She loves me, she loves me not

Sewing and crafting makes me so happy. I love it, it's the best! But as I alluded to in my last post, some aspects can be the worst.

I recently read an article which discussed passions vs. interests, the key point being that with passions, you love the process, but with interests, you only really love the idea or the end result. If you're passionate about something, you'll happily tolerate the boring bits, but if you just can't be bothered, it's probably just an interest.

For me, sewing is my passion, even thought there are definitely some aspects of the sewing process that I don't love.

So in honour of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought I'd share some of the things I love about sewing, and some of the things I don't.

I love you...

Compliments. When someone compliments your outfit and it's handmade. Best. Especially when they ask where you bought it from!

I love you not...

Pattern tracing. Pattern tracing is the worst. My mum bought me a hideously kitsch but incredibly useful pattern weight recently and it's actually fantastic - changed my pattern tracing game entirely. But I still don't love it. I just want to get to the fun sewing part! I think the Sprout Patterns service is a fantastic way around this, and as soon as I achieve my target weight and know what my 'new normal' size is, I'm placing an order (or five!).

I love you...

Fabric shopping! My ideal day would be spent in a fabric store with a $1000 gift voucher, knowing that I had plenty of room in my stash when I got home. The textures, the colours, imagining what I could make with it... I love everything about fabric shopping.

I love you not...

Fitting. Toiles. Muslins. Whatever you want to call it, it's just annoying. Like pattern tracing, it's just something that gets in the way of the fun part of making a garment. That said, correcting a pesky fitting issue is so satisfying! (I'm looking at you, full-bust-adjustments!) It's that moment when you know that it's not about the pattern, it's something that you did, all by yourself - with lots of advice from the internet, sure - but it was all down to you in the end.

I love you...

When random shapes come together and form a recognisable 3D whole. We've all had those times when we've looked at the sewing instructions and thought to ourselves "wait, no, that can't be right!" but trusted in the patternmaker's editing team and done it anyway, only to find that it comes out exactly how it's meant to - and in a way cooler way than you thought it would. For me, that time was in high school, sewing together a pair of shorts for the term project. I was so sure the orientation was wrong, but once I sewed that crotch seam, it all came together perfectly. I still have those shorts, shoved in a drawer somewhere.

I love you not...

Taping PDF patterns together - as discussed previously. I was seriously considering buying an A1/24" printer last weekend. I priced several, checked out their consumable costs, even started rearranging the house in my head to find somewhere for it to live (because those suckers are huge!). Then I came to my senses and realised that I would have to print more than 600 A1 sheets (not even including consumable costs) to make it break even over simply taking the file to Officeworks and getting them to print it for me. For the same price, I could get more than 400 A0 sheets printed up, and it seems like there are more PDF patterns available for A0 than A1. So that's probably not going to happen. But I hate the process so much that I couldn't even type that sentence without including the word probably. Even knowing it would probably never break even, I'm still considering it.

I love you...

Overcoming tricky techniques. Nothing beats the satisfaction of learning a new technique and then executing it well for the first time. I remember the first time I inserted an invisible zipper that was actually invisible. I put that dress on and danced around the house. It was such a wonderful feeling.

I love you not...

Actually setting up my machines. Unlike most sewing bloggers, I don't mind threading my overlocker, it's actually really easy and painless. But for some reason, I will procrastinate for hours (sometimes days) over pulling my sewing machine off its shelf under my sewing table and setting it up on the tabletop. It's a weird reluctance, but there it is. In my ideal sewing room, I will have one table for sewing, one for overlocking, one for cutting/tracing/layout and one for my computer. Oh, and an ironing board too.

I love you!

Accomplishment and self-sufficiency. I don't just mean self-sufficiency in the sense that you can make your own clothes and don't need to go buy them, although that's pretty special. I mean it in the sense that you don't need society's preconceptions to know who you are. You don't need validation from the fashion world. You don't need them to tell you what to wear, how to feel, what size to be. As sewists, we often march to the beat of our own drum and we are totally fine with that. We are capable, we are talented and we don't need anyone to tell us who we are. And I love that.

Sonnet 145, Shakespeare; image created via @Canva's Valentine's Day promotion


Whenever I think of how I feel about sewing, the last lines of Sonnet 145 come to mind: 

... 'I hate' from hate away she threw, 
   And saved my life, saying -- 'not you.' 

Or as Kat Stratford paraphrased:

...I don't hate you,
not even close,
not even a little bit, 
not even at all.

Fun little sidebar: There are a lot of theories about who "she" is in this sonnet (his wife? his mistress?) and what the circumstances of their fight were, so here's another:

Whoever she was, he's in his study with writers' block, when he hears her yelling and screaming.

"Again? Seriously? Aargh, I hate you! Your vibrance tricked me into thinking you'd be different, but no, you're just the same as all the rest!" (or the era-appropriate equivalent)

Shocked, hurt and confused, he enters her parlour and sees her stabbing her needlework vehemently. She looks up, noticing him in the doorway, runs to him for a hug and says something era-appropriate along the lines of "oh, sorry my love, it's this blasted embroidery thread - it keeps tangling!" - and suddenly his writers' block is gone.


Or at least that's how things go down in my household!