Today is freezing cold and it's not even the middle of September! I am having a hard time getting anything really done today because I really just want to curl up on the couch with my sleepy cat and read all afternoon drinking nothing but homemade lattes. Do you ever find it hard to work when it's a chilly day? I think I equally find it hard to work on warmer days because I would rather be outside playing. Or maybe I just hate working and find excuses not to work?!! In any case, our new sweet cat has been an ongoing distraction, although a VERY pleasant one. Even when he is sleeping most of the day, I find myself just staring at him while rubbing his fluffy belly and holding his little paws. I can't stop kissing him! I know he is just a cat, but I love him so much! I already cannot imagine my world without my little feline friend.
I have been thinking of my fall collection lately, though my mind is split between sewing clothing collections and getting my sewing patterns ready for sale. I will admit to you that the sewing patterns have been on a bit of a hiatus since before the summer. The one thing that really has me stumped more than anything is writing out the sewing instructions. I almost never use instructions when I sew, so it's really hard for me to think up the right words so that others can make sense of my patterns. Whenever I use a new pattern, I scan through the directions, mostly just making sure I know where the pattern pieces should go and then maybe review some of the more trickier parts. But otherwise I tend to figure it out as I go. Does anyone else do this or is it just me? When I'm attempting to write out directions, I really want to just SHOW YOU how I'm doing it, not try to figure out the correct words. Usually the part that is hard for me to explain are techniques I'm not even sure are "correct." Like when I want to sew a yoke into a shirt, I don't want the seams to show underneath (and also I want to save time) so I figure out a way to sew each seam, including shoulder seams, right sides together so when I turn it out, the seams are invisible both on the right side and wrong side. But sometimes the yoke is narrow enough that most people wouldn't bother with this and just serge the raw seams or even just turn the wrong side of the yoke under and then top stitch in place. Which is the right thing to do and which is the wrong? Do I even make sense? I am thinking I probably don't! I then feel like I should spend more time reading sewing manuals and the directions included with patterns more often just so I can figure out what is normal and what isn't! Also when I start to write directions part of me is like, I wonder if this person sewing this knows what I'm talking about or do I need to basically teach them "sewing 101" so they get it?
Another part that has been challenging with pattern making is when I make my own patterns, I don't take into account that others will be sewing it. So, let's say there is a particular seam that is 1/4" off at the armhole, but I know about this so I always trim it myself after I sew the seams together. When making patterns for others to sew, this means all those little things that are slightly off, I need to fix. Otherwise I can only imagine chaos when someone buys a pattern from me and notices an error. I would be horrified if I forgot to fix one of these errors before making any of my patterns available! I know it happens to the best, but it's still something I am a little bit paranoid about.
And then finally, there is the comparing of oneself to other talented people in the same line of work. I look at someone else's patterns and I think, "goodness, if only I could make mine as beautiful as theirs." And there is the initial, "why even bother?" when comparing myself to other way more successful and talented artists. But then I realize I am also talented, but in a different way. My patterns may not be as successful as theirs or I may not have as beautiful pictures or drawings in my patterns, but that does not mean I should just stop what I'm doing. People can still benefit from my contribution, though it's easy for me to think otherwise when comparing. I can only strive to better myself and my work and by always comparing myself with others, that will not make me a better person and it will not make my work any better. If anything, it will just prevent me from making and doing what I love.
What about you? Do you ever compare yourself with others in your line of work, and does that in turn discourage you from doing what you are passionate about? Or do you find that by comparing, you are able to put yourself at a higher standard and create better work as a result?
P.S. On a totally unrelated note, I just started a new book series that I had never heard about until binge watching the first few episodes of Outlander. You could say I am hooked, but that would be an understatement (I finished the first book within a week and it was almost 900 pages)! Although I feel I should preface by saying, this book is not for everyone. It's not only huge (there are like 8 books so far, all somewhere in the 800-900 page range) but some of the content I know there are those who might not appreciate. Just saying, to each their own. I happen to love it, though!