Monday, 14 September 2015

a stumbling block

So, about that massive gap between posts. I've hit whatever the sewing version of writer's block is (I can't give it a name because Sewer's Block looks rather disgusting written down and I still refuse to accept that "sewist" is a word).

I had a couple of weeks away from my sewing machine, for holiday/visiting family reasons, and in some ways that was great. I got to spend time with people I love, I got to wander round in fresh air, I got to eat quite a lot of very nice food. But also, it allowed me time to think. And time to think is a very dangerous thing.

I have a fast-working brain, a head for problem solving, a great imagination and an excellent memory. And when I'm happy, these are great things. I can learn fast, I can write, I can see my way around an awkward situation, I am a demon on a pub quiz team. Happy Jen has a lot going for her. However, Happy Jen isn't a constant, and two things you REALLY don't want when you're anxiety-prone is a great imagination and an excellent memory. I have managed to create what seemed to my brain at the time an entirely plausible connection between poor choice of accessories on my part and getting straight-up murdered in broad daylight. I remember nasty things other kids said when I was in infants' school (and there were a lot of those. Being a quiet smart kid who likes books will get you picked on a lot, who'd have thought). When I'm not feeling great, my imagination and memory work in tandem - imagination suggests several scenarios in which disaster will befall me if I attempt to accomplish some minor task, memory obligingly provides evidence of times when bad things happened or people were unpleasant to me in similar circumstances - to make it very difficult for me to leave the house. It's a bit of a bugger.

In my time away from the sewing machine, I have had the following thoughts:

1. Everything I make is too sloppy and I should take more time over it.
2. Do you see the amount of work some people put in to a basic skirt? I should be doing that, not being all crazy and trying to learn how to make trousers.
3. Maybe I should still be on my very first skirt, making it all couture and stuff.
[impulse-and-shame-buy online class on couture techniques]
4. I made my first skirt at the end of May and it's now September and these are ridiculous expectations to have of myself.
5. I possibly shouldn't have bought that class WHO WANTS TO GO ON A TRIP TO MONEY-PANICVILLE??
6. It's fine, I just need to make something.
7. I should practice techniques on scraps of material for two years or something before I'm allowed to make any clothes.
8. Yeah, but I won't, because that's boring.
9. Just make something, dammit.
11. I'm going back to bed. I haven't made things. And the more I don't make things, the more I become convinced that I don't have any patterns that are wearable or any fabric that would look good on me. I need to stop this, because it is ridiculous and also not sewing makes me sad. But I need a starting point, and of course I'm massively overthinking what that starting point might be. Thing A is too complicated, but Thing B is too simple; Fabric X is too precious to cut right now but Fabric Y was an ill-advised impulse buy and I won't like what I make from it.

My current plan is to get everything ready so that when inspiration does strike, I'm ready to go. In step form:

1. Pre-wash all the fabric I own that I haven't already washed, so all my options are open
2. Tidy up my sewing area so that I know where all the tiny little things that get lost are (seam ripper/zip foot/weird needle-changing screwdriver thing)
3. Take the really organised step of keeping a list of what fabrics I have and how much I have of them, so that it's easier to match them to appropriate patterns
4. Stop pretending I'm going to use tiny little scraps and get rid of them, even if that girl commenting on that blog said that was a bad wasteful thing to do and any TRUE sewing enthusiast would cling on to those scraps of £2.99 per metre cotton for DEAR LIFE
5. Try to chill out, at least a tiny bit.

(...and exhale)

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