Thoughts on using patterns

For most of my sewing life I winged it. I just did whatever came to my head, worked hard at figuring out how to make something that I envisioned. My end products were, well, they had a 'thrown together' look, shall we say. Some really came together nicely, and some not so much.

In the past few years I have started using online patterns and tutorials more often, and it has been a game changer. One of the reasons that I didn't use patterns much in my earlier sewing years, is that I didn't understand them! Online patterns and tutorials give many pictures and instructions. They demystify the process.

Another reason I think I avoided using patterns, is pride. I thought I could just figure it out, I didn't want to do things the way that someone wanted me to! It sounds so silly, but this really factored in. I wanted to make my own way. I did not want to submit to a pattern writer.

So, as I was working on this pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, I was thinking all of this over.

Purse handles in progress

I was thinking about how stunted my sewing was for a long time, because I was unwilling to humbly submit to a pattern to learn new techniques. I just wanted to figure it out myself, but looking at and working though how someone else does something is so very valuable! I still love to create my own ideas, or designs, but patterns have helped give me the skills to better accomplish this.

Purse made from free pattern found here 

I learn new things all the time, from patterns. These new skills help me customize, when I know that I want something a bit different from the pattern. For instance, I was able to easily add an inside pocket to this handbag, because I learned best how to do this from past tutorials and patterns.

inside of purse, with pocket

As I start to realize the full benefits (aside from the finished product) of following a pattern, I am confronted with the pride that prevented me from experiencing them earlier! Submission isn't only about obedience and sacrifice, there are benefits that we aren't always able to understand or see until we surrender. God wants me to follow his pattern, not to dominate me, but to teach me a new way, a better way, to do things. 

He wants my end product to be beautifully crafted. 

So much here for me to think on!

More on the making of this bag, here.