Here I am in all my post-workday rumpled glory, wearing a fat cat print Made by Rae Washi dress for Me Made May today.
Having seen a million cute versions of this dress all over the internet, I bought this pattern when it was still fairly new, despite being outside its size range. My first muslin, made way back when, was a hot mess — and so I quickly abandoned it. I ended up making a really great dress for my (smaller) Mom from the pattern, so it didn’t feel like a waste.
A couple of years later, I made an equally unsuccessful muslin for a similar-but-different elastic back quilting-cotton-friendly dress (the pattern name escapes me), and I realized that the Washi dress was much better drafted, and that my pattern alteration skills had improved in the interim. So I gave it another go.
I’m really glad I did! I gave it an FBA, lengthened the skirt a bit, and lengthened the bodice to give it more of a fit-and-flare vibe instead of the drafted empire waist. I might tweak it a little more if I make it again, but really: it’s fine. Perfectly wearable.
I worked in theatrical costuming for several years in my youth. We didn’t build exquisite period pieces or perfectly tailored modern separates. We worked within a minuscule budget, for short run shows, and specialized in “good enough.” I went from sewing as carefully as I could to sewing as fast as I could. I learned to alter and adapt thrifted pieces, too. If it looked good from the audience’s perspective, it was good enough.
My sewing perfectionism got thrown out the window, and thankfully never returned. Sure, I still love creating a quality garment, but I won’t torture myself over every little imperfection. Are my self-made t-shirts worse than Old Navy? No? Then they’re fine. If I found a dress I liked that fit as well as this Washi dress at the thrift store for $10, would I buy it? Yes? Then this dress is fine.
Embracing imperfection can be very freeing. I recommend it.