Perfection Is a Bitch-Goddess

bitch goddess–nounworldly or material success personified as a goddess, esp. one requiring sacrifice and being essentially destructive:

Today she wore me out.  Sometimes a beginner student in one of my classes exhibits an acute level of perfectionism which I found curious at first.  Then I realized I take refuge in perfectionism when I feel out of my depth, and that realization made me a better teacher.

I teach cost-value analysis to the perfectionists, and to myself.  Does my perfectionism get in the way of enjoying my sewing, or will it lead to a greater sense of accomplishment in the end?  Am I running up a play dress for my daughter, or creating a lasting wardrobe piece?  How much does the fabric cost?   Will anyone notice the flaw, or am I too close to the project?

Today I bound raw edges, made darts and top-stitched them to cut down on pressing.

To make the back pleat, I referred to one of my ancient pattern making manuals.  I cut off the top of the back bodice 4″ down from the back neck edge and added a seam allowance to the cut for the yoke piece. For the pleated back section, I added 2″ to the edge placed on the fold (4″ added total) and a seam allowance to the top.  Once I cut the back section, I marked the pleats with clips and basted the CB together.

Pressed the pleat to one side…

…then the other.

I sprayed it with Best Press and aligned the center fold with the basted seam line, then pressed and clapped.

I pinned the folded edge of the inside pleat and stitched about 1/8″ from the edge.

I unpicked the basting and pressed again.


Then I stitched the outside edges of the pleat.  Enter the Bitch-Goddess.  I thought using the same saddle stitch used on the pockets might lend a little thematic harmony, but I’m not completely sold.  Then I kept unpicking a stitch here, stitch there, and re-stitching it until I realized I was making myself crazy.  Stop.

Basted across the top to keep the pleat closed.

I made the final back tucks and top-stitched but ignored my markings.  Completely unsurprising results: one tuck an inch shorter than the other.  The Bitch Goddess made me count the number of stitches necessary to lengthen the shorter tuck.  Then she made me re-sew half of the longer tuck to be more even.  I reminded her that a self-belt would cover most of the tuck and she slapped me.

Slapped me.  Well, that ended it, I stopped listening to her.  I’m happy to have made this much progress- now that I’ve finished most of the seams and sewn all the darts, made the pockets, I just have to assemble the jacket.  Wicked!


  1. Well. Sounds like a frustrating adventure! Interesting how different people respond to sewing problems–I walk away and come back to it later. Sometimes several times and sometimes so much later that the project never gets finished! Good luck.

  2. Taking refuge in perfectionism when you feel out of your depth, hmm… is that what has been going on! :) Thank you for that insight. I am going to remember that next time that irritating Bitch-Goddess comes my way.

  3. The Bitch-Goddess left my sewing space a couple years ago when she was ridiculed and scoffed at by my friends and family. When I realized how much more I get done with her gone, I banished her from my space forever. Sorry that she came to visit you!

  4. I seem to be doing a good job of ignoring the bitch-goddess lately. Like sewing spots I just walk away and come back later.

  5. These days I say to myself whenever my sewing ends up being less than pefect, "thank goodness I'm just a hobby seamstress." And that reminds me that I'm really doing rather well for an amateur. OK so you do it for a job so there's a different kind of pressure, but it's good to be able to still find the fun in it, and sounds like you've got yourself a good strategy for taming the bitch goddess.

  6. I've been sewing for many years-had no clue there was a name for that awful creature that hangs around sewing rooms and makes one pick out not a glaring error that you would anyway but something you would need a magnifying glass to even find. She demands that even the serging,coverstitch machines have not a really good thread match but a perfect shade. She even insists that you should not use the perfect fabric from the stash as the pattern will not consume it entirely but leave an overly large remnant. You have her named so perfectly-I have adopted a new sewing term here.

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