Did you ever take the 5 Love Languages Quiz? I always figured mine was quality time…and I thought gifts was kind of dumb. BUT…the older I get, the more I think maybe…the way I speak love to others is to give them things. And…hang with me here. I think I’m having an as-I-write epiphany.
Sewing for others is often pretty complicated. I don’t just mean the practical stuff like measurements and body fitting over miles…I love to surprise people, so then I’m making style and color decisions for them. I like to think I’m a pretty observant and thoughtful person, so I’m always very intentional when I make these choices, but that doesn’t negate that gifting fashion is a risky business.
There are layers, right? What if they love the style, but it doesn’t fit? Or what if it fits better than anything they’ve ever had, but the style/color is not to their taste? or…what if it fits but is still unflattering (as is the case with a pair of tops I just made my mom)?
All the time spent sewing with love and imagining a delighted recipient’s face sets me up for crushing disappointment and rejection. Fun, right?! I keep resolving to sew less for others, but, uh…I go back to drink from that well on the regular.
We all know sewing is a super power. It makes me feel AWESOME that I can make shit…good shit! So there’s some weird cognitive dissonance when that surprise item is gifted to less than enthusiastic reception. If I’ve tied some of my identity and self-worth into that item/my skill and time, then I’m giving that person power over my self esteem when I hand them that gift.
Now let’s circle back around to the 5 Love Languages thing…what if I’m speaking my love language by sewing a new garment for someone, but the way they read/hear love is through acts of service or quality time? The thing that to ME means, “I thought about you and spent my time and resources to try to make something you’d like” might mean to them, “UGH. Another *thing* I have to find a place for” if I don’t completely nail every single variable.
It is infinitely safer to involve the recipient in design choices…which I do often do as well…but that can also wind up feeling dangerously close to obligation territory. (I have a rule that I will only sew for friends free at their request if they are sitting in the room with me while I do it. Otherwise, I charge for my time.)
I meandered all over the place here, but I’d love to hear any thoughts any of you have!