I am a fan of small projects. To date, Iíve made a muff, two
berets, dozens of stuffed animals, several simple circle skirts,
three tutus, a no-closure wrap dress, and a no-closure sun dress.
All of these projects require minimal time, yet result in
professional, rewarding outcomes. Presently, small projects do not
represent the entire repertoire of my work. But Iíve made enough
of them to acknowledge that theyíre a bit of a guilty pleasure.
Conversely, projects that I do for work--currently this entails
designing and making costumes for an upcoming computer game--are
plenty challenging. The time remaining after creating these
costumes, teaching sewing, and writing leaves me too tired to
tackle a difficult coat or dress for personal use. But recently
Iíve decided that a challenge is in order.
Last August, I purchased silk chiffon fabric in a large print,
navy and white floral pattern. I thought it would be perfect for
an Anna Sue pattern (1177), which can be purchased through Vogueís
catalogue. The pattern is for a loose-fitted, heavily pleated
spring dress. Itís vaguely reminiscent of French 1920ís fashion,
particularly sportís wear.
Upon starting, I was inspired and hoped to finish within a week of
such inspired frenzy. Several hours later, still pinning and
cutting, I felt...less motivated. I did brave through, but upon
attaching the side front to the center front, I accidentally sewed
through two layers of fabric. Somehow, my stitches for that
particular length of mistake were so minuscule that I could barely
distinguish them. Frustrated, I put the project aside and promptly
forgot about it when another exciting idea came to mind.
Recently I discovered this lost summer treasure. And I have a
newfound dedication to it. Of the seventy-one steps, Iíve
completed thirty-one. Iíve been working on it in short two-hour
spurts throughout the past two weeks. This time, rather than
getting obsessed and upset, Iím trying to complete it slowly,
relishing in each step and appreciating the time and difficulty in
pleating, gathering, and otherwise manipulating such a tricky
fabric as chiffon. Itís been an incredibly rewarding experience.
Today, my friend Danny and I stopped by the antique mall across
from my home. There, I purchased vintage hand-crocheted gloves in
navy to match my unfinished dress. While sewing, I canít help but
envision wearing my outfit proudly while hosting a tea party this
spring. And of course, Iíll give myself plenty of time to complete
I would encourage anyone, even those who only sew infrequently,
and even those who only have experience with quick, simple pieces,
to challenge themselves. Chose a dream project and give yourself
the time and encouragement to complete it as a long term goal.
Perhaps you've always wanted to make an Elizabethan costume? Give
yourself six months and sew for only two hours, three days a week.
You wonít regret it, even if your results arenít perfect.
Of course, small projects are rewarding, too. While at the antique
mall, I was given two compliments on my muff.