A humorous look at the birth of an ensemble...

by Chautona of Chautona's Couture

I thought you might enjoy learning about the process that I, and I am sure many other designers, go through to create the garments that I/we do.

It all starts with a trip to the fabric store. We see a fabric that is out of this world and buy it. We know EXACTLY what we want to do with it and it is going to be the BEST thing we've ever made. Right? Of course right!

When we arrive home, a growling stomach, much needed nap, or some other catastrophe strikes and we put the fabric away for 'later'. Three or four days, weeks, months.... later we see the fabric and realize that we had an idea for it...what was it? Undaunted, we come up with a MARVELOUS idea for an outfit so we... you guessed it... GO TO THE STORE! This is how our homes are insulated. We didn't waste our hard earned money on fiberglass... not us! We only go for the best! 100% cotton fabrics, gorgeous velvets, marvelous brocades...are much more interesting than that nasty health hazardous stuff anyway!

So, we go back to the store... that's where I was isn't it? There we find an optimally beautiful piece of fabric, buy a bunch of lace and trims, stop by the antique store and splurge on that marvelous old chenille spread that the owner would CRY over if she knew it was going to have a nice chunk removed in less than an hour... and return home to begin the mad dash!

We pour over every single pattern that we own, look online for new ones, see a sleeve we like and say HMMMMMm. Next thing you know, there are four patterns all mixed up as we grab this bodice front, that bodice back, this skirt, that sleeve, the other collar. Before long, our once 'clean' sewing room is a disaster movie and horror flick all in one. We try fifteen different trims before we decide that the original one that we bought was perfect. We agonize over whether we want to add a jacket, if we want this style hat or that, maybe no hat and a hooded cape instead? Finally we finish our creation. Every thread is clipped, every button tightly sewn on. We press everything within an inch of it's life... and then put it on our model or 'dummy'.

Now I think people with models probably have it easier... and much harder. A dummy doesn't move and show the beauty of a garment like a model does, but at least a dummy doesn't move and ... We take 500 pictures. Then we realize that we left the flash off, or the lighting was lousy, or there was a stray thread in a contrasting color right in the middle... something will happen and we retake them because secretly we are all budding photographers! (Or maybe we are just envious of some of the fabulous photographers here on eBay and don't want to look WORSE than we already do!) Pictures download and then the fun begins.

We have to edit, crop, resize, downsize, lighten, darken, and otherwise make our pictures TRY to show how fabulous we think this set really is! Then the pictures MUST be uploaded to a picture hosting site... and we have to write the html to make our eBay pages FABULOUS! Then, we sit back and wait. We wait and wait and wait.

Finally after what seems like hours later (ok, it's really less than 5 minutes) we check the counter to see if anyone has seen it yet! There is ONE HIT!! ALL RIGHT! Wait, that must be me.

The waiting continues until we fall asleep in front of the computer again from sheer exhaustion. Our husbands prod us out of our chairs and send us off to bed. He thinks we are dreaming of his kind and loving attention to our welfare. He has no idea that we are either dreaming of little girls in MARVELOUS dresses... or we're having nightmares of horrifying emails from bidders who are disgusted that we even TRY to make something when our designs are so hideous!

We whimper... and hubby thinks it's because we miss him and he snuggles closer. What a life.

About the author:

" Of course, Chautona's Couture couldn't exist without the support, encouragement, and enthusiasm of my family. I am the wife of Kevin, and the mother of nine incredible children. I am always amazed when I look across the studio my husband has so sacrificially worked to provide me and see my sons wrestling on the floor, or my little girls dreaming up outfits from the bolts on the shelves, or my older girls pulling out patterns to create their own exciting outfits. Seeing our little Rosy Lorna learning to sit, crawl, and grow into her own little self in this room is a sheer delight!"

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| Thursday, April 3, 2008 1:12 PM | flag
You must be that invisible friend that follows my every move! I couldn't have written it better. LOL!

The Plaid Kitty (Kathy) | Monday, December 10, 2007 10:05 AM | flag
Oh my goodness! I thought I was the only one that has this disease! I am so glad to see that collecting beautiful fabrics isn't a crime- and further-- that NOTHING is good enough to cut into it later! LOL Loved the article!!

Eva (lovely-kids) | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 8:50 AM | flag
I do not have much time to read everything on jm-sites, it�s really a pity...but this story I dooo love! I had to laugh so much - and I agree with each an every moment of the "tale". Nice to see that I am not alone...LOL!

Cassi | Friday, September 8, 2006 9:15 AM | flag
I have just caught the "bug" and can see myself in this scenero already. Great writting skills on top of you sewing skills.

Dorothy | Saturday, May 13, 2006 10:48 AM | flag
I saw myself here and laughed out loud. You must have a very happy family, with a Mom who has such a great sense of humor. You remind me that I miss Erma Bombeck. If you have any time left over from tending to nine kids and designing couture clothes, you could write a newspaper column. Please. :>)

Joy Smith | Friday, February 10, 2006 2:14 PM | flag
This is great - it's totally what I do! I thought I was the only one who insulates my home with perfect fabric, for that perfect ensemble, that NEVER gets created until my princess is 6 yrs old. Then only to realize the outfit looks rediculous when it would have looked much better when she was 2!

Cara Rushing | Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:28 AM | flag
Wow! I am laughing! I have to print this out so all my friends and family will no what my life is like! This is SO, SO totally true...except that I end up with interuptions so much that I only make about one out of five of the outfits I had intended to (and have the extra fabric around to show for it). LOL! Thanks!

Chautona | Thursday, January 5, 2006 10:22 PM | flag
Of course you're normal. For a crazed eBay designer you are as normal as pie. Ask me how I know! Giggle. Thanks ladies!

| Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:13 PM | flag
I'm sending this to my husband so he won't think I'm crazy! LOL You amaze me with 9 children! I have 2 and barely have time for anything & everything. My hat is off to you!

Kathy~The Plaid Kitty | Sunday, December 25, 2005 11:56 AM | flag
Oh myyy goodness! I'm normal...I'm not alone in this world of beautiful fabrics in bins and bins! Yeah for me! (and do you go through the part where the beautiful fabrics just aren't good enough for ANY design? and much to good to use for just anything? Only "anything" never happens???? Beautifully written! What a multi-talented woman you are! My hero(ine)

Camellia | Friday, December 23, 2005 8:54 PM | flag
I loved your story...but it is NOT a story - it is my autobiography! Glad I am not the only one with a "fabric problem". Your creations are breathtaking! God bless you and your family. Merry Christmas and Best of Luck to you in '06!!

Priscilla | Friday, December 23, 2005 10:54 AM | flag
This was a very well written article. I made me smile from ear to ear. And you did it with nine kids, I have 4 girls, you are my inspiration now! Keep up the good work. I hope to read more articles by you.

Heather - Thrice Blessed Threads | Thursday, December 22, 2005 3:00 PM | flag
Wow, have you been watching me? lol...I'm glad to know that there are others out there just as "crazy" over fabric and sewing as I am! Great article!

Megan | Thursday, December 22, 2005 1:29 PM | flag
Am I on candid camera? lol

Chasidie | Tuesday, December 20, 2005 6:39 PM | flag
Oh my gosh! I can't believe how well you said that! I thought it was only me. Pheww what a relief to know I am not the only one.

| Saturday, December 17, 2005 6:36 AM | flag

teeter-toddler | Friday, December 16, 2005 6:24 PM | flag
ROFLMAO, I loved this, you couldn't have said it any better!!!

Jamarie-kids | Friday, December 16, 2005 6:29 AM | flag
Wow, I am not alone!!!! I truly enjoyed reading your article, I feel like all my friends and family should read it, maybe after that I can get well-deserved respect, LOL!!! Mary

| Friday, December 16, 2005 5:27 AM | flag
What a relief to know that I am not the only one with this affliction!

| Thursday, December 15, 2005 7:58 AM | flag
Okay, I want to know who was following me around,and were are the hidden camera's LOL!!! Excellently written and very relateable. Thanks so much :o)

Kidzz | Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:13 AM | flag
Simply put --- FA-BU-LOUS!! It was 2 AM when I read this and I enjoyed every word!!!!

Robin (my3luvbugz) | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 7:35 PM | flag
LOL-Chautona! So true LOL Great article :)

| Wednesday, December 14, 2005 3:11 PM | flag
ROFLOL ~~Susan

Chautona | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 3:10 PM | flag
Thanks so much ladies. I had so much fun writing that one day and well... some day I'll write that sequel that my mind has brewing.

winipoo | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:16 AM | flag
Great article, Chautona! Thank youf or writing and sharing it with all of us :-) ~Kirsten

| Wednesday, December 14, 2005 6:52 AM | flag
You hit the nail on the head here!! Very well written!! I could read even more!! Thank you!!-Trevor

| Wednesday, December 14, 2005 6:03 AM | flag
LOL! I thought I was the only one checking the counter every 5 seconds! Alisa

Cheri--SkyeBabies*Boutique | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:11 AM | flag
Oh, this article is SO TRUE. Thank you so much for putting so eloquently into words what every designer has experienced at some point in time or another.

Patsy - My Child's Garden | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 8:32 PM | flag
So true, so true! That was awesome! You forgot about the children (I have seven) picking out that fabulous fabric to play Super Hero or Pirate! Merry Christmas!

Christina *Abby*Lane | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 8:21 PM | flag
Hahaha!! Thanks for the laugh.... even though it's all true! :)

Angie Seaman | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 6:55 PM | flag
So true...so true! What a great article. Thanks for taking the time to remind each of us that we aren't alone nor are we as crazy as we sometimes think we are. It's happening to all of us - it's a part of us. :) Happy holidays and God bless! Angie Seaman(AngelicaGraceDesign)

Karen | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 6:21 PM | flag
I laughed through the entire article!! This really hits home!! Fantastic Work!!

Sandra | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 1:26 PM | flag
That is soooo true! Thanks for that! Sharing with all my family so they now understand!

| Tuesday, December 13, 2005 1:01 PM | flag
Absolutely perfect description!!! that is it exactly!!! thanks for sharing! Mona

Jennifer~Jaybird Designs | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:09 PM | flag
GREAT article!! LOOOVE it!

| Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:46 AM | flag
LOL!! I throughly enjoyed (and can relate to) your 'birth of an ensemble' story! Thanks for sharing! ~Paula LittleLady*Couture

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