Yesterday, I got to try on my dress for the first time. There weren't any sleeves yet, and the skirt lining was just barely pinned to the waist seam, and it wasn't properly pressed... but it was still sort of magical. In heels, I look ten feet tall, and the skirt fits perfectly at the hips and falls straight to the floor in soft folds. The director rearranged the train and exclaimed, "It looks like a movie star from the '30s!", which is exactly what I wanted. It was a nice reminder that in the end, this dress will really exist; the illustration on the wall is getting closer and closer to becoming itself, and the list of things left to do is getting shorter by the day.
Yesterday I did the last really scary thing, which was to set in the sleeves and sew the binding on. With the sleeve and bodice just two layers of georgette in some places, and the junction between the underarm and sleeve a major detail that gets looked at during the presentation, sewing it together was stressful but also kind of great - in the end, I turned the bodice right-side out, and the sleeve seam flowed right into the side seam. Not perfect, but pretty close to it.
It strikes me, how exhilarating it is, to take on an intimidating task and not just do it, but do the shit out of it. So many aspects of this dress have been incredibly scary - presenting and committing to it in the first place; setting in the zipper and sleeves in a difficult fabric; working towards a goal whose process and timeframe was murky in places - and I had no idea if I could actually do it at all, much less do it well. So it feels amazing to accept those challenges, approach them using my process and my work ethic, and have them turn out better than even I could have imagined.
As I enter my last few days, I expected to feel stressed, but instead I feel a sense of profound calm. Everything that I've done in the last three years to prepare for this gown, and everything that I've done in the last twenty-six days to create it, has led up to now. And I know for a fact that I'm capable of everything I have left to do.
Everyone gets something different from the ballgown experience, and I think the magical unicorn I've discovered is self-trust: of vision, of process, of skills. And that is a gift that I'll carry with me for a long time to come.
Happy Tuesday, friends.