Tag Archives: plans

Going around again

Because I wasn’t doing anything else with the next twenty years of my life, right?

Our family at present

At the end of February, I had a lapse in birth control. I needed to renew my prescription, I was sick, the weather was terrible, surely a few weeks off the pill wouldn’t come to anything. I’m thirty-eight. The time in life when people work for months if not years to get pregnant. (Yes, I can hear you laughing already)

A few weeks later, my breasts were sore and I couldn’t sleep. Then I was sick (exhausted and nauseous) for a week. I finally made it to the pharmacist for my birth control. It’s so nice that they can prescribe that now! As a precaution, I picked up a pregnancy test. Just in case.

My husband spotted it when I got home and had a little bit of a freak-out. “Take it now!”

“It’s just a precaution, babe.”

“Now now now!”

I went into the bathroom. The second line showed up basically instantly. It doesn’t necessarily count though. You have to wait one to three minutes.

I left the stick in the bathroom and set a timer. Syo (who will be sixteen shortly) got home from school.

The timer went off and we rushed into the bathroom. Two lines, definitely.

“Does that mean pregnant?”

“Yes, that means pregnant.”

“Syo!!!!!! Get in here!!!!”

So that was it. No discussion. No backing out, no second thoughts. Barring unforeseen complications, we’re having a baby. Sometime in November or early December.

A few weeks later I had seen a doctor and booked an ultrasound, and an assortment of other tests. Last time I was pregnant, I was blithely confident that complications were things that happened to other people. This time, I feel like one of the people complications happen to.

A few days ago I had an ultrasound. We’re hoping to improve my rather shaky dates. I’ve never had an early routine ultrasound before—it didn’t occur to me to get any prenatal care with Tyo, other than taking vitamins, until I was twenty weeks along. With Syo I wound up in the ER with heavy bleeding at nine weeks. The only thing I remember from that ultrasound was watching to see if there was still a heartbeat.

This routine ultrasound took a while. At one point the technician had to add a second squirt of goop. I found myself watching her face, wondering if I’d be able to tell if something was wrong. I’m not the best at reading people.

At last she said “ok, we’re ready to give you a look. Now, just so you’re prepared, do you have any history of twins in your family?”

And yes, then she showed me not one, but two little bodies in their little sacs.

In case you’re not quite up on the magnitude of this fuck up, my last baby will be turning sixteen this summer. My first baby will be nineteen, the age I was when she was born, when I give birth to her little siblings. Last time I was pregnant, I was twenty-two, and by twenty-nine I was thinking I wouldn’t want to put my body through that again.

We were always the young parents. That has its downsides—we were poor, unstable, very limited in our means. On the other hand, we were young, energetic, with vivid memories of our own childhood to draw on.

In many ways, our situation now is much better. Older, wiser, definitely more financially stable, if not exactly wealthy. I will have maternity leave from my grown up job—a year’s worth, and while my husband hasn’t been able to work outside the home for several years, he’ll be able to look after a small child or two when I go back to work. There are a lot of good things about us having a baby now, and while we’re no longer young, we’re not catastrophically old either.

If it weren’t for the part of my brain that keeps complaining that we were nearly done. The kids are nearly grown. I thought the next baby in my life would be a grand baby. WTF. I’m supposed to finally be experiencing adulthood that isn’t also parenthood, or at least, is the less-intensive (though maybe no less terrifying) tail off of parenting grown children. However, that’s only one part of my brain, and the other parts are pretty excited about another grand adventure. Those are not the logical bits, mind you.

The girls are happy. They’ve been campaigning for a younger sibling since they were old enough to articulate the concept. My husband is happy. Even my mom is happy. (My Dad, bless his heart, said essentially the same thing he did when I told him I was pregnant the first time: “Why?” Thanks, Dad.)

On the downside, exhaustion has sapped my sewjo big time. I have barely done anything except occasionally go down to the sewing room to putter. I still have to finish my quilt. I also have some class samples to do so I’m sure I’ll get to those. Right now I’m using Me Made May to take stock of what in my wardrobe will function for pregnancy (early and late) and nursing and there may be some desperation sewing later on if this bump keeps expanding at such a prodigious rate. I’d like to say I’ll be up for some cute baby sewing at some point… we’ll see. Especially since apparently now I’ll need two of everything?

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Spring Demands Lace

Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.

I’ll subtitle this post, Sew Canadian.

It’s long past being interesting complaining about how busy I am. But, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate (like, oh, Avengers grad dress, long-delayed onesie for Syo, and about a half dozen other things I ought to be doing), two more projects threw themselves at me begging to be made. (And yes, I realize talking about them before they’re made is probably a Very Bad Idea.) Tasia’s Gabriola Skirt absolutely struck me dead the second I saw the line-drawing. Full, swishy maxi skirt with contrast bits? UM YES. The only thing that surprises me is that I haven’t made it yet. The part where I’m making myself trace it off is slowing me down. And the bit where it takes 3.5m fabric or more, and I didn’t have enough of anything both swishy and summery, so I had to actually get new fabric. You can imagine the quaking dread that fills my home when I say such things; the children groan and my husband hides his head under a cushion. But Gabriola WILL HAPPEN. I swear it.

Nettie body-suit, by Closet Case Files

I tried a little harder to resist  Nettie. I mean, I haven’t worn leotards since high school. And I don’t tuck stuff in, like, ever. But. But. But.

Somehow the vision of a lacey Nettie to go with my Gabriola just took hold. Or maybe it was the real Nettie’s five million awesome versions. I couldn’t tell you, except there I was, printing and gluing happily a couple of days ago.

And here we are: big dreams, a new serger (which I’ll manage to talk about at some point) and not a lot of time. But May Long’s coming up—I have three whole days off and I plan to use them to the fullest. If I can just get through this week…

Avengers Grad Dress (almost done!!!!)

And finish the Avengers dress.

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A very distinguished fellow

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My uncle has received his vest. Fortunately for me, we didn’t make it down to the farm until a few days after Christmas, so I had a few days extra to finish off pesky little things like the back buckle and buttonholes. It fits well enough (OK, it may be on the snug side, but then I feel like the next size up would’ve been too big…), and he’s more than happy with it. The only thing that’s a bit odd is the length—it’s very short. And my uncle isn’t unusually tall—I’m pretty sure that it’s meant to go over antique-style trousers, you know, the up-to-the-armpits variety.

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I basted hair-canvas to the vest fronts, and then added in (as per the pattern) two layers of batting, with the edges feathered.

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A closeup of the hand-basting and padding in the vest front. I haven’t done this kind of handwork since Gertie’s Lady Grey Sewalong. It was fun, though.

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I even padstitched the undercollar.

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And then there were the welt pockets. I made samples. I marked. I basted. I tailor-tacked. And still, my first welt wound up uneven and just UGH. I could’ve cried. I couldn’t imagine making two more, when those two had to be… ulp… matching.

So I didn’t. My uncle’s vest has only a single, sad and uneven, welt pocket. I’m not going to mention it if he doesn’t.

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I added a patch of outer fabric inside the pocket, which was not in the instructions. The instructions, incidentally, were good but not verbose. They told you what to do, but not how to do it. And I added a few thing here and there, because I could. Like padstitching. And this little patch.

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I used shiny silver vintage buttons from my stash. Making the buttonholes was also a beast, although at least my thread matched very well, so their nasty quality isn’t obvious. I was so hoping for neat, beautiful keyholes, too…

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The buckle was also from one or another thrift-store baggies. I do wish, in hindsight, that I’d interfaced the straps here. And that I had two-piece eyelets—these are one piece and I’m worried about how they’ll hold up. Although I suppose it’s not a super-high-stress area. (And, yes, the back’s made out of fashion fabric, not lining. This is because I didn’t have enough of the silver Kasha lining fabric left, and my local Fabricland didn’t have any in the silver colour. Yes, I could’ve used another kind of lining. But I hate every other kind of lining out there…)

Understitching would’ve helped this back bit. Although I suppose if the outer back were in lining fabric as well, it wouldn’t’ve been an issue.

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All in all, though, I think he’s a very distinguished fellow.

He still wants a kilt, though…

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Uncle!

This year, for the first time, Osiris and I put our names in with the older generation for my mom’s family’s Christmas draw*. Yep, apparently we are officially All Grown Up. My favourite uncle said (before the draw even happened) that he’d very much like me to make him a kilt, in the event that I should draw his name.**

So naturally, when I did draw his name a few moments later, I figured I knew exactly what to make him. I even picked up a kilt “pattern”*** at the thrift store just before Hallowe’en.

Then I checked the fabric requirements and, um, there’s no way I’m getting five yards of any halfway decent wool tartan for under the spending limit. So I decided I’d make him a vest instead. Possibly a tartan vest. It just so happens that at the same time as I’d picked up the kilt pattern, I’d also gotten a rather intriguing “Fashion Historian” pattern, Simplicity 5037, for an old-fashioned vest and braces. A vest seemed about the right amount of work/cost of materials for a family gift, and I’m pretty sure Uncle will love it anyway. He’s gone out of his way to praise my sewing every time I’ve talked to him in the last couple of years.

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Well, today I pulled out the pattern, picked a size, and started tracing. I had been secretly a) wondering why the heck a vest and braces constituted an entire pattern, and b) worried that this would be another lame costume pattern. B) was quickly allayed, though—this appeared to be a sophisticated pattern after all, with neat little details like a dart under the front lapel and more welt pockets than you can shake a pocketwatch at.

Vest front, Piece 1. Perfect. Vest Back, piece… 12?

Really? Twelve pieces in the vest alone? I guess that answers why it has its own pattern, practically…

So I went and did what I hadn’t actually done yet, looked up the pattern information.

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I mean, it’s a handsome vest with some neat details, but really, twelve pieces? OK, there is a separate, bias-cut under-collar piece. That’s a good feature. And I suppose those welt pockets have a few extra pattern pieces too. Now what are those oval things?

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Oh, my, lord.

Eighteen pattern pieces. Including three separate “padding” pieces. There’s actual tailoring on this vest. I’m still kind of in shock. (Also, apparently I need to buy batting.)

And I’m strangely excited. A tailored vest.

But I may have to re-adjust my Christmas sewing timeline. >_<

*Where we all put our names in a hat and draw out the person we'll get a present for. Just in case that's not a widespread phenomenon.
** This is not the Scottish side of the family (although if you want to get all genealogical, I'm like a quarter Scottish). But Robbie Burns Day has become a big thing in their rural municipality in the last few years and, well, in a small town you take your amusements where you find them, I guess.
***I'm not sure which I loathe more, "costume" patterns or paper patterns for things that consist entirely of rectangles. I'm pretty sure this particular "Scottish attire" pattern hit both categories, however.

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An accidental sewalong

Simplicity 8498

Simplicity 8498

I confessed my sewing-pattern weakness to you a few weeks ago—well, only a few hours later, what did I espy in my Instagram feed, but Nettie of Sown Brooklyn showing off her own (rather more impressive) haul—including the very same pattern!

No sooner had I commented on this, then Vicki, our favorite sewing scientist, mentioned she had it, too! Well, obviously there was nothing to be done but move it to the top of all our queues, right? I could use a Christmas dress myself, and it’s about damn time I made something for ME!

In the quick and excited storm of emails that followed (I do love these impromptu projects!), Nettie dug up a stunning fact. Our mutual find had been reprinted as Simplicity 3833.

And, apparently, made up by at least half the blogosphere.

Nettie found a particularly awesome post comparing the origin and reprinted draft, too.

So maybe we’re a bit late to the game rather than being independently quirky and awesome. Ah, well.

Anyway, if you have Simplicity 8498 (or 3833) and fancy sewing up a Christmas dress along with us, please join in. This won’t be a real sewalong with coaching or crazy couture techniques or anything—but I think we can at least manage a round-up post pre-Xmas, maybe even have a bit of a virtual party at the end to show off everyone’s makes.

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Fabric of choice?

And some fabric may just have followed me home today… >_<

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Brung Low

I have had the blerg. That is, the the-kids-have-been-back-at-school-just-long-enough-to-incubate-new-strains-of-plague annual fall cold. Blerg.

On the up-side, I have an excuse to do nothing but hunker down, drink tea, and catch up on some of the blog-reading I’ve missed over the last three weeks. And think about my fantasy sewing in a bit more focused way. On the minus side, I haven’t been coherent enough to do anything useful, never mind anything fun.

The kids have decided, and we (most especially Osiris) have agreed, to being a Steampunk family for Hallowe’en. I’m all kinds of conflicted over this.

I really sort of loathe Hallowe’en costumes. I mean, I love a really cool costume. love love love. But. There are few things I hate more than making something that will only be worn once. If we could have Steampunk Club every week, I’d be all over the costuming. But for once a year? Erk. On the other hand, the idea of shelling out money (of which we have very little right now) for the godawful atrocities that pass for storebought costumes fills me with shame and horror.

So, sewing costumes it is. /sigh.

Osiris will be easy. In fact, all he really needs is some goggles (please nominate your favourite goggle tutorial 😉 ) and maybe some other accessories—everything else he pretty much already has, although if I were motivated to finish his frock coat I’m sure he’d happily wear that.

ZOMG I bought a brand-new pattern.

I’m less clear for myself, although I did pick up this Simplicity pattern at the $2 sale last weekend. I love the coat, although my deep suspicion of costume patterns makes me assume that it will be poorly-drafted and lacking sufficient internal structure to look right. I should probably at least read some reviews before I come to that conclusion, though. There was another pattern with a bustled overskirt thing that I also like, but it was featured in the Fabricland flyer and so long sold out by the time I got there. /sigh. Of course it’s the sort of thing I can figure out on my own, but for two dollars, not having to make it up might’ve been worth it. And I have (or rather my mother has) a perfect hat already.) Although my make-life-harder reflex is yammering something about “Steampunk Seamstress” that involves an antique-sewing-machine-looking-backpack…

Sketchies—Tyo’s costume.

Which brings us to the kids. We spent some time sketching on the weekend, although this was a bit frustrating since every time one girl came up with a good idea the other decided she wanted it, too—but they don’t at all want the same costume. >_<

Anyway, Tyo seems to have settled on some high-waisted shorts (over stripey stockings and the boots that started this whole thing) with braces, a corset/bodice thing, and a jacket with short coat-tails. After some wibbling and sorting through my patterns, I decided to try drafting the shorts based on Pepin’s instructions from Modern Pattern Design (1942). I drafted it on Inkscape, which isn’t perfect but is decent for computer drafting. This wasn’t too hard, at least when tackled in twenty-minute stretches as I zoned in and out of blergishness (this was one of those colds where it’s too uncomfortable to sleep, or really do much of anything, for very long), but I have yet to print the pattern and try drafting it, so I won’t declare any kind of victory yet. I have a feeling the hip curve is going to be off and the rear-dart-shaping is going to require work (and probably a swayback adjustment). On the other hand, they have the longer-back/shorter front crotch length like the Burda pants-draft, which seems to be a generally good feature.

Syo is all about the lacing. She wants lacing on her shorts (not high-waisted, though, preferably leather) and lace-up arm covers. This doesn’t strike me as overly Steampunk, but I imagine we can manage. She wants a corset but she’s not going to get one. Maybe a corset-seamed bodice. I’m hoping I can talk her into a cute little vest. They both want tiny top-hats… we’ll see.

Of course, with Steampunk a lot comes down to the accessories. Vaguely Victorian clothing, I can come up with fairly easily (although the number of individual pieces is slightly terrifying at the moment, considering I’ve scarcely stitched in a month). Accessories will require more work. Obviously, some googling is in order. Or, y’know, if any of you care to share your favourite steampunk costume or accessory or tutorial, I’d love to check them out! 😉

Also, it appears there will be corsets. (or things having a generally corset-like appearance) For Tyo certainly, and quite possibly for me. I have plenty of patterns, although not in Tyo’s size. Which brings on the debate—grade or draft? I’ve never made a corset before, but having read obsessively about them for several years I’m reasonably comfortable with the basic ideas, at least for costume purposes. But I’m pretty sure that the patterns I have, which are all Misses-size, are not going to be anything like the right proportions, even if I graded down to her size (which is about a Misses’ size 4). Decisions, decisions.

Obviously I need to sign myself up for Peter’s Hallowe’en Sewalong, stat.

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Fantasy Sewing—Spring Dress Edition

I’ve been craving dresses for a couple of months, now. Something pretty that I can put on and not worry about pairing top with bottom. Something that would feel like Spring. So, I went through my folder of pattern pictures, and made a collage of all the ones I kinda-sorta-would-like-to-make.

This was the result:

Round 1

These are the dresses I’d kind of like to make right now—all the patterns in my collection that I’m going “oh, that’s pretty!” over at the moment. Well, not all, as it doesn’t include any magazine patterns, but you get the idea.

Round 2---Finalists

Fortunately, even just throwing this together allowed me to narrow down my focus a bit. From “things I’d like to make” to “Things I’d like to make in the next little while.”

Unfortunately, none of these are really pairing well with the Star Wars sheet in my head… I’m thinking that needs something more full-skirted, to show off the print without too much chopping and dicing.

I think the next phase is going to involve pairing with fabric. The Style pattern (bottom left) seems a bit wintery, so perhaps I should put it off until the fall… on the other hand real sundress weather is a ways off, as well.

Oh, and checking if the patterns are complete. These are all thrift store finds and may contain unpleasant surprises.

… and that’s just the dresses I want to make.

Confession: This post has been sitting in the drafts for a couple of weeks, to the point where a fabric and pattern selection was made, and last night I was finally able to wriggle in to this for a first try-on:

Winner #1, Simplicity 6710

I think I am going to like it, although those gathers below the underbust band/panel thingy are perilously maternity-esque (and I’m not far from looking four months pregnant at the best of times) and will require some taming. I am happy to say that my copious list of fitting alterations seems to have done the trick in that department, at least. My main disappointment is that the 2″ of extra length I added to the tunic, in the hopes of getting a mini-dress, don’t seem like they will be entirely adequate for real-dress wear. So I may have to just wear it with my short-shorts, come summer. Sort of like this.

In case you didn’t recognize it in the crappy iPhone photo, this is the same fabric as the Ruby Blue slip, a dusty-blue polyester crepe. This friggin’ fabric is lucky I like the colour so damn much, because in every other respect it is exactly what I detest in a fibre. It is also not significantly easier to handle when cut on the straight grain, and doesn’t press for shite.

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