Thursday, April 29, 2010

Me-Made-May Rules of Engagement; A woohoo!; and Gift for a Long-Suffering Friend

OK. Me-Made-May rules of engagement. So the final tally of clothing is:

*5 handmade skirts, 1 blouse, 1 dress
*2 refashioned skirts
*1 handmade-by-others skirt, 1 blouse, 1 dress

Note: for items of clothing that I had to seriously refashion, like 'hey, I practically made a new skirt out of this' and not 'hey, I threw on a bias binding waistband' we are just calling them handmade for all intents and purposes.

So ... obviously blouses are going to be my stumbling block, but if I'm just going by the one-handmade-per-day rule then I should be more than fine. I still want to include the refashioned and handmade-by-others goodies, though, because frankly they're some of my favorite items of clothing, so I will say that they must be paired with something else on the list in order to appear that day! Also, this may not be playing fair but I have this favorite, favorite, favorite dress that I bought retail in China in 2006 that I absolutely adore, and I am going to give myself the wiggle room to wear it once in May. Just because I love it that much and damnit, I'm graduating in May.

OK. Very excited for this challenge!!! And I have more handmade in the works, hopefully they are finished soon~!

My woohoo moment: I just finished writing a paper on crafting/bloggers! Wahahahahahaha, triumphant laughter all around! My favorite type of paper is when I can take a personal interest and work it into academia somehow. I did this twice in undergrad ... and one of those papers eventually morphed into a research fellowship for China. Now I feel like I can say my graduate career is complete.

Giftie for a long-suffering friend:

Rachael has been kind, too kind, to me these past 2 years. She is my go-to freakout buddy, the one who talks me, logically and calmly, through academic/work/personal crises [or rather, so-called crises, you know the ones I'm talking about]. She has been my fooding buddy, my study buddy, my ranting buddy, and my soccer buddy! I kept wanting to make her something handmade but my sewing machine has not seen a terrible amount of action this past year, but finally, last week when I was off the computer and not reading, I finally finished this project that has languished for waaaaaaay too long.

Although maybe you can see why. Did I mention that I do not like triangles? I took great pains with these though - ironed the seams open after each seam, squared up and trimmed each patchwork block ............. blergh. Although the points match up really nicely, which makes the effort so totally worth it for such a great friend! I love the look of these value quilts, had originally intended to make a quilt myself, but who am I kidding? That's never going to happen. I like to think of this as a nice adventuring bag for Rachael though. Roomy, cheerful. Full of potential.

Oh yes, I topstitched the life out of that patchwork handle. I made a little mini-diamond pocket on one side, the side with the patchwork handle, and then a gray handle for the bright side. Kind of like two bags in one.

I had to laugh while I was trying to get decent photographs of this bag, though, because the other day my roommate was commenting how she likes the photos on my blog ... and it was impossible to get any decent shots! She has no idea how many outtakes it takes to get one or two that are passable. And these were turning out so, so horribly that I started goofing around with the bag because it really seemed like it couldn't get any worse than it already was ...

Um ... yeah. Moving on.

So Zoe had an interesting post about making and the stress that sometimes comes from it, especially if you start to lose joy in the process of making and find yourself obsessed with your million-item-long to-do list. Which is something I totally relate to ... and I feel like you see it pop up in a lot of crafting blogs, that burnout period where you're just not feeling inspired, or the making just isn't fun anymore. I've been thinking about that, and about how crafting can almost seem like a contradiction. We do it for fun, but at the same time we're usually making functional things [or at least things intended to function, I won't pretend that a bag that took ~10 hours to make is merely functional], and often we're making functional items in lieu of purchasing the same item. Which means making becomes both a luxury and a need, and that's a tough balance to maintain, I think.

Because on the one hand, I want to stay true to the values that pulled me to choose to make instead of to buy. But on the other hand, if I become too focused on everything that I could make and that I would like to have - all those 'want's that aren't necessarily 'need's - that I start rushing the process because I'm in a hurry to get on to the 3 other things that I 'need,' it can really kill the joy. I'm also trying to remind myself what a luxury crafting can be.

For some, especially the ones who are particularly creative at refashioning, it is a definite money-saver and sometimes an economic necessity. My pocketbook certainly appreciates the money that I can put towards paying off school loans instead of shopping for crappy H&M clothing, but honestly, crafting is also a luxury for me. It's a luxury to be able to splurge on nice fabrics or yarns every once in awhile. But even more, it's a luxury to be able to sit down for an uninterrupted morning and make something for myself, at exactly my pace, and exactly to my specifications. It's joy, it's creative, it's unique, it's self-sufficient. And it makes me happy.

Balance. I think it all comes down to balance. Just like we don't want to overconsume, I think there's something to be said for not overcrafting, too. I'd like to think that I'm in this for the long haul, you know? And sometimes that means taking it slow. And maybe not making everything that I want, but really trying to savor every last thing that I do make.


Zonnah said...

Love the bag and the pics!

I understand the balance. What I do is save patterns I want to make and every so often if I have not looked at them, they get deleted WITHOUT me going through them. Most my patterns are web based.

It helps because I then don't have this mental list running in my head of things I want to make.

Also, I found that if there was something that I really, really want to make I will remember it and then make it :)

Ritapizza said...

Love the bag too! so much love and detail went into it and your dear friend is gonna love it! yay triangles! see, they're not that hard! I usually cut the pieces bigger and trim down but I'm also not picky about points lining up :)

yay May sewing goals! you go girl!

awesome you wrote a crafting related article! how perfect for you!

good luck with everything, dear~~~ <3<3<3

Ali said...

Amen! After spending way too much time with my sewing machine lately I am definitely feeling you on the balance vibe. And you must post your fave dress -- I think my one real sewing commitment for May is going to be a grad dress, too. :)

I particularly loved this: "...if I become too focused on everything that I could make and that I would like to have - all those 'want's that aren't necessarily 'need's - that I start rushing the process because I'm in a hurry to get on to the 3 other things that I 'need,' it can really kill the joy." Well said!

Tasia said...

Oh man, I can totally relate. The other day my guy wanted to see a movie and I actually weighed my options - what if the movie isn't any good? that's 2+ hours of wasted precious sewing time! I wrote about it today on my blog as well, how it's all about balance. Check out my sad wardrobe, I have nearly all skirts and dresses to wear for the next month...hope the weather stays nice! See you around during Me-Made-May :)

Jodi said...

That is a great bag! Looks like it was well worth the time invested.

Melynda said...

I agree. It's a daily struggle to reach that balance isn't it? Very thought provoking post, thank you.

Tilly said...

Wowee, what a lovely bag! Your friend is very lucky. I'd love to read your crafting/blogging paper - any plans to share?!