May 13, 2012

Not Even Close to an Expert

Recently someone told me it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an 'expert'. Oh, so that's my problem! I've only sewed for maybe 400 hrs. How do you get through all of the mistakes to become an expert? It is frustrating. .

It was probably not the best idea to start sewing again using a pattern from the 1940's. The directions and pictures leave a lot to be desired.  For instance, look at these shoulder pads. What? I have no clue as to what the heck they are telling me to do. Mine came out looking like gondolas ready for a cruise in Venice. I did something COMPLETELY wrong! Scary thing is, I have no idea what.


Crinoline! Did not have any of that laying around in my stash...for a very brief moment I thought of cutting up one of my vintage crinolines to make it work, but instead I decided on interfacing. Cotton batting! none of that hanging around either. I stuffed it with fabric scraps. The feel seems okay. The shape. What?!!!

An then to depress me even further, the belt. The belt. The belt. It never crossed my mind that it would not fit around my waist. Thank you thick waist! Now I have to make another one.

The way I feel about it I can't wait to finish this project so I can just put it aside and try another one and get frustrated some more. Maybe I should keep track of my hours and make my sewing a challenge to become an expert.

Are you self taught like I am? How many hours a week do you sew? When will it ever became sort of easy?

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.


  1. Thats a super confusing instruction right there! I've not had too much trouble with my 40's patterns (self taught too), but I've never come across anything like this.

    The dress I made recently just had two 10cm squares folded over into triangles to make the shoulder pads. Then you layer graduated pieces of batting inside to get the thickness you want.

    Never thought to track my hours either - I sew a lot but have only been doing it for a bit more than a year now. I'm trying to challenge myself by making more intense projects like a coat but that's proceeding extremely slowly!

  2. I feel your pain!

    My mum taught me the absolute basics back when I was 17, and I didn't sew again until 15 years later (last year) when I wanted a particular style of vintage coat. I bought an early 1950s pattern and threw myself in at the deep end. It was a baptism of fire I must say, and there were times when I looked at the instructions over and over again trying to make them make sense. Sometimes they just didn't.

    Because everyone was taught sewing at school and by their mothers there was an awful lot of things that just weren't put in pattern instructions. It was assumed that the person sewing the garment would know what that brief instruction meant.

    Now days we've lost a lot of that basic knowledge.

    Try ignoring the instructions and try and work out the pattern pieces like a puzzle - if I need to get X shape, how do I put these bits together to make that happen. That's what I did when I made my coat - a bit of trial and error with a few things before I got it to work.

    Good luck!


  3. I admire your desire to undertake this pattern. I would have just left off the shoulder pads. I learned to sew many years ago, but have found from the last few years of blog reading that I have a lot to learn. I did, though, have a great deal of time in high school and even college to work on a lot of projects and perfect some skills. I do not have the time now to spend on sewing as I did when I was young. I'm very glad I put that time (and tears) in then and not now. I think you are going great and it really does take time and experience to become an overall expert, but you can be a "mini"expert from working on one thing alot. You know much more about shoulder pads now than before!

  4. I think your dress is cute. Sometimes ,(always), the pictures on the pattern cover are exaggerated as to waist to hip/bust ratio. Therefore, your finished product and the picture can seem as two different designs. Just a thought, the dark buttons are rather stark against the gay pattern.

    1. You are so right about the buttons. I could never be a stylist. Will have to change them out. Thanks.

    2. You are so right about the buttons. I would never make a good stylist. I will have to change them out for different ones.


I appreciate each and every one of your comments. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me.


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