Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Hurry

Realizing that the reason I still hadn't done any sewing was that I'd gotten it into my head I needed to make jeans; and this is much too intimidating a project to launch into after such a long hiatus, Saturday I dug through my stash, picked a new project, ironed the fabric, laid out a pattern, and pinned it.

By then it was getting late, and I've been advised not to pin and cut out on the same day, to reduce cutting errors. For those of you not accustomed to sewing, a cutting error can be anything from cutting two pieces when you need four, cutting with the grain (the direction of the threads) lying wrong in the piece, using a piece from the wrong pattern (most modern patterns offering a number of different options, so that it's possible to cut the sleeve for A when you want B), omitting a piece, or just plain messing up the cutting. Since, most of the time, you buy a piece of fabric with the intention of using it in a particular project, and only buy the recommended amount for the project, a cutting error probably means you don't have enough fabric to correct the error. Which is all very well, if you can run back to the fabric store and buy another half yard; but if you're working from stash, the odds are good the store won't have the fabric you bought last year anymore. And I'm pretty sure the fabric I was using was one I'd bought off the clearance table. All this being true, although I was anxious to get properly started and didn't feel like ironing and pinning was enough progress, I left the pinned fabric and did something else.

As I got into the shower Saturday night I suddenly realized: I don't want to make a fitted blouse with that fabric. I want to make a "Hawaiian flowerdy shirt," which by definition has to be loose. I don't have a pattern for a Hawaiian flowerdy shirt, so I needed to unpin that fabric, put it away, iron another piece of fabric, and start over. So if I hadn't followed the advice not to pin and cut on the same day, I'd have ruined the outfit. I probably could have made an acceptable blouse, (hmm...maybe it'd be flowerdy-shirty enough if I left out the darts? No, because they need to be loose in the shoulders, too), but "acceptable" and "the one I want" aren't equivalent terms. So even if the pattern was laid out perfectly and I'd cut with a steady hand, if I hadn't followed the "don't pin and cut on the same day" rule, I would have made a gigantic cutting error, and repented at leisure.

It takes me forever to do things, even working on them every day. I frequently feel that I'm patient to a fault, and it often works against me - patient people tend to get crappy customer service, for example.

But patience is so often the difference between success and failure. It pays, when you think you've completed the final draft, to let it sit overnight and give it one more read-through in the morning before sending off that query, or summary, or manuscript. Cutting errors are every bit as fatal to careers as to outfits; but only if you parade them around, and don't recognize them till later.

(BTW, I got dizzy ironing the contrast fabric for Fitted Blouse Take 2 yesterday, and didn't get as far as ironing and pinning the fabric for the main blouse. Which is frustrating, when I had so much energy Saturday. But the main thing is, I did work on it, and will again today. Also, more book shuffling!)


  1. Pictures of what? I haven't got a digital camera, so there won't be any pictures of sewing projects in progress until I do. I know they're not expensive, but I always seem to have something more urgent to spend that money on. I need to get the pictures taken during renovations developed, and I'll get CDs so I can share a few views of my pretty new sewing room etc.