By Tina Bury
I have this wool dress that I made 8 years ago from some lovely, purplish, brown herringbone wool I picked up at a yard sale for 5 dollars and a pattern I found online (the Ashland Dress from Sew Liberated).
This was my first really, really well-done dress and a woven dress at that! With finished seams and buttons. A hand-sewn hem. All the thoughtful finishing steps that I, at that time, did not usually have the patience for. And the fit is (well...was) perfect!
The thing is, it's a bit snug now (an accidental trip through the washing machine saw to that...okay, and time), but even before then I only wore this dress a handful of times. Not because it's not comfortable or lovely to me.
But, because there is some unknown, not-quite-right for me element to it that I can't quite place my finger on and I've gotten really clear over the last decade on what I love to wear and what magically makes me feel completely lit up, based on how I feel in my body wearing it.
And I'm unwilling to wear anything that doesn't do that...even if I don't understand why. (Not being able to zip it up also helps!)
But still, I've purged my closet probably a hundred times in the last 8 years and I can never seem to part with this dress.
...and it's taking up valuable real estate and hogging one of my lovely vintage wooden hangers.
I mean, I have other dresses, ones in regular rotation, ones I wear with gusto, who do not even have a hanger.
No, not even a hanger...they are unceremoniously draped over the top of the closet bar. (yes, I know I can buy more hangers, but, see I'm trying to create a self-limiting system!)
Seriously. Why can't I let this dress go?
I've been thinking about that. I think it is the elation that came from making a garment so carefully and intentionally that I love connecting with. I've been holding onto the memory and that's what brings me joy. This dress is a milestone project.
The other day I was rifling through my too-full closet to see what I can pass along, as I am want to do when I'm feeling a little overwhelmed or have an urge to regain control in my life. (an illusion surely, but it feels good...allow me the illusion!)
There's nothing quite like checking in with what you own and deciding if it still brings you joy and whether or not it still deserves space in your life. And then releasing what doesn't.
I know you know what I am talking about, Marie Kondo didn't become a household verb for nothing!
That feeling that comes when you shift the old out and make room for...well maybe, the new, but ideally for me...simply for space.
Space in my cluttered closet and space in my mind.
See, I love the feeling of peace that I get when I have what I need and feel content with what I have. Not too much or too little, but simply enough.
So, this uncharacteristic keeping of this dress has been so interesting to me.
And then, just like that, I'm ready to let it go. hmm. But not, obviously without a last hurray!
To be clear, it would have been perfectly acceptable to continue to let this beloved garment hog it's space....forever if need be, but I'd like some more space please, in every sense of the word, and sometimes that means letting go of good things in favor of a tempered version of what truly matters to me.
So, here's to the things we've made where in the end it was the process and the feeling of empowerment that gave us so much joy! Those milestone projects...fists pumping in the air, smiling from ear-to-ear, projects.
What are you hanging onto because it makes you feel good to see it and touch it, even if you don't or can't use it?
Tell me about a milestone project of yours! It's just me behind the screen and I love to connect!
Tina shares her musing on making in her weekly e-letter and on her blog. Kinshiphandwork.com