It's Okay to Fail

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But then you have to pick yourself back up, learn what went wrong and continue! 

When I started out on my upcycling journey, there were a lot of bumps along the way. I wasn't born with sewing skills, I picked them up here and there, at school, from my mum and even learnt a few things on my own.  Here are a few of my bumps. Have you experienced any of them?

a) Difficulties with my sewing machine - well, I discovered that it was ME rather than the machine. I just didn't read the manual properly about sewing tension and stitch length, and did not clean it after each project. 

b) Not planning the projects and rushing into them - no explanation needed, but I failed miserably in my attempts in converting a jumper into a wrap as I didn't really plan ahead.

c) Rushing work - no explanation needed too! Messy hems, and wonky lines, I have been there!

d) Not documenting the process of making - I'm not talking about blogging, but keeping a workbook where you keep notes of what works and what doesn't, materials used, special techniques and ideas. This is something that I learnt from my research days.

I do know that while not every project will end up perfect (or perhaps what you had in mind), your technique will improve along the way, and that's how you grow as a maker. Sometimes people forget that it does take time to make something or learn a new technique. So, you can imagine my frustration when I get these comments:

When it comes to workshops, I always remind participants that:

In fact, my maker friend Elda Webb of Curious Design Network had highlighted to the participants of the Maker Immersion Camp, Science Centre Singapore that it doesn't matter if you failed to finish the project in the classroom. What's important is you took your newly learnt skills and applied them elsewhere - you might even finish the craft at home - and you persevere.   

This is what happened during my fabric hacking / electronics session with the kids at the Maker Immersion Camp, and at the DIY Your Clothes Workshop, +Naiise 

"It's okay, my mum has a sewing kit. I'll do it at home"
9 year old girl who didn't have time to sew on the buttons of her stuffed toy

He used the hot glue gun instead!

One kid attempted to sew the LED light to the battery holder four times and he was going to give up until he realised he could use the hot glue gun instead (see top right picture below) - that works too! Even though he failed with the sewing, he didn't give up and sought out alternatives. I like that.

Some of the kids' creations made from their old t-shirts.  They learnt how to design their own toy from scratch and sew. Perhaps this is the first stepping stone to designing more things!

So, with 2015 just around the corner, let's approach our making journeys differently - it's okay to fail - and we'll definitely come out better!

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