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5 things sewers care about (that no-one else does)

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does

Sometimes i take myself way too seriously when I’m sewing – little details below my self imposed minimum standard make me very upset. I will redo an entire garment to fix them. I have many unblogged makes because i deemed them “unworthy” by some invisible standard. The funny thing is, that if i ever mention sewing flaws to someone who doesn’t sew, they look at me with a confused quizzical expression.

Do you want to know why? Because they never noticed. GASP.

That somehow doesn’t stop me from pointing out every thing wrong with any garment i’ve made to anyone i happen to bump into. Oh you didn’t ask about my raw hem? Well i’m going to tell you anyway! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter THAT much does it? It makes me laugh at myself, and the little list of things we all care so passionately about when we are sewing. Maybe it’s good to remember once in a while that it’s not the end of the world if it isn’t all perfect. So here are my top 5 things that sewers (cough *I*) care desperately about, and I’m pretty sure no-one else does. wink wink.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does // beautiful insides

1 // Beautiful insides

Basically unless your garment is as gorgeous on the inside as the outside you might as well cry yourself to sleep. If you’re going to line something, make sure that lining is a feature in itself. Unicorn print or tiny pug puppies are an absolute must. Extra points for french seams and bound finishes. Zig zagging or using an overlocker will probably make you feel like a loser. Avoid anything that meets requirements, always go above and beyond what is necessary. Oh your flat felled seam is actually a FAUX flat felled seam?! Tisk tisk, you better admit that to everyone or the guilt will eat you up.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does // perfect fit

2 // Perfect fit

Oh the ever illusive perfect fit! We all want it! We will make 50 muslins and tweak everything! It doesn’t matter that ready to wear garments never fit perfectly – i’m making it by hand, so i better kill myself making it conform perfectly to my body. Or i’ll die. In fact, i think i will overfit it. Yes, that’s a great idea. If it’s a little wrong i won’t wear it. It can hang in my closet forever, that’s where it deserves to be because the bust dart is half an inch too high.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does // pattern matching

3 // Pattern matching

Hands up if you’ve painstakingly matched a print by hand to make your seams almost invisible. Good on you, it’s just that important. Hours spent fussing about pattern piece placement on fabric to get it all just right are not a waste! You better start again if you don’t get it right the first time. Remaking an entire garment to pattern match the seams isn’t weird at all… it’s TOTALLY normal. Right? If you think you might have made a mistake it is vitally important you get everyone’s opinion in Instagram. Oh did everyone tell you it looks fine and it doesn’t matter? I’m pretty sure they actually meant you should do it again.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does // high quality materials

4 // High quality materials

Hoard that silk baby. Forget self control when it comes to Liberty of London. The better your fabric quality the better a sewer you are! I’m SURE everyone will notice that your blouse is 100% imported Japanese cotton no less… Make sure it’s a rare print by a trending textile designer. If no-one else can find that fabric you’re even cooler! Of course you can’t use the polyester lining, that will ruin your entire garment. Oh, you DID use a low quality fabric. I’m sorry. You better mention it every time you blog about that garment. Everyone has a right to know.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does // couture techniques

5 // Couture techniques

Lets put some welt pockets in just for the heck of it. A simple machine hem won’t do – hand rolled hems on everything please. Actually no, hand sew everything you can find an excuse to hand sew – we are not animals after all. Yes that includes hand picking zips. Bound buttons are a must in any coat… or why did you even bother making a coat? Don’t tell me you didn’t put a sleeve head in… i can’t even look at you right now. I’m not sure how anyone can press anything without 5 different kinds of tailors hams. Oh and a clapper. Extra points for unnecssary boning and horsehair braid.

5 Things sewers care about but no-one else does

The end. What’s your score 5/5? It’s an awesomeness competition after all. Kidding.

I’d like to say i’m not going to take myself too seriously from now on… but i have a pair of shorts that i need to take apart because the exposed zipper is a little wonky and the same colour as my skin and it’s driving me crazy. I’m worried it looks like a butt crack. I’m not joking.

Feel free to add your sewing nuttery in the comments. I need to feel normal again ;)

XOXO

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Anna-Jo
5 years ago

I have to hand finish the last stitches when any topstitching meets so that they align perfectly and don’t overlap…

India
India
5 years ago

So me and it has held my sewing back so much. “No, I can’t sew that. I’d never be able to get it right!” “No, I can’t wear that. The seam binding isn’t quite right.” I mean ….. not wanting to wear something because the (invisible) inside isn’t perfect??? Why do I do this to myself?

arrowlili
5 years ago

Omg, I laughed so much at this.
I’m still not experienced enough yet, to have fallen foul of 1 & 2 but the last three are all creeping in…. Especially number 4!
At least I now know what I have to look forward to ;-)

Sewniptuck
5 years ago

Heavens Megan, you’ve read my mind. I recently tossed a gorgeous wool/spandex tweed self drafted dress to the Vinnies bin because the dart was inconceivably high for a woman of my vintage! I shudder every time I see my daughter’s second skirt http://sewniptuck.com/2015/12/31/teen-sewing/. This second skirt had huge blue flowers on a white background – totally unmatched. I was so proud of her having finished it I never brought her attention to the mismatched side seams lest she develop ‘early onset hyper critical sewing vigilance disorder’!! I’m amazed fashion houses even bother to put out collections sometimes!

Jane
5 years ago

Haha, this is so good! I have never actually used horsehair braid but I had a DREAM about it the other night. No doubt it’s in my future. And I don’t own a clapper but have come to see its purpose and would love one now. I’m so sorry but now you mention buttcrack about that shorts zip I can see it, gah! And I am absolutely guilty of pointing out the flaws in my handmade garments every time someone offers a compliment. “Should’ve gone down a size and done an FBA” – cos everyone wants to know that, for sure.

Rachel Seed
5 years ago

Very funny, and so true! We really shouldn’t be quite so hard on ourselves.

fionaparker17
5 years ago

High five to that! Why do we beat ourselves up so much about the imperfections?!

Mel
Mel
5 years ago

I saw myself in a few of these. My personal obsession is the matching of seams at the waist, under the arm etc. Whenever there is a x join all seam joins must match, I even baste them to make sure of it. Insane….

Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

? This was great and the zipper “butt crack” at the end had me laughing so hard! I will admit to pointing out my mistakes and not being totally happy with a garment when the insides look crappy. I’ve also had to remind myself recently that I wear plenty of RTW garments that don’t fit perfectly. Thanks for this.

Helen
5 years ago

I just made a pair of culottes. The waistband seam doesn’t quite match up, the box pleat is a little off centre and the hem is machine sewn. BUT I WORE THEM ANYWAY !! ( and I love them :) )

Audrey
5 years ago

Ha ha! Last night when I hung up the garment I’d just finished sewing I discovered I’d sewed the neckband on crooked. I don’t think I slept a wink last night trying to figure out how I was going to fix it!

Liz
Liz
5 years ago

Oh yes! Almost all of these! Particularly the (over)fitting, my poor other half has dealt with me in soooo many strops because I can’t quite get rid of every single wrinkle and I’ve made 17 muslins with no improvement. My invisible zips must lie absolutely perfectly with no sign of tape either side and no bubbles or wonks at the bottom, and do so on the hanger as well as on me, because even if me wearing it smooths out the problems, if it looks like that on the hanger I can’t put it on…….

I also have piles of lovely silks and other fabrics that I can’t bring myself to cut into for fear of the potential fitting/finishing errors, even though I am sitting here AT WORK quite happily wearing a Myrtle dress that really did need an FBA and needs surruptitiously tugging downwards every now and then as the front creeps upwards. I’m very comfortable! Why haven’t I make this in the lovely silk jersey I’ve been hoarding for a year? We are ridiculous, but we are all ridiculous!

Liz
Liz
5 years ago
Reply to  Liz

^ oops surreptitiously, trust me to type fast over lunch! (Another need for perfection here…)

Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago

LOL, I love how this post got increasingly, um, hostile as it went on! Thanks for the laugh-out-loud funny, Megan:D I’m not really sure where I stand on this — it’s admirable to do something to the very best of your ability; on the other hand, sometimes “good enough” is just fine, especially if you want to keep enjoying the process. I’m totally guilty of buying Liberty and Japanese fabrics though, heheh. Good luck with that zipper!

Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago
Reply to  Meg

I guess not before you change out that zipper, haha! Best of luck with letting some of it go — maybe it’ll be a balancing act (use up that less-nice fabric you have on hand, but match the pattern if it makes you happy). It must be even more stressful since you’re a pattern designer! I hope you’ll continue to share those slightly antagonistic monologues with us! I really want to send this link to my boyfriend, but I know that at best he’ll only understand it as a poor onlooker!

anya-zoe
anya-zoe
5 years ago

This made me laugh! I can easily relate to all 5. I also shudder when I see RTW closes with pattern not matching at the seams, or ill fitting pants on others, which all makes me self-conscious about my pattern matching and my pants. Might as well wear skirts from now on.

meganleiann
5 years ago

Hehe. This is hilarious. I am convinced that people are living in unnecessary chaos because their patterns don’t match! That kind of thing messes with the subconscious visual part of the brain! (Only mostly joking)

Lodi Srygley
Lodi Srygley
5 years ago

And to think I’m postponing sewing a blouse because I want to French seam it, but I only cut a 3/8″ seam. What to do? YIKES!

thetelltaletasha
5 years ago

bahahahaha! This is hilarious! I might be all of these LOL Great post!

Beverley Hoben
Beverley Hoben
5 years ago

This is a wonderful blog post, Megan. I’m a perfect 5. One thing I’ve learned to do is hang the finished garment in the closet a month or two before wearing it. By that time I’ve forgotten all the little things I didn’t think I had done perfectly enough and am much more relaxed about wearing it.

Marie
5 years ago

ehehehehe you read my mind! Stressing over unfinished inside seams and wonky stitches is truly a sewer’s OCD… That’s why I wickedly rejoiced over these “flaws” when I visited the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit in Munich. Even Couture seamstresses are bound to stop fussing at one point :)

Freya
Freya
5 years ago
Reply to  Marie

I spent 7 hours once making my first pair of high waisted shorts with a box pleat (a-dorable!) but I cut the crotch seem a scad too small and had to sew in a tiny teeny little scrap of fabric so that they didn’t pull–I agonized over it so much that after two wears I threw them to the rag pile. Sigh. I should have let them have a little more time, it wasn’t obvious at all ;-).

katherine
5 years ago

It is all that blog reading! Sometimes I think that reading sewing blogs does the same thing for our sewing self esteem, as many claim women’s magazines do for our self image…I have to remind myself that the blogs are edited versions of somebody’s work, and that I am reading them collectively…not one person is achieving all of those skills…collectively, a large group of sewers can do all those things.

I no longer aim for perfection I tell myself that sewing is a craft and the skills develop with experience. Otherwise, all the joy can be sucked away.

Sometimes I can’t decide whether to re-do / unpick / correct a mistake. So I wear the garment. If I find that I am totally self conscious of the mistake when I am wearing it ( pulling at it, covering it etc), it needs to be fixed. If I totally forget about it when I am out (and you know, enjoy my life, talk to people etc), then it doesn’t need fixing.

I think this is a super important lesson when teaching our kids to sew. I started my daughter sewing at 6 and she is 12 now, and I think it is more important for her to have fun with the creating process. Ending up with a garment that she can wear after just a couple of hours sewing is much more important than getting it sewn well. Though, after 6 years, we are starting to aim for accurate seam allowances and just yesterday we aimed for a neater hem on a quick kimono.

I guess the balance between creativity and technical competence is tricky to get right.

Su
Su
5 years ago
Reply to  katherine

Oh Katherine, yes! Hadn’t thought about ‘perfect’ sewing and ‘perfect’ looks as per magazines but you are so right.

Thanks for the funny – and comforting – post Megan. It is only other sewers who might even notice these things, and in real life you just don’t see or hear them criticise. In fact they are usually generous and kind, so it must be that darned inner critic after all!

Dara Harper
Dara Harper
5 years ago

FUNNY!!! Amen to all of them!?

Linda
Linda
5 years ago

Lol! I now even have my husband trained to shudder at mismatched stripes (on other people, of course ;-))!!!!!!

Elizabeth
5 years ago

I am laughing so much right now! I lost it at the zipper butt crack part. This describes me so well – I think I drive my family crazy sometimes especially when it comes to print matching. Ever since I learned how to match prints in my sewing if something is even 1/2″ off I have to fix it. I also shudder at RTW mismatched prints – especially stripes and plaids! Ahh! Thanks for the laugh. :)

Tammy
Tammy
5 years ago

This post is funny because it’s true! It’s good to read comments that other people are teaching their own children to be creative but not perfectionists. My home ec teacher marked us so harshly on every single imperfection that many people quit sewing forever. I, however, persevere with the ever ready critical voice of my high school teacher in my head. :-)

Joyce
Joyce
5 years ago

Hello, my name is Joyce and I’m addicted to all of them too!!! recognising is the first step to recovery isn’t it??
The other day my son’s girlfriend got me to help her with her second ever sewing task. That’s lovely right? I nearly threw it away when I looked inside and saw the mess, you know “EEWW!’ get that away from me moment. But I quicky recovered and moved on to the good parts.
And I’d change the zip too

Kathryn
5 years ago

This made me laugh Megan, thanks! I would say I’m guilty of thinking all 5 of these, but then I go ahead and wear my imperfect me-mades, and enjoy wearing them!

Becky
5 years ago

Love this! Can so relate.

Nilla
5 years ago

This is all so true! Well said :D

Helen // Grosgrain Green

So funny, great post! ?

kate
5 years ago

I love love love this post! Such a great bit of levity. Right now I am wearing a Kelly skirt for the first time that I started 1.5 years ago, but it sat around waiting for button holes until this week because I was agonizing over the perfect finding the perfect buttons.

I finally got around to just choosing some buttons from my stash and finishing it up only to realize I had lost weight and it was now kind of baggy in the waist. I debated ripping everything (including my French seams!) out and trying to redo the waist, but decided that I would just add little darts in the waistband at the side seams to take up some of the slack and and let it sit a bit lower on my waist than intended. No one has noticed yet… and one person (non-sewer) even gave me a compliment!

Antipodean Stitcher
5 years ago

You know your obsession with pattern matching has gone too far when you not only notice that they guy in front of you on the train has a striped business shirt that is 1mm off matching but actually feel upset by it.
Why yes, this is me on a semi-regular basis.

sheseams
5 years ago

Mine is nubmber 1, I’ve made dresses were the lining (always a bold color/print) is prettier.then the fashion fabric. I actually turn ready to wear clothes in stores inside out to see how it was done.