I have a metaphorical nickel for anyone who gets the song reference from the title of this post. No Montell Jordan fans? Tough crowd.
The last time I made a foray into the men’s shirtmaking world for my husband was kind of a bust. And by bust, I mean that my father ended up with a hand-made Christmas present a couple years ago due to a novice sizing error. (And for those of you who’ve heard the stories- yes, that’s also how I ended up giving my Dad boxer shorts. And for those of you who haven’t heard the stories- yes, it was as creepy and awkward as it sounds.) Needless to say, I’m more cynical about sewing pattern sizes these days, so for this little number I went with a regular large. I still had to take an extra 1 1/2″ off of the side seams, but Large was still the best bet since my husband has pretty wide shoulders. (As he should, his wife can be quite a handful, I hear.)
A huge goal of mine is to get better at sewing, and I’ve always said there’s no better practice than men’s shirts. The last couple days I was reminded of why that is…it’s because they’re such a tremendous pain in the old tuchus! I LOVE to sew, but shirt collars really rub me the wrong way. That moment after you’ve sewn the inside piece in place and turn it over to see just how badly you’ve missed the line on the other side is like no other moment in life. Okay, so the collar turns over that point and no one except you and the dry cleaner will see it. (That is, if you use a dry cleaner and you don’t just throw it into the wash and pray, like me!) But even the flaws no one else will see- or notice- are really hard for the seamstresses I know to get over.
Doing projects that require great acuracy, skill, and patience is the only thing that will make us grow as seamstresses. Getting over that perfectionism hump is only accomplished when you just become determined enough to get good that you’re willing to be bad in order to get the practice that the skill you want to build requires. My friend who is a beautiful quilter with an even more beautiful heart worked up the moxie a couple years ago to become a free motion quilter. Watching her progress, I saw that perfectionism was her biggest obstacle. But I watched her work grow from squiggles on a quilt sandwich to beautiful quilts and I know she’ll eventually complete amazing works of art. Why? Because she loves the art form. She told herself if other people can do it, she can do it, too. And because of that, she created lots of work that got progressively better.
This blog, and my whole sewing journey, is dedicated to that spirit. Right now, I’m not the seamstress or designer that I want to be one day. But you know what? I’m closer after this project than I was last week. There are places on this shirt that I’m not 100% pleased with. But I’ve made up my mind not to let perfectionism keep me from becoming great. And I want to inspire other people to progress, as well. We were created to create and when we fulfill that purpose, we reflect our Creator.
The moral of the story: Don’t be afraid of being bad. It’s how you get good. Also, don’t give your father underwear.
Here are some additional pics of my adorable sewing buddy who, by the way, is not a perfectionist, but is a lover of small spaces and naps: