With experience comes self-criticism. As I grow more confident in my sewing skills, I would have expected to feel more satisfied with my makes. Turns out, that’s not what happens. Instead, I push myself to sew more and at an ever quicker pace, often without finding much pleasure in the process or the end results. That’s not a strictly sewing-related trend with me. It’s just what I do: I push myself to go on and on. I don’t usually pause to wonder whether I’m enjoying myself. So when a few friends at my gym started a joy challenge, I decided to get on board. The gist of it: think consciously about joy for five minutes every day, for a month.
15 days into the challenge, I finished Pattern Fantastique’s Terra pants. And I am over the moon.
Are they perfect? Not at all. But here I am, thinking about joy and realising that while I was working on these, I felt perfectly happy. And when I put them on, I practically jumped for joy. I love these pants – the bell shaped leg, the perfect length, the sloping waistband. Love.
Technically, the Terra pants are a breeze. They came together without a single hitch or hiccup. I hardly looked at the instructions, but when I did, they were clear and well illustrated. There’s a nifty folding trick for the waistband that I had to skip because I accidentally switched right and left for the fly. (As I do.) Like I said, not perfect.
I have to say, this joy challenge threw me for a loop. I don’t consider myself a joyful person. I’m sarcastic. Cynical even. Joy is not usually on my mind.
So I set myself a goal that I thought would ‘qualify’ for the challenge: play the piano for five minutes every day. And it’s true that I enjoy those five minutes and they usually turn into ten, twenty minutes and more. But what really surprised me is what happened when I simply started thinking about joy more. As it turns out, I experience moments of joy every day. The feeling of my leather handlebars when I bike to work in the morning. Short conversations at the espresso machine. And the tiny triumph of putting together a zip fly on the first try.
It got me thinking: there’s more to this. It’s not about setting goals. As I try to be more conscious of moments of joy in my everyday, I find it in both the making and the having made. I put on my pants and I feel a small, simple happiness, knowing that this is the result of my own work and skills. I did this. I’ve got this. This is good.
What are your most joyful moments? Sewing-related or other?