Monday, May 26, 2014

Comparison & Insecurity

This morning has been a whirlwind of events already and here it is almost noon and I haven't published the blog yet. Obviously - LOL - I need to get back to writing the day before and editing in the morning. That system was a lot more consistent.

On Friday, I finished the black and white paisley top. It's Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8691 without the ruffle and quite easily the pattern I have sewn the most in the last year. It has wonderful lines that are flattering to my figure. The black and white paisley is another one of the knits - like the pink and black skirt from last week - that have beautiful hand and drape but are printed on a white background that shows through on the turned edges. In this case, it's not so bad since it's a black and white design although I did press the seams open to minimize that show-through tendency. I'll wear the top with the pants I finished last week.

On Saturday, I started to refashion the coat I'd made for my challenge with Gwen. I am SO GLAD that I decided to start over. I had such fun playing with the pieces and heading in new directions. Here's the lining stripped of the fashion fabric. I removed the fuchsia binding from the bottom and recycled it into the new project as well. Later... I'll shorten the lining and make a new overcoat to go with - with hopefully a better fashion fabric choice.

Here's the collar that I spent considerable time playing with. I do like the way the ruffles fold, pleat, and meld and the contrast of the flange however... the completed coat felt prissy and conservative and that wasn't what I was going for. Hence the refashion.

I spent Saturday and Sunday making fabric from fabric so I could cut the pattern pieces out. I'll show you more of that tomorrow. Luckily, I was able to cut the new sleeves from the previous sleeves. They were slightly too short so I added a strip at the bottom with the stripe in the opposite direction. There...

... wasn't a wide enough scrap so the hem is less than the drafted 2". I utilized the selvage of the striped fabric and then trimmed it in fuchsia which is the accent color throughout the piece. I love the combination of denim and fuchsia and I'll be able to use the same vintage buttons I'd planned for the previous coat. YES YES ! ! !

The pattern is Vogue 8982 by Marcy Tilton. Knowing I was going to spend a lot of time making the fabric, I made three muslins to perfect the fit first. I may have made another except for the forgiving nature of linen. There is a problem with the pattern. The front piece is marked as the front and UNDER collar and the facing piece is marked as the facing and UPPER collar. This is not true. As you can see, the collar does not fold down and so the front is the front and UPPER collar and the facing is the facing and UNDER collar. I didn't make that realization until I had finished piecing the fronts and was working on the facings. I'd intended to add more fuchsia elements to the "folded down" edge... only there isn't one... so I'll be paying more attention to how I can add fuchsia as I put the garment together.

At the root of comparison is something a little nastier: insecurity. Instead of saying "I wish I were better than I
am," we say, "I wish I were as good as he is." In one fell swoop we negate our work and our originality. No two players play alike, and there is that word, play. As artists, we do better focused on the play of learning than on the work of getting ahead. Centered on our own creative trajectory, each small gain is an encouragement. Each slight increment of mastery holds the sweet promise that the days of awkward repetition and frustrating blunders do lead somewhere after all. When we compete and compare instead of strive to emulate and empathize with other artists, we greet their skills with hostility and our own lesser skills with dismay. When we embrace the idea that all artists at all levels are still learning, still struggling, still evolving, growing, and grappling with their craft simply at a different altitude, we are encouraged by another's mastery to know: "It can be done.". We need such encouragement. Our talent may be large, but our struggles may be large as well. - Julia Cameron, Walking In This World

When I'm working on a project like this, I am thoroughly engaged. The work flows. I think that's in part because the style of work is similar to patchwork which I'm very confident with. The same thing happened with the purse above. With the purse, I was attempting to learn to incorporate painting and stenciling. I did that by detailing the fabric first and then cutting it up into the purse shapes. It was a decision that built on what I already knew and allowed me to incorporate something new and learn to do while doing.

One conclusion I've come to recently is that while I'd like to know more about painting and stenciling and to be more confident with those skills, they are not my primary love and are unlikely to ever become so. I can work on them bit by bit in a way that allows me to grow my confidence but I will never work in say Diane's way because I am not Diane. Instead of wishing I was like Diane, I need to wish I was better than I am.

The quote from Julia's book really resonated with me. I think we can spend far too much time in the candy shop - to use my analogy from a previous posting - finding it hard to focus and decide when perhaps what we really need is to pick the peppermints and move in that direction and see what happens. To build on what we know for sure in the direction of our yearnings with gentle encouragement for our learning, struggling, evolving, growing and grappling artist.

For me, I love adding new lines to a T & T through seams and piecing and I love highlighting details with thread. And right now, I'm enjoying finding that personal and individual balance between interesting and too much clutter and I'm excited about my decision to focus on collars and closures. This is good - especially as I head for the Design Outside the Lines retreat at the end of the week. I think I'm in a fabulous frame of mind to really maximize my time there.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - some answers around Howard's health that are finally leading in a positive direction - slow - but positive


  1. Glad to hear that progress is being made with Howard's health. Such things drain the spirit, mind and body. It will be fun to see how you create your version of the coat.

    1. Thanks Lorrie. We're hopeful they'll get to solutions really quick. It'd be nice for all of us but especially for Howard.

      I'm enjoying creating my version. There'll be more details tomorrow. I guess today was really another teaser. I appreciate that I have learned over the years how to take something apart and re-make it another way. Even though I scrounged every piece I could to piece together the fabric, there are still odds and ends and my mind is bubbling with ideas for them - the zero waste thing. VERY fun.

  2. Sooo glad to hear slow progress is happening. I also really like the quote - it is something that I work on all the time. I think that women in particular can have a hard time being the person we want to be, and appreciating our own differences. I also love the idea of stencilling and surface decoration, but I have come to the conclusion that I would really rather buy something from a company like Smoking Lily, than do it myself. And isn't it great that I can get my hands on a couple of great pieces that are made in Canada at a reasonable price (for me)? Also, loving the bits of coat. Well done.

    1. Yes. Slow but something is better than nothing.

      LOL - I totally understand what you're saying about stenciling and painting. I remember having that "I can buy it" attitude about dyeing fabric and then, there are a few times when you want to make it work so perhaps it's good to have some skills. I've never heard of Smoking Lily. I'll look that up. Sounds interesting. The coat is coming along wonderfully. I'm enjoying it.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.