I’ve been noticing lately, that I’ve been getting more and more impatient. It’s not a totally new flaw of mine (my Dad would tell me when I was young, “you have a lot of virtues, but patience isn’t one of them). I want things done immediately – especially if it’s me doing them. The library book I finished is due in a week? I need to return it today. The store has a 30-day exchange policy on the thing I bought yesterday? I need to exchange it tomorrow. I don’t really know where this is coming from. I’m sure someone in the psychology field would pin it on this generation’s need for instant gratification and smart phones or something like that. It’s there, though. And it’s hard to overcome.
It’s really, really starting to influence my sewing and sewing purchases. If I see fabric that I like, I don’t want to buy it immediately because “I NEED IT NOW”, but because I worry if I put off buying it, it’ll get sold out, or magically disappear, or SOMETHING will keep me from being able to buy it when I’m ready. This has been leading to several impulse fabric purchases. Even worse, though, is feeling this rush to finish my projects. My brain acts like I have a month to live and if I don’t sew all the things I had been hoping to, then it’s game over. Obviously, this isn’t rational. There’s an urge always to finish quickly, and it’s getting to the point where I don’t always feel like I’m sewing for enjoyment.
I miss when I would hem yards of skirt by hand. I miss hand-picked zippers. I miss when I would carefully fit a new pattern. Now, I try to avoid new patterns so I don’t have to make a muslin. I try to choose fabrics that don’t need a lining. I pick the easier projects. Projects that used to take me a week to finish now take me a day or two – you can call it efficiency. I call it rushing. And I don’t like it.
Along came this coat. I splurged on a crazy, carpet-y, floral fabric from The Workroom (a different colourway of one I had already used) and decided to just make a coat out of it! I chose a 60s vintage pattern on Etsy, and I put off sewing it for at least 6 months (I had been hoping to start the muslin in JULY).
It was bugging me that the fabric was just sitting there. It was getting to the point where I worried Fall would pass by and I wouldn’t have a use for the coat ’till Spring.
So I picked up the pattern, made a muslin, and just rushed through making the coat shell. I was annoyed with myself. Vintage patterns were always the ones where I would take things slow, finish seams without my serger (the old-fashioned way!), and use lots of hand-stitching. Where was the care that I used to put into my projects?
Then things had to come to a halt. I didn’t have lining yet. I had put off buying it, and shipping wasn’t instant. I had to stop working on the coat. I was like the Tasmanian Devil whirling through piles of fabric and then hitting a brick wall.
I am bad at taking breathers. I don’t like taking breathers. But I had to stop.
When the lining came, I got back to work on it right away. This time, though, I took my time. The vintage sewing instructions told me to hand-stitch the lining to the coat. I didn’t know how to attach it any other way – I had never made a coat. So I followed the instructions and spent a solid day getting the lining into the coat. By hand-stitching, I had so much more control of the fabric and the stitches. I enjoyed myself a lot more than I would have if I finished it on the machine in 20 minutes. And now I have a coat that I love. A totally impractical floral coat.
Two challenges are going on on Instagram right now and they couldn’t have come at a better time. One is #slowfashionoctober – which is all about wearing clothes that are the opposite of fast fashion. On a few podcasts I’ve been hearing talk of the sewing world becoming like fast fashion, in the sense that many people are going for quantity over quality, trying to churn out as many projects as possible. After my most recent Instagram post, I read my blog tagline on my profile again – “creating a wardrobe worth cherishing”. What was happening to me? How is it that I was becoming the exact opposite of what my blog is supposed to be about? I hadn’t even been posting the things I made since there seemed to be so little substance to the work I put into them. #slowfashionoctober has really had me rethinking where I am in terms of my creative output.
The second challenge is #sewfrosting – which is all about sewing things that we don’t necessarily need, that are creative and over-the-top and exciting to make (frosting) rather than always sewing practical pieces (cake). We need the “cake”, but sometimes we focus so much on making the “cake” that we don’t let ourselves let loose and make “frosting”. It is such a timely challenge, because I have been talking so much to Eitan about how I haven’t stretched my sewing skills or made something that excites me in ages, and really, I think I’ve gotten bored. I miss when I used to make extravagant projects.
This coat feels like a step in the right direction. It’s certainly on the over-the-top and frosting-y side of things. I honestly wondered if I’d ever wear it in public. I mean, it’s a bit…much – at least for me. But as soon as I had finished photographing it, I had to head out to an appointment, and I looked at it and thought, “Screw it. I’m going downtown in frosting.” So I did.
Here’s to creating a wardrobe worth cherishing – filled with lots of cake and loads of frosting.