Monday, April 9, 2012

Taking my Own Advice . . .


Lately it seems that there are quite a few fellow bloggers who have expressed some frustrations about a particular project of theirs not turning out as expected, or taking many, many more frustrating hours than planned.  As I've read each of these posts and done my best to leave a cheery comment (because I believe in you all and know that you can overcome your sewing woes), I've also let these positive thoughts reside with my fellow bloggers but not myself.

Recently I started working a cute dress that I had high hopes would be my Easter dress.  Minnesota had been experiencing some gorgeous, warm weather, so I choose a little sundress thinking that it would be a quick sew.  (No armscye, boning, or tailoring to worry about!).  I set to work making my muslin and soon realized that this would take a bit longer to sew than I had originally anticipated, but I wasn't about to let that put a stop to my sewing.

It wasn't long before I realized that I wasn't loving the way this dress was turning out.  The straps were far to wide-set for my narrow shoulders.  I didn't like the way the gathered and pleated skirt was laying against my body.  The pattern in my fabric was doing strange things to the proportion of my chest - making my already tiny girls look lopsided and even smaller (any ideas on how to make this the next IT look?).

No, this is not a problem with matching plaids, there are
like a millions darts, tucks and folds in the bodice of this dress.
Suffice to say, I did not feel like a knock-out in this dress.  Actually, I remember proclaiming to my husband that I was a failure at life.  You can tell, I'm very level headed and never act like a drama queen.  I mean seriously, a failure at life?  I don't know about you, but I've never had the success of my entire life riding on one garment that I've sewn up - so I probably over reacted a bit.  I even threatened (to myself) that I would give up sewing forever.

I sometimes wonder where my (ir)-rationality comes from.  Thankfully, after the prodding of my hubby, I tried the dress on again.  He told me that he really liked the dress!  He liked the fabric because it was different (not sure what that exactly means, but coming from him this was a compliment).  He also thought that it looked nice on me.  I decided that with a few tweaks I would be able to have a wearable dress that I liked too.



Now these tweaks didn't make it in time for Easter - the partially seam-ripped dress is still on my dress form - but I am feeling tons better about this dress.  Actually, I'm even feeling like I might be pretty good at sewing.  Gosh darnit, I can make some lovely things.  Hopefully I can carry this perspective to my next situation where I've failed to match stripes by 1 millimeter and therefore declare that the world is going to end.  (Really, I haven't done that, but I also haven't sewn stripes yet).

I'm not going to ask about projects that you've screwed up on, rather I want to know - what gives you perspective?  When something isn't going well, how do you tell yourself that you're not a failure and everything will be fine?  If you are not a perfectionist of sorts, and therefore never have even remotely similar feelings of failure, how do you do it - seriously, I want to know!

Live in the moment and love life!
Annabelle

22 comments:

  1. I usually put the imperfect things aside and let them sit for a while. If I still don't like them later, then I decide to get rid of it as a loss.
    My husband and others who are really complimentary to the things that are GOOD are the ones who keep me sane :D

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    1. Rachel, you are so right that putting things aside for a while and coming back to them later helps a great deal! It is so wonderful that your husband and others in your life take the time to compliment the things that you make - life is good :)

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  2. I leave it well alone. Sometimes I come back to it and try again, but mostly I get straight into the next project. The most fabulous thing about making things is learning from your mistakes. Sometimes I can't even express in words my failings (I am mostly a visual person), I just absorb them and carry on. There is always something fabulous around the corner. I have learnt to not over plan things though, it just sets you up for disappointment.
    I would love to see this dress on you. The bodice looks awesome.

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    1. "There is always something fabulous around the corner" - seriously, what a great perspective! I love it. Indeed, I am already scheming my next project and am even more excited about it. Don't worry, I will finish this dress sometime this summer, but it most likely won't be the next completed project that I share. Thank you so much for the encouragement.

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  3. If something's making me nuts, I just toss it aside and sometimes the resolving idea just comes to me unexpectedly. Sometimes it doesn't. I have a box full of unfinished projects I don't know what to do with :D I would love to have a swap meeting for unfinished projects!

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    1. I too have a box full of unfinished projects - they are all at the muslin stage. If I start working on a muslin and don't like the way it is fitting, or just don't think the garment will look as good on me as it does on the skinny model in drawing, I scrap it. Though I have learned a few more fitting techniques, so I may consider revisiting them. I swap meeting for unfinished projects sounds like a brilliant idea, I bet every sewist has a box.

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  4. Time away from the project is generally the cure for me (after my fiance talks me down from the "I'm a failure" state of mind). I usually try to move on to a project which is more likely to be a success before coming back to it. Even then, it's likely that I'll rip the thing apart but, it's more likely to work out the second time if I revisit it with a clear head.

    By the way, great work on all of those tucks and such! I'm sure this one is going to start looking a lot better to you once you've had a break from it :-)

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    1. It looks like everyone agrees with you - some time away from a project is the best way to overcome feeling like a failure. That and encouraging words from others. I'm glad your fiance is so supportive of your work too - it just makes things easier.

      Those tucks were a bit ridiculous, since my white chalk did not show up really well on the fabric, I ended up hand basting the stitching lines for every single dart, tuck and fold. It took forever, which probably added to the frustration of not having it turn out well. But thank you for the encouragement, I think they still have some potential.

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  5. I am just glad to hear that other people have these same problems that I do. Especally someone that is as talented as you. I get really bogged down on these things and even though I try to set aside the problem garment (most recently the bra from first pin up sew along), I seem to be stuck for quite some time and find a hard time setting aside time for sewing when there is so much else to do and I feel like a failure at it (and everything else for that matter). I will definately be looking at the comments to see what helpful tips your readers have and I always love your encouraging responces; you always know the right thing to say.

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    1. Yes, I think all of us in the sewing and blogging world encounter things that make us feel like a failure from time to time. Just like you, it really brings me down and I have a hard time moving past it, but I think we all owe it to ourselves to forget the mistakes and focus on our successes!

      I'm glad my comments have been helpful to you, because I have also appreciated everything nice you have said on my blog. Thanks for being uplifting!

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  6. Like everyone has already said - put it down and walk away for a while.

    You wouldn't be a good seamstress if you weren't a perfectionist! I thought I was weird for being that way with my projects until I started working with other crafty people professionally - seriously, it is just the way artistic types are wired! You are quite normal. =)

    And I have found that it's always a little more frustrating when you are making something for yourself because you don't get the "happy client" feedback and you always focus on what could have been better.

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    1. Awe, Brooke, what great things to say! I'm glad my perfectionists tendencies help me to fit in with the rest of you. Thanks!

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  7. It seems unanimous; we all need a little time away from a problem to be able to gain a fresh perspective on it. At the moment, I have a knit outfit that is in waiting mode. I am certain I will finish it and wear it. I would L-O-V-E to see this dress done in a solid color in either a shiney fabric or a soft, napped fabric to soak in the effect of the seam and fold lines. They are so elegantly intricate.

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    1. Isn't it amazing what a little time can do? I need to learn to step away before I get really frustrated, it would save my a lot of "I'm a failure" moments. I love your idea to make this up in a solid fabric, I just might give it a try.

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  8. Annabelle, you are totally normal! I think that when we sew and things don't work out we can have an all or nothing attitude. I have felt like you and told my hubby, I am not going to sew because something is wrong with all my projects. HeHe! I guess that's why I am taking that wear it challenge to get over my mistakes and love what I make with my hands. My husband says to me, go look at your blog, see the clothing you have made, isn't it great. That helps. Smile, it's all okay, your sewing is lovely!

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    1. It's good to know that I am normal! I really do love the challenge you set up for yourself this Spring, your hand made clothing is always so lovely and looks flawless - so any imperfections would be noticed by you alone. Your compliments sure do help make things seem better. Thanks!

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  9. Oh yes the world ending.... I was making a diaper bag for a friend, and had cut and sewn the lining in wrong or something ... I don't even remember what it was, but something that was annoying to unpick and made the simple project I was going to get done TONIGHT into something frustrating that will probably take longer, and I was making some such comment to KEvin and he took the seam ripper and the bag from me and unpicked ALL the errant stitches.... I have a keeper for sure. Sounds like you do too. :)

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    1. I know, I need to work on being less overly dramatic! But, I am thankful for my hubby and the way he can calm me down, though I am pretty sure he would never start seam ripping for me - you really lucked out with your man.

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  10. Oh yes indeedy, I'm a chronic overreactor as well!! LOL - I'm so darn lucky my hunnie is a patient and sweet man LOL.
    It comes from being a creative person: I think that when we pour ourselves into something and it doesn't work out the way we hope, it's very emotionally draining - some time and space and perspective generally helps though, as everyone else has already mentioned LOL

    I'm glad you've come to see the dress in a more positive light though, because it really is very pretty! I'm in love with the contrasting black at the top; it's lovely with the plaid pattern! And such a pretty, original style too - can't wait to see it finished! :)

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    1. Symon, thanks for the much needed encouragement! From this post I've learned that we are all alike in the sewing community - we all seem to be perfectionists, we have supportive family and friends and we all encourage one another. And I see that you fit right in as well :)

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  11. Just becasuse you're disappointed in a project doesn't mean you have to be disappointed in yourself, because sewing isn't only about the end product, it's also about the creative process. There's a Japanese saying that says "fall down seven times, get up eight," and great breakthroughs in both technique and self understanding await those who are willing to give it one more try.

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    1. Wow Leezee, that is such great insight! You are so right, and this is one of the best pieces of advice on this post. "Fall down seven times, get up eight" - I need to write that down and display it in my sewing area. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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