Coat of Many Dreams

During the time I was a single mother (late 1970’s-early 1980’s), I struggled financially to support my young son and myself. I made sure we had shelter, food, clothing, and sometimes recreation or fun things to do. We often dreamed about the places we wanted to visit, the activities we thought would be fun to experience, and what we would love to have.

For me, getting the large Spiegel catalog a couple times a year set me off visioning for myself, especially about how I wanted to present myself in the world by wearing the clothes offered in that catalog. I saw myself in the elegant and classic styles of that time.

Occasionally, I managed to save enough money to purchase a sweater or slacks. One time I even saved enough to buy a military green, long duster coat. I wore that coat for years. It protected me through many snowstorms on my travels to and from the bus stop. But the photograph of the model wearing a long, wool, tailored coat with princess lines… that was the one that seemed beyond my reach.

Fast-forward thirty-five years. My son is grown and gone. Spiegel is no longer in business. However, my desire for that wool coat never wavered. A few years ago, I found a sewing pattern in the style I remembered and loved. More time passes, and, through an online fabric outlet, I bought yards of washable wool in a light gray color at a price I can easily afford. Months after it arrived in the mail, I took a small sample to a local craft/sewing store and purchased satin lining to match.

By the time I had accumulated all the necessary materials, I was living in a mountainous, cold area of Colorado where a wool coat would certainly make winters more comfortable.  But between finishing up a school degree project, remodeling a house for sale, moving, and then engaging in the new community’s activities, the large sewing project waited for almost two more years.

Until now.

Several weeks ago, I placed the first pattern piece onto the wool fabric. I trembled as I cut the material. It was really happening. My fashion dream would become a wearable reality. And piece by piece, step by step, I took my time throughout the long-awaited process. At first, I questioned my sewing abilities to take on such a project. But as the coat began to take shape, my confidence and skills met the challenge. When necessary, I watched sewing lessons via DVD or online. I’d waited this long; there was no hurry to rush through with a bad job.

The end result was exactly what I’d hoped it would look like. Tailored. Classic. Feminine. The long length and swirling hemline a bit medieval. I cried as I completed the final stitches. Success! Completion! Persistence had paid off in self-satisfaction and pride – and I had a lovely coat to show for it. One that I could wear for many years.

This has been a year of recognizing the longing and desires of my heart. I’ve sought guidance from those wiser than me. Weighed decisions carefully before responding. Established new boundaries and interests. Released worn-out things and toxic relationships. Welcomed new friendships. Finished long-desired projects and developed new skills.

It feels like I’m at a turning point… reconsidering the frantic way I’ve always done life. I want to be busy, but at a pace that breathes with life and joy.

I’ve taken a few days to enjoy “finishing” the coat, as well as completing a book series I’ve been reading. I’m ready to jump into “what’s next” yet I do hear the internal warning to pace myself… take care of myself. I feel a bit apprehensive that the next creative endeavor will require a longer commitment from me and I want to be sure I’m willing to make it.

What I know for sure is how much I enjoy the process of creation, something I refuse to give up. Thus, whatever the next step turns out to be, I’ll be challenged, enlightened, and required to grow in some way. I am ready for that!