Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get With The Plan

It's nice to feel a surge of creativity. In truth, I've been a little concerned inasmuch as I've been entirely disinterested by anything other than sleep and cupcakes for quite some time. Between work and travel, before this weekend, I'd made precisely 2 things in the last month - both of them for M, both of them the same item (different size and fabric).

One of the things I love most about myself (whatevs for sounding braggy, I'm allowed to love things about myself) is my enthusiasm. I am so thrilled - by so many things - it's like fireworks for my brain. When that quality deserts me, as I suppose is its occasional prerogative, I don't know what to do with myself. Because even as my nature exhausts me, it sustains me. (Strange place to be.)

All this is to say, the weekend was refreshing, even as it was tiring, because it was the culmination of a week-long, careful plan wherein I:
  • Developed the concept: I decided that a) I needed to make some things for myself that are b) in no way hard to fit into my wardrobe for daily wear and that c) make use of fabric already in my stash. When I looked at my pattern binder, it occurred to me that T shirts (based on a sloper provided by Built By Wendy in the Sew U: Home Stretch) would be the perfect item. Moreover, they'll go with the jeans I'm about to make in the MPB Jeans Sew Along.
  • Researched: I read the book again. On a parallel front, I found out as much about the Crew T sloper (the one I worked with) as I could, which isn't that much, actually. I also researched the few reviews of the book I did find, to learn about any hitches or pluses in advance.
  • Had Everything on Hand: There were a couple of trips to the fabric store throughout the week: I needed some stabilizing tape for shoulder seams, some underlining (see below) and some thread to match the fabrics. Of course, that led to the purchase of some more fabric, but it was on sale! :-)
  • Prepped the pattern: Initially, I traced the small - having read that the pattern fits large. I also (without over-thinking it - after all, I'm trying to be all "casual modern sewist") shortened the length at the waist and gave it a smidge of waist curve. I mean, there's never been a garment that I haven't had to shorten at the waist. I have a short waist. So I just assumed it would be necessary here too. (It was.) The thing about sewing with knits is that you can't really make a muslin. You can only make a practice garment out of the same (negative-ease) stretch fabric. Until it runs out, that is, cuz you've had to redo 3 times and who keeps more than 3 yards of the same stretch fabric around at any given time?? Wait. Don't answer that. Let's just say I couldn't have imagined how much I was going to need to curve in the side seams and fool with the neckline.
  • Prepped the fabric: Determined whether I'd wash or dry clean. Ha! Natch, I'm washing all but the open weave green and white zebra which I haven't yet tackled. I'm afraid to wash it. I did buy the underlining though. What has the world come to that I'm making T shirts with underlining?? (In truth, I'm envisioning something sleeveless so it's more shell than T.)
But enough about me. How do you prepare yourself for a creative excursion (whatever your craft might be)? Are you free-flow? Super-organized? Do tell.


  1. What is this organization you speak of?

    In my obsessive moments I will mentally rehearse exactly what I'm planning until I can actually finally do it, but that's more just impatience, and I'm not sure how helpful it is in the long run... ;)

  2. Good question! I was just talking with someone this weekend about what comes first - the pattern or the fabric. For me, it's always the pattern or inspiration, then I find the fabric. This is a HARD WAY TO PLAN as the fabric in my head doesn't always exist! But generally, I follow what you did. I come up with an idea, try to make sure I have everything on hand, make a swoop through the internet or my reference shelf looking for some good advice, practice any new techniques then get started.

    I've noticed one other thing I tend to do - when I get obsessed with a new idea, I rush through the research, sourcing of materials and main part of the sewing - up to reasonable try on stage. Then its like I blew my wad and i have to rest. The project will sit unfinished in my sewing room for a while - a few days, a week, until I get the wherewithal to go back to the routine, mundane stuff I hate.... sewing on buttons, hemming, finishing raw edges... I have a Pendrell that I cut and sewed together in a few hours a few days ago and I just can't bring myself to go back and finish binding off the arms and hem it so its photo-ready!

  3. It's been more of a struggle than I thought it would be to sew since returning to work. I only went for part time so I'd still be able to have a life but... I've been disinclined lately as well. Hopefully that will all figure itself out.

    This past Sunday, I just wanted to sew something and it had to be doable in a day. I went for a t-shirt and worked with stuff in stash so that I didn't need to shop or pause and used (mostly) a t & t pattern so that I didn't need to prep. Safe(r) and steady - along with super organization - is my approach when I really really really need to sew so save my sanity.

  4. There is nothing wrong only having cupcakes on the brain. They are part of the recipe to happiness, in my mind.

    Oooooo, zebra fabric? Green? Sounds cute, I can't wait to see what you come up with there.

    While I am trying to be better about it, there is really no organization to speak of when I sew. I know it's the reason I'm not as productive as I'd like, so it's something I'm taking steps to improve.

    I've got to give you kudos for being able to make the same thing three times. I think I'd have thrown in the towel by attempt number two.

  5. Your enthusiasm is infectious :-).

    I love the idea of making "test" garments, that way there's no pressure.

    I'm not particularly organized, but do seem to stop and do a lot of reading (and tool acquiring) at each step.

  6. I think I'm fairly organised whilst still being able to go with the flow. I'm quite bad at having all tools for the job ready and often have to stop because have no more matching thread. But I usually now what sewing part I'm doing and what I want to do next.

  7. Taran: I do that. It's totally OCD!

    Patty: Fascinating! I'm glued to the task (even as I'm exhausted and sometimes hateful). Dammit, I'm finishing that garment NOW :-)

    Myrna: I love that pattern you sewed so I bought it :-) And I hear you about work exhaustion. It's hard to manage. But the longer you work, the more your energy level will learn how to preserve itself (as I know, you know).

    Andrea: It's by try number 5 that I start to feel really sick and tired :-)

    Susan: You are excellent at "tool acquiring"! And test garments do take the pressure off.

    Suzy: That's a great middle ground. It's easy enough to train yourself to pick up thread before you start - or not so bad to go get it mid way through.