The month started out with our last three Founder’s Circle muslin patterns printed. Sarah and Tami were diligently cutting them out – we were smoothly expecting to sew them up and with that be finished with the first 10 Founder’s blouse samples. And then Sarah noticed that markings were missing from the paper pattern. We would have to wait to sew up these patterns until we could make sure that the pattern pieces had correctly altered (they had not).
So we pivoted and spent the rest of the month practicing the toughest parts of the final blouse and refining our sewing technique – for example, the seams on the sleeve. Sarah learned how to do perfect looking buttonholes like she was born knowing how to do them. We came up with a few fixes for reliably attaching the collar to the front placket. I used the deep dive into these different areas of the blouse to pick up work again on our sewing instructions (a guide for our sewers) that have become increasingly important as we shift towards more flexible work hours where we may not all be there at the same time to answer questions.
We also identified an area where we needed an extra tool – again for the dreaded sleeve seam. Tami was fighting away to get that sleeve right on her Janome, which she generously uses while we wait to get the Jukis set up in our womenswear space. She is fighting and fighting away – when Lisa (our instructor) says – “There has got to be a better way.” She picks up our shirtmaking manual – David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking and fortuitously flips to a page – (unfortunately described outside the pages where we learned about sleeve insertion) where David Page Coffin basically says that any efforts to use a flat felled seam – that beautiful protected seam we are using throughout the blouse – will be an exercise in futility unless we order a flat felling foot. We had a good laugh there. That basically captured perfectly how freakin difficult this work has been. And knowing Mr. Coffin’s work – if he is saying that a detail on a custom made blouse is an exercise in futility – we will go ahead and heed the warning.
So I jumped right onto the internet and found us a foot for this work that we could use on our home machines. Rather than waiting for the Juki’s and getting special feet for them – we were going to embrace where we were at and do the best we can in that moment on our home machines.
On the theme of working where you can in this moment: The roof at the womenswear workshop space started leaking – again. Yes – this was a huge bummer but it has caused me to take another look at what we have available to use. Though it appears that they have fixed the problem and are scheduled to start painting next week, we are preparing to consider moving into the middle room at the space if necessary since there has been no problem in that room with leaks to date. Drew and I use it for our remote work. I took another look when I discovered the leak and yes it would be like a tiny shirtmaking workshop in Tokyo, but it would certainly serve our most pressing needs: getting our sewers practicing on the Jukis and comfortable with working with them.
Yes it does suck when we feel our best made plans are foiled by circumstances beyond our control but there is a wild, beautiful peace that comes from accepting things and taking another look at a situation and asking yourself – OK so how am I going to work with what we have here – and feeling the strength and serenity from finding a path and walking it.
Thank you for all your support. Thank you for continuing to believe in us and this crazy, beautiful dream.
Go, fight, win.