Thursday, June 16, 2011

Improving our craft

This morning I posted the following on PatternReview in the Beginner's Forum:

"Recently, I sewed a few dresses and found that I came across some steps which baffled me and struggled with a few techniques. For example, I had a difficult time with lining a dress, even though *everyone* says that is the easiest thing to do. I also wanted to add a stay to a waist area, and my result was , well, pretty damn ugly on the inside. All of this shows that I am at a point where I am trying new patterns, new styles, new techniques or making my own decisions about what to do...and my results are not as pleasing as I'd like. 

What experiences do you have with this? Do you challenge yourself and live with just ok results, or do you practice and throw away? What techniques and skills are you currently trying to learn?"

After posting this, I realized that I wanted to hear YOUR responses, as you are the people with which I share much of my sewing journey.  I do write reviews for PR, and participate in the forums...but that has become less important to me than the sewing/blogging community.  Please take some time to ad a comment below for all of us to read...thanks!  


  1. The skill I need to learn most is patience. I want and need clothing to wear NOW, but I also want and need to learn basic techniques and solid skills. The results tend to be lovely little tops made from the remnants of wretched wadders. So it goes.

  2. I need a hefty dose of organisation and patience to achieve it!
    I suppose things could be easier if I had a scheduled time slot for the kitchen table, but it is a little difficult here with all the various timetables that we have.
    When I finally get to have the kitchen all to myself, it is late in the evening, and then I have to rush whatever I'm doing. That's where the patience comes in...
    Striking a balance isn't too easy!

  3. To paraphrase Julia Cameron: If you want to be a good seamstress, you have to allow yourself to be a bad seamstress first.
    It is ok to throw away something. Now I can say it! :-) Practice is inevitable.
    And, as a certain businessman said: Aim for progress, not perfection. I found this statement very helpful.

  4. I frequently try to stretch myself with my sewing - and make a few wadders, which drives me back to things I can already sew, until I get bored sewing the same things, then stretch myself... It is not quite a circle, but a spiral, with the skill set gradually getting bigger, and the wadders getting less. Just keep going!

  5. I wish I had time to try out new techniques... or even ones I already know, for that matter. I've just had no time or patience for sewing lately, and no real reason to sew either as I have so many clothes already. I always envy people like Gertie who devote so much energy/time/patience to improving their work.

  6. I've always had the attitude that I could make whatever I'd dream up. That brings with it the necessity to make samples and trying things out. Generally, if something doesn't work, I try to "fix" it, so that the result may not be my original intent, but at least I can wear/use the item. Mind you, I've been at this a long, long time, but there is always something new to learn. It would be boring to repeat the same thing over and over again. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in my lifetime to try out or make all the ideas that are floating around in my head.

  7. I'm always trying to stretch myself and try out new techniques. Experimental garments don't always work out as perfect as I would have liked, but then I like to take apart the bits that I wasn't happy with and MAKE it work.
    After a particularly difficult or time-consuming project, I often "have a rest" by whipping up some quick and easy projects in between the challenging ones.
    Like Irene, I have more ideas than I can actually physically get around to... I wish I had more time, but then again I do have plenty of clothes, some would say more than enough already!

  8. Barbara's comment speaks to me, particularly the last part about aiming for progress rather than perfection. My sewing "pattern" is a lot like Kbenco's: a spiral from comfort zone to challenges, learning and frustration, progress, return to comfort zone, etc.

  9. Great questions! I've enjoyed reading everyone's answer. For me, I have a definite mindset when I start a project. If it's a new pattern, technique, or fabric, I know going into it that it may not work out, or that I will have lots of fitting/adjusting to do. I am less bummed out if something doesn't work out in this case. However, if it is to work out, it must look good on the outside. As long as the outside of the garment pleases me, and the inside won't come undone, I don't worry about how the inside looks. Other times I approach my sewing with the desire to turn out a winner from the get go, so I stick with what I know works. I've been sewing long enough now that I don't have too many disappointments in this sewing mode. But when I do...oh the pain!

  10. You're welcome to put my picture up on Pinterest.

  11. This is a good question! I personally LOVE to try new things and learn new techniques, which is one reason that I sew up a lot of Vogue's designer patterns. They have endless new ideas to try. But I can (and do) swing into a "I just shouldn't be sewing because I'm totally unskilled!" state of mind if something doesn't work or fit. The latter is usually due to my laziness in fitting and muslins....


I love your comments and enjoy the conversation that results.