Designer’s Block

No not the patterning kind, I’m talking the emotional kind


(Sinikiwe, the NGO where I teach tailoring, is starting to pump like a beast)

By the continuous miracle that is this business; I’ve survived the first quarter of 2017 (woohoo) and am actually rather pleased with how things are going.

Although alterations are not the most exciting thing for a tailor as talented as myself to be doing, my focus there has helped to create a steady flow of work that is simple enough for Thabo (my new apprentice) to handle without excessive oversight.


(Thabo Machaka, my new right hand man)

The process also turns around within a week, which has sorted a big problem in my business of the time lapse between first contact and final pick up.

So now what?

Now that I’ve got the alterations part of the business running fairly smoothly, I’m obviously wanting to level up and get back to my own designs. But every time I even think of making even a t-shirt (let alone a full suit) an intense performance anxiety grips my mind in a vice of fear and I can’t bring myself to even pick up a pencil.

I don’t get what I’m anxious about really. I’ve been easily managing to make excellent suits when orders come in. Not only have the clients been super happy about their suits, but I’ve been really proud of how far I’ve come in technique to create some really finely made garments.


(Man I loved this jacket!!)

But somehow when thinking of making a suit for myself I freeze in this mental space of ‘it’s too difficult, I don’t have all the right equipment, it’s going to look like a joke’.

I know at least some of the anxiety comes from my box of shame: All the half completed garments that I know I’ll never get around to finishing. It makes me too depressed to even start on a new project knowing it’ll probably just wind up in the trash because I didn’t have the energy to finish it. Or because business suddenly picked up and I had to abandon the project for two months while I hand-stitched hems day and night eish.

The truth, I guess, is that I’m exhausted beyond words. I’m tired of having to iron absolutely everything myself because no-one else cares enough about the business to do it properly. I’m tired of having to thread the sewing machine every time because it takes anyone else an hour to thread it incorrectly. I’m tired of repeating instructions, of demonstrating stitching techniques, and unpicking shit work all through the night because it has to be re-done from scratch. I’m exhausted, and VERY tired of being broke!


(Chilling with the models at a show I did recently)

Having bitched about all of that I must say that things are going extremely well actually. I’ve found that including people in the larger narrative of the business and what I aim to achieve helps motivate them to work to perfection. And I feel I’ve finally found the flow of business that is so essential to growth. I also (touch wood) seem to have found two great guys to work with, and together our team is dedicated and motivated to taking over the fashion world!

It’s just the actual growth that I need to find the energy for right now 😉

Thanks for always being supportive peeps, and for being with me through this journey of tears to the promised land of great handbags and shoes!!


Check out these PIMP sustainably produced Lapel Flowers from Batiki. Read the review here, and purchase off Amazon here.

The Studio is at 625 Levinia Street, Garsfontein, and open every Thursday from 10am to 10pm. You can also subscribe to this blog by hitting the follow button, and join the monthly newsletter here for fashion scandal and exclusive designs.


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