An important lesson learned by sewing…
Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you’d never
make it? Worse than that, whatever you did was met with a series
of struggles and in the end, the results seemed disappointing? If the
answer is yes, then read carefully what follows… I hope from the
bottom of my heart that after reading this you’ll say, “Yes! I CAN
actually do it! I can reach my goals even when I encounter
difficulties and things don’t go as planned.”
Not only will you know how to do it, but you’ll surely understand that
the result matters less than the mindset you have while doing it!
From now on, you’ll surely be surprised that you’re stronger than
you may imagine!
Last week, I was sitting behind my sewing machine kindly lent by
my mom. I was feeling overjoyed I was excited and really motivated
to make for Ema, the BJD I created, that floral dress with a yellow
I was feeling very proud, because I was going to make it on my own
and I had even edited the pattern to make a model slightly different
from the first one made by a friend (OK, I only cut the pattern and
fabric, but I helped her with all my strength and mental energy while
watching her with great attention and admiration).
I put the pieces on the fabric while being careful about leaving the
margin to sew the hems, so far everything was going well.
Fortunately, before cutting it, I realized that I had two right sleeves,
because I had forgotten to turn over the pattern. Noticing and
correcting my mistake was a big victory for me since I have an
attention disorder coupled with dyspraxia and spatio-temporal
disorder (Ah, not this right, the other right? What do you mean, the
So, I started sewing … and things got complicated. My damn
dyspraxia makes things very difficult when it comes to figuring in
what order to sew the pieces (and yes, there is a specific order!)
and making sure things are done in a logical order is a real mental
ordeal! It’s a feat for me. Now, to help me, I had a sewing book in
Japanese (I’m not fluent…) with photos … of another model. So, I
proceeded by deduction, moving slowly and cautiously. I wanted to
go reasonably: I would only sew one piece a day to avoid mental
overheating and discouragement.
Sewing the front and the back of the dress while assembling them
by the shoulders, easssssy! Assembling the sleeves: It should be
OK. I thought I’d do both in one day.
Hmmm … no! Big mental bug to understand in which way to
proceed (space markers, ouch!)
Once I was able to find a satisfactory solution for my poor brain
(“Not sure a professional would have done things this way, but
anyway…”), I managed to make not only one, but 2 snags in one of
the sleeves. Big disappointment and panic.
What to do? Make another piece to replace the damaged one? The
most logical solution … too risky for me. I could have failed 10
times, get discouraged and give up along the way. But … repairing
a snag is something I know how to do!
And here I was repairing it. Once the small holes were repaired, I
started assembling the other sleeve the next day.
You may think that since I had figured out how to do the first one
the previous day, it would be a piece of cake… The great thing
about dyspraxia is that every time is new. Infinite relearning! How
fun! (Do you see the irony?)
Fortunately, it all went well (we will ignore the shift in the edges that
refused to get correctly aligned, not only once, but twice in a row
and it took 3 tries to succeed.
Then, there was this funny time when I thought:
“Oh! Why isn’t there a drop-shaped fastening in the back? Didn’t I
put the piece correctly on the fabric? Nothing surprises me about
myself… But no, wait… Arghh I sewed the pieces backwardsssss!!”
Dear reader, believe it or not… I had sewed the right piece of the
back on the left and vice versa. I was then able to assemble two
sleeves by putting them together with a middle back!!!! Wow! Real
At that point, I didn’t know if I should laugh or just cry!
I guess you understood that the option of “undoing everything and
starting other” is way riskier and with a result that’d be too random
for me. I might make the same mistakes or 10 new ones along the
way. It’s almost unthinkable. I’m not suicidal.
My philosophy? “Go forward at all costs and find ways to fix things along the way.”
The good thing about dyspraxia is that it helps me find the most creative
solutions! (no irony here!)
Any idea what saved me?
I remembered something a friend told me:
“Imagine that you’re with your nephews and that you want to go to
an amusement park.”
“I don’t have any nephews, Lydie.”
“OK, OK, imagine that you’re with Mathilde’s nephews (Mathilde is
my oldest friend). You go there and you realize that for some
unexpected reason the park is closed for the day. If your goal was
to only go there, you and the kids will be disappointed, right?
“On the other hand, if your goal was to have a good day with the
kid, you’ll have fun no matter what! You’ll find something else to do
and you’ll still have fun!”
When I started feeling demoralized, dejected, discouraged,
disgusted, in short, I was about to give up, I remembered that what
mattered to me was not how or what would happen, it was why I
was doing it. No matter the struggles or bad surprises, if my goal
was to have fun doing something, why making such a big deal out
of it and feeling demoralized?
I could at least try to find a solution and it didn’t matter if it did not
turn out to be exactly what I had decided!
What would make a difference would be my mental, not external
I could decide to take things on the bright side and turn my
mistakes into a success instead of a failure! Not being able to do it
isn’t the real failure. The real failure is giving up. Failure doesn’t
exist as such, there are only experiences!
So, since I had been able to assemble the sleeves despite the
difficulties I had encountered so far, I wasn’t going to give up just
because this little dress wouldn’t have a drop-shaped fastening in
the back, damn it!
RIP the drop-shaped fastening!
The sleeves looked rather good despite having been sewed the
wrong way! I was very curious, even excited at the idea of seeing
what the back of the dress would look like!
Now, the desire to finish at all costs had taken over and I was super
I finished this little dress and you know what? It’s great! (So great
that my Unoa, Kié wears it beautifully and it’s a shame it’s not
intended for her!)
It’s not what I had in mind, it’s even better. It has flaws, but it is
unique! (I would not be able to make it again, impossible! It’s too
much to ask to a dyspraxic! XD).
Hey, you who’s going to adopt Ema “The Autumn Girl” you will have
a unique dress with perfect imperfections! I want you to remember
(and also those who will not adopt Ema!) that since this little dress
is a great victory for me, each little action that you make, even if it
doesn’t go the way you had hoped is a GREAT victory! And it
doesn’t matter how many sleeves or backs you’ll sew backwards, or
the struggles you’ll have to face, you’ll know you can make it!
PS. Guess what? I wrote this article several weeks ago and … and
the following week I was told that I was going to be an aunt!! My
first nephew (or niece)! I am really moved :’)
PPS. I would like to congratulate those who cling to achieve what is
important to them whatever the field!