At the beginner of the summer, I was contacted by the folks at The Declaration of You. Their motive for emailing me? They wanted me to be a part of their BlogLovin’ Tour, which is a hop, skip and a jump from blog to blog for eight weeks celebrating the launch of Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward’s book, The Declaration of You. I’m not a big fan of participating in events like these. It’s good to connect with other bloggers, I agree, but on some level, I feel as if these posts are a cop out of a good, pattern making or sewing post. An easy post. But the topic they suggested I write about, success, was a topic I had been meaning to bring up with you for awhile. That post – the mushy, gushy one that every blogger at some point published – had been sitting in my queu. I just couldn’t write it.
So here goes… can you fail at something and still succeed?
The mood I’ve been in for the past couple of weeks hit me when I had the sudden urge to clean my apartment. And the way I’ve been feeling has lingered like a bad cold. I don’t know if it will be like a summer fling, come and gone within three months, or a long term, maybe lifetime, relationship. You never know when it comes to romance.
Like I do every January, I wrote a list of goals for Madalynne that I would set out to achieve over the course of this year. Some of the goals were simple, like becoming more active on Kollabora (shout out to Lindsey and Cina!), but some of them were lofty, like releasing my own patterns. “I’ve been patternmaking for five years and I was in the industry for two and a half years, I am more than ready.” Yet when I was going through my closet, I not only realized how bad my allergies were (talk about an asthma attack. Dust everywhere!) but I realized that when I dreamt big and reached for the stars, I had missed.
The sketchbooks, garments, muslins, and everything else that I had made over the course of six years was all in front of me as I purged. I remembered tackling each sewing project within a month’s time, maybe two, and filling a couple of notebooks a year. The employees at the fabric store’s new my name, people! Yet six months after I set one of my most prized goals, releasing my own patterns, I hadn’t achieved it. And a couple of days after my cleaning binge, I was looking at the graded jumper pattern from afar on a computer screen (rather than up close on paper) and I realized I made a big mistake and would have to go back to step one. Okay, maybe step two. Big bummer.
I try to set the example that you can have a full time gig and still pursue an extracurricular hobby with all your heart. This year has been one of the most exciting years of my life but also weird because, as Bri wrote in one of her posts, I’ve had an audience watching me. Both hometown friends and strangers know all about my life even if I know nothing about theirs. I’ve had successes but I’ve also had failures and I had to experience both with you cheering and booing in front of me. But as I sit here six months into a year that I planned to go differently, more successfully, I feel like I have failed. Failed because I haven’t achieved my goal of releasing more patterns, failed because I’ve only sewn two garments this year, and failed because I don’t have the time to sketch, draw, or any of the other things I used to have time to do and love as equally as sewing. Okay, I have to give myself some credit, I created a couple of tutorials for Ehow.com and some other sites, which took up a lot of time. But this feeling of failure is turning into a feeling of success – it’s forcing me to shift my focus from a route that I thought and planned would work to an entirely different one. Maybe this route will be my very own yellow brick road. Who knows, right?
Not an ounce in me doubts that I will complete the jumper pattern and more patterns after that. I’m in this gig, the sewing gig, for the long haul. For better and for worse – that’s how tightly sewing and I go together. But I don’t think now is the right time. I need to do a little more behind-the-scenes work – testing, working through mistakes, and learning about grading and pattern making for the home sewer. I learned so much from your comments on Amerson and I promised myself and you that when I came out with another pattern again, it would be right. I also need to not kill myself trying to get there. Along the way, I need to devote time to making, creating, and sewing like I used to. Two garments in one year? That’s never been done before in the history of me sewing! All of you fell in love with me because of the ridiculous dresses and photo shoots I made and shot with Valerie and Brandy. I need to drink that juice again.
So I’m taking a different route, I’m changing course. That jumper pattern is coming, but maybe not for awhile. In the meantime, some lacy and ruffly dresses and undies are on their way. And so is some other artsy craftsy stuff (have you seen my sketchbook lately. Da bomb!). And who knows, maybe my future isn’t creating patterns. Maybe it’s creating tutorials, like Reese, on how to create your own Madalynne patterns. Let’s see if this road takes me to The Great Wizard of Oz.
So was this year a failure? Yes. But was it also a success? Absolutely.