I had sewn before. I’d made curtains and pillows for my home, pajama pants for Jared, and a baptismal gown for Emma when she was a baby. I had never made anything resembling real clothes, however, and I wanted to have the pleasure of actually wearing something I made with my own two hands.
(I admit to watching a lot of Project Runway.)
When I first published my Life List last November, Lisa offered to help me with one of the items:
9. Wear a dress I made.
Technically, she offered to send me her old sewing machine when I was no longer living in an RV. Details. I decided to take her up on her offer for help of any kind while I was staying with her this week.
She drove me around to the local fabric stores until I found a pattern and fabric I liked – or rather, a pattern I liked and wasn’t intimidated by, because there were a lot of patterns I loved that I was pretty sure I would ruin or look awful in.
She also let me use her very fancy sewing machine, and all of her other sewing tools, and guided me through the directions as I struggled to cut straight lines and figure out how to “ease” fabric.
She also drove me back to the fabric store when we discovered I had half a garment completed in the wrong size.
About that: I almost quit. I suck at cutting straight lines and I couldn’t figure out how to attached the collar properly and I was feeling like I had gotten way in over my head on this stupid *foot stomp* project — and that’s when we figured out the bodice I had made (and all the pattern pieces I’d cut out) were about two sizes too small.
So, I was fatter and less talented than I thought.
It was not a good night. I went to bed only because Lisa encouraged me to put it away and come back to it in the morning, something I am loathe to do when I’ve become obsessed with making something work.
“Put it away, we’ll come back to it,” she kept saying, and I only listened because I was a guest in her home.
By the time the next morning came, I had remembered the purpose of a life list. It’s not to check things off as done, but to add experiences to the tapestry of my life. I wanted to experience using my hands to make something I could actually wear; I wanted to experience putting on a finished product. I didn’t want to half-ass it; I wanted to do it the best that I could, even if that meant starting over and throwing more money and time into the project.
We took careful measurements of my actual body (instead of going by the size I’m pretty sure I should be) and went back to the store, where the cashier used a coupon to give me 50% off my purchase. Yay!
I got back to work.
Four days, a few cuss words, and hundreds of ripped out stitches later, I had a finished tunic.
It’s not the most flattering thing I own, but I did wear it all day Thursday and I will wear it again. It’s also not a dress, but I’m OK with that, too, and I may make a dress next.
I’m so proud of myself! I learned a lot about sewing, patience, and persistence with this project, and while those things don’t immediately come to mind when you hear the word happiness, I can assure you that the end result was one happy girl.
(Thank you so much, Lisa, for helping to make this happen for me!)