So, last week (week commencing 11th April). No sewing. But I did have a big uni hand in on the Friday, and pretty much all my time at home was spent working on this, lesson planning, eating or sleeping. I didn’t even do any cleaning or load the washing machine (and you could tell from the state the of apartment!). The weekend was spent applying for jobs and writing something else uni-related. In short, it was a stressfully busy week.
It’s now the Easter holidays, so no uni or work (teaching placement at a college) this week or next. But, plenty of homework – meh. So far this week I have had a day of well-earned relaxation (after weeks of stress with that uni project and covering teaching), watched The Other Boleyn Girl, bought the notions for a dirndl skirt made with fabric from The Textile Workshop (for £1!!!!), shortened the straps on my summer dress (it was gaping a bit at the front and I wanted to wear it in this lovely spring weather) and I began the Grand Clearing of the Store-Room of Doom.
I’ve been putting off sorting out the store-room for a loooong time because the enormity of the task made it so overwhelming (I could barely get the door open) and I thought it would take be a good couple of days.
It actually took me most of Wednesday and I still had time to cook a yummy dinner (meatballs and roasted vegetables in a tomato sauce). It’s very nearly finished – I just need some wall shelves putting up and for the guys to go through some stuff found in there. And it looks amazing (but pictures another time – when it’s completed) – I can’t believe I’ve managed to cut down the junk and fit so much into such a small space. I’m pretty proud of myself (and thankful to Ikea!). It’s inspired me, in fact – I’m rearing to go and can’t wait to get a desk in there where I can leave my machine set up all the time, below a pinboard covered in fabric scraps and inspiration images.
I actually wanted to get started on the dirndl earlier in the week, but I was put off by getting the sewing machine out. Yeah, lazy or what? I also didn’t really want to leave the sofa, where I was spending time with the Gent. Yeah, pathetic or what?! Because he works nights/evenings and a large part of the weekends, our timetables aren’t exactly hamonious. Some days I only see him when he gets home at 4am and when I get up for work a few hours later. So sometimes the idea of getting up and going off to to the table to work at a noisy machine with my back to him isn’t exactly appealing when we could be watching a film together or putting the world to rights.
What I did do instead, was adjust those dress straps – it was hand-sewing, so I didn’t have to leave the Gent, or the sofa and I could carry on half-watching the film. Result!
The Other Boleyn Girl was an OK film – I like Natalie Portman (though not Scarlett Johansson) and I’m generally predisposed to like historical dramas – though not great. But the costumes, however accurate or otherwise were rather lush. I’ve found myself warming to Tudor style lately (the earlier Henry VII stuff, not so much the Elizabethan ruffs) – I think it’s the square necklines of the gowns (such a lovely shape) and that triangular silhouette of women with those wide sleeves and skirts. Oh dear, sewing attention deficit strikes again! It was pretty late at night and I was planning to go to bed after the film, but it did get me thinking of stitching and costumes and even thinking about designing modern clothes with a Renaissance influence.
What I’ve Learnt (so far)
I psych myself out of projects. I was overwhelmed at the thought of clearing out the store room and put off doing it. I still haven’t made the Gent’s waistcoat: truth be told, I’m scared of cutting up the lovely, expensive wool I bought – and especially on a pattern I have made up myself. I’ve got some silk taffeta and vintage brocade pre-washed and ready to go for any project I want, but I haven’t used them yet: perhaps I’m just too scared to cut into that pristine, lovely, expensive, difficult-to-get-hold-of fabric. Ah-ha. We might have hit upon something!
How to solve it, though? Well, that’s the tough part and I don’t really know how I’ll solve it until I try, but I do know what I’m going to try. I already prepare and plan copiously (I always make a toile, adjust the pattern and read the pattern directions over and over) to try to minimise mistakes, so I’ve already done all I can and everything else is just worrying. And the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in life (but seem to have failed to apply to sewing) is that worrying doesn’t help anything. Except for anxiety and no one wants that, right? Right? Right! So, if you’ve got the fear, then do your prep and then get over it.
A Bird in the Hand …
I should always have a hand-sewing project on the go. If I didn’t have those dress straps to sew, I probably wouldn’t have done any sewing that day with the dirndl skirt, even though I really wanted to. Sometimes it’s a matter of practicality (getting a noisy sewing machine out when a group of you are watching a film is pretty anti-social) and other times it’s just my mood (I just want to relax and be productive, is that too much to ask?!).
Monkey See, Monkey Do (or make)
Seeing pretty gowns on The Other Boleyn Girl had my mind full of ideas. Seeing pictures and films with lovely clothing inspires me. Perhaps the problem is that a lot of the time, those pictures come via the internet and we all know that if it isn’t the Root of All Evil, the internet most definitely is the Root of All Distraction and Destroyer of Productive Intentions. Damn you, internet!!!
Only joking, but it really can be a problem. Even if I go online meaning to just look this up or do that one little thing, I will invariably find myself saying ‘oh, is it bedtime already?’ hours later. Perhaps I can harness that inspirational power of pretty pictures and channel it away from the internet. As a teenager, I used to have an inspirational notebook full of pictures from magazines (before the days of widespread internet use! Yes, there was once such a time! Yes, I am that old!). Maybe I should start one up again and print out those inspirational pictures I find online and sketch my ideas and stick in fabric and trim samples.
And this is definitely a very good reason to add to my collection of films with lush costumes. Huzzah!