Abolish Ablogogising

tell it to the hand

Tell it to the hand…

New Year’s Day, a time for knee jerk resolutions. Lose weight, change job, move house… Achievable? Not really. But I’ve been thinking of a resolution that I don’t think should take too much work and might actually be do-able. It’s simple, straightforward and the only challenge will be wrestling with my own occasional spurt of self doubt. But here goes, deep breath…

I’m going to abolish ablogogising.

ablogogise: verb

a written expression whereby a person who blogs about sewing their own clothes is compelled to point out the imperfections in their makes.

Origin of ablogogise:

The fear that readers will spot errors before they are highlighted by the author.

We all do it. I’ve just spent two solid days sewing a dress. Two days of dedicated toil and creativity! Sewing a dress! What a totally brilliant achievement that is. And yet, as the final button was stitched into place I made a mental list of all the things that were wrong with my work. Imperfections that readers would need to know about.

Now, I’m all for sharing construction details and giving people a heads up about pattern challenges. I often read blogs for exactly that information and I don’t plan to ban constructive feedback  from Did You Make That. (Or discussion of body types and what works best – I enjoy that.) It’s the other type of self-abasing apology for creativity that makes me twitch. I spent a month sewing this coat, but can you see how the hem bubbles, yeah, I wish I could have been better, maybe next time. Why can’t we just be proud of our achievements? Hell, I sewed a coat!

If you’d like to join me in Abolishing Ablogogising, it’s really simple. For the month of January, we’re not going to write sentences such as, ‘It’s such a shame that I messed up the third buttonhole’ or ‘Sorry, I didn’t have time to press this’ or ‘The hem’s straight really, it’s just the way I was standing’.

If you’re already coming out in a sweat thinking about this, here is one simple rule that might help:

  1. Only share less than glowing details if they will help a reader with a construction, pattern or salutary lesson. There’s a great example of such a blog post here. Ooobop embraces the challenge of sewing a Burda top without ever once calling herself a loser. Because she isn’t!

Let’s start 2016 by celebrating what we LOVE about our sewing. Isn’t it time to acknowledge a simple truth? It’s our imperfections that make us and our dresses beautiful.

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86 Responses to Abolish Ablogogising

  1. Here here… I’m with you all the way, most of the time I don’t even see others ‘imperfections’ until they are pointed out to me…!

    • That’s a really good point. My sister often says, ‘Other people aren’t looking at you anywhere near as closely as you’re looking at yourself’ – and I’m absolutely sure she’s right.

  2. sewsincity says:

    I’m in! I love this new word “ablogogising” .. Happy new year!

  3. Cherry says:

    I don’t blog but this timely post can be carried through to so many other situations and is so true. Is it a gender specific thing? This dress? Ooh I’ve had it years; it was from a charity shop (actually this comment has become much more positive within the last few years); you can see where I went wrong on the sleeves; I’ve had to let it out…..Fill in your own self deprecation!

    Something to ponder as ever – thanks. Will try to put into practice. And happy new sewing year!

  4. Helena says:

    This is really interesting as I have sometimes kept as ny motto that if I don’t share my misses it’s quite possible nobody will notice them. Sometimes it’s a fine line though. I recently sewed a dress I’m happy with. But the original sleeve was way too tight on me and I replaced them with sleeves from another pattern, which worked better. In that instance I don’t really know if the sleeves were drafted wrongly (as I haven’t seen this issue around the SBC) or if I messed up in my tracing/sewing.

  5. Emma says:

    Fab idea! I always seem to point out the imperfections in EVERYTHING I do! 🙂

  6. Sue Bowdler says:

    Excellent post. I don’t blog (is that a verb?) but the same principle carries through to all aspects of life. It is both gender specific (few men ever point out their mistakes or do themselves down) and something of a national characteristic. Self-deprecation is a character trait we admire in this country; the Americans can never understand why we are so modest about achievement.
    A garment finished and worn is always an achievement – blog and be proud!

    • Jen (NY) says:

      Perhaps there are some cultural distinctions, but certainly, there is both an appreciation of humbleness and achievement in both. It’s a diverse country over here, and though it may seem so sometimes, it’s really not entirely filled with self-aggrandizing politicians and television characters : )

      For ablogogising, I think there is a distinction between acknowledging and discussing areas for future improvement versus trying to head-off every perceived point of criticism from readers.

      Thanks for a great blog year!

  7. Yesss! Let’s do this in our blogs and lives. Great post.

  8. PsychicKathleen says:

    I think that’s a great 2016 Resolution! I agree that posting challenges that others would likely encounter is far more helpful. Every garment I make I know could be better and even when I make it for the second (or even third!) I still make mistakes – maybe not the same ones but sure enough there will be something or another that’s just not quite right. I think joyous celebration of having made something we really love is something sewers want to read more about too. 🙂

  9. Zoe says:

    Brilliant idea, and no one ever looks as closely as you will. Happy New year!

  10. charlottepb says:

    Yay, such a great idea. More self love and congratulations to self for making something.

  11. Baye says:

    I’m in. I will probably blog a lot more often as a result. Excellent post.

  12. Absolutely on point! You gave a word to one of my recent revelations. That will help! Happy New Year!

  13. Melissa C says:

    I made a similar resolution last year (though I don’t blog) about the clothes I make. Instead of pointing out all the mistakes and wonky bits when people compliment my outfits, I just politely say ‘thanks!’ with a happy grin on my face. It’s totally changed how I feel about sewing! X

  14. JaneyB says:

    Happy New Year! This is a great post and for January at least I’m going to be more constructive in my self-criticism!

  15. Sox says:

    I think that is a great idea. I might take it one step further. On one of my most recent un-blogged makes, I cut the sleeves a little too small. Instead of saying that I may (or may not) mention that the pattern as drafted did not take into account my incredibly toned biceps.
    Happy New Year!

  16. amcclure2014 says:

    Happy New Year! I love the new word and the concept – I’ll try! I don’t point out faults as a self deprecatory act – I genuinely want to get it better next time. Sometimes it is to help others if I think there is a mistake in the pattern or a confusion in the instructions. However, I’m aware I see ‘issues‹ that others wouldn’t – or shouldn’t! I hope to be more forgiving of myself.

  17. Marije says:

    I should have read this before I posted about my new dress! I am guilty…
    So yeah, good resolution!

    • Ha, ha! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you have an ENORMOUS dog!

    • I just popped over to check out your dress, and it is so well done! I really like it! I have a very similar body silhouette and I totally understand the “quirks” of fitting dresses to hide all of my self-perceived flaws. My favorite fix is to bring the waistline up (just below the bust, almost empire) and wear a poofy tulle or crinoline skirt underneath it. You could completely rock a 1950’s vibe like that in this dress! 🙂

  18. hwilson99 says:

    Love the word and the concept. But, I would take it a step further and suggest that bloggers don’t apologize for their perceived lengthy absences. Life happens and you shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for not following a rigid blogging schedule.

  19. Lynn says:

    Here here, well said!

    Sent from my iPad


  20. Great resolution. We are all so worried people will notice the little faults we print them ourselves! Yet my non-sewing friends are just be away by the fact I make my own clothes. I think I have got to start being prouder of my work, I am always thinking I could have done it better.

  21. beales56 says:

    Excellent idea and principle to work with in 2016 and beyond. Happy New year, sewing in 2016 will definitely be more fun.

  22. Jessi says:

    I will often point out imperfections because I don’t want others to see them and think I didn’t. But I honestly don’t care about them most of the time. Sometimes I wish I had gone back to fix mistakes, but mostly- meh, an uneven jeans hem, or quilt blocks that don’t match up- just doesn’t matter to me.

  23. GO, Go, go! I will do my very best to avoid such chit chat. Jo x

  24. Gail G. says:

    I actually like it when sewers in their blogs discuss their experience of flaws and mistakes. Some are quite entertaining and make me feel like I am not alone when a zipper is put in upside down, 2 left sleeves are cut or a big fabric icky ends up at your behind. Life is full of mistakes. and…the only people who do not make mistakes are those who do nothing.

    • Agreed, and I’d never want to see that disappear from this blog – but it should be an interesting exercise for a month, to see how those mistakes are discussed without being unnecessarily down on oneself!

  25. Katy says:

    I don’t mind that at all. If you recognise your mistakes you can learn from them and do better next time. When I read your post heading I thought you were referring to people apologising for not blogging in a long time etc. Now that is worthy of abolishing!

  26. Gail G. says:

    Yes, I think the point is there is no need to apologize about the stumbles and mishaps that happen along the way. It is how they are presented that can give it dignity . Thank-you for your Blog and an interesting discussion. Gail From Pa. USA

  27. Fiona says:

    So where is the lovely dress, Karen?!

  28. Paola says:

    Sometimes it’s only once I’ve taken photos for the blog that I notice mistakes. What you miss IRL is unmissable in a photo. So the need to point out the obvious, before it’s pointed out for you.

  29. Brilliant exercise! I’m so guilty of this in so many ways, and will definitely keep this in mind. My sister often quotes Julia Child “Never apologize, never explain” or words to that effect. Even very accomplished cooks, artists, sewists, etc make mistakes and to think less of ourselves for doing is really counterproductive. Happy New Year, Karen!

  30. kristin says:

    YES! I love this idea. It’s actually a big pet peeve of mine when a blogger blames herself for “being dumb” and not understanding the pattern or a way-off fit when it’s actually the pattern’s fault, not hers! It actually does the reader and the blogger a disservice to blame ourselves when the pattern has room for improvement, you know?

  31. ooobop says:

    Ha ha… thanks so much for the mention Karen. It’ll take more than a wretched top to bring me down! The good thing about sharing those trials and tribulations is that I got some wonderfully positive comments and solutions in return and hopefully the next maker of this top will have a heads up too. x

  32. Amy says:

    By abolishing ablogogising, I thought you were going to abolish apologizing for not posting enough/posting too often/posting things for yourself instead of for your readers… It always makes me a bit sad when a blogger feels like they have to apologize for how they choose to blog. But, I’m actually very intrigued as to your meaning about ablogogising – now that you say it, I do think trying to catch my own flaws before the internet does has slowly crept into how I think about my sewing and blogging. Now that it’s been pointed out, I’ll have to try to keep it to a minimum! Happy New Year!

  33. Rachel says:

    I am all for giving more oxygen to positive thoughts, and so I am going to be a presumptuous upstart and suggest a second, related meaning as well (for the blogging world at large)…
    “2). The act of apologising on one’s own blog about not having posted for a while.”
    It would be great if these feelings of owing readers something could be eradicated – it always sounds so stressful.
    Wishing you a year filled with adventure, inspiration, and joy.

  34. Sarah Banham says:

    That is a fab idea! I love making my own clothes and when people ask where I got my dress/skirt/top from – then saying I made it. It’s the satisfaction of knowing no one else will have one. The only people that make me feel nervous when they look closely at a make are my Mum and my sewing teacher! If someone utters the “I can’t sew a button on” then that helps my happiness levels – even if I know I struggled with something to get it right. I have a 4 month old so at the moment doing any sewing is a great treat and pleasure! Keep up the good work! I love reading about other peoples makes! Happy 2016! Sx

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  36. Janine. says:

    Yes Yes. This is wonderful. I echo the other readers who say it should extend to not posting for a while , sorry for the photos, sorry for my hair, makeup whatever !

  37. I think it’s a great idea in either definition.

    Ablogogising for my sewing shortcoming isn’t something I do a lot. I’m happy to admit that my clothes – RTW and those I make – have many. I’m also happy to say, “And so what?” If I get around to blogging this month, I shall certainly not be ablogogising for anything 🙂

    I shall also not be ablogogising – that is really hard to type, you know?! – for not blogging because, as I’m sure everyone agrees, we’re all time poor and stressed to the max and life most assuredly does get in the way. Christmas was a prime example of that in our household: major car breakdown (public transport is an option, even if not the most desirable), vacuum cleaner dying (so our carpets weren’t pristine, but who even noticed?), visitor suffering from a potentially very nasty cardiac incident (discharged from hospital on Christmas morning, thank you, and doing well) – and still we just rolled with the punches and sat down to a family lunch that we all enjoyed, no matter the dramas that had preceded it. Sometimes you have to sit back and remind yourself what’s important.

    That we’re all making our own clothes – whether sewn, knitted or crocheted and however well or badly other people might think we’re doing it – is fantastic and a credit to our ingenuity, creativity and determination. That’s important and I salute you all (here endeth the lengthy philosophising).

    Best wishes for a fabric-filled and fulfilling 2016 with a complete absence of ablogogising 🙂

  38. tamsinwp says:

    I think that the fact that we can turn flat bits of fabric into garments that generally speaking look and fit better than shop bought is amazing and should be celebrated. I am, however, guilty of ablogogising and find it really annoying that I do it! I made some Ginger jeans recently and while my friends were telling me how fantastic they look, I was physically biting my tongue so that I didn’t point out various bits to them that I thought were wrong!

  39. Meg says:

    Thank you! I happened upon your blog for the first time in my attempt to skip all of the ‘year in review’ posts which seem so fashionable. Very well said.

  40. Candie says:

    I have been trying to be better about this since last year. It was hard at first but became easier as time went by. Most people who see my creations don’t sew, quilt or do much of anything in the creative spectrum so how can I encourage them to if I am constantly pointing out imperfections in my projects ? Why should they ever attempt to sew if it only ends up being a means of embarrassment?

    For me, I don’t create the things I do so that people can tell me how awesome I am and honestly find all of that uncomfortable. What I found out about not pointing out imperfections is that I don’t sound like I’m digging for compliments. Which I never was but I think that’s what friends thought they needed to do to allay my self doubts.

    Good luck with your resolution. I understand though what you were doing; for me pointing out the not so apparent is part of the learning process on what not to do or what to improve next time around.

    Happy New Year 💥🍾🎉💥 From Alaska!

  41. Linda Wilson says:

    Think positive about the mistakes! It’s all a learning curve, and you don’t usually make the same mistake again, but maybe a new one, and so on and so on! Sometimes I just change the plan of what I’m making. The most annoying thing is only if you spend a lot and its a disappointment!!

  42. This is a completely doable resolution, and I will adopt it immediately.

  43. Leslie says:

    Here here! I’m so bad about this that my husband makes fun of me about it. Not just in blogging, but also just talking about what I’ve made. Let’s stop the madness!

  44. I’d also like to see bloggers stop apologizing for an absence between posts. Just start up again when you have something to write about. Bloggers don’t owe their readers an accounting for everything that is happening in their lives, and often, a lapse is because of nothing more dramatic than busyness or writer’s block.

  45. Barbara says:

    Thanks for starting the new year off on a positive note! If someone happens to be negative and points out a flaw, just say that you added your own personal design modifications to the pattern. A Sewers Perogative!

  46. What a bloody brilliant idea. I apologise for everything, all the time. Is it a British cultural thing or maybe there is a gender bias? Anyway, I am totally with you on the ablogogising ban. I seem to do it almost every post but especially if life has been getting in the way and I have not had time to blog. As for resolutions they just make me miserable as I never stick to them. Plus I have just changed job and moved house. Don’t think that I could cope doing it again. Xx

  47. Piper says:

    I’m in as well. I’d like to add that American woman are equally prone to being self depreciating. There is a social stigma to appearing “stuck up,” or snobbish. I have learned to always reply to compliments with a simple “thank you.” If the other person wants to continue the conversation, or demonstrates a knowledge or interest in sewing, then I will move into that territory. I also want to add that we all learn from constructive criticism and reading about eachother’s sewing journeys, but we should only offer criticism on the blogosphere if someone indicates that they are looking for help or advice. And then, of course, in a positive and helpful way. No one should feel it necessary to point out flaws in their makes just so that others won’t! No ablogogising! Hurray!

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  49. CarmencitaB says:

    Very good idea!
    Everything I make is imperfect but you are right, there is no point in telling people about it if it doesn’t help them avoid making the same.
    In all my years of sewing nobody has ever come up to me to blab about my wonky top stitching.
    Best resolution I’ve seen this year, I will try to follow this one.

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  51. Inder says:

    Hahaha! I love it! I also would like to eliminate the “apologizing for not blogging” thing. Seriously. People are happy to see your blog post – they don’t care if it’s been a month. Forward!

    It’s totally a gender thing, and it’s something I’ve learned and observed working as a lawyer (a male-dominated profession): Never apologize for your work before the person has had a chance to share their thoughts and comments. Apologizing for stuff only draws attention to issues that otherwise would go unnoticed or not be an issue at all. It makes the apologizer seem incompetent or uncertain rather than confident in their conclusions. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Once you get the critique, you can always say “Oh, good point, I’ll make that change.” But never offer up your weaknesses up front, it just makes you look bad.

    I’m in!

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  53. Amie M says:

    I agree! Enjoy your make, flaunt it, love it. Pointing out the flaws will make you feel less than happy about it, when you should be ecstatic.

  54. kitschycoo2015 says:

    Yep. I can get with that!

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  56. Karen, this is such a fascinating idea. I have two blog posts that I was working on, and I consciously went through them to check my language. I’m definitely not sure I succeeded on the one I posted. I don’t think I frequently blame myself but I do certainly point out errors and issues a lot! I also wonder if part of it is for those who sew a ton, we do it to show others it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. But then again, isn’t it all sunshine and rainbows, in a way? It’s easy to forget how truly an amazing thing making your own clothing really IS! I definitely need that perspective sometimes. 🙂

  57. So true, we should celebrate our achievements, not nit pick at flaws that aren’t that obvious and no one cares about any way. It’s so empowering to sew your own clothes and not rely on what’s in the shops. I’m with you!

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  59. Rochelle New says:

    Fantastic blog post, Karen! This is a subject I have mentally called myself out on so many times but could definitely do a better job of actively following through on. I’m absolutely on board for abolishing ablogogising!

  60. eimear says:

    while i will recognise a few areas of a garment I have rushed (and there is still a pucker in a sweater made 3 months ago i wear loads but never fixed) I truly dont get too bothered as the flaws are minor and some i will fix and others if i dont notice them for a while…. often dont!!! I think of sewing as a creative process and all parts of the garment flaws and all add to the authenticity. obviously clothes need to be made properly, but my handsewn stitches of lining in a coat i wear all the time are probably a bit big, but what of it…..- lite Pootle and Make above, so empwoering to sew your own clothes, few people get to have a hand made wardrobe (and the quality of some readymades is seriously lacking …….)

  61. Melwyk says:

    I’ve been thinking about this post since I first read it. I realize I do this a lot in my own sewing, whenever someone comments on my new dress or whatever it is – it’s as if I am justifying myself somehow, for daring to think I could do something that the person I’m talking to can’t. Sort of, Well, it’s not perfect so it’s not really that comment-worthy, as opposed to just ‘thank you’. Really interesting to think about why and how this reaction appears.

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  65. I think you are absolutely right – i don’t even have a blog but i find that when someone says to me “did you make that?” i say (with a smile & a sense of achievement) yes i did BUT this is wrong or that is wrong. I’m going to try in future to be more positive about my sewing – to banish the BUT comments & to genuinely relish in the praise that i get !!
    NB: I nearly put “relish in the praise that i get, if i ever get any!!”. Now that’s a negative thought right there. Think it might take me some time to work in some more positivity.

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  69. Margaret Beard says:

    Amen! I have been sewing for years and still look for inspiration and short cuts, etc. I have to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things too! We all make little mistakes and I take way more leeway when I sew for myself! I have made BIG mistakes too that have cost me my project completely. Keep up all the good work!

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  74. Jessica says:

    Sounds great to me!

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