The Joy and the Despair


It is rare to find classes on flat patterning anymore, and while it is enjoying a revival thanks to hip young stitchers like Gertie it’s still largely a lost art. When I first started at my job, my co-worker taught a flat patterning class and I sat in.

It was HARD. There are a lot of very technical aspects to sewing that generally then meet up with artistry and design, and the ability to see something that is flat, like fabric, and predict what changes you can make to it that will result in it fitting a 3D form is a real stretch for some of us artsy types. I have not had a lot of opportunities to really use those skills since then, although I flex those muscles somewhat in fittings and have gotten good at seeing something and knowing what needs to be done to make it fit properly. But the business of moving darts and accommodating a person’s figure in a flattering way is not something I’ve gotten as much opportunity to do as I’d like.

I am at a point where I feel pretty confident that if someone offers me a project, I can do it–even if it’s something I haven’t done before–because my foundation of knowledge and experience are such that I no longer fear those things that are new to me. I have taken a client who wants a dress for an evening wedding and wants it to fit her body in a flattering way. I have been really pleased that as I mocked up the pattern she chose, each time I had a notion that something wasn’t right and that I needed to do X to fix it, research proved that my instincts were correct.

In other words; we once had a student who asked a lot of questions, and one time he asked me something and I answered him and he said, “You know the answer to everything, how do you do that?” and I said, famously, “I know, right? IT’S LIKE WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING.” That became a shop motto from that day forward, and even at home today, as I split and moved a dart from the side seam into a shoulder and waist bust dart, I was saying out loud to the dogs, “DAMN! IT’S LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!!!” And there I am, in the zone, moving darts and making notes and feeling like a super star and….


….my back and my hips and my ankles and my wrists say, “STOP.”

I resent that. I want to work all night and keep shaking my fanny (in my studio alone) to Gorgol Bordello and patterning like a BOSS. Instead I need to stop and go take a bath, and hope my notes make sense tomorrow. That is not to say that I am not grateful for being able to do what I did accomplish today, but I am just not ready to be the person who has to go take a bath and lay on the heating pad. Who has to say no to a sexy times offer from my husband because I said yes last night and my hips hurt so bad today I can’t stand it.

If you were hanging outside my studio, you’d here, “YEAH! LIKE A BOSS! It’s like I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!” followed by, “DAMMIT. It’s NOT FAIR!” Then muttering and a short stop to whine to the internet.

If only my body could keep up with my brain, I’d achieve world domination within days. As it is, ya’ll are safe for a little bit longer.

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