I am in the midst of a family history project that has grown into a living and breathing entity that calls me back again and again. It’s as if I’m drawn into something bigger than myself which will not be quiet until the story is completed. This is another reason why my Secretary Blouse and Sheath Skirt project has taken so long.
I miss with my heart and soul all my dressmaking projects. They are now part of “Whenever Land” a place where I can focus on them when I’m fully alert and not surrounded by research notes, phone calls and draft documents related to the family history project.
Writing the family history in a book format a struggle for me. It does not flow the way blogging or dressmaking does. When I’m sewing or drafting a pattern the thought process is at a different level. I start with an idea and work towards its realization. Everything flows. There are challenges where I pause, but then the flow resumes. The same applies to my blogging.
Writing a book is very hard. I have scattered memories, research findings and a wealth of family stories to piece together. Then I have to figure out what the deeper meaning is. Finally, the way in which the story is told is very important. One has to show the story through the scenes and flow of the narrative. I cannot do that in chapter format. I’m doing something very different called an episodic format. Each ep (episode) is only 2-3 pages long. The idea is to encapsulate a specific point in the history and let the ep tell it on several levels. In a way an ep is like a unit in sewing. You stitch together one or two components to complete a part of the greater garment. An ep is also like a blog post in that it is self-contained. It doesn’t have to link to what came before or after. It is up to the writer and the needs of the larger narrative. This is what I’m learning about the process.
Today, as a reminder that I can sew and design I’m looking back on the Donna Skirt and Blouse. This was a breakthrough for me because after a long absence from sewing my skills started to come to the fore. Hand made buttonholes, inserting a zipper by hand, hemming a circular skirt. I also challenged myself by creating a blouse with a waistline yoke as described in Claire Schaeffer’s “Couture Sewing Techniques.” I decided to upload these photos taken yesterday to introduce my Twitter followers to what I’m able to do.
I have decided to reclaim my Saturday or Sunday afternoon hours for sewing. The family history is underway and will get time during the weekday early a.m. hours. Writing is a tricky thing. It requires waiting for the voice of inspiration to drop in whereas for me with sewing it is always there.
The Donna Skirt and Blouse was inspired by the everday outfits housewives wore in the 1950s and early 1960s. My inspiration was “The Donna Reed Show.”