Sewing Project Rescues

What do you do when you’ve mortally wounded your sewing project? We’ve all done it, from cutting too small to slicing a hole when you’re just about done, to getting it caught in dye in the washer.

Slice/cut into a finished garment? Here’s how to rescue it:

Ever cut into a buttonhole, slice through the end? Now what? Two creative options – add a contrast square of fabric to the end of that buttonhole AND every buttonhole on the garment. Cut somewhere else? Add embroidery! If you add an embroidery to one spot, add one to an opposite spot – for instance, cut into the hem a little? Add embroidery to that hem and the opposite shoulder. I’ve seen patch with embroidery, patch, or just embroidery – and you can make it modern and cool, eclectic or even go with visible mending/sashiko style fixes.

Dye/color damage

Happens, especially if you wash a light garment with another garment you sewed and dyed in the past (*eyeroll*), you can overdye the fabric. Snow dye, twist dye, and ice dye are creative ways to cover up stains or fabric that is damaged due to light exposure in your stash or thrifted stash. I like Procion dyes (using Soda Ash as the fixer) as they are vibrant and stay true to color. I’m going to have to overdye my blush linen/cotton True Bias Emerson pants after such a dye disaster.

Not enough fabric because you screwed up?

You can buy more fabric! Use contrast fabric and make it intentional. I’ve bought more fabric (if I can) but in the case of not being able to buy more of the same fabric, go with a contrast and make it intentional. I have a jacket that I shrunk the collar during pressing. I can cut a new collar (preshrink the fabric first) out of a contrast fabric and add contrast pocket flaps so that it looks intentional.

Send the project into time out. For a long time. Like years. Time heals all wounds including whatever you hated about that project in the first place, and you’ll be ready to come up with a creative solution.

Not enough fabric in the first place, or cut it out in too small a size? For tops, you can add side panels, front panels. You can also add side panels to pants and create a completely unique look. Here are four options for that: side stripe, side stripe with contrast direction of a print or stripe, add wedges at the waist and hem.

Add a front panel (a strip down the center front and back) of a top to create more space in the front and back of a too-small garment. Add panels under the arms and sideseams to create more space in those areas. Sideseam panels on pants, jeans and skirts add a fun design detail and are very on trend right now. My rescue of striped pants made them among my favorites.