Crafting Fails

Ever have one of those days? You leave the machine for five measly minutes and that’s all the sewing gnomes need to completely wreak havoc on your beautiful project. Or your machine decides it’s possessed and takes your sewing project into it’s own diabolical hands. Never fret.

We’ve all been there. Heck you can see how it happened to me on our latest project.

We asked the question on facebook, and got all kinds of fun responses. Here are a few occasions that fellow Urban Threadsters have shared of their most interesting mishaps or their most epic fails…


Sandy – Lots to mention, but the one that stands out the best was the day I sewed my finger at 1000 stitches a minute.

Julia – When I sew a project, I quite literally cannot complete it without sewing at least one seam backwards. Every time.

Elfie is an Embroidery Wizard

Elfie - See how I can make the thread jump out of the needle... WITHOUT BREAKING OFF THE DESIGN! It's either me, or the machine's been possessed again.

Angela – My biggest to date is just the good ol’ sewing my fabric into my embroidery design. SO FRUSTRATING (yet it has been repeated MORE THAN ONCE lol)

Catherine -I think my best one was forgetting to close the bobbin surround and ended up losing a needle, catching the cutting mechanism, braking a small piece off the bobbin case and bending the needle protector. Luckily with a couple of yanks and a few swears, everything moved back into place. I did end up putting a nice whole through my project though.

Lora – I think my most epic fail was when I was embroidering my first customer’s blanket that was also a gift for his troop leader. I ended up picking a font that was too thin and the thread was so dark that you couldn’t see the wording after I had washed away the stabilizer. So naturally I tried to rehoop and embroider it again only to get it slightly off the mark but it ended up looking like a shadow that I did on purpose. Thinking all was well I started taking it off the hoop only to discover somehow I had put a hole in it. I ended up making a small fleur de lis patch and sewing it by hand over the hole. Thank goodness my first customer was also a really good friend and he just laughed it off but boy was my face red!


Kristy -Embroidered myself while putting a name on my daughter's new beach towel. You can see half the needle in my finger. The other half was still on the machine. Ouch!

Brianne -A 92,000 stitch full back on a carhart jacket running 6 at a time, last minute rush- and 3 of them popped out of the hoop at 20K stitches to go. 🙁  I yelled the f word very loud.

Kei – I was making a sheet (full 360×200 hoop) of patches, on the final colours. I had been watching over the machine for 45 minutes when I got up to go get some water, I hear my husband yell “OH SHI-” and I come running in to find the entire hoop’s worth of fabric balled up in a tiny disaster about 4×6 and all underneathe of the needle. I spent 2 hours fixed it and salvaging what I could =/

Margaret - I live in Bryan/College Station, TX, home of Texas A&M University, and the girls here have a fad of wearing dresses made out of a favorite Aggie t-shirt to the football games. They call them "game day dresses." I was sewing away on one of these and at the last minute realized I had sewed the t-shirt part upside down. It was too funny. I think I must have been working too hard.

Judy – My motto is never turn your back on the little darling, much less leave the room! I was finishing a border on a Pashimi scarf, turned 90 degrees to my laptop and all H### broke loose. When I turned back to the machine the shawl was both under and through the embroidery foot. No saving without a big hole. Some day, I’ll cut the end off and start over!

Kristina – The damn needle broke in half in the middle of a scary scarecrow design. I still had to cut the needle with wire cutters and then I was able to release the hoop. Then as I was removing the top part of the needle, still in the machine, it drops into the gears below. Fearfull that nothing was going to work I turn it around and even upside down but that sharp part of the needle never fell out. Everytime I start a new design I fear this is the last time it will work.

Cathy – Never stitch late at night when tired. I have a Christmas tea towel I use in my kitchen that says “elgnij”. A design I mistakenly mirrored, instead of flipping, on my computer screen (“jingle” backwards).


So Urban Threadsters, don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us. Got an epic fail story to share? Leave it in the comments below, e-mail us, or you can upload an epic fail pic to our flickr group and tag it fail. We’ll keep sharing them as long as they keep coming in!

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28 Responses to “Crafting Fails”

  1. 1
    Jenny B. says:

    I decided to make the adorable “Adorkable” monkey on a shirt for my daughter. It stitched beautifully, then I took it off and realized I had put it on the back of the shirt instead of the front! You should also never drink and Embroider. One night I was enjoying a lovely rum and coke and decided to do the “Here there be Monsters” on a sweatshirt for hubby. He wears it proudly even though it is off center and slightly tilted! LOL

  2. 2
    Jean says:

    Gosh, for me it seems most projects are fails. I’m still learning. Every now and then one turns out.

  3. 3
    Cindy Knight says:

    I was making a very sheer jacket with french seams. It came out beautifully until I realized that I had reversed the left and right front pieces. I ended up having to rip out the shoulder seams. It took over 2 hours per seam. I said a lot of naughty words and I now always double check the front pieces, especially with french seams.

  4. 4
    stitchfork says:

    We’re all in good company! That elgnij towel is still used in my kitchen!
    xo Cathy

  5. 5
    Tiffanie says:

    I am so glad it isn’t just me! I am always having something crazy happen with my machine. I swear there is a poltergeist in my sewing room because if I sit there and watch every stitch then all is well but the minute I turn my back it screws up! I am always thrilled to get an entire design finished without issues 🙂

  6. 6

    While this isn’t embroidery, this is my WORST crafting/sewing calamity to date. I was making a Christmas Party outfit with Velvet trousers and a beautiful Silk Charmeuse 1930’s blouse and I cut the second piece of the top out the wrong way on the fabric. Three. Times! This was over three years ago, and the project is STILL in a bag in my closet. It was a sad sad project.

    • Marque says:

      I feel your pain. I do the similar thing with baking (and I ALWAYS read the recipe through and through before starting) and somehow always manage to severely screw something up.

      That’s why I (ought to) stick to sewing!

  7. 7
    Judith says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t more blood. I’ve bled on half the pieces I’ve made, after stabbing myself with the needle. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m bleeding. Luckily, I’ve always managed to get the blood washed out.

  8. 8

    When I was first learning, I followed the recommended thread colors on my machine’s computer screen only to figure out many stitches later that I was embroidering a green monkey flying through the air on one of my tropical wallhangings.

    On that same wallhanging, the hoop slipped out of place on one of the birds & while I was able to get it back relatively closely to the same place, it wasn’t perfect. So that bird has a thick neck and my husband teases me that it is the “babushka bird”. To emphasis the joke, he’ll stand by the wallhanging, pull his t-shirt at the neck over his head and caw!

    But, the silver lining is that once I was done with that monstrous wallhanging, he said, “there’s no way you can continue working like this with that machine. Go buy the big one (Babylock BMP)!” Tee hee. Caw! Caw!

  9. 9

    @Margaret, Looks good to me! Go Sooners!!

  10. 10

    I have alot of boo-boo’s-all in the garbage of course. Except the time I was embroidering some ties for a customer, all was going well until I took them off the hoop, I realized I embroidered the tail end of the tie to the back! Almost in tears, I sat and picked for hours. Silk is not easy to rip apart. She hasn’t asked for anything since!

  11. 11
    Saralinda says:

    The worst mistake I ever made did not even need a sewing machine. I was hand embroidering Christmas ornaments for my little girls. It was late at night and I was so (sew) tired that I mispelled one of their names but didn’t realize it until she pointed it out to me on Christmas Morning. She’s all grown up now and I think the ornament is still displayed on her tree every year.

  12. 12
    Jenna W. says:

    T-shirts! I’ve destroyed soooo many t-shirts. They seem so simple, and yet I screw them up more often than not. Between the machine eating them, accidentally hooping them wrong, or not paying attention to my color changes and loading my colors out of order, I’ve just about given up on the darned things!

  13. 13
    Giliell says:

    Oh yes, my speciality is sleeves getting caught underneath the hoop.
    Since them the Moon-fairy sweater has become the Moon-fairy T-shirt.

    One time, my machine really went crazy. I had managed to embroider 5 UT steampunk designs onto my new hoodie. The last one was the map and I worked it as an applique because the hoodie is dark red.
    When it came to stiching the final edge, for some completly mysterious reason, the machine moved it some mm to the left.
    I ended up removing everything carefully and doing it all again.
    I was crying. I’d been looking forward to finishing it that night and washing it immediately, and then I spent two more days on it because it had f… up on the last colour to run.

  14. 14
    amy says:

    I’m pretty good at putting embroidery designs on cotton, but if I try a t-shirt, all bets are off. I’ve stitched the front to the back, the bottom hem will slip up into the design, or I’ll catch just a corner of a sleeve that somehow manages to slip in while I’m trying to watch it. I made coordinating shirts for my kids for Christmas and two of them turned out great the first time. I had to buy two extra shirts for my third child because something got messed up and I had to toss the whole shirt! Twice!

  15. 15
    Dorothy says:

    I got a coverstitch machine and my hems looked wonderful.
    But, I was converting an overlarge high school spirit t-shirt into a small without losing any words. I had taken off the sleeves and slimmed the body and shortened the shirt. Looked good, I was proud of myself… Until I noticed that one of the sleeves was inside out.
    I was ready with my seam ripper but the teen said she wanted to keep it that way so she would know which shirt was hers.

  16. 16
    Clem says:

    I put a really cute honey bear on a grand daughter’s purple shirt. I watched it very carefully. ( I know those little tricksters are always lurking 😉 ) My DH called me, I turned to tell him “wait” turned back and realized the lower hem got caught. Not a problem. I carefully cut it away, added a piece of yellow fabric to look like a bee hive. Voila. problem fixed… No wait, lets add a honey bee. Dang, he is flying upside down. Again, no problem because bees can do that you know. I added another bee. (Yes, I know, leave well enough alone). Perfect. Right position, right side up… DANG!!! the front is attached to the back. I cannot get my hoop off without cutting it. Now it is not even salvage-able.. Three years later I still have that shirt as my little reminder…. Stop while you are doing well. 🙂

  17. 17
    ande says:

    Oh no! I have sleeve problems too – for some reason, my brain just doesn’t grok the mechanics involved with getting them on. I’m otherwise very good with spatial relationships! I always pin them on first along the alleged seamline, which at least keeps me from having to use the seam ripper.

    Also I’ve learned never to trust the machine’s color suggestions, because the machine has this prank idea of color schemes.

    Flying green monkey, LOL – I would have kept it there…

    My biggest frustrations involved machine lace – I love the designs here on UT, but for the longest time couldn’t get the water soluable stuff to work (even the thick sheets sometimes cause problems). This would have been OK if the problems happened early on, but no, it’s during the end, and the whole design would start coming loose from the stabilizer! A friend of mine told me about a fiber-y sort of water soluable stabilizer, available by the yard off a bolt (and a heck of a lot cheaper). ONE store here in a 20 mile range has it… but it’s worth the drive. Voila!! No more effed up lace! yay!!

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