For the last month or so I have been opening my closet door to behold not only my spring-summer clothes and accessories but–my spring-summer fabrics!
My very small warm-weather wardrobe is interspersed with yardage.
Earlier this year I’d subjected my whole wardrobe to a new level of scrutiny, weeding out about a third of it. The remainder I divided into what I labeled Placeholders and Keepers.
The Keeper section was pretty sparse. While inspired to see only things I liked as starting points for new outfits, I was also a little unsettled to see so much open space. I was also curiously lacking in direction or focus for my sewing projects.
One day it just occurred to me to try interfiling my spring-summer cottons and linens by color with my clothes and scarves. Within minutes my yardage was hanging cheek by jowl with tops, scarves, jackets, and skirts. And a funny thing happened: I instantly began seeing affinities between fabrics and wardrobe items that had escaped me before.
I also was more easily seeing interesting groupings of several fabrics and wardrobe items. This was heartening. My editing process had pruned out the sartorial deadwood, but new growth had not begun. Now I was beginning to see genuine possibilities.
I also saw which fabrics and wardrobe items were outliers. Did they just not belong, or were they the start of a new way forward?
In the following weeks I have greeted my new closet denizens as not only potential but likely dresses, tops, skirts, pants, and jackets. Sometimes I shuffle a fabric from one color section to another to discover yet another form of compatibility–in value, or texture, or pattern–that is pleasing.
Something I’ve found particularly valuable is seeing a fabric’s affinity consistently over time, and not just with one other wardrobe item. Judging a fabric only in the context of other fabrics in my stash is kind of silly, anyway. I need to see how well it will play with others as a wardrobe item among other wardrobe items: hats, bags, shoes, jewelry, and clothes–the whole nine yards.
It’s been at least a month now since my spring-summer fabrics took up residence in my closet, and I’m in no hurry to return them to their shelves. They have such a friendly, encouraging vibe I’m beginning to see the sense in Marie Kondo’s animistic tendencies. Mind you, I’m not holding long conversations with my cottons or cross-dye linens–yet–but I don’t think a whispered “Thank you” would be out of line.
Two scarves hang next to a blouse I made last summer.
There is something Jack and I say to each other at dinnertime some nights, when we’ve cooked something that’s filled the kitchen with a delicious smell most of the afternoon, like a potato, leek and cabbage soup that feels perfect for a snowy January evening.
As we ladle soup into our bowls with rising anticipation of a satisfying meal, one of us may say,
“This will never make it onto the magazine cover.”
Which means, This may smell good, taste good, and nourish both body and soul, but it’s lacking in the looks department, so many people will pass this up. The joke is on them. Look at what they’re missing out on!
I thought of this little scenario as I contemplated this past year of getting things sewn: 2018 will never make it onto the magazine cover.
Because it was a very potato-soup kind of year:
But nourishing? Yes.
For me, 2018 was hardly a stellar year for sewing production. From January to November I sewed all of three sleeveless blouses, from the same TNT pattern, for myself (and posted about only one); one shirt for Jack; and…I think ten placemats.
And yet–developing a TNT blouse pattern so I could concentrate on improving my construction was progress.
Designing a shirt for Jack from the same yardage as my blouse , but different from my blouse, was a fun design challenge.
And figuring out how to make beautiful, useful placemats from my irreplaceable souvenir fabric was very satisfying.
2018 was the year of sewing pants muslins. I lost count of how many I sewed. If you save the fronts of a pants muslin, rip out the backs, and cut and sew on new backs, is that a new muslin, or not? By anyone’s count, I made a lot of muslins from January through September. Dozens.
Then I took lots of photos of myself in these muslins–front, sides, back–printed out the photos, scrutinized every drag line, read lots of pants-fitting advice, and tested methods of improving the fit. Sometimes I did make progress but never got to a satisfactory result on my own.
In 2018 I spent hundreds of hours studying, experimenting with, and documenting pants-fitting. This morning I pulled the binder of notes I kept, curious about how much it weighed: more than 2 1/2 pounds!
If only there were a direct relationship between the number of hours spent and the quality of the result, I should be able to claim a high level of expertise and sport a closetful of beautifully fitted pants. I did make three wearable tests with varying degrees of success after meetings with two sewing and fitting experts, as I wrote about in November. Then I took a break from pants–
–and sewed something completely different: living room draperies. November into early December the sewing room was a drapery workroom. What a wonderful project. I will write about it soon.
2018 was the year of the Goodbye Valentino Ready-to-Wear Fast, in which I was one of about a thousand participants. I steadfastly refrained from buying any ready-to-wear, which was not that difficult for me because most ready-to-wear clothes don’t fit anyway, so it was hardly a sacrifice.
However, merely stopping browsing and buying clothing did not turn me into a clothes-making maniac.
First of all, I had decided it was time to confront my bête noire, pants-fitting. That kept me occupied for months. I kept thinking I was awfully close to a decent fit and that soon I’d be fitting a handful of other carefully selected core-collection patterns for wardrobe capsules for every season. You know the rest of that story.
The RTW Fast was a way to nudge sewers toward realizing their clothes-sewing dreams, and many sewers did just that in 2018. Me? The value I gained was considerable, but not, as Jack and I would say, something that would rate magazine cover status.
Over the course of the year I wore the same clothes (plus the three summer blouses I made) again and again. And again.
In 2018 I gave myself no recourse to a temporary fix from one of my favorite consignment stores to tide me over till I had something I really liked. The results of limiting myself were:
I wore more of what was in my closet, out of necessity.
I created new outfits, out of necessity, and realized that some clothes were more versatile than I’d thought.
I wore things I didn’t much like, just to avoid total boredom.
I understood better than ever before what I didn’t like.
I began editing down my wardrobe more decisively than ever before, based on condition, comfort, or style.
I resolved never to have certain wardrobe items, like scratchy wool sweaters, ever again. I would just have to come up with alternatives that suited me.
I noticed more than ever how certain colors were downright unflattering, or fell short of flattering, and decided to replace them only with colors that work for me and work with each other.
I recognized even more I had put a great deal of effort into sewing garments that were technically good but wrong in proportion, color, pattern, or style and had created wardrobe orphans. This had to stop.
Over the course of the year my wardrobe grew more sparse, and much of what remained were simply placeholders till the day I sewed or bought things I liked and that went together.
But–what do I like? What does look good on me? What things do work well together in outfits and capsules? 2018 was a year I puzzled over these questions afresh.
2018 was also a year I thought a great deal about designing and managing projects. In January I wrote about Jon Acuff’s bookFinish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. I am not as sure as the author is that it’s perfectionism that stops people from finishing their projects.
I was probably still trying to figure out a better explanation than perfectionism when, in February, I wrote a behemoth of a post listing every factor I could think of that went into project design. It turns out there are a lot!
I am convinced there’s no one-size-fits-all process for getting things sewn because different people have different talents, experience, work styles, learning styles, aversions, and ambitions. Each of us has to work out our own path–possibly strewn with dozens of pants muslins–to determine the processes that work best for us. It may take longer than imagined, but it’s time well spent.
That conclusion might not get approved by the magazine cover committee–but they don’t know what they’re missing, do they?
Of all the great things my sewing teacher Edith has told me, the one that has made the biggest impression is “Avoid compounding errors.”
At the time she was talking about the need to be precise in patternmaking, but I have thought of her principle dozens–no, hundreds!–of times over the years and have never found a situation where it couldn’t be applied.
The last time “Avoid compounding errors” came to my rescue was yesterday, when I was mulling over the Fall Teaser selection from my Sawyer Brook Distinctive Fabrics swatch subscription.
Sawyer Brook had notified its subscribers that the latest batch of swatches had been mailed out Monday and would be arriving soon in our mailboxes. To whet our appetites even more, Sawyer Brook linked us to photos of all the fabrics we’d have exclusive access to for a limited time, so we could start planning our sewing projects.
I was especially taken by the vivid colors and high contrast of the photos of “Cameron – Red”:
A softly combed cotton fabric in a beautiful red coral, gray, navy, and an off-white plaid pattern. This fabric is lightweight and has a soft hand. This fabric is lightweight and has a soft hand. Pattern vertical repeat is 4 inches. Suitable for shirts, skirts, and dresses.
So yesterday, when the envelope arrived I was expecting to see something bright and high-contrast. Instead, I saw this. It was drab.
Was my computer monitor off so much?
It took me awhile to realize that my sample didn’t include the brightest shade of this red coral. Now, did I right away think to e-mail Sawyer Brook to request another sample that included the bright coral red so I could make a sound decision?
Because I was too busy trying to find matches in my fabric and button stashes, my wardrobe, and even in another swatch subscription service. A gray linen-cotton blend from Vogue Fabrics perfectly complemented this plaid. Woohoo!
Or was I heading for “Boohoo”?
Because I was getting dangerously close to committing a fabric-purchasing mistake I’d made numerous times in the past.
Sure, this plaid swatch worked beautifully with the gray linen blend, which I think would be a good pants weight. But did I want to build a capsule around gray–one of my least favorite colors?
I hadn’t found one stash fabric or wardrobe item to coordinate with this plaid for early to mid-fall. Was I confident then that this fabric could be the basis of a new capsule? Would it be worth designing around? Worth investing the time, money, and effort in?
I couldn’t give a definitive yes to any of these questions.
Also, I noticed uneasily that my main enthusiasm was centering on justifying the cost of my swatch subscriptions. “If I buy this plaid from Sawyer Brook, and this coordinating solid from Vogue, I can earn this or that privilege…” popped into my mind. Discounts, credits, free extensions of swatching services should be only nice bonuses–not reasons to buy fabric.
I had been down this road before: allowed enthusiasm, insufficient reasoning, and misapplied logic to overrule common sense.. I was in danger of making one error–buying fabric too speculatively–which was likely to compound over time.
I would start by buying this yardage that I hadn’t confirmed was right for me, although it wouldn’t be bad–I’d just have to find the right coordinates to bring out its best qualities. After its taking up space in my stash for several years, occasionally being unfolded and folded again, I might buy a coordinating fabric to keep the first one company. In the meantime my tastes, activities, or coloring might change.
In any case, this fabric would never be quite right, never be worth investing effort in–and never get sewn.
I eventually acknowledged that I was up to my old tricks and stepped away from those tempting swatches for a cooling-off period. It was close, but I managed to avoid buying fabric for the wrong reasons.
Funny enough, though, also yesterday I did swoon over a fabric and I did buy it, and I had only online photos to judge from. I was paying my daily visit to Emma One Sock to check its latest additions and came across a blouse-weight striped cotton in summery tones:
The description ran:
From an unnamed NY designer, this is a wonderful semi-opaque linen/cotton gauze novelty weave with a beautiful stripey (vertically oriented) design in shades of tangerine, orange, sorbet and greenish gray (PANTONE 18-1629, 15-1247,15-1318, etc.). Casual and light with lovely drape and gauzey texture, delightful coloring, make a fabulous blouse, top, tunic, shirt, dress, skirt, etc. Hand wash cold, hang or lay flat to dry (please test first!).
My reaction was swift and sure. I loved the colors, contrast, the unbalanced stripe pattern. I saw myself wearing this, in another rendition of the Vogue 8772 sleeveless blouse I have now sewn many times. I could see real possibilities for coordinates that I really would buy or sew and wear–soon. This could be a blouse for August heat or for warm September days.
I pondered requesting a swatch first, but yardage was limited, so I took the plunge last night and ordered a couple of yards. I noticed this morning the fabric was sold out.
Although my decision was quick it didn’t feel reckless. I think I had enough information to go on–not only from the seller but from myself. I know enough about my coloring, contrast, style preferences and silhouette. I have a fitted pattern I enjoy sewing, and know what coordinates go well with it.
In other words, I am beginning–at long last!–to experience the satisfactions of frictionless wardrobe-planning. This process, which has taken me far too long to recognize and develop, is the opposite of compounding errors. It identifies benefits and builds on them over time.
By the way, it eventually occurred to me to drop a line to Sawyer Brook requesting another swatch of the Cameron plaid, in both the Red and Pink versions. I had pulled all the possible coordinating colors from my palette for each plaid and am seeing some intriguing possibilities.
(Note: My palette, “Enigmatic,” seen above, is part of a color analysis system developed by image consultant Imogen Lamport and is one of the benefits of her 7 Steps to Style program, which is described here in case you’re interested.)
There are few things I love more than having a good project. I love projects with the keenness of Fame(US), the border collie who won the Westminster Kennel Club agility championship recently:
Maybe I was a border collie in a previous life.
But despite my love for projects–sewing and other kinds–I don’t have a stellar track record for completing them–hence my reading books like Finish, by Jon Acuff, for insights.
And now I’m working my way through The Productivity Project, by Chris Bailey, in the hopes of picking up pointers from someone who spent a whole year devoted singlemindedly to the pursuit of, basically, project management.
My project management has had less in common with Fame(US) the border collie and more with Olly the Jack Russell terrier at Crufts last year: excited but prone to distraction:
But recently I came up with a new tool for myself that just may advance me in the project agility class.
I was noodling around with my favorite tool–a mind map– while I was waiting for the dryer repairman to call and then show up the other morning. While I had one ear cocked for the phone and then for the knock on the door I wanted to answer this pressing question:
How come some of my projects get done, some get only half-done, and some are never started even though they retain a tantalizing glow of possibility?
So, what is a project, anyway? I asked myself. I started listing every aspects of a task–a single unit of a project–that I could think of.
Take space, for instance. Every task requires space. But different tasks have different space requirements:
Not very much
Clean work or messy work
Fixed location or movable location
Example: cleaning the fridge can be done in only one place
Example: sorting papers can be done in several places
Amount of time the space is needed
Amount of disruption while the space is used
Amount and type of lighting needed: task lighting? Natural light?
And then there’s time:
Can the task be done all in one go, quickly?
Must it be done all in one go and take a long time? (I was thinking about writing posts, there.)
Can the task be broken into several sessions?
Example: organizing papers over a few afternoons
Does the task have to be broken down into several sessions?
Example: painting furniture and waiting for each coat to dry
Wow–this was interesting. I continued:
Can the task be done entirely at home or do parts have to be done elsewhere?
Is the task limited to a certain season or weather condition?
Once and it’s done
And that’s okay
But it’s a pain
Once in a while
Does the task require wearing certain clothes?
Is the task highly related to other tasks?
Highly related: needs to be coordinated, maybe in a sequence
Not highly related: coordination not necessary; little or no sequencing
Can the task be batched with other tasks?
Is there an advantage?
Keep momentum up
Get more done on one errand run
So far I’d captured objective, quantifiable aspects of tasks and projects. But what do various tasks require of me?
Can it be done with low attention
and I could listen to a Craftsy class or a radio talk show in the background?
Does it have to be done with high attention
and I could listen to instrumental music or opera in the background?
Requires high energy
Example: major painting projects
Doesn’t require high energy
Example: filing papers
Do I have the skills for this task?
If so, do I want to use my skills for this task?
Do I have
the equipment and supplies
the instructional resources?
If I have the skill, will the task or project put me right at the edge of my present abilities–my challenge edge?
If I need to learn the skill
Do I have the resources already? Do I need to budget for resources?
online, print, or in person?
individual feedback necessary?
to learn, including making mistakes
to perform the actual task
Do I have the motivation, interest, desire?
Do I have the aptitudes?
Can I (or must I) do it all myself?
I can (because I have the skills and resources)
I must (because nobody else knows what I want to accomplish)
Will I need or want help with this?
A helping hand from a friend or relative
Repair people, installers
Pickup and delivery people
Now for a big aspect of task and project management: what repels me:
Does the task involve things or activities I loathe?
Dealing with electronics
computers and software
computerized equipment (like sergers)
Shopping in stores with
bad music (I’m talkin’ ’bout you, Jo-Ann Fabrics!)
ugly merchandise or displays
Using aptitudes I’m low in
structural visualization, which is a must for patternmakers
Feeling I’m imposing on others
Making phone calls (sometimes)
When I don’t have reliable advice
When I haven’t defined
On the other hand, what draws me in?
This task or project lets me work with my favorite:
memory for design
Equipment and tools
Sewing equipment and tools
Cooking appliances and tools
Mechanical pencils, colored pencils
Graph paper, tracing paper
Types of skilled people
This task lets me produce my favorite results:
Organized spaces or plans
I thought of still other factors: Consequences, Aggravations, and Rewards:
The consequences of not doing the task:
How bad would they be?
Compromised quality or safety
How soon would they occur?
How certain would they be?
The aggravations related to the task remaining undone:
A feeling that something is off, (like a paint color or a floor plan):
The rewards I could experience if I do the task or project:
Creating or adding functionality, beauty, or enjoyment
How great an increase?
How frequently would the reward be experienced?
Every time I see or use the improved thing
Once or twice; then I’d be used to the improvement
Eliminating or reducing pain or worry
How great a reduction?
How frequently is the relief felt?
Creating a positive trajectory
What advantages might compound?
What opportunities might open up?
What could I miss out on if I don’t succeed with this task or project?
Rewarding social connections
A higher level of skill
The ability to accomplish more sophisticated tasks or projects that lie beyond my present ability
On the other hand, maybe nothing much
As I mind-mapped as many aspects of tasks as I could think of, I realized as never before how there are objective components–like space and light requirements–and subjective components–like what I avoid whenever I can, what aptitudinal weaknesses and strengths I’m working with, what I gravitate toward and find fun, and what I find rewarding.
Now I’m thinking that if I account simply for the objective components of a task, my work is only half done–and my task may very well remain discouragingly half-finished. Without understanding all the subjective components–the ones that could sink the ship, and the ones that could be my life-preservers–my odds of succeeding are very small.
These days I am applying myself to fitting a pants pattern. (Well, some days I am, and other days I’d rather do anything but.) So I was curious to test my rough draft of a tool on my pants-fitting project. Here are the main insights I gained:
Fitting pants requires a high attention level.
This is difficult to achieve, because I have a low aptitude for a key skill needed: structural visualization.
The aversion level is high:
my low aptitude
trying to follow instructions I don’t understand
trying to decide what to do next when I’m not grasping a concept
My aversion level could definitely doom this project as it has doomed previous (admittedly halfhearted) attempts in the past.
The consequences of my not getting pants to fit? Low. I wouldn’t be breaking any promises, and the world doesn’t care. I have to be careful, however, not to let these thoughts sabotage my efforts.
The aggravation level if I don’t get a pants pattern to fit? High!
I’ll continue to wear pants that fit badly or not well in every way.
I will be frustrated not being able to sew as many great coordinates for my tops, jackets, and coats
I won’t get to design as many interesting outfits and capsules for my wardrobe
I’ll be subject to the vagaries of fashion: fit, color, style.
The rewards of having pants that fit? Also high!
A feeling of control over my wardrobe choices that I don’t have now
The fun level is something I need to leverage conscientiously:
Using my high aptitude of dexterity
Using my favorite skills of research, writing, organizing, planning, and sewing (if only muslins)
Using favorite supplies: mechanical pencils, fashion rulers, tracing paper
Enlisting help from Jack, to take snapshots, and Cynthia, to take studio shots, of me in muslins to analyze fit.
The time required will be many sessions of short duration–short, better to keep my aversions and aggravations in check.
My skill level in fitting is low, but I do understand some pattern-drafting and alteration, and pants construction will be a comparative breeze.
Interestingly, looking over the data I’d collected I wasn’t discouraged, and I can think of several reasons why.
One is that there have never been so many good learning tools for fitting pants, written by very experienced teachers, as now. I own my share of them but only recently gave them the full attention they deserve. I have been viewing online classes and DVDs and reading books and articles by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, Sarah Veblen, Sandra Betzina, Kenneth King, Joyce Murphy, Kathleen Cheetham, and others. I am gradually absorbing some fitting principles as I see different ways they are described and illustrated and test them in my muslins.
Another is that a pattern-drafting company, Fitography, got me closer to a good fit right from the start. I am fine-tuning the Chloe Pants pattern now. Ideally, the pattern drafted from your measurements fits you perfectly the first time, but due probably to errors on my part that wasn’t the case. However, it was the prospect of a pattern drafted to my measurements and style and fit preferences that inspired me to take up the pants challenge again.
There definitely is a sizable gap between my abilities and knowledge and the well-fitting, flattering pattern I want. But I feel as if these fitting teachers are reaching out as far as they can on their end to close the gap. Judith Neukam has a new approach to pants-fitting in the April/May 2018 issue of Threads that looks really interesting.
My last reason for not feeling discouraged is I have important new insights into what it will realistically take for me to succeed in any project I undertake. Even if I have time, a well-lighted, well-equipped work space, and all the tools I need, my aversions can hold sway. It’s often easier to imagine the frustrations of failures than the satisfactions of success. I’m seeing that success will not come without vividly imagining the rewards. I also have to incorporate my natural interests and strengths deliberately into my plans. I can even employ my aggravations on my behalf: Do I really want to keep shopping for ready-to-wear? No!
Some projects, it’s occurring to me, are just plain difficult. Other projects are difficult but have a benefit beyond the immediate result: they can be a gateway to a higher level of ability, creativity, and productivity. Fitting pants could be just such a gateway project for me. I’m going to remind myself of that possibility, because I want to give myself the best chance to make that statement true.
Like the majority of sewers, I’m enchanted by novelty. There’s always a new fabric, new pattern (or new-to-me vintage pattern), new tool, new technique, new Craftsy class, or new discussion of the Craftsy class vying for my attention.
Likewise, the prospect of starting a sewing project is practically irresistible. Despite numerous failures and unfinished projects I remain unreasonably confident about the success of the garment I’m planning to make. My optimism reminds me of how Samuel Johnson characterized second marriages: “the triumph of hope over experience.”
“Moribund Projects” is more like it.
Call me hopeful, then. If I’d relied solely on the brutal facts of experience to guide my plans I would have closed up shop and hired a seamstress long ago, there would be no hero’s journey, and no blog. Unthinkable.
However, I wouldn’t mind improving my batting average. So when I learned about Jon Acuff’s book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done I immediately requested a copy from my library and read it at a leisurely pace over a couple of afternoons.
Here are some observations and bits of advice I found useful in Finish:
Perfectionism is the enemy of finishing. More people quit Acuff’s online goal-setting course, 30 Days of Hustle, on Day 2 than on any other day. “Why that day?” Acuff asks. “Because imperfection doesn’t take long to show up. Imperfection is fast, and when it arrives we usually quit. That’s why the day after perfect is so important. This is the make-or-break day for every goal.” Acuff spends the rest of the book identifying perfectionism’s sneaky reasoning and disguises so we aren’t taken by surprise.
Most people set goals that are foolishly optimistic–a practice called “planning fallacy”–which results in a high failure rate. Acuff recommends scaling back your goal to stay in the game.
Perfectionism claims “You can do it all.” You can’t. Acuff recommends, “Choose what to bomb, and succeed at a goal that matters.” I would add that it has helped me to recognize where I have low aptitudes and need to find expert help.
Perfectionism can come in the form of distraction.
The first form is the “hiding place,” which Acuff describes as “an activity you focus on instead of your goal,” that doesn’t require the discipline that your goal does.
The second is the “noble obstacle,” which is “a virtuous-sounding reason for not working toward a finish.” Noble obstacles often have “until” or “if…then” in their elaborate explanations for not realizing a goal.
“If you’re not excited about your goal right now, ask yourself, ‘What’s my real goal?’ Make sure that what you’re chasing is actually what you want to catch. As you progress with your goal you should continue to come back to this gut-check question because it’s really easy to get off track despite your best intentions.”
What is my real goal with my unfinished projects? Good question!
“If you don’t have a lot of joy in your goal right now, make sure you’re using a method that plays to your strengths. If you pursue the right goal in the wrong way, you still end up in the wrong place.”
“Data moves us beyond discouragement.” Emotions change, memories fade and change, but numbers can be your friends. Acuff gives 23 ways to measure your progress, including inches or pounds lost and subscribers or money gained. In sewing a wardrobe, I realized a measure of progress could be the number of outfits I could create planning a capsule rather than a stand-alone garment. And that would be a fun puzzle to work out.
“The past is trying to teach you.” Answer questions like “What happened the last time you attempted a goal like the one you’re planning?” and “If you didn’t finish, which parts tripped you up?” to help you shape a better process this time.
Perfectionism rises up even when you’re nearing the finish line “for one more barrage of fear.” “The day before done is terrifying,” Acuff says, as “What now?” “What if it’s not perfect?” and “What’s next?” appear. A friend can be important all through the process of meeting the goal but never as crucial as at the end.
Ask yourself “What am I getting by not finishing?” because you are getting something, Acuff says. “You get to hold on to the illusion that you could finish if you really wanted to. Rather than find out you might not be good, you hide in the myth of maybe.”
The worst thing perfectionism does is make sure you never try.
“But you’ll never know the unbelievable joy of keeping a promise to yourself unless you finish,” writes Acuff. “That’s what we’re doing, keeping a commitment to ourselves and knowing we’ve fulfilled it when we finish.”
Finishing Finish yesterday afternoon, I had a strong urge to finish something. I went to my baker’s rack and pulled a jacket project I wrote about in 2014.
From 1959, Vogue Special Design 4036.
I started this jacket in 2011, and my last notes were dated January 16, 2015.
Did I feel a fresh resolve to finish this jacket? Not in the least. I decided to pitch it. No apologies, no regrets.
Since I last looked at this project, I’ve learned that I’m best in garments with a defined waist, and this jacket doesn’t have one. I’m also not sure this collar is a good look for me. I still like the fabric, but I’m not so sure it likes me. It may be too busy: the texture, contrast and colors are all attention-getters possibly to my detriment.
I made samples of the pocket and flap and bound buttonholes and did some special Kenneth King technique on the collar pieces.
But it was the dreary prospect of making a third muslin that dealt the death blow to this project.
not the most flattering silhouette
the fabric might steal the show from my face
hard to incorporate this jacket into a wardrobe capsule, plus
either I’d have to decipher muslin #2 or start over with muslin #3. Either way, no fun there.
I concluded this would not be a hero’s journey but a fool’s errand.
So I did the sensible thing: I declared my project done–without finishing it. Upon the further examination Acuff recommended, I reminded myself that my real goal is a wardrobe that serves me. This jacket doesn’t serve me. Case closed.
I am not breaking any promises to myself, caving in to perfectionism, or admitting defeat.
I’m just giving myself the gift of done–and enjoying it immensely.