Yesterday, I attempted something I never, in a million years, thought I would ever do.
As in needles, threads, and fabric.
There are many reasons why this is a revolutionary idea. One: I have thick unwieldy fumble fingers. Me trying to slide a minute piece of thread through an even smaller needle eye is akin to me carving a sculpture in a sugar cube… with a toothpick. Preposterous. And that is how I have viewed sewing most of my life. I always thought it was far too delicate a task for my clumsy, blundering self to undertake.
And I had tried. When I was a kid, my grandmother and I used to embroider together. Cross-stitch. When we were finished, her pieces always looked like professional marvels. Perfect x-shapes across the front and back of her fabric. Mine looked like a cat had gotten ahold of the thread spools, and … you know, did with the stunning array of colored threads what cats are wont to do with strings, and yarn, and other feline toys.
With such a lack of delicacy, I had given up, at a relatively young age then, on a life as a seamstress. And I hadn’t really thought much about sewing since. I am a crafter – I am particularly fond of painting glass and collage projects – but I never really thought about undertaking a sewing project. In fact, I have often turned away from crafts that require some kind of sewing. Which is reason number Two why this is such a revolutionary idea: plain ol’ lack of interest. Asking me to sew is like asking Dracula if he’ll drink lizard blood. The guy is probably not averse to the idea, but to drink that in place of human? Eh.
So what made me decide to drink the lizard blood? Try my big bumbling hands at such a delicate task? I had a wild idea. One of those ideas that pops into your head so fast and so fully-formed, you don’t give yourself even a fraction of one second to question it. This idea is going to happen. No ifs, ands, or buts.
And that idea was this: I was going to make my own Halloween costume.
Why take baby steps? Just get up and run that marathon.
I still don’t know what possessed me to think of making my own Halloween costume. I had considered pulling together some grungy clothes, some fake blood and gore, and going as a zombie from the Walking Dead. That would have been more in line with … me. And how I roll when it comes to things like deciding on a Halloween costume. Simple, fast, straightforward, and no muss, no fuss.
But I wanted to go as a water nymph. I had an image in my head of a long shimmery dress of green and blue with sparkles in my hair and glittery shine on my face, and I couldn’t get rid of it. I couldn’t bring myself to let go of that idea in favor of the far easier Walking Dead zombie. So I am going with it. Will the costume I put together come out like the image in my head? Ha! I’m not totally deluded. But the more I thought about putting together a water nymph costume, the more excited I became by trying it.
An excitement that has seen its first steps in my sewing start yesterday. A trip to Goodwill garnered three former prom dresses in green, blue, and silver, and a swing by Joanne’s Craft and Fabrics brought me a sewing kit with needles, thread, fabric scissors, seam ripper, and some sheer blue fabric. I was ready to begin.
First step? Watch a video on sewing basics on YouTube. Done.
Next step was the first alteration to the green prom dress, which will be the central piece of my costume. I removed the sleeves (courtesy of the seam ripper!) and re-stitched the hems to create a sleeveless dress. And guess what? They came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Considering I haven’t held a needle since I was 9-years-old and the needle is so small, you need a microscope to see it. An experienced seamstress will take one look at these re-hemmed sleeves and probably laugh themselves into an asylum, but I am proud of them. And I am hopeful the rest of the costume may actually turn out okay.
I am also proud of myself for trying this. For not taking that easy way out. It may only be a Halloween costume, but it’s a big step for me. I tried something wholly new and different. Something I wouldn’t have even thought about trying prior to the arrival of that wild idea. And it may still come out as complete crap (which I told J means I’ll go as a “demented water nymph”) but I tried. I took a risk. That’s a win all by itself.
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go –T.S. Eliot