Monday, October 22, 2007

Topstitchery

I remember when I was little, my mom used to make a big production out of topstitching--emphasizing the importance of making sure every line was perfectly straight because any mistakes would be glaringly obvious. I guess that's always stayed with me, because I find my neck gets tense when I'm topstitching. But last night I had this revelation that my topstitching doesn't have to be perfect. The imperfection is what breathes soul/humanity into handmade objects. Not that I'm going to make things crooked on purpose, but I'm not a machine, and I don't get years of practice sewing the same thing over and over in a factory. I'm a mom who stays up way too late for my own good, sewing because that's what I love to do. And hopefully the things I make reflect that.




37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I say AMEN to that!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

joyce said...

lovely projects! nice fabric choices...

(i try to topstitch with the exact same color of the fabric so it's not obvious my lines are crooked)-- haha!

Ali said...

Amen - though yours is looking pretty good to me.

Ruth said...

That's given me some incentive to actually try top stitch now, I've been avoiding it.

katrien said...

I confess: I'm not a handbag person (nor shoes, I might add - the two seem to come together). My present handbag is five years old and was given to me by a dear friend who knows my deficiency and once in a while jumps in to save me from embarassment.

But these! The moment I saw them I fell in love with them. Beautiful colors and styling!

kayla_d said...

Your top stitching looks pretty perfect--your mom would definitely approve! I agree with what you said about handmade being unique + imperfect. But top stitching is so very obvious--I'm pretty tense when I do it.

kirsten said...

the bags are great - clean and simple.

Sarah said...

Great bag! And I LOVE the pillow!!!

sugarshop (Dena) said...

So true on the topstitching! Love the bag and pillow in such fun fall colors!!

JD said...

Love the bags! Those fabrics are gorgeous!

About the perfection: I remember reading in a Living magazine that Martha had spent all this time making perfect christmas cards for everyone that came to her house for her party. She killed herself over them and then they were so perfect that no one even realized that she hadn't bought them. No one appreciated the work because it seemed store bought. Imperfection is what makes it human. I think you're totally right about that.

Chara Michele said...

I like that philosophy on topstitching, it doesn't have to be perfect:)

Lovely bag and pillow!

Rouxhauser said...

Love the bag! I think your topstitching looks great.

Lynn said...

Gorgeous. The topstitching looks great, and love love LOVE the fabrics you used!

caitlyn said...

Gorgeous! I love the bag.

lera said...

Beautiful projects, Joanna. Love your fabrics.

amandajean said...

love the color scheme you've got going on for your projects. I love how topstitching really finishes things off nicely. I try not to get to anal about it...somedays I am more successful than others. :)

Jessicah said...

A perfect sentiment. When my grandmother was teaching her daughter to sew she made her rip every zip seam and I assume topstitched hem and do over till it was perfect. Needless to say Auntie Julie doesn't sew a whole lot now- important to remember when we share our crafts!

Belém said...

Perfection is one of our worst enemies. Handwork is what it is: made with human hands not a machine. Your work looks wonderful and the creativity is one of its best parts.

Junie Moon said...

I think your sewing is quite well done and I totally agree with your thoughts about perfection.

Pieces said...

I find that my topstitching actual looks better if I try to relax and just let it flow. Of course, I rarely topstitch in a contrasting color--I'll have to try some of that. Beautiful projects!

Kloth & Bolt said...

I so now exactly how you feel...i can still here the voice of my nanny telling me straight, slow down...-kb

weirdbunny said...

Perfect autumn colours. Finished is better than perfect anyway, although you've managed perfect and finished !

Melissa said...

Oh those projects look yummy! Love the fall colors...it seems like it would match the colors of the photos I put up on my blog this morning of our fall day yesterday.

Oiyi said...

Lovely projects!

Soo said...

love your bag and cushion...the fabrics are beautiful!

Hayley said...

Love your bags - very funky! I've recently started sewing, so I'm yet to do any topstitch - still at the basics :)

Mijk said...

" my topstitching doesn't have to be perfect. The imperfection is what breathes soul/humanity into handmade objects. Not that I'm going to make things crooked on purpose, but I'm not a machine, and I don't get years of practice sewing the same thing over and over in a factory. I'm a mom who stays up way too late for my own good, sewing because that's what I love to do. And hopefully the things I make reflect that."

Do you mind if I print that out and glue it on my sewingmachine???????

feather nester said...

Beautiful projects! And beautiful topstitching. :)

I agree, I prefer some imperfection. I like my homemade things to look homemade. Definitely gives more character, art, and humanity to the projects.

Day said...

I'm currently topstitching applique on a quilt and it's a mess. I'm leaving it - thank you. Yours though? Very nice. And the bags (and the fabric choices) are gorgeous!

Dawn said...

Love the projects...those yummy fabrics!
Perfect.

Katherine said...

So true! I love what you've made and the fabrics are gorgeous.

Charlie P said...

Mmm those are beautiful autumny colours and that looks like perfect topstitching to me! Lovely blog - keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

So sorry, Sweetie! I certainly didn't mean to give you a complex!I may have attempted perfect topstitching way back then, but like you, I had to conclude that less-than-perfect would have to be good enough. You and your sister have accomplished so much more than I ever did with sewing. I'm so proud of you both!
Mumzie

Katie said...

oh, i love this post. thank you for saying this. it makes all of us out there feel better. i love staying up late with my sewing machine and i sometimes find myself getting so frustrated if something is not perfect. you are right, we are not machines, we do not work in factories...we do a zillion other things! our topstitching does not need to be perfect!!!!yes, i feel so much better now!

Kari said...

Thank you for sharing that liberating sentiment! I really appreciated this post. :)

paperseed.wordpress.com said...

Beautiful job on those projects. I really hope to keep in mind your relaxed philosophy on topstitching.

craftyclaire said...

Too right!!!

Do like your wares, v nice!