When I think about making a new dress, this is what I think about:
- Fabric. Is there some in my stash or lurking somewhere on the internet that I simply can't live without? Have I been obsessing about a particular event for which a stunt dress is necessary? Have I been thinking about a particular theme, like stripes or eyelet or giant florals? Do I have a new cardigan in a weird color (yes, I'm looking at you, Land's End) that needs a mate?
- Pattern. Is the fabric the right weight? If not, how do I compensate for that? Does it have pockets? If not, can I put pockets into it? Where is it tight? Where is it loose? How will it move? How low or high is the neckline? The hemline?
- Construction. Are there difficult bits that WILL cause swearing, like gussets? Can I change a facing to bias binding? Is there a lining, and if so, can I skip it? Can I move a back zipper to the side, or change a placket zipper to an invisible one? Where are the stress points, and how will I reinforce them? Are there places where too many seams meet, and will my fabric make those points lumpy or bulky? Where will I have to match prints or plaids?
- Time. Is it a simple pattern to cut out (looking at you, Heidi), so that I can do it late at night, while watching Chuck on Hulu? Or is it complicated, so that it needs me first thing in the morning, when I'm fresh, while listening to podcasts? If I start after breakfast, or after dinner, when will I hit the putting-the-zipper-in place, and will I be awake or cranky? Have I drastically underestimated how long hemming a very full circle skirt will take (the answer to that last question is always YES).
- Interest. If this dress will take a long time to make, will I still care by the end? (There are several dresses lurking in my sewing room RIGHT NOW that I gave up on in the middle.) Is there an event driving me to make this dress, and what will happen if I don't finish it in time?
- Visualization. Where will I wear this dress? Who will be there? Will I wear it once, or over and over again? Will I blog it?
- Shoes. Which ones? Do I already own them? Would this dress require shoes that do not, in fact, actually exist? (E.g., every pair of boots I've ever wanted.) Do I have a pair of shoes in a weird color that I need to make a dress to match? Am I looking for an excuse to buy a new pair of shoes in a weird color? (Lather, rinse, repeat for "Coat" and "Bag".)
- Fun. Will the whole process involve more fun than not-fun? This is my hobby, not a job or a chore. If it starts turning not-fun, can I bail and go watch Dr. Who? Where are the possible not-fun parts, and how can I make them fun? (See Chuck, podcasts, stunt fabric, etc. above)
I'm sure there are other things I think about while sewing, but these are the things I think about, or try to think about, before I start. What do you think about when you think about sewing?