I’m a perfectionist. Really I don’t think it’s uncommon among us artistic types. Whether you’re painting, decorating a cake, sewing a gown, or applying makeup, you know that the little details are the important ones and that anything less than your best isn’t something to be proud of. It’s also said that artists are their own worst critics, and this is true.
Today I am working on perfecting a gown (keep your eyes open at the end of this month for the photo-shoot!). I’ve been happily sitting in the sunshine, watching the metallic gold thread work its pattern among the soft emerald green fabric. Suddenly, there’s a sound of protest from my machine and the entire thing skids to a halt, puckering my beautiful fabric with it. And of course I reach for my seam-ripper.
This is a tool that pretty much anyone who has done any sewing can appreciate. Whether you’re still learning and you’ve sewn the seam the wrong way, or the slippery fabric has gone crooked, or you just don’t like the fit and want to adjust, this is the magic eraser for things gone wrong. I have a particularly beautiful one, sent as a gift from my dad. It was carved on his own lathe out of olive wood, and has a stiletto in the other end. It’s both beautiful and useful, and something I’m very glad to have today.
As I ripped out the puckered stitches and re-threaded my machine, I reflected that it’s okay not to be perfect. Things go wrong, and frankly every project I do teaches me something new. Some of the best things I’ve made in life came from making mistakes until I got it right. Sure, I want the finished product to be as close to perfect as I can make it. But I think the bumpy journey teaches so much, and I can take a lot more pride in the end product knowing that I was brave enough to try it even if it wasn’t easy.