Monday, October 17

I'm not completely insane (rant)

You've got your home of the brave and I've got my land of the free
You conform to what society says and I conform to me
Looking for light in the corners getting caught in the spider web
You look at me as if I'm giving a performance when I'm just feeding my head
And you know that I'm doing all right
And I won't explain myself to you just to avoid a fight
How I'm living ain't correct but for me it's just right
I'm not completely insane, I'm maybe just a little bit crazy

Lyrics from "Crazy" by Alana Davis

Vogue 1161

This post is more of a diary entry to air out my conflicting feelings on my sewing skills. Ultimately it's no big deal, but sometimes when I hear/read about how others are doing on the sewing blogs & boards it stirs me up a little bit. Sometimes I feel like I'm not "up to snuff" with my sewing, like I know I can be.

I pride myself on my sewing skills and being able to produce wearable and well made garments. I totally understand garment construction and I'm genuinely attracted to all things fashion and sewing. Sometimes I'm so desperate I watch the sewing machine demos on HSN (albeit with major side eye.) I feel like a super star when I receive compliments on my blog and in person and even better when I am wearing an RTW garment and someone who knows I sew asks if I've made it.

Reading about "couture" and "advanced fitting" techniques is truly enjoyable, and know I can do those things if I tried. I have learned and tried some really awesome things just by self study (not on any garment, just for fun. Truth is, I hardly ever employ them unless they contribute to the "sturdiness" of the garment. I make sure I do enough fit adjustments to not have me looking like a stuffed sausage. I barely read the pattern instructions: b-o-r-i-n-g, I'll just figure it out and do my own thing or look someting up in a pinch. Truth is I refuse to hand sew and try to avoid it whenever I possible can. I wear a lot of loose fit anyway, so unless I have some major potato sack-age, gaping or my rolls are showing, I don't bother doing any super custom fitting. Truth is realizing these things makes me feel like I'm not doing things the right wayand then I feel like I just want to get this thing made so I can wear it.

While in progress, I really don't care if the inside of my garment is as nice as the outside. I just make sure all the seams are neat and strong and that there's no fraying. Hand hemming - really? I use the machine blind hem in a heartbeat, it works and looks fine to me. I don't line anything unless the fabric is flimsy or it will be dry-cleaned - a rarity. I have learned the lesson about using quality fabrics, but I really feel like if it's sewn well and cared for well, it will last - even if it is polyester. (go polyester! yes roll ur eyes, lol.)

But then when I see other seamstress do couture techniques - even on simple garments - I am awestruck, motivated and then deflated because I felt like I shoulda-coulda done that.... But when the time comes to I sew, I just get in the zone. I just try to have a great time and make sure things are lined up well and don't fall apart. Does this make me a bad seamstress? Lazy? Can I even call myself a real seamstress? Impatient? How can I get the motivation to slow it down? What is my real skill level if I don't really practice any major techniques so I'm actually getting better? Am I being too sensitive?

Thanks for listening/reading.

The song:


Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

That is the best version of that Vogue pattern I have seen, fantastic! looks so good on you. Sewiing style - whatever works for you, keep going.

toomanypastimes said...

We have all got to do what works for us and makes us happy.

You are rocking that dress! It looks well made and it fits great. Don't compare - go by how you feel.

If you get too persnickety with the details you might stop sewing because it isn't fun (or at least I would)

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

lakaribane said...

I understand and share many of your feelings.

Typically, I want to rush. I've been exploring TNTs this year because it means I can just sew through everything at a mad pace, having worked out the kinks (or not)previously.

But I also feel, like you, that I can and should try something more refined.

So I'm making my first underlined and lined skirt.

Maybe try at least one garment per season/year with a bit more couture in it?

Jeanette said...

Your dress looks really great! I wouldn't worry about doing couture techniques etc unless you want too. If making the inside look pretty makes you happy, then do it, otherwise, who cares. :-) Sometimes it makes me happy other times I don't care. The sewing police will never stop by, I'm sure... lol Sewing is supposed to be fun, not a contest (unless you enter one)

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Are you a home sewists or a designer? Do you make your living sewing? When you wear clothes that you've sewn, do people point and laugh? Do the clothes fall off your body?

Then you are fine with your skills. Yes we can always improve, but be very proud and exceptionally comfortable with your skill level. Many would kill for what you can do.

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

The dress looks nice on you

Anonymous said...

I think so long as you enjoy sewing, you should just have fun. There is no need to be a perfectionist all the time. If it looks good and fits well, that's perfect enough. If you're worried, try maybe one or two "perfect" dresses every year, which could be something nice and fancy that you'll treasure for many years.

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

The dress is crazy fierce and you look wonderful in it. I've been sewing a long time (I'm a card carrying member of AARP and started sewing when I was in HS). I used to do bridal gowns and formal wear. I employed couture sewing skills. It I gave it up because it became chore and no one really appreciates it unless they're educated. Since I took pride in my work it, mattered to me. I still take pride, but it's more important that I have fun with one of the few things that give me pleasure in this life. Like you, I am sometimes amazed at the work some of my fellow seamstresses are doing. It's truly wonderful. There isn't time in my current life schedule for many couture techniques. I still hem by hand, etc. But my clothing and yours, outshine RTW any day. Simply because they are imbued with the essence of our creativity. Be proud of what you do. It's wonderful!

Sheila said...

The dress looks fabulous on you and remember whatever techniques you, its because its works for you and thats all that matters.

Faye Lewis said...

Great dress by the way! Of all you said this is what registered with me the most - "I just get in the zone. I just try to have a great time and make sure things are lined up well and don't fall apart." The zone is an amazing place to be and having a great time while lining things up and the don't fall apart is what it's all about. When you truly have the desire to venture out and apply new techniques you will do just that. Keep enjoying!!!

Scheryka said...

Narcissa, you hit the nail on the head! I am this way ALL the time. I want to do better. I look and find ways to do better but when I am sewing I am ready to put it on and sashay, too. I will (when I have more time) actually apply those learned skills to my clothes as I do for the ones I sew for. I just be ready to PUT IT ON! So, no you are NOT allone. BTW, your dress is stunning! Lovely colors.

Carol said...

This is KA-UTE! Don't sweat the "seamstress stuff" You gotta new dress and that's wuz up!!

Carla(LoverofWords) said...

I do love your dress. it looks good on you

Susan said...

Your mind and my mind have some similar ramblings. lol. I always look at those that have gorgeous finishes on their garment insides with envy, but skip a lot of that personally.

I have been trying to learn more about better techniques, but am happy to sew quickly and efficiently. Your dress is FABULOUS!

Myra said...

Great dress & fabric! This compliments your body very well! One thing I most definitely agree with is that you must make your craft fun & exciting for YOU! If you don't, you run the risk of getting bored, frustrated & losing interested...I almost did! Don't worry about what everyone else does honey, just DO YOU! At the end of the day, that's all you have and that's more than enough if you ask me!!! Enjoy your skills no matter what level you feel you are, they're your skills aren't they? And you worked hard to get them!!!

Meigan said...

I often feel the same way when I see other bloggers doing fancy techniques. Sometimes I'm envious and other times I wonder "why spend the time?" I just keep in mind my own personality and remember who I am and how I like to sew and if at the end, my garment fits, flatters, and makes me happy, then there's nothing better than that. :)

Thanks for the song link too

Nik said...

That last picture of you is cute and fun. You look beautiful in that dress.

Anonymous said...

The dress is beautiful on you. A job well done.


CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Cute dress! About the hand sewing couture's not for everybody AND it's not for every garment. You are sewing for you not the masses. There's nothing wrong with the way you sew because it makes YOU happy :) Just my opinion.

BeccaA said...

I empathize completely with what you're saying. I often look at what bloggers are doing and feel that what I'm doing isn't as good as it could or should be. Then I look at what I've sewn and I'm happy to have these clothes. I agree about wanting to finish things when I'm sewing rather than focus on the details. Sometimes details are fun but often quick progress on an item is more fun. Your dress is lovely and you look great in it. I bet hubby took you on that date.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya on the conflicting feelings and actions pertaining to couture techniques. I used to try them out, but it took me forever to finish a garment. I've been cutting corners lately and it doesn't give me the same sense of achievement. But it does provide gratification quicker. I've always thought you do a superb job on all your projects. This one's no exception!


Your sewing technique is just that...YOURS! Everyone does it differently. In the end the result is what matters and your results are always marvelous! Love your work! Kiah

MAD14kt said...

Looking good and who would have EVER MADE IT!

fly tie said...

this inspired so many thoughts and feelings in me on this subject.i could write a book!

anyway, the dress looks great, and you're quite awesome on that machine!

tigergirl said...

I can understand where you're coming from too. For me, as long as it's neat on the inside (ie. overlocked), it's good. I doubt I'll ever bind a seam. Very few dresses get lined, it's hot where I live, if I'm making something from cotton or linen, there's a reason - I want it to be cool. I do hand hem some garments but I'm with you - I hate hand sewing. The fact is, just how often do clothes get worn? These days people have a lot of clothes to choose from. I think they go out of fashion before they get worn out. (Excluding some of my plain black pants - I have many, many pairs - that are over ten years old and due to all of the wearing, washing and sun have faded.)
I would really lose the oomph to sew if I felt I had to use couture techniques on every garment.