Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Thousand Miles Journey Starts with a Single Step

OK, so I'm more or less at the stage that Gertie calls "finishing touches". I'd itemize the 7-10 things I've yet to accomplish (a couple are "optional"), but they'll either bore you or freak you out. Why do that to you, gentle readers??

You might be thinking, Sheesh Kristin, only 7-10 more things and the coat is complete. Wow, that's amazing, that's so close. Why complain'st thou? (or some such query, articulated less middle-English-ly). And it wouldn't be a stupid thought, after all, given that I started with - oh - 8 zillion things on the list.

But, as Sal so thoughtfully commented a while ago, it's my blog and I'm can complain if I want to :-)

The thing is that every single step I take becomes, at least in my own mind, more meaningful. I know that's not a productive philosophy, but it is understandable. If I fuck up now (not that I'm going to, mind you, please hear me Universe and Sewing Goddess) I will have done a LOT of freakin' work.

Moreover, it's not even that I worry about fucking it up. It's that I'm tired of it. And I've still got to learn how to do a variety of new things including: finishing the bound buttonholes (I thought they were finished?!?!), pick stitching the lining to the coat, affixing belt buckles and under stitching (by hand) the lapel and front facing edges.

And then there's the fact that I'm not sure I like the finished product.

You can see how I'm plodding on.

Update: After I wrote this I did a couple of hours of work on the coat, affixing the sleeve lining to the fashion fabric, basting the lapels and front facing edges, and positioning my ribbon over the hem (getting ready to sew it on). I've also been thinking a lot about how to finish the bound buttonholes (after re-reading posts on it and asking questions). So my misery (and nervousness) has abated somewhat. Nonetheless, thank you for listening and continuing to offer your feedback. Your comments give me so much to think about and I really do follow a lot of your advice!


  1. Maybe you should push it aside for a couple of days and do a quickie project that is fun and makes you feel like you've accomplished something. Then you can go back to the coat refreshed and ready. :-)

  2. There's a point when you're working on a project that you have to take a measure on the knowing within yourself. For me, the questions are am I stalling because I'm afraid of failing or am I stalling because I'm aware that this garment just isn't me?

    I did that recently with the silk dupioni top. I'm buttons and a hem away from finishing and quit because I know I'll never wear it. That's okay. I have learned a lot.

    Years ago, I'd have focused on the waste of time and money and supplies. Now I focus on the learning, the entertainment value, and the take away and let it go. AND... I'll package everything needed to finish it into a ziplock and give it away. Someone else can have the next level of joy.

  3. Forgive me for getting all psychological but I wonder of it is at all common to get close to birthing a creative piece and just is a creative offspring is about to be born we decide that we don't like it and it isn't what we hoped it would be. I can certainly see for me how this happens. Up until that final push I am filled with hope, energy and potential. But getting to that finish line of completion I often feel disappointed an let down. Perhaps this is just my issue. Sorry if this is totally off topic.

  4. I know that I feel most motivated when the task at hand seems impossible, then disappointed when the achievement doesn't turn out to be exalted as I'd imagined. Mastery is mostly about hours of work, at least 10,000 hours according to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Maybe everyone experiences disappointment realizing mastery is mostly just a lot of work.

  5. These are some fantastic comments!

    CG: That is a totally smart idea. Thing is, I'm very inflexible in some ways. I feel serious about finishing one thing (no matter how taxing) before I start the next. I'm not sure if I'm up for that kind of mind shift just yet. However, stay tuned for tomorrow's post because I have started dreaming about the near future...

    Myrna: You are so right! When I was doing the Drape Drape Gather Dress No. 3, I got to the end of that (very hard) road - much harder than the coat because there was no expert to turn to - and I knew I'd learned a lot, though the garment had failed as a wearable piece. With this thing, I'm very sure I've done it according to the directions, and that it looks the way it's supposed to. So it is wearable. Which makes me feel I need to finish (see inflexibility point above) :-)

    Bel: Isn't your whole value-add that you get all psychological on us?? :-) I definitely felt a lot of anti-climax when I wrote the post. Thing about a kid (vs a coat) is that you are trapped by the birth (oh, I know, you probably have a lot to say about that, but go with my analogy here). I'm trying to figure out how I might begrudge this coat because it traps me?!

    Susan: I want that on a Tshirt!! Mastery is just a lot of hard work. Oh, man, that is true.

  6. Oh honey... the "finishing touches" shouldn't be called finishing at all. They should be called extremely time-consuming, tedious and boring detail work!
    It's amazing how the skeleton of a piece can come together so quickly and look pretty much like a complete garment, but in reality it's so far away from one.

  7. Stacy: This comment makes me feel so much better because you are SO right. They should call them as they are - the crappy, really hard when you are too tired to care anymore work. Thank you! xo

  8. I agree with the "time-consuming, tedious, and boring" part, but at the same time, if I am going to wear the garment, I find they are well worth while in the long run. If I skip them, it haunts me that I could have done better. If I tackle them and do them to the best of my ability, the result makes me inordinately happy. It is these details that ultimately bring me the most joy.

    I need to catch up to see where you ended up.... just thoughts.

  9. Mardel: One of the things you told me that I consider all the time is that you need to put things away sometimes, just for a bit, after you complete them. Cuz sometimes, even doing your best can be disappointing until you have a little bit of distance.