Inner Judgemental Cat - Do You Have One?

I have a confession to make...

I have an Inner Judgemental Cat. 


Have you ever made a quilt or a garment that everyone thinks is out of this world, except you?

You weren't able to share the same joy, because you knew there were some flaws or mistakes in it. You didn't quite get it perfect.

And  this bothers you to no end.

It matters not that nobody notices the flaw. The fact that it exists drives you nuts - because you know it's there, and you were the one who made it. Now you feel like a failure.

That's what I call an Inner Judgement Cat

I have one. Do you?

Chances are, if you make things, you'd have one too.

You and I strive to hone our craft and make improvements as we go. We seek to do better. Be better. It comes with the territory of being creative. That's our nature and that's how we evolve. This drive can be a good thing.

Except when it isn't...

It's not healthy if the obsession over being perfect steals your joy of sewing. 

Let Sarah share her tip of how she deals with it...


I’ve suffered from “perfectionism” all my life.... and it’s been doing so lately in my sewing.

Although I consider myself an intermediate seamstress, I make mistakes on a daily basis, sometimes due to lack of understanding, and sometimes due to being rushed, impatient, etc.... 

The problem occurs when I start to see these mistakes more than I see the finished product, start to dwell on them more than I enjoy the process of sewing. Then, perfectionism starts to rob me of the joy of sewing, and I can’t let that happen!

To make myself feel better, and to help set realistic expectations, I went fishing in my closet for a few ready-to-wear items... By examining the flaws in [store-bought] clothes I love, I am able to reassure myself that while mistakes do happen, and things are always going fall short of perfection, I can still enjoy the things I make and wear them with pride.

- Sarah 

Thanks, Sarah! I couldn't have said it better :-)


Over the years, I've learned to focus on the present.

If I immerse myself in the physical act of making something by hand, I can chose to remain open & curious - allowing myself to explore and try something new - even if the end result is far from perfect.


Another word - I look for the joy of having a go.  

Instead of looking for flaws and picking on my work (which can easily lead to picking on myself), I try to remember that initial thrill of learning to sew - and the immense satisfaction of...

"Hey. I made this myself...!!!!"

This photos sums it all up. Look at the ear-to-ear grin of this proud little man :-)


More importantly...

I learn to tell the difference between "Striving for Excellence" to "Obsessing over Perfection".

Let this wise lady tell you in her own words...

I’m a recovering perfectionist.

We’ve all commented on how well points are (or are not) matched. We’ve all ripped out stitches. Sometimes we know it was worth the long search for that perfect fabric that made the design really work....

Many of us have found certain projects lost their joy for us when they got too difficult, or we couldn’t square up blocks contributed to a group project by lots of different quilters.

And the desire for uniform stitch length led sewing machine manufacturers to create stitch length regulators, and now some quilt competitions require you to disclose whether or not you used one!

Do we quilt for perfect results or for enjoyment of the process? Are those compatible for you?

[for me], I’m in recovery from perfectionism, especially when applied to my quilting. My new standards are to enjoy the process and go for excellence [instead of] perfection.

- Chris

I just love the 3 Foot Rule....


So true. Right?

Let's not be so quick to join our Inner Judgemental Cat (we'll call her Judgey) to pick flaws....

Instead, let's give Judgey a cuddle and let her know that she can...

Be More Dog!!!!
I know, I know... It's a silly video :-)

Though the point I'm making is...

Don't Let Your Inner Critic Take Away YOUR Joy.


See? Even Judgey can relax and enjoy some colour play :-)

Have you ever experienced the pressure of perfection?

How did you handle it?

Simply  Email Me   & Tell me all about it...

Because your story just might be the exact thing to help a fellow sewist who is struggling right now.


Happy Sewing!


P.S. Judgey the cat is real...!!

She's  part of the Design Team at V & Co Fabrics . Check 'em out.

Meet the REAL Judge-y Cat

P.P.S. Without being obsessive, there are ways to match points for patchwork piecing easily. Here's a guide I put together earlier....

Tips for Patchwork Point Matching

Janome DC2150 Beginner Sewing Machine + 15-Piece Presser Feet Set LAST FEW!
Janome DC6050 Quilting Sewing Machine + The Ultimate Feet Set LAST FEW!


Hi Shelley,

I am always feeling I've fallen short of the perfection I expect of my sewing.

Occasionally I sew bespoke creations for people, as in this lady in the photo, who gave me this blue and white material and asked me to show her some designs in a particular shape, with some point of interest to make it 'different'.

I had to draft up the pattern based on a commercial pattern, then design and draft the neckline detail, that was inspired by something I saw by a famous French designer do.

I was anxious that the neckline didn't sit perfectly flat at the back, but she loved it, happily paid what I thought was a reasonable, (but high), amount for it, then told me she would have paid double that if I'd asked. I was flabbergasted and thrilled at the same time.

She also told me later that she received many compliments when she wore it to the special occasion for which it was made.

-- Shirley Eggleton


I once crochet a table cloth I made one mistake which nobody notice but I know where the mistake is. Every time I put the cloth on a table I look for mistake and then dwell on it.

-- Alet Vermeulen


Omg! I have a judgemental cat too! On the same thing! Being over perfect!

-- Alita Harvey-Rodriguez


I was in the US a couple of years ago and learned that the Amish people purposely put a mistake in each quilt as they believe that only God is perfect!



Brilliant article Shelley, thanks a million!

Lorraine T


Shelly – I love your blog posts!!!

And as for cat story – I have been there and done that, every quilter who has ever owned a cat (& that includes well known quilt people like Jinny Beyer) has had their fur baby take up place in the middle of their work or hide in a quilt on the frame.

Cats are smart and discerning creatures, they know the best spots!



Love that video !! Haha



Thank you for a "boosting" yarn.

I'm sure a lot of us feel that perfection thing is ruining our pleasure, although can't say its not great when you yourself are satisfied with a finished article.

I'm going to try to enjoy it all more and follow the 3' rule - very sensible and thank you Sarah and Chris for sharing your thoughts and big yay for Sara E's great little chap with his quilt and the real judgey cat - what a beauty.

So pleasing to receive your emails - many thanks and kindest regards,

Margaret Ann Perth, WA


Hello Shelley,

Your posts are always enjoyable and I love that white quilt with the cat.

Perfectionism is awful, I had it, but now am recovering so I am good with mistakes and errors.

For clothes, the 3 feet test always works, and for quilts I encourage myself to have an error in them. According to the USA ladies like Alex Anderson we need to leave a mistake because only God makes perfect things. I love that and gives me far more confidence!!


Jennifer de Vent (Victoria)


Good morning Shelly

Even though I was the leader of a quilting group I am actually not a great quilter and it was a real worry to me.

Then a member of another group told me that the people who really “invented” quilting, the Amish believe that God is the true perfect being, and no one else nor anything made by man, or woman should be perfect or we put ourselves or the thing we have made above God.

So now I live by that and if my points don’t always hit the mark that’s ok I am not perfect, and others can either like it or not.



Thank you Shelley, I'm slowly learning that perfection is not going to happen but enjoyment should happen every day. Some days I'm a slow learner...