I've been sewing up a storm on my friend's wedding reception dress, and excellent progress has been made. I've never sewn a garment for someone other than myself, and I was delighted, yet a bit apprehensive at first. More than anything, I was daunted by the pressure. But I've found myself quite surprised by how much I've enjoyed the process.
I think the best thing about making a custom garment for someone you care about is that you can add human touches that show you were thinking about the wearer while you were constructing it. For instance, I made an inner corselet for the dress according to Susan Khalje's instructions in the latest Threads magazine, which include stitching in a grosgrain waist stay and a wide hem lace. Thinking of the beautiful bride, I knew I had to add a special touch to these elements: a soft something blue that would be hidden away, but that only she would know was there. I've also noticed that I have a driving sense of perfectionism on this project, more than usual. I've so wanted the construction to be flawless, and the result is a garment that while certainly not perfect, I can say that I am immensely proud of.
I made a traditional muslin for the dress (I even made it out of muslin, not old curtains!) and did a preliminary fitting. I was glad that I had taken a dressmaking class at Sew Fast Sew Easy last year where I learned how to fit a princess-seamed sheath dress on another student. Who knew just how valuable that would prove to be!
I've been sewing like a mad woman this past week, and yesterday we had another fitting. My friend looked absolutely gorgeous in the dress, and it gave me a new kind of sewing satisfaction: seeing my work on someone else, and seeing it make her happy.
I think it has to do with this: There's a guiding principle in some circles that to have self-esteem, you must first commit esteemable acts. And the way to do this is to be of service to others. If ever you feel awkward, nervous, or [insert any other uncomfortable emotion here], the way to alleviate these feelings is to perform an act of service. While I normally am a cranky old broad who rejects any sort of self-help psycho-babble, this actually works like a charm. And what better service than sewing? (Ugh, okay, enough. Can I go be cranky and sarcastic again now please?)
I'd love to hear your experiences sewing for others. Do you do it? Or do you avoid it at all costs?