Thursday, June 09, 2011


The other day Ali was discussing her desire to make up a dress in a whimsical print. She knows I adore a good whimsical print and am all for more people wearing whimsical clothing more often. And we started saying how it would be great to take on a "stretch" project like that this summer - something that's outside our comfort zone but which we think we'd really enjoy. Something ... something ridiculous.

I like this notion of ridiculous. Ridiculous can mean so many things to different people. For Ali, ridiculous might mean a whimsical dress (erg, or maybe I stuffed those words in her mouth, I'm pretty sure the word "ridiculous" actually came from me). Or Sigrid was telling me about a fantastic coat her son showed her, one with built in mittens that can be "activated." She says [and I hope she doesn't mind the direct quotation],

Ever since I have wanted to try something like that. It seems more liberating than trying to create the "perfect" this or that, which is what I seem to be hung up on right now.

Totally agree! For me, "ridiculous" means trying to squeeze a 6-paneled skirt out of a Men's button down, or knitting an entire sweater, stranded no less and my first time stranding no less, on size 1 needles. Who does that??? Or rather, why are there these random projects that fall way outside our comfort zone, something totally new to us, but which we are compelled to take on regardless? And isn't it odd that these are sometimes the most satisfying projects?

Maybe they're the ones where, like Sigrid, we're not aiming for perfection, and the process (or the product) is that much better for it - perfectly what we wanted, perfectly suited to the moment, perfectly quirky in all the right ways. Maybe they're the ones that bring some of the joy and spontaneity back into crafting, a sensation of que sera sera that can easily be lost as we hone our technical skills or recreate a runway garment.

So I'm proposing this. Let's make some ridiculous projects this summer. Whatever "ridiculous" means to you. It will be fun. There may be wadders ... that get salvaged ... and become 10x's better than the original concept. It will be low pressure, because after all, isn't "ridiculous," by definition, free from expectations of perfection, technical prowess, and practicality? It will be something to blow off steam when that other project isn't coming together. It will be a procrastination foil for all those garments that sound good on paper but aren't quite as exciting to dig into. It will be a mojo builder - let's just tear into this and see what happens! It will be ... whatever you want it to be. Whatever you need it to be. Amusing, stress relief, forehead slapping, a chance to try something totally wacky or really new, a place to ask questions or get inspiration.

I call it ... Challenge: Ridiculous. I've certainly got some ridiculous schemes up my sleeve (not in the least of which includes trying to talk Ali into making matching dresses with gigantic eyeglasses on them ... and then organizing a blogging meetup and showing up as TWINS. OK, now that I've revealed myself on the blogosphere, I may have to bury that crackpot scheme and come up with an equally ridiculous one.)

Anybody care to join? If there's enough interest I'll put together a Flickr group, or at least create a mini sew-along/ collaborative challenge. I'd love to see what other ridiculous ideas are floating around out there! We could cheer one another on! Gather inspiration! Push each other to new ridiculous ... I mean creative ... heights!


Minnado said...

This sounds funny and fun. Some of my exisitng clothes are already ridiculous by my partner's standards. He has asked me not to wear my lisette for simplicity dresses out of the house with him! I love them, so I guess ridiculous is a subjective thing. My tendency to make clothes from duvet covers or sheets is also seen by some people as ridiculous. Like ALi, I too was thinking of making a dress in a whimsical print. I was looking at whimsical prints fabric online but they were too expensive for me at the moment.
Anyway this is a long winded way of saying count me in Jessica, if I can only think of something ridiculous!

Ally said...

I'm game Jessica! Ridiculous is good.

After having spent a lot of time trying to create a dress without making mistakes (Why? I can only learn from mistakes...!) I am very open to the idea of something fun and silly without the presure of "getting it right".

Not sure what this would mean in my case quite yet as the thought of not trying to make it perfect is somewhat new to me...
I'll ponder about a ridiculous project I could make with the most "fun"/"silly"/"crazy" fabric I have in my stash...

poet said...

Such a cool idea! I might join you in this endeavor if I can think of something to make.

Allison said...

I'm not sure this is ridiculous enough, but I'm getting married and planning to make my own completely deconstructing the one my mom wore 40 years ago. If that counts I'm in!

Alessa said...

Sounds like fun! :) I'm not quite sure about my definition of ridiculous, and I guess I already have the (well-earned) reputation of not being a perfectionist (who cares if it's perfect, as long as it's awesome?!)... But, well, count me in and I'll have a good think about the boundaries of my comfort zone. I'm thinking pink unicorn print... ;)

Sigrid said...

Oh, I got so excited when i saw your post title. I really need this right now as I too am a bit hung up on making some "perfect" summer clothes. And now I have to experiment with "activating" some mittens !

Ali said...

I'm only wearing the sunglasses dress if you make one too. That's pretty frickin' ridiculous (though the Sew Convert just made a top in that print!) Especially if we wear it out together. Peops are gonna ask us if we work at the Sunglass Hut and are on break. ;)

You can, of course, pick out the most whimsical print for me. Wow. This is going to be hard for me: No practicality?? But I do love the idea of having a go to dress so I don't rip my hair out over a current project. Count me in!

By the by, I may need some help fitting that Rooibos pattern to my weird back. You possibly available for wrapping me in tissue paper with pokey things nearby?

Ali said...


Becky said...

This post made me laugh out loud, on the paragraph about what "ridiculous" means to you! So true!

Crazy prints are pretty standard for me, so I think that for me, "ridiculous" would be more technique-based. I'm doing the Summer Essentials Sew-along, and one of the projects I have in mind is a knit top with Grecian-style draping. And macrame. I'm not sure yet how it's going to work, and I've never done macrame in my life (unless those embroidery floss friendship bracelets that I made all the time as a teenager count.) But I've had the idea floating around my head for well over a year now, so it needs to happen at some point, right? Does that count as ridiculous?

jessica said...

Thank you for the enthusiasm everybody! I'm very excited for our collective ridiculousness! The world could use a little bit more of it =).

Minnado -- Wha-?? I LOVE your lisette Simplicity dresses! You know what your partner needs? Your partner needs to jump on some of our blogs, he'll see that those dresses are so far from ridiculous its not even funny!

Allison - Sounds ridiculous to me! (Ridiculously exciting and thrilling!!!) ;-).

Alessa -- pink unicorn print??? I'm drooling already! Seriously, it sounds perfect.

Sigrid -- I am looking forward to those mittens! I have this vague notion in my brain and a sneaking suspicion that what you create will be 10 x's better.

Becky - Sounds like the perfect ridiculous project! I say bring it on!

Amy said...

1) I realize I only know you and Sigrid through our various blogs, but somehow I can just picture her talking about a coat with built-in mittens that can be activated. This amuses me.

2) Oh, Jessica! You're speaking the language of Half-Assed Mama! Your definition of "ridiculous" is pretty much exactly what we mean by half-assed. I knew you were our people! ;-)

5) Size one needles make my hands hurt. Not to mention my brain.

4) I'd probably jump into this challenge (being one whose every attempt at making a garment just naturally falls into the ridiculous category), but the very thought of me trying to get anything sewn or knit this summer is, in fact, BEYOND beyond ridiculous. Alas. But I'll eagerly await other people's creations!

Zonnah said...

Well put, I don't think I could say it better. That is the perfect definition of my dear jane quilt.