Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Seed Packets of Frustration

You know how I've mentioned before, about sewing projects that sit in my sewing room for years and years, decades even, waiting for some final stitches? How some of the projects, I can't explain why I haven't finished them, I just haven't? While some others, it's something tangible, like, I ran out of that particular color of thread and just can't seem to find any more, or I am short a button, or something went wrong with the cutting out or sewing up, or a piece went missing, so I can't finish without serious design effort, which is just too much to think about?


I have this shirt-in-progress, we'll call it the Seed Packet Shirt (the print features seed packets), which was begun as a team effort between me and mom. A New Look pattern, very 90's, very loose and "comfy". Mom cut it out, and actually stitched most of it. I forget why. At some point, the unfinished blouse and the rest of it's parts ended up back at my house. At some point, it was noted that the cuff pieces were missing.

I was stoic about it, thinking to myself, how hard could that be to improvise - they're just rectangles, right? But, also being a perfectionist, I preferred to have the actual pattern piece. So I kept a look-out. (Mom is notorious for losing pattern pieces. She hates folding them up and putting them away. She loves it when I come over and clean up after her cutting-out sessions.)
I actually wondered if it would be unethical to pull the pattern from the drawers at the store, and trace off the piece(s). I thought about that idea fairly often, to tell the truth. But I never did it.

After a while, the pattern went out of print, as patterns do, and I had to go back to looking for the missing piece. It was never found, though many others were - skirt fronts, cuffs, collars, bodice pieces - all kinds of loose/lost pattern pieces turned up. But not the cuff for my Seed Packet Shirt. That piece, it appeared, was lost forever.

Until now.

While contemplating which UFO's from my sewing room might be smart (and fast) to finish for Me Made March '11, I started going through a basket of what at one point was my "current" or "soon to be finished" set of UFO's. Not much in that basket really excites me right now, but at some point, these were things I wanted to wear. At any rate, the Seed Packet Shirt is part of that group, so I pull it out, and tell myself it's time to get over it, once and for all, and just figure out the dimensions of that stupid cuff, so I can finish the thing and move on. The sleeve has some pleats in it, so I'll need to fold those over and measure the resulting width in that position to determine how long to make the cuff, which is best done with the paper pieces, since fabric has a tendency to stretch. (Can you understand why I didn't just do this before? Can you?) I reach into the pattern envelope and pull everything out. I unfold each piece, one by one, but only to point that I can tell it's not the sleeve, and then move on to the next piece, placing each piece carefully back in the envelope as I go. (I don't have a problem with that - I think of it as part of the process.) I'm almost through all of them, still haven't seen the sleeve, when I come across two small pieces that haven't been cut out yet. They're both just rough-cut around the edges, like you do when you're separating the pieces before laying them out to cut. I unfold them, and, what do you know? it's the sleeve binding and the cuff.

I....have no idea.

I was certain I'd gone through the pattern envelope more than once, but now I wonder. Did mom gather it up for me, and tell me she couldn't find the cuff? Or did I see with my own eyes that it was missing? The fact that neither piece had been cut out would explain them being missing in fabric form. But how had I missed the paper pieces in that envelope? I am kicking myself, because it seems like I may never have gone through the pieces, I just took her word for it. I guess they could have hid themselves all this time, but that's not likely. (Even less likely: mom found the pieces, gave them to me, and I tucked them away in the pattern envelope without so much as a second thought, never mind how long I'd been searching for them.)

I left the pieces out of the envelope, but placed them in the Ziploc with the scraps, prominently in front, so I could cut them out when I'm ready.

I am just so...frustrated!

That blouse is not exactly "now", and I can't tell you how many times I wanted to wear it back when it would have been, if I only had those pieces.

I'll have to get back to you on this one. I think I'll finish it. Probably soon. But I can't say as I'll like it much. I'll try, but I just can't promise anything.

(I think I'll go have another maple-bacon-bar. Nothing like a little comfort food to calm the frustration.)

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