Quitting has a bad rap, some things should just not be finished and the vest out of woven squares of sock yarn was one of those things. I haven’t had the heart to dump it all in the trash, but after writing this post I will. I will put it in the trash and not look back.
I could have finished it out, seen it through. However, I feel as though I’ve learned the lesson that project was meant to teach me; mainly that when something is clearly going sideways I can quit and quitting can be healthy.
No. I am not comfortable with the idea at all. I can sit with my discomfort though.
In other news, I’ve been seriously researching my future career options. There was a time, around the same time I met Matt, that I didn’t even want to look at a sewing machine ever again. I was working my way through the custom garment industry taking the regular I-can’t-afford-fashion-school route doing alterations, making a few original garments here and there, custom sewing for friends and strippers, and taking on commissions. I got suckered. I got suckered hard and ended up investing my time and money and resources into a company that sought me out and ended up never being paid for my work, actually paying the business owners, and losing a bunch of tools that were kind of pointless for them to steal from me. In hindsight I had a special brand of vulnerable, naive and stupid that made it really easy for them to take advantage of me.
I almost ended up being homeless (having to move in with my mother and stepfather for 2 weeks was not fun) and broke, still a single mom. Same as before except what confidence I’d had in myself professionally as a custom seamer and tailor completely shattered and feeling humiliated.
Also, still missing those tools. They gave me back my sewing machines and kept a $6 notch punch. What kind of scum does that?
Professionally I’m in a state of suspension. I have gone back to home sewing and I still love designing, and I can pattern like a lady that has been drafting patterns her whole life. I’m also very good. Which is good because those are kind of the things I’m best at doing. And bad because going back towards any sewing related business is terrifying.
First, I’ve been out for over 15 years, which means that most of my contacts have gone out of business, moved on or died. I’m not great at making friends, I usually end up being friends with people who are awesome at making new friends. Making business contacts is sort of like making friends but worse, so much worse, because of the inherent selfishness of it and that makes me uncomfortable. You know those people that can smoothly work an exchange of business cards at the end of a first conversation? I am not one of those people.
If I have to make a LinkedIn profile, I’m screwed. I don’t think “making bored housewife crap” is an actual occupation for anyone but Martha Stewart.
Then there’s the issue of replacing my missing tools. You’d think in 15+ years I’d find a reason to replace a tailor’s square (it’s an L shaped ruler that is very similar to a carpenter’s square), assorted machine feet and accessories, a drill punch, a notch punch, curve sticks and a wooden yard stick. I would think that. Yeah, no. I am now going to make a concerted effort to buy replacements (note to self: buy pattern notch punch thingie on eBay after this blog post.) I have just very recently started to order manila paper and Swedish tracing paper (which I have very very recently learned is called mönsterpapper in Swedish and decided I have to drop that word way more in casual conversation because mönsterpapper is too much fun to say.) Also, the name Swedish tracing paper is very amusing to at least one Swedish person I know. Go figure.
I may have to learn CAD and Adobe Illustrator.
I’m worried that at my current age (which is 40) that my future career will be too short to merit the kind of investment in time, education, materials, and tools that I’ll need to be successful. It’s not like we have a nest egg that we can dip into, or massive disposable income. If I fail then it has very real consequences on our future retirement. However, I’ve been the stay-at-home partner and supported my husband’s business and it failed, and no one died because of it, but I don’t want to be in poverty again– ever. I don’t like risks like this but I don’t like making decisions based on my fears either.
I think I have about 2 years to research and study where I can go, regardless of how intimidating I find the process I think I would rather go forward and see what my options are in the industry. I don’t know that I’ll end up with a corner custom sewing shop again, or if I’ll find employment at a factory, or a gig as a costume mistress for a meandering troupe of acrobats. Maybe that’s what sits so poorly with me right now, is that I just don’t know so much and had I kept in the business I would know more.