just beginners

Announcement: Anyone interested in drinking with me?  If any of you DC-area sewers (or readers) are interested in commandeering the back of a bar after work or sitting on a porch somewhere on a weekend afternoon, then shout me a holler here or at seamripped@gmail.com.  I am only sort of using you for companionship.  I’m not calling it a meet-up, but a “let’s kick it over sazeracs and see where the evening takes us.”  That sounds like I’m hitting on you.  Let’s keep it that way.

Per usual, I’m answering old comments late, but you should find responses (t)here shortly.  End of announcements.

I’m trying out a new sewing philosophy—you may have heard of it.  Giving no fucks?  No?  Unfamiliar?  I’m going for the proverbial quantity over quality, in hopes of technical improvement over time.  So, I’m taking a lot of deep breaths and just sighing through the suckage.  Usually, I rip seams and throw tantrums and agonize over the topstitching.  Now, I’m just sewing through it.  Waistband didn’t catch with topstitching?  Just slipstitch it down.  Topstitching uneven?  You’re the only one who cares about that.  Collar stand a little lumpy?  Character is what that’s called.  Naturally, it’s healthier than my old hair-pulling ways.  Obviously, it’s killing me.

All of this preamble to say: This dress sucks.  I know it does.  You probably won’t, just looking at it from afar, but deep in my soul, I understand that this is not my best.  It’s all made up in a Japanese salt-shrunk cotton gingham (read: those ain’t wrinkles, but are intentional).  It is the second of three M6696s I’d made within a seven-day span, and for some strange reason, the calamity kept coming.  (The other two are bangin’, if I may say so myself.)  Skirt pieces were attached the wrong way, the hem grew unevenly, my perfectly matched skirt rebelled against me.  That waistband comment was not a joke, this em-effer would. not. catch. because I ran out of fabric glue.  (Let’s bow our heads and thank the universe for glue basting.)  But, you know what?  I’m going to wear the shit out of it this summer, I just know it.

It all used to line up, I promise!
It all used to line up, I promise!  The buttons screwed everything up.
Before the buttons of horror and woe.
Before the buttons of horror and woe.  Collarbands, button of waistband, and hem lined up.  GAH.

Plus, after I put the buttons on, the pattern in the front just stopped matching up.  Don’t get me started on how every single thread I snip seems to have a dozen more rise up to come to its funeral.

Waistband of doom
Waistband of doom.  The placket is not smushed, it just doesn’t overlap all the way.

And the waistband!  It actually, believe or not, lines up when I line it, the collarband, and the hem up, but because one side is 1/8″ larger than the other (for serious).  But!  The buttonholes ruined everything.

And speaking of good old Bernina buttonholes:

That old Bernina buttonhole.
Perfection.  (And, yes, the collarband is symmetric in real life.  Miracle of miracles.)

My machine went ape on the last one, which happened to be the uppermost buttonhole.  APE.

This gets me to thinking about the Coletterie post on being a beginner.  Now, there is a part of me that thinks this is a gender thing, but the more I think about it, the more I think that it is a U-shaped curve.  True, rank beginners, in my experience, tend to be really confident.  As in, “I’m going to make an evening gown on a Saturday” confident.  Some people can do that, sure, but it takes a while to know your strengths, and to actually sew rather than simply put together a wearable-enough garment.  Then, after a while, you start realizing that it’s not that easy.

Then, you see really good sewing.  I mean, really good home sewing.  Then, you realize that your stuff just isn’t that.  At the same time, you’ve got the cacophony of sewing noise, the Susan Khaljes (who is still mean in my head, I don’t care what you all say), the Threads features.  You start really looking at your department store finds, and not just comparing your stuff to the goods at Forever 21.  This, friends, is the nadir.  The quitting point, even.  Some people get so discouraged here that they either stick themselves in a playpen, never to expand their skills outside of pinking and a whole bunch of the same garment, or they just flat-out quit.  Others see this as a challenge.

All of a sudden, after a really long time pounding at it, you lift up your head and see.  Hey, your topstitching isn’t that bad.  Same goes for your hand-stitched hems.  What’s that over there?  Is that a welt pocket?  You did that without a second thought?  Yeah you did.  And up that little ladder you climb.

I think that a lot of people end up in the doldrums, and either keep that doldrums mindset as their skills develop, or corral themselves into a certain sort of sewing that does not leave room for a lot of development.  I think I’m in the doldrums right now, and I’m trying to power through with sheer volume and force of will.  But, truth be told, I wonder if that welt pocket moment is going to come.  We can’t all be Ann of the Sewing Bee, can we?  But, should we try?

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36 thoughts on “just beginners”

  1. You have some good thoughts here. I’m at the point where I can’t ignore sewing….if I do then it builds until I have a sewing binge. I think anything you can make is going to be better than store bought, their stuff has lots of errors!

    1. I am currently in the middle of a sewing binge, so I completely understand. Store bought it hit or miss, for me. Sometimes, it is cheaper for me to get a store-bought dress of good quality than it would be for me to make one. Then again, quality is subjective and all of that.

      Thanks for stopping by! You’ve given me something to chew on.

  2. Somewhere online today, the UFO pile was referred to as the ‘time out corner’. I like that idea a lot more; I’m wearing a shirt I just gave up on about twenty years ago and let my sister wander off with. I saw it, unworn, in her closet and realized I could fix it now. Ugly sleeves GONE.

    Nevertheless, all crinkly fabrics are demon spawn. There’s no sane way to make pieced goods from something that cannot be cut straight.

    1. I’m making peace with my UFO pile. Everything is there with good reason, and I need to arrive at a place where I really want to do buttonholes or something before I tackle them.

      Oh-em-gee with the crinkly fabrics. I cannot deal. Nothing was lining up, and I almost burned the whole dress to the ground.

  3. Ernie k has a good point. Sometimes you don’t see the impact of your steady work for a while, but eventually you do. I just focus on the pleasure of the process, which is profound (for both the making and the wearing). In fact, I basically only brought clothes made by me on my month-long Italy trip, even though my boyfriend’s family is quite chic. They are actually pretty impressed that I make my own clothes now for the most part. I think a lighthearted approach is pretty useful.

    1. I’m going for lighthearted, process-based making, I think. But it is so hard to turn off the perfectionism and allow myself to just go with it, you know?

      Also, I totally stole from Claudia Goldin in my U-shaped hypothesis. I had to confess that to someone.

      The boyfriend’s family approved of your wardrobe? Look at you! I was so proud of myself when two French women called my yellow dress chic.

  4. Love This Post! Totally relate…

    Me – I’m of the “whole bunch of the same item” camp. Or, I should say “same several items”. Luckily,I tend to wear simple styles, so I’m ok just sewing simple styles. That said, I have a hard-to-fit body. (Forget Ready-to-Wear or Big 4 patterns – not for my tall triangle body.)

    Except for the real “throw it in the corner and jump on it” wadders, I do wear what I sew every day and have a workable, if imperfect, wardrobe. As I get more familiar with each of my several patterns, I try to improve what I didn’t like last time. Right now I’m concentrating on narrowing the dowdy too wide sleeves on my knit long sleeve toppers. And I change necklines or collars (etc.) for a little variety.

    So, good for you, girl! Wear the shit out of that dress this summer!

    1. I love sewing the same thing over and over again. High five. I think we’re going to be doing the same sort of sewing. Varying necklines and small details, but using the same base patterns. It’s kind of fun, to thin of variations.

      I’m finally learning how to deal with the imperfections, but it’s hard! I’m a classic perfectionist. One step at a time.

      The dress might even get an outing today.

  5. Man, it’s still gorgeous. Imperfect, but gorgeous.

    As for beginnerdom – it’s a cliche because it’s true, but the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. FACT.

    1. Thanks, Rushmore. Imperfect, but gorgeous is actually a fairly decent standard, no?

      This may be why we’re all beginners. The damn Internet. I was out to coffee with a new sewing friend, and she’d mentioned being in an ASG group with women who’d learned how to sew in home ec in the 1960s and 1970s. Apparently, a lot of them are or were perfectly contented with their speed-sewing techniques—pinking and the like—because they’d never really seen any other sorts of sewing. But now, with Susan Khalje and Threads and the popularization of different techniques, they’re starting to release themselves from their rut. More evidence in favor of the more you know you don’t know.

  6. That looks like a tough fabric to work with. The dress is still really cute and I doubt hardly anyone is going to notice where things aren’t aligned perfectly. Sometimes just pushing through the imperfections and finishing the garment can be refreshing.

    I recently made a knit blazer and the notched collar looks like crap. There was no way I was going to redo it so I just left it looking wonky. I notice it every time I wear it, but overall I love the jacket. Sometimes you just gotta wear those imperfections with pride!

    1. It was a tough fabric! I recently bought a Boden dress whose seams weren’t lined up properly, either, and it was such a comfort. I don’t think I’m a member of the cult of pattern matching, truth be told. It is sometimes more visually interesting to just let the damn thing be asymmetric.

      I’m sure not a single person notices the collar, but you already know that. It’s so strange how we zero-in on our own mistakes. Maybe it’s that thing where you have to look in the mirror and pretend that you are talking to your best friend?

  7. Oh what a fickle little bernina you have. I don’t trust my machine AT ALL when it comes to buttonholes because invariably it turns into an arse at the last buttonhole just to spite me…. So I’ve started leaving the bottom one until last……
    I love repeat makes….. But sometimes i have a badly behaved version that just seems to want to thwart me. It’s usually because I’m tired/blase/cutting out in semi darkness and miss notches etc. its a nice reminder for me to slow down and take more care….
    And yes, for what it’s worth the dress looks great in the pics. Enjoy it!

    1. My Bernina hates my guts, lately. I think it is time for yet another tune-up, and she might need to be on a biannual schedule. It’s usually the first buttonhole that is the first pancake for me, and the others run smoothly. Now, I think my machine is hip to my game, and is challenging me. I might start from the middle and work my way around in a random order to keep it guessing.

      Sometimes, I slow down too much. Have you found that at all? I just revisited an M6696 that I painstakingly hand-basted and pinned, only to sew it (slowly!) and realize that the waistband was wobbly throughout. It seems the more I like a project, the worse it turns out!

      Thanks. The dress is pretty pretty, when I think about it. I shall wear it with pride. . .kind of.

  8. I think the dress is absolutely wearable, I mean, who gives a rat’s behind what the inside looks like? Do you plan to wear it inside out? The fabric is gorgeous, the print matching looks pretty darn good, and while I can totally relate to your buttonhole woes (mine makes every single one look like your woofer), the end result as a whole looks great. And that’s all that matters. 🙂

    I suppose I’ve put myself purposely in the “playpen”, because simplicity suits me right down to the ground. I’m not aspiring for couture, I’m a work at home mom in the midwest, for Pete’s sake! This is my year of perfecting the basics of technique and fit. Will I be at “perfect” by the end of the year? Nope, but I hope to have learned a lot (and improved at least a little) by the time I get there.

    1. The playpen is a good place for some people. Andrea mentions this down thread. It’s all about what makes you happy. WAHM in the Midwest is an entirely different uniform from work-outside-the-home [blank] or fashion blogger, or what have you.

      I can’t deal with fit. Am I alone here? When I gain and lose weight (as I’ve been doing lately), my proportions change so dramatically that I can never tell whether I’m going to have more pronounced shoulders, or whether my hourglass will up with too much sand, or what have you. Plus, I’ve had to stop exercising since surgery, so my post-surgical paunch is in full force. Point being: I am so jelly of your fit and technique focus. Carry on! Laura mentions that the actual sewing is not the hard part for a lot of people, and I think that’s definitely the case.

      Thanks for the encouraging words about wearability. It’s a hard one for me, for all I see are flaws! flaws! flaws!, but it’s good to hear that there aren’t big, honking signs around them.

      1. Oh I hear you on only being able to see the flaws, I used to be really bad about that. To the point where I was paralyzed by imperfection; I didn’t want to sew because it wasn’t fun anymore, and everything I made had these “flaws” that prevented me from wearing it. And who wants to sew stuff they’ll never wear? But then I realized that no one noticed the slight bumps in the topstitching, heck, no one seemed to notice if something pulled across the bust (within a certain level of reason, anyway), and so I decided I didn’t need to either. Oh sure, it still bugs me a bit, but I’ve mostly been able to let it go.

        I also hear you on morphing body shapes. I’m there too–I’m a pretty different shape than I was before Scotch was born last January, and I’ve been slowly trying to work my way back down. I’m just trying to fit the body I have, and if it changes I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Take it one day at a time, and think of changes as opportunities to sew something new without worrying about having issues storing all those makes. 😉

      2. I’m trying to figure out whether or not sewing is fun for me. At a certain quality point, it is cheaper to sew than it is to buy, but there’s no denying that Forever 21 has cheaper wares, often made better. So, sewing isn’t a hobby as much as it is a means to an end that I happen to simultaneously enjoy and detest, if that makes any sense. Also! Our fit expectations as sewers is a little out-of-control. When I go to buy ready-to-wear, I scrutinize it way too much, until the sales person says to me, “The model has smaller legs that you do! Why do you expect to see a crease on those trousers?!” Uh, because I am wearing a larger size than she is. Also, duh.

        Fitting the body I have is so hard, mentally. I had to make a fully tummy adjustment on my shell, and as the former holder of a flat stomach, I was ready to weep. But, medication, an enormous tumor, a second surgery, etc. have me stalled at my current weight, and I have to just make peace with it. This is why I’m not too obsessed with fit. I’ll get to the point where I want to dip my body in bronze and preserve it for future generations, and maybe then I’ll do more than my holy trinity of FBA, full bicep adjustment, and swayback (plus the new development full tummy adjustment). Until then, no one can see the extra fabric at the shoulders.

  9. I think about this a lot. I don’t know that it’s a straight, simple u curve, although it’s definitely that overall. Maybe it’s that thing the Coletterie post mentions of there being lots of skills involved in the skill of ‘sewing’, and each of them has their own U curve.

    The annoying thing is that every nadir you negotiate opens up a whole new vista of things you could be doing better. I actually think this makes me a more relaxed sewer. I’ve crossed those valleys just often enough to know there are a million things I don’t realise I’m doing sloppily. So while I’m going to plug along and try to get things nice, I’m not going to obsess too much. Because the obsessing and ripping out gets in the way of nice, solid grinding to skill up. As long as it’s not a visible problem that is worse than what I see people wearing in RTW (I read lots of posts with people lamenting pull lines that I never notice, that are normal in a world of off the shelf sizes) or something that will visually irritate me or make me physically uncomfortable. Those things are worth fixing. Usually. Otherwise… well, a flawed, finished, wearable garment is better than a perfect, half finished one, in my book. I think a real turning point for me was starting to accumulate enough knowledge that I could tell the difference between a fixable error that would annoy me enough to stop me wearing the item, and something that I wouldn’t remember was a problem, three months later.

    Given that I find my body hard to clothe, full stop, I guess that makes me more forgiving, too. I aspire to more than Forever 21 quality these days. But I can’t shop in the fancy department stores, because of cost or size or both. So a dress that fits me, and is in a style and fabric and colour I chose and like rather than whatever came close enough to fitting me and I could afford… that dress gets a few extra points.

    I’m with Chris on the sewing the same thing over again. I like that because I can really see where I need to improve – or where I have already. I find those improvements go like this. Six months of striving and sweating and paying attention to what you’re doing and unpicking = nothing. Nothing! I’m never going to be any good at this! Sewing is STUPID! Then suddenly one day you realise you sewed that band and caught it with the topstitching perfectly, and you didn’t even think about it! (I’m imagining… that’s not one I’ve had yet. Mine are more in the order of ‘sewed that line actually straight!’ or ‘didn’t completely arse up the grain while cutting!’)

    A couple of the women in my craft group are what I would consider master sewers. Their garments turn out so so lovely, with beautiful finishes. It’s intimidating. Last time I asked one of them how long she’s been sewing. ‘Oh… since I was about 30. So 20 years’ she said. I figure I’ve got some time to catch up, then. And she STILL swears at her sewing all the time, and unpicks things, and has wadders. Not very often, but it happens. It’s very encouraging.

    1. This is why I think that sewing is having a hard time catching with younger people. This is something that it take years, decades, to develop, and it seems that increasingly fewer people are having the patience for it. Naturally, this is my opinion after having taken precisely one sewing class with two beginners who just did not. want. to do it. Some people catch on as if they’ve been doing it their whole lives, others just want to pitch the machine out of the window. But because this is a craft, I think that everyone will catch on eventually, if they give themselves the time to do it.

      More people need to use RTW fitting as a benchmark, I think. If I size for my bust or hips, the rest of my body is screwed, and sometimes I think “and that’s okay.” When I sew, I can nip and tuck as necessary, which instantly makes the fit better than RTW. Instantly.

      Having a hard-to-clothe body is both the best and the worst for a sewer. I used to have a waist that was the same measurement as my bust and hips, for medical reasons, and it completely defined my sewing game.

      Oh, I so wish to get your zen phase of knowing when to hold them and fold them, mistakewise. My big “let it go” one is topstitching. No one cares about that 1/32″ bump that you notice. No one.

      1. To be honest, probably some people do care about the things I am letting go. I guarantee there is someone, at least on the internet, thinking ‘oh my gosh I can’t believe she’s walking around in that’. I ALSO guarantee that almost no one in the real world will notice or care. So, at that point, it’s about deciding which things *I* care about. Which is a moving target.

        I guess the thing is, my body is not hard to clothe adequately. I am a tweenie, and I’m moderately hourglass shaped (used to be exactly so, now my hips are bigger than my bust and my stomach is proportionately bigger too and I’ve given up on pants). So I can clothe myself. Just not well, or how i want to. So that means both that the bar for acceptable clothes is lower (well, it’s still better than I could buy) and also higher (because I am SO TIRED of wearing barely adequate clothes). But it is, definitely, freeing to be able to sew for myself, now I am at a level I am at least mostly happy with those clothes and they are not just Aline skirts.

        Zero people are noticing the bumps in the topstitching. Zero. And if someone does, they have bigger issues than your topstitching, just quietly.

  10. Would you believe I have a whole draft post about Giving No Fucks that I haven’t published yet?

    It’s a gorgeous fabric. I can see why you would want to suffer through it to get a good result. And as you suspected I can’t see so well the errors you’re pointing out, but I know just what you mean. The inability of others to see my sewing errors–or at least claim not to see my sewing errors–gives me hope on a daily basis.

    I’ve been tossing around the Colette beginner post a bit in my head too. I do think there’s a gendered component–I don’t think that men who are learning a hobby would denigrate their skills in the same way, and I’m not sure they would stick themselves in a playpen as often, either, to avoid it. But I think there’s a lot to what you say, too–the u-shaped curve of ignorance-is-bliss to neither-ignorant-nor-blissful to maybe-i-don’t-suck!

    But then there are a lot of people who don’t seem particularly bothered by that nadir. And I think there’s more than one reason for that. Some people just keep on being ignorant, for one thing; their sewing sucks and they seem to be completely and totally unaware of that fact. And they stay unaware of that fact.

    Then there are people who end up in that nadir but who don’t seem all that bummed out by it. I think I’m mostly in this group. There’s lots of things I totally screw up but as long as the fabric wasn’t expensive and it didn’t take too much time, I’m ok with it. I’ll probably even wear the garment, at least in part because I never buy clothes and if I don’t wear my imperfect handmades I’ll end up naked at work. I imagine this would just as much fun in real life as it is in nightmares.

    There have been two t-shirts for Frances in the last month or so where I accidentally serged a big hole in one side of the underarm when attaching the front and back together (this is a good argument for setting sleeves in the round instead of in the flat, but ask me if I’m likely to take this lesson to heart). I patched them with a bit of handstitching and fabric scraps (on the inside) and she wears the shirts.

    I think this ties into the whole Giving No Fucks thing, actually. My Fucks have all been spent on other things and I just don’t have any left for sewing. Fucks are finite.

    Sewing is a hobby though, right? It’s supposed to be enjoyable. Climb the ladder if it looks like fun. Stay in the playpen if you’d rather. Climb the ladder for a while then find a new playpen to hang out in. I mean, the thing about sewing is that there’s always another ladder. Personally I love that, but not everyone is going to.

    1. I’m imagining a teetering structure of platforms and ladders. I love it.

      Also, sewing is, among other things, a hobby for me. I DO want to be in the playpen, because I want to be playing. I just… also want to play in the real world.

      I just wonder how many patched holes and wonky seams we never notice in RTW. The other day I tried on a shirt and I LOVED it and was going to buy it and then I noticed that one sleeve was set in wonky and was pulling. And then I couldn’t buy it. And that is why I haven’t bought anything for ages. But most people would have bought the shirt and never noticed or cared about the wonky sleeve. I would NEVER leave that sleeve that wonky, but I would leave it if it were slightly less so. Because I do need clothes to wear, so at some point if I’m not going to buy things I need to be with you on wearing imperfect makes.

    2. I am incapable of having hobbies that are about fun. WINNING, Andrea. Winning. My priorities are most certainly in order. I just bought four pieces four-ply silk crepe, and damn it if I’m not already stress weeping over it.

      Does Frances care about your sewing flubs, or does she just not notice? I remember the topstitching-on-your-Portside story–which remains the sweetest–and wonder if this is analogous to looking at yourself in the mirror as if you’re looking at your best friend. Flaws meld away.

      I think I’m going to show up to work wearing a barrel with straps, like in comic strips.

      Who are these people not bothered by the nadir? I envy their chillness. I, on the other hand, am freaked. the f&*# (I’m cleaning up the blog again). out. I think it’s because I’m married to the idea of there existing some sort of progression, and I always think that everyone else is, too.

      I’m wearing the dress this weekend, in a great eff it moment of triumph.

      1. lol So true! I have yet to touch the cashmere in my stash. Too worried about messing up. But one day I will fix the blazer, and then I will cut the cashmere, and then I may faint. We will see.

        Frances doesn’t mind the misses. She thinks it’s hilarious that they bother me. I’m all for anything that gets her laughing, even if it’s laughing at me, so it works.

        I like progressions, so I find nadirs a bit fun. So much to learn! But it’s pretty clear that a lot of people just think the nadir is a perfectly good place to be and that there’s something wrong with people who want out of it. Witness the large number of people on this planet who, for decades, will send out emails filled with typos and grammatical errors, and be irritated that other people are irritated with their mistakes. Or witness me when I run: I run slowly (I call it trudging); I refuse to even try to get faster, because as soon as I start a ‘program,’ I start hating to run and quit altogether; I go out and run for a set number of minutes (or actually, songs–I’ll tell myself I’m going to run for x-songs’-worth) in one direction, turn around wherever I happen to have made it to, and run home without measuring speed or distance. I see all these dedicated marathon runners and their determination to build up running skills and stamina and do speed trials etc. and I find them kind of exhausting. I figure I’ll be a nadir-dwelling-runner forever.

  11. That a-hole of a gingham fabric is ADORABLE, so perhaps one can forgive its attitude and just appreciate how cute it is and how light and airy the dress looks. I bet it’s hella comfortable to wear. No one but another sewer would notice the problems you see, and really, if they’re looking that close, they need a new hobby.
    Instead of a U curve, I think of the beginner/journeyman/master strata as more of a circle. There’s always something more to learn, even for a master. Maybe there are circles that are connected together, like the Olympic Games logo, each representing a different skill or achievement level. And I think the circle applies not just to skill level but also to what you might call the quality/quantity ratio. If a ratio can exist on a circle. I’m not mathematically minded, so my thinking is really getting a little muddled.
    But whether beginner or master, at a certain point in one’s sewing adventures, I think many of us reach this point of ‘F it, I’m just gonna sew and screw perfection.’ And then eventually cycle back around to wanting to make beautiful things beautifully.
    I tend to think of perfectionism as the ultimate expression of the fear of failure. I like the idea of ‘perfect’, but the truth is that nothing is ever perfect. It’s a noble goal to strive for, but true perfection doesn’t actually exist; there’s always something that can be improved on, no matter what the project is. I mean, yes, it’s good to try and make sure that everything is neat and even and straight and on grain, and to try to further one’s skills because: growth. But sometimes, you just want to wear the damn dress. I had my own imperfect sewing experience recently, but I slapped a hem on that dress and wore it the next day and loved it. Next version of that dress will be improved on, yes, but if the same thing happens, well, I’ll slap another hem on and wear the damn thing anyway.
    I try to strive for ‘perfect enough.’ In fact, my personal sewing mantra has become “fearless sewing.”

  12. This kind of sums up what I was trying to say on Instagram the other day about ambitious sewing for me. I’m lazy. I see others making stuff left and right and think I’m not as good. Well I am, dammit! I’m just too lazy to put in the effort required to produce a garment a day, or even a garment a week. I’ve had too much going on in my life to really take the time to sew. I think I’m avoiding time that I can work and think. So maybe I’m not lazy, but just avoiding- avoiding my thoughts, my feelings. I’m tired. I want to just have clothes made already. I need basics, and basics seem like too much work and money for something I could just buy at the store- except that nothing fits the way I’d like so I don’t buy them. Oh, it’s a vicious cycle I am in these days. You should see my closet! There are, and I kid you not, 1 pair of jeans, 1 dress, 4 knit pencil skirts, 3 challis blouses, and 5 tee shirts (most of which don’t fit), and some underclothes. This is why I do not participate in Me Made May. Everyone would see my outfits in the first 3 days and then it would be the same thing repeated over and over and over and over for the rest of the month. I need clothes! I need to get over whatever it is that is holding me back and just make them already. I have the fabric and the patterns, so what’s my problem? Maybe you can smack me until I get out of this phase I’ve been in for so long? Who’s hitting on whom now? Oy, I went off on a tangent.

    1. You are good! I think that other people’s productivity levels just stunt me. I don’t know what to do in the face of other people working more than job, and churning out multiple garments per week. I have one job, or only had to do school, and could not keep up with that productivity level. At all.

      You do need clothes! I need to launch an intervention, and go out to Vegas to do it. I think there are a few things at play: 1) You’re busy. Kids, man. 2) For over a year, you’ve been changing sizes, so there was no reliability to do it. 3) Basics are not exciting to sew. I am making seven of the same silk shell, over and over again. The first three were fun, because it was a new fiber, and new seam finishes (stitch and pink). The next four are going to be interesting. What about that beautiful silk jersey you bought from Gorgeous Fabrics? That would be an awesome wrap dress. Awesome.

      Maybe making the project exciting would help get your sew-jo back?

  13. Well you are right, it doesn’t show, either the fabric saves the day or your whining 😉 !! Very pretty is what i say!

    One day, ONE DAY we will sew as well as people in Zara factories (because Ann is unreachable). Until then we will despair.

    Regarding drinking, I will be in DC the weekend of the 20th of June (to see my dad, but anyway…), just sayin!

      1. Feel free to force him to tag along. This is a thing I firmly believe in, actually. That’s because my mother imposes herself on anything I’m doing when she’s in town, but that’s neither here nor there.

  14. Oh man, the U-shape is definitely real! But I also think that, for me at least, there’s a manic roller coaster that’s going on all the time inside the U. I’ve been SO frustrated with my sewing the last few weeks, with two really demoralizing catastrophes (1-being impatient and careless led to a tear in a nearly-complete dress… and mending tears in unfinished garments ranks somewhere between cleaning the dirty window screens and reading email forwards from my gun nut brother in the list of Shit I Really, Really Don’t Want to Do. 2-seriously stretching out the neckline of a cut & sew pullover I’ve made 4 times before, but this time, in a very expensive and lovely sweater knit, UGHHHHHH). And looking back on my last projects, I can’t remember the last time I made something that gave me a sense of elation and achievement. But at the same time, even when it feels like we totally, completely suck, we’ve learned SO MUCH. I volunteer giving sewing lessons to women that are trying to get a new start in life, and this morning I worked with someone who couldn’t sew a straight line to save her life. Even just remembering to backstitch, or which way to turn the handwheel, was a major struggle for her. So even thought I’m feeling nitpicky and not very energized about my sewing these days, I’m trying to have some perspective. Like you said, most of the problems we have are invisible to strangers. And really, that wouldn’t have been the case when we first started sewing!

  15. Why must you be on the other side of the world? WHY? I would love to have drinks with you. In lieu of that, I will continue to comment on your blog in poor english. 🙂

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