Let's be honest.
I have been sewing if not daily, at least a couple of times a week, for fifty years. I started very young making my own clothes (what was my mother thinking?) I wore some strange outfits to school when I was getting going though I can tell you.
However the end result of all this sewing is that I have done so many things over and over again I have sort of got used to disregarding the instructions.
I am so smart after all.
In fact I had a standard practice of throwing out the Big 4 instructions as soon as I opened the envelope - a practice that annoyed the hell out of the sister who used to borrow patterns from me "Just forget it. I would rather buy the pattern myself, there are never any instructions in them."
In the interests of full disclosure and transparency I have to tell you that this assumption of competence is not always a great practice. I am horrified to realize that I am, in my sewing, on the verge of becoming, in some areas at least, that most dreaded of mature people - the one who thinks they know everything because they have been around and around the block many times.
I am reminding myself of those women I used to sometimes run across in sewing classes who would announce they had been sewing "for 30 years and this is how I do it" even if how they did it, like never changing the needle even when it sounded when it sewed like a Sherman tank driving on a metal road, or edge stitching not on the edge but always, always a presser foot away in every situation, wasn't really best practice.
And too the young and enthusiastic new sewists in my classes, the new who were wide open every scrap of information they could collect, and were always so willing to try and try again until they got it right, taught me a real life truth - just because you have been doing something for a long time doesn't mean you have been doing it right.
In fact it is entirely possible to do the same mistake over and over for 30 years, if not longer.
Once again life if it doesn't always imitate art, certainly does seem to imitate sewing.
Now this profound statement leads me very naturally to a discussion of shoe bags.
Last night I reviewed and posted pictures of Jalie's Nordik slippers and shoe bag. I was pretty interested in how cleverly the slippers went together and when I got to making the shoe bag, well after dinner, I thought I could just look at the pieces and figure it out.
It was getting late.
The dogs were agitating to get to walk down the hall to the bedroom and the cat was agitating the dogs who had no interest in joining her for a top speed circuit around the house.
That's my defence but there really isn't any. Not from someone who knows the route around the block this well.
However my sewing conscience is pretty active, it has to be, so when I woke up this morning I decided to actually check out the instructions just in case. Of course I had missed a critical step.
Rather than simple sewing around the rectangle shape which this smarty pants assumed she should do, I should have folded the side seams in 1 1/2" at each end and stitched over them like this, like I did this morning:
This is such a simple manoeuvre, I have done the boxed corner thing many times but never this, but it gives a nice pleat and shape to the sides of the bag- more three dimensional:
This completely changes and improves the look of this bag. I advise you follow the instructions on this one.
This whole episode has reminded me one of the main reasons I enjoy sewing with Jalie (apart from the huge size selection which is important for someone like me who sews for an extended family) - I love the little technical tricks.
So I learned something new today.
This little episode has also made me consider the role of long standing assumptions in life. As I go about my business today I am going to reflect on other areas where I might have rushed to judgment, thought I already knew something but didn't, where maybe I haven't been as smart as I thought I was. It seems to me that long term output might inhibit the occasional interesting input.
So I have a question. Have any of you had an experience like this? In any area. What sort of assumptions have you revised lately?