Go behind the seams of my Sew Sew Def Saldana V-neck T-shirt.

“That shirt’s been lingering for you, hasn’t it?” asked my husband. I replied in the affirmative.

Usually, if a sewing project takes more than a week or two, I’m fighting with it. I almost always work on something every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes, until it’s complete.

I let days pass while sewing the Sew Sew Def Saldana T-shirt. The V-neck was giving me fits.

I was obsessed with basting the neckband to the neck opening before committing the final stitching. But I couldn’t get the basting right. I unpicked the whole business at least three times.

In the end, the V isn’t perfectly vertical. It’s veeery close, but if you look hard, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It tips a bit to my left. And the point of the V slightly mangles the stripe it intersects.

A close-up view of the Saldana T shows the V-neck isn't ideal.

I decided this neckline was OK for me, because these imperfections land between two convex curves. My chest isn’t flat, so stripes never will appear straight across my chest.

For the record, this is the second V-neck I’ve sewn in my sewing career. The first was a V-neck version of the Sewaholic Renfrew.

I recall basting the Renfrew, but I also recall unpicking that neckband several times, too. I’ve come to the conclusion that the learning curve for V-necks is wicked.

The thing is, I REALLY like V-necks, and I don’t want to not make them because they’re hard.

So, what’s the best way to get better at something? All together now — PRACTICE! But how do you make practice feel less practice-y? I think the secret is being kind to yourself.

Here are three lessons I re/learned while making my Saldana V-neck (don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I need to live the same lesson several times before I absorb it!):

1.) Keep going.

Try again. Each time you give it a go, you’re getting closer, because you’re learning more about the technique.

Starting over isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be. I gently unpicked, pressed and steamed the neck opening a few times. Each time, it was nice to start again from “scratch.” Mentally, a fresh start is rejuvenating.

2.) Take breaks.

Have the courage to take breaks, especially when you feel yourself getting frustrated or having brain fuzzies. I get horrible brain fuzzies — inability to focus, failure to think of the right word, etc. — at the end of the day. For me, any work after 7 p.m. easily can go downhill. I know this and plan my work accordingly.

As for rising frustration, I’m talking about that tension that lives in the back of your neck and behind your eyes. It’s more of a body sensation than a cognitive this-is-frustrating-and-I-am-frustrated-in-your-brain thing. When you body gives you that frustration message, step away from what you’re doing. You’ll be happier for it. You ALWAYS can come back to it. Your sewing loves you and will wait for you! I promise!

3.) Know when enough is enough.

Done is better than perfect. Yes, I said you need to keep going, but it’s OK to wear a handmade garment that’s — gasp! — not perfect. Don’t torture yourself over the one thing that went wrong with SO MUCH ELSE went right!

For example, I knew the V-neckline was going to be near those chest curves. No stripes will appear straight on that part of my body. And besides, a body is in movement much of the time. No one is going to notice my imperfect neckline (except maybe for another sewist).

Over to you: What are your best strategies for getting through tough sewing situations? And what are your best tips for sewing a knit V-neck? Please share in comments! Thanks in advance for your insight!

P.S. ICYMI, here’s last week’s post: Excessively easing the Sew Sew Def Saldana. I cover construction details, including the epic amount of easing that went down for this shirt! It was something else.

P.P.S. Do you like posts like this that go behind the scenes of my makes? I want to show off quality makes with lovely photography, but I am aware that those images can give the impression that everything went off without a hitch. Let me tell you, people: Things RARELY go off without a hitch around here.