Where do I even start with this garment? I guess I could jump in with just the facts. This is the Schoolhouse Tunic by Meg McElwee from Sew Liberated constructed with Amy Butler fabric for Westminster called Josephine's Bouquet. But the drama and emotion of the story is perhaps a little more compelling. This is the first piece of clothing that I have ever sewn for myself in a serious and grown up way. Maybe I've sewn an occasional bag, or Halloween costume for myself in the past, but this is the first time that I have taken a stab at choosing a pattern and making something that I would love to wear again and again. Even if I did buy this pattern 4 years ago and allowed it to lay dormant in my sewing stash all these years in the interim. It's true, I found this fabric and pattern still in the original packaging with a packing slip dated 2013. I'm not really sure why it has taken me so long to see it through, but I am so glad I finally have done it and now this sweet and versatile tunic hangs in my expanding closet of handmades.
I've been brushing up against this idea quite a lot lately. This notion that my creative life has been on hold since 2013. I've had the experience of looking back and wondering the last time I did this or that and it always comes around to 2013. Perhaps the most obvious example could be this online space and the practice of writing and blogging regularly. It probably makes perfect sense to the objective observer, that my time for self expression and creativity would have severely diminished after adding another child into the daily mix, and indeed 2013 is the year that dear Otis was born. I can also point to my father's death and managing his estate from thousands of miles away, as a heavy responsibility—both practical and emotional—that quite naturally has pushed the making habit to the back burner and forced other priorities into my life. Ironically enough, these events are actually just the big and weighty circumstances that make time for renewal and joyful expression even that much more critical. I can see that now. I can see that it is a mistake to give up what you love to do because it is very difficult to justify setting aside the time for yourself when so many other things, people, circumstances are demanding your attention. I no longer see self care, time devoted to a keen passion, and creative expression as a luxury I can only allow myself after the kids are asleep and every last dish and item of dirty clothing has been cleaned. No, on the contrary, I now see this making, doing, creating as a need, a need for not only focused work and relaxation, but a need for a sense of accomplishment. A need to do things that I may have previously doubted my ability to do. A need to push myself and the boundaries of what I believe is possible for myself. And perhaps most importantly—this lab of doing, creating and actually putting in the work—has allowed me to examine my thought processes and to identify where I have gotten stuck in the past. These insights are so valuable and necessary to move forward and they can only be acquired by doing. I actually have to DO THE THING or else I will be mired in the dibilitating cycle of cynicism and self doubt.
Wow, that's a lot of talking around this little unassuming tunic. I guess the short story is that I love it! It fits! I love the fabric! A very lovely and unplanned surprise is that my recently finished sweater looks amazing with the colors and overall look of this tunic. I couldn't be happier with this first for myself. And I couldn't be happier to be making again.