Sometimes things have to be about the process, rather than the finished project and that’s no bad thing. After I’d finished Lady Mck’s beautiful knitwear, which has, this week flown off to it’s next owner, I was desperate to add a garment to my own wardrobe. I had been searching for just the right cardigan on the high street for months, to no avail. Chunky, beige, cables, one button. In fact exactly like the one featured in my crochet magazine. It took a while to dawn on me that I should make it. My very first, needs to fit properly, piece of clothing.
So, I made it. Well, I made some of it realised it was wonky and wrong, pulled it out and started again. It took me most of the summer, but was a dream to work on. I enjoyed it all. I blocked it, sewed the button on and wore it……and hated it. Actually I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t satisfied with it. Basically it was too big. Too big in the shoulders and far far too long.
But then I started to think about why this had happened. It was obvious really. I’d taken the size measurement from the chest size, which is proportionally the biggest part of me, but the style of the garment didn’t need a perfect fit at this point. That together with the fact I’m quite short and despite swatching plumped for a slightly too big hook meant I looked swamped and in particular the cardigan was too long and totally unflattering.
I happened to be listening to a podcast from Kate at A Playful Day. A lovely, chatty episode where she was talking about leaving out a pattern repeat and I started thinking “I could do that”. I really started looking and thinking about where the garment didn’t fit. Shorten it a little, make the shoulder area smaller by reducing the stitches in this section, measure and block as I go and it could be perfect.
At first I was disheartened and needed a different project as a sort of palette cleanser, if you like, but now I’ve started again. A smaller hook, a smaller size and a couple of pattern repeats removed and I’m motivated again.
It made me realise the process is important. The learning and skill practice is part of the challenge. It’s not simply about the finished garment. By picking apart the pattern, metaphorically and literally, I am really thinking about how it will look once complete and next time I face a new pattern I will really consider the fit and how that relates to my shape. Doing things that stretch us is good for us, even ordinary everyday things and when those things fail, that’s good too. It all lights up those parts of our brains that so often lay dormant.
So much of life is about the end result, it’s soothing sometimes to simply focus on the process.
Having said all that, I know the designer and if it doesn’t fit this time, I shall be travelling to Scotland and shall sit by Aga and watch her make it for me. Actually, Kat, that sounds quite lovely.