Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Tortoise or the Hare of Sewing

Sewing tends to be a solitary experience for me, but not long ago I sewed with a friend one afternoon, and it was interesting to see how our approaches were so glaringly different. I go slowly at every step of the way. I usually try to follow a pattern’s directions and I’ll often look up how to do something that I’ve never done before or haven’t done in a while. When I make a mistake I’ll undo my sewing and do it again (which happens more often than I would like). I tend to be more cautious, so sewing consumes quite a bit of time for me.

My friend on the other hand, sews quickly. She does it her own way. She takes short cuts. She’ll finish a circle skirt in an afternoon using the selvage edge as the hem. She’ll sew a dress and only have one pocket (in the side seam) because she was too impatient to put in the second pocket. I don’t know if she bothers to finish her edges or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she thought it was unnecessary. She just wants to be done with a project. She doesn’t want to spend days or weeks on a garment, and I understand this desire to be finished.

When I first started, I sewed more quickly (or perhaps I should say with less care) because I too, just wanted to get it done. I would sew for long periods of time, determined to finish a garment over the weekend. However, I often became frustrated and would more mistakes because I was tired, and this in turn made me more irritated. [Pause.] This wasn’t so fun. And in the end, I had a lot of messy garments that I wasn’t particularly excited about.

I came to the conclusion that as much as I wanted to get a project done, I’d rather have something that I actually liked in the end, which meant I wanted things to look right. I want my garments to be somewhat well made (at least as well as I can do). So now I sew more slowly. I’ll sew a bit on a weekend here and a weekend there. I don’t give myself time constraints any more. Believe me, I’d like to sew faster (with accuracy), but I’m a tortoise and I go slow.

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