The stories were wonderful, and I recommend that you read them for yourself (here) to get the full impact. But I'll do my best to summarize... ;)
I think every possible aspect associated with sewing was covered by someone in her "aha!" moment:
Before even entering the sewing room: Gwen recognized how far her skills had developed when she realized that she could look at a garment and figure out how it was constructed and how the design of that garment would be represented in pattern pieces.
In the sewing room - normal processes: For Linda and Marie, it was realizing that they no longer had to painstakingly read each step of the instructions before completing it. Linda reported that a year ago she couldn't have imagined herself at this point, but now, few things scare her and she only uses instructions for periodic reference material.
Similarly, Marie finds it easy to remember all the steps and techniques associated with each garment that she makes. As she said, "Things fall into place when I am sewing," and she knows how to adapt techniques to new situations.
In the sewing room - dealing with mistakes: For an anonymous commenter, it was recognizing that she could deal with mistakes. Instead of letting a project stall when she messes up, now she just rips things out (even tiny black stitches on black fabric!), and re-does them!
Okay, maybe she doesn't LOVE ripping things out, but it's no longer a show-stopper. ;)
The Finished Garment: For Christine, it was actually a comment made by someone else on one of her creations. She made Halloween costumes for her nieces (see picture above) and her brother-in-law commented that "he was so impressed by the detail that he checked them a couple of times for [RTW] tags." :)
She didn't mention this in her comment, but I happen to know that, when the girls found out that the costumes shouldn't be washed, one of them refused to wear her costume to all the pre-Halloween festivities, because she loved it so much that she wanted to make sure it was perfect and clean for the big night!
Those are some pretty powerful compliments!
I think I know how good she must feel - for years, my nephews always made sure to wear the shirts that I made for them on School Picture Day. That was their own idea - not mine or their mother's. It made me feel pretty happy. :)
So, there are lots of different and wonderful ways to realize that your sewing skills are growing and you are learning! Gwen summed it up best: "One thing about sewing - you never, ever quit learning."
Thanks again to everyone for your wonderful stories! I loved reading about your "Aha!" moments! :)