Updated: Nov 2, 2022
I wrote these 7 points that I observed back during my retail storefront days, and I continue to find them true to this day – teaching from my home studio.
1. They are way too hard on themselves, underestimating their capabilities.
Sewers forget that the sewing process (unlike cooking!) is wonderfully ‘forgiving’. I have over 50 years of sewing behind me and with 45 of these in a professional/teaching capacity, I can hardly ever remember a situation – a ‘mistake’ that could not be turned into a success in some way, shape or form! Really: it’s not like if you crack (what you thought was the 2nd) egg into the bowl and mix it up – only to go and toss it into the sink and realize that there are already 2 egg shell sets in there. At that point, it’s kinda hard to retrieve the egg from the liquid! In sewing, you can ALWAYS ‘un-sew’ it! So what: you cut it off and you weren’t supposed to? Just sew it back on. Not enough fabric? Go get a coordinate! The thing I LOVE about sewing is that, really, YOU are in control. Unlike so much of life, YOU decide what goes where, and how it goes there. At least you CAN make those decisions…you just need to let go and LET yourself ‘be the BOSS!’
2. They feel every idea has to be totally new. Hmmm watch any of the sewing contest shows like Great British Sewing Bee or Project Runway, or the new Making the Cut? See any totally NEW ideas there? How long have you been a student of fashion? Don’t you see styles resurrected over and over and over? Designers just put it all together in a new way, giving it their own little ‘twist’. YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING! Go ahead, STEAL ideas – they are there for the taking in your own personal sewing! Pinterest is a candy store for ideas. Creativity is not always a ‘natural’ or easy process. Have all the lessons you’ve learned in life been painless? Can I live your life instead of mine? The wisdom I have has come mostly from the ‘school of (real) hard knocks’! That is true both for life..AND sewing!
3. They think they have to have precise directions on how to do anything and everything. Sew…how many patterns HAVE you bought trying to find someone else who will tell you exactly what to do and how to do it? Become that child buried inside again and just say, “Let me do it MYSELF, Mommy!’ Then…DO IT!
4. They think every project just has to work out perfectly – that they should automatically LOVE everything they create. Tell me now – REALLY: Do you just LOVE and WEAR everything you buy? Why not?? After all – you had the chance to try it on and evaluate it before you ever went home with it, correct? Ease up on yourself! Vow to enjoy the process, not just the outcome.
5. They feel it is wrong to un-sew, re-try, and start over. You only learn by doing. I have never found any ‘sEwing Police’ ready to haul you off to Stitching Jail if you ‘break a rule’. Figure something out on your own. Do it differently. Try it YOUR way. Remember…this is one hobby in which YOU are in the driver’s seat. A wrong turn here or there is NOT going to kill anyone. Have FUN!! Sew…you mess it up ..just go buy MORE fabric! Everything that happens is just another ‘creative opportunity’.
6. They limit their materials and equipment choices. Selling sewing machines for 13 years taught me SEW much about – especially women! I sang praises whenever a woman brought her husband in with her to ‘look at’ a new sewing machine! Ninety-nice percent of the time, a woman would always want to ‘settle’ for the lower model. (And, of COURSE, they wanted to think about it’!) ALWAYS, the hubby encouraged them to get the better model – and to get it TODAY! Why do we not think we are worth the best we can afford? Besides that – at least 50% of the sewing we do is usually for others – and not for ourselves. Sewing equipment (and FABRIC, of course,_ are merely TOOLS necessary to create. Without the proper tools, you’ve stacked the deck against creativity and success to begin with Hmmm… ever seen a builder build a house without an electric nail gun?
7. They feel that they have to combine EVERYTHING they gather together for a project along with EVERY technique they know how to do in the same project. I have 3 ‘mottos’ that I share, over and over and over:
Less is Best.
Stop before you think you’re done.
If in Doubt – Leave it OUT!
copyright 2007 – Londa J. Rohlfing