Mistakes, and how to fix them (or not)…

Mistakes, and how to fix them (or not)…

Usually, when we share work with others, we tend to show the things that we’re proud of, or very happy with. Seldom do we talk about what didn’t go well. Today I’m doing just that (again! Remember my waistcoat? It’s still lingering in my Unfinished pile). Get ready for a couple of mistakes and some possible solutions, maybe…

One: The mannequin

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a website that creates a personalised sewing pattern to make a mannequin after your own body measurements. Since the one I had at the time wasn’t true to my figure, I went ahead and splurged on this.

I sewed the thing and followed the instructions. I was very excited! A true-to-form mannequin would mean I could make sure my patterns would fit me perfectly. In theory, at least.
Well… I stuffed it. Literally and figuratively! I had to add stuffing to the thing, and discovered there’s an art to adding fluff and moulding a 3D object in order for it to conform to what you want. Let’s just say my efforts were less than stellar. Attest for yourself!

Not to put a too fine point over the issue, but I’m really not that er, wavy? I think I made a couple of sewing mistakes (note the lower belly, there’s definitely a stitch or two that’s bunched up), but my capital crime was definitely not stuffing the mannequin as instructed, which was to add little bits of fluff at a time. I should know better.
Also, there’s another *ahem* area that definitely didn’t get stuffed as needed, don’t ask me why. That pair would not get a job in a Las Vegas show…

The solution

I can either remove all the stuffing and do it all over again, or I can admit defeat and start another mannequin and also correct the sewing mistakes. Removing the stuffing will be an interesting feat, I have this nightmarish idea that it’ll all bounce back in my face and I’ll drown in fluff.

Which one do you vote for: redoing it or re-stuffing it?

Two: The knitted jumper

Remember the cardigan I knit a while back, and hand dyed afterwards? (Sorry for the lack of link, I couldn’t find it). I had liked the pattern so much, I made a few more, then decided to adapt it to create a jumper (that’s a “sweater” for you American folk, although I promise I don’t intend to do much sweating in it! Then again, I don’t intend to do much jumping either.)

Well… I’m a huge proponent of test swatching everything beforehand to make sure it fit, but I’d knit this before in another format, how much different could this new version be? Turns out, quite a bit.

Even though we know the mannequin didn’t quite come out as expected, the measurements are quite correct. See all that extra “fabric” in the chest area? It’s like that on both sides. Argh.

The solution

I can’t really take this apart and re-knit it. Let me rephrase that: because I don’t want to lose the will to live, I’m not going to take this apart and re-knit it. What I can do, however, is take the excess volume away by either steeking (a technique that involves cutting the yarn and putting it back together, it’s very nerve racking!) or I can go the easier way and, using the sewing machine, simply sew it tighter on both sides.

Steeking would afford me the opportunity to learn a new-to-me technique, but it could go horribly wrong and I’d end up with no jumper and a lot of grief. Sewing it would definitely work, but you’d see a line on the upper sides that might look a bit terrible.
Which would you choose?

Three: the shawl

Finally, my favourite. This shawl was hand knit during a couple of weeks and I love it. This was a commission, so it’ll be heading off to its new home soon.

If you think beading a shawl is hard work, you’re absolutely right! The edging you see here, with those cute little scallops, was also a very time-consuming affair. The end result is glorious, though.

The problem and the solution

The problem I had with it was, I dropped a stitch and didn’t notice until I was all done binding off, washing and blocking it! Facepalm moment.
I immediately put a stitch marker to stop it unravelling and promptly went to work to fix this mistake.

I put the stitch marker over the stitches the dropped one should have connected with so I didn’t lose my place. I then took out my crochet hook and went to work.

After I got the stitches together correctly, I added a tiny string of the same yarn to close it off. I’m sure there are “better” ways to do this out there, but this worked for me. Once I was done, I don’t think you can see where the dropped stitch was. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Here is this beauty in all its glory, ready to become an heirloom in another country very soon.

There you have it, the ups and downs of a maker. I hope you enjoyed going through these with me, and thank you in advance for your suggestions on what to do with the first two.

As ever, here’s a photo of a cute feline to finish the post. Marshmallow was looking all regal and dainty whilst enjoying the sun, but of course once I pointed the camera this happened…

“The paparazzi never leave me alone!”

Enjoy your weekend, and “see” you in my next blog post!

27 thoughts on “Mistakes, and how to fix them (or not)…

  1. Firstly, kudos to you for making the dummy! Here’s a vote for just re-stuffing – do those couple of stitches really matter?

    Steeking sounds like a nightmare – sewing sounds like the safe option. However it all depends on your mood at the time when you decide to tackle the problem.

    You did a great job with the dropped stitch and the shawl is a beauty – as is Marshmallow.

    1. Thanks, Lyn! I must confess I might be more fearful of removing the stuffing than I am of sewing another mannequin… But I’ll keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜€

      Steeking is one of those techniques knitters really fear, but those I’ve seen who’ve mastered it seem super happy with the results and proud of themselves. On the other hand, sewing would be sorted in minutes.
      Is it any wonder I ask for help for these decisions?

      Marshmallow says thank you! Right after that photo she started purring, stood up and demanded pets. She’s such a cuddle bug ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thanks for a great post. It’s always nice to know that everyone else doesn’t get everything right the first time. I would re-stuff the mannequin, I think. I know absolutely nothing about knitting. I guess it will depend on your mood as to what technique to pick. The shawl is gorgeous. Marshmallow is adorable and already bored with her audience.๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thanks for reading, Ruth! I think I could fill a book with the things I don’t get right the first time ๐Ÿ™‚

      Ok, so that’s two votes for re-stuffing.

      Marshmallow is cute and she knows it!

  3. The mannequin is a problem. but you don’t want to waist the stuffing so will you take it apart and reuse it for the next one? if you going to do that why not just re-stuff.
    I have 3 steeked heavy wool sweaters my mother did. You have to baste it before cutting. Are you steeking the side steam or putting in a dart? if its a dart do the basting to see how it looks.
    I can’t see the fix in the shawl. It is gorgeous.
    Cats are like that.Good thing we love them. Sheep are worse, every time you take out a camera they turn and look to see whats behind them that you are taking a picture of. LOL

    1. If I created a new one, I’d keep this one as decoration, so I wouldn’t be removing the stuffing… Fun fact: I used regular stuffing and some fleece I felted by mistake for the inside of that mannequin ๐Ÿ™‚

      The jumper doesn’t have a side seam, but that’s essentially where I’d be steeking it, yes. I need to remove a couple of inches from each side, so I don’t think a dart would do it.

      Yay! I honestly can’t anymore, so that’s a win.

      Cats and sheep are lucky they’re cute! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Love hearing about others mistakes. Itโ€™s so heartening to know I am not the only numpty who doesnโ€™t always get it right!

  5. Re the mannequin, I would unpick some of the seam above the breasts and add more stuffing. The seams are easily hand sewn back together. You could do the same with the puckered seam if it bothers you, unpick that area until you get it to lie flat, stuff more if necessary and then hand stitch. With the jumper if I was steeking I would definitely baste first, cut one thread and slowly and gently pull back to the baste line then use a crochet hook to re-knit back together. Alternatively you could hand stitch the underarm there where you want it using the same wool which is kind of like steeking and cut out the excess wool. Love the shawl!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Jo! The mannequin isn’t just problematic in the breast area, the rest of the body seems to be a bit lumpy and ends up not reflecting my measurements on the whole… So I either remove all the stuffing and redo it, or make another altogether.

      Oh yes, I definitely would add some extra steps to that steeking, I wouldn’t just jump in ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m just not sure if I’m good enough a crafter to get it all right.

  6. The mannequin is so interesting! !! I love that โ€”it actually looks good! It definitely gives you an idea of how something would fit!!

    1. Thanks, Sara! It’s not bad overall, but considering it’s supposed to reflect my body completely, it’s definitely lacking ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I was going to say re-stuff the mannikin, but I think Jo’s suggestion of unpicking etc., is a much better idea.
    As for the jumper I’m no help, knitting is one of the things I’ve given up on trying to do.
    That shawl is gorgeous, it looks like a Shetland ring shawl, so light and airy.
    I love marshmallow, what a lovely name – how did she get it? It looks like she has a hard life!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion ๐Ÿ™‚ Unpicking alone won’t solve the problem because like I also told Jo, it’s not just the breasts that are under stuffed, the rest of the body is too lumpy to make it accurate. I’d definitely need to either remake it completely and forget the stuffing process, or re-stuff it :/

      The shawl pattern is by Bev of Boo Knits, she’s a whiz at coming up with these ethereal looks.

      Marshmallow was so named by her previous human, who had to move back to the US a few years ago. I ended up adopting her and she’s been my shadow ever since – she’s had a hard life indeed, having to decide where to nap, my lap or the sunny spot? ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. I agree with the suggestion of unpicking and restuffing that mannequin…..hats off to you for making that in the first place! I also gave up knitting, and this is the first time Iโ€™ve heard of steeking, but it sounds like a useful technique to master so, knowing what you are capable of, I would say give it a go! The shawl is gorgeous and youโ€™ve done a great job of that invisible repair.

    1. I’m getting a few votes for restuffing… oh my, I might have to bite the bullet and go for it. Unpicking wouldn’t be necessary if I remove the inside, maybe only in those few stitches in the lower belly…

      I’d love to master steeking for sure. This might be a great (stress-inducing) opportunity ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks, Karen!

  9. Fabulous post! for the dress form (brilliant i have always wanted one that looked like me too) could you do a tiny bit of seam ripping slip in some missing fiber till you got the figure you wanted then a bit of hand stiching maybe using those cool curved apolstery needles to stich her all back up? oh i just red some of the urlyer suggestions i gess i will join the vote for seamripper and more suffing.

    since i dont knit i think the cut it and knit it back together sounds very scary. my suggestion would be fix project 1. put project 2 on project 1. then add pleets in the back maybe in a nice fan shape to take out the extra side and back chest space. i would try first with pins then hand sew it if the idea looks like it would work. it may requier a bit of pleeting front and back to remove the excess material if there is a lot of excess? it would be easyer than trying to grow to fit the swetter.

    the beeded shall is gorgous!

    1. Thanks, Jan ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you’re good with sewing, Bootstrap Fashion is where I got my pattern for the dress form.

      Unfortunately it’s not just the breast area that needs more stuffing, the rest of the body needs a stuffing reshuffle… it’s too lumpy in some areas and because of that doesn’t reflect my true measurements, which is the whole point of having a custom dummy in the first place :/

      Interesting approach on the jumper. I’m not sure pleats would work better than simply removing extra “fabric” from either side in a straight line… I’ll keep it mind though, might work!

  10. Love your amusingly written post. It is always interesting seeing how folk solve glitches….part of the creative process for all of us!

    Leonor as you know I don’t knit so I can’t make any suitable suggestions & steeking is totally new to me although I have cut into knitted items & needle woven the stitches back together to adjust as needed, but that was to adjust length not width. I’ll have to look up steeking.

    The shawl is stunning & a perfect invisible repair. The new owner will certainly have a treasure to love.

    Now onto the mannequin….an off-piste idea….to get your absolute shape I once saw this & thought i would try it – wrap yourself in some cling film, then wrap duck tape on top all over (lifting & separating as required ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคช). Once you’ve built up a couple of neat layers (you don’t want any lumps) the whole is carefully cut up one side, you remove yourself & the body replica repaired. The โ€˜mannequin’ which has some rigidity (albeit small) is then stuffed.

    Could this idea be used as a base for your fabric mannequin to slide over?

    I could imagine you both howling with laughter trying to complete the duck tape part ๐Ÿ˜‚ especially after ๐Ÿท …DM me!

    Happy to see Marshmallow up to tricks & ok.

    1. Antje i ave used the ducktape pattern creating method. i used an old t-shert (a tertle neck if you need the high neck line), a trusted frend with a permenent marker and sharp sisors. you are rite its important to lift and posison serton parts of the anatomy. i found the T-shert easy to tape over then mark seem lines, then cut out. i have herd it used to make the pattern for a dress dummy but using it for the dress dummy had discriptions of tape residue on pins stuck into it. so using it to make a pattern from, may be the best idea. i like the general look and shape Leonor has accheved from her pattern. i hope she can sort the stuffing out so it will be more appropriately proportioned.

    2. Hi, Antje ๐Ÿ˜€

      I think you’ve done steeking without knowing it, because your description sounds familiar… I’m sure it could be used both for length and width!

      The mannequin is quite true to form, the issue is simply the stuffing technique ๐Ÿ™‚ I prefer this type because it lasts longer (pretty much forever) and the pins can go in and out without any issue, whereas the duct tape will get glue all over the pins, and apparently it deflates with time… This one just needs some courage and time to tackle it! Maybe another blog post theme? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Marshmallow and Kenya have been enjoying the sun these past few days, they’ve been taking turns on the cat perch on the living room window! Living the good life.

  11. I so enjoyed reading your post, it made me chuckle! What a clever idea to make your own mannequin! I think I would try to restuff it first, as it seems a shame to waste the time and effort you have already put into it.

    As for steeking, I’ve learned something new! I’d never heard of that before, so thank you!!

    I love your cat, he’s gorgeous!!

    1. And that shawl is absolutely stunning. It would take me a year to make that.

    2. Glad I helped make your day a better one ๐Ÿ˜€

      Restuffing seems to be the popular choice, so I think I’ll just have to find the head space and tackle this particular beast. I’ll have to take pictures of the stuffing coming out of the mannequin, it’ll be epic!

      Did you watch any steeking videos online? They’re so nerve racking! Once those scissors approach the yarn I swear I stop breathing for a while…

      Marshmallow says thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s a spoilt princess (but a very deserving one)!

  12. You certainly know how to challenge yourself! Whatever you decide on the mannequin, Im sure second try will be better. We always keep learning. The shawl is stunning! Iโ€™m sure the new owner will be thrilled. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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