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Sewing Summit Insecurities

Next week, I’m headed to Sewing Summit for the first time and, on one hand, I am so very excited. I’m signed up for all sorts of sessions that should help me take my blog to the next level and teach me skills to help my dream of running a pattern company in the future. I’m excited to meet other sewing enthusiasts. I’m eagerly anticipating being surrounded with inspiration and enthusiasm and energy.

On the other hand, I’m feel pretty anxious. I’m worried that I’m not going to be cool enough. That everyone but me will make new friends. That my clothes won’t be interesting or unique or well-made enough. That I’ll feel like an outsider.

I know I’m being silly. The online sewing community is a wonderful, supportive, open community, so why would it be any different in person? But part of me feels like the awkward, nerdy kid, headed off to the first day of school where I know, yet again, that the cool kids are going to pick on me, that I’ll be the last to be picked in gym class. And then I feel really silly for being a grown adult and still having such schoolyard insecurities.

I guess I’m writing this because putting it down in words makes it seem more conquerable. And I guess I’m hoping for some inspirational words. Can anyone else relate? Is anyone else going and having similar feelings?

Comments 30

  1. Me too!! I’m worried it will feel like the high school cafeteria and there will be the cool table. I never ate there in school and it’s intimidating to just show up at a conference where so many people already know each other. Well if in doubt, we should find each other. I’m thinking with so many like minded women, it should be OK, everyone has something in common and similar frustrations (I’m assuming!) Glad you posted this, I’ve also been nervous kind of. I guess the idea of tons of girls together just gives me flashbacks of cliques.

  2. Ha ha! I loved reading this! I am right there with you! I’m thinking that I’m going to be meeting all the “BIG” bloggers and me being a tiny little blog is SOOO intimidating. And even though I’ve been sewing a long time and know I have the skills, I still feel inadequate for some reason. You can totally come sit at my table!!! ;)

  3. I don’t have a blog, I’m pretty quiet on Twitter, and though I’ve been to the last two Sewing Summits, all the friends I made there aren’t coming this year. And to top it all off, I’m quiet in large groups and always hang in the background. But it is such a blast despite all that. Has to be if I’m going for the third year! :-)

  4. I definitely don’t think you’ll be alone in that feeling. Going from blog to in-real-life is a big step, but everyone is SO nice at Sewing Summit. You will have so much fun and make all sorts of new friends. If it makes you feel better, the only handmade items i’ll have with me are probably the ones my friend Jeni made for me over the yeaers. So I will definitely NOT be wearing handmade. :)

  5. I can totally relate Erin! Looking at what everyone has accomplished on their websites or Flickr makes me feel a little intimidated. I guess I’m going knowing that I will be learning something new and outside of the box. That is my goal this year, to broaden my horizons and meet new people! I can’t wait to meet you…finding me shouldn’t be too hard…I will be the clueless one looking around hoping to recognize someone. :). See you soon.

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      It sounds like, with all the wonderful comments people have shared, that you won’t be the only one looking around hoping to recognize folks. You’ll be in great company!

  6. Me too!! I am much more outgoing over the internet and in person… well I always seem to put my foot in my mouth. I can’t just edit what I say before I post it!!
    My clothes are AWFUL!! It’s already cooling off up here in Canada and it didn’t matter if my white t-shirts for summer 2013 were already covered in tomato sauce splatters and wine drips. I might have to go shopping!
    Janelle

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      Add some bleach spatters to the tomato sauce and wine drips and call it a “galaxy print” and you’ll be on trend!

  7. I felt that way last year. But it was an amazing experience! I won’t have much me with me that’s handmade because I just haven’t had time. BUT, I don’t care, because its still going to be super fun! Looking forward to meeting and catching up with everyone!

  8. I feel exactly this. I’ve gone back and forth about even going. On the Facebook page someone described the dress code as “cute, put-together.” My immediate thought was that’s not me! I’m a stay-at-home mom to twin boys. My wardrobe goal is “clean, doesn’t smell like pee.”
    I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling apprehensive about not being cool enough. :)

  9. You are SO not alone! I feel the same way. It was a big stretch for me to buy a ticket, but I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone with my uncertainties. Thanks for the brave post! See you soon:-)

  10. I have met 3 people one-on-one from the online sewing world and have been crazy worried each time… and each time it was like we had known each other for a million years… I just keep telling myself (and hoping) that this will be the same LOL… I am shy, awkward, have a weird sense of humour and I have a roomie I haven’t met in person before… but I keep telling myself that it is full of fabric and sewing… we all know that can’t be a bad thing :)

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      That’s a great reminder that we all love fabric and sewing and with a shared love, there will always be an icebreaker and something to relate about.

  11. Oh! Let me know what it’s like. And, forget all that worry! Just exude confidence, even if it’s just covering over a lot of insecurities. What do they say – fake it to make it? Or something like that? Anyway, just remember that others (me!) are sitting in Seattle wishing they were where you are. So, you might as well do us proud!

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      I had a friend/mentor as I started grad school that constantly told me to fake it til I make it. He had massive insecurities but has become a very, very successful scientist, and the strategy worked for him. So perhaps I should listen to it! And “doing you proud” is a great motivator, too!

  12. I can relate. I’m worrying over what I’ll wear and whether anyone will talk to me! (And how old am I? Never mind…) I’m more anxious about it than my little daughter was about starting kindergarten this week. Well maybe I was more anxious about her starting kindergarten than I am about Sewing Summit but not by much! So thank you for posting this, I now feel like I’m in good company ;).

  13. I went to QuiltCon and had the same worries, but it turned out that everyone is super friendly! I wore t-shirt and jeans every day, and while that meant I didn’t get compliments on my handmade clothes, no one really cared at all, either. :) It really is more about the sewing and the community and less about the individual differences. We ALL have our insecurities that we’re conquering to be there. You are never alone. :)

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        Can’t wait to meet you! I’ve done both pink and red, but never at the same time, so I’ll be ogling your hair :)

  14. I’ve never heard of this summit, Erin, but I think you are well poised to network, and meet some fun and interesting people! (You certainly did well at our blogger meetup!) Have fun! I hope you post a report – maybe I’ll try to attend in future.

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  15. Hi Erin,

    I can totally relate. I am a quiet person and don’t find it easy to talk to people that I don’t know well. I suppose that going to something like Sewing Summit will be similar to going to a scientific conference as the only person representing your research group, which is something that I have done on several occassions. During those conferences I have never felt alone or left out, despite initially not knowing anyone and certainly not being “the life of the party”. It is always easy to join a table with an empty seat and somehow, because you already know that you share a certain interest, it is not that difficult to have an interesting conversation. With a shared hobby, I think it will be even easier. And, concerning the “I might not be good enough fears and no one willl be interested in what I am doing”, I once had a really nice conversation with someone over breakfast during a conference and half-way through suddenly realized that this guy actually wrote one of THE textbooks of our field (didn’t have a look at his name tag at the beginning of the conversation). He was still interested in what I was doing even though I had really only just started out.

    I am really jealous that you get to go to Sewing Summit, all these fun sewing events seem to be in the US, maybe one day…

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      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I too have been to many science conferences and your story is a good reminder that at those conferences I never have problems talking to or meeting people.

  16. Erin,
    I went last year and everyone was so nice. It was one of those moments where you look around and think to yourself “I’ve found my people”. :) Excited to meet you! Olivia

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  17. Hi Erin: I’m over 65. I don’t blog. I don’t sew well or very often. But I have to tell you that this was my 3rd year at Sewing Summit, and I can honestly tell you that I have never met a group of girls that are more friendly, energetic, intelligent, caring, and talented than at this event. In my experience, there were no “in” girls, or “popular-girl” tables because everyone is anxious to meet and talk with everyone else to exchange ideas, experiences and ideas. Dress attire is anything from Levis and sweatshirts to dresses, shorts or pajamas. That’s what’s so much fun about SS…you get to go home with 250 new girlfriends! I hope you found this to be true in your experience last week, and I hope you’ll think about coming to Sewing Summit 14!

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      Hi Elaine – Thanks for sharing you experience. I agree completely! I feel like I left with dozens of new friends and every single person I met was welcoming and sweet. I’ll definitely do what I can to go next year too!

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