My mantra for 2018 is compassionate discipline, which sounds like the kind of cod psychology which accompanies my beloved Yogi Tea. On particularly challenging days, I’ve thought about approaching Yogi and touting for a job but I’m conscious my expletive littered missives might take their branding in a direction they don’t wish to travel. I’ve always been a seeker, with an insatiable appetite for self-help. But in the last few years, I’ve experienced a gear change - an increasing sense of urgency that the time is now. 

If I don’t put the wisdoms I’ve amassed into practise on the daily, I’m not going to experience the fruits of my research. However, when you have extreme leanings towards self-flagellating perfectionism, that regulation needs to be tempered. And so I’ve determined to do something that contributes to my overall wellbeing everyday, no matter how miniscule. And if my endeavours come to nothing, I aspire to be as kind to myself as I would be to another and begin again everyday.

For my first project of the year, I chose this Vogue 9060 Marcy Tilton skirt Sewing Pattern and if ever there was a gift from the sewing goddesses, this is it. I spent a long time trying to decipher the difference between View A and B, so to save you the trouble I’ll illuminate - View B has a yoga style fold over waistband. My plan was to construct the body of the skirt in a stable ponte roma and mix it up with a jersey waistband. To this end, I ordered 1.8 metres of the blue and grey texture option of this Ponte Roma Fabric and 0.5 metres of plain premium quality cotton spandex stretch Jersey Fabric in anthracite grey.

But when the material arrived, I had cause to seriously question my judgement. This ponte is really something else - the colour, the weight, the texture - and pairing it with different threads felt all kinds of wrong. Thankfully I discovered the 1.8 metre fabric recommendation was generous and I was saved from a disharmonious mash up by fashioning View A, all from the same fabric. I also failed to realise that the pattern came in two sizings and I’d ordered the smaller one with a ceiling of M/M, when my measurements tipped the scales at a L/G. However, I figured negative ease could work in my favour and I’d mitigate any fallout by factoring in an extra large seam allowance. 

From my knits arsenal, I employed a size 14 ballpoint needle and my beloved walking foot. I used a straight stretch stitch for the seams and as the top-stitched sections weren’t under strain, switched to a long straight stitch. To achieve top stitching 1cm from the seam line, I dug out my 1/4 inch seam foot, swung the needle position over to the far left and stitched through the hole on the left hand side of the foot. Initially, dispensing with my overlocker felt alien and I was anxious that the finish on the insides would not befit the outsides. How wrong could I be - it’s a beautiful seaming method and perfectly suited to the medium weight fabric and skirt design. Overlocking would have caused unnecessary bulk and I quickly fell hard for this stretch stitch, press, topstitch and trim technique. 

Despite it’s architectural majesty, this skirt is deceptively easy to knock up and accurately pitched at beginners level. I encountered some minor confusion on the first seam, when I joined the single notched edge instead of the double. I’ve learnt that labelling each piece of an asymmetrical pattern is uber helpful, as is laying them on top of each section before stitching, if you feel yourself unravelling. Thankfully, I spotted the error in my ways before stitching multiple stretch seams and quickly got back on course. Sizing wise I needn’t have worried and the MM waistband fits like a glove without utilising the extra seam allowance. The instructions are simple to follow and my only deviation from the prescribed method, was executing a Wendy Ward style 3 step zig zag on the hem.

Despite my predilection for fault finding, I’m happy to say my first sewing project of the year has emerged pretty damn perfect. I haven’t quite achieved a uniform tension when attaching the waistband to the body of the skirt and under magnification, some sections look more gathered than others at the rear. However, this is something NO-ONE would notice, so I’m resisting the urge to whip out the un-picker, whilst making a mental note to work on this technique next time around. At the ripe age of 44, I’ve worked out the desire to perfect things is often not my friend and that most of the time, good enough really is good enough.

I’m a person who has to put a lot of effort into maintaining a healthy body and mind. I’m sensitive to things that I can see others aren’t and my childhood did not equip me with the resilience needed to weather the challenges of impermanence. If I take my eye off the ball for long enough, I can feel myself disintegrating like a biblical house built on sand. For a long while, I railed against this temperament and wished to be anything other than I was. But softened by age and experience, I’ve come to accept that this is my path. I’m learning how transformative it can be to work with rather than against the grain and how things coming together and falling apart, is an integral part of the practise of beginning again everyday.