This cautionary tale comes from our dear Margaret. When she finishes her quilt top, we’ll ask her to send us an updated picture:
There are a few lessons in life that you “get” to learn the hard way in order to never make the same mistake again:
Forgetting to back up your hard drive
Forgetting to put postage on your tax forms
Forgetting your passport at home on a trip to Ireland
I can add one more to the list….
Recently I started the Pathfinder Quilt that was printed in the Winter 2012/2013 International Quilt Festival magazine. This quilt is to be a baby quilt for my first ever nephew and rightfully I was excited to start. I had carefully gathered my chosen fabric and with rotary cutter in hand I delved into the cutting process.
The pattern has two template pieces included in the magazine. I dutifully followed the direction and enlarged them both to 110%. I then cut out eighty (eighty!!) pieces of each template. Whew! One of the pattern pieces is an arc about an inch wide. I sewed the 80 arcs together in groups of four to make 20 circles. WHEW! I then had to sew each of those circles onto precut circles, forming an outline. I had never sewn curves before but figured that if I followed all the directions as I had so far that easing the seams would be a piece of cake! I pinned about six circles ready for sewing and started my machine.
The first circle looked…funny. I thought that maybe I just needed more practice easing my seams. The 2nd and 3rd did not get better. I kept going, though, determined that I would master this. I started to doubt my abilities though. Maybe I was actually a bad seamstress! Maybe I wasn’t as good as I thought I was! My confidence was eroding away with every seam and pleated circle. It was horrible.
After the six I just KNEW something had to be wrong. One quick Google search later provided the answer:
there was a misprint in the magazine and the arc template was printed incorrectly.
The right circle is smaller than the wrong circle….
Insert frustrated scream of rage here.
I was able to download the correct arc template but damage had already been done. I had lost 2 yards of material and about 7 hours of my time. The pain of the loss was horrible.
The good news is that the correct arc template DOES work and two days later (after the appropriate grieving time) I was able to start cutting and sewing again.
The other good news is that I have learned a VALUABLE lesson and one that hopefully you won’t have to learn the hard way.
When doing a pattern for the first time, especially if it is a new pattern from a magazine or a website, I recommend doing the following steps:
1) VET YOUR PATTERN: Before you start cutting or even buying your fabric do a quick internet search on the pattern to see if there are any notes about a misprint or errors. If it’s from a magazine, check the magazine’s website. If it’s a website, check to see if there are any pattern updates. Spending 20 minutes searching can save you hours in loss time.
2) MAKE A SAMPLE BLOCK: You can do this with scrap material so you don’t waste perfectly good fabric or you can do it with fabric you intend to use. Either way, go through the steps to make ONE block. This will let you know right away if there’s any problems with the instructions and it will also let you know if there’s anything “tricky” that you might not have been prepared for.
The completed squares are now ready to put together. What fun fabrics Margaret chose!
3) NEVER DOUBT YOUR ABILITIES: One of the worst things I did was allow myself to sew six circles before I thought something was wrong with the pattern. I kept thinking that I was the problem, that my lack of skill was what was wrong. If I had stopped after the second circle I would have saved a lot of my time.
The best of luck to all you and I hope you never have to learn this lesson the hard way!