As a creative individual, I feel like I am in a constant battle with failure.
Actual failure or fear of failure, it’s lurking in the back ground every time I pick up something new to do, be it sewing or drawing, writing or playing an instrument or any the multitude of other things I attempt on a regular basis to fuel said creativity.
Even though I am a perfectionist, realistically I know fearing failure is ridiculous. Even when you do have a massive fail whale of a project, generally these are the projects that help you to learn and grown your skills. But the fear of these fails can still always stop you from starting: what about the wasted money, the wasted time and the wasted effort of pouring your heart into a project headed for disaster?
I have had a bit of a break from the world of sewing (though still completed one little project, to be revealed soon!) for many reasons this last half of 2017. Failure was not the main reason, but it did feature on this list. Not so much the fear of sewing ‘badly’, but more an endless nagging question I have around trying to decide how I want to approach the world of sewing: career or hobby?
Am I still looking to pursue a career in sewing, or will this slowly destroy the love I have for it when it becomes a day job? Can it’s support me full time and provide enough income for me to live the lifestyle I aspire to, or will I be slowing run into the ground until I am forced to give it up and go back to a regular 9-5?
The fear is real.
I have no doubt that these are questions all creatives face about their passions a hundred times a day. And make no mistake, I have learnt no answers to these questions – just that having a little break has reconfirmed one thing and one thing only to me: I love sewing. Specifically the satisfaction of sewing lingerie. And from now on I am aiming to make it more of a priority in my life again in a bid to refuel the passion.
To keep this post somewhat related to actual lingerie rather then just my inner ramblings on existential crisis, I present you with this:
To this day, this is the lingerie make I felt the most failure about. At the time I made it, I felt it was the most ill-designed, slapped together thing I had ever seen. Not even worthy of attempting to fix, but instead shoved to the back of a shelf to be forgotten about.
These were the second pair of knickers I ever tried to make, and riding high on the success of my pretty as a picnic briefs I decided to make another pair from the same book, these cute embroidered tulle knickers.
They had ruffles! And polka dots! And embroidery! I mean, could these knickers be more up my ally? The image in the book uses a lovely peachy coloured tulle which I liked and wanted to recreate. First faux pas of the pants, I rushed into buying the first tulle I could find and ended up with a yellowy fleshy colour rather then a peach. Nice colour, but not at all complimentary to my very pasty white skin!
I digress. Rather then stopping and considering acquiring a more suitable fabric, I ploughed on and lovingly marked out and then embroidered my little polka dots – hours and hours of work making them all perfect!
Once my polka dots were all finished and lovely I was hit with my next question: ‘now what, how to finish these??’ At this point I quickly realised I had not yet acquired any stash of nude or complimentary toned elastics or jersey to finish the pants. Riding high on the anxiety I had been harbouring of having to find THE PERFECT SHADE OF MATCHING NUDE AND NOTHING ELSE WILL DO, I threw the pants into the UFO pile never to be seen again.
About 6 months later I saw them taunting me from the bottom of the pile and pulled them out with a new determination to get them finished. This was the summer where stretchy tulle body suits with strategically placed lace and chunky black elastic finishes were EVERYWHERE.
I figured what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so snatched up all of the black stretchy goodness I could find and blindly sped towards knicker completion.
WHY, EMILIE, WHY.
The outcome, in my opinion, was less then desirable. The sewing itself was fairly solid and the the knickers were as good a fit as I could hope for this puffy/gathered style. But the design choices? No.
The solid, high contrast black clashed woefully with with delicate polkadots I had spent so long hand embroidering. The dark elastic drew all the attention away from those little frills I loved and using black thread to sew over the nude meant every little bit of less then perfect sewing stood out like a sore thumb. And not to mention that jet black gusset which I just cannot tear my eyes away from.
So how did I feel after this failure? Anxious? Scared? Down?
Actually, non of the above. Just more determined then ever to improve and happy to write this one off as a bad design decision.
And do you know what? I remember so vividly being so ashamed of this knickers when I first completed them maybe a year and a half ago, but having stared at them hanging on my wardrobe all week after photographing them for this post I have come to decide they actually aren’t so bad after all. Definitely not worth all the hate I’ve sent their way. Funny what a bit of time can do huh?
So from now on, it’s time for us all to embrace the fails. And not be so hard on our selves when we need to take a little hiatus 😉