The Flawed Dress: Advice For the Do-It-Yourself-ers…and for me

So there’s been some buzz on my blog lately about me teaching myself how to sew.

I hear from people A LOT that they tried to learn, but just got so frustrated that they put their project away and never went back to it. Let me just say, I can empathize with you there. Here is some advice for the DIY'ers who just want to give up.

So there’s been some buzz on my blog lately about me teaching myself how to sew.

I hear from people A LOT that they tried to learn, but just got so frustrated that they put their project away and never went back to it.

Let me just say, I can empathize with you there.

Right now I am posting on my blog because a harmless little Halloween dress I was making for my daughter got the best of me. It’s pretty much done, but it’s flawed.

My friend Katie would tell me that no one would ever catch the flaw. She’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders with this sewing thing and she’ll tell random people in the hall at work (we work for a church) that I make clothes.
My first instinct is always to add a disclaimer whenever she does “oh I do, but I’m not that good” or “Oh I just mainly make clothes for my daughter”. I get nervous that if I’m hyped up to much, people will inevitably be disappointed in me. It’s a confidence thing. Wait…it’s a LACK of confidence thing.

As I sit here GLARING at the cute fabric covered in dogs dressed up as ghosts and pumpkins and witches…I fully realize how ridiculous I am.

I have a talent, so many (I know because they tell me) would LOVE to have. Am I perfect? No! I’m pretty good though.

So I was thinking, thinking about everything I’ve ever given up on because it wasn’t perfect and a few thoughts came to me. They apply not just to sewing…they apply to ANYTHING you do yourself.

  1. Something that is homemade will not be perfect. It will be flawed. It’s not made in a factory by a person that sews the same straight line or paints the same wheel of the toy 8 hours 5 days a week. It’s made by a mom, a daughter, a husband, a dad who needs to get dinner on the table. Needs to run to soccer practice. Needs to wipe a messy face. It’s made by a human being who has a world full of other tasks demanding their attention (please please keep this in mind when you balk at the price of homemade goods as well. You are compensating not just for supplies, but for time away from children, families, life)
  2. The flaws present are part of the charm. The little thing that catches your eye and makes you stop and say “wow, that’s homemade!”. It’s the flaw that draws your attention, and the rarity nowadays of something being homemade that makes you feel impressed AND inspired. If that flaw wasn’t present would you even notice? What would set it apart? Probably nothing.
  3. Most things that are inspiring are hard to achieve. Making something from scratch, whether it’s clothing, dolls, a banister for the stairway, etc….is hard. It isn’t something you can go into blindly and succeed on your first shot. Stick with it, your failures that turn into success is what sets you apart from the rest.
  4. Give yourself grace. Step away when you need to and accept that maybe now is not your time. That doesn’t mean you need to wait years, but maybe you need to wait for a less stressful time in your life. Goodness knows why I got the sewing bug when I had two children 2 and under. I mean, it worked out…but it probably wouldn’t have been as stressful if it had happened when they were older or before they were born!
  5. On the same note, sometimes you need to just walk away for a short time and get some distance. I am a completionist. I like things to get done. If I can only partially do something, I wonder why bother starting? This is not the best mentality to have when learning something new. Be willing to walk away when the going gets tough and promise yourself you will be persistent about it later.
I like to work in groups of 5’s when I make lists…but if there was a #6 on this list it would be not setting ridiculous deadlines. I’ve been known to decide Thursday afternoon that I want Lizzie to wear something brand new made from scratch on Friday. I can do it, I’m pretty fast…but at what cost?
So here we are…I started writing this post during nap time and the kids are now up and eating their snacks. The offending dress has been tried on and for some reason is enormously big and made Lizzie cry when I put it on her. All I can do is laugh. Give myself grace (#4), time (#5), accept that the dress is not a success (#2)…yet! (#1) and press on and turn my failure into a success (#3).
Later. Now I’m going to go play outside with my kids.

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

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