Friday, November 4, 2016

A Pink & Black Plaid Battleship

This has been an energizing week. It feels like I've gotten a lot more done than normal... which is feeling not fact... and that's okay. It's been a good week. I especially enjoyed helping my friend with her fitting shell and yesterday we started playing with the design elements on her felt garment. We spent almost four hours working in the studio and by the time she left, her mind was buzzing with possibilities. SO FUN! She learned something new and while the how-to is not second nature yet, it will be soon because she can see the benefits and she's willing to push through until the technique feels more comfortable. That's fabulous.

AND... I sewed a nightgown - McCall's 2476 - lengthened. I've worn a t-shirt and pj pants for years only they're getting too loose and my hope is that a nightgown will help transition the weight loss more easily until I'm ready to sew PJ pants again... ones that I could walk around the house in... otherwise I'd wear tights.

The fabric is a light-weight brushed flannel in a pink and black plaid. It's very soft. That part is good. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I look like a pink and black plaid battleship. Here she comes!!! Howard has promised to say something complimentary. Hmm... LOL... let's see how that goes.

Rather than use facings for the neckline, I cut a bias strip, serged it to the neck, pressed it up and over, turned under the raw edge, and slip stitched it in place. Hand stitching is over-kill for a nightgown IMHO except that I wanted the edge clean and neat and I didn't want top stitching.

For the hemline, I pinned together the side seams and aligned the bottoms and then used a small plate and chalk to create a curved edge. The cut went across the seam which meant...

... the ends were no longer back-stitched. I re-secured one side seam and opened the other so I could start there and serge a binding strip to the bottom. The seam allowance was pressed toward the garment and top stitched in place. In retrospect, I wish the band was narrower but it's good and enough and done.

When I cleaned the studio, the previous button shelf and one of the book shelves became storage for the paint and dye supplies. Ideally, they'd be in a laundry room next to a work surface and a water source. This is not ideal but it is doable. I plan to start painting yardage today. I want to...

... work with different themes like nature, circles, kitchen tools and so on to learn about mark making and I want to learn how to use stencils more effectively as Diane does in the video above. I know that if I learn to do by doing that eventually my hands will move with ease while my brain is bubbling with creativity. It's happened before. It can happen again. With paint.

For the past several days, my studies have centered on attitudes around growth. In his book Integrity, author Henry Cloud says that two things outside of ourselves are necessary for growth to occur. They are energy or a source of fuel and a template or a structure that shapes the energy in a particular direction. My coaching sessions with Diane are an energy source that moves me forward with my creative goals. She's very encouraging. The Weight Watcher's program is a structure that directs my weight loss goals.  It tells me what to do and how.

In addition, Henry writes that you can always get a picture of people's drive to grow by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. If they are driven to grow, then they will spend those two valuable commodities on becoming more. So true.

Virtually every day I do something creative and have since my teens. Most mornings, I'm up at 5:30 to spend time in the studio before showering and going to journal. In the past, there have been times when I've sewn before work, during my lunch hour, after work, or in the evenings. While the time of day has shifted, making time has not. That's been true my entire adult life.

Studies show that how much time you spend each day is not nearly as critical as that you spend time. As little as ten minutes directed to our creativity is enough to keep us growing. I've heard a lot of reasons for why people think they can't spend time every day or how X or Y or Z has to happen first. Excuses do not move us forward. The time will not show up. It has to be made and it can be made, even with a husband, or children, or a job, or a busy schedule... if it's really important to you. For me, self care, the nurturing energy of the studio, and creative growth are really important. I make time.

Another consideration is that growth involves attempting to do something you are not yet able to do. I sewed the nightgown in one day. I am able to do that now because I've put in the time to learn how. Even the binding was easy because I've done binding numerous times. I've learned how. These are only two of the precedents that let me know that if I apply myself, go where I am not yet able, play with the paint and the stencils, and create a learning structure for myself, I will learn. YES YES

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - fun with a friend


  1. Hi Myrna, Have you ever looked at Alabama Chanin's stencilled garments, they are lovely. I have recently made a skirt, I loved the whole process, cutting the stencil, painting the fabric and then all the hand stitching.

    Cynthia in UK

    1. Yes, I have. It's gorgeous. I tend to prefer machine stitching and can't - yet - imagine myself spending that much time with hand stitching but you never know.

  2. It's so cute in the pink and black (would that still be considered a buffalo plaid?) and I've found now that slipstitching things down doesn't take nearly as long as I used to think. And there's the control factor and it's something you can do sitting in your favorite comfy chair :)

    1. Thanks. I have no idea how plaids are defined. Big checks ? ? I also like the control factor of slip stitching bias in place by hand. It's why I'm willing to do it and I'll slip stitch even if I'm also going to top-stitch just so things line up the way I want.

  3. Nightgown looks very cozy, can I say (concerned) that I hope its not floor length....I fell down a couple steps while stepping on the hem of a floor length robe and immediately shortened everything. Of course I am exceptionally clumsy.

    I'm increasingly happy to hand baste/slip stitch binding, etc, as I see how much more control it gives.


    1. Thanks for your concern. I definitely do not want another fall down the stairs. The nightgown is calf length.

  4. I really like your idea that it is practice of a pursuit supports creativity. I think that is so true, although I don't necessarily follow through either. I will think of you and see whether that inspiration helps.m:) Abbey

    1. I think you'll find it's truth. There's certainly lots of data to support it beyond my personal experience.

  5. I think there is truth in the theory that one must make time to practice creativity but I have not found that it tells the whole story. I too have intentionally practiced creativity in many forms throughout my life and I think this keeps the habit alive. But it is only now, when more time is opening up to me, that I really understand that for some of us large amounts of unstructured time may also be necessary.

    I say this only because it always bothered me that I was somehow lacking because I could just not express myself creatively in the ways I wanted to, in the time that was available to me. I blamed myself for not being "creative enough". Now I find it is not true. Needing large blocks of unstructured time is not an excuse for me, it is what my mind requires to allow ideas and visions and images to flourish.

    So maybe for some of us, regular practice is great for developing skills and techniques, but it may not be enough to allow full creativity to flourish? I don't know for sure, but it is something I think about these days as I move into what feels like a very creative time while also thinking back to some of the obstacles to that creativity in the past.

    I have no regrets about the past and how I chose to spend my energy and time, and it is very fun to find out that my creativity, while unable to be expressed fully during my busy parenting and working years, is still there, ready for reawakening.

    1. I totally agree. And I'm not sure it can be divided as technical or non technical skills because while you can practice a zipper application, making a more creative curved and painted zipper is a different matter all together. I'm finding I need to give much more space to learning how to paint than I have in the past. Perhaps it's when we can, we give more and when we can't, we work around those requirements. When I worked full time and my children were young, I worked in half hour and nap length segments and now that they are grown and my days are more open, I have the morning hour each day but also two to three hour segments in the afternoons if I want to and that absolutely changes what I can accomplish. HOWEVER... those smaller segments did build my confidence and belief that I could be creative and now the longer ones are giving me the time to create closer to the images in my head. This is good. Certainly one of the "benefits" of aging.


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