I recently shopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics where I picked up some wide eyelet trim for doll clothes. Two associates worked behind the cutting counter. As I stood there, one asked me what I was making. (They ask everybody.)
“Oh, I make doll clothes,” I said. And then suffering a twinge of guilt for saying something that wasn’t quite true, I added, “Well, I think I do.”
Both staff members burst into laughter. “Everyone here does that,” said one. “Do we do it – or do we just think we do?” It was reassuring to hear that others have trouble translating the goods into actual finished products. I left the store feeling a little better about myself, and that’s why I go there.
Even though I thought I was mentally in a good place to make progress with my sewing during the winter months, actual accomplishment has been disappointing. I made a list of unfinished projects (called “UFOs” by crafters) and held myself to the resolve that I mustn’t start anything new until I’ve finished some things. Disciplined approach aside, it hasn’t made me happy. Some days I actually fear that I will never sew again. I'll just continue to go through life collecting inspiration.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just cut my losses when I get into a project that doesn’t work for me. Inspiration has a lot to do with the ability to follow a project from inception to completion, and perhaps something just isn’t right. For example, about five years ago I had just finished the cutting process for a vintage doll when the realization swept over me that it wasn’t the right project for the intended recipient. It was like a pin pricked my balloon. It remains in storage today. It’s on my UFO list, but maybe it shouldn’t be.
Or, there’s that big shirt I cut out. At the time I was flying on the wings of someone else’s inspiration. However, just the thought of making buttonholes was enough to bring the whole thing to a standstill. I should really finish it, though. I could use it. It’s on my UFO list.
|I just can't relate . . .|
Both my mother and her mother left unfinished projects. Perhaps it’s an inherited tendency. My mother told me that I was not to feel obligated to finish her UFOs. However, before she left us, she would say plaintively, “I didn’t finish the dress for Ruth’s doll," an heirloom from my dad's family. I reassured her that I would take care of it.
|Ruth's doll & smaller friend|
Oh, I’m taking care of it all right! “Dress Ruth’s doll” is on my UFO list. But there’s a problem here. Mother loved “antique dolls,” the kind with china heads and leather bodies. She researched and made beautiful period dresses using heirloom sewing techniques. It’s not within the scope of my interest -- and maybe not my ability -- to do that. I prefer to make cute clothes for dolls that little girls play with. Do you think it would be okay if I just made Ruth’s doll a nightgown? (Maybe it would be okay if I found this beautiful doll a new home.)
|A beautiful patchwork doll quilt|
In the box with Ruth’s doll is another that Mother came by. She’s wrapped in this wonderful old patchwork doll quilt now in a state of deterioration. Note the beautiful embellishment on this quilt. Today for the first time I noticed that one piece is stamped with the words “Fred Kauffmann, The American Tailor, Fall and Winter, Chicago, 1898-1899.” Researching Fred Kauffmann online, I found a series of newspaper and magazine ads for this clothier. KW