These are just some sewing thoughts brewing in my head. After reading a few different threads over at Patternreview, it got me to thinking (I can already hear my wonderful DH saying, "Oh no..." ; LOL ) There are always those threads where people ask, "What skills do you think one should have to rate themselves Beginner, Adv. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert?" Truly, I think it is a matter of perspective, not necessarily skills per se.
My own view of what determines those levels will vary greatly from someone else's view. I call myself an Intermediate level sewer because there is ALWAYS something to learn. Always new machines with new bells and whistles. Always new notions coming out to use, and new fabrics to be used. My classification is based not on what I know, but how I feel in the vast world of sewing. Technically, I can do and have done many techniques of what people consider "Advanced". But do I feel advanced? No. I'm always humbled by the works of others when I get that feeling like I'm doing real well. There are always many sewing moments where I say to myself, "Wow! I never thought of doing it that way."
What has been on my mind lately is a thread about an Advanced Beginner doing welt pockets. But this same issue applies to bound buttonholes, bagging a lining, or other sewing tasks perceived as difficult (aka "advanced"). Why do people think these things are hard? Technically, they are very easy. IMO, (using a bound buttonhole as an example) one just needs to perfect a straight stitching line, be as accurate with measuring as possible, and have the right tools (like great scissors that can cut right to the point), have good instructions, etc. to get the job done.
In this respect, I find the Internet has done many beginning sewers a disservice. There are simply too many people categorizing specific sewing activities as Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. In addition, the "fear" factor has become standard, almost a "rite of passage", for techniques some consider advanced. Gotta thank the Internet for that. Personally, I think a good Advanced Beginner can learn how to do a neat and tidy welt pocket rather easily with the right tools and the ability of precise, straight stitching. That is simply practice. And no fear!
I bagged several linings as a newbie sewer. I started doing some serious sewing in 8th grade and by 10th grade was working on blazers with bagged linings. I never thought about them being hard. What I did think was, "Is this really going to work when I turn it right side out?" And amazingly it did! I didn't have the Internet, didn't have any sewing books, didn't have a mother to rely on for sewing info (my mother did not sew other than fixing a hem or sewing on a button). One of my older sisters did sew and was very good, however, she simply wasn't around much as she was 6 years old than me. She was away at college while I was working on blazers. The only thing I did have to help me was good directions from a Big 4 pattern. And everything turned out fine. My only disgust with most of my sewing projects was using my mother's piece-o-sh** machine that she rarely used, never had serviced, and was about 15-20 years old.
Nothing seemed to hard for me. Consider it naivete. Or maybe simply youth. There's something to be said for make-it-work sewing. There were no classifications in my little sewing world of "Beginner", "Intermediate", or "Advanced" and for that I'm grateful. Imagine the things I would have passed over simply because I would have categorized myself as a Beginner sewer when I was in 10th grade.
The Internet does much good. There's so much knowledge out there and it has improved my sewing skills tremendously because of it. At the same time it is discouraging. Not for me, but for others. I want to shake people when they feel something is hard or might be hard. They had to hear it was hard from somewhere. I want to scream at them, "Try It! It's not as hard as you think!!! In fact, it's kind of easy."
I think for the first time, I realized that I do not like sewing classifications, and I'm thinking of removing mine. It's almost like a hold-up label for some folks, like if you're an Adv. Beginner you can't do welt pockets. Which is entirely untrue. So I'm mulling it over. Sometimes classifications are good, but when it promotes fear or self doubt and possibly holds back a sewer from working on a project, that's when I want to do away with them. Let's see where I am in a week with this thought. Although I'm leaning toward removing my classification.