Monday, July 12, 2010

Less-than-perfect :: ours vs. theirs

This here is one of my favorite sundresses. The red one, with polka dots. It was one of my first Etsy purchases, from a woman who custom makes dresses to your measurements. I bought it several years ago when I was still experimenting with skirts, and any garment with curves felt way beyond reach.

Today as I was wearing it, I was examining one of the princess seams. The front right panel has always twisted in on itself, and at first I thought that the fabric might not have been trued when it was cut, but the more I looked at it (as closely you can examine the bodice of the skin-tight dress that you are wearing – preferably done in private), the more I realized that the facing had either been skewed when it was cut, or skewed when it was sewn in.

The funny thing is that I’ve always noticed that this panel affects the way the entire dress hangs, yet I wear it anyways. Whereas if I had made this dress myself, there’s a good chance this ‘flaw’ would fall firmly in the ‘cannot live with’ category, and I would have either unpicked the hem thrown down the garment in disgust. What is it about other people’s flaws that make them easier to live with, whereas when they are our own we become hyper critical?

I love this dress. I try to wear it as often as possible. Would I still love it if I had made it, and therefore I was the one who had made this mistake? I mean, I could still probably unpick the hem and make it sit right – but I doubt that I will. Why is that? If I had made it myself, you can bet I’d have taken my seam ripper to it a long time ago. The end result is the same: garment is slightly ‘off.’ Why does it matter who made the mistake, and why does it matter so much more if that person is ourselves?

It’s not like a straight hem vs. a crooked one is really a measure of our self worth, right? Whether we saw the crooked seam and bought it anyways, or were the ones to create the crooked seam ourselves … how is that really any different?


Antoinette said...

A couple years ago I started to leave in one "mistake" per garment that I make for myself that's obvious to me and maybe (but probably not) less obvious to the casual observer. Short sections of neck binding that are not sewn all the way down, or a wrinkle in a sewn-down hem. After wearing it once or twice, I usually don't notice anymore, and the garment gets its rotation in the closet. It really has gotten me "over" that extreme perfectionism!

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting take on expecting perfection in ourselves--or striving for it. You didn't notice the so-called flaw at first, but if you had made it, you most likely would have.

As Gino Auriemo (the UConn women's basketball coach) told his players: You can never achieve perfection, but as you continue to strive for it, you can achieve excellence. I like that.

anotheryarn said...

So so true.

Zonnah said...

Lol, this is so true!

Tasia said...

So true! We're so critical of our own work, yet we'll accept so much less than perfect if someone else made the flaw.
I'm even critical of garments' coolness factor. Because I decided on the colour, cut and fit, sometimes I wonder if it looks any good? Is it cool? After all, with clothing companies, an entire team of people meet to determine what the style will look like. And there's me, randomly choosing fabric and hoping for the best.

The more I sew though, the more I am proud of what I made, care less whether it's 'cool' or not, and stop obsessing over every little flaw!

SuBoo said...

I think it's a lot like how sandwiches made by other people always taste nicer than the one you made yourself - I think if you're slightly removed from the item you end up being a lot less critical. This applies even more so (for me anyway) when it comes to sewing because the last thing you want to see after slaving away over what you hope will be perfection is something 'off'. Without the slaving means less attention to detail I would think?