Arlen's Handmade Suit: Part 4 - Welt Pocket Nightmares

I am honestly not entirely sure what to write for this particular post. A few nights ago, as I was drifting to sleep, the words came to me so beautifully and I was able to map out all the things I wished to say so eloquently. I drifted to sleep thinking that if the words were really important, they would eventually come back to me. Unfortunately, they have been forever lost to my subconscious.

All I can definitively say is that I am a tad disappointed in myself. Welt pockets and I have had tumultuous relationship. We've had our ups and downs and I have both conquered and been conquered by this particular sewing skill. Of course, I had hoped that this time, on a project so important to me being made with the culmination of my love and experience and know-how, I would be able to conquer sewing such a tricky pocket.

Unfortunately, I was defeated a bit by Arlen's jacket pockets. They are no where near perfect. In fact, they aren't even the same size and one of them isn't even entirely square. But I am trying to keep my head up in the face of my own perceived flaws.

I may not remember what I had wanted to write in its entirety from a few nights ago, but I do remember why I was able to fall asleep so quickly. I was able to drift off and allow my words to drift away from me because I had made my peace with his pockets. His beautiful, imperfect, uneven, labored over, glorious pockets.

I had forgiven myself of my "failings" (if you could even call them that) because when Arlen put the jacket on, all he saw was the love I had been pouring into his jacket. All he saw was how well the jacket fit his frame and how comfortable it had turned out. He didn't even notice all the things that felt so obviously wrong to me: the puckered seams where I hadn't quite pressed things correctly, the size difference between the two  pockets, or the hand-stitched portion of the lower right welt where I had missed sewing the corner closed properly.

A lot of things played in to making my Welt Pocket Nightmares a reality:

  • I worked on them in a messy studio where I felt frazzled because I didn't have enough room to breathe.
  • I felt rushed and confused by the instructions because I was frazzled from my studio and the pressures of getting married in such a short period were finally catching up to me.
  • I really wanted to do a perfect job on this suit, even though it is my first one and perfection is really unrealistic.
  • I told myself before going in to these welt pockets that they would be awful to tackle and that manifested in the welt pockets being awful to tackle.

Like I said at the beginning of this long speech, I am unsure what it is I want to say about this particular part of the process. I swing between feeling disappointment and acceptance, defeat and pride. I suppose that is what sewing is all about, really. Sometimes, we knock our projects out of the park and feel as if we could tackle any and everything, while other times we flop and question why we even work on such a frustrating hobby. But it is in the flops that I feel we truly discover what it means to be human and to work towards goals that are important to us.

We discover our own willingness to pick ourselves up and learn from our duds.

We discover what it is that we are willing to lose sleep over at night to try and fix and what is worth letting go in this moment and tackle at a later point in time.

And we discover the beauty others see in what we may feel was our lowest project.

So, my welt pockets may not be perfect this go round. I may have mucked them up a bit and ruined the beauty I had imagined for Arlen's suit jacket. But he didn't even bat an eye at my mistakes and I am beginning to find each imperfect piece more and more charming and beautiful in its own way. Plus, from three feet away, no one will even notice, and if I can't follow my own three foot rule (graciously taught to me by @karimadethis), then I am being a bit silly, no?

If you have made it this far, thanks for listening to me babble! Hopefully, as I wrap up Part 5: Assembling the Lining, the process will become much easier! We are at the home stretch of this project - eeep!

I would love to know if there was ever a project you had worked on that you felt similarly mixed feelings about in the end. Did you come to love the flaws or did you strive to fix it right then and there? There are no wrong answers, just a continual learning as we work our way through our individual goals, I believe!

4 comments

Brittani (Pattern Maker)

Hi Giulia!

For the pockets of his suit, I actually did cave and use fusible interfacing. Both sets of instructions I was looking at suggested fusible interfacing. However, I have done invisible stitches with sew-in interfacing. I plan to write a more in depth blog post about this in the future, but I also did highlight it a little in this post (https://untitledthoughts.com/blogs/amelie-sewalong/sleeved-amelie-sewalong-part-1-prep-work-darts). Basically, you go around the edge of your interfacing and do an invisible stitch by only picking up one thread of the outer fabric! It’s the same as if you might do when hemming pants or a skirt for an invisible hem!

Giulia Battiston

I feel like a broken record but you know that the invisible is what drives me :) stabilizing the pocket opening, oh please tell me how you did it and I’ll squee of gratitude, I promise! ❤️

Brittani (Pattern Maker)

Thank you Gudrun – I am so glad that this post came across more on the inspiring side and less on the self-loathing side as I was teetering between the two feelings while writing. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. Maybe one day we will both conquer our initial fear of welt pockets and tackle them with enthusiasm! (That may be a lonnggg ways away for me, but one can dream!)

Gudrun

What a lovely and inspiring read. This post resonates with me in so many ways, especially the part about striving for perfection and picking yourself up again over and over. And I know exactly what you mean – welt pockets strike fear into my heart even though I am a professional dressmaker and have made many.

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