For some people, the process of creating something can be a bit daunting. You don’t want to “waste” time, materials, etc. You might be afraid that it “won’t turn out very well” or something like that. But what if it does turn out very well? What if an epic outfit was never created because the possibility of wasting fabric made you too uncomfortable?
And what if your fears come true, and your project doesn’t end up like you’d hoped? Repeat after me: So what.
So what? It’s just fabric. There aren’t many things you can do that will render a piece of fabric completely unusable for any future purpose. But what if you do? Again, so what? If you have some pants you can’t wear, and you try to fix them and you make a mistake, then what will you have? Some pants you can’t wear. And some experience. And some better ideas about what you can try next time. And that sounds like a win to me.
That interesting technique you’ve always wanted to try? Do it. Don’t be put off wondering whether you’ll get the hang of it right away. You probably won’t! But there’s a reason that it appeals to you. Listen to yourself and don’t worry about “ruining” anything, because it’s only fabric, or paint, or wood, or metal. There’s actually something very cathartic about ruining fabric. The gray “ashes” fabrics on the Phoenix dress were burned and torn to shreds, and that was one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire project.
(Phoenix dress modeled by @_tirtha. Runway photo courtesy of Jamil Images LLC.)
You can still be the “measure twice, cut once” type, and that’s fine. As long as you actually get to the part where you make the cut. And if you find yourself hesitating, not sure you REALLY want to cut up this awesome piece of fabric (because it’s so much more useful when it’s sitting uncut on a shelf), then try this:
Take some dimensional fabric paint in different colors, squeeze a little of each color into plastic cups, and thin them down with water. Now go outside and throw the paint onto some wet white fabric. Don’t think about it, just go for it. Get a big splash of color where you think you don’t want it. Drip clashing colors next to each other, let them run together, even accidentally get some in your hair if you’re like me. Make something that’s haphazardly wonderful because it represents what you were feeling at the time. Not something that you carefully planned out, but something that just happened. You had a reason for putting that huge blotch of yellow paint there, even if you don’t entirely understand what that reason is. And that’s beautiful.
Now go get those t-shirts that never fit quite right, and turn them into a rug. Or grab the pair of yoga pants that don’t flatter you, and turn them into a swimsuit. Make something outrageous or absurd, like a hair clip that lights up, or grab some fabric markers and go to town on a stained pair of jeans. And if you ever feel stuck again, dreading “wasting” materials, then just think about getting a tattoo of Nicolas Cage’s face and everything else will seem minor and temporary compared to that.
Have fun, and always remember to wear safety gear!