Think, think, think…

The velvet in my sewing room is mocking me.  I desperately want to be needle punching something and working on my Eleonora gown (and Anne has told me she thinks suitable red silk yarn has been found for what she calls the “Death Socks” – hee).  However, I am in this time crunch for Costume Con and I am also completely and totally side-tracked by hats.  I suddenly want to order a dozen buckram hat frames from Hats by Leko and make tricorns till they’re going out of style.  I’ve been reading Missa’s hat tutorials and I can feel my resolve to work on something necessary going out the window.

I am WAY too side-tracked right now.

And Bella has a new contest/event up at Realm of Venus and I really want to make something for that too.  And there are 18th century gowns to be done for June and… I am suffering from a tragic case of CADD.  Luckily the ever shortening amount of time before Con is convincing me to get busy and make something.

I am not sure how everyone else works in terms of making an outfit, but I require a lot of thinking time first.  If I want to make something that I have successfully made before, I can easily get on the ball and knock out a new outfit in a short period of time, no thinking required.  And if someone else needs help I can quickly prioritize in my head what needs to be done and then help them to efficiently accomplish it.

But when I am doing something new like a completely unfamiliar time period or trying a new color scheme, etc., I need a lot of time to think about what I am doing.  I need to know in my head how I am going to do all the various bits of the costume.  I need to know exactly which fabric I will be using and where it will go, and how it will be trimmed, etc.  And if I start working on the garment prior to knowing exactly what I am going to do, it is always an epic fail (as my kids like to say).  If I don’t have everything planned out in advance, then disaster strikes and I run out of ribbon and people start to refer to things like “The Bristol Meltdown of 2008″ and then someone winds up talking me down from the ledge and grommeting bodices on our hotel bathroom sink.  And after that we have margaritas.  So the end result isn’t totally bad, but I like to avoid the meltdown portion that comes along if at all possible.

Over time I have realized that if I run into an unavoidable problem while sewing and am feeling frustrated and out of time and start breaking out the creative cuss words, I need to give myself a time out.  I need to take about 10 minutes to myself, preferably in a quiet room, or at least in the corner of a room where I can close my eyes and think about the project and try to figure out a way to fix my problem.  And this method works.  I emerge from my coccoon with a solution, a more calm demeanor and a plan of attack.  Only once has this method not helped me and this was during the Six Wives Project when I had had about 20 hours of sleep over 2 weeks.  Luckily The Cheap Chick was there to help me find perspective.  After all, I wasn’t trying to make World Peace happen.  I was trying to sew a costume.  I lost sight of that when in my Junior Mint and DQ shake-induced haze of sleeplessness.

I have found that the vast majority of the time I can avoid these situations by thinking out the entire thing first.  And sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of thinking.  Even while working on my White Queen and my other Con outfits I have been thinking about Eleonora.  About transferring the pattern (I am going with the iron-on method), about the punch needlework, about the corded petticoat, etc.  And when the time arrives after Con, I will be ready to proceed again. 

So the last few days I have been working on the corset/bodice for the White Queen (which is going well, but is not really photo worthy at this point – everyone has seen photos of boning channels before), I have been thinking about my 18th century corset, and how it isn’t going very well.  I spent some time today (forced wait time due to an appointment outside the house) reading about 18th century corsetry in Norah Waugh and Janet Arnold and Jean Hunisett and I have figured out where I am making mistakes and what I need to do to fix them.  And even though I am in a time crunch, this thinking time was worth it.  Better to force myself to re-examine the problem and try to find a solution than continue to make the same mistakes over and over. 

Things ARE happening here, despite the lack of postings over the last week.  A lot of it is taking place in my head, but it is time well spent.  I wish I knew of an easier way to do it, but it works for me.  I would love to know what works for everyone else.

3 thoughts on “Think, think, think…

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