My name is Deanna, and I am not perfect.
My sewing is not perfect.
And sometimes this shames me.
That voice in my Type A-personality brain gets in the way of my growth and drives me batty.
How about you?
For about a month I’ve been sewing a shirt, Grainline Studio’s Archer shirt. I’ve made a couple of button-down shirts before but never felt comfortable with some of the steps and needed to improve.
I studied videos and participated in the Sew Maris Archer Sew-Along.
“This time,” I said to myself: “This time the shirt will be perfect.”
And when I could tell that it wasn’t perfect, I decided not to even finish the buttons and buttonholes. I decided I wouldn’t wear it. I decided I learned all I needed and therefore would start again and put this one in the scrap pile. I posted a picture and my decision on Instagram and thought that was it.
You see, I altered the pattern and now the sleeves were slightly too short. My collar stand didn’t quite line up with the back (and sticks out a little) because I didn’t realize I needed to cut some notches in the yoke and spread it a little to make the stand fit perfectly. One placket is creased a little at the top and after redoing it THREE TIMES I couldn’t solve the problem.
But when my husband came home after a few days away on a business trip, he looked at the shirt on my dress form and said, “Wow. Nice shirt!”
And let me tell you….
My husband is NOT the type who spouts feel-good dogma to make me beam. Not.at.all. He’s always one to look at something and give a blunt critique that I sometimes find insulting.
Maris of Sew Maris told me to finish the shirt, because I could always roll up the sleeves. Friends on Instagram gave tips for fixing it. One told me the shirt looked professional.
I decided they were right.
My sewing doesn’t have to be perfect.
And here are 5 reasons why your sewing doesn’t need to be perfect, either.
1. Ready-to-wear clothes are not perfect.
We evaluate our own sewing so carefully and notice every little imperfection. Every fit issue. Every misaligned stripe. But I dare you to go to your closet right now and take out a ready-to-wear shirt or pair of pants. You’ll find imperfections, and plenty of them. Personally I don’t strive to be a couture sewist, even if the idea of achieving “perfection” appeals to me. I want my clothes to be ready-to-wear quality, maybe a little above, with extra details, better fabrics, and better fit. But they don’t have to be perfect. As long as my clothes don’t look like a middle school sewing project, who’s going to know, right?
2. Perfection is often more about pleasing others than ourselves.
Think about it: What are we trying to prove? In this age of social media where we can post every photo and get every opinion, peer pressure abounds. It’s sad, but entire groups of sewists babble online about why someone’s blog isn’t worthy because they don’t sew well enough, or call out people who only sew simple projects without closures, or this, or that, or anything they can bitch about to make themselves feel better. Will having perfect top stitching affect your life at all? Because who, in passing, can even see it – unless you post photos for others to evaluate. Think about whether you’re trying to please yourself or meet someone else’s standard of perfection.
I’m not saying *not* to strive to improve.
But don’t beat yourself over a poorly sewn detail just because you’re afraid that Bitter Betty will knock you for it. This is great book from my Amazon affiliate: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I’m reading it now and already feel empowered.
3. You’re likely not sewing for a contest, a grade, or for sale.
Well, at least not in most cases. If you’re entering a contest, sure, rip and rip and re-sew or re-cut or do whatever you need to do if you want to win. And if you’re in school, you’ll want to strive for the same accuracy to get the best grade (or at least that’s how I operate). And if you’re selling the garment, of course you want it to be as flawless as possible. But in most cases we claim to be “sewing for fun.” Or sharing photos of our sewn outfits “for fun.” If this is really the case, why in the heck are we putting so much stress on ourselves? If you are trying to be perfect for some other reason, drop the pretense that you’re doing it for “fun” and admit that you have other intentions – and if you blog, admit this to your readers.
4. Striving for perfection will stunt your sewing growth.
Truly, it will. Think of all the great people who stumbled and fell and made mistakes before being recognized for brilliance. Think of Thomas Edison and his famous quote about his quest to invent the lightbulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you’re too afraid to make a mistake, you’re too afraid to push yourself toward greatness. For some people this fear might even prevent them from starting at all. No one has to see your mistakes but you. Mistakes are good when practicing. Repeat this to yourself whenever you’re feeling down.
5. Complaining about your imperfections turns you into a bore.
I know I previously told you not to worry about what others think, but let’s face it: We’re social. Who wants to hang out with someone who’s constantly putting her own work down? Especially because in a lot of cases the bulk of your work is good, and your friends are likely already impressed that you can sew. Pointing out your mistakes can either seem like false modesty, a cry for attention so that people will say, “Oh, your work is so good! It’s fabulous!”, or just a general sour attitude. Own your mistakes to yourself but don’t feel the need to broadcast them.
Yeah, I know – by writing about this I fall into this category. Something I need to work on for sure. But…again, I’m not perfect, right? Nor do I need to be.
Can you think of more reasons why your sewing doesn’t need to be perfect? Please share them!
Deanna McCool writes for sewmccool.com. If you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy I’ve copied. And I bet you have, too. To make sure you don’t miss a post, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box! 🙂