It seems to be Moz Monday here at Seam Ripped (it’s Friday, I wrote this three months ago. Shut up. Also, I usually answer all comments before putting up a new post, but am literally posting this so that I can get off my duff and reply to rest of y’all. So sorry! I’ve been swamped, which is no excuse). Let us thank The Smiths for today’s title, and bow our heads for a moment in respect for Moz.
Reader, have you ever read Art and Fear? In it, there is a quick story about a pottery class where the instructor divided the room in half. One half was instructed to make the best objects they could, and strive for perfection; the other was told to just make as many vases as they could churn out for the term. At the end of the term, it turned out that the mass-producing group actually churned out the more technically advanced work. Who cares? We’re getting there.
Sometimes I read other people’s blog posts about giving up perfection, and I can’t help but think, “How cute for you, finding convenient excuses for your indolence and allowing yourself to settle. That’s so. . .nice.” Yes, the first step is admitting you have a problem. (Do let me know if you’ve figured out what the second step is, while I rip out my French seam for the seventieth time.) I like being a perfectionist, but am firmly planted in Camp Free to Be You and Me, and accept that other people don’t have my
rabid enthusiasm for getting things just right.
I do wonder if my perfectionism will serve me for the long haul. This is why I am self-conscious about being self-taught (remind me to tell you about my sewing class disaster): I have no barometer for progress. I look at people like Julie from Jet Set Sewing, Bunny of La Sewista, and Lori from Sewing Myself Stylish—people who have been sewing for longer than I have, and whose work shows it—and I can’t help but wonder what the steps are between rank beginner and able-plus home sewer.
We’ve talked about the dearth of intermediate sewing books before, but what about the difficulty with defining what an intermediate sewer/sewist/good grief these distinctions are the absolute worst/sempstress actually is ? Maybe that’s part of the reason why sewing books published today jump from the very rudiments to couture techniques. Before, because large swaths of the sewing population could have been presumed to have similar practical educations and backgrounds, the market research did itself. Now, the landscape hosts people of all different ages, genders, skill sets, professions who look for sewing books. Is this why I want to go straight from six-dart, gathered-skirt dresses to the much-vaunted couture jacket? Am I unacquainted with that which lies in the middle, and am therefore skipping steps simply because I don’t know that they exist? Then I remember when Meg from Mood wrote on the Sewciety blog about being a younger sewer, banging off a cute dress before a party, and contrasted that with her present precision sewing.
(Complete aside, but isn’t it funny to hear people complain about the decline of the quality of fit of ready-to-wear? It was much easier to fit a woman if everyone was wearing a similar sort of girdle, with their eyes set on a similar sort of figure, yes? Now, we try to conform into the same sort of proportional ideal use the dark arts of dis/emphasis, which requires an entirely different set of expectations and tools. So, it seems natural that there were more intermediate sewing books back when there was more standardized, widespread sewing instruction.)
In any event, I keep patiently waiting to be ready. Ready for hand-sewing, ready for Alabama Chainin’, ready for a couture jacket, ready to make a coat, ready ready ready ready ready. I read Amy Poehler’s book (and have mixed feelings about it, but still patiently await her dumping Rashida Jones and accepting another former-Hindu current-badass best friend in me. I’ve made us a binder! And bracelets! Call me? Also, can we talk about your boyfriend’s dad, just for a second? I am afraid of him, yet want to be him at the same time (Jules Kroll, for those wondering)), and she made an excellent point. You never feel ready for the big important things. Most don’t wake up one day and say, “Hey, guess what em-effers, I’m ready to be a show-runner. Let’s do this.” Doubt is normal, doubt is human, doubt needs to get its ass kicked. Well, not quite.
Have you ever read the book The Gift of Fear (I was not lying when I told you I own a mountain of self-help books about fear)? Well, in it, there are several hundred-thousand gruesome stories about how you should listen to your gut, your fears. Hell, you’ve got fear for a reason, and that reason is to avoid being raped, murdered, and left in a ditch as supper for wild animals. (Too graphic?) This all happens when you sew something out of your depth, doesn’t it? Is that not the way this works?
Anyway, after I swim my way out of the land of elastic (we’ll talk about that next week), I think I might do something outrageous. Good. Fabric. I’m going to cut into it y’all. Then I’m going to tell you about it, perhaps with photographs. Of it on my body. What now? Then we’ll go into a long dissection of what it means to have good fabric, a good body, and a good photograph, and you’ll all band together with your torches and pitchforks, make your way up the hill, and burn my house to the ground. I’m apparently in a dark place today.
*****26 February update: I would leave it there, but I’ve got a quick announcement. I’m going to be in Paris late next week, Chamonix the week after that, and London for one day after Chamonix week. I was/am on the fence about posting this (you could say that I have a shyness that is criminally vulgar), as I feel weird about it/go for subtlety and fail miserably, but if any of you live around those places and would like to grab coffee, I’m not only up for it, but I’d be very much obliged. You needn’t have a blog or anything, you could just want to hang out. Maybe we could even go buy some fabric? My email address is email@example.com, and I actually check it regularly now. Though, I have yet to respond to Joost, which I believe makes me the worst person on earth.
*****Second update, because why the hell not/when am I going to post again? Montréal and Mont Tremblant for Easter weekend. Why this much travel? Starting work = ten vacation days a year. International relations-y school = French proficiency exam during the second week of April.