Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Zippers Buttonholes And Other Mysteries

For the last few days I've had that wonderful - and enviable - and rare - phenomenon with journal writing where the words flow off the pen faster than I can record them and it feels like I'm receiving a message. LOVE when that happens.

The focus of this section of my study - Wide Awake - is on having the foresight and discipline to prepare for the dream I want to live and about how opportunities may pass me by because I wasn't prepared and ready to seize them.  It gives the story of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom. Five came prepared with their lamps trimmed and extra oil and five were unprepared, run out of oil, and had to head back to town for more missing the party in the process.

When you're ready, get ready is a message that I've been receiving over and over in numerous - and louder - ways in the past year especially. For what? is the obvious follow-up question. For what is for my dream, the thing that I feel I am called to and want to do. Dreams are often hard to put into words and rarely if ever drop down on us ready formed. They take preparation.

I had meant for the focus of Friday's posting to be on the reality that if we want to do X, we need to prepare with Y whether that's spiritual, physical, or practical. The outcome requires the journey. Think about it in terms of sewing. How will all those garments dancing in your head come into being? I don't know about you but quite a few of mine are going to take learning new skills which means going through that awkward - itchy - less than best - oh my gosh please don't tell anyone I sewed that - stage.

This aqua linen jacket of Diane Ericson's has many features I admire and two I really want to learn. One is the subtle texturing with paint and the other is the singular bound button hole. Bound buttonholes especially have started dancing up and down and demanding to be explored. I know the theory of how to make a one, but I have yet to develop any skill. It's on my learn list. Not knowing how to do this technique is preventing me from sewing some of the patterns I admire and from creating some of the dreams in my head. When I set aside the time, discipline myself to the task, practice and prepare, I'm going to reap not only the rewards but open the door to even greater adventures which is exactly what happened with zippers.

At one point, I couldn't - or more accurately wouldn't - sew a machine buttonhole. I'd take my garments to the local sewing shop and hire the woman there to make them for me. The same was true with zippers. I either avoided patterns with zippers and buttonholes or I hired someone to do them for me. That only works for so long. It's hard to move up in complexity of workmanship without knowing how to execute those two closures. Who knows - VBG - you might even learn how to install them better than the woman you were hiring. I eventually researched zipper installation and spent some time practicing and now I'm starting to see and use zippers as design elements.

I particularly enjoy more individualized design elements. Some of these are evidence of the imagination of the designer and some are elements created, perfected, and implemented. Above are my first knot buttons. These little balls have all kinds of applications from fashion to jewelry... that I've admired... for several years... and I finally made them last June after the Design Outside The Lines retreat. I haven't made any since but now that I know how, knot buttons are part of my repertoire, available to be included in any of the designs dancing in my head. The same is true with...

... piping. These narrow accent strips have a delightful way of highlighting the seam line and adding playful moments for our eyes. Contrast. Interest. Fun. The key with piping is learning how to stitch it even. As with buttonholes and zippers, there are tricks to make the task easier. What I've discovered is that quite often the technique that I thought was really difficult is actually quite simple... once I learn the trick.

One of the tricks I learned - but haven't perfected yet - is inserts, a way of placing one fabric within another. They are - in essence - a kind of bound buttonhole without the hole. MANY techniques build on one another like bound buttonholes and insets so when we learn X, we are also a lot closer to learning Y and after that Z is pretty simple. Inserts are a different way of adding visual texture than...

.... painting. Both add individuality and eye candy so one is not better than the other and knowing both is great. I love the subtle paint techniques that Diane added to her jacket shown earlier and the graffiti like images Gayle uses on her bags. They are both painting on fabric and yet vastly different. I want to learn both and both will take practice. PLUS... while I'm inspired by my friends, in the end, both will take on my signature touch and will look like my work as I relax and create in my own voice.


Creative fashion is one way of expressing our voice through clothing that looks and feels like us - even when it's inspired by the work of others. Going through my files, I found these two images. The first is of Helen (unfortunately no blog) and her safety pin jacket and the second is a top designed by Katherine with painted elements that somewhat echo the safety pins - if only in my head. Both garments are asymmetrical - the current topic I'm on - and inspirational. For me to make a garment inspired by these ones is going to take some preparation such as a t-shirt or jacket pattern that fits, two fabrics that play nicely together, a collection of safety pins or stencils, the skill to insert or apply them or at least the desire to learn, and the discipline to stay with the task. I cannot achieve my dream of creating garments like these if I'm not willing to do the work that it takes to get there. This is foresight, discipline, and the dream with sewing. The same is true...

... with many areas of life. An earlier assignment in my creativity coaching was to create a collage of the woman I am becoming. All the pictures represent either an aspect of the person I am that I want to grow and develop further or of the woman I want to become. Getting to there from here will take work. I'll need to explore zippers, buttonholes, and other mysteries in greater depth and through the process evolve.

What my study is saying is that being who we want to be and doing what we want to do - our dream - isn't a matter of sitting around waiting for God to wave his magic wand - you need to work for it. Yesterday's questions were... what does God expect from me, what is my oil, what must I bring for my lamp - my life - to burn brightly, what does my dream demand of me, and what choices do I have to make today to get there tomorrow? Whether you approach these from a spiritual or a non-spiritual perspective, they are thought provoking, and potentially life altering, questions.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - flowing pens

He (God) doesn't just zap you; he doesn't sprinkle some kind of fairy dust on you or breathe on you and all of a sudden you succeed. Your effectiveness comes through the commitment and foresight to prepare. 
- Erwin Raphael McManus


  1. One of the easiest methods for me of welt pockets/bound buttonholes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiutLenc-ic (Peggy Sagers) Hope the link works for you if you want to watch.

    1. Great video. THANK YOU. There were quite a few other ones suggested to the side I'd like to explore as well. What fun.

  2. I know that you will reach your goals Myrna. I have never 'known' a sewist with such dedication to process. I do appreciate how you share these steps in your journey. While I make few garments these days I do try to apply similar principals to what I do, thank you dear lady and best wishes for your new experiences.


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