A Letter To My Aspiring Modistes: On How Sewing May Not Come Naturally
When it comes to sewing, I feel like there are two kinds of girls in this world. There are the girls with the magic hands, that can sew anything and everything in like an hour. And there are the girls that have to work really, really, really hard at sewing just to make a pillow.
Throughout my life, I have met one woman that had the magic hands. She was in my class at FIDM, and literally any project she made was absolutely beautiful. The woman was like Rapunzel--everything she touched was gold. (If she is reading this, she absolutely knows who she is.)
I specifically remember one class--I was incredibly proud of the cocktail dress I had drafted and sewn up, and it was one of the best projects I had done to date. Then the girl with the magic hands presented her project.. And it (quite literally) looked like a couture gown, made in a beautiful red silk, absolute perfection. It was like.. The difference between a Dior gown and a prom dress from Forever21.
This may (or may not?) come as a surprise to you since I run a sewing blog--but sewing does not come naturally to me. Like, at all. I am the girl that has to work incredibly hard to sew (quite literally) almost anything.
When I got my first sewing machine, my younger sister (who was maybe 12 at the time?) had to show me how to thread the bobbin. I could not make any sense of it, but she just looked at it and was able to see how to thread it immediately.
To this day, I cannot turn out spaghetti straps--my husband has to do it for me. My husband who has absolutely no sewing experience is able to see how to work a loop turner while I literally could not do it if my life depended on it.
And while those are just a few examples of how sewing doesn't come easy to me.. There are countless others. I could probably name a few examples for every single project that we have covered here on TFM.
Because I want you to know--sewing doesn't necessarily come naturally, even for the girl making a career out of it. In this world of instant gratification, I think it's easy to forget that not everything is going to be quick and simple. And that that's okay, it doesn't mean you are a failure.
While yes, sewing doesn't come naturally to me, I am without question a better seamstress (ahem, modiste) than I was a decade ago. I'm a better seamstress than I was a year ago, 6 months ago. And if I would have just stopped a decade ago because the craft didn't come easily, because I didn't have the magic hands, what good would that have done me?
So that's what I want this letter to instill in you--that even if you're struggling with sewing, even if it feels unnatural, or like you will never ever get better--keep going girl.
Something I like to remember is that even if a project doesn't turn out exactly how you wanted, you will still learn from it.
That mindset is actually what keeps me going here at TFM sometimes--that even if something doesn't really work, I can never lose what I have learned from it.
Those lessons can undoubtedly be applied to another project, or maybe an entirely different area of your life--who knows. Life is funny, and opportunities can turn up in the strangest, most unexpected of places.
So girl. If you're feeling like you're terrible at sewing, or that you'll never be as good as the next girl.. Just remember that I have only met one woman that had the magic hands. One woman in my years at FIDM, in my years working in New York, and since starting TFM 3 years ago now. Which means that sewing didn't come naturally to anyone else that I personally know--myself included.
Don't get discouraged, sewing is hard. But, project by project, you will get better. And that is an encouraging thought, is it not? As T Swift says: "I've never been a natural, all I do is try, try, try.."