Thursday, 21 July 2016
"It's got to be perfect...Now I'm determined, I'm gonna get it right" *
Recently I admired a sewer's polka-dotted skirt and immediately she pointed out where the pattern did not match completely. A couple of days later another sewer, when I commented on how great her dress looked, replied that the belt ought to be a bit lower. I know, when in the same situation, I hasten to point faults out with my sewing. Do you do this also? I would bet that many of you do. Do you point out slip-ups only to other sewers or does it extend to whoever makes a comment on your garment? If we were complimented on a ready-to-wear garment would we behave in the same way?
Why do we do it? Is it due to a form of "impostor syndrome", the frame of mind where one feels that one does not deserve to be praised. Does a confession of a fault help expiate the perceived "sin" of not being "perfect"? Has the proliferation of helpful bloggers and pattern reviews, writing about problems that arose in their sewing and fitting of a garment, made us feel that we need to point out our own complications and mishaps?
If I look at all the me-made garments that I have now (and some of these can be categorised as vintage! due to the length of time since I made them) only two seem to me to be without mishaps of sewing or fit- the zip perfectly inserted, the buttonholes exactly matching and evenly spaced, the pattern matching, the hem stitching invisible, the inside neatly finished, the collar points sharp and no bodging or tweaking. Unfortunately they are not my favourite garments, they are very boring, and they are not the ones that get compliments. Usually the favourable remarks arise due, not to the perfection of their construction, but to a striking fabric or unusual detail (sometimes this later has been created by me to cover up a sewing deficency- there you are, the urge to confess surfaces).
Etiquette says that you should accept a compliment gracefully. Telling someone that the dress they have just admired is faulty is tantamount to casting aspersions on their judgement. So, in future, if a non-sewer gives me a bit of praise I shall try just to smile and respond with something nice about them. However if it is a sewer and they ask me what the pattern was like to sew I shall probably regale them with stories of what hell the fabric was to stitch without puckering, how I misread the instructions twice and how I sewed the left sleeve to the right side of the bodice. What about you? How do you react when someone congratulates you on something you have made? What do people most remark upon? I'd love to hear.
* Taken from the lyrics of the song "Perfect" by Mark Nevin