what is the value of a hand-crafted classic wrap skirt?

the skirt itself

This hand-crafted skirt
does not compare
with something mass-produced.

It has been made-to-measure
and stitched with your own two hands
from start to finish.

It is the only one of its kind,
a piece of art that carries
the essence of its creator.

You have carefully selected the fabric,
using the type, color, and quality
that is perfect for this design.

Beyond that, every step of the way,
you have made careful decisions,
from cutting to stitching to pressing.

Every detail
has been considered
and carefully executed.

the creation process

You have invested hours into this skirt.
Invested, not spent, and certainly not wasted!
Think on this time carefully…

If you have chosen to enjoy the time,
using it as an opportunity to slow down
and consider the process of creation,

then this time cannot be considered wasted,
nor even compared to time spent working.
This is time you have spent in enjoyment.

How much money
are you willing to spend doing something fun?
Watching a movie, eating dinner out, drinking specialty coffee…

These are consumption, and rather passive, at that,
yet you’re willing to spend money, because they bring you enjoyment.
These are not comparable to the process of making a skirt.

The making of your skirt was an investment into yourself.
You did not only spend time doing something that brought you enjoyment,
you were also learning and growing.

the educational aspect

How much money
are you willing to invest in educational endeavors,
whether formal, like university classes, or informal , like community center workshops?

The making of this skirt is like a class or a workshop.
As you read the book and stitch the skirt,
you will learn valuable skills.

More than that, you will have the book to refer to again
should you want to review or even expand your skills.
You will not absorb everything in one go.

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The educational aspect
doesn’t stop once you’ve learned
the skills outlined in this book.

Maybe after making yourself a skirt,
you can teach your daughter or a young friend
how to sew a skirt for herself.

You can use the book
as a resource to teach others,
whether they be friends or family.

the communal element

What do you and your girl friends
like to do when you spend time together?
Do you go on coffee dates, perhaps?

What if instead of chatting over coffee and muffins,
you converse over fabric and needles?
What if you get together to sew?

If you do,
you have the opportunity
to encourage each other in the creation process.

Any one of you
who has unique skills
may share them with the others.

You can learn
both from the book
and from each other.

And at the same time,
you are investing
in your friendship.

wearing your skirt

Then there is the value you receive
every time you put on
this beautiful skirt.

It goes beyond the simple fact
that it has been made specifically for you
according to your preferences and measurements.

Because you created it yourself
and because you found so much joy in creating it,
this skirt carries positive associations.

Every time you wear it,
you can feel a healthy sense of pride
knowing that you created something beautiful and useful.

You will think of the moments you spent carefully placing each stitch
as you listened to music, a podcast or audiobook,
or the simple sound of making.

The feeling you have wearing your own creation
is different from the experience of putting on
anything else you’ve ever worn before.

a simplified wardrobe

Because of the classic nature of this skirt,
it has the potential to help you
simplify your wardrobe.

The skirt makes getting dressed easy;
all you have to do is grab a favorite top
in order to have a neat and tidy outfit.

Even a simple T-shirt
appears less casual when paired with such a classy skirt.
Add an accessory like a scarf or necklace for something extra special!

The versatility of the skirt
makes it wearable for a variety of events,
so you will have no trouble getting plenty of use out of it!

If you already have a minimalistic wardrobe,
this skirt fits in nicely with your other
classic investment pieces.

And if you regularly waste precious time
staring into your closet wondering what to wear,
this skirt will start you on a journey toward simplicity.

so what is the value of your hand-crafted skirt?

The value is the sum of all of these:
the hand-crafted artisanal skirt itself,
the time spent enjoying the creation process,
the time invested in the educational process,
the time invested in community,
the time you will spend enjoying the skirt as you wear it,
and the time saved with a well-rounded, minimalist wardrobe!

{case study} an invitation to play like a child again

summary

An older friend of mine
gave me a doll
and invited me to play again.

This dress and apron is the result.

backstory

Some of the first things I ever sewed were doll clothes.

But then I grew up
and left the dollies to my sisters.
Until I met Kathy, that is.

She was a doll collector,
and when she saw what I had designed and sewed for people
she invited me to try making doll clothes again.

She gave me and my sisters
dolls from her collection
and told us to have fun.

The first outfit I designed, I gave to Kathy.

problem

There are many things about sewing doll clothes
that are the same as sewing people clothes,
but there are also things that are different.

For example, some areas get bulky easily.
(Like where seams come together
at the neckline or underarm.)

And since doll clothes are small
and the pieces you’re sewing together are even smaller,
things can get fiddly rather quickly.

My main goal for this project
was to remember what it was like to play
and have fun creating something beautiful.

solution

My initial concept for the apron
didn’t work out quite the way I envisioned,
so I tried again.

Because I was working at a small scale,
starting over didn’t take up much time,
and I didn’t waste much fabric either.

The small scale also gave me freedom
to give the dress a full circle skirt
without needing to use a lot of fabric.

I used narrow bias tape
to finish the dress neckline, sleeves, and hem,
and made a matching sash to pull everything together.

One way that I “played”
as I designed this outfit
was to use a lot of color.

Usually I like to use
straightforward and subtle color combinations,
but I stepped out of that comfort zone for this project.

Not only did I use multiple colors,
I also used multiple patterns
and a variety of buttons!

It took some experimentation to get it right, but it was worth it.
I maintained a tranquil pallet while still infusing color.
Almost like a beautiful watercolor painting.

outcome

This outfit is still my favorite
of all the things I’ve made for our dolls.

Kathy’s red-headed doll wore it for a while,
but then Kathy passed away
and the outfit was given back to me.

Now my doll wears it,
and when I see her I think of the whole story
of my friendship with Kathy.

The colorful dress and apron represent
an invitation to play again,
to approach life like a little child.

To explore - stepping out of my comfort zone
in order to create something beautiful.

reflection

This outfit
and the story it carries
bring me so much joy.

I wouldn’t change a thing about it,
even the trial-and-error process
and the fact that Kathy was only able
to enjoy it for a little while.

Because she was able to enjoy it,
I was able to enjoy it with her,
and I am still able to enjoy it.

stress-free projects: finding joy in the journey

Why don’t you finish already!

It’s an all-too familiar feeling:
Pushed up against a deadline,
real or imagined,
the stress and pressure pushing you to
finish already!

Rushing through the process
to get to the finished product —
yet now that you hold it in your hand,
are you really happy with what you’ve accomplished?
I know I’m usually not.

Where is your focus?

The joy in the journey is diminished
when the destination is all you can see.

When your eyes are not on the road in front of you,
but instead straining to see beyond the horizon,
you are apt to stumble,
or at least stub a toe.

In the same way, when your mind’s eye gets too focused
on the futuristic finished product,
you are likely to slip up
or prick a finger.

Let your focus be on the moment you are in
that you may fully enjoy it.

How do you feel when you see what you’ve accomplished?

Think of the last thing you’ve made;
did you purposefully find joy in the process?
…or was it rather rushed?

How many times did you say to yourself,
“It’ll have to do!”
as you rushed past one poorly executed step
into the next hurried task?

This finished product that you now hold in your hands — do you love it?
Or does a vague sense of regret seep into you whenever you see it?

More than a few things I’ve made
carry in them memories of many make-do moments.
Maybe I do smile, knowing I did well…
but I also feel a little sad inside, knowing I could do better.

Mostly, I simply don’t have the same
beautiful memories and associations
that I do with other projects.

Choose joy in the journey!

When I see certain things I have made,
a peculiar joy washes over me.

I remember the exact moment
when I stitched that seam.
The particular day
that I pressed the hem.
I remember what I was listening to
as I placed a particular stitch,
and the silence as I focused
on a special detail.

I chose to create these things slowly and surely,
with minute attention to detail, and forgetting the concept of time.

I have learned to love
the process of seeing something come together
so much that when that process is over,
it almost makes me a little sad.

But then, or course, the end of one journey
may simply lead into the beginning of another.

Imagine a project so stress-free that you hate to see it end.

Imagine if you loved every single stitch
that you put into your next project!
How much more perfect
might each of those stitches be?

Imagine holding the finished object in your hand,
knowing it tells the story of a wonderful journey.
It would hold memories of so many
joy-filled moments of pleasure.

I know what it’s like,
because I have projects like that.

Stress-free projects that had no deadline,
or a deadline so far off it was easily forgotten,
so that I felt completely free to invest in the moments
without worrying how much time I was taking.

When I made myself forget
thoughts of time and deadlines,
and simply invested in the work at hand,
not only did I do better work,
but the work became faster!

Forget time. Choose to love the moment.

Let the very concept of passing time melt away
and lean in to the moment you are in.
Invest in the step in front of you
and you will be rewarded.

Love the present moment,
along with what you are doing in that moment.
It will be over and gone before you know it,
so love it now.

Go make something stress-free.
Something without a deadline
and without the pressure of perfection.
Maybe a simple little bag,
like the one in my free ebook:
{simple sewing skills}

If you take the time to enjoy every beautiful stitch,
you’ll not only learn to stitch beautifully,
but also to find joy in the journey.