In the narrow gap between work and sleep (another 12-hour day yesterday), I have been reading up on couture sewing. It is rapidly becoming apparent that you can spend an arbitrary amount of time on a couture garment, depending on how fussy you want to be; also that I have a LOT to learn if I really want to sew couture. I am torn between investing the time to learn it (because I do want to understand the “right” way to do it…that curious mind again! 🙂 ) and getting back to what I really want to do, which is weaving.
I am still mulling over how to do this. It is clear to me that my original plan, which was to sew up a throwaway garment using exactly the same technique as the final garment, won’t do if I plan to do couture. Yes, it’s the “right” way, but there’s no way I’m investing 30+ hours in a throwaway garment, and the fabrics I had selected were picked primarily on price and the word “hideous” therefore springs to mind to describe them. So I have a choice between using faster methods on the throwaway piece (which would effectively negate the point of doing a “practice” garment), purchasing a more livable fabric with which to do a practice garment (but then what would I do with two identical coats?), or working directly with the final fabric (a prospect that gives me the willies).
I am really not sure what I will do at this point – buying a quality fabric to practice on would require a substantial investment since we are talking about 9 yards of high-quality 45″ fabric, and since I’m about to move my cash flow is pretty tight. I’m also worried about “second sock syndrome”, where you create the first garment and then lose interest before doing the second one. So while I would like to adhere to my ideal of couture, and am generally unafraid of sinking HUGE amounts of time into an arbitrary project, there may have to be some compromises in the name of practicality. I’m just not sure where they are yet.
I have ordered a copy of Claire Shaeffer’s book (thanks Peg) and have also been reading through Roberta Carr’s book Couture: the Art of Fine Sewing which I happened to have on my bookshelf. (I actually used to have Shaeffer’s book as well, but couldn’t locate it on my bookshelf – I may have eliminated it in one of my Great Purges a few years ago.) It’s really interesting! elevates sewing to an art form. Doesn’t even look all that time-consuming (for a lot of the techniques anyway) if you know what you’re doing. But it clearly requires skill, practice, and focused study – something frequently lacking in the world today.
It’s so frustrating to me that time and lifespan are limited – there are so many things I would like to explore in greater depth than I can in the next 40-60 years! I would like a lifetime each to devote to sewing, to weaving, to my other passions (not to mention reading, cycling, being sat on by cats, and other more leisurely pursuits) – anything less means having to give up depth in one area to reach another. It’s so frustrating.
On the other hand, 40-60 years is a LOT! at least relative to most life on this planet. (If I were a Galapagos tortoise I would have up to 300 years, but it would be mighty hard to sew without opposable thumbs. 🙂 ) So I suppose another way to look at it is that we are blessed with many times more life than we “ought” to be, and focus on the time I have rather than the time I don’t have. 40 years is long enough to learn a lot, so I suppose I ought to be patient, and do what I can. But compared to the wealth of things to learn, it seems like such a pittance!
Tonight I am going over to a guild mate’s house – she is going to help me figure out how to construct this coat, and give advice on interfacings, etc. Which I deeply appreciate. The rest of the week will probably be devoted to work (major project, behind schedule, final deadline Friday – you know how THAT goes), but then after that I should have some time to work on the coat. (Assuming we aren’t packing for the move, that is.)