So how exactly is this Italian pie supposed to be a guide to making a Victorian costume? Or say you dreamed of wandering into Jane Austen’s garden and thinking of a large Veggie Lovers would, naturally, inspire you to make an ethereal gown so you’re appropriately dressed.
Come on now! It could work, right…..?
The other day my musician husband and I were discussing how he taught a group of 3rd graders to play Jingle Bells. He used a pizza to help the kids visualize and break down each section of the song into playable parts.
Being the brilliant instructor I know and with my mind *always* on sewing I immediately applied the same mode of thought to a historical sewing project.
You know what? It worked. Beautifully.
A large pepperoni is not consumed in one bite. It’s cut into slices first. But you don’t eat each slice in one mouthful either. You take it one little bite at a time.
So it is when you are facing the journey of bringing your ultimate costume to life. It’s not made overnight. And it isn’t made as one piece all at once.
It is sewing one seam today then the next seam tomorrow. It’s gathering a sleeve here and ripping out the stitches there. It’s pressing up that hem allowance in the afternoon then tacking down the hook & eyes tonight.
The entire outfit is nothing more than a grouping of seams and hand stitches and notions.
If you concentrate on the entire dress you get overwhelmed. The sheer difficulty in how you’re going to do it causes the mind to freeze up. “How in the world can I make that?”
But you can. Yes.
You start by cutting it up into slices. There’s a foundation skirt. Then some kind of overskirt that’s draped up on the sides. The bodice (that’s easy, you say) comes next.
But even in the bodice and the skirts they can be broken down into bite size sections to become more manageable. THAT’S where the work is. That’s where the clay of soft fabrics molds in your hand to start revealing its shape to you.
And not every bit of a pizza slice is yummy. Some of the crust can be hard and over-baked. Sometimes you get way too much cheese right in the middle (yeah… the best part!). Your garment will have the same hard parts and easy bits.
If you have one of those dream projects that eludes you to all its complexity, try the Pizza Concept. Whether it’s a fashion plate, a sketch, or a museum artefact you want to reproduce, start by breaking it down into its components and building back up.
But really, what are clothes but seams in fabric and metal bits for closures?
Challenging projects have a way of making us step back, look at the big picture so we know where we’re going, then drill down with a magnifying glass to see the beautiful details. Because we know, the devil is in the details – and that’s where we must overcome the fear that tells us we can’t move forward because we don’t know how to proceed. Of course we do!
Next time you dream up a historical project, don’t put it on the top shelf to collect dust. Order a pizza and let your mind wander on which slice to eat first.
Have you ever made a historical piece that forced you to break it down before even beginning?