OMG, what horror I experienced last night, friends. I dreamed I ran into Cathy on the street thirty years from now and...
I woke up in a cold sweat and at nearly 2:30 pm I'm still clammy.
In other news, occasionally I like to revisit sewing projects from long ago, not only to bolster my fragile ego by reminding myself how far I've come since those early days, but also to remind my beginner-level readers that we all start out as knucklehead newbies and improve with time and practice. There's nothing wrong with taking pride in a project even if it doesn't look perfect. When it comes to sewing, there's almost always something that we woulda-coulda-shoulda done differently, am I right?
Anyway, many of you will recall the flowered shirt I sewed in August of 2009, just two months after I started sewing. It won the Pattern Review Beginner's contest that fall, and shortly after, became part of the slightly-off-center header of this blog!
So you might be wondering, What does this shirt actually look like up
close? How about the inside? Or perhaps you've never wondered
these things. Either way, today you're going to find out. This
was, roughly, my third or fourth shirt back when I was still sewing with cotton-poly
sheets found at the thrift store. This floral sheet was a fabulous find and, I believe, was originally a gift-with-purchase from a box of Borax, back in the
early Seventies. (Or was it Fab -- anybody remember?)
I'll never forget how
proud I felt when I first wore this shirt out in public. I even got
complements from strangers -- OK, one stranger. But it was a memorable
moment I haven't forgotten. Of course, the biggest thrill I get
wearing it today is noticing how little I've aged in the last three and a
half years, especially from the back.
Let's be honest: the best thing about this shirt is the floral print, so reminiscent of a Singer Genie. I used Butterick 4712 (in a size 36) which was to become my TNT pattern for the next few years. The fit is pretty good; I didn't alter anything because I didn't know how (nor, at that point, why). It's not as well-tailored as my recently completed, bordering-on-overexposed (and exposing) V8889, but it's still the right size.
Look closer, however, and you'll notice that this shirt has problems, among them puckers galore on the armscyes, unbalanced stitches, and too many raw seam allowances. The collar stand is a mess inside and out.
But you know, something? At the time I made it, this shirt brought me joy and a sense of accomplishment. I'm still proud of it.
Whatever your skill level, you should do the best you can confident in the knowledge that with experience you'll improve. Tasks that seem overwhelming will get easier and even years down the road there will still be stuff to learn. Enjoy the process and don't worry if your projects don't look perfect. Believe me: nobody ever mentioned that my sleeves had puckers or my stitches looked wonky. Most people wouldn't know an unbalanced stitch if they saw one. Have fun and keep moving forward.
And that's today's sewing sermon; peace be with you.
In closing, do you ever revisit old projects to remind yourself how you were sewing way back when and acknowledge your progress?
Are you generally pleased with what you see or -- affectionately, I hope -- appalled?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!