Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Paralysis of Analysis

Don't we do it waaay too much? Overthink our projects? How many pieces of wonderful fabric have I got in my stash, waiting for the 'perfect' pattern? How many patterns have I got in my stash that have never been cut because I can't make up my mind which fabric to use? Wonderful stuff is not much good in a Rubbermaid bin or in a must be on the body to be appreciated by anyone other than the fabric petter or the pattern daydreamer herself.

I finished 2 months after the deadline in the first SWAP competition two years ago. I was also sewing up a slew of Bible costumes for the church Easter production at that time, but mostly I just kept waffling back and forth over which fabrics and which patterns to use. Couldn't make up my mind. Last year, the print dropped into my life and I used that to select fabrics, which more or less dictated the patterns. But more influential than that was the first Scrooge costume crunch. Very little time to do an almost overwhelming amount of sewing. The moment we arrived at a combination that worked, we were running with it. There simply wasn't time to second guess our decisions. That was great training for letting the gut instinct take charge. I had more of the same last fall; the main difference was that the first year, we were working with existing garments and changing/embellishing them and this year we were constructing costumes from scratch. But the decision process was much the same: look for what will work and go for it. The goal is to get something that looks reasonable and fits acceptably put together and onstage, not to get the most perfect garment possible.

So that's getting applied to SWAP competition planning. I tried to do a story board but, um, got bored. Once I knew what I wanted to do, drawing it out was taking up sewing time. I just made an Excel spreadsheet with the garments and patterns listed and columns to check off as different steps (pattern prep, fabric prep, cut out) were completed for each garment. That was enough to keep me on track. And I not allowing myself to look for the 'perfect' pattern for the fabric. I'm asking myself questions like 'What neckline will work for a top worn with this jacket? Do I want sleeves or no? Tailored or relaxed fit for this fabric?' Once that criteria is established, I look for only patterns that meet it. Any of those would work. Pull them out, look them over, let it simmer while I make things I've already decided on, then when it's time, pick up the one from among those options that appeals to me the most at that moment and cut it out...and don't look back. Ok, it may not be the absolute *perfect* choice...but it will work just fine.

Don't think too much...just sew. :D

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