Mistakes I made and what you could learn from them.

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In French, we have a saying that translates into something like this: ‘Someone else’s experience, is like a comb for a bold head’.
By this, we mean that you can’t learn from someone else’s experience, you only can learn by doing your own mistakes.

However, as someone recently pointed to me, combs for bold people do exist so maybe would some of you learn from my little experiences and my many mistakes.

I am in no way a hand-craft professional , and I still have so much to learn, but nevertheless here are 6 tips I learnt the hard way and if they can save you time/material/sanity, then I won’t have made those mistakes for nothing..

1.Save time by taking classes.

When it comes to learn new techniques, you can find online tutorials and step-by-step explanations. But nothing compares to learning from a professional. By taking classes, you will learn in details the right way to do things, you will ask questions, get tips and you will be able to produce high standard work. A one day workshop should teach your the basics that you need to get started with any craft techniques.
I waited 35 years to take a sewing lesson, and tried for years to learn everything by myself. This was silly, don’t do the same mistake.

2. Think about your end product before starting your project.

You got that crazily amazing idea and you want to start making it right away, because oh my god it gonna be so awesome!
So you start right away… but half way through, you realise that if only you had thought your project through before starting it, you could have made it so much better! But it’s too late as you have already cut/sewed/folded/used that piece of wood/fabric/glass which is the center piece of your work.
Plan-your-project-before-starting-it!

3. Measure 5 times, cut once

Apparently, the common advice is to measure twice and cut once. But measuring twice is sometimes not enough to avoid cutting too short.

Do measure 5 times, especially with expensive fabric. If you only measure once, be prepared to cry and scream multiple times!

4. Read all the instructions before starting your project.

I wish I was practicing what I preach, but I still regularly start projects without first reading all instructions. And inevitably, I get confused,  misunderstand some steps and end wasting time.
Do read all the instructions. All of them. I will do the same too, one day. Maybe…

5. Wear old clothes, even for a 5 minutes job.

If your current project involves paint, glue, dust, fire or anything that could damage your clothes, wear old ones. Even for a 5 minutes job. Even if you are 100% sure that you could manage the job without any risk of accidents.

Gosh I ruined so many clothes by thinking I could do the job without making myself dirty…  I could probably fill a a few  drawers with all of them!
No later than this week, I ruined a brand new (never washed!) light grey cardigan by not realizing that the fresh red paint of the chair I was drawing on wasn’t dry yet. It was touch dry, but not really really dry. I only found out the cardigan was ruined when I went to bed on that night, and it made me so upset to realise that once again, I made that mistake.

6. Keep your cat away from your work even if it is the cutest cat ever.

Stevie, my cat, testing the unfinished chair.
Stevie, my cat, testing the unfinished chair.

Cats are really cute, especially yours, and mine,  and because they are so adorable, it is very hard to say no to them and to keep them away from your work.

My cat just love lying down on my fabric at the minute I spread it on my desk, it fight against my pair of scissors and the cables of my sewing machine, it gets close to anything I would paint and jumps on any furniture I might be sanding.
If its interest for my work is flattering, it however more than once generated mini-disasters such as having cat fur stuck on fresh paint or having to force my cat under the tap of water to rinse his mouth after having found him drinking wood varnish.
Your cat is cute and it’s nice to have him around when you work, but for its safety and the quality of your work, lock him away when you work.

But damn, cats are sooo cute! 

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What about you? Have you made mistakes you learnt from? I would love to hear all about them!

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