First Off, I send love and care to everyone who is dealing with effects from COVID 19 or other challenges in their life. You aren’t alone. For one thing, you have me!!! And you have all the other people who are part of our Sewingjourney community. In fact, (for a while now) I have been thinking about each of you and praying for you specifically by name before I start to write. (I use your name if I know it. If not, I pray for you using the information I have) Is that okay and do I have your permission to continue?
I figure it is something I CAN do doing these topsy-turvey times and so I am doing it. I pray for your health, happiness and peace. If that feels weird or uncomfortable, let me know and I will stop. But if it brings you comfort and peace to know someone is out there rooting just for you, than I am so glad.
I know some of us still had our doubts about how the Stay-cation scarf was going to fare. I wanted to give you an update. She was adopted by one of my favorite tan sweaters (made by my Sewing Sister) and looks absolutely fetching with her! Isn’t it nice when there is a happy ending???
What is an EFG and Why Should You Make Them??
Are you intrigued by my title??? I was hoping you would be. An EFG is an Easy Fun Garment (yes, I made that up). I am suggesting that a sewer should take time to sew EFGs after completing a more difficult project….. let’s call them GG’s for Growth Garments. Here is why. It helps your brain.
What???? When we make a garment that is slightly above our skill level we activate the parts of our brain that create new learning. Our prefrontal cortex springs into action to help with complex problem solving and our striatum leaps to attention to help us with decision making. New connections are made between neurons and the internal structure of our synapses start to change. The synapses jump from one neuron to the other like they are dancing a salsa as we make attempts; make mistakes; fix our mistakes and learn new skills and techniques. Our dendrites grow and strengthen and our brain becomes more flexible and plastic (which is a good thing). This is why it is a good reason to attempt projects that stretch you. Not only do you grow, but your brain does also. Cool, huh?
However, the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” is actually true. As our brain undergoes these powerful operations and changes, it experiences fatigue. This is why we say, “our brain hurts” after we have been working away at a problem or skill for a long time. Our brain gets tired and pushing it harder doesn’t help. Hence, it is better to have 2 short reading periods with your first graders rather than one long one. And recess is good for kids. And learning games really do help you learn.
When the brain moves back to something in its existing skill set……..or to something that it perceives is “play”……. the areas that have been hard at work have the opportunity to rest and replenish. Also, this opens up capacity for your frontal and occipital lobes (the ones in charge of creativity). You look at things a new way WITH the knowledge you have just acquired from your Growth Garment. It creates learning plus application.
Here is one more cool thing. If you make the easy task a NEW task that puts in a little of what you have just learned, you get new learning plus application plus creativity plus memory retrieval. ISN’T THAT THE BEST!!!!!!!
I figured you would be thrilled. So to sum up: Sew something challenging (a “Growth Garment”) then alternate with something easy (an “Easy Fun Garment”). You get extra points if the EFG is new or contains elements from the Growth Garment. Does that make sense? By the way, this works with any kind of learning. Go ahead and give it a try.
******This might be the right time to put out a disclaimer that I am not a neuro-scientist. But you already knew that, didn’t you??????
So what did you do, Kristi?
I am so glad you asked!!!! I considered the Marcy Jacket V9287 to be my Growth Garment. I learned a ton of new skills making it and when I was finished my brain hurt. So after going through my stash of patterns, I decided to make different versions of the Butterick B628 tunic as EFG’s. It was rated “easy”; had 2 side front seams (which I don’t usually make); and a couple of elements that were completely new. It was perfect.
I also told myself I could only use beautiful fabric sitting in my cupboard (because we learned how to overcome that hurdle with the Sewing Sister SIS post). I didn’t get to cheat with something I didn’t love. This is what I did. What do you think?? For some reason I got it into my mind that I had to make 3 versions of this pattern so I will so over each one for you, briefly.
View D: Followed the directions……mostly.
What a concept, huh? I pretty much followed the directions. My only deviation was to put the sleeves in flat before sewing the side seams. (We learned this with the Nancy Z dresses we made with Sewing Sister.)
The garment was such a sweet surprise!! I didn’t know how the front seams would look with the design on the fabric and I had never made a collar like this so there was a lot of wondering how things would look when I was finished. Turns out, I loved everything about the piece. The length is perfect, the collar is super-flattering, the material sews like a dream and fits just right. The directions were straight-forward and easy. My brain was so happy!! I noticed I wasn’t nervous about putting in an unfamiliar collar because it reminded me of the off-center collar on the Marcy jacket.
View C: A few swerves off the path:
With this garment, my frontal and occipital lobes were starting to perk up and put their 2 cents in. I started by basically following the directions. This version has the 2 front seams, no collar and an overlay in the back (you can see the overlay in the earlier pictures). Again, I was thrilled. But the creative functions in my brain thought the garment was too black. They wanted me to consider trim. As you know, I am a huge fan of the creative centers in my brain so I gave them room to do their thing. They led me to left over pieces from the Nancy Zieman dress and cried “pockets!” “trim around the neck!” and “the sleeves!!—don’t forget about the sleeves!!”
Adding these pieces was fun and super easy. I first made lined patch pockets using the Nancy-dress fabric and pieces of my black tunic fabric. I made one side black, the other side printed; stitched right sides together and left a space to turn. Then all I had to do was stitch the pocket to the dress. I aligned the pocket with the side seam and just an inch or so above the bottom hem. It didn’t even require much measuring.
The neck was also easy. I cut a strip of trim about 2 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches shorter than my neckline; folded it in half and stitched the edge of the trim to the edge of the neck line. This was just like we did when we attached bias trim to the Marcy Jacket. Remember? Then I folded the strip up; pressed it and stitched again on the outside. The neck was finished and that extra pop of print made a huge difference when I put the tunic on!
The easiest part was the sleeve trim. I added it before I stitched the sleeves and side seams. To trim the sleeves, I cut a strip the length of the sleeve at a width that pleased me. Then, keeping the edges raw, zigzagged it a couple of inches above where I planned to hem the sleeve. The tunic is finished. And again….I LOVED it!!!
Version B: Necessity will be the mother of this invention:
When I was a kid and we ran out of something my mom would say, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and find a substitute. I really liked this about my mom. From her I learned that milk + vinegar makes great buttermilk; that Canada Dry soda (or vinegar and baking soda) can fill in for an egg when you are baking; that you can use an old fish from the freezer if you are out of garden fertilizer; and that you can glue carpet scraps down to make flooring (she did that in our cabin). She is probably the reason I say, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
So, thanks to Vivian, Version B is going to be mothered by invention. I am still at the cut out stage–but I can tell you there will be a few pattern deviations. First, I found that the godet (a back swingy piece) is visible from the front and the design on my velvet is only on one side. But I have a plan. We made a bunch of facings with the Marcy jacket. Why not make an extended facing and attach it to the the back piece?? Then it will have the design on either side. Technically, it will be a combination lining/facing. I think it will work out beautifully.
However, in order to have enough fabric to cut 2 back godets we have to change the collar. I have just enough fabric left to make the version D collar, so that is what we will do. How exciting, huh? My brain is having a blast.
Anyway, since we are at the cut-out stage we will have to wait to see how Version B-with changes turns out. This gives us something to look forward to!!!
Okay everyone, we are out of time and I am pretty sure I have gone over my word limit (I am so wordy!). Take care. I love you. I will talk to you soon.