So, hypothetical situation: let's say it's 2 days before you fly out to exhibit in a tradeshow - the tradeshow, the biggest event of your business year - the one you actually call "The Start and End of My Business Year".
Let's say you're scrambling with last-minute details, making sure your portfolios are spiffy and ready for showing off all that new art you've been working so hard on, and ensuring everything else is in order for your trip across the country and your week away from home.
What do you think would be a really smart thing to start right at this moment?
Yes, (ding ding ding) that is the correct answer. In a situation like this, you really ought to sew 3 skirts to wear all 3 days of the show. I mean, who cares if you have never made a skirt before - it's not like you have a bazillion other things to finish before you leave. Oh wait, yes you do. You do have a bazillion things to finish.
Honestly, I should know better whenever I realize I'm asking myself that dangerous question, "oh come on, how hard could it be...?" because that was exactly what I said after the thought popped into my head, "I know, circle skirts! With my own fabric! Genius!"
Seriously, with no time for shoe-shopping (although Fluevog NY is a mere 35 blocks from my hotel...) in my mind this was the challenge, not the ridiculous little detail he seemed to think was more important, "...that you are sewing 3 skirts right before you leave for Surtex." Oh, silly Husband Guy.
I was being realistic, really I was. I knew my limitations. Like, I knew that my hems would be wildly crooked so my solution was to line the skirts with a contrasting print; my terribly sloppy stitching would disappear under the neatly ironed crease at the hemline, and how cute would that contrasting fabric be when the skirt flips around, as circle skirts tend to do? "Genius" I thought.
Well, that of course doubled the sewing, caused confusion in structuring the pockets, and made them unbelievably heavy.
Not being very good at following rules (or patterns) I found a neato circle-skirt calculator online and started to cut and sew.
Profanity and seam-ripping ensued (although I will brag at this point that only one pocket was sewed in backwards the first time, and only one waistband was sewed on inside-out the first time) but somehow, miraculously, just in time to finish packing, I had 3 skirts.
This one has an elastic waist and hangs a little on the frumpy side. I could have probably gotten away with half of that elastic band, but I feared a too-tight waistband could make me look like a sausage-tied-in-the-middle so I went for "comfortably loose". The sheer weight of 7 yards of cotton pulling on a "comfortably loose" piece of stretchy stuff is, well, maybe not the most thought-out plan in the history of sewing.
I had been calling this one my "Crazy Cat Lady Skirt" but one of my show friends renamed it "Your Pretty Purple Princess Skirt with Dead Fish On It" which I love so much more.
I also so love the fabulous giant vintage button I sewed to the front for that little extra detail, but it was rusty on the back when I pulled it out of the button box. Once again I thought I was genius when, in too big a hurry to wait for proper drying time for any of the better-quality sealers I have in my studio, I chose to seal that rust with clear nail polish; but almost a month later that darn button and everything that's been anywhere near it still reeks of nail polish.
I suppose I learned a lot.
I learned about measuring waistlines (even the non-elastic ones were way too generous, especially considering the gravitational force of a garment this monsterously heavy, and at the last minute safety pins had to be employed to cinch them up), installing zippers (ok, maybe not so much: I thought I had bought 2 invisible zippers but it ends up the second one was a normal zipper that I was just looking at backwards and managed to sew into the skirt inside out - although I guess the back of the zipper facing front does make it sort of "invisible" so, whatever . . . I learned nothing).
Since I was using the Patented Beth Logan Make it Up As You Go method, what to do with pesky finishing details like, um, that flap I sort of planned to overlap the top of the zipper that I don't know how to finish . . . you'll notice my seam just sort of ends randomly because it is not sure where it would go, anyway.
To hide that fact, I decided it would be cute to add some of my Granny's vintage buttons (her button box was the inspiration for this print, after all) and would later sew in some hooks and eyes beneath them to hold that poor wayard and confused little flap down once it was zipped up. Since there were neither hooks nor eyes at the Duane Reade across from my hotel, safetey pins would have to do - but then again, I was glad for those pins when the reality of those generous waistlines hit me while getting dressed each morning of the show.
So maybe I learned a few things from the experience, but I didn't necessarily learn my lesson, and I will most likely ignore subtle inner warnings next time I hear myself say, "oh come on, how hard could it be....?"