When I am not lawyering, I'm dancing ballroom competitively. What started as an idea for a study break during law school has developed into a passion. While ballroom dance can be incredibly athletic, it is also an artistic endeavor combining music, movement -- and, of course, costumes!
If you've seen any of the dance shows on television you already know they can be wild. They can also break the bank. Renting a dress costs a few hundred dollars for the day, and buying a new one runs a few thousand. I realized right away that if I was going to make this happen, I would have to learn to sew my own dresses.
I bought my first sewing machine used in 2009 and have since discovered a new hobby-turned-passion: sewing.
I like to sew because it's hard. I realized during my first project that I was actually scared to sew. I still am. Yet somehow, with each project, I summon the discipline to get over it and to think through the intricacies of the project. My mother, an engineer, is proud that I am finally paying attention to detail and doing calculations using π.
Sewing also forces me to calm down. When I'm rushing, or tying to work when I'm too tired, I make mistakes. And despite my best efforts to avoid them, it is a certainty that at some point during a project I will spend hours painstakingly ripping out seams. I've discovered within myself not only the ability to tolerate the mistakes, but a meditative quality to the process of fixing them. I never expected to find life lessons in my sewing room. Yet every time I sew, I find myself thinking: believe in yourself, slow down and focus, accept your mistakes. That's rare in my otherwise frenetic and competitive life.
I can still hardly believe that I made the dress above, which I wore to compete in the U.S. National Dance Championships. Or that I made the quilt at left for a friend's new baby.
Encouraged by my sewing mentor, an extraordinary doll artist, Leslie Molen, I started a blog to talk about the process of learning to sew. Originally called "Boom Chiqui Boom," I've recently moved it to a new name and web address: Fruit Hat Fashions. Even if you don't sew, I invite you to join me there as I share what for me have been the wonderful benefits of the sewing machine.
Thank you, Mr. Singer!