Motivation, where did you go?

March 8, 2022

I can’t believe the first 2 months of 2022 have already passed, and I have nothing to show for it cosplay-wise. I had thought I would’ve done a lot by now, but my motivation is still kind of lacking. I find myself shifting from project to project and not finishing anything. And I’ve been trying to think of why. Which leads to this rant, which is not exactly cosplay related, but I need to get this off my chest and this is my best outlet for that.

When the pandemic started, I had this feeling of urgency, that it would end again soon and we’d all be out in the real world. Then that just kept going and going for 2 years straight and somewhere in there, I started loosing hope, and with hope motivation. What’s the point of making nice clothes if you spend 99% of your time at home in sweatpants, and the small amount you do get out, you have to wear a mask? I couldn’t wear my hair down in public, ’cause it would get tangled with the mask and I would feel claustrophobic. I even had to relearn how to care for my hair, because I just kept it in a bun for two years straight.

When this year started, it was with promises of a brighter future. Pandemic was ending, restrictions were going away, life would be good again!

Except the pandemic kind of left us in a financial crisis. Again. And then now there’s also a war happening, and while I live far away in my safe little country of Denmark, it’s hard to not get worried reading about it, hearing it on the news, hearing about it from co-workers. Negative things all around.

As if that’s not enough, I’m getting poorer every day just by the world around me turning to shit. The older you get, the more you should earn and the more living should improve. At least, that’s how it was for our parents and that’s what I grew up expecting. But with every day that goes by, the money I work the same or harder to make are less and less worth. Our house is heated by gas, which has increased in price by 200% since last winter. It’s so expensive driving to work with the current gas prices that I almost feel like there’s a better reason now to stay home than during the pandemic.

And I have this constant, ever-present anger at the world. 2018-2019 were the best years of my life. I reached a goal of being on Blizzard’s stage, I bought a house, got engaged – my life was on track to be exactly what I dreamt it would be. Sure I had bad things going on, but I could solve them. Then all this shit started happening that I have absolutely NO control over. Like, at all, I can just sit back and watch the world crumble around me and I’m helpless to fix it. It’s so frustrating feeling that you’ve done everything right, and yet you’re just as screwed as everyone around you.

So, feeling this constant anger and helplessness with the world – it’s really hard to find joy in making foam swords and pretty dresses. It even feels frivolous to spend money on things like that when affording heat and transport is becoming harder every day. For 2 years, I kept hoping for a brighter outlook, but instead it just keeps getting darker and darker and frankly, I’m starting to think I should just invest in some candles and canned food and bunker down. 

Is anyone else feeling like this? I look at my friends who can still get excited about WoW expansions and Marvel movies and I wonder if I’m just the odd man out or if everyone feels like this inside, but are just better at hiding it and keeping themselves distracted.

This Bernina was my 2nd serger/overlocker and actually the first (and only) brand new machine I have bought. It works quite good and it’s a bit less noisy than my old one, which is great. One thing I miss from my old machine: It doesn’t have free arm capabilities. I don’t follow rules when I sew, so I like to overlock on my sleeves when I’m making clothes, which is harder when you can’t fit the fabric around the machine, especially when making mistakes and accidentally stitching through wrong layers will ruin the whole project, because the machine cuts while sewing. But it’s a minor thing that I work around, and overall, I’m really pleased with the performance!

My next machine was a very fancy christmas gift from my dad:

Pfaff Creative Vision sewing /embroidery machine

I have wanted an embroidery machine for years, but they are both quite expensive (though, more and more affordable models are being released) and also I had no idea what to look for. I thought each machine had their own software, and so I thought it was also a thing to consider. But it turns out it’s not. And while embroidery software (to make your own designs) is a whole topic of it’s own, it turns out the machines are quite “simple”. This one functions both as a sewing machine and an embroidery machine, and I have used it for sewing a little bit, but for that purpose, my old one still does better – it has a more powerful engine. This machine struggles with e.g. webbing. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s a bit of a chore to convert it between sewing and embroidery (the attachment + foot + needle needs to be replaced, and different types of threads on upper-and lower thread), so I just use it as embroidery machine. And for that, it works great. It supports quite large hoops – up to 360 x 350 mm. (though biggest I have is 360 x 200 mm). The standard hoops that were included were plastic ones that work by squeezing fabric between inner and outer hoop and tightening it. But I fairly quickly upgraded to metal hoops with magnets, because I find it easier to align designs like that. It’s a preference thing. It’s a single colour machine, so you have to replace the thread after each colour. But I think it’s fine. Some projects require you to babysit it, while others you can just leave it alone. It depends both on the file, the fabric and the thread. There’s a lot to learn when embroidering, but it’s quite fun. I haven’t used it for cosplay yet, but most things that sit still long enough in our house gets embroidered.

The latest machine I bought is this one:
Brother Coverstitch CV3550 coverlock machine

 

This machine is quite limited in it’s use. It’s something inbetween an overlocker and a regular machine. It has one bottom looper, and up to 3 upper threads. And this version also has an extra thread that is kind of like an over-looper. If you have a t-shirt on, I’m pretty sure there’s an edge of folded fabric that is stitched with a coverlock. On the visible side, it’s usually 2 straight, parallel seam-lines and on the underside, it’ll be kind of looping around. That’s a coverstitch. I got this, because I enjoy making clothes for myself and my family, and it makes that a lot easier. But it’s overkill for most people and probably not that relevant for cosplay. I just felt like splurging a bit and buying myself something nice. I did buy it used, though, because I figured I would get one that had all the possible features (including free arm for easier sleeve stitching).

So that’s basically all the machines I have! I would like to add one honorable mention, though:

 Husqvarna 5710 sewing machine

 

This was my very first sewing machine! My grandmother had it before me, and it’s from somewhere between 1976-1982 (I don’t know exactly when) It was actually a nice machine, but when I first got into cosplay and realized it was something I wanted to do a lot, I wanted something a bit more quiet with more features. But this machine isn’t gone. My mother-in-law didn’t have a sewing machine, so I brought it to Lithuania and now she uses it for little repairs and such. It makes me happy to know that after all this time, it still has a purpose and it still works just fine. Those old Husqvarna machines are work horses, and if your budget is small, go look for this kind of machine. The machines that were made back then were so simple that they don’t break that easy, and they were made with quality materials, so they last forever. They may not have lots of fancy seams, but my first Druid cosplay was made mostly with this red machine.

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