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Article 32 - January 17, 2011
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Tackling a Difficult Project

By Jessica Lynn Harris

(Left- My recently purchased antique navy gloves on top of my Vogue Pattern dress I'm Making. Right -  .)

     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 it. 

     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.  


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copyright 2010-11 Love To Sew
Article 32 January 17, 2011




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