Monday, February 18, 2008

Sewing is ummmm... hard

In more ways than one, I tell ya!

My bud Ash asked me to make a Hannah Montana tote bag for her sweet daughter Leila.

*On a side note, Shelley of Design By S.L.S. has agreed to do my site for an awesome price. Her rates are very competitive. Thanks Shelley!*

Anywho, starting a business is stressful as you can imagine. Couple that with having a bit of OCD and being a perfectionist when it comes to creating anything (crafts, sewing, painting/drawing, writing), this sewing gig isn't as easy as it sounds. Again, I'm not even officially up and running yet.

As I said before, I have a general anal retentiveness when it comes to what I make, especially when it's for someone I like or love... or even know just a little. I think that when you make something for someone you care for (whether or not they pay you), the pressure is on to make it just right.

Though I would love to say that everything I make is just perfect, it's not. I do try to come as close to perfection as humanly possible... And sometimes, just sometimes the forces of nature work against you, in the form of purple chintz.

Of course the first time you try anything new, you are bound to make a few mistakes. You might even repeat those mistakes until you figure out the cause of all your misfortune, and how to remedy the problems. Such is life, right?

For me, the stiff interfacing was causing the stitching to bunch together, then space back out again. What I mean is that the stitch length would be just as I wanted it for about a centimeter, then they would shorten because the machine didn't like all the layers I was trying to sew through, causing the material to get stuck in spots here and there. I ripped the thread out in frustration 3 times.

If you have ever worked with chintz, you would know that when you rip out a seam, there tends to be more a permanent sort of needle mark than with other materials.

After the second go around and while ripping it all out again, I stopped and didn't touch the bag for a full day. I was so frustrated! I was so frustrated that a solution eluded me, and I knew that if I sewed over the track marks that were stubbornly refusing to fade,I risked damaging the material and actually making real holes.

The next day I realized that the interfacing was doubled over at the top of the bag where I needed to attach the straps. I always fold over the material and press it so that there is a neat edge, so not only is the interfacing doubled, but the material was as well. DOH! How could I have missed such a simple thing?

While I ripped out the thread for the third time, John consoled me. "You know, your work is hand made. It's not going to be perfect. A lot of the things that we buy that are made by machine aren't even perfect. Give yourself a break, I think it looks great."

Well, I finally fixed the problem for the most part. There are at least 2 imperfections, and I hope that they aren't very noticeable and that Ash loves it. Here is the end result, you will see a little bling at the top:

The HM print you see on the front is actually a full sized pocket on the front and there is a pocket on the other side as well in this coordinating material (I forgot to take a pic of the other side before I boxed it up for Ash, I'll be sending it soon!).
I think another problem is that I'm selling my own work, and I want it to represent me in a good way. I need to learn how to balance perfection and striving for perfection. At the rate I'm going, I'll never sell anything because I wont ever feel it's good enough.

In the end, it was a labor of lurve. I just hope they love it.

So, my question is this: If you own a site that sells a service or goods, do you have moments where you struggle with what is considered perfect enough for the money that you are paid? Are any of you anal like me and struggle with this? I'm just curious how you other folks out there are handling this. Don't get me wrong... I'm not selling anything that I don't work really hard on, and if there is a problem I will fix it because I am proud of the work I do. I've already ripped apart 2 purses that needed tweaking because of flaws, then rebuilt them.

Any input would be great, I am just wondering if I am being too hard on myself. I want people to be happy with my product for the money that they paid.


Just Dawn said...

Going to need one of those HM bags for my daughter... how much?

kailani said...

I know what you mean. I'm in the process of redesigning my site and I just can't get it exactly right.

Hang in there! The bag looks awesome!

maggie said...

The bag looks really nice. I agree with John. As long as the overall craftsmanship is good. You expect an imperfection or two with crafts.

Leanne said...

I'm so glad you're getting your site going. Wishing you all the best, I hope it exceeds your expectations!

Ash said...

I cannot believe you have it done already! Ya'll, I only sent the money to even start this bag a little over a week ago! I wasn't even thinking I would see it for another month? Isnt this bag the freaking shit?

I cannot wait to take pictures with Leila carrying it, she is going to be so happy with it! I can't thank oyu enough Mary!

P.s. Stop being so damn anal retentive, it turned out frickin sweet!
pps. the wrod verification is is : Murtt. Mary murtt! LOL

~Virginia~ said...

wow! that looks great! i'm glad i don't have kids yet though...i think miley/hannah would annoy me. as it is, i heard there were some questionable pictures that miss miley took of herself not too long ago...

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

That bag is SO fabulous, I LOVE the bling!! Fun! Good luck with the site, I didn't take more jewelry pics yet to get my Etsy site going but I registered and stuff so I'm almost there! :) Great job on the bags, can't wait to see the site!!