I have a problem.
Ok, I have several, but at least I am aware of them, right? The foremost is my obsessive and compulsive nature. It does not take much for me to cling to an idea and become consumed by its every faucet…and the obsession of the moment is sewing. To make dresses. For me. (And occasionally for select friends.)
It is my ‘guilty pleasure’, the thing I do to get away from my stubborn and uncooperative characters, my self-doubt, and what I deem to be the pressures of reader expectations. Sewing, at least for me, is simple. It doesn’t require my entire brain and allows me to simply focus on the up and down motion of the needle.
Part of the pleasure is found in the certainty of my skill. I KNOW I can create a unique and fun dress to add to my wardrobe because I’ve done it at least 10 times before (I told you, I have a problem). I have confidence in my abilities–there is no lingering doubt in regards to my competency or my level of skill. Which makes me happy. 🙂
As a result, I have a closet full of personalized dresses (the SAME dress, just different prints) that reflect my interests—Downton Abbey, Star Trek, Star Wars, mid-century Christmas, Colonial Williamsburg (made from reproduction fabric from the colonial era that I will wear to the museum), Marvel…the list continues to lengthen as my whims and fancies change. Future and impending selections include flamingoes, 1940’s Hawaiian pinups, and typewriters. No lie.
I have considered sewing for others and turning my pleasure into an actual business, but then the sewing would no longer be something I do for me. Selfish? Entirely. But the self-doubt would creep back in–is the seam straight enough for the price I’m charging? Is the fit to their exact measurements? Is the zipper installation helter skelter? And the time! Who has it? I feel guilty enough sewing for me, to take time away from writing to sew for another would triple the guilt. The pressure of high expectations would return with a gusto, and my confidence would falter. I’m a perfectionist. My personal expectations are high enough without more fuel in the fire. To add another person’s is overwhelming, and something I am forced to deal with in my writing life–I need a retreat. A place where I can go where my opinion is the only one that matters… and I find that in the steam of my iron, the whir of my sewing machine, and the purchase of fun fabric for more dresses.
Sewing the same dress over and over is what I do. And why not? I like the fit. I like the silhouette. And it’s comfy, yet stylish enough to wear out and about, especially in a hot Carolina summer. It’s a win-win…at least until the next obsession grabs hold…because I can already feel this one dying. It may have something to do with the fact that once I start a project (outside of writing, funny how that works) I can’t stop. I have to finish, and those 5 future dresses I posted above (which, by the way, was about 2 weeks ago when I originally drafted this post)? Yeah…they have now turned into five finished dresses.
But then, I did tell you. I have a problem.