I’d like to start today with a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time, a young woman learnt to sew dresses and it was exciting. She was so happy to be able to weave together fabric and make wonderful clothes that no-one else had, and, day by day, before she even knew it, she reached a point where almost everything she wore had been made off of her dining room table.
But then disaster struck the young woman. She discovered that, as her wardrobe grew, and her skills, and her fabric stash, so to did her ability to critique. And, day by day, she watched as the exciting thing that she had learnt became an albatross around her neck.
No longer could she take a pattern straight out of the packet and sew it up in a gung ho fashion. Now she made muslins, and toiles, and looked for the tiniest hint of a dress fitting badly, even when she wasn’t sure what might need to be changed to make it better.
Hours were spent pouring over fitting advice and guidance books, and even her most loved of clothes couldn’t escape this new found scrutiny.
“Oh why!” cried the young woman, “why can I no longer trust the patterns?”.
Sound familiar? This is something I’ve been noticing a lot more in my sewing of late; the need to make my makes perfect. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, indeed, I’m becoming a better sewist as I learn all these new techniques for adjusting. But it does have an impact.
This weekend just gone, I fancied making a pattern I’d not tried before, and had a (crazy, but, based on experience, achievable) plan to get the dress made and ready to wear for an event on Saturday evening.
Even before I started I was making adjustments, grading between sizes to try and avoid any further changes.
I made up the lining first, as I decided I could combine it as a muslin and check for fit. Which I did. And then discovered that I’d need to make at least two further adjustments, and possibly even more.
And just like that, what should have been a simple weekend sew, a bit of instant gratification, a bit of “I want a new dress, I’ll make a new dress” turned into a labour-intensive, make it perfect project.
And I sighed.
I sighed because once again I found myself caught in the trap of “I could just make it, but I’d know where it’s wrong, so I should probably alter it, but that will take time”.
I sighed because sometimes, really, I just want to make something quickly and not have to worry about what might go wrong.
I sighed because every time I have to rethink like this, sewing becomes a little bit less fun and a little bit more like a chore.
And then I walked away, wrote this story for you, and now, now I’m going to go and grab the bull by the horns. Because it might need changing today. But it won’t need changing again.
And that, my friends, is how you (hope to) solve the elusive hunt for instant gratification.