I look pretty proud of myself, don’t I?
The Alabama Chanin tunic project went very well and was easy to execute. Even so, I messed up when I cut the pattern pieces. I was supposed to join and cut the bodice and peplum pattern pieces together, but instead ended up with a waist-line seam. Not a big deal, nobody’s the wiser (except for you) and it still looks good.
“Intentional design choice,” we’ll call it.
I bought some indigo dye for the hem line, but ended up adding too much water so the solution was weaker than I wanted. It all turned out okay though; I just left the shirt hem dipped in the dye overnight. By morning, it was a desirable shade, and has a nice uneven-ness. Alabama Chanin’s projects always have such a lovely organic look, the dye job just made it even better.
But the best best BEST part was, I had added a little bias strip along the hem, which I stitched in an improvizatory manner. When I dyed the hem, the white thread stayed white, while the bias strip and hem dyed blue. So the stitching shows up now, in a perfect contrasting way that I couldn’t have planned.
My therapist and I often talk about art and creativity (she’s a painter and has worked with lots of creative people), and she told me about a Japanese tradition where you intentionally weave a mistake into your work. I really like that idea.
It reminds me of these mandalas I used to draw when I was in high school. I’d add to them throughout the day in each of my classes, and they’d get bigger and bigger. I like the idea of making clothing that ends up different at the end than I planned. Natalie Chanin says she continues to add to her embellished garments over the years, even as she continues to wear them. In that way, the garment becomes more valuable and beautiful, instead of less, over time.
I’ve been thinking about age lately. As I approach my mid-30’s, I actually feel more beautiful. Yes, maybe my hair is going gray embarrassingly soon, and I’m starting to see wrinkles and undesirable dark circles under my eyes. But I feel more beautiful. I look in the mirror and I like what I see, more than I did when I was younger. My opinion of myself has always depended on what others think of me, but lately I’ve been realizing my opinion is the only one that matters.
Does that make me vain? I don’t think so. I’m finally comfortable in my body. That’s not vanity, that’s confidence.
Which is why, even though I like to post edited pictures of myself, I’ve also included these two pictures, where I might not look perfect but I look happy. These pictures are the real me, with my hubby behind the camera making me laugh as he always does. My other photos are meant to convey a mood, but these pictures are self-portraits.
This is my self.
Which is why the May Sarton poem in my previous post so clearly spoke to me–shouted to me. Her poems feel like a candle illuminating the dark, mysterious path of my future, of aging with joy.