When I heard about phone bandoleer bags, I realized I could really use one. I listen to podcasts while I do chores and was finding myself tied to wherever the phone was sitting. Most of my pockets won’t accommodate my phone, so making a portable pocket for it seemed like a great idea.
I hadn’t sewn in over a year and I didn’t have a pattern to work from, but I was making a very simple bag. I was sure I could figure this out. I made some sketches and measurements, picked out my fabrics, and got to work.
To protect the phone from hard knocks, I made quilted fabric for my bag. I was convinced I needed two layers of batting instead of one to adequately pad the phone.
I was wrong.
Not only was the double-layer quilted fabric horribly stiff, it made for bulky seams. I couldn’t get the quarter inch seams I’d planned for and tried to fudge with 3/8th inch ones. The result was a bag that was too small for my phone.
Initially, I felt horribly discouraged. I’d had the usual challenges of doing something I hadn’t done in a while, making lots of little mistakes as I reminded myself how my sewing machine worked. My free time for sewing was used up and the finished project had not turned out as planned.
I could easily have given up. Instead, I learned from my mistakes, adjusted my pattern, and tried again.
A single layer of batting would be fine, and cutting the pieces larger to allow for a bigger bag and wider seams (a necessity when sewing quilted pieces together) were both essential. My second bag came out fine.
Why had I failed? Because I was out of practice and because I was winging it. One of the risks of winging it is that you might fail. And I did. But that doesn’t mean I wasted my time, or even my materials.
I needed to make that first bag to see where the problems were with my ideas. The things I did wrong helped me to do a better job the second time. And the first bag, while too small for my phone, is the right size for a pair of glasses.
But even if I chose to throw that first bag away, I wouldn’t feel like I’d wasted anything. The time and materials I used to make it served me well, giving me a chance to practice my sewing and teaching me things I needed to know for my project.
You could call it a failure, but it was really just a lesson. How grateful I am that I can learn from my mistakes.
How do you feel about your sewing mistakes?