It’s been several weeks since I’ve played Rift. I didn’t stop playing because I like the game any less. I initially stopped because gaming ceased being enough to hold my attention. I was sick, worried and stressed to a point that not even my love of fantasy could hold me.
I had a distinct craving to create. I tried working on a few of my stories but my writing felt flat and uninspired. I toyed with the idea of returning to EQ2X and my furniture and design shop, which remains one of the highlights of my gaming adventures. I was close to re-subscribing until I decided that I should create something in real life – at least give it a try. I wanted to make something that would exist even after I’m gone. Yes, my thoughts had turned rather morbid at the time.
I’m Not Very Crafty
As much as I enjoy crafting in games, I’m NOT the crafty type in real life. I can’t draw, paint, use tools without inflicting injury upon myself or much of anything else people would consider craft-like or handy. So what in the world possessed me to buy a sewing machine??? Until that day, I’d never even hemmed pants. That’s what you pay the seamstress at the dry cleaners to do! Or why you buy Stitch Witchery for goodness sakes. I still remember stapling up the hem in a pair of pants when I was in middle school. That’s how not crafty I am!
I’ve had a vision in my writing and it’s reflected in my decorating tastes, of a way to subtly bring fantasy into an urban setting. I’d had my eye on some curtains, upholstery fabric and throw pillows but the collective $800 price tag gave me pause. They weren’t designed for how I planned to use them – hanging the curtains around my 4-poster bed, combining with it a non-traditional material for a throw and some whimsical pillows. Enter the reality of the current economy and spending that much to dress my bed is ludicrous. Hmm, but what if I made it myself? It would have to be cheaper and the investment in a sewing machine could be the foundation of making other things and hence, worth the cost. That’s how it began. I could spend half that and buy a nice sewing machine to create what I wanted and more.
5 Hours to Thread the Machine
NO ONE in my immediate family or set of friends sews. I sat staring at the machine and fumbling through the instructions but couldn’t make head-nor-tail of how to thread the damn thing. I mean seriously, I couldn’t have imagined how alien it would feel. The machine didn’t match the instructions exactly and while after 2 hours threading the top portion was completed, the whole filling the bobbin and threading it escaped me. After 4 frustrating hours full of profanities and gnashing of teeth, I turned to YouTube. Thank the lord! There were several videos and after reviewing one of them – uh 4 times at least, the machine was completely threaded.
My First Taste of the High
The next night, I sat down to sew my first item. I decided to start with throw pillows – seemed easiest. The curtains were long and used expensive fabric so I didn’t want to practice on those. I had the nerve to make my own pattern and design - crazy like that. Yet it was surprisingly simple. We were shocked at the results. The girls and I kept looking at them like, “Holy shit, they look real!” Not perfect but pretty damn good.
I was mesmerized. To sit down at a sewing machine for the first time and produce precisely what I had in mind was like a drug. I felt the same sort of exhilaration I experienced when creating new items/uses for things in EQ2 except I could use this for real!! OMG I was hooked. After finishing the bedding ideas minus the curtains, I did a variety of other things for around the house before getting up the nerve to attempt a piece of clothing.
Inspiration from Unusual Places
By then I’d realized that I could draw inspiration from any and all of my hobbies to create usable and visually appealing items, including games and my writing. I was getting set for a business trip to one of the offices where it’s casual dress. I needed to take a shawl or shrug of some sort that would go well with jeans. We’d be in and out of conference rooms that were chilly. With nothing seasonal or suitable on hand, I decided to make a simple shrug. But what style? Here’s where my insanity starts seeping in.
I have this story I’ve been developing on and off for way too long, that is a mixture of fantasy and ricepunk (steampunk in the orient) but happens in more modernized future. It’s very convoluted, yes, I know and probably why it’s still a work in progress. I sat around and thought about the protagonist and what I see her wearing then toned it down for what I’d be willing to wear to work. What would keep it modern? The fabric choice. What keep it Kimono-like? The shape and trim. I’d have to eliminate the extreme elements like the taller than your head collar and train whose length depicted your station within in oracle colony. *Smile* But the rest was do-able if moderated. With trembling hands, I set out to make a Kimono inspired shrug. One good enough to actually wear in public – to work!
It took the whole weekend but turned out beautifully. I was in awe. I suddenly recognized what and why people love crafting for real. I was stunned. With a shrug like that I needed a bag to go with it but what??? Dang, now I’d have to sew a handbag too. I searched Google and YouTube for some simple ideas and the next thing I knew, I was creating my first handbag.
My family thought the shrug was very pretty but not something they’d wear but everyone wanted a damn handbag. Requests for being next to have pillows done or curtains made were all begged, pleaded and bargained away for a handbag.
I returned from my trip glowing. The compliments on the shrug and the bag excited me to create more. And every time I made a bag for someone, well hell, I wanted it too. The next thing I knew all I was sewing was handbags and loving it. It was cheaper, quicker, and easier. More importantly, it let my novice hands experiment more than I could with clothing. My youngest daughter got the sewing bug and started making nice items really fast! She made two outfits that I’ve worn to formal business events. Instead of fighting for machine time I gave that one to her and upgraded to a newer model for myself once I decided to take this adventure to the next level.
And here we are…
I'm crafting in real life, attempting to turn it into a viable business. Now it's time to explore all the social media outlets that I've spurned thus far. I'm so the opposite of social. My techniques improve with every creation and I have no shortage of ideas and inspiration.
I'm even waiting on the results of a patent submission. *crossing fingers, eyes and toes* More on that another day and how the bag idea was sparked by thinking about my favorite gear set in Rift. You might find it interesting to see how the aspect that is pending a patent approval was the result of a mistake, that on closer inspection and after much tweaking, became what I think is a wonderful feature.