I’ve been thinking a lot about making. My making and what it does for me. Because, really, kind of above and alongside everything else, I am a maker. There’s not much that feeds my soul more than creating, be it through knitting, sewing, baking, cooking, or creating body care or cleaning products. My satisfaction and sense of calm comes from creating. And sometimes, the need to create overwhelms everything else, and I find myself creating and ignoring things on my actual must-do list. Which, frankly, is what’s been happening these last few weeks with my Hinterland dress obsession.
It started innocently enough, with our May Sew-ster meeting (Emme, LJ, and I and our semi-monthly sewing extravaganza). I wanted to do another Wiksten boxy jacket (what LJ and I have taken to calling the Haori, because Wiksten should have just called it something like that when they changed the name from the culturally-appropriated Kimono. As white women, we still don’t feel comfortable calling a casual jacket after a piece of culturally-significant clothing from a culture that is not ours). Any-hoo, LJ wanted to be like Emme and make a Hinterland dress, and even came over to my house the week before to cut out one for her and one for me. As it is always better to make with a friend, particularly the first making of a pattern, of course I was all-in. We made our Hinterland dresses (we followed the no-placket “hack,” which basically means you cut your front bodice on the fold and don’t, you know, make a placket), and, even though there were definitely some areas I saw for improvement (too big, but not unwearably so, pockets not quite deep enough), a lightbulb went off in my head. “YES!!” I said to myself, “this is the next-level version of Dress No. 1 for me…” So, and I am not at all kidding or exaggerating when I state these numbers, I have made seven MORE of these dresses for myself since our sewing day on May 7th.
Kicking off the month-of-Hinterlanding, there was my Mother’s Day sewing extravaganza, when I made both a lined Wiksten boxy jacket (and really made it well, if I do say sew (heehee) myself) AND another Hinterland dress.
Mother’s Day was also the day I realized the second-hand serger I had purchased a few years earlier was problematic and would just never work the way I needed it to, so, two trips to Montavilla Sewing Center resulted in me purchasing a new one, and being so happy and in love with it, I can hardly stop using it.
Then, the week AFTER Mother’s Day, I made another one. This one carefully and slowly made and the inside turned out almost as lovely as the outside.
Then a bright yellow one, with a full-full skirt. The bias tape I used on the neck and armholes makes me happy every time I look at it, and I love this dress with a pinky-salmony tee shirt over it, and my fave RTW wide-leg pants OR leggings under it. My only regret is that it’s a bit short, and I’m not sure I’ll wear it without pants under it (but we’ll see as the temperatures climb this summer).
Memorial Day weekend came, after a week of so much hardcore and exhausting work on a non-work, non-fun project (PTO-related), and also Stefan being out of town. To get myself back to me, I basically stress-sewed my way through the weekend, making three more Hinterland dresses. All this time, I was tweaking the bust darts and bodice, aiming for a fit that worked better with my body.
Then a week of work and play and no sewing for me. A carnival, a birthday, a day-drinking Saturday.
The following weekend saw me cutting out another dress and tweaking the bust darts even more. It turned out great (I also cut the skirt pieces out using the full width of the fabric, which I have done for quite a few of these, and which I totally love).
Which brings us to the final dress. I decided to concentrate on getting my sewing station ergonomics figured out, so I went really slow on the next dress: I cut out and started sewing one day, and eased my way into sewing on Monday, slowly doing a seam here, a serge there. Partly because my body needed to, and partly because this fabric is so special, I needed to be sure I wasn’t going to fuck it up at all. And guess what? I didn’t! It turned out so lovely, and I’m so happy.
I have fabric for at least four more of these dresses ready for action, but am using them as a carrot to dangle in front of myself; if I get my to-do list done, I can cut out the next one. If I get a pattern figured out, I can sew the next one. I’d love to finish a few more before I leave for Ohio next week, but if I don’t do it, that’s fine. I have made eight of these in about a month, after all… Of course, I finally think I’ve got the bust-dart thing all of the way figured out, so a part of me thinks, “shit, Shan, just cut out and sew one more real quickly, to double-check your dart tweakage.” But the more responsible part of me says, “get to work!” Who do you think I’ll listen to? 😉