2009-12-04

Therapy

Sit down a while, take some notes in your little notebook and let me lie on the couch and pour my soul out...

So, I've had this blog going for a good nine months now (it really is my baby!), and I have yet to really talk about my designing and dressmaking. This is because it is one of the hardest things for me to open up about. I'm pretty open about my life, there is nothing that exciting to hide and I love sharing with my family, friends and co-workers... But there is such anxiety talking about my sewing that I'd rather go bathing suit shopping at Winners (Winners, you know I love you but sometimes your lighting is particularly unflattering). I think it's such a difficult thing to talk about because it is a love/hate relationship and I myself don't really know where I stand.
I graduated a few years ago from Fashion Design at a Canadian University with lofty plans of one day opening my own custom wedding gown boutique. I even quit my job at one point to take on custom design full time. It never quite worked out like that...

I didn't love working inside, by myself...
I didn't love people asking me to make a dress only because as a starting out designer, I would be the cheapest option...
I didn't love my lack of confidence in sewing... actually, though I have done it quite a bit and still do it, I really don't love sewing that much either....
I didn't love that the process would stress me out so bad that I would be a real bitchy wife (Ok, for you funny kids who know me in real life, I'll take your punch line away... I would be an even bitchier wife than usual)....

But...
I did love that people trusted me enough to be such an integral part of their big day.
I did love to design.
I did love the dresses I've made. I can be very critical but after the build-up to the big day, I can look at pictures and think...'hmmm... not bad'. Yes, it helps that I've had gorgeous brides.

Nowadays, I'm back to landscaping full time and I just take on dresses out of love or interest. And I'm pretty happy. I understand that people ask me all the time what I'm doing with my fashion degree (to which I often smartly reply 'shopping')... it isn't the most common field of study around here, but I do feel like it's disappointing to people when I tell them I landscape. There used to have real anxiety about what my career direction would be when I 'grew up', I felt like I had to live up to people's expectations. I have a lot more peace with that now. Quite frankly, I love landscaping... work is good... I'm driving big trucks, working with amazing people, getting a natural workout (I do eat mostly healthy but if I want I'll have that bowl of ice cream and than I'll just get the carton and finish that too...) and best of all, I'm really good at landscaping and I never feel like I have to defend what I am worth and how much I make.

I do not regret getting my degree in fashion... I have no idea what the future will hold, but there are big dreams. Am I ready to give up landscaping completely? hmmm.... the job would have to be pretty awesome. Will I landscape forever? Haha, no, sometimes my muscles are so sore already...:) Will I ever have my own line? At this point no, but I am totally a believer in 'never say never'...
Sorry for rambling my heart out and oversharing my feelings, I usually try to curb that. Hopefully you didn't miss Ghost Whisperer because you were enthralled by my long post. That would be a pity... It's just, you are cheaper than therapy. Once again, I am so glad I started this fashion blog. It lets me participate in fashion in a completely new way and I love it.
I'm going to start a sporadic series of posts on dresses I have made. People always ask to see my portfolio and it's embarrassing to say I don't have one. If there was a portfolio, it would mean that my designing was a business and I definitely do it for the passion, not the payment, at this point. So, this is step #1 for coming to terms with designing and the role it plays in my life.

l wedding2
l wedding1
l wedding4
This is my beautiful friend 'L' who got married 4 years ago already. This was the second wedding dress I ever made, and I love that 'L' trusted me enough to go for a completely look than what was popular at the time. She was a vision in freshwater pearls and silk charmeuse. It's completely true that simple dresses are more difficult to make... if it's an ornate dress and you screw up, you can just sew on a patch of sequins and call it fabulous. With a simple dress, you better do everything right!

l wedding3
I love this candid shot... first of all, I look so young (maybe just to me) but it totally shows the stress I feel about the dress until the walk down the aisle is complete. After that, if you step on bird poo and stain the thing, too bad... I'm already partaking of your dinner wine...

38 comments :

Irene said...

whoa, that is a beautiful dress. VERY impressive. you're very talented.

Julia said...

What a wonderful post. That dress is gorgeous!!! I designed mine & had it made by someone much like yourself, & I couldn't have been happier, so I'm sure you have a bunch of brides out there who occasionally pull out their dresses & self-congratulate re:their decisions to have a one-of-a-kind dress made.

And...I'm similarly shy about my writing. I almost feel bad when I make money on it, bc that simply isn't why I do it, even though I got a freaking MFA so I could do just that. But no, I'm more comfortable making necklaces & selling them on eBAy. Anyway, I'm glad you shared your passion with us, & I can't wait to see more of your "portfolio.". :)

Dylana said...

I wish you the best of luck in your future in wedding dress designing! SO true that you must do it out of love!

colormenana.blogspot.com

Kyla said...

Oh, honey --- we are cut from the same cloth. I'm a former film student / costume design student and for a while during my senior year in college, I had the same notion of making custom wedding dresses. Now, I'm doing custom wedding invitations, which is considerable less stress and not nearly as big of part of the wedding, but ugh! I'm kind of getting burnt out on the whole thing. Being creative for a living kind of sucks sometimes. ESPECIALLY when you're doing custom work for strangers. So often, I find myself looking at a blank computer screen, thinking "Okay, go! Be creative! Produce!" And it sucks. Since quitting my super shitty job and dabbling in even more things now, I'm finally starting to hone in on what I think I could do for the next decade or two. But honestly, who am I kidding? I'm not exactly a career girl. I'm just a girl who likes to love her job. Is that so much to ask?
Anyway, I completely understand all of this more than you would ever know and I think that when you get to the point in you life where you are comfortable working the "unexpected" job that you like, that's a pretty damn good place to be. Much luck to you!

K.Line said...

That dress - that bride - is a vision! You have done beautiful work. Who's to say you can't landscape and design clothing? They are both excellent channels for architectural design. I'd love to have a fashion degree because it would mean I'd have so much knowledge about the craft of construction! You are so fortunate. Can't wait to see your next installment on this theme.

Amy said...

That dress is beautiful. Maybe by the time I'm getting married you'll be a famous landscaper/bridal designer and you can make my dress <3

Clare said...

This is a wonderful post, Yen. I'm so glad you shared this part of yourself with us. I can relate inasmuch as my career (if you can even call it that, which it absolutely is not) thus far has been a veritable roller coaster of randomness. I have yet to land my own landscaping gig (metaphorically, of course), but it's good to know that it's out there. You and Kyla are definitely inspirations on that level. Your work is beautiful, by the way. I absolutely adore the simple, soft design.

Lizzy said...

Your work is beautiful, whether be it dress-making or landscaping, I'm sure! As long as you wake up knowing you'll be doing something you love, what else can you ask for? Other's opinions don't matter! Be proud that you have the work ethic to take on such a hard job, yet are so creatively inclined that you can design out of love! As a college student I am currently going through this thought process. "What am I going to be?" "Should I go to grad school, or just take on the first job that I enjoy and am good at?" etc. Sorry for rambling, but I can relate to that feeling of other people's expectations vs what you may (simply) want/be content with!

anne charlotte said...

what a beautifully made gown... i love how you are designing gowns how and when you want to, because it's your passion, not your paycheck. i'm sure the results turn out more beautiful that way, anyhow, all love no stress. :)

Sidewalk Chalk said...

That dress is so beautiful and really unique. She looks so stunning and happy --- just how a bride should feel on her big day and I'm sure your beautiful design played a big part in that. I'm glad that you were feeling open to share these pictures with us. You are so multi-talented and I hope you keep doing what makes you happy :) - JoAnn

Peg said...

WOW, you do have talent and even though I don't have a blog or a baby anymore... I admire you more than you know... you are sweet, pretty, talented and very REAL... thanks for sharing!

God's Favorite Shoes! said...

SHUT UP!! You made that! It is so absolutely perfect!

Laura HH said...

I confess that I really loved landscaping and I do miss it sometimes. (Especially the part about being super-toned while eating ice-cream daily)

Robin said...

I'm so happy you're posting pictures of dresses you made! Very excited to see more!

Christen said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I absolutely loved reading it. And honestly I think sometimes it's okay to not have it all figured out. I certainly don't. (I need to listen to my own advice!) When the time is right, you'll know it and until then, it seems that you have a wonderful, fulfilling life. However, you are undeniably talented and I cannot wait to see what else you have made!

briannelee said...

It is so pretty Jentine! You could always do dress making as a side business... start your own Etsy shop. I loved the dress you made for Linda.

PS. I friended you on Facebook :)

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsey said...

Nice post Jen! When you showed me the drawing for that dress four years ago I fell in love, you were able to capture exactly what I was looking for. Something no store could give me. You are very talented! Thanks!

Fell 4 Fashion said...

I love this post, knowing that others feel some the way that I do! (although ours are a little different!) I still don't know what I want to do when I "grow up", hate my current job, and am not using my college degree (although it wasn't in fashion). I applaud you for doing what you love right now, and not feeling pressure by others to "use your degree". Thank you too for sharing this gorgeous dress with us! In whatever you do, I wish you the best! You will excel!

Elaine said...

I would love to see your wedding dresses!! Your friend's dress is really amazing. I'm all for simple and elegant dresses. I'm just so glad to hear that you're still doing what you love! I dont' know what I want to do after I graduate... And I have to act fast. You're so lucky you've still got your foot in the door of the fashion world!


clothedmuch.blogspot.com

Nadine said...

People do get very nosey about what you are going to 'do with' your talent/qualification. But it's only one part of you/your life, not everything about you. I can completely relate to hating working inside on your own, and loving driving big trucks! One day you may find yourself in some completely unforeseen line of work, calling on aspects of your design training in ways you had never expected. (I can sew, and would you believe I use my skills to design and cut out costumes for my ballet students . . . I get as many helpers as possible to do the actual sewing!)

E said...

Oh what a stunning creation and how nice that you can pursue your passion at your own convenience and purely for the love of it. I've always felt that passions and work should be separate because when you have to rely on a passion, it can ruin it. Keep posting more of your dresses! I love to see your designs!

gina said...

Thank you for sharing your journey thus far in relation to your passion and your career. The wedding dress is beautiful, and I look forward to seeing your other creations.

Jo said...

What a beautifully honest post. Your blog is like a breath of fresh air, and I hope you will be satisfied writing on it for years to come.

Jo
www.myfavefwords.blogspot.com

Chelsea said...

Oh wow, that dress is absolutely stunning!

I think it's great that you feel secure in your job right now, even if it may not be your lifelong career. I struggle with feeling like I have to explain where I'm at professionally, like I have to live up to everyone's expectations. Sure, I do not want to be an administrative assistant forever, but it's a great place for me right now. I gotta keep that in mind!

I can't wait to see more wedding dress pictures... I am already a wedding dress junkie, so thanks for the hit! ;)

orchidsinbuttonholes said...

First off, that dress is gorgeous and looks amazing on the bride! You are incredibly talented.

Second, every degree or extra credit is never wasted. I truly believe that. Even if you only use your fashion degree for shopping for the rest of your life (and I LOVE that response, by the way!), it is still something you learned about something else and about yourself. That's what life's all about.

And you really never know, as you said. It may be something you turn to and love in a new way in several years. You've got talent, that's for sure.

Lastly, I've been having a lot of difficulties leaving comments using my Wordpress account. I've tried leaving many many comments, but Google bounces me away with a "sorry!" So I wanted to let you know that I've been reading and loving your style and wit and thoughts, but haven't been able to comment too frequently. I'll keep trying, though! (Fingers crossed this one goes through!)

chic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chic said...

Great post, it's wonderful to learn more about you this way. And I think many of us who are the creative type totally understand your struggle, it's so hard when you try to take something you love and make it a business. The business part of it can often put a big huge damper on that creative task.

With that said, go into the wedding dress business now!! Just kidding. But I'm just so in love with this dress and wished this post had come BEFORE my wedding so that I could have coerced you into designing one for me. Or even just duplicating this one in my size. I couldn't love the pearl halter thingy more, it's just soooo pretty. Wonderful design! S

Linda said...

I really liked this dress because it was so classy and the total opposite of all those glittery oversized ballgowns. Mostly, Lindsey just looked incredibly happy to have it on. I have never seen a bride more excited and happy, and that says alot.

Eyeliah said...

that dress was gorgeous, thanks for sharing a bit more of your life with us. ;-)

Ash said...

It is beautfil! Share more! I am sure everyone else is as excited as I am to see what else you create!

Ash
goldleafashely.blogspot.com

God Made Me fuNky said...

The gown is so classy and simple. love the way you worked with pearls and chiffon....two of the most classic items. one look at the gown n i can say boy you are super TALENTED. Cant wait to see what all have you created. n honestly its damn hard to be in a job that you truly love, so I say gal enjoy it while it lasts(ie the love for the job) and trust me not all of us have a clear vision of how we want our lives to be...so at times its good to go with the flow.

La Mimi said...

Wow! it's a beautiful dress and I love how you incorporated pearls into it:) You are very talented darling:)

xoxo
Mimi

anna said...

that dress is stunning! i wish you had been on my radar when i got married. clearly you have a talent. how you choose to use it it completely up to you. don't feel guilty. you obviously know who you are and there's nothing wrong with be confidant in that! you are truly gorgeous. i wish i knew you in real life. sorry so cheesy.
~anna
haveacuteday.blogspot.com

skapamusik said...

Wow, I'm almost having a "I-was-meant-to-read-this-post-moment". I feel like I have come to a crossroads when it comes to work and life. Do I continue to advance at my current job or will that take away time and effort from my dream - being a singer first and foremost. I want to do different things in life, not just music, but I'm afraid I will be burning future bridges..

You are very talented (love the dress) and I hope you will continue doing it - out of LOVE. But stand proud in the fact that you ARE a talented designer and you CAN sew (we can tell from that dress). And I find this post very inspiring.

I'm so afraid of becoming bitter, but I think if I can find a balance and start to come to an understanding about what I WANT (not what others want or expect of me) then I'll be fine. For me it has always felt like I'm a "fake" because I DON'T have a music degree, but reading your thoughts on having it "the other way around" I feel like maybe that doesn't matter so much. What we are "on paper".

Thank you for writing about this

Paul said...

Am I really the only guy to post in this thread? Am I maybe the only guy to actually read your blog? ;-)

I wanted to post for two reasons: First, your line about what you're doing with your fashion degree (shopping) made me laugh out loud (lol as the kids say, maybe even roflmao). And second, just looking at that dress and the other stuff you've done that I've seen...you're pretty darn talented. That dress and the pictures are awesome. And you know that whether you're dressing brides in your satin creations or dressing baby trees in burlap...we still love you (most of the time). :-)"

ver17 said...

Wow, I know that I am really behind on this blog - but I am so glad that I stumbled back a bit to take a chance and read this entry.

Lately, I've been feeling so conflicted about my career direction. I grew up the last 18 yrs of my life, going, "Whoo-hoo, college, medical school, residency, fellowship, doctor!" Then I got to college - and I realized, "I don't like this."

It's been very much a struggle for me to be comfortable exploring my other interests and passions, and I'm so glad that your blog exists. You make me realize that pursuing my passion is okay, that growing up is about changing.

Thank you.

By the way, so that I don't have to search for your entry on the brown bridesmaids dresses - THEY ARE GORGEOUS.

- J.

merly k said...

STOP.BEING.SO.AMAZING.


you're making me look bad. seriously that dress is da-bomb. i did the little fish face quick intake of breath when i saw the first photo. mama loooooooove. i think we should go back to our respective colleges, hell let's tour the upper NA dispensing our wisdom.. "fear not, young impressionable minds! you will probably not use the degree your paying out the ass for in a year! but you'll be much happier, we proooomise.. (as long a you don't become a hooker/drug dealer/insert other disreputable profession)" you in?


serious note time: i'm so god damn happy for you that you are able to do 2 things that you truly enjoy and can balance successfully. poster child for happiness ;) xo