I have a little email kaffé klatsch every morning with some sewing friends. We trade projects, stories, hilarity and life-happenings. It’s really a lovely way to start my day. Yesterday, we got talking about a picture we saw on a major pattern company’s website. I’m not going to name any names, so please don’t ask. But we were all horrified. The picture showed a garment that can be most kindly described as ill-fitting, even on a young, fit model. Add to that the puckered seams and obvious lack of pressing, we all drew a collective gasp. How could a pattern company – a pattern company who makes a concerted effort to engage new sewers – publish such shoddy work? Why did they decide that it was good enough?
Which brings me to today’s navel-gazing post title. When is “good enough” good enough? What makes us decide that we have had enough of the fitting, the pressing, the ripping and re-stitching, and just let the work go out into the world? I’ve certainly been guilty of the “good enough” syndrome. Actually, my dad had an even better description. “Close enough for guv’mint work,” he used to say. If I’m dealing with a knit top and the fit is a little loose or tight (though not sausage casing), sure, I’ll finish it up and let it go. But my gala dress? No way. That had better be pretty close to perfect. Speaking of which, I’m one sleeve and a hem away from being completely done.
The answer to my question, for me at least, is that it depends. Clearly, a dress that is for a special event will garner more attention to detail than a knit top for working out. But even then, I will not let a garment out of my sewing studio without certain things being done: good fit through the shoulders; thorough pressing – as I sew, not just at the end (I hate puckery seams); hems and necklines smooth (again, no puckers); seams, especially armhole seams, checked and free of caught stitches and pinches (have I told you I have a thing about puckers?). If any of those criteria aren’t met, I go back and fix them before the garment gets an audience.
So how about you, dear readers? What are your criteria for “good enough”?