I think–think–that I did it! After giving it a couple of days to simmer, I think I’ve fixed the pants for my husband’s cosplay. I had to add a few inches to the waist, which I did by adding a V-shaped panel to the back (the easiest method according to some more experienced costumer friends of mine). It’s too early in the morning for my husband to try them on just yet, but I’m praying to all the Gods I know that they fit.
It wasn’t too difficult to add the panel, but to my eyes it’s not perfect and I’ll be frustrated if I have to go back and try again (although not as frustrated as I was when the finished garment didn’t fit despite me using the correct pattern measurements according to the package).
When we were at rapier fighting practice the other day my husband was showing off the pants (despite them not being the right size) and several people were really impressed with the work I did on them. That really helped to boost my self-esteem and confidence in my sewing skills/abilities. I still sometimes worry that I’m taking on projects that are beyond my skills, but then I remember that I picked up on sewing relatively quickly. I mean, one of the first few projects I tried on my sewing machine was a corset–something that even experienced seamstresses can have problems with at times.
Fighting practice was another matter entirely. I did not pick up on it quickly. I had a good teacher, but my arms weren’t cooperating and for some reason I was feeling hesitant about poking her with the capped tip of the sword (no real points in rapier practice). Maybe it was because, despite her experience and greater strength, she’s quite the petite person. Or maybe it was because we’re friends. Regardless, my frustration reached that “Goddamnit-why-am-I-not-understanding-this” stage…a stage that often leads to ugly crying, especially when there are witnesses to my derpage. So…yeah. I cried in the park. In front of my friends (which wouldn’t be too bad normally) and a bunch of strangers. Yeah. That happened. I ugly cried. In front of everyone.
I would have kept the fencing hood on, but it got to the point where I was bawling so bad I couldn’t keep going. I wanted to keep going; I wanted to get it right. But I was just too frustrated and once the tears, sniffles, and hiccups started that was it. Game over, man, game over. At least I’d brought sunglasses so I could kinda sorta hide the tears and red eyes once the sniffles and hiccups were gone. I have to give my husband mad props for explaining it to our friends just as good as I could have (sans the tears).
You see, I have issues with frustration, especially when it comes to learning new things. Growing up I was one of those kids who got everything right away. I didn’t need to study or do homework because I understood it all right off the bat. So, on the rare occasion when something stumps me, I get frustrated. When there are witnesses to this, I tear up. I cry. Sometimes I can fend it off and hold back the tears until 1) I can get to a place where I’m alone and can cry without anyone seeing it or 2) I calm the fuck down. Unfortunately, neither of those situations presented themselves the other day. I felt a little better later when my friend came up to apologize and tell me I actually did better than I thought I did. I guess she was teaching me something that’s more advanced than a newbie who’s only picked up a sword twice in her life can maybe pick up right away (smart kid or no). I still have to get my arms to cooperate–when I’m using more than one hand, either using the off hand to guard/block or using a dagger in the off hand, my arms both get confused on the signals and get all derpy and refuse to behave–but I shouldn’t be so hard on myself I guess. I’ve never been good at sports/physical fitness stuff, so I don’t know why I expect so much more of myself on this. Yeah, I did decent last week, but last week I was purposely putting one hand behind my back so my brain didn’t get my signals crossed. I wanted to get the movements down with one arm before I tried getting Arm #2 involved. I know I need to learn to use both arms eventually, but I think maybe next time I should stand my ground a bit more and stick to my comfort level. Once I get comfortable with Arm #1, then I’ll add Arm #2 as an off hand guard, then incorporate the dagger.
I still want to keep up with the rapier fighting. It’s the one thing that’s got me excited for joining the SCA. I’m still leery of the camping (I’ve never really been camping outside of Girl Scouts when I was a kid, where we had cabins and showers and regular toilets and food that was cooked for us) and the “persona” part (I can role play a character verbally when tabletop gaming, but actually acting out a character as a person makes me a bit uncomfortable), but I want to keep it up with the rapier practice and get better. It is actually fun when I’m able to get over myself and just let myself enjoy it.
The only problem with the increased SCA involvement is now I have to sew garments for my husband and I to wear to events. This is going to seriously cut into my cosplay sewing time, and I have a full outfit–corset, shirt, skirts, and bloomers–to make in addition to my husband’s jacket. And a fan to airbrush. And possibly embellishments to add to the phoenix breastplate harness. And, if I have any time left over, spats for my boots that match the mask I made. This is with only two short months until Phoenix Comicon. I can usually get things finished in time, but I worry…hence the sewing at 12:45 in the morning today. I have to get to cutting the corset pattern pieces soon, because I’ll have to measure and order the boning for it with enough time to finish the corset before the con. There’s no way I’ll have time to really get started on it before I have to start on the SCA garb, but if I can at least get things cut this week I might have an easier time of it once our medieval clothes are done.
See how I brought that all back around to the beginning? You thought the rapier fighting frustration was a complete 180 from the sewing, but it all makes sense in the end. Screw segue. Or something. I don’t know. I’m going on like four, maybe four and a half hours of sleep right now.
Now to get ready for work. Hopefully I have enough time afterwards to start cutting the pattern paper pieces for the corset and go through my fabric stash to find good lining fabric and some kind of middle canvas layer. I think I’ve got enough of the right materials–somewhere.