Last summer, I attempted to create a handbag that would stylishly carry a few choice possessions while I was out on the town. This attempt ended in failure. The bag wasn’t large enough to hold my sunglasses — much less my wallet or tablet. I grossly underestimated the size needed and forgot about seam allowance.
The first attempt was an excellence lesson in patience – with myself and the craft. Patience is the valued “ability to bear difficulty with calmness and control,” according to Jeffrey Brantley, MD and author of “Calming Your Anxious Mind.” It requires calmness, faith and courage. Brantley, conversely, described impatience as the “ego, the self–centered part in each of us” screams for things to be different than they actually are.
The project last summer taught me some of my limitations with patience and I have been working on my ability as part of a larger picture. What I have learned, from the project and my independent studies, is the value of taken my time and going with the flow of the project. By looking forward to the end project, I did not focus on the project itself. I have learned to savor the moment and not rush through it to get to the next — or to see the finished handbag.
Another valuable lesson I learned was to create when I am in the mood. I know many people talk about taming their creative muse and tapping into the energy on a schedule. There are writers that head to their computer at first light and write for three hours straight every day. I can see that — if it is something I regularly do in the area I have a bit more experience in. However, I sew when the mood strikes — and when it strikes, I don’t hesitate to dive into the deep end.
As my winter vacay looms just ahead, my muse thought it would be a grand idea to try that whole making a purse again. This time around I put into practice what I had learned — focusing on the project at hand and only sewing when I felt I could commit to the creative process.
Long story short, my second one is fully functional and looks better than the first. It is a simple square design with ruffles around it, as inspired by a sewing idea flier at Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store. What I liked about it was the ability to upcyle leftover fabric from our wedding to create the lining and ruffles. It’s a tote-able keepsake.
But I think it also demonstrates what a lesson in patience can do.