I am currently working on the cover for my next book. By working on it, I mean I have found and hired a seamstress to make a Regency era day dress and spencer. My first fitting was the beginning of the month. No, I will not be on the cover, but the dress will be used for JASNA events. My model will simply be pinned into it for the shoot.
Why am I using a seamstress? A few months ago my blog was about accomplished women and I admitted I could sew. So why am I not making this dress? Simple, I’m chicken. I bought the pattern and material, even cut the pattern pieces out, and then got cold feet. You see, while in college, I took on an ambitious project to make a dress for my cousin’s wedding. It was mauve satin with cream lace and the pattern was from my late aunt’s collection from the 50s. Full skirt requiring a crinoline, big bow on the back. It would have been gorgeous. The night before we were supposed to leave, I was up into the late hours finishing it. I was soooo close to being done and tried it on just to make sure all was well. That was when I discovered the bodice was lopsided. One breast was more than fully covered and the other was definitely not. How? How was it even possible to be so far off? With tear-filled eyes I put everything away and went to sleep thankful to have a Laura Ashley dress to wear instead. That was the last dress I ever made for myself.
When designing this new cover, I was determined to make the dress. (For a brief period of time I played with the idea of hand sewing it to be more authentic, but quickly abandoned the thought.) Then the self-doubt set in. In the end, I am glad I didn’t do it. The seamstress found a few problems with the pattern and had to make some alterations as I am apparently not shaped like a regency era lady. (Imagine that.) All of it was definitely above my skill set.
After my initial meeting with the seamstress, I drove straight to a JoAnn Fabrics determined to make my own undergarments. After all, if they turn out unsightly, they will not be seen by anyone but me. I came out with four patterns (2 for dresses to tackle in the future) and material to make a nightgown (because I can’t find one I like in the stores) and the undergarments. My courage carried me home where I cut out the pattern pieces before having to make dinner. … And that’s where it ended. I can point out any number of reasons that more hasn’t been done, but truthfully, I don’t want to fail so I haven’t tried.
This brings us to the handkerchiefs. Being allergic to dust and molds, I have year round sinus issues, but for the most part it is just an annoying drip. (I should have bought stock in Kleenex years ago.) When this new found desire for simplicity reared its head, I decided to begin carrying a handkerchief. Of course, a simple plain handkerchief would not do, so out I went in search of embroidery designs. I purchased some inexpensive men’s handkerchiefs for practice with plans to eventually make my own completely. I wish I could show you a picture of the first one completed, but I’m still trying to decide on the pattern.
So why all this planning, spending, and mental abuse? I have writers block. My next book is due out this summer, the cover reveal will be done in a few months, and I already have three book signings scheduled in the fall, but I can’t seem to end this story. I can’t decide if it is because I have grown so attached to my characters that I do not want it to end or if I just have hit a wall. What I do know is that when I can’t create in one way, it comes out somewhere else. (The last time I had writers block like this, I crocheted a throw that my family fights over because it is so soft and warm.)
So, now that I have procrastinated a bit longer by writing out all my trials, it is back to the blank page. Or better yet, back to the original. I always had the feeling that once Jane Austen finished the meat of her stories she was ready for it all to be over and wrapped everything up quickly. Perhaps that is why we feel the need to tell more about these beautiful beloved characters.
What do you like to create? How do you fight through when your mind just isn’t there?