Tag Archives: topstitching

Sewing Bloopers

My last post presenting my denims shorts and breezy Hawaiian top ran a little long so I’m giving my mistakes their own post.  Even though these were very successful makes, I made some major and minor goofs along the way.

When sewing, I often try to ignore that sound from the machine when something is going wrong.  This is what happens on the underside of the fabric when the the thread slips off a contact point in the upper threading. I used to think this was a bobbin problem, but it was very apparent that it was an upper threading problem as the beautiful contrasting topstitching thread was only used on top, and the bobbin thread was an all purpose blue thread. I had to keep rethreading as I worked on the shorts, as I needed regular all purpose thread for the top thread when sewing the seams.

Not all of my topstitching went smoothly. Some wandered off the rails.  Part of the bottom edge stitching was ripped out and redone.

I sewed one of the pieces on the back yoke backwards, and I even topstitched it before I realized my mistake.

Here I was almost done, and doing the bar tacks on the back pockets. When I put the fabric under the needle I settled on the wrong spot, and was bar tacking right in the middle of the back yoke. Oops!

I already showed the photo of the cracked rivet placed next to a very nice example of topstitching and successfully installed rivet.

I also had to redo one of the armholes on my Hawaiian top after I had already sewn on the bias binding, because it was too high and tight, and take in one side of the neckline.  I’m not a perfectionist, but if there is a problem that will keep me from enjoying wearing a garment or from wearing it altogether, it is worth the time to fix.

What mistakes? I’m very happy wearing these two classic summer pieces!


Denim Shorts and a Refashion For Two

I have been holding on to about a yard and a half of stretch denim I bought at my now closed neighborhood thrift store for several years.

It wasn’t quite enough for a long pants version of the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans, so I decided to use the same pattern for a shorts version.  I already sewed this pattern two times previously this year: these green pants and these gray pants.

I bought topstitching thread and jeans rivets for this make. I’ve read about some machines not being able to handle the thickness of topstitching thread so i practiced on a scrap.  This thread’s thick!

comparison of all purpose thread and topstitching thread

No problems and looking good!

I also practiced installing a rivet.  They are installed by making a hole in the fabric with an awl, and then hammering them in.  The difficult part for me was cutting down the posts, as I didn’t have a tool strong enough.

If the post is too long it will crack through the rivet.

one rivet installed, discarded cracked rivet on the right

I had to improvise to find a hard surface for hammering them in.  I used the back of a cast iron skillet.  Next time I will follow advice to use a block of wood.

I chose to eliminate the back leg seam of the original pattern.  The previous time I made the pattern I traced a new pattern piece after sewing the two back pieces together.

I love these shorts!  The fit is perfect. The waistband stays put with no slippage yet they are very comfortable when sitting down.  I haven’t had a pair of denim shorts that fit for several years, and they go with so many of my summer tops. The shorts have creases in the photos because I couldn’t wait until I photographed them to start wearing them!

front view

back pockets

front pocket bags

In the top photo I’m wearing them with my I love this fabric refashion,  but I have a new refashion to show you.

I’ve had this knee length rayon challis dress with a beautiful Hawaiian print in my closet for almost 20 years.  I’ve gained weight over the years and it no longer fit, but still I hung on to it.

I laid another refashioned rayon sleeveless top over the bottom of the dress, and thought it would be just wide enough to make a top.  I used store bought bias tape for the armholes and neckline.  I didn’t take apart the side seams so had to pinch out armhole darts to remove the excess flap of fabric that formed when I tried the top on.


I love it!  I like the way the high side slits from the original dress hem show off my rivets ( I put 4 in the front) on the shorts.

What to do with the top of the dress?

I saved the best for last…..

I grabbed the leis for some twinning with my dog Sparky in his matching shirt.

I am so thrilled to add these two pieces to my closet.  They will be summer staples for me!