Things have been quiet here on the blog, I know, but that was no reflection of the sound level in my sewing studio. There, the sewing machine has been whirring constantly, and many new or repaired items were flying out of the door.
I hope to expand my blogging in the new year, and share pictures of clothes from my everyday life and suggestions for ways to create stylish and modest outfits, but I will also be getting even busier in the sewing room, so we will have to see how that is all balanced out!
The biggest project for the year of 2013 was most certainly a 6-month long design and creation of a wedding dress with a friend and fellow-designer. (That adventure is worth an entire separate blog post of its own, so stay tuned for that.) The process taught me many things - mainly that I want to do it again! I loved seeing the transformation from sketches on paper, to a happy, radiant bride wearing the dress of her dreams.
It's convinced me that 2014 should hold a lot more custom-designed projects. I should pursue this area of my business, and make it bloom.
This is a big deal for me, because it means I am consciously choosing to walk a path I have only toed for a long time. I've been "in the business," yes, but I have doodled and hemmed and hawed. I've done basic, simple repairs and alterations, and kept my design work limited to myself and close friends, afraid to really release my own style and brand to the world at large - afraid of rejection, or that I wouldn't live up to perfection. Afraid to charge anything for sewing with my heart. Afraid that only the basic, by-the-book repairs were worth charging for, because surely my own brain-child ideas were wrong somewhere, somehow.
On the outside, I've been a successful business, and I talk about my design work all the time. Few know that, even as a business, I was avoiding doing my own designing for anyone who wasn't very close to me.
As a modest clothing designer, I have the added challenge of not just knowing what folks are "into to" at the current moment, but figuring out what is good in the trends, and what is beautiful, and using that information to create fantastic pieces that are modest and timeless and appealing at the same time. Then, once I'm armed with information, I must march out and let the general public know I'm open for business - that there ARE modest options out there, and that a girl CAN be beautiful and modest in today's world. All of that "facing the public" doesn't really appeal to me, either, since I'm a bit shy about those sorts of things.
But I'm beginning to realize that this is what I signed up for; this is what people do when they care about a topic, or about other people. And I care about people realizing their God-given beauty. I care about women being able to find clothes they can wear with not only a clear conscience, but a joyful one. I care about creating beautiful clothes that reflect the joy God has in His creation.
So I'm deciding, this year, to embrace all sides of this work I have chosen for myself. To do the hard things, to make the effort to light my little front door sign and tell people I'm here, and that beautiful modest clothes are valuable - that they are worth talking about, even if you are the one who made them. I'm choosing to swallow my fear of not being about to live up to my own high standards, and to put that wasted energy to a better use, by pouring all of myself into doing my absolute best and leaving the nit-picking up to others.
If I'm going to fall flat on my face, I'd rather do it while having fun creating things I love, than to die slowly, painful bit by painful bit, as I smother my creative urges out fear.
I'm choosing to be brave. I'm choosing to be honest; I'm choosing to say; this is who I am. This is what I make. This is what I hope you love. This is what I want to share with the world, to make it a more beautiful place. This is valuable. This is worth selling. This is worth embracing, from a designer's point of view, as worth doing.
What new thing are YOU going to do this year? What fears are you going to let die?