"Just" is a four-letter word.

“Just” is not a word one usually associates with being a bad word. In fact, sometimes it’s quite nice. 

Positive examples of “just”:
His actions were swift and just.
Just love one another.
Justine Bateman

But in the world of sewing, it’s awful. “Just” strikes terror in the hearts of clothing makers throughout the world. 

Terror inducing examples of “just”:
Couldn’t it be just a little bit shorter?
I had to just walk away and start over.
Couldn’t you just…

Of course, sometimes, “just” is unclassifiable. And here’s how: It’s just a costume.

I was taught at an early age: though it may be homemade, it doesn’t have to look like it. I spent years watching my mom make costumes for my high school theater and dance productions with the mantra, “It’s just a costume. It’s just a costume.” No one would ever get close enough to recognize the fact that not all of the 15 circle skirts she made were full circles. No one would notice the zipper in the back is white instead of pink or that spot of blood from her finger on the hem of the skirt. She (aside from her live-in sewing slaves) was the only person who would be able to spot the mistakes and that was okay since it was “just a costume.” That didn’t stop her from getting every little detail right from print accuracy to time period to suitable, practical clothing based on character vocation. Everything she made had an immense amount of thought and care put in it but she allowed herself to take shortcuts here and there to keep feeling in her hands and her sanity. Why? Because it was just a costume. It didn’t have to be perfect.

Making this Timmy costume feels like a practical application to IT’S JUST A COSTUME: 101. I’ve integrated enough of the new Cascade 220 wool into the body to see if there is a difference. There is. I knew there would be. I didn’t know if it would bother me… it does. But it’s just a costume. Just a costume, right?

It’s not the piece that defines my skill. It’s not The Evil Blanket with all of those colors. (Oh, the colors.) It’s just a costume for my little boy. He may not even wear it. He might hate it. 

That doesn’t change the fact that I still made it. I made “just a costume” with numb spots on my fingers from constant needle nudging. I unstrung single stitches to find that mistake I made three rounds before so I could maintain my pattern instead of letting a stitch or two disappear. I even adjusted for “idiot time.” (Idiot time is when I forget to sew on the buttons or make the hat. The easy project that will take no time. It takes such little time that it’s forgotten completely. You know, that kind of thing.) But I’m the only one who would know that.  

This costume means more to me than anyone else. It usually does but such is the life of the creative.

In the end I’ll shrug it off and say, “It’s just a costume,” while others (hopefully) admire my handiwork. And it is just a costume he will quickly outgrow and forget. It will be a memory from a picture. But, I get custody of the little lamb until he’s old enough to want it. And I get to store it in my container of choice with a cedar plank and lavender (just to be sure).

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