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Are You Ever Really Satisfied With What You Create?

Episode 141: 8 tips to help you reframe your sewing fails.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast, Creativity & Mindset • May 10, 2023 • Episode 141

When you look at a project you’ve finished, what stands out more, the mistakes or the successes?

If you’re so busy looking at the flaws that you can’t feel truly satisfied with what you created, Sarai and Haley have some tips that will help.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode and a summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

8 tips to help you reframe your sewing fails

  1. Give yourself some physical space from your project. If you’re hung up on what went wrong with your project, set it aside, preferably out of view, and give it space. Time away makes sewing mistakes harder to spot. You can set it aside for a day, a week, or—if you’re like Haley—6 months. Then, when you come back to it with fresh eyes, you might actually like to wear the thing.

  2. Identity what specifically is bothering you about it.. You can work on a solution if you can specifically point out what’s wrong. Maybe something needs to be unpicked. Or maybe it’s the wrong color, and you can dye it. Or maybe a slight alteration will help it fit better. This step leads right into the next.

  3. Determine if it's worth fixing (or something you're willing to live with). Remember the three-foot rule when it comes to this. Stand three feet (or about one meter) away from your project. Can you still see what’s bothering you? If you can’t, then nobody else will be able to see it either.

  4. Make a note of what you just learned. Each mistake is a hint to avoid repeating the mistake in the future. It can help to write down what you learned. For example, “never sew with silk chiffon again,” or “I like the color green, but I don’t like wearing it.” This is also a great time to remind yourself to make a muslin or keep track of your fitting adjustments.

  5. Look at your upcoming project queue and see if there's something you can apply those lessons to soon. Make a mental note (or write it down in your pattern instructions) on your next project, so you’re actually applying the lessons you’ve learned. For example, if your zipper came out a little wonky, make a note to hand-baste it next time and see if that helps.

  6. If you're still feeling unsure, play dress-up. Try on the garment with a bunch of outfits. Does it look better under a jacket or tucked into high-waisted pants? Do you just need a scarf or another accessory to make it work? Sometimes a garment on its own is unappealing, but it actually works well as a layering piece.

  7. Take it out for a test drive at the grocery store. You never know how you’ll feel in a garment until you leave your house and wear it in public. So if you feel self-conscious wearing your new creation while you’re grocery shopping or running errands, it might be time to say farewell.

  8. If it's not working, move on in whatever way feels good to you. This could be closet purgatory or the donation pile, or you could give it to a friend who loves that color. Whatever helps you move on, do it. You’ve got your notes about what you learned, so this won’t happen again in the future, right?

Do you have any project fails that stand out in your mind? Or have you saved a garment from the donation pile? Comment below with your stories.

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