. Thank you Kimberly and everyone at Fat Quarter Shop for all you do! My new favorite quilting community!
Once upon a time, when this quilter was new to quilting, I created my first non-quilt as you go top. I decided to try quilting it myself. I used a spray basting and sandwiched the quilt. Then, I began the quilting, making a beautiful pattern on top of my curvy log cabin. Little did I know that the basting was not working on the backing. It had come completely off the batting and was bunching up underneath while I quilted. When I turned it over, I saw that the quilt was ruined. I had done so much quilting on top, I just could not get the stitches out. I had to throw out the quilt I spent over a month on. I was heartbroken.
My scary quilt story is my college daughter has a vintage clown doll and painting collection and due to my spouse’s job we relocate usually every 2 years. Well every time we move my quilting rulers, fabric, quilting supplies or custom quilt table insert goes missing or gets broken, yet ALL the vintage clown doll collection and paintings always shows up in move in PERFECT condition. LOL
I was hurry busy piecing and had all my fabric nicely stacked by my machine. Multi tasking is not my best activity but I didn’t listen to self and instead was listening to my weekly soap. As I was chain piecing I ran out of my pieces to which I was certain I had cut. I started looking all around, moving tools, moving existing pieces and shuffling everything. My pieces were missing! What the heck! I started to cut new pieces and instead decided to cut between the pieces I had chained first. Well to my shock, instead of picking up one piece, I had pieced the entire stack. Hurray to my machine (Juki) for stitching effortlessly thru the eight pieces, the entire stack!!
I’ve only been sewing a couple years and still seem to have an oops cutting something in every kit. I very much appreciate some extra fabric in each kit 😄
My scariest quilting horror story is the sheer number of UFO’s that haunt the corners of my sewing room. They hide in every nook and cranny and jump out at me when I least expect them. The scariest one in the monster Beachwalk applique BOM by McKenna Ryan. WTH was I thinking signing up for that one? Scary stuff.
My quilt horror story was I left the binding off a quilt I had given as a present. I had finished a quilt earlier in the year without binding thinking I would finish it later. As I was moving some things I wrapped it in tissue paper. When I wrapped the gift I just peeked into the tissue paper with the folded quilt sans binding. It was a surprise for both me and the recipient.
I was working late into the night to finish an intricately pieced miniature quilt for submission to a judged quilt show. I finished the top and was ready to start quilting when I noticed that 1 of the fussy cut squares in the center became slightly puckered when it was sewn in. I did not have time to fix it so I told myself it would quilt out…. Not true and I guess I knew at heart it would remain a problem. It really was very minor but in miniature quilts every little thing matters. Not taking the time to unsew and fix it cost me ribbon.
My quilting horror stories revolve around the half square triangle and its placement in quilts. I had just finished a quilt for our historical society raffle and entered it in the New Centerville, PA quilt show prior to giving it to the historical society. I had pieced the quilt, marked it, and hand quilted it without noticing that one 2 inch half square triangle was set at a 90 degree angle from where it should have been. I hadn’t even noticed the problem when I had to tear apart half the quilt because I had assembled one complete row incorrectly and that obviously stood out. The quilt was hanging on display at the show when I first saw the mistake. Even those in charge hadn’t noticed that misplaced square. Amazingly that quilt won a purple ribbon and plaque for the People’s Choice award that year. Now when I give quilts to my family for Christmas, they jokingly look for my Amish mistake as I am of Mennonite heritage.
Love Fatquartershop, wonderful products!
After arriving at a long-awaited quilting retreat, imagine my chagrin when I discovered my sewing machine power cord had been left behind at home — too far away to go back and retrieve. Fortunately, I had brought extra fabric, which I was able to cut up in preparation for future projects. I am forever grateful that, to my surprise, several other retreaters offered me their machines to use when they were not using them. Retreat saved!
I sew everything but wedding dresses however I decided to sew one of my best friend’s veil. Not hard, I was hand sewing lace appliqués to the netting around the edge. I got everything together and then I got phneumonia that July. By the time I recovered enough to start it it was about Sept. my hands always shook so I put on hand braces- which meant I couldn’t move my wrists. That made things harder for sure! The invisible thread always either broke or slipped out of the needle etc. I was hand sewing it. Knots wouldn’t stay, I kept thinking why did I do this by hand? I just kept going but I had to work on it for more than half the day each day until I got it done- her wedding was in Nov. I can’t tell you how challenging it was to work on that! I needed so much patience and sometimes it was really frustrating. I did end up finishing it the week before her wedding (or less!). It turns out really nicely but I’m not sure I’ll do another one using hand sewing! On a good note my hands got better and I think that sewing helped them to recover and get stronger 🙂
I learned the hard way that you should always piece on the same machine. I was making my first (and only!) king sized quilt for my own bed in a diamond-shaped log cabin. At the time, I was a teacher so did most of my sewing in the summer months as I have found that sewing in the evening after a days’s work created too many mistakes. This project took several summers to complete and during that time I purchased a new sewing machine. Imagine my horror when I finally finished all my diamonds and began to sew the completed pieces together to find the new ones were a slightly different size and my 1/4″ foot on my new machine was not the same as on the previous one! But, as all good quilters do, I fudged and made it work and the finished quilt sits on my bed today with none the wiser but me!
I’m making a quilt that requires 5 jelly roll strips be sewn together and then sub-cut into 10.5 inch squares. First….I CANNOT get my strips to be straight. THEN I cut the squares at 10 inch instead of 10.5. I can’t wait to get this quilt done as it seems to be one disaster after another.
My quilting horror story is my church quilting group was asked to make a quilt banner for our church 40th anniversary celebration. I took the lead as we decided to make an appliqué of the church emblem. We worked together picking out fabric and cutting out the designs. Not realizing until we saw it finished that I neglected to reverse the pattern. We were out of time and had to go with the finished banner backwards for the celebration!
My biggest quilt disaster story was when after finishing this beautiful, black, red, and silver Christmas quilt, I decided to wash it. I ended up with purple and pink quilt. I searched on-line on what to do. I ended up soaking the quilt in Dawn dish soap which got most of the bleeding red out. I now wash my quilts with color catchers or not at all!
I had my special longarm quilter quilt a top for me. I always clean up the back of my top of threads and have it pressed and put over a hanger so it won’t crease. Also provide the backing for the top. I USUALLY make sure there is extra backing. Wellll not this time. She called me and said it was short on the bottom. I picked up my quilt and added to the bottom and finished the 2-3 inches of quilting myself. Lesson measure twice and cut once. It did work out ok. whew!
I suppose my worst quilting horror story is when I was working on a large queen size quilt. I was doing a lot of new to me techniques on a medallion quilt that contained a lot of hand appliqué, which is the hardest quilting thing for me. I cut my next border strips, setting aside the extra yardage which was a smaller strip. Came back later, prepared my hand appliqué by gluing everything down, and over the next few weeks appliquéd it all, I went to sew on the borders and one side fit, completing a sun shape that stretched over the connecting border. The second border strip did not. Histrionics ensued and my husband tried to help while I tried not to have a breakdown. I kept going back and re measuring everything in desperate hope that I was wrong when finally it dawned on me. I had picked up the smaller, left over fabric cut off and appliquéd on that. There was no way to fudge it because the corners were supposed to complete a sun shape. In the end I packed it away for about six months and then, when the trauma has lessened, I appliquéd the same thing. Again. Lesson learned: I now mark everything I cut as I go. Jack the Ripper still makes a daily appearance but not to that magnitude. Quilting—it keeps you humble!
My mishap was really silly on my part….
Quilting late- put my rotary cutter in my mouth to quickly readjusty ruler– yes, yes… I know better…
I yawned and the cutter connected with my thumb, unfortunately- with the blade exposed
Yep- much blood, ugh
Lots of gauze later…
I looked like a mummy!
I thought I would be smart and chain link some squares as they were supposed to go together. Problem is I chain linked them horizontally rather than vertically and didn’t realize it until I had finished all 200 squares. I laid them out and realized the pattern was way off for the shape. I had to undo all my chain links plus resew them all. Some of the fabric was a little delicate and did not appreciate me taking out stitches and so I had to recut about 50 of them. It was a mess and has made me a little more timid and careful about doing chain linking. It is amazing all the things you can think about when you are undoing stitches. LOL!
I was participating in my local quilt shop’s annual block-a-month. You finish the block and the next month you take it in and get the kit for the next block at a reduced rate. One Saturday morning I was happily cutting when my husband walked through talking to me and the dog started barking at the same time. When the chaos passed, I resumed with the cut I was about to make…which was wrong! There wasn’t enough extra fabric in the kit to cut another one and I couldn’t piece the leftovers to get a piece big enough. On Monday I went back to the shop to buy a fat quarter to fix my mistake. I had to admit to what happened. They laughed and said they keep scraps for such emergencies and gave me a small piece at no charge. Now I try to get all my cutting done during the week when the house is quiet!
All of my Quilting horror stories center around one specific thing. Me being distracted by either television, a movie, or a book I’m listening to. It has happened repeatedly so I have learned that I can only have the radio on or a movie/series that I have watched a dozen times. It has to be something I do not have to pay attention to. I don’t know how Kimberly does it.
I was making a bargello quilt in a class and was diligently sewing on it after work one evening. I was enjoying sewing on my new Juki and everything was going well. I finally realized I had “sewn” five WOF strips with no bobbin thread. I definitely pay closer attention to what has passed under my needle.
Over 25 years ago, I started cutting pattern pieces out for a twin size quilt and lost the pattern. I got 1/2 the material cut and suddenly no pattern. Looked everywhere, I am guessing it went into the trash by accident. Never found it. I was so new to quilt patterns and the internet and home computers were not like they are now. I ended up putting it in a box and shoving it in a closet or under a bed. I just started a new quilt, new fabric and went on like I had not messed up.
I decided to trim up some blocks with scissors while I watched television. I had a lap full of HSTs and somehow I trimmed my shirt along with one of the blocks.
I have a three-fer. So it’s been a few years since I quilted and wanted to make my son a quilt. Fabric was picked out, pattern was chosen and I was ready to go. I was attempting flying geese (no tools, just me thinking it was “easy”) for my first time. All blocks were 6″ (more like 6″-esque), and I was making the quilt a little bit bigger, so I made extra blocks, steam pressed them all. I made roughly 80-90 blocks and when it came time to trim them down to lay out and put together, I realized I had ink lines everywhere!
I USED A BALLPOINT PEN TO DRAW THE DIAGONAL LINES!!!!! What was I thinking???!!! I knew better, but didn’t notice the lines until the end because I was struggling so much with the flying geese and lines not matching up, I wasn’t using logic elsewhere. I did look it up and found out that rubbing alcohol will get rid of the ink, and it does for the most part. However, I was so fed up with the whole process, I tabled it for now and got more fabric to make a simpler pattern with much more success. So there you go-ballpoint pen on fabric + nothing lining up at all + different sized finished blocks. Talk about lessons learned! At least I learned a lot on one project!!!
As a side note, I will do something with those blocks, it will be a fail quilt at some point that will live in my house and keep us warm just the same. All I have to do is soak all of those blocks!
My very first quilt that I made was when I was 16. While was cutting out the fabrics I cut my left thumb pretty bad with the rotary blade cutter. There was blood everywhere all over my mother’s kitchen but I didn’t get any on my quilt! This was 24 years ago and I still have thus quilt. It is on my 18 year old son’s bed. I did learn my lesson and have been super careful ever since.
Kimberly, I can truly relate to the quilt marking fiasco and feel your pain. Early on in my quilting career I made a beautiful Christmas wall hanging. I decided to quilt it myself, and proceeded to mark a stipple quilting line with a water erasable marker. Good idea, right? Wrong! After quilting I sprayed the quilt with water, expecting it to disappear. It did but when dry, the markings had transferred to the back side of the wall hanging. So I sprayed it again, and again the markings disappeared only to re emerge on the front. So finally I decided to spray one more time and just leave the markings on the back. To this day, the markings are still on the back. Even though the marking pen did not do what it said it would do, but you can say the markings are truly durable!
After finishing free motion quilting with my table top machine, I proudly held it up and admired the front, and then turned to look at the back and saw that an errant piece of fabric somehow got stuck to the back and was quilted in place. So frustrating to undo part of the quilting to get it off and then try to recreate the stitches again. Now, I make sure there’s nothing on or near my quilting area before proceeding to quilt!
My worst mistakes come from not readying the pattern correctly, cutting too small, sewing seams more than 1/4 inch, and not pressing open. I’m working to hard to finding because “finished is better than perfect”. I’m really not on any timetable, and Just once I’d like something to fit together without having to add “cheat” fabric to one side or another.
My horror story mimics Elva’s where I was supposed to cut 4.5 in squares but actually cut 4.5 x 4 rectangles. I wondered why they looked funny. Measure twice, three times, four times. Ever since my (costly) mistake I measure throughout my piecing. Another reason I LOVE FQS directions.
It was a DARK and STORY night… (which is the PERFECT night to start quilting a finished quilt top, or so I thought). I was so enamored with the sound of rain raging against the front wall of my sewing room, and nonstop lightning flashes, that I didn’t even notice that I had forgotten to change the “very full” bobbin thread to a color which matched my backing fabric. By the time the bobbin ran out of thread, and I realized my mistake, it was too late. My quilt backing will forever have a stand-out thread pattern, because, a dark and stormy night is NO night for a date with Jack-The-Seam-Ripper!
Scary story #1; I made a baby blanket for a sister of a really close friend. It was a zipper pattern. I labeled it ‘Zip It’. Essentially, I told her baby to “zip it”. *face palm*
Scary Story #2; I was almost done making a 10ft x 10ft quilt. I was doing the meander stippling and was 3/4 of the way done. Then my sewing machine gave up the ghost. I went to the undertaker (a.k.a. sewing machine shop) and said a prayer over it’s metal and plastic. It was a gonner. I was able to bring to life a second hand Janome and it seems scared to die! I occasionally whisper the story of it’s predecessor. Muaaaa haaa haaaaaaaa!
I was making a pouch out of fabric I had quilted. I was at the step for inserting the zipper. The steps called for using a zipper longer than the area. Then before cutting off the top ends the zipper pull was to be placed in the body of the pouch so as not to cut it off. I got through all the steps with beautiful stitching and neglected to move the zipper pull. I was unable to get the pull back onto the zipper, so out came the stitch ripper and I had to redo the whole thing. Next try proceeded well with the stitching, but proving I was clearly too tired I cut off the zipper pull yet again. Argh! A break and a trip to the store was required after that. Yes, I did eventually finish the project.
The first quilt I made I did everything right Had the quilt ready for long arm quilting and then What do I do? I decide that I needed to cut the backing and batting even with the top of the quilt. What was I thinking? I had to buy more backing and batting .
My biggest one is setting everything out exactly for a block, then somehow still getting it turned the wrong way!
Several years ago I was working on the borders for our guild raffle quilt. It was a lovely appliqué design, using an Edita Sitar’s pattern with spools in the middle and an appliqué border. At the time I had an old dog who was sometimes “stinky”, so I would often light a candle. Good thing I had taken the borders off the middle of the quilt, as it caught fire! Luckily I had enough of the border fabric left to make a new side border. No more candles in the sewing room for me!!
I cut almost a whole quilt at 2inch strips instead of 2.5inches. Thankfully I had way more fabric than required so more cutting. Time wasted. I gave the strips to a friend I couldn’t use.
I hand appliquéd a large Dresden plate to the background fabric. When I was done, I realized I got some chocolate on the background. I was able to remove the chocolate, but it left a light spot where I removed the chocolate. I had to rip out all of my tiny appliqué stitches and sew my Dresden to a new background piece.
Ugh, I won’t do that again!
New to quilting, I was so proud cutting my fabric so perfectly. I saw one cut that was just a tad off. I learned quickly to always push the rotary cutter away not pull towards. The 1/2” belly scare reminds me often of how fortunate I was that day!!
My mom introduced me to quilting when my children were very young. She also had a very lovely quilt shop very close to her house. So on a weekend visit, I went shopping and bought fabric for my next project- an Irish chain quilt. She also offered to corral the kids so hubby and I could indulge in our hobbies. He went off to the golf course and I hid away to sew. I borrowed her featherweight and off I went to sew to my hearts content. I did not realize that the foot on her little featherweight was not a quarter inch foot. It looked the same size as the foot on my machine back home. I made a whole bunch of blocks that weekend. So much fun! I continued making blocks on my machine back home…I’m sure you can tell where this story is going. When it came to putting both sets of blocks together, I realized that my quarter inch seams from my mom’s machine were not quarter inch seams. That quilt is still in a bag somewhere. So the moral of the story is, double check your quarter inch seam. I have not made that mistake since then.
In 1992, I was putting clothes away in the bottom drawer of my young daughter’s dresser, kneeling on the carpet and felt the most intense pain i’ve ever felt. Could not bend my knee at all, excruciating. and a small blister of blood but could not move at all and the pain was intense. Ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance and after an x-ray, there was several pieces of a between quilting needle underneath my knee cap. It had been in the carpet, I’d kneeled on it, and driven it in the knee and under the bone where it was now in pieces. 5 surgeries that day to remove the pieces. However, 20 years later, walking along, my knee suddenly gave out and I sprawled on the ground for no apparent reason, but couldn’t get up. Trip to the Orthopedic specialist. Technology had improved and with advanced imagining, they could see a teeny tiny little piece of the needle, so tiny it was missed easily in 1992, but not so tiny that over 20 years it hadn’t shredded the cartilage in my knee. Another surgery and my knee still gives me trouble at times. Do i have any carpet in my home? NO do I heartily recommend magnetic pincushions? LOL YES!
For my first quilt I read the ruler wrong and so cut all my fabric strips too narrow + I didn’t know how to fold the fabric so I had a really pronounced kink so when I sewed the strips together they were a mess. I could see I wouldn’t have enough good blocks to follow the pattern not to mention all the blocks being too small. It was a total disaster. Covid prevented my new quilt group from meeting so I couldn’t get their advice but it led me to searching out YouTube videos which is how I found FQS so the story has a happy ending! My quilting skills have greatly improved thanks to your help.
My first quilt I appliqué teddy bears on the top and then I thought to fill them with poly fill… just stuff with the fluffy batting and it looked so cute!!! Until it got washed. ❤️❤️❤️ Hard balls/knots…
I was working on a mystery quilt with our guild that included many of the snail tail blocks. About three times around the twirl, I measured one in preparation to square up the block. I realized the desired size was smaller than a whole previous round. As I pondered what was wrong, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to square up the four-patch in the middle to the correct size. This had thrown off every round after that. I had to rip everything out back to the initial four-patch and see all the rounds again!!
My biggest quilting mistake would have to be measuring when I first started. I would end up with pieces that were not all the right size. They ended up in other projects. I have learned many things by watching quilt videos and checking my measuring more than once. I have used two different machines and have also learned by having to rip a lot out that not all sewing machine quarter inch feet are the same. Ugh!
Time is of the essence for my current project because it is headed halfway around the globe – with my grandson whose dad’s job is sending him to Tokyo for two years in just a few weeks! Needing an easy pattern, I chose one from Fabric Cafe’sThree Yard Quilts, opting for six yards to make it larger. Realized last night that I miscalculated the measurement for outer borders so I’ll rush to my LQS in hopes that more of the dark gray is still available. If not, some rapid and creative thinking will be required.
I was making a minky and flannel rag quilt for the first time and couldn’t believe how thick it was! Well, I never thought my fat finger could ever get under the needle and the presser foot, even doing normal sewing, and it looked at least 2 to 3 inches high with minky, flannel, batting too. I looked away for a moment and had to look back because the machine was beeping, and my index finger got sewn into the quilt! I sat there for a moment in shock, wondering what I should do. The pain was setting in, so I decided I didn’t want to rip my finger so I used the turn wheel to raise it, got my finger out and had to clean all the blood up. I’ve always worried about the rotary cutter but the needle got me first! Now I watch how close my fingers are, because the fabric can literally pull it in! Definitely learned something new the hard way! Thanks
Ha! I am most what is a confident beginner…my mistakes of many…I now watch that ruler b/c my cuts where coming tilted! ( on everything) So I learn to now match the upper line on the cutting mat and fabric line…so much better!
My horror story:
My very first quilt. I took a class at a local fabric store with a family member who wanted to learn how to quilt. Sure, I’ll take it with you. I had no idea what I was getting into. We decided to make a flannel quilt and went to the big box store and bought the fabric. I had no idea what was involved. I didn’t know what a hst was or even know how to trim them to size. I had seams that didn’t match. Let’s talk about the machine and tension. Good grieve, did I have problems. Let’s just say, the family member finished her quilt and mine ended up packed away for 20+ years before I decided that I wanted to really learn how to piece quilt tops. Now, my seams match, hst are a breeze. I have been sewing for just over a year and gave myself a rule to follow….any quilt started HAS to be finished in the same year. I am currently working on the binding for 6 quilts by the end of the year. The flannel quilt is still packed away.