progress. in pictures.

There is a sense of traveling downhill now, a sense of really actually possibly reaching my goal. I look at the partly completed gown with its pleated bodice, its 3/4 circle skirt draping just so, and the beginnings of an embroidered over-skirt at the doll’s feet, and I smile.photo of partly completed gown

The over-skirt, with its lace medallions, pinned pleats, and sparkling beads hint at completion.

photo of the lace medalions on overskirt

There is still work to be done. But the possibility of completing a project that almost undid me lifts my spirits. I no longer feel the frustration, the loss, the self-doubt. All of that has been replaced with beautiful joy that accompanies getting to do the work and recognizing the power in the process.

photo of the items I use to embroider the designs on the overskirt

thank you, dear reader, for joining me on my adventure.

xo, Nancy

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life. in pleats.

photo of pattern drafting with pencil and rulerOn to the bodice. I need to find the best way to re-create the pleats in this gown, first in the bodice, and, later, in the skirt. I have traveled this path before. And I gave up. I want to give up again because I keep trying and the solution is just not coming. Draft. Fit. Redraw. Fit. Take a break. Rework. Consider. Think.

Instead of sewing in little spaces of time that present themselves, I turn my attention to finding a pet sitter for Chloë and rearranging all the files in my office. I watch hair styling tutorials on YouTube.

Now it has been several days since I had the fabric in my hands. Resistance is strong, trying to win.

So, before I start work today I do two things. I procrastinate. And then I call a couple of friends who understand. I announce to them that Resistance will not win. Not today.

I set aside drafting and move on to draping the bodice fabric. If I could cross my fingers, I would. But that makes it really hard to sew.

Finally, progress!

And a text from a friend: “Sloth doesn’t sound as elegant as procrastination. Just saying…”

O, dear. So true! I just want everything to fall into place. Pleats as a metaphor for life! Things don’t just fall into place, not without action. I’m grateful I fought resistance and sloth last week and made a phone call. I love our new pet sitter! The files are another story. But my husband says my hair looks great and I actually made some progress today with my sewing project. Without action, there could be no progress, however slight. Just saying…

xo, Nancy

photo of under bodice

photo of fabric draped on model

 

another photo of draping fabric on model

photo of draped and basted bodice

 

photo of front and back bodice pieces ready to sew

what matters most.

I continue to devote myself to recreating the fancy ball gown. When I am not in the studio, I am thinking about it. On BART, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system, I pull out my tablet and read The War of Art. In Book Three, Beyond Resistance, Steven Pressfield stresses professionalism. He describes the qualities to bring to my work that Resistance will not be able to overcome. And then he says the one thing that keeps me going back to the studio: “Because the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”

So, I re-enter the studio, armed with a knowing smile. For the time being, I will devote myself to just the underskirt. Here is a peek at my process.

photo of fabric on ironing board 1. Draft the pattern.

2. Cut out the pattern.

photo of paper pattern

photo of prototype on model

3. Cut out and fit the prototype.

4. Review the underpinnings.

photo of model in petticoat and bodice

photo of pattern with hand-written notes

5. Re-draft the pattern.

6. Adjust the prototype.

7. Wait overnight for fabric to settle.

photo of paper pattern with scissors on drafting board

8. Check the length. (too long.)

DSCN2486

 

9. Adjust the pattern.

photo of pinning pattern to fabric

photo of cutting out the prototype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Let the whole thing settle again.

12. Start thinking about the next step.photo of prototype on model

xo, Nancy