August 29, 2010

Beginning a New Project

I love beginning a new project.

It's like starting a new year, a new season, a new week or a new day.  Everything feels fresh and fun.  The anticipation of seeing a vision take form is exciting!

My next project is for Bear Threads.  Don't you love their beautiful fabrics?  Click here to go to Bear Threads Ltd.

In her book, "The Creative Habit" Choreographer Twyla Tharp talks about the "rituals of preparation".  She says, "It's vital to establish some rituals - automatic but decisive patterns of behavior - at the beginning of the creative process, where you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up or going the wrong way."

Here is how I prepare:

1.  CLEAN MY WORKROOM - I have a nice, bright workroom with a large work surface that attracts clutter.  Even though it is 50" x 70" there is usually only a 2" x 3" size area of available space.  Clutter kills my creative process.  I put away everything that isn't related to my new project or my sanity - like my cat and my Project Runway DVDs.

2. FINALIZE DESIGN - Sketching my final design helps to clarify it in my mind.  I can still change my mind about the design during the construction phase of the project but having the design clear in my mind and on paper will give my journey a real destination.  It is also a reminder of what notions I might need.

2.  PREPARE FABRICS - Do they need to be pre-washed, steamed or pressed?  

3.  TRACE THE PATTERN - For this project I am using our newest pattern - Girl's Coat and Muff (so cute) - which has not returned from the printer yet.  I need to trace a copy from our original.

4.  GET NOTIONS TOGETHER - Isn't it frustrating when you discover you're out of something during one of those late night sewing sessions?  I like to wind enough bobbins to get me through the whole project if possible.  This also helps me evaluate whether I'll have enough thread or not.  I will need two colors for this project.  Interfacing?  Buttons?  Elastic?  Piping?  Write it down and check your inventory.

5.  MAKE PIPING - After I've cut out all the pattern pieces on the fabric I'll start making the piping - if I'm not using packaged, ready-made piping (a wonderful invention).  Bias strips take up a bit of yardage - so be sure you have enough fabric for the garment before you start cutting bias strips.  The strips for piping can be easily pieced if necessary.

Out of all these beginning steps - only one is a real "ritual" for me  - cleaning my workroom.  Once I've done that the path has been cleared and it's safe to begin!

What are your "rituals of preparation" and the step you take before beginning a new project?

Girl's Coat and Muff pattern will be available for pre-order soon.  Watch our website.  Click here.