I’ve been thinking about this for far too long so I’m taking a break from the usual drag and costume posts to exorcise a few things. Specifically ‘fear’. I found myself saying I was a bit ‘scared of sewing with PVC’ and I really need to stop this kind of thinking. It pops up a lot online – fear of sewing with knits, fear of cutting into good fabric, of zippers, fake fur, silk, armholes, lining, facings, FBAs, SBAs. Really? WTF.
These are not things to be afraid of, these are things to be challenged by. Why convince yourself you’re afraid of them before you’ve even begun? There are loads of things you learn to do which, if you think about it, are far more frightening and likely to cause you damage. Drive a car? Cook? Cross the road? Possibly pretty terrifying when you’re learning if you think about it too much. But we persist and through trial, error and advice, we usually figure it out.
Fabric. It’s terrifying.
The point I’m trying to make is that the way we speak about things influences how we perceive them and using words like ‘afraid’ when we refer to knit fabrics is no good for us. Then we end up with cognitive distortion and convince ourselves we can’t sew with knits or whatever. When I teach (language) I hear a lot of ‘ooh it’s difficult’ and yes that may be true but I usually try to encourage my students to use the word challenging. Difficult has passive connotations, challenging sounds much more active, as if the speaker is actively engaging in overcoming the obstacle.
The more we talk about fear of these things the more it spreads to others. Remember that Facebook experiment where they manipulated news feeds so some people had loads of positive stories and others more negative ones? It’s kind of like that. That’s not to say I’m not for open and honest talk about difficulties we have with various aspects of sewing and learning from each other. It’s just the references to scary FBAs, ooh frightening maths equations for circle skirts (calculator and google, anyone?) and being scared of threading a bloody overlocker. These things, at worst, are A Pain In The Arse but not truly scary. And yes, I get the idea of exaggeration for, say, comic effect or writing style but that’s obviously another intention.
I’m not implying that the aspects of sewing I’ve referred to are easy. They can be a pain in the arse, annoying, frustrating and really, really challenging. Many times I’ve had long, expletive-filled arguments with a zipper that won’t go into metallic foil lycra or got into a fight with sequins over a hem but the only thing I’ve been scared about is stitching my finger into the garment.