Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Little Help? (And a Give Away)


By Jeannie Watt

If any of you happened to catch my blog at The Pink Heart Society, you know that the more trouble I have with the story I’m writing, the more I want to sew. Some might call this escapism or perhaps procrastination.  I prefer to call is accessing another part of my brain and allowing the story-spinning part to recuperate.  Lately though, sewing has become almost as difficult as the problems I'm trying to work out in my plots.

Let me walk you through my latest project, the Crossing Nevada revision dress, and see if you can identify my problem.,


 I usually make a muslin if the pattern is new to me. No sense wasting fabric on a dress that doesn't fit--I've had that happen way too many times in the past.



 I lay out the pattern carefully, making certain to align the grain of the fabric properly.



I cut the contrast fabric at the same time, after prewashing it to make certain the dye doesn't bleed.


I do a lot of interfacing to give the finished garment body. I hate cutting and applying interfacing, but I do it.


After I have everything cut out, I make my tailoring marks and then remove the pattern.Then I arrange the pieces in the order I'll sew them together. I'm very organized, yet somehow stuff keeps getting mussed up and sometimes ends up in a heap on the floor.

Oddly, I have no problem when I actually sew. Perhaps something to do with the noise, however, I do have to drape all my working pieces over a chair. You can probably figure out why.

Here is a photo of the finished dress. Note that there is no "helper" in the photo. The cat is not allowed outside, otherwise I’m certain she’d be peeking out from under the skirt.

I'm celebrating handing in the revisions for Crossing Nevada by giving away a $15 Amazon gift card. Tell me about the biggest challenge you face when you're trying to complete a project, be it pursuing a hobby in too small of a space, or tackling a killer project at work.

33 comments:

marybelle said...

Tripping over family who get in the way, is always a bother for me. They seem to come out of the woodwork - not to help though I notice.

Snookie said...

Love the cat :) My biggest problem is procrastination. I can find anything to distract myself from finishing what I need to finish. I'm usually up to the deadline in getting things done... was that way in school too. Don't think I'll ever change. Beautiful dress by the way :)

Snookie said...

Oh yea, I forgot... I'm also really good at volunteering myself to do things for non-profits, family, friends... that can take up a lot of time away from projects I need to complete!

mary sullivan said...

Great blog, Jeannie. I love the dress! I've studied and studied your photos but can't see why things are getting messed up ;-)

I'm a terrible procrastinator--or a really good one, depending on how you look at it. Lately, it's been knitting that's been pulling me away from more important things. I'd really rather look at pretty patterns and browse for gorgeous yarns than get down to business.

Anonymous said...

Biggest challenge? Trying NOT to freeze at my work because if I'm too cold I can't concentrate!

MarcieR

p.s. Very pretty dress

Pamela Hearon said...

The cat is beautiful, and the dress is darling! The biggest thing that pulls me away is my garden. This time of year, there is so much that needs to be done. I love working in the flowers, but I get so consumed by it that hours pass and suddenly the day is gone and I haven't written anything. I'm a morning writer, but that's also the coolest time to work outside.
Yesterday, the wip won. Today? We'll see!

Kay Stockham said...

Jeannie, that dress is beautiful! And I love your sewing companion. LOL Too cute.

Kay

Kristina Mathews said...

Love the dress. I want one just like it. I can sew just well enough to attempt a project, but my skills are only good enough to make pillows and halloween costumes. I tried making a blouse but one sleeve was too tight.

My biggest challenge right now is in timing. May is a killer month schedule-wise. The last month of school for us,with all the extra activities like two open houses, band concerts and this year 8th grade graduation. We also have baseball for two kids,often on opposite ends of the county. Throw in a birthday, Mother's Day and our anniversary. It is crazy-busy. So of course, there is a contest I want to enter with a June 1 deadline.

Oh, and I need to get a new car. Or throw a ridiculous amount of money at my old one.

Kathy Altman said...

Jeannie, I'm so impressed! The dress is adorable and so is your cat. :-) I love that you gave us this glimpse of your dressmaking methods. I'm assuming you tip your helper? My biggest challenge when trying to finish a project is not allowing myself to follow the siren call of distractions. Oh, wait, is that the dryer buzzing?

Geri Krotow said...

I love your dress, Jeannie! I knit and clean when procrastinating from writing. Nice to see I'm not alone, lol.

Laney4 said...

Too many balls in the air. I work on the priority exclusively and then everything else falls by the wayside - so badly that I have to work on each of those new priorities exclusively, and the cycle never stops. I've tried doing a little here and little there, but then I feel like nothing is accomplished. I need to learn to have less balls in the air.

Mary Brady said...

Jeannie, what a great dress and it looks so lovely on!

Your comment maybe it's the noise. Yeah! Noise often helps occupy the easily distracted part of my brain while the rest works.

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

What a beautiful dress and cute kitty! I am a customer service rep and I always get distracted by phone calls and people coming up to me with new requests. It is never ending.

Summer said...

I love that dress. Looking at fashion on the internet and flipping through magazines is very much one of my distractions from getting things done.

Kate said...

I think you've got a second career as a dress-maker happening. What a beautiful dress!
What distracts me from writing? Everything. By the way I act, jumping up from my desk with the least provocation, you'd think I hate writing. Except I'm pretty sure I love it. Or maybe the truth is I love having written.

Jeannie Watt said...

Marybelle--Lol at the family coming out of the woodwork. I love my family, but every now and then I'm thinking, "No, not now...!" And yes, usually it's to get help, not give it.

Snookie--You sound so much like me. Put stuff off and if there is enough time, then volunteer for something. Must overstuff those days, mustn't we?

alinaduffer said...

Hi Jeannie! I love the dress, it's beautiful! I wish I could sew like that. I make cakes. Well I'm trying to start my own business making cakes. Right now I am working out of my home kitchen. It's fine when the kids are at school, but when they are home it is a pain to work. They drive me batty, lol!The hardest time I had was also making the biggest cake I have ever done. It was for my oldest son's 8th birthday. He was having a Lego Indiana Jones party. I made a 2 1/2 foot long Lego Indiana Jones cake. It was almost as big as my kitchen island. Well I decided to use homemade fondant and let's just say I discovered that its not as easy to work with as they make it look on tv. 19 hours later I had done it and the cake was a huge hit.

Have a wonderful day!

Jeannie Watt said...

Mary--I did some knitting this summer. I simply cannot watch TV without something in my hands. I'm a novice knitter, but do enjoy it. High five to a fellow procrastinator. :-)

Marcie--Too funny! I often wonder if you're freezing at work--as I'm baking at mine.

Jeannie Watt said...

Pamela--I hope you conquer the wip today instead of the other way around. I'm a morning writer, too. The only time I write in the evening is when I'm on very tight deadline. Gardening is a gorgeous way to spend time.

Hi Kay! My sewing companion is sometimes a bit of a pain, but I do love her. My husband got her for me for Mother's Day five years ago. He found her photo on an internet rescue site, called me to the computer and told me he was getting me THAT cat. She lived in California at the time. I guess it was destiny, because she makes me very happy.

Jeannie Watt said...

Kristina--I hope you survive your very busy next several weeks and manage to squeeze in some writing time, too. Good luck on the car. Cars. Oy.

Kathy-- Dis-is that a chicken?-tractions. What do you mean?

Jeannie Watt said...

Geri--Cleaning does seem like a good way to procastinate. I read once that if you do procrastinate, procrastinate with something important or useful. Cleaning fits the bill.

Laney--I probably shouldn't say "less balls is the key" because it just doesn't sound right. (But I did say it .) You're right. It's important not to take on too much because then something always suffers.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Mary--My son keeps sending me sites with relaxation/creativity background music. He uses them all the time to help him focus.

Tammy--I worked in order entry for an electronics firm for a while. I was supposed to work on things in between orders, so the phone calls (my real job) made me nuts.

Jeannie Watt said...

Summer--I also love looking at fashions in magazines and on the internet. Lately I've been looking at the retro sewing sites, thinking I need to make something from the 50s. Love those dresses.

Kate--"I love having written..." Oh yeah. I do so agree!

Jeannie Watt said...

Alina--Cakes! You have my utmost admiration! I did so much research into cake making when I wrote Just Desserts. Personally I can't frost a cake for love or money. I just can't frost. So people who make those wonderful designer cakes awe me. Best of luck with your business!

Beth Andrews said...

Jeannie, that dress is gorgeous! I love sewing but I gave it up because my sewing because would mess up the stitches so often. But my younger daughter told me she wants to make her own dress for homecoming this fall so now I have an excuse to buy a new machine :-)

chey said...

Beautiful dress!
When I have a project I always find many other things that "need" to be done first (bake, clean, yard work).

Jackie S. said...

Beautiful dress.....I cannot sew at all. My Mom could, and many years ago, she requested a certain Home Ec teacher for me...hoping I would catch on! No such luck! lol

Kaelee said...

Hi Jeanie Love the dress and the helper. My "helpers" over the years have caused a few challenges as well.

Jeannie Watt said...

Beth--How cool that your daughter wants to make her own dress for homecoming, and double cool that you have an excuse to buy a new machine.

Chey--Isn't it amazing how many things "have" to be done before the one we're supposed to be doing?

Jackie--Too funny about your mom's clever plan not working. Not everyone takes to sewing, or in my case, cake frosting.

Kaelee--I've seen photos of your helpers. So cute!

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Jeannie,

Sliding in here late. I read your blog yesterday and studied the pictures. I was trying to figure out why you kept getting messed up, but that cat was in the way and I couldn't really see the dress. :-)

LOVE that dress. I'm so impressed with your skills. I'm not that gifted with sewing--squares are it for me. Although, I'm not sure it's a lack of gifts, maybe a lack of patience.

When I saw the muslin step and the interfacing step, I thought I'd probably skip those. (This is the same reason I'm a bad cook. I skip steps that are probably important.)

You'd look great in retro fashions--you have enough flare to pull something like that off.

See you soon for our double-blog.

Rogenna Brewer said...

Jeannie;

I should have known you were multi-talented. The dress is beautiful. I need to develope new and better procrastinating techniques.

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen--I can't wait for our double blog. Of course, since I procrastinate, I'll be contacting you with my part about 6 hours before it goes live. Just the way I roll. I do understand the need to skip steps, my friend. When it comes to cleaning, I find myself skipping most of the steps. Step skipping is necessary for sanity sometimes, don't you think?

Rogenna--Yes--find something fun to procrastinate with. Finding the procrastination techniques is half the battle--and a great way to procrastinate.

liztalley said...

Soory I'm so late, but, wow, it came out amazing...despite the problems. And now it must be way worth the wearing.

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