I am afraid to make mistakes and making a mess. How do I put that out of my head. I am the type of person, who is a perfectionest.


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"mistakes" are the best way of learning in quilting and can be qualified as design decisions.


Just remember you are a person, not a machine. No one is perfect. I knew a woman who always left a mistake in each of her quilts because "no one is perfect but God." She felt that if she made a perfect quilt that it was disrespectful to God. 

Patricia, I am somewhat the same way.  I am a perfectionist too, and when I do make mistakes, which is often, I get so discouraged.  However, I keep telling myself that most people DO make mistakes and they deal with it.  So, I'm trying to be more bendable.  I worked very hard on a quilt that I had intended to keep for myself all of last year- off and on. Then, my mother in law really wanted a quilt for Christmas in darker colors.  I knew the Vintage Stitches quilt would fit the bill, but it wasn't large enough.  I needed to add more blocks to it to get it to the size she needed.  I was rushing, trying to come up with block designs that would fit in with the original 12 that came with the pattern.  As soon as I got the borders on, we rushed it off to be long armed so it would be ready to take to her. 

Usually, I have my husband hold up the quilt top so I can step back and look at it.  I don't see mistakes close up, but when he holds it up at a distance, I can spot them in a heartbeat.  I was hurrying and didn't do that.  You guessed it; one block was wrong, and I didn't find it until it came back from being quilted.  I had to go on and give it to her and so far, nothing has been said, but it still really bugs me to know that mistake is in the quilt.   Argh!  I beat myself up over things like this.  WHY didn't I check it before zooming it off to be quilted.  I think I have finally learned my lesson since this has happened about 3 times in the three years I have been quilting. 

And the most important part is that my mother in law will be 86 this fall and loves my quilts.  When she opened this one, she choked up and cried.  It was very moving for me, and I am SO glad I went ahead and gave it to her.  Despite my chagrin, she was ecstatic!!!

I, too, am a perfectionist and I find that sometimes gets in the way of my trying something new.  I catch myself either not starting a project or dragging my feet when the project becomes more difficult.  When I realize this procrastination I force myself to plunge forward....sometimes I feel I have conquered the problem and sometimes it doesn't turn out as good as it should.  However, I have at least obtained the experience and hopefully will not be so fearful of that particular step in a project the next time.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  We can always say those mistakes are our "humility" blocks!  Keep forging forward and each step will get easier and more beautiful......ugly warts and all!

I need to just let it go, I think we are all a perfectionist when it comes to quilting. I've only been doing this a couple of years and I've made many mistakes. You learn from them and keep going, I go to a lot of classes and learn different skills and techniques from the various instructors. I also look at videos on you tube and on the message boards that I belong to. I read a lot of instruction books as well. I think with quilting it's a never ending learning curve, I have taken classes where my instructors were students as well as me. As one of my favorite instructor's says - don't freak out it's fixable and you need to breathe!

I was involved in a round robin where a group of 4 exchanged quilt centres each person had to add a border either pieced or appliqued.  I cut and sewed some half-square triangles the wrong size.  But instead of being upset, I was able to get more of the fabric i needed and then I made the border correctly and the extra pieces which had been a mistake became an opportunity to make a nice little pinwheel wall hanging.  So look at mistakes as an opportunity.  nothing in nature is perfect.  the Amish too, put a mistake in their quilts if one doesn't find it's own way in, cause there is no perfect being except God.  if you have invested a lot of money in a project and aren't sure then make up one or two blocks only to see how it will look, if you like it you can continue if not with only two blocks made up you can do over, saving those fabrics that don't work for another project.  I think it's hard to break through that fear, but think how good it will feel when you do and make that quilt.  

Like Susan said.. no one is perfect but God. I've been making quilts for over 20 yrs, since I was a teenager. I make mistakes all the time, and not only do I sell my quilts, I teach classes too. One of my larger mistakes was one of those magic stack n wack quilts. I used the large spinning blocks around the 'leftover' small spinning blocks and around that put several solid blocks of the gorgeous butterfly fabric that made the magic. Unfortunately, I cut every single one of those solid blocks too small and I had no more fabric. So, my meticulously stitched and carefully planned out quilt, was suddenly completely wrong. I almost cried, it had taken forever to get all those spinning blocks done. Then I sat down, laid it out an the floor and said what can I do to make this work, I really wanted those solid blocks. The quilt ended up with two sizes and two colors of spinning sashing. Suddenly that mistake was a design decision.  Most quilters live by the rule, if you can't see it from a fast moving horse from a mile away...there's no mistake. I promise, virtually no one see them but you.

Btw, here's the quilt with the huge mistake.. it's one of my absolute favorites and has been on my bed since I made it.

Viki-this is beautiful & I had never heard of that "rule"-but LOVE IT!

When I started quilting and would get really tense about making something "perfect," my husband would remind me that this hobby was supposed to be for stress relief.

I think quilters tend to be really hard on ourselves, obsessing over mistakes that other people will never notice--if we get over the urge to point out those mistakes.

My advice: The next time you make a minor mistake, leave it. I'll bet you can live with the consequences.

Joyce, everyone wants to be proud of their work. Quilting requires a certain amount of precision, so

1. read instructions all the way through before starting to get overview. If something's not clear, ask now.

2. mark and measure carefully with good tools, cut accurately, checking measurements before sewing.

3. when a novice, decrease stitches per in. somewhat because "unsewing" will be inevitable (pieces get sewn to wrong side etc.)a good seam ripper is a necessity.

4.use your perfect 1/4" seam allowance. Check often.

5. Press-lift-press Don't stretch by ironing

6.check the measurement of each section/block to see if they match.

7. Admire your work and brag a lot!! because you've done everything you can to make it perfect, and if it's not, it's not your fault. Could be pattern, wonky weaving of fabric etc. or just a "no sew" day, if so, step back for a day or so & try an easier pattern.

Excellent advice!


I know of two ways to approach this. 

1.  When you make a mistake, have the patience to take it out and begin again.  Eventually, you will get it right.  We all had to learn to walk one step at a time, it's the same with quilting.

2.  When you make a mistake, sit back and take some time to see if you can work around it, or use it as a creative foundation to do something else.  Great discoveries have been made through mistakes.

Over the years, my quilting has changed dramatically and improved so much.  I enjoy looking over older projects to see how far I have come.  The more I quilt, the better it gets.  Don't be discouraged.  At the moment I'm concentrating on improving my machine quilting skills.  I'm not happy with them, but they are getting better with practice.  You will get better, too.

Have a super day!


Curlicue Creations


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