Friday, February 22, 2008

Sleight of hand

My brother-in-law's mother makes the most delicious cabbage I have ever tasted. It has a smoky, wonderfully deep-Southern taste I still can't quite describe. I don't normally enjoy cabbage on its own, but whatever it is she does, would make your "tongue slap your brain", as my Dad used to say. She has explained the recipe to my sister many times over, sometimes while demonstrating her process, and when she turns to the stove to add just a touch of water, her hand, like a snake's tongue, quickly darts toward the back wall of her countertop, and a small dose of something, (that she will not admit is there) gets added to the mixture. Whatever it is, it makes all the difference.

This is the story of a swimsuit project... An original swimsuit design with semi-circle cutouts at the waist, a mostly-open back, partially lined with powernet for a girdle-like fit. This is a swimsuit with a lot of inner structure, support, and strength.

So, yeah, right... nice dream, huh? That swimsuit was not for me, but for a client. My own swimsuit fabric remains in the "I'll get to that pile" for now...

Okay, let's talk about sewing instruction/patterns/directions of any kind that promise "quick-to-make" or "easy"... If the end result is what you actually want, it probably wasn't easy. Ready for the real deal?

I made two swimsuits, two cover-up tops, and two skirts over the course of about 10 days. Although it had been on my schedule for a while, once begun, I felt like this project took me an embarrassingly long time to complete. All told, about 18 hours of actual sewing work. Circumstances did not cooperate with my plan AT ALL. My beloved machine popped a mysterious spring, my fabric store had run out of the fabric my machine ate, sick kids, sick me, cold weather, Early Intervention meetings, unplanned schedule changes, not a single minute to myself, and lots of tension surrounded this project. Happily, my client really loves the red suit. The turquoise one (now finished) has some issues still to be worked out... I've made my client several of these over the past two years, so these weren't individually fit this time around.

To get my work done, and to get my brain in order, I took a much-needed technology break. Just signing on briefly for very specific tasks, I tried not to read email, blogs, or take on any additional responsibilities. Still behind schedule, but not as awful as before, I am back, and spending this time while my son naps, and my daughter draws pictures of airplanes and flowers. I have more work to do tonight, when everyone else is asleep. Happily, I am finishing projects accepted long ago, so I will accept no new work, keep the projects I have, and I'll begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The fact is, anything special takes time... and we all would love to make it look easy. We all love the promise of "Easy". reality, it just isn't...

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