Now you didn't think I was going to let this rest, did you?! I did promise to give you my number and the comments were so interesting that I thought I would share some of them with you too. The post also spawned a post by, Shannon and a mention by Kristy! So I guess it's something that all of us have an opinion on...
Okay my number was around 13,300 hours. And its probably a little on the low side...I have been sewing since I was 11 years old and have never stopped...not during any period of my life haven't I sewn...okay there was a six month stretch while I was getting divorced but this is a person who bought a sewing machine while she was in college and set it up in her dorm room. I remember having an argument on New Year's Eve with my significant other because the dress I had made to wear over my 6 month pregnant body was just a little too sexy for him...oh really now? *LOL*
I made my wedding suit. I made maternity clothing for 2 of my 3 pregnancies. I made my DD's church dresses and outfits for school, school dance dresses, costumes for school and church plays, dance outfits and prom dresses. A sewing machine has been a constant in my life since the Christmas of my 11th year...I don't know what it's like not to own one!
I've said all that to say that even though I've sewn like forever, I don't consider myself an expert. I think there's quite a few things that I could learn to do better and some things that I can't do at all. I can fit my body because I've had years to practice on it...but I would be hesitant to fit someone else. I know how to handle certain types of fabrics because I've handled them for years...in some things practice does make perfect. However, I'm like a fish out of water using something like leather...can we say new adventure?! *LOL*
"Do I think 10,000 hours equals expert?"
No, *shaking head* no, not at all! The reason that I posed the questions that I did was because I truly believe you have to have a talent to sew. There has to be an innate gift that lets you know what fabric goes with what pattern. When something, be it pattern or fabric, can be used in an atypical fashion and still result in an amazing garment. There has to be this intuitiveness working that shows up in your finished pieces...hours and hours of sewing can make you an excellent technician but not an expert. Now of course you are free to disagree with me...you know I love a great conversation...but that's my point of view!
So let's take it to the comments and see what others have to say...
"But my initial reaction is, there has to be an inclination and talent or all the hours in the world will never yield the best. Michael Phelps may put in the hours (and we know he did), but he's also got the physiognomy and the talent."
I loved this one by Mel J.:
"Something my Dad likes to tell me comes to mind: "you can have ten years experience OR one years experience ten times over". If all the thousands of hours spent sewing do not include advanced skill building, you CAN'T get to an advanced level."
And Claire was adamant:
"I don't agree with her theory. There has to be talent. I surf a LOT of sewing blogs. I see people who put in hours on end sewing and their work is mediocre and their clothing is unflattering. Then there are those who don't have a ton of hours to invest but the quality of their work when they do sew is impressive - what I'd call expert - and they really have that ability to put out fine craftsmanship. Perseverance, per se, is honorable, but it doesn't make someone a skilled seamstress or designer. There has to be an eye for details, construction, as well as composition and silhouette. I've been sewing for years, but I would never consider myself an expert."
"Dressmaking is a craft that is definitely improved by technique...and technique can really only be mastered by practice, practice, practice, practice."
"Sewing many hours certainly helps, but if you don't push your boundaries, no matter how many hours you sew isn't going to get you to that expert level, much less the best of the best."
That's definitely a consensus right! How about some other points of view:
"I think it is both. Time invested and increasing the skills as you invest time is one side, but you have to have an "eye" for it, too, so you enjoy it, appreciate it and visualize the finished product before you begin."
"So, where do I stand on this "work hours in equals a mastery of a particular endeavor?" Well, yes and no. There can be arguments offered up both ways. It depends on the person, I feel, more than the amount of hours."
Finally Athena added:
"It's never one end of the spectrum or the other. You need both experience and talent to be outstanding in any craft. As everyone who commented before has said. How do you add talent and a good eye to a math equation?"
Then there were two comments that I loved...just loved!
"Ah, the old quality time versus quantity time argument."
And Ann Rowley wrote:
"I’m a bit late to this party – but what an interesting topic, and what erudite replies!"
That is so Ann, but she goes on to say...
"I was brought up, by perfectionist parents, with the mantra “practice makes perfect” ringing in my ears. But not only do you need to practice; you need to love doing it, even be obsessive about it. Many times over the years I’ve sewn when I really should have been doing something else. And yes, I’ve done the hours – and some – but am rarely 100% satisfied with what I achieve; although I admit having considerable skills. I hope to go on learning, practicing and striving for that always elusive “best”."
Since Ann is one of my sewing sheros...I'm going to end there! But there were 31 well thought out and well expressed (erudite indeed!) comments. If you haven't had a chance to peruse them, scroll back a few posts and take a moment to read them!
To everyone who left a comment...thank you so much for being willing to share your opinions with all of us! It was greatly appreciated!