“You have brought forth something ordered and beautiful out of nothing.” — Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
Skating people know this quote means it’s show season.
Show season for us is a strange thing; all our energies and focus are on competing the entire year, so shows are at the same time a distraction, a relief, and a giant pain in the rear.
Show costumes are one of the worst parts of show season. Shows are not serious business for us as they are for many other teams; they’re just for fun, a chance for last year’s national champions to show off a little, and an opportunity for the kids who don’t compete yet to do something interesting for grandma and grandpa to brag about. As a result, costumes are not a huge priority, but they have to come into existence somehow.
We use scraps of this, pieces of that, leftovers from this box, stuff we’d otherwise throw away or never use for a real competition outfit, and it’s always the goal to go to Herculean lengths to spend as little money as possible. So this morning I was handed less than a yard of gorgeous kelly green slinky found in a drawer somewhere. With a little frugal creativity this would have been great for one outfit; but I am expected to somehow turn this remnant into two complete dresses. I’ve been staring at it all day, but no matter how I turn it, no matter how I envision it, no matter how I chop up the patterns, it just isn’t going to happen.
So obviously I’ll need to throw in other remnants, additional pieces of (hopefully) coordinating fabric that can be used to somehow complete the puzzle. And skin…lots of uncovered skin. Sleeves went out the window immediately, as did a covered back (any back, really), but now I’m thinking that even covered sides are going to bite the dust. Luckily both young ladies are very fit, very muscular girls, so lack of side fabric won’t bother them much.
Still, I need to constantly remind myself that really, it’s just a show. I shouldn’t be spending time thinking about this, because I still have those two DeBeers pieces pinned to Peg the Mannequin in the shop that I haven’t made up my mind about; yet here I am, worried that the shade of kelly green spandex I have decided to use under the skirt (where it’s minimally visible) might not perfectly match the slinky (see my post on OCD, Obsessive Color Disorder). Bringing forth something ordered and beautiful is always the focus, and whether or not that final product came from a vast inventory of fabric choice and unlimited budget, or from nothing (or next to nothing, as is the case today), doesn’t really matter. No one will really care if all I have leftover after I’m through is a piece of fabric 2″ square and six 3″x1″ strips (yes, that’s happened before, and I was naively amazed that no one else was impressed), because all they want is something ordered and beautiful; the “from” part is completely on the shoulders of the creator.
But maybe that’s the way it should be. I’ve always told my kids they’re not allowed to be bored, because I can always find something for them to do (and obviously my choices were not nearly as interesting or not-chore-related as anything they invented on their own); maybe this challenge of coming up with something out of nothing is a simple way for me to not get bored, too. If nothing else, rearranging pattern pieces on this irregular piece of fabric in my head will give my brain something to do during a six hour practice session tomorrow (no, not joking, though two of those hours will be show practice, something I, as a figure coach, am ever so gratefully exempt from having to manage). Wish me luck, on all accounts; I’m going to need it.