Saturday, May 4, 2013

Perfection VS. Excellence in Sewing and What the Great British Sewing Bee Teaches Us

I finished the Great British Sewing Bee on Thursday. Which is why I have no new trousers to show you. You see, I was so inspired by Ann's excellence I decided to go the extra mile and do french seams, which means everything takes twice as long, consequently they aren't done.
I am kind of proud of them though. I think this is only the second time I've done anything like this.
Inside of pant. You can see the only raw seam which will be
covered by the waistband. I even added seam binding.
So often we struggle with making things perfectly sewn or in the case of pants, perfectly fitted. But we never achieve it and end up dissatisfied with our work. Why? Let's take a look at perfection.

Perfection: freedom from fault or defect: flawlessness.
Ooh, no wonder we fail! Guess what guys, we're never going to be perfect. Ever. Cause we're human. Let the relief from this revelation carry you through to a blissfully creative weekend.

So if we are not supposed to strive for perfection, does this mean we get to be sewing slobs??? No, and this is where the Great British Sewing Bee comes in.

Screen shot with source
Ann won because of her superb skills. They shone from almost every creation and her unflappable calm throughout each challenge. Ann had a life time of skill building and it showed in her excellent creations.
Excellence: very good of its kind: eminently (to a high degree) good: first-class
We CAN make very good garments and sometimes we even achieve a first-class fit! Even if we are doing a superb job, often we don't realize it. At the end of the show Ann admitted winning was, "a real boost, that for all these years I've been doing something right." Apparently we still can use validation even if we've been sewing for 81 years.

In summary, what does the Great British Sewing Bee teach us? Or maybe just me.

  • Skills take a lifetime to perfect. I should do my best but realize excellence takes time and skill.
  • Patience and self control result in less stress and fewer mistakes.
  • Learn to estimate and manage time well.
  • As your skills grow, never lose sight of your fun and whimsy.
Lastly, if you ever try out for a sewing show; Sew EVERYTHING!! Make sure you've put in a zipper and made a men's shirt before! 

Everyone did such a good job and it was a beautiful program to watch. Did you see it? What did you learn from it?
I'm off to finish my trousers! Wish me luck!


Anonymous said...

Such wise words written in your summary! I’m a perfectionist- and it’s a challenge to not let it into my sewing- it can take the joy out of it, and what’s the point of it, then?!
Ann was so lovely- she’s a proper TV role model!

Beth said...

Love this idea--striving for excellence.
Thanks for sharing.

annerd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
annerd said...

Good luck on your trousers! I lvoed Ann, too. I loved the sincere joy she expressed when she got good evaluations or won a challenge. I saw the episodes on Youtube. I guess the biggest reminder that the show gave me was: It is better to do a small thing properly than having big plans that ends up half way.

Anonymous said...

I am regretting that I missed the Sewing Bee. I once heard (maybe on Radio Lab) that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert. Just another thing to keep in mind when we beat ourselves up over projects.

Sally Burch said...

Nicely written Em! And I agree that we shouldn't let perfection stop us from trying. I guess I'll soon have to dig out that trouser pattern I bought with enthusiasm after the relevant Seeing Bee episode!

One other thing... I noticed in an interview that Ann said that she never sews the same pattern twice, which is interesting as it means that even now she is constantly trying new things and learning.... Truly a good role model, and not just for sewing eh?

Carolyn said...

I absolutely LOVED watching the GBSB show; which I watched on my computer, via youtube!! Thank goodness some kind person uploaded the episodes for us countries that didn't get it on TV. I really hope they make another one :)

Becca said...

This is an lovely, encouraging post. What a great lesson to take away from the show! I agree with other comments, Ann is definitely a good sewing role model. Have fun finishing your trousers!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks. Curbing those perfectionist tendencies is such a challenge. I can remember several projects in the beginning of my sewing that ended in tears. Slowly I learned to correct what I could correct and embrace the rest! (at least most of the time)

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

EmSewCrazy said...

My Norway Buddy!!
I watched the show on YouTube too! That's a good thing to remember! So often I get caught up in extravagant plans then when it comes to execution have to scale it back to reality.

EmSewCrazy said...

It's on YouTube!!! Go watch it!!

10,000 hrs! Good thing to remember!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Sally. Hope your trouser adventure goes well. I'm dragging myself through the process in the hopes of curing my fears and ending up with some better fitting trousers.

I know! I thought that was incredible! She gets such amazing results and never tests the pattern beforehand! Maybe she does flat pattern measuring to check fit? Did you see she's started to learn to quilt now? Yes, we always need to keep learning and growing!

EmSewCrazy said...

I loved it too! They are asking for participants for season two so hopefully we'll get to see some more wonderfulness soon!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Becca! There were a lot of amazing people on the show. I think my favorite person overall was Sandra. I so enjoyed her sense of humor. Ann is amazing and besides her sewing skills, I loved that this show clearly demonstrated the value of our elders and they still have a part to play in our society and amazing things to teach us.

Hana - Marmota said...

This is definitely a great lesson, one I'm reminding myself of a lot now...

EmSewCrazy said...

Reminders!! We all need them! Sometimes I wish I wouldn't forget them so quickly.