Monday, February 25, 2013

Sewing Inspiration: confidence

Okay, so confidence isn't exactly a common muse. And if you're talking about your own confidence, it might feel a little self-indulgent, possibly stuck-up. Other than a willingness to TRY, I think confidence may be one of the most important skills needed for sewing. As a beginner, I rely heavily on directions from others, whether it's from the instructions in my pattern or a tutorial I read online. But sometimes the directions of others don't match the vision I have for a particular garment. In those situations, I'm left with a choice: compromise my idea and trust someone else's plan, or take a risk on my own abilities.

A few weeks ago I saw a fabric on Emma One Sock that I could. not. live. without. It was screaming "high-low skirt with thick elastic waistband!!" from its picture on the internet. At least in my head. So, I ordered it. I didn't have instructions from anyone else, I just had this vision in my head. I spent lots of nights falling asleep, working out the details (c'mon, I KNOW I'm not the only one who meditates on fabric/projects/sewing to fall asleep!). Ultimately, I decided to also get some less expensive fabric and make a wearable muslin to try out my idea.

This week, I finished my wearable muslin (except it's a maxi skirt, not a high-low). What I really wanted to work out was attaching the fabric to an elastic waistband and making sure it didn't look cray-cray. The elastic is 2 1/2 inches and it's not in a casing, the skirt is simply attached directly to it. It sounds simple (and it was!) but I was still scared to try it because I had no pattern telling me what to do. I was afraid that even if I could do it, that it would look stupid, not cool, etc. In short, I lacked confidence.

I'll probably blog about the skirt itself later, so what I wanted to share is that finishing it was such a huge boost of confidence. There were a few steps that I was unsure about, but I was able to use my own knowledge and judgement to work them out. And the results are even better than I expected! How many of us have patterns or fabric sitting in our stash, collecting dust, because we're afraid to work with them? Because we doubt whether we have the skills to turn out anything of worth? A lack of confidence can be equated with writer's block; if you don't think you CAN do something, you may not even try.

I say, try it. What's the worst that can happen? Afraid of ruining expensive fabric? Then make a muslin. Don't limit yourself. Celebrate your success and forget about any failures. I WAS paralyzed by this beautiful, expensive fabric, and now I'm free to work with it, because I have the confidence to try!

P.S. Today is my birthday, and I'm seriously considering saving up my birthday money (yes, my parents still give me birthday presents/gift cards...lucky me!!) for a serger. Am I crazy?? I've been sewing for less than a year...but I love knits and my walking foot has quit on me (not that it was always helpful). Thoughts??

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