Imperfection is Beautiful: How to Teach Kids to Embrace Flaws in a Perfect World

By Annabel Wrigley, author We Love to Sew: 28 Pretty Things to Makesew

You know the drill; kids get home from school, rush to finish their homework and then run to sports practice on time. Maybe they even have after-school music class or tutoring, too. Sound familiar? It is probably the crazy weekly routine that you have with your children. In sports, our kids are taught to win, win, win, while in school they are taught to get straight A’s. In music class there is nothing pleasant about hitting the wrong notes.  These are just some of the reasons that the encouragement of creativity in a non-pressured, perfection-optional world is so necessary.

Call it therapy if you like, I certainly sometimes think of it that way. Giving children the space where they can sew, create and talk (or in our case sing a little) can change the child’s stress level enormously.

Each week we come up with fun projects that challenge each child whilst also giving them the opportunity to experiment with fabric, color and design thus giving them the fabulous feeling of autonomy and pride. The best part, never do the children feel the pressure to be perfect!

Never was I ever told as a child that imperfections were beautiful little bits of my personality and so sadly, I felt the pressure to constantly perform well in things at which I was honestly not very good. I think that feeling can linger around until adulthood. It is so important that we do not do the same thing to our kids! That dropped stitch is a cute reminder of when you were paying more attention to the words of a Taylor Swift song than your knitting, the wonky stitched line is a reminder of the hilarious laughing fit you had when your sewing buddy told a funny joke and maybe that crazy fabric combo will always be a reminder of you and your crazy, individual personality.  And so it goes, imperfection IS a beautiful thing.

A veteran nurse, Annabel Wrigley turned to sewing when she became a mom and it reignited a childhood passion—a past time she enjoyed with her grandmom.  Her hobby became a local phenomenon in her hometown of Sydney Australia.  Now, a Virginia-resident, Wrigley is the owner of Little Pincushion Studio in Warrenton, VA and a popular sewing instructor  Her new book, the first in a series and published by C&T PublishingWe Love to Sew: 28 Pretty Things to Make, is a delightful, easy-to-use, sewing guide for young, creative beginners.  It has been featured in popular sewing magazines in the US, the UK and Italy.  Her next book, We Love to Sew: Bedrooms, will be available in March 2014.                         

We Love to Sew is available at, at JoAnn Fabric Stores and other fine booksellers.  

1 Comment

  1. Ben Alcock (@DisarmDoors)

    I’ve known Annabel for a long time…it’s a fab post.

    It made me think immediately of one of my most treasured possessions. My wedding ring has lines of tiny, weeny copy on it, and if you look really closely you’ll find a typo.

    When I pointed it out to the lady who made it, she was mortified. I saw the blood drain from her face…”I’ve ruined this guy’s wedding ring!”

    By far and away the most satisfying job I’ve ever had was the one where mistakes were tolerated, even encouraged to some degree. Freeing yourself from the fear of the result/outcome is exhilarating. It makes anything seem possible. Oddly, many people find that scenario terrifying…”What? I have to think? Isn’t there a tried and trusted process that I just follow every time? Copy, paste. Copy, paste.”

    I LOVE the typo on my wedding ring. I reminds me (every time I look at it) that it was made by someone’s hands. Someone who picked out the tiny letters one by one, carefully lined them up in rows, missed a letter and pressed them into the silver band. It’s absolutely one of a kind and better with the mistake in it.

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