Although I can't remember where, I recently read a very strong opinion on serging. The writer was quite emphatic that serging was not a professional finish. Her opinion reminded me of the hand and machine, art or not, debates and I wondered why did it matter. Most of us are not trying to be professional seamstresses. We are trying to produce garments that we ourselves will wear and that are as carefully crafted as we are able to make them with our current set of skills. As we improve our abilities, our output will improve also. That seems good and enough without expectations around professionalism. Do good work works for me.
As egotistical as it might sound, over the past month I have been keeping track of compliments received about my work. Two stand out - that my work is impeccable and that I have an eye for aesthetics. Both were a wonderful boost to my artistic soul and neither person commented on my serged seams. Considering that no one else is going to be climbing inside my clothes and that I'm not trying to garner points for posterity, it seems that neatly serged with good craftsmanship, interesting architecture, and fine details is - at least for me - the better choice. That said, I've had people more than willing to take my serged products. Apparently, they are also professional enough.
This weekend, I started working on Katherine Tilton's Butterick 5891, the sleeveless top with fifteen pattern piece, cut single layer. It took much longer than normal to trace, much longer than normal to alter, and much longer than normal to layout and cut. And that's okay. There's no rush. Just a lot of fun.
If you read the reviews, there's a mixed reaction from highly recommend to recommend with modifications. Several reviewers did not recommend the pattern for beginners. I agree in that I wouldn't recommend it for someone just starting to sew but I disagree in that I would highly recommend it for a confident beginner wanting to move to the next level. It will challenge you to think through what you want to do. Several times I thought I would do that differently. I changed some of the instructions as I went and now that I've sewn it once would do a few other things differently. I'll most likely will sew it again simply to try out those possibilities.
Whether or not you think this style would suit your body type, consider sewing the pattern. It's a fabulous learning, growing, stretching piece and I am sure you will learn a lot and have a huge sense of satisfaction when you're finished. Don't worry about whether it'll fit you. In fact, why not sew a different size so it's not even a consideration. Just enjoy the process, the evaluation, the thinking through, the contemplating, the opportunity for creativity, the outcome, and the learning. It'll be an interesting process.
And be yourself. Do what you want to do and don't worry about what other people might think. That's how you learn and how you find your own uniqueness. The image above shows the back of the top with a beautifully matched print along the off center back seam that merges the dots between two alternating fabrics. If I had a fabric like this, I would carefully match the dots too because the match shows up the seam and the seam is one of the fabulous architectural details. However...
... I don't have that fabric so I chose instead to not match the seam so that - in a different way - it would be visible. I will match a pattern when I think it's important but for the most part I choose busy patterns and don't match because I like the break in a pattern that highlights the seam lines and the way lines are interrupted and new lines are formed. This blue dotted version is my wearable muslin. I'll sew it, wear it, see what I think and how I feel and based on that quite possibly make the jacket. I have a striped linen in stash that would be excellent.
Although I do like and do plan to wear this top, I've come to accept that not every pattern I sew has to be a garment I would wear. I want to enjoy the process of sewing. I want to experiment with new to me concepts and find out what there is in that experience that could be taken forward into the next and the next garment. In-between other basic garments, I'm exploring patterns like Katherine's with lots of architectural detail and I'm learning what I like, what feels like me, and what looks good on me. And in the process, more of me is emerging. I'm finding my voice.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a positive attitude
The people whose attitude causes them to approach life from an entirely positive perspective are not always understood. They have limitations in life. Their gifts are not so plentiful that they cannot fail. But they are determined to walk to the very edge of their potential or the potential of a project before they accept a defeat.
- John Maxwell