Here I am, embracing my inner procrastinator.
I bet you all thought I would be done with the Cashmere Goddess by now, didn’t you? Hah! I’m not. Last night I knitted Jack’s sweater while I pondered some construction decisions that needed to be made on the Cashmere Goddess.
I knew I wanted to interface the hems and slit on my skirt so that they would have nice, sharp edges, but I didn’t know what kind of fusible interfacing to use on the corduroy (woven or knit? on the bias or straight of grain?) and where exactly to apply it (up to the hem edge or over the edge?). I did a little internet searching but couldn’t find any specific instructions. I left a comment with my question on Kathleen Fasanella’s site, but it was deleted for some unknown reason. Then I found this manual this morning which answers a lot of my questions. I printed it out for further inspection later tonight.
This interfacing question and subsequent search got me to thinking though about how many steps and decisions there are in sewing a seemingly simple garment, a pencil skirt. I think these endless questions and decisions that need to be made can be quite intimidating to a beginner. I know I was overwhelmed by all those decisions when I first started sewing. In fact, it kind of pissed me off. I had already “decided” on the pattern, fabric and thread; why did I need to make all these other decisions too? Why didn’t the pattern instructions “tell” me exactly what to do at every step of the way? It was slowing me down. I wasn’t producing as fast as I wanted to be. I wanted to be my own personal sweatshop with an entire new wardrobe of clothes made by every month’s end. I was impatient and hated “the process”.
But lately, I have had a perspective shift. I no longer look at these endless decisions to be made as obstacles to a finished garment or an unending time suck. I don’t impose unrealistic deadlines on myself anymore because I know to anticipate the unanticipated question or decision to be made. I know this especially when I decide to make my garment a little differently than a pattern suggests. For instance, in just this skirt alone I made the following changes because of my vision of how this skirt should look, inside and out:
- cut the skirt back on the fold
- moved CB zipper to left side seam
- lengthened the skirt by 2 inches
- added a lining
- use a funky fabric for the facing
- interface the slit, zipper area, and hems.
All these changes mean more decisions need to made and might possibly mean a change in order of construction. Further questions I need to answer on this particular project are:
- Do I want to miter the slit hem?
- What kind of interfacing should I use and where?
- Could I add a waistband at this late date?
- How do I deal with the lining and the front slit?
The main difference between my reaction now to these questions and decisions that need to be made at every step of the construction process as opposed to when I first started sewing is acceptance. I now know to anticipate the constant barrage of questions and actually am energized by the questions and the quest for a garment that is totally me and made to my order. I relish trying to find the answers to my questions in my reference materials and on line. I like hearing what my sewing friends on Facebook do when faced with those same questions. I like interacting with my friends over email and on the phone about the myriad choices we all make for every project and the why’s behind them.
I think that’s the main difference between a beginner and a more advanced sewist. A beginner can be intimidated by all the questions. An advanced sewist is charged by them. I am relishing this process of question and answer now as I never have before.
It’s funny, but my best friend Cayce always teases me that as a 4 (numerologically speaking), the step by step process is both my bane and my salvation. I used to hate process. My whole life, I have always unerringly yet unknowingly chosen activities of which process is the main component. Each time thinking I had escaped it only to find out after I was already hooked, how much a part of the activity process actually was. My whole life has led me to this point. Learning the same lesson over and over again. I wonder what other lessons I will have to be hit on the head with to learn next.
This post was partly inspired by Myrna, a sewing blogger who is not afraid to ask questions of herself and nor is she afraid of the answers. Myrna is constantly asking and seeking. I love reading about her journey and finding out what her answers are.
What life lessons have you learnt through sewing? Are you afraid of the endless decisions to be made or do you run to make them?