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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Am I cool enough for R2D2?

A Fabric Confession.

As Stashoholic Confessionals go, this is not a super big one. But it’s been preying on my mind since I bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago—so bear with me. And the patterns. They were not bought at the same time, but I might as well get it all of my chest in one post, right?

First and best, is the Star Wars sheet.

Star Wars Bedsheet of Intense Awesomeness

I don’t feel a huge amount of guilt for this one, frankly. I have been looking for awesome 80s bedsheet material for ages, even before Cation Designs came out with her amazing superhero dresses. And most of what presents itself is either a) all worn out, or b) a modern re-issue in insanely gross poly UGH that I wouldn’t want to make any kid sleep on, never mind actually wear. But finally, after long and patient stalking, I hit upon this most precious of beasts: an original, largely unworn, Star Wars (copyright 1977) fitted single bedsheet. I had to have it.

(C) 1977

The only problem is what to do with it. Let Syo sleep on it as is? Make it into a shirt for my husband? Or be selfish (not to mention completely rip of Cation) and create a Star Wars dress for myself?

However, because I was going to have to wait in line to buy the sheet, it pushed me over the edge on another possibility, two metres of textured, seafoam, probably-polyester coating.

Aqua Coating of Questionable Wisdom

I couldn’t resist. I tried, I really did. I walked away and walked back several times.

See, half of me loves this fabric. It’s the same delicate aqua/blue/seafoam colour range that I quite enjoy (see blog theme).

Texture closeup---Aqua coating

And I love the texture, because while prints don’t usually suck me in, texture does.

But I’m also utterly convinced that made up, it is going to look like a 1970s granny suit.

And I’m not sure quite what there is to be done about it. Because I think done right, it could be great—sweet and formal and old-fashioned without looking like something my grandmother would’ve worn to my parents’ wedding. But I’m not quite sure what that is.

Boxy 60s swing jacket?

Fitted classic jacket?

Add black (or red?) accents to cut the sweetness?

Simplicity 5291

Okay, now I’m picturing it with Simplicity 5291, with black piping, the sleeved jacket and maybe the flippy skirt to match if there’s enough fabric…

… all keeping in mind that I’m on a coat restriction until I finish Osiris’s frock coat, which is cut (except for the lining) and languishing on my ironing board pending a bit more interfacing.

Perplexing burn test

Incidentally, a burn test on the green fabric proved (as usual, at least for me) confusing: The fire sustained itself, but barely; it melted into a hard, black bead and left a yellowish-brown ash. The smell was like wood or paper burning—almost pleasant. I’m guessing maybe a poly-rayon blend, because I’m quite sure it’s not any of the other plant-based fibres, but really I don’t know.

And then there were patterns.

Nothing obscenely amazing, but the pattern-collection creep continues:

Simplicity 3751

Simplicity 3751—a cute, loose blouse pattern. AKA not anything like what I usually wear. And yet—cute. And different enough from most of my other patterns that I thought I could justify it. Also, look at the cool new price! I’m happy to report they appear to have abandoned their bagged-pattern tactic, too.

New Look 6789

New Look 6789—A cute sundress/wardrobe pattern. I am kinda obsessed with summery dresses right now, I fear.

Butterick 5165

Butterick 5165—I know! A housecoat pattern. It’s almost… unjustifiable. In my defense, though, it’s a cute 70s pattern (you know my weakness for those) and it’s not actually a straight rectangle, unlike every housecoat pattern I’ve seen from the last thirty years. And, well, I can fantasize that I might somehow, mysteriously, look good in a housecoat like this. (I don’t. Waist-tie, blousing, etc. are all big Tanit-Isis no-nos.)

Simplicity 8510

Simplicity 8510—Yes, it’s 80s men’s, but it’s a simple tee/pullover with some interesting options in the details, which is always key with men’s patterns. And I figure if I go down a size or two, (which I should be able to as this is an S/M), it would reduce the excessive 80s ease.

Whew! There, I feel a weigh lifted. I have confessed my fabric- and pattern-buying sins.

Now if only I could start sewing faster than buying…

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Comfies

Comfies!

When I first moved in with my husband, I discovered something that surprised me: one of his favourite things, upon getting home, was to get rid of the day’s clothes (be they casual jeans or the monkey suits he wore to work in those days) and put on his “comfies”. These could be an array of things—mostly flannel pyjama pants and a T-shirt, but really anything would do that was soft, unrestrictive, and, well, comfy.

The idea of wearing particular clothes for lounging around had never really occurred to me.  I mean, my day-to-day stuff isn’t exactly screamingly uncomfortable, for the most part. And the problem, the biggest single problem, for my poor little brain, was this: comfies aren’t sexy.

Hmm, didn’t Peter post about this recently?

Er, yeah. I have a hard time feeling comfortable—relaxed and happy—if I don’t also feel attractive. Feel free to dissect my psychological quirks if you like, but that’s just the way it is. This discomfort is waning a bit as I get older, but the fact is that I still don’t really enjoy “comfy” clothes if I don’t like how they look on me. So aside from the odd pair of yoga pants and a few fitted tanks and tees, I’ve never had much in the way of “comfies.”

But now (perhaps spurred on by the amount of time I’m spending in bed writing these days), I want to try to change that.

Comfy pants!

Step 1 was the arrival of Jalie 2033, the yoga pants*. I’ve been meaning to clone my favourite pair of yoga pants ever since they developed holes in the butt years ago, but since I haven’t gotten around to it yet, Jalie 2033 will be a good substitute, especially since I can barely get the shorts versions off my kids.

Comfy tops!

Step 2 was getting the Renfrew pattern from Sewaholic. It’s just that bit easier-fitting than my knit sloper—perfect for comfies, right?—and what better way to give it a trial run than to make something intended to be worn around the house? I’m thinking V-neck with 3/4 length sleeves.

Comfy Fabric!

Step 3 was the arrival of a package of knit fabric from Lady Katza of Peanut Butter Macrame (doesn’t that name suggest a story?), I believe salvaged from her late (and much missed) mother’s stash. Thank you, Katza! Included was approximately a mile and a half of awesome sturdy knit in a pretty, if slightly twee, peach colour. It’s somewhat sun-damaged as well, although given how much yardage there is that shouldn’t be too hard to work around.

All I need to do now is, y’know, actually do it. 😉

 

*not that I do yoga. I mean, I should, but I don’t.

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Round and round and round she goes…

Brace yourself for a whiny post. I’m resisting, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to come out.

I spent a good three or four hours in the sewing room over the weekend, not sewing a single stitch (actually that’s a lie, but anyway).

I was trying to organize my patterns.

Emphasis on trying.

In the last few months my pattern collection has gotten a bit, um, bloated. Bernie’s gift really put it over the top, but seriously, I was in trouble well before that. In particular, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer keep a reasonable mental catalogue of the patterns I have.

Now, in theory I’m prepared for that. I even have a pricey (if somewhat defective) little app on my iPhone for tracking patterns, stash, projects, etc, and I’ve made a half-ass attempt to enter at least the most important patterns into it. I have photos of most of my patterns, somewhere on the computer and somewhere on the blog, so I could potentially make a spreadsheet or database or *something*

The problem is, handy as all that electronic organization might be (and I do much better with electronic organization than with real-life organization), when I’m considering a project, what I really want to do is sit there and dive—through the fabric, of course, but through the patterns, too. Little pictures on a screen (especially a phone-size screen) just aren’t tactile enough. And since I can no longer think “hmm, I’d like to make a dress,” and bring to mind a reasonable list of the dress patterns I have, that means I need to actually sort my physical patterns.

I had started this back in the summer. I got a tall plastic set of drawers for the sewing room, which holds notions in the three top drawers and patterns in the three big bottom drawers. I sorted out the stash of kids’ patterns, too, into a large shoe-box (boot-box, really) and that worked fairly well since when the kids wanted to plan the next project I should make them (eyeroll). But I never made any pretext of sorting the patterns in those three drawers—two held patterns I’d made up, which I generally give a big manilla envelope and, if I’m really organized, print out a photo of the finished project to stick to. This works well because it gives me somewhere to store printed-out patterns, patterns that don’t come with an envelope (like Jalie’s), and holds whatever excess tracings I have, which don’t always fit in the original envelope. But it does take up a lot of space.

So on Saturday, I went through patterns, photographing and adding a whole bunch to my phone app, and beginning the rudiments of sorting. I’m most concerned to sort by type. But I don’t want to lose all my special independent patterns in with the regular ones (currently this is Colette, Sewaholic, and Folkwear. Not sure why I don’t include Jalie in this group…). And then there’s the really old vintage ones (fifties mostly) that I don’t want to get wrecked with too much pawing through. So they need their own place. And I’d really like to keep the jackets and sweaters separate from the other tops. And…

Well, you can see what’s happening. No way are all those categories happening in three drawers (even with dividers), nevermind that the patterns were already overflowing the drawers.

So I co-opted all the shoeboxes I could find, but now I have five shoeboxes kicking around the sewing room floor, which is considerably less than ideal. I can label them, which will help, but they’re still… floating. And in danger of getting stepped on, or buried by fabric.

Which brings me to another issue. The stash is out of control. Or at least, overflowing. I want to sew it down. But the projects in my head keep failing to line up with the fabrics on hand. What is necessary is letting the fabric lead. But how do I pick which fabric? There’s so many luscious and awesome ones to go with. Not to mention all the little bits that I’d like to use up—kids clothes, *something*. I made some of the last remnant of  the Where’s Waldo fabric into another bralette, which was going to be for Tyo but the elastic straps weren’t long enough, so it’s gone to Syo (who’s super happy about it even though I can’t figure out why she would even *want* a bralette), but Tyo still wants one of her own.

And at the crux of it, everything is too messy.

I’m not one of nature’s tidy people. I can generally work just fine surrounded by a complete disaster (and tend to generate such a disaster if one wasn’t present to start with). It’s a constant trial to my husband, whose neat-freak tendencies border on the obsessive. But right now, there isn’t even room to work. Or at least, to work on anything big—hence the bralettes and other mini-projects I’ve been coming out with lately. Add to that the general lack of mental energy to contribute and, well, the situation isn’t quite paralysis, but it’s not far off, either. Can’t clean, too much stuff, it just doesn’t fit in the space. Need to sew it up. Can’t decide what to sew—too much to choose from. Can’t sew anything large—not enough room. Need more room—got to clean up. And round and round I go…

One partial solution would be to buy more organizational stuff—another set of shelves for fabric or drawers for patterns. But with a move on the horizon, I really, really don’t want to add to the furniture in the house, either.

And, just to illustrate the extent of my problem, here’s last week’s thrift store aquisitions (the fabrics and patterns at the local Value Village have recently been reinvigorated after several stagnant months, and I’m relieved to report that the attempt to sell the patterns bagged seems to have lapsed—this last batch were even quite cheap!)

Sweater fabric.

Fabric. I’ve been trying to be good about the thrift store fabrics, only biting when it’s a fabric/colour/quality on “the list”. Both these pieces were. On the left is a very thick sweater-knit with an almost Persian-lamb type texture, in a rich red colour that would be AWESOME… whenever I figure out what kind of a style would work for it.  There’s 2m, so plenty to play with. On the right is a dull purple/grey fleece, also extra-thick. I suspect it will become a housecoat for Syo, although it’s so thick I’m tempted to just get some binding for the edges and call it a blanket.

Patterns

The patterns are rather more whimsical. I couldn’t resist the Kwik Sew men’s dance wear on the left, even though my husband would probably disown me if I actually made him one (I don’t have a plain men’s tee pattern, though, and this one looks fine if you just lengthen it). I also don’t have any little boys to sew suits for, but cmon—a Vogue little boy’s suit, with single and double breasted options? For less than fifty cents—how could I resist?

The 70s tracksuit in the middle falls into that awkward sizing in between Syo and myself. I currently have sweaters, bunnyhugs, and hoodies on the brain, which may explain why I couldn’t just leave it. The late-70s vibe reminds me so much of things I wore as a small child (I was born in 1980, but grew up in hand-me-downs)… which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but, I dunno. I’m feeling nostalgic, I suppose.

Two-toned printing

It’s also uncut and comes in two sizes, each printed in a different colour. Nifty!

Yup, that was whiny. Sorry. Have a great week!

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