Rounding out the FOs now. We’re down to the dregs, don’t worry, I’m almost done! Just in time for Craft Camp and hopefully some more FOs.

First, the fixes.

At the last craft camp I made a McCalls 6559 maxi dress. The not-maxi version, because that was the length I had fabric for. It came out a bit big – the pattern has SO much ease. At camp I had run the sides in, but the neckline and armscyes were too low by a good two inches, so I didn’t even bother finishing the edges. I figured it was a good muslin and maybe I’d wear it as a heatwave housedress.

Then a couple months after camp I was thinking about it and it occured to me… neck too low… armscye too low… maybe the SHOULDERS were too long? Like, duh. I took it up two inches and it was perfect. I finished the neck and arms with binding from an almost-but-not-quite-the-same piece of fabric. The fabric of the dress is really light, so instead of hemming it I attached a wider band of the same fabric I bound the neck in. That was a slight miscalculation, as it doesn’t sit right, but given that this fabric is thinnnnnn I don’t wear it out of the house except in heatwaves.

The thing about heatwaves, though, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, is that we’ve had quite a lot of them lately. I wore this dress almost every day I wasn’t working for a good two months. All that wear means it’s stretched out a bit – again, thin fabric, but that really just made it even better for those days where you think, if you let fabric touch your skin, you might actually melt.

I would definitely make this dress again, it was so easy – basically cut it out, sew the side seams and shoulders, finish the edges, done. And I love wearing it. Next time I would cut the neckline about an inch higher, though. Although I see in the photo that it’s pulling a bit under the shoulder, so maybe I’d only raise it 1.5″ and cut the neckline 1.3″ higher. Side seam-wise I would probably cut it to the first adjusted size, because it’s super easy to accommodate any stretching later by whipping in the side seams, and I don’t know that I’d want a skin-tight maxidress. I suspect maxidress season is over, although if I can work out sleeves for this I might make a winter weight one – I had a bought one that I LOVED that I friend called my ‘goddess dress’ but I wore it in winter and stood in front of a heater and, it being polyester, it melted. I still have it and I’ll probably just hem it shorter and wear it, but I’ve kept it to copy.

Next up are some pencil skirts I made at last year’s March Craft Camp. They are both Kasia, which I have made before. I added lined kick-pleats to them, but they stuck out.


Added to that, I sewed these both up on the overlocker, and didn’t use the whole seam allowance. So I had planned, at March Craft Camp, to undo them and bring them in, and add a lining, and fix the pleat. Janet even very kindly picked me up some stretch lining for them. But then that was the Craft Camp of the Great Pestilence, and I was too ill to concentrate on anything much, so they didn’t get fixed. They sat in the sewing room waiting for attention, and never got them.

So the other day I pulled them out again and tried them on. They… did not seem too big? Although I have actually lost some volume around my belly since I stopped eating gluten and am not bloated all the time, so who even knows what that’s about. I did nip in the black skirt’s waist by a centimetre or so. So I fixed the kickpleats and have been wearing them.

I fixed the pleats by topstitching the outside edge, pressing a lot, and sewing the pleat to the skirt at the top. In the case of the black skirt, the pleat was probably too big, so I brought the edges in as well. I just serged them off. It still sits a bit funny but is much improved. I tried to get some photos but they just look like… fabric. Nothing to see, really, but this paragraph can serve my own future reference. They do look much better.

Feb 001

 

I was going to crop this but I’m quite fond of pics whee you can see the random crap in people’s lives. This is my laundry. It is actually relatively tidy in this picture. It’s just that there is no storage to speak of in my house, it makes me crazy.

Anyway, excuse the crappy photo please, but you can see that it is much better. You can ALSO see the same waist/hemline problem I described last time. The waistline is about even (my shirt is covering it a bit at the front) but you can see the bottom of the yoke angles down, as does the hemline. The way I am standing in the photo above is my normal posture, it’s not particularly bad (for me) or anything. All my family have slight scoliosis and I have rounded shoulders and I just stick my butt out. That’s the way it is, no point making clothes pretending I’m going to ever stand up straight.

I… might have to start making yoked that are thinner at the front? I am really just kind of stumped, guys. Any suggestions welcome. I also think that yokes may be my answer to my circle skirt conundrums, maybe? I have worn those skirts again this week in the name of figuring out my options, and they are just… not COMFORTABLE. Which is a shame.

Anyhoodle, I also pulled out the zip in the black skirt and put in an invisible one, because you could see the tape in the old one, and I would have done the same for the red one but I didn’t have a red invisible zip. I have since bought one. I might swap them one day. I wore the red skirt today and it did actually bag out a bit so that it was a bit loose by the end of the day. I might whip in the side seams, although the extra room is really at the centre front yoke seams, but I am not changing them because it’s faced and everything’s overlocked and I can’t be bothered.

These would certainly benefit from a lining, they stick to everything and since I always wear shorts of leggings there is always something to stick to. But I am thinking of making bikeshorts out of the satin lining that Janet bought for me, instead.

So that’s the fixes.

The first knit is also a fix – and it isn’t even finished yet. It’s my Essential Cardigan, which I had finished up to the bands at September Craft Camp.

I actually finished the band in September, and started sewing it up. But because I had put so much work into the fitting process, I wanted to sew it properly. This is why I never do anything properly, guys, it is not finished yet. I sewed petersham ribbon onto the button bands because they pulled a bit, but then I had to hand sew the buttonholes by hand. My sewing machine can barely manage one ok-looking buttonhole on regular fabric, let alone several on a hand knit. I did about four before getting tired. Also it was hot and that wasn’t motivating me.

Also, once the bands were done and I tried it on, I was… a bit underwhelmed. It fits me well, but I am just not sure I did the shaping in the right place. I don’t know. I think it’s probably fine, except that I was expecting it to shoot glowing rainbows of unicorns, and obviously it didn’t. It only managed one shitty pegasus, you guys. So disappointing.

No, but really, the sleeves were also about an inch too long. I made the sleeves up myself because I wanted full-length, and I guess I overcompensated. That’s ok, they have cuffs so it’s easy enough to chop them off and regraft, and I also made them a bit thin so they could actually use being taken up like that. I might try to remember to bring this to craft camp and do that then.

I also cast on for Neon, in the flush of an almost-finished essential. Then when the Essential bogged down, so did Neon. It still looks pretty much like this:

and I am concerned that the red is too light for me and might make me look washed out. I’ve picked it up again this week and once I have sleeve holes I’ll try it on and see. The yarn is Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury. I think I might need to go through my stash because there is a bunch of ‘fine but nothing special’ yarn and to be honest, I don’t want to knit it. I only want to knit special yarn. Really, I knit so slowly these days that I could put a whole year’s yarn budget towards one jumper. (Not that I have an actual dedicated yarn budget, but you know). But if the fine but nothing special yarn is in my stash, I feel like I have to knit it.

Well, that’s 1600 words about not very much, so that’s probably enough from me. The next two days are going to be crazy busy so I should really go PACK FOR CRAFT CAMP. Which is actually quite annoying at the moment because I am catsitting my cousin’s cat for a month. He’s in the spare/craft room, because he and my cat are both pretty territorial. So if I want to go into the craft room I have to either squeeze in without letting him out and my cat in, or else lock my cat in the bedroom. So I can’t pack both clothes and craft stuff at the same time. It’s very ‘don’t leave the fox with the chicken’ and frankly, I’m not enough of a lateral thinker for that kind of business.

Continuing the round up of unblogged FOs. Carrying over from last post, I’ve made some more Cake Patterns. These Tiramusi dresses came first, chronologically, though.

I made one last March at craft camp, and loved the pattern but I made it up in a bastard fabric. I thought I would wear it as a housedress but I never have, since it’s pretty thin but also polyestery, so it’s not great for hot days, and the front sits funny so I always have to be adjusting it, which I HATE. I’ve gotten rid of it now, I can’t remember if I gave it to the op shop or just literally threw it in the bin. But I did love the pattern, and in fact I cut out another one on the last day of that craft camp, to sew up when I got home. I can’t remember how long it took me to get to but obviously it was more than a month or two. Why would I sew anything in a timely manner?

Here I am wearing it at the zoo. The reason I am laughing is that I was there with S, and he had reminded me of our first official date which was also at the zoo. The whole day we had heard an odd groaning noise echoing throughout the grounds, and when we got to the Giant Tortoise, we found out what it was. The male tortoise was on top of the female tortoise – backwards. Making groaning noises. While she made ‘I am over this’ faces like only Giant Tortoises can. We left very quickly and have not been back to see them since. Giant Tortoise Encounter, indeed.

Anyhoo, the dress. It’s made from the same thick jersey that I made my Blank Canvas tee in, discussed in the last post. I think the line was called seaspray or sea… splash? Sea… something? This was originally a dusty plum colour, one of the uninspiring colours left at the end of the season, so I got a whole lot of it for half price. I wish I’d bought more. But the colour was meh for me, so I chucked it in the washing machine with a navy dye packet, bringing the cost back up (those things aren’t cheap) but making a fabric I really love.

I wear this dress ALL. THE. TIME.  Actually I wanted to wear it today but realised I can’t find it, and had a mild panic this morning. It is just so easy to throw on and wear. And it has POCKETS.

Gosh some of these photos are terrible. Iphone camera, no edits, weird angles accentuating all the things I don’t like to see in photos of me. Dorky day-at-the-zoo shoes. Oh well, gotta lower that bar, I’d rather be blogging with dodgy photos than not blogging.

Not that I put much in the pockets. Being jersey, they stretch out and hang funny if there’s heavy stuff in them. But tbh, it’s nice to have somewhere to put your hands. I’m wearing a skirt with no pockets today and I kept trying to shove my hands into phantom pockets.

I did a lot of fiddling to get the fronts right and as you can see they still bunch. I really ought to have done an FBA, but I was too lazy and short on time when I cut it to figure that out. I also cut the skirt out flat and failed to realise I had cut all four pieces facing the same way. (I do this FAR too often. Get it together, self.) And I think I did the same thing on the bodice, too. I remember cutting another bodice piece from one of the skirt pieces, and I had enough left over to cut one extra skirt piece correctly, but only one. So the one of the back skirt pieces is the wrong way on the bias, but I haven’t noticed any problems with it. The skirt is unhemmed here because I couldn’t wait for the skirt to hang so I could hem it before wearing it. I have since gone back and done a rolled hem on the overlocker. (Overlockers and sergers are just exactly the same thing, right? I use them interchangeably, sorry for any confusion). The angle is weird in the bottom photo so you can’t see, but at that point the hem was right on my knees. I think it’s since stretched out, and I should go back and take the waistband up. Actually, I bet that’s why I can’t find it, I probably put it in my craft room to do that, instead of back in the wardrobe.

As I said I really do love this pattern, I recommend it highly, and I’ve worn this dress once a week minimum since I made it,  but I’m not sure I’ll make any more. I am just not sure about crossover/surplice bodices on me. I think they look great, both on other people and on me, but they just feel a bit weird on me. Just a personal preference, I guess. I have some red jersey that I was going to make into a tira but now I think I might make up a Red Velvet mashup, with a Red Velvet bodice and a Tira skirt, but then I have the same issue I had with the Blank Canvas tee with kimono sleeves. They’re a million times easier to sew, I’m just not convinced about them on my body. Or I just downloaded the Penny Pinafore because my most worn boughten dresses are a couple of princess-line stretch velvet dresses. I mean to be fair, mostly that’s because they are velvet and it’s hard to go past that, but still. It’s a shape I like on me, but princess lines on a large bust are tricky and have defeated me before. Maybe they’ll be easier in a knit? She says, hopefully.

I was going to buy the lady skater pattern but then I thought, I have probably dozens of long-sleeves tshirt patterns in Ottobre magazines. I’ll just sew one of them and whack a skirt on it. Done. (Swearing aside.) Especially since one of my sewing goals (that sounds very official. It’s just a thing I’d like to do, really) is to sew more of my everyday stuff that I wear all the time but find hard to find good quality, well fitting versions in stores. In not-summer, I wear a scoop neck black knit, long or 3/4 sleeved shirt pretty much every day, and the ones I have are wearing out, so I’d like to make myself some more. I also downloaded the free plantain pattern from Deer and Doe, I couldn’t resist the peer pressure, so that might be a goer. I’ll probably take the side seams in because floaty over the midriff is not a style I feel real comfortable in, but that’s easy enough.

ANYHOODLE. The navy tira is actually the third one I’ve sewn. First was the muslin one, and the second was a costume one, in terrible, awful costume crushed velvet.

That stuff is NASTY. The little synthetic nap bits came off and itched like fibreglass. Am I the only one who has that as a reference point? My dad used to work in a fibreglass factory, so I grew up knowing that particular itch of ‘oh no, I have a tiny rigid prickle somewhere in my clothing.’ Urgh I’m getting sympathetic prickles just thinking about it. You know that feeling when you get a teeny plant spike in your foot but you can’t see it? Like that, but all over. I had to shower after every time I sewed this, and wash it twice before wearing. I’m still picking it out of my overlocker.

My poor dusty overlocker. All my machines are sadly overdue for a clean and checkuo.

Because the velvet wasn’t as stretchy as I expected, I ended up having to split the sideseam and add a strip of fabric in there, and it’s still pretty tight, so it’s a bit of a struggle to get on and off. But that’s fine for a costume. I sewed it for a cartoon themed quiz night. I went as Lumpy Space Princess. Spot the resemblence?

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/12742801573_433c76715e.jpg

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130724203926/adventuretimewithfinnandjake/images/7/73/LSP%27s_Phone.png

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2857/11814491015_e006cea393.jpg

I also sewed a robe thingy and a beard for S, who made a crown and a cut out penguin, and went as the Ice King.

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120921153231/adventuretimewithfinnandjake/images/6/64/Original_Ice_King.png

Are you tired of bedroom-mirror selfies yet? Also my house is a dark dark cave. Next house I am demanding well-lit full-length mirrors in every room, ESPECIALLY the craft room.

And my cousins went as Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. I won’t put their pictures up, because of internet privacy etc, but some of you will have seen them on my facebook. These are all characters from Adventure Time, which is an excellently weird TV show that I am like a season behind on because it got too deep and I have too many feelings about it. We won ‘best team costume’ so that was satisfying.

http://www.literature.hss.ed.ac.uk/httpdocs/wp-content/uploads/Adventure_Time_Chibi.png

In other costumey type things, I made this flower crown for my cousin’s birthday

Look, it’s not exactly my thing, but let me tell you, she rocks it.

To go with the Somebody Please Help Will Graham tshirt that I bought her. For those of you who are confused, the T-Shirt is a reference to the tv show Hannibal, and the flower crown is a fandom meme. I do not watch Hannibal, because I cannot even look at stills of the food without feeling nauseous, but their fandom is one of the most delightfully weird and lovely ones out there. I am in the Hannibal fandom fandom, I guess you could say. And the cast and show runner are also delightful, and when a fan brought them flowercrowns at ComicCon they wore them the whole panel and now Bryan Fuller, the director, now makes them to keep on set and gives them out to actors. What a DELIGHT. Also he gives interviews about feminism and queer representation and PLEASE DIRECT THE NEXT STAR TREK, BRYAN, PLEASE SAVE US FROM JJ ABRAHMS. So. Anyway. That’s what this flower crown is about.

Speaking of fandom things, I also made the same cousin a little Jesse doll for the ending of Breaking Bad, which she was very distressed about. He was whipped up at the last minute, so he’s pretty dodgy but oh well. It is surprisingly hard to make a doll-shape that doesn’t look ridiculous. I am pretty not-happy with this doll as a product but he was very well received so I’ll get over it.

I also got one of my most favourite people in the HFC gift swap over christmas. She is allergic to wool, so I made her a fleece version of the tentacle scarf. I neglected to get any good photos of it.

But she did send me a lovely card with photos of her wearing it, which warmed my heart. For the tentacles, I eyeballed a triangle shape with a rectangle on top, and made up a paper pattern. Then I cut two tentacle pockets out of the contrast fleece. I cut little strips of the main colour and rolled them until they were about the right size, pinned them on, and sewed them down. Because it doesn’t fray I didn’t have to be too careful, I just had to make sure I got the edges down. The hardest thing was getting the proportions of the suckers right. It took one Cindy Lauper interview (highly recommend) and one BBC documentary to finish them. (Isn’t sense memory weird?) Then for the main scarf I cut two lengths of the fleece, sewed it together in the middle, cut the ends into triangles, sewed them to the pockets and turned them right side out. Done. I also made a hat to go with it:

Out of a free internet pattern. I made it in a rush and it’s a bit wonky, but somehow on J’s head it looks amazing. How does she do that? I still have a bunch of fleece left over and I was going to turn it into a manatee but now I can’t find it. I have several pieces of fabric that have gone awol in the last few months. Maybe my cat is hoarding them somewhere?

MOI???

Can you tell that this is my ‘dagging around and doing things’ jumper? It is looking the worse for wear now and I should have bought ten because I love it. It has a nice big kangaroo pocket for ipods/scissors/whatever.

More toys. My best friend’s kid got really obsessed with this one youtube video of puppies breastfeeding. ‘Puppy!’ was one of his first words. So I made him a puppy:

The body is just a rectangle, the legs just tubes, and I made the ears up. I used some old clothes I’ve been hoarding because ‘I might make something out of them one day!’ Finally I did. The belly is a knitted vest that I bought already felted – it used to be a men’s XL. But I haven’t worn it for ages because it’s pretty bulky. The rest is old linen pants that wore out in the thighs and also are vastly too small for me now, but the fabric is lovely. I did buy the flannel for the ears, and the ribbon for the puppies legs. The puppies have velcro on the underside so they stick. All the faces etc are embroidered.I was going to make more, and not give them the creepy thin prototype puppy on the right, but I ran out of time (sensing a theme here…) so that is what they got. Oh, well.

I also made covers for my sewing machine and overlocker.

The sewing machine has a hard plastic case but it’s annoying to put on and take off, so I never use it. I just sort of eyeballed it, and this one came out too big so I put a couple of pleats in it. I thought I had a photo of the finished one and also the overlocker one – which is the same fabric (drill from spotters) only pears – but I don’t. So, this is all you get. I made bias binding and piped it, because I wanted to and it was good practice. I made a handle for the sewing machine one but didn’t bother for the overlocker. For the sewing machine cover, I made it up and then lined it, but that turned out to be super annoying, so I just underlined the overlocker one. Both have medium-weight interfacing fused on. I still have to overlock and hem the overlocker cover, because when I was making it the thread kept snapping and I got the shits and abandoned it.Phew! That’s lots.

I’ve been sifting through photos and I thought I’d do an round up of some unblogged FOs. This ended up getting quite long, because I wanted to mention details for my own reference, so I’ve split it into two posts. Feel free to just look at the photos, or skip it altogether! (I mean, always feel free. Do what you like, this is your blog-reading-leisure time!)

I had a burst of sewing over the holidays, and I’ve tried to keep it up a bit since, since making things is a really effective form of self care for me. Mostly this means making the same simple patterns over and over. Well, it works for me. I get garments that I know I’ll wear, and I actually think it’s a good way for me, personally, to learn. If this were a videogame it’d be grinding - as it is, it makes it easy for me to see if there’s a particular part where I always cut corners or forget something, and then I get to practice it. Usually when I make a mistake I say ‘oh well, I’ll know for next time!’ but it helps solidify that if there IS a next time. So this is a bit repetative.

Pj pants

One craft camp last year I rubbed off a pattern from a pair of PJs I had that I liked, and made it up. I think that one was the goldfish. I copied details I liked, like the waistband which was jersey folded over elastic, and then both serged to the waist so the elastic can’t twist around. I initially hemmed them with an ordinary turned-under hem, but they were  a bit short, so when I got home I unpicked it and copied the original PJS and put on a cuff with some (very dodgy) white piping. While I was there I narrowed the leg, so I can wear them to bed without getting too tangled. Then I whipped up the whales, too. I put cuffs on them because I liked how it weighted the legs down a bit. They are both flannelette from Spotters, and very comfy and snuggly.

I actually sent the original PJs to the op shop the other day – I tried them on and they just did not fit at all! Every pair since I’ve just adjusted a liiiitle bit, so in contrast the original pair had a too-short crotch curve, too-short legs, and too-low waistband. I didn’t think I’d made any big changes but I guess a little goes a long way, when it comes to crotch curves!

I wore them ALL the time this winter. I work in a pretty casual office so I just wear everyday clothes to work, but it’s nice to have some clothes that signify ‘I’m home’ or, alternately, ‘it’s Saturday and I do not plan on leaving the house even once’. Once it got hotter I decided I needed some warm weather ones. I don’t like to wear pyjamas to bed (TMI?) because I toss and turn a lot and I get tangled in them, even with my slimmed down legs. If it’s cold or I have company and I have to wear something to bed, I tend to wear shorts or leggings. This meant I didn’t have any pjs/dagging around pants apart from the ones I’d made, so I decided to whip up some lounge pants (best said in a fancy voice) that weren’t flannelette.

Here I am showing you the waistband (and a saucy look, apparently). It’s quite high, which is nice in pants you want to dag around in, I find. Very secure, I can see why old men like it. Me and my big butt would like high-waisted everything, I am discovering.

The trouble with these pants is twofold. First, I decided to French Seam them, but I decided this after I had cut them out with a seam allowance for an overlocker. So the French Seams are a bit hairy on the outside, since I had to sew them real close. It also made them a little bit tight which, since they are Japanese Lawn, makes them feel a bit delicate. Maybe not ideal for lounge pants? But I couldn’t resist, the fabric was half price (guys Spotlight is basically always having a sale) the print is so nice and they do feel lovely on. I just save them for special, is all. You know. Real SPECIAL lounging time. (??)

So to make up for that I also made the other pair you see in the top photo, out of some poplin from Spotters. It’s from one of their named lines but who cares, really. I also got this for half price. I cut it out a bit bigger so I could french seam it but then somehow it turned out I didn’t, and the hips were just too tight. I need to go back and officially adjust the pattern instead of just eyeballing these adjustments. So I had to go back and unpick them, and serge it as close to the edge as I could. They’re still an incy bit tight, and a bit messy as a result of the unpicking.

But they get a lot of wear anyway.

I also made a few pairs of shorts from the same pattern, just cutting it shorter on the leg.

I’ve worn these as sleep shorts but they are mostly under-shorts. I pretty much always wear leggings or bike shorts to guard against chub rub, but that gets a bit hot in 40 degree weather. I had something like three metres of lawn that I’d originally bought to make a self-lined circle skirt, but then decided it was too wrinkly, so I whipped that up into shorts. One has a jersey-covered elastic waistbands and the rest have just elastic. Plain hem, nothing fancy, but they do get worn a lot and I probably need to make some more (and some more bike shorts. They protect my thighs but it’s a sacrificial job, unfortunately. I also have a whole pile of leggins that need inseams patched).

I just thought this was appropriate. Whoops need to fix that tear.

Blank Canvas Tee

I also made the top in the last couple of photos. It’s a Blank Canvas tee from some nice thick jersey from Spotters (again. It’s basically my only fabric source). It’s a nice fabric but unfortunately they only had really insipid colours. I bought a whole bunch in that blue and a plumy purple that wasn’t bad but also isn’t really my colour, at the end of the season for cheap. (Let’s hope they have it again this winter because it is nicely thick with good recovery and I will stock. Up. I did find some in my usual teal and some in red, lurking in my stash. Might do something with that this craft camp?)

I like this tee but I think the pattern is not for me. I did make a size too big, really – the size 45 which is my full bust but I should have made the 40 for my upper bust. NEGATIVE ease for knits, gotta remember that. I like them to be tight enough that you can actually see my shape, which is very in-and-out, so negative ease is necessary for that. But also I just think that large bust + forward sloping shoulders = maybe not kimono tees? And I didn’t adjust the neckline so it’s really high. I wear this tee as a sleep/lounging around tee all the time, though, so it’s certainly a win. I didn’t bother hemming it but I might need to go back and do that cos it rolls up.

I made another Blank Canvas the other day out of a thinner knit (NOT from Spotters this time! From a fabric shop in Melbourne so I think it probably was a remnant from The Fabric Store) and I have the same problem. I was a bit more careful in the construction of this but the fit is just… off.

It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but you can see the drag lines from the neck, and the whole centre front is just too big. When my shoulders aren’t up like they are when I’m taking mirror-selfies, it’s super wrinkly and baggy. I tried adjusting it by whipping it in a bit at the sides and the shoulder seams and it’s better, but really what it needs is a dart or two at the neck. I wore it to work today and just felt uncomfortable all day. It’s not awful, but I think it is too irritating to fix, so it unless I want to cut it into another pattern (I have some of the jersey left over, too) it will be a day off shirt, which is a pity.

Pavlova Skirt

The skirt in the above photo is actually a pavlova skirt. I whipped up a whole bunch over the holidays because how easy are circle skirts? Very, is how. And easy to wear, too, especially since I always wear leggings or shorts, so worrying about them blowing up is not really an issue.

The first one I made of these was a jersey and tulle one at a craft camp, which I forgot I would have to add elastic to the waistband, so it came home unfinished and sat in my ‘to finish’ pile for months until I finally took about ten minutes to finish it off.

I realise this is not a great photo and basically you can’t see anything but… oh well. This is me wearing said tulle skirt for a work thing for Melbourne Cup Day, which explains the hat. I had initially put two layers of tulle on but it was too floofy so I took one off. It’s still reasonably floofy. I’ve worn it to work (as promised, Eleanor!) a couple times but usually only when there’s something on, like Melbourne Cup. I also wore it to just about every event over Christmas/New Year, so it’s been a useful make.

But after wearing it for the rounds in the holidays I was thinking about how comfortable it was, except for that I have to be careful not to get the tulle snagged, so I made another one in Jersey. (Guess where from? Bought for the purpose.)

Please excuse the dead-face in all these photos. I can’t do the timer and make faces that aren’t terrifying, at the same time. Also I took these on a heatwave day, which is why I look exhausted.

Same waistband deal as the pants above. I just measure my waist with elastic, and join it in the round. Then I cut some jersey the same length, but just over twice as wide, and join that. Then I fold the jersey over the elastic, and stretch and pin them to the waist. Then I serge both of them together to the waist, usually just catching the elastic with the serging, not chopping any off. I really like this waistband, it’s easy to do, comfortable to wear and I think it looks nice. I just did a rolled hem on this with my overlocker.

This skirt gets a heck of a lot of wear, so I made the black jersey one that started this list. Then I branched out and made some woven ones. With zips and everything!

This one is a teeny gingham check which obviously doesn’t photograph well, in some poly-heavy cotton blend from YouKnowWhere. The one below is from a chintz from the same. Both bought for the purpose. But with a folded-over bias strip waistband from self fabric, and a rolled hem on the overlocker with appropriate colour fabric. For both, I cut the front on the fold but the backs as separate, so I could save fabric and also put a zipper in.

I think this probably hits about an inch two low, and I should go back and rehem it to be right at my knee.

There is a problem with these, though. The problem is that I have a double-belly, with a dent where my waistband goes, as well as having a swayback. Like so:

I am not holding my nose for any reason. It’s just kinda hard to keep your hands out of the way without looking daft. I am not a model the camera just went off by itself [[[pop culture references]]]

There’s an equal bump below the waistline. So what this means is that the skirts sit comfortably in that dent, but when I sit down obviously my belly gets bigger (because physics), so that becomes uncomfortable. So then I shift the waistband to sit below my waistline, which means that it is way WAY longer at the front, due to sitting much lower in real terms and also having fewer hills to travel over, while the back has to drape over my butt, which I stick out because of my swayback, WHICH also makes my stomach stick out more (and I mean, my butt’s not insignificant by itself).

You can sort of see the difference here. It’d be better if I wasn’t swishing the skirt (with my hand in the pockets! I put pockets in. But they are a bit low. Oh, well, I really only use them to stick my hands in, because anything heavy in them drags the skirt down). The back of the skirt is hitting the back of my knee but the front is a good couple of inches lower.

I’m not really sure what to do about this. It’s not as pronounced in the jersey skirts, which have elastic waistbands, since they can comfortably stay at my waist whether sitting or standing. It is still a bit noticeable with the black one, because due to fabric length I had to make it a bit shorter, and it is just short enough that the front-back hill difference is noticeable, but it’s not too bad. But wit the woven ones I’m just always adjusting it. They feel too big but I can’t take them in because they will be too constricting.

Actually the problem of ‘where the flip is my waist anyway?’ raised its head with these. I’m not sure where the narrowest part is, since every part has in on one side and out on the other. So where my belly is biggest, my swayback is the most hollow, for example, and where the line is through my belly, my butt sticks out at the back. You can see what I mean in the second-to-last photo, where the waistband is at an angle because it’s trying to find the narrowest part, which is actually on a diagonal. But if I have it over a wider part it feels uncomfortable and weird – like if it sits on top of my belly it shifts too much.

WAIST??? Where are you, waist?

WAIST??? Where are you, waist?

So I measured wherever I thought, but then when I cut out the skirts they were WAAAAY too big. Like, five inches too big. I don’t even know. Maybe I’ll have to put elastic waistbands on them or something, but I’m not even sure how I’d do that since they’d still need the zip, I think. In the meantime, I wear the gingham one a fair bit but the red one is just too not-right. Still can’t work out what that difference is, either. I can wear the gingham one in my belly-groove (?? Whatever, making this up as I go) but the red one has to sit over the top of my belly and I don’t like how that feels.

Phew! That was long. I’ll leave the next lot for another time.

 

Last year felt like it went so fast, but when I think back to this time last year it feels so far away. So since I didn’t blog things as they happened,  I thought I’d  have a little ‘what I did last year’ post, to remind myself that I actually did things.

I joined a gym and went to it a bunch. Frankly, it’s a pain in the arse and I resent it, but I was just not getting enough activity through incidental things. My area isn’t nice to walk in and it’s too far from work to bike, and I felt cranky and creaky and tired. The gym has helped, although I would still prefer to have a life where I didn’t just sit in front of a computer all the time, could ride or walk places, and didn’t have to go out of my way to ‘do exercise’ all the time. Maybe one day, but for now the gym is good.

I’ve also done other things about bodies and energy. At the start of the year I found a GP. 2012 was the year of teeth (a new dentist, a bunch of fillings and crowns and my wisdom teeth out, hoo boy I wish I could have afforded a dentist earlier) and 2013 was the year of… the rest? I haven’t had a regular GP since I lived with my parents, and it took a few tries but I found someone really lovely. I got a bunch of checkup tests and found that my vitamin D was WAY low, which didn’t surprise me much because I’ve had an increasingly hard time the last few winters with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I had another round of SAD over winter, despite massive amounts of supplements, but my levels are now finally above the suggested minimum.

I also worked out that I am sensitive to gluten… and maybe other things. I got tested and I’m not caeliac, thank goodness. But to take the test you have to eat a bunch of gluten for 6 weeks and it was a total nightmare. I’d been eating mostly gluten-free before that, trying to figure out what was going on, and eating it again confirmed that it is an issue for me. It makes me feel tired and sluggish and bloated and, worst of all, really thickheaded. Zero out of ten, would not recommend. Not eating gluten hasn’t been as difficult as I would have thought, especially since it makes me feel so awful that I don’t really have much desire to eat it. I do have the odd craving for something specific, which generally I satisfy if I really want it, because it seems like I can eat a small amount without the consequences being too dire. This year I really should get a couple more tests and maybe find myself an endocrinologist or something so I can work out what the actual issue is. One of my cousins appears to have the same or similar issues, and is going through that process now, so I’m going to pick her brains about it. But whether I get to that in the short term or long term, I feel much better than I had for a while.

I considered going on psych meds a couple of times and ended up waiting and seeing, which turned out fine, especially after – here’s another thing I did – I went part time. But it was really nice to have a GP who I can talk these things over with, who has my back and who listens to and trusts me. I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing to feel so grateful about – surely that should be the norm? But it isn’t, so I am grateful. I also started seeing a psychologist, which also took a couple of tries to get the right person, but it’s been very helpful in dealing with my mother. Although I did just find out that my psych is moving states so I will have to find a new person. I’m tempted to not bother because I only found out from ringing up to cancel an appointment because I don’t need it right now and it feels like a waste of time and money. But I really should, to have a backup person in case I need that.

Here’s another thing I did – I didn’t talk to my mother at all for a good six months. It was lovely. I’ve since had dinner with her a couple of times and it has been slightly tense but mostly fine. The power has shifted a bit, I think – and she’s on her best behaviour. We’ll see how long that lasts. Ideally I’d rather not cut her totally out of my life but I’m still not sure exactly why I wouldn’t. But whatever happens I feel like I’m actually making decisions thoughtfully and on purpose, not just reacting, which is a big deal.

As I said before, I went part time from the start of the financial year. I now work 4 days a week and it is glorious. My bank balance took a hit but given that I went down a tax bracket and have stopped having to do things like buy lunch all the time because I’m exhausted, I’ve barely noticed. It’s so lovely to have time to actually DO things. Last winter was pretty long and dark, and a big part of that is that I felt like I never had time or brain space to DO anything, so my whole life was just ‘get up, go to work, come home, do dishes, repeat’. And then I would feel guilty about that because plenty of people have more work and more dishes and less time but hey, that was how I felt. (I’ve also struggled with the classic stuff of thinking I was being lazy when I was really exhausted, which leads to its own demotivating cycle. Still working on that. So much social conditioning to be ‘productive’ all the time, which is very undermining really). Sorting out body stuff has helped – when I have the time I actually have the energy to do things. But actually making more time is an important part of that.

I’ve dealt with relationship stress. S has had a stressful year, with his eldest going through year 12 and a bunch of the regular dramas as well as some extra special ones. Combine that with him living an hour and a half drive away, being a single parent and working in a school where he is stressed out and exposed to all the most lovely germs of the year so that every time I saw him in the winter months he was exhausted and/or sick… well, it put stress on the relationship, as well as accentuating my feeling that I never DID anything. There were a couple of times we almost broke up, where we had weeks 0f very stressful discussion trying to make things better – the problem being that none of the issues were about him or me, they were all external. Hard to fix them when they are out of your power! We weathered family issues and renegotiated present and future arrangements. But we did weather them. Who knows what the future holds but we spent a bunch of quality time together over the holidays and we’ve both been working on balancing our lives to have time and attention for each other and for now it feels like we are in a really nice place.I’m hoping to hold onto that for at least a while after we are both back at work.

Our gift to each other for Christmas was zoo memberships, and we’ve gone a bunch of times as well as going to the museum, and exhibitions, and generally doing things.

The South Australian Museum has some excellent megafauna:

Just your average giant wombat, thylacine and terrifying cassowary ancestor.

Not to mention excellent opalised fossils:

Opalised shellfish

Opalised belemnites horns aka unicorn horns.

A whole opalised plesiosaur.

Also did you know that meerkats are hilarious

And quokkas are adorable

And some of them are very friendly.

This totally made my year. I can’t stop talking about it. SO FLUFFY.

I formed and strengthened friendships. Mostly, tbh, with the aid of the internet. Mid 2012 I joined an online forum made up of women who had formed friendships on a particular website, ostensibly to talk about fashion. We DO talk about fashion but I’d say more than 50% of the conversation is about feminism. And sex. Feminist sex. Those ladies have become more and more important to me, have been an incredible support network and a central part of my life. They send me cards and gifts and food and give me good advice and sympathy when I need it the most. <3 u, HFC. Also they have made me lift my selfie game like woah. I never took so many photos of myself – and it’s been very helpful for both my self esteem and my sense of personal style. It’s interesting to look back at photos of outfits I thought worked well but are just not doing it for me in retrospect, and vica versa. I feel a lot more well presented when I go out in the world, these days.

I look tired in a lot of them.

I also formed stronger bonds with my sister, one of my cousins, and some irl friends through our tumblrs. What a delight that has been. Because of tumblr, I started rewatching Star Trek ToS with my cousin. I’d seen most of it before and quite enjoyed it but HOLY WOAH I AM NOW OBSESSED. So that’s pretty great.

Part of my solstice gift from S. It will surprise none of you to learn that Spock is my favourite character.

I made myself a (gluten free) star trek cake. Then I neglected to get a photo of it finished. It was blue with a science symbol on it, and was delicious.

And of course, there were craft camps. It continues to be such a joy to know all of you, and to meet you, whether online or in person.

Here’s to more DOING in 2014, more friendships, more good things.

And more blogging (maybe?).

I just got my little ‘year in review’ email from WordPress. According to them, I made nine new posts in 2013. What a miserable number.

I don’t feel any burning need to blog, I have lots of other places on the internet where I write and talk to friends and share opinions. Tumblr, facebook, a google group of friends. That’s enough. TOO much, to be honest. I did almost none of it over this christmas break, I only sat down in front of a computer about twice. Oh, it was glorious.

But I do miss the days when we all chatted away on our blogs – this particular group of people. You know who you are. Over the break I have also been sewing and doing some very lazy gardening and thinking about blogging it. Perhaps I should lower my standards – the big barrier for me is photos. I don’t like a post without photos but flickr makes it harder and harder to use it as an actual photo sharing platform, and every time I think about blogging I take photos and then they languish on my camera until the moment has passed. In fact, I haven’t taken out my big camera in months, since I got an iPhone. So maybe I should be content with dark, in mirror selfies of FOs. Surely it’s better than not posting?I also miss having it as a record – one of the times I sat in front of the computer was to look up what adjustments I did on a sewing pattern.

I made no resolutions this year (well except that this morning I resolved to be better at eating breakfast. I loathe breakfast) and I make no promises for this blog. No good intentions to be disappointed about. But it would be nice to have more than nine posts this year.

In preparing to reblog my latest FO I realised I’d left some knits unblogged. So this is a catchup post. I’ll list them from quickest knit to longest knit!

A very regal crown

I knit this at the June craft camp, for Princess Eleanor, to go with her stay in the Princess room. Many thanks to Jenny for the yarn and Caroline for the buttons.  It obviously knit up very quickly, and I think I might have to whip up a few for dressups for some small people I know.

I used 8ply instead of the 10ply the pattern called for, because that was what was to hand. I knit the largest size and it fits an adult head comfortably. Here it is on my bed head (I should note that I also have a large head, generally average sized hats are too small for me).

Tentacle scarf

http://images4.ravelrycache.com/uploads/Craftastrophies/167474600/uploadedImage_medium2.png

I look like a mad scientist!

I knit this for a far-away friend, because she posted something similar and I thought ‘I could knit that’. The original was crochet, but it’s not like this was difficult. I did write pattern notes but I’m not sure where they are, I’ll try to find them. I basically increased until it looked right, knit until I could wrap it around my neck long enough, and then decreased at the same rate. Then I worked the light green bits at the same increase rate, crocheted suckers on, and sewed it on.

Not the neatest sewing job – the darker yarn was a lot softer and the lighter a lot denser, so it was hard to match them. But it works. It actually got me out of a bit of a knitting slump, induced by spilling ink on the border of that sun blanket. So that was good! Then it sat for ages while I worked my way up to crocheting the suckers on. That took me FOREVER and I bitched about it a whole lot at craft camp. Sorry, everybody!


Colour Affection

I knit this for my best friend’s 30th. Which was in February. I didn’t cast it on until April. Whoops! The delay was because I was knitting the sun blanket for her, and then I had to wait till the yarn got here. The yarn is Malabrigo Sock, in Natural, Impressionist Sky and Cote D’Azure.

I had to rip back the start because the ends were too tight. I substituted a kfb for the suggested m1, which is what a lot of people’s Ravelry notes suggest (note to self, read the ravelry notes BEFORE casting on). But it’s still a bit tight. Another time I would do a yarn over and then twist it on the way back, I think. I couldn’t block it as heavily as I would have liked, because of the tightness, so the very beginning has a bit of a dome, which you can sort of see on my right shoulder, below.

I also pulled the yarn a bit tight as I was running it up the side of the short row section, so that bit is a bit tight. Oh, well. This took a while (four months of pretty consistent bus knitting) due to the volume of knitting, but it felt pretty fast.  Once it’s set up it’s excellent bus knitting, because the stripes mean you don’t have to count to know where you’re up to.

I really really love the pattern, but I’m a bit cross with the FO. Partly because of the tightness, and partly because the Cote D’Azure is not only a slightly different tone (it’s more purple than I thought it would be when I bought it) but it also ran when I blocked it, and stained some of the upper, white part. I wasn’t that upset because the white was also whiter than I had expected, so that toned it down a bit, but there were some splodges that I couldn’t get rid of.

It was still received with delight and the last time I saw it it showed signs of constant wear – it’s holding up well, however. Absolutely the best reception for that kind of gift.

Last weekend was craft camp and I had been hanging out for it. Things have been a little fraught here. Everything’s fine but just lots of emotional conversations (mostly resolved now but boy are they tiring) and also just normal life taking its toll. I was ready for some time away, out of the ordinary stream of life. Some time with all those lovely women.

Well, I got that but I have to say it was probably the worst craft camp I’ve ever been to. Which is to say, I still had a wonderful time. The bar is pretty high, is all. There was still wonderful food and company and laughter but it was also the election weekend, so that was depressing, and several of us were sick. I had thought I had just shaken something off in time to be fine for camp but either I was mistaken or I got another thing, because I woke up on Friday morning feeling not quite right. If I’d been as unwell then as I felt on Saturday I wouldn’t have gone, and I’m terribly afraid that I’ve infected other people, which is making me feel really guilty.

Anyhow I had no brain at all and basically achieved nothing, craft wise. I was going to go for a couple pairs of pants and muslining some other things. Instead I spent a lot of time staring blankly at the wall or sleeping, and my total FO count was two totally shit potholders. One has wrinkly binding and the other is a trapezoid with wrinkly binding.

Shit potholders

Shit potholders. So wonky.

I did trace out some things, and I sewed up a McCalls 6559 maxi dress that was meant to be a wearable muslin but might just be a muslin, due to super thin fabric and dodgy finishing on my part. It was a $2 remnant so I’m not sorry, because at least it was a successful muslin. I’m going to keep it and see if I wear it as a heat wave dress, even thought the neckline and armscyes are too low. The dress is so simple, just sewing up the shoulders, then the side seams, then hemming the edges, so now that I know what adjustments to make it would take me about a half an hour to make. For the record, those adjustments are tp raise the neck and armscye by 2cm, bring in the sides by 2cm until the hips – so much ease! This size should technically be too small for me but it was in fact too big (except that I don’t want it too clingy on my hips so it can be too big there, that’s fine).

I also did some knitting on my Essential Cardigan and got it over a few humps – you know, those bits where you have to sit down and think about something or sew something or pick up a million stitches or do something else that you can’t do on the bus or in five minutes before bed. I now am knitting on the front band, and have about half of a sleeve left. I reckon taking that as bus knitting this week will polish that off, and then I’ll need some new bus knitting because I don’t really want to lug the whole jumper on the bus. Incidentally, the pattern has you seam the shoulders, the sides and put the arms on before picking up the bands. What? I’ve just seamed the shoulders and I’ll do the rest when the bands are done.

It would be nice to finish it because I really need some more good, basic knitwear in my wardrobe. Just in time for spring?

I’ve done a lot of adjusting of this jumper so I hope it fits. At craft camp I also ripped out 1/4 of a sleeve due to one wrong ribbing row (it would have bugged me) and three rows of the band because of half a row of wrong ribbing (likewise). Worth it, but frustrating.

Oh and I took some nice pictures of clouds from the plane. I guess it wasn’t a complete loss. And I relaxed and saw friends and had fun. Never to be underestimated.

I was actually feeling a lot better by the time I got home (although today at work was a bit rough and I took a lot of cold and flu tablets), so I sat down and instead of unpacking I sewed two new potholders. This time I cut them larger than I needed so I could trim them down to ensure straightness, and I hand sewed the binding. I don’t mind hand sewing, if I have the right needle and there’s not too much, and it was the only way I was going to be happy with them. Definitely worth it. The binding on the astronauts is still a bit weird on one side because I’d come to the end of my self-made bias binding, and it was a bit wobbly.

Less shit potholders

Less shit potholders

Actually the binding could probably count as a craft camp project – I worked out the continuous bias binding method. I’m quite proud. Maybe I’ll pack some bias binding to make, in plain colours, for every craft camp. It was a really good starting project – complex enough to get me in gear but repetitive enough that launching into it didn’t feel daunting before I was in gear. And you can never have too much bias binding in the stash, right?

I could do with some more potholders myself, so I guess I’ll keep the dodgy ones. The less-dodgy ones are destined to be part of a birthday present for my sister, who loves space. Her birthday was last month. Whoops. I also want to sew her some bags so I better get on that.

If nothing else, camp did jerk me out of normal life a bit. I’m hoping to use that to get out of the rut of spending my spare time doing things like reading the whole internet or playing computer games. Things I like and I am not giving up but, really, small doses would be fine and they mean I never get to the bits that make life feel really satisfying. This is my constant battle (as you probably know, having read about it before on the blog), getting out from in front of a screen and doing those things. It’s always worth it but sometimes it’s just too hard. If I’ve got no brain it feels too difficult to sit down and sew, or make decisions about things, and I sit down in front of a screen as a transition activity and just never get up. Plus a lot of my friends live inside those screens, so it’s not like I’m not making connections and doing useful things when I am on the computer. It’s just that the balance is off. I’d like to set it up so instead of defaulting to the screen I spend at least a little time each evening doing some sewing. I think it’s a habit that will be tricky to build but would be worth it if I can pull it off.

Last craft camp I made some Colette Juniper pants and I am just now blogging them, because it’s taken me that long to find a time to take photos when it is light. It’s not easy to photograph black pants, you know.

These are made in a cotton linen blend from spotters. Giordano used to sell some cotlin pants that I first found when I was living in China and for several years afterwards I bought a pair a year and LIVED in them in summer but of course they invariably wore out in the thighs so I never kept any for very long, and they weren’t so cheap. Then the store in the city closed down so I could never get there and now it seems like there actually aren’t any stores in SA and besides I’m probably too fat for them now. I still have a pair of them, in natural linen, sitting in the stash. I am pretending that I will use the fabric for something eventually. It is very nice fabric, but to be honest it’s more sentimentality than thriftiness. All that to say, I had those pants in mind when I chose this fabric.

I’ve been wanting wide legged pants for a while. I was apprehensive, though, because I wasn’t sure how they would look on me and I couldn’t find any in stores that would fit well enough for me to get an idea. And I’d auditioned another pair of palazzo-type pants, from OOP Simplicity 3870 which I bought in an op shop and they were… not good. They were definitely not drafted for my particular shape, and there was too much going on for me to know where to start adjusting them. Pants are complicated. But then Sue generously gifted me the Juniper pattern, which I’d been eyeing off ever since it came out, so I thought I’d give them a go.

I was very nervous about making pants. There’s a lot to pants, and a lot to go wrong. But from the measurements it seems like Colette is drafted pretty much for my shape as well as my personal style, so I set out to have a go. I made a muslin and took each step slowly and carefully, making the proper markings and doing tailors tacks and EVERYTHING. It took me pretty much the whole weekend but I am really pleased both with the pants and with my own sewing progress. Slowing down and doing things properly is hard work for me, but it’s just so worth it.  It did take time but I think it would have taken much more time if I’d had to do more ripping back. And I might not have ended up with a pair of pants at the end!

I have to say that the little instruction booklet was so helpful with this. Each step was clear, and having them on separate pages helped me to not rush through things. There was also plenty of room to write notes to myself for later reference. I really loved the way it was presented. I have several Colette patterns on my wishlist and haven’t pulled the trigger because postage is so expensive, but I really think getting the booklet is worth it. I think I might buy a few as a birthday present to myself.

I initially thought I was going to have to do some adapting, since according to the measurements my hips are at the largest size but my waist is a bit bigger. I looked up a tutorial on how to properly grade the waistband up, and adjusted my muslin. It was fiddly and tricky because I had to tape together the pocket pieces and the pants to make them one pattern piece, cut and spread that, and then extract the pieces back out. But then it was too big – exactly as much too big as the adjustments I had made. Turns out that my problem is not overall size, but where the size is. See, I have a swayback, and a corresponding stomach-sticking-out issue, not to mention a reasonable amount of extra stomach. So I took out a triangle at the back waist – an half inch at the top tapering in – and ended up adding a bit of a frankenstein extension on the front. When you’re making the pattern you actually have this bit longer, and trim it back to fit under the top flap, so next time I will just not trim it and I think it will be perfect. Perhaps a little grading to sit flat.

The tacked on waistband expansion.

As you can see, the waist fits pretty well but the hips are HUGE. I don’t mind, it’s super comfortable, but I think next time I will go down a size for the leg portion. I measured out the excess and I could probably go down two sizes but I’m not sure whether I want that little ease. I’ll make another pair and see! I’m also considering grading them down a bit to be ever so slightly less wide in the leg, possibly on the inseam. Perhaps going down a size will do that enough. I want to keep the swooshiness but I also feel like, starting with such a wide hip, these are VERY wide. Looking at the ones in the flickr pool, the smaller sizes have much smaller legs (obviously) and I think that’s a more reasonable size and proportion. I love the width of these, it makes me feel like a fancy lady from the 40’s, all Katharine Hepburn styles (without the lithe grace but still). But maybe I don’t need more than one pair of pants with that wide a leg.

An attempt at showing the width of the leg. They are 72cm around at the hem.

So these fit me well enough to be happy with, pretty much straight out of the packet! Lucky me. Although there’s always something to tweak. I also am thinking I might grade the crotch a bit to give me a bit of arse room. They fit fine but I can feel them tugging just a little bit at the crotch seam, and I think I could do with just a teeny bit more ease there.

I haven’t worn these much because they’re not very warm, being linen and also having such wide legs. Very breezy. Also, I snipped the wrong place on the fly when I was setting it in and forgot to go back and reinforce it. Since it’s a point that gets a lot of tension, it ripped a little. I’ve darned it up but to be honest I don’t know how long it will last. I also suspect that the thighs on these will go in less than a season of wear – the linen is a little rough and because of the extra fabric they rub a bit. I wore them today (this weather is GORGEOUS) and by the end of the day my thighs were a bit chafed. I think maybe bringing the inseam in to reduce the excess fabric and patching with something slippery might be in order. I considered reinforcing them when I was making them but didn’t get to it. Something to consider next time. Has anyone done this kind of pre-emptive patching before? But really, I’ll be happy to get a season out of these. And I can always make another pair!

It’s not at all neat at the waistband, due to last minute adjustments there, so I won’t wear it with shirts tucked in. Which is a shame because I like this look with the wide leg.

I am in fact planning another pair – another two pairs! That’s my craft camp project this time around. Hopefully it will be quicker and easier than the last time, having worked out some of the bumps.

Most of you know I have an uneasy relationship with my mother.

Lately, I don’t have a relationship with her at all. The last time I saw her was at Christmas, and only then because she was invited to the family meal by my father’s side of the family. We barely spoke, and she left early without saying goodbye to me, a supposed punishment. There are two emails from her in my inbox that I don’t intend to reply to. I have no intention of reinstating contact in the near future. Maybe one day, I won’t rule it out. Certainly not this year. I feel as though I should feel ashamed of this decision, but I don’t. I don’t feel proud, either. I don’t feel anything but resolved.

This mother’s day was easier than the last, or the one before it. Far less emotional on my part, and I found social media easier to bear. As I hurt less, other’s joy hurts less. It’s never a good feeling to be standing on the outside of a happy group, scowling in. Among the joy, which this year I could appreciate and allow to warm my heart, was plenty of acknowledgement that mothers and motherhood are complicated, from both sides. That among the people rejoicing and loving each other there are people nursing hurts and injury and loss. That even people with good relationships with their mothers rarely have simple ones. That age and time create cracks in everything. Sometimes these cracks and bumps add to the story and the joy of the thing. Sometimes they break it.

When my mother was the age I am now, she had a two year old – me. When I look at photos of her, she seems achingly young. She was living in a caravan on an 18 acre property in the Adelaide Hills that was mostly scrub and falling down buildings. She was helping to build a house, and sharing a desk job in the city with my father. She was grieving for her brother, who had died a handful of years before in a motorcycle accident when a car cut a corner on a hilly road. She had a troubled relationship with her own mother, who did all the things to her that she would do to me, but magnified by many factors.

Two years before my uncle’s death there had been an argument, during which my grandmother had slapped him, and he said he wouldn’t see them again until an apology was made. The apology never came. Christmas gifts were sent back unopened. And two years later there was no time left for apologies.

As every year for me passes, I see shadowy reflections of that woman in the choices that I make. We are similar, we always have been. And our stories are similar, they carry the same themes, hit some of the same notes. I can see, from here, how many advantages I have had that she didn’t. Advantages of time and place, of being born when I was and having extra choices. But also the advantages of the choices that I have made, and the work that I have done to teach myself better ways of being. I am finding ways to give myself credit for the things I did right while still being infinitely thankful that I had the freedom and ability to do those things. Through sheer dumb luck.

I understand my mother – or at least I understand that woman that was. As I come to know myself, I come to know her, too. I feel the echoes of her. I feel her hurts and her anger. I do not accept them as my own, but I can grieve for her. For the shitty hand that she got dealt. I come from a long line of hobbled, confined women. Women with strong, quick minds and tempers who had no choice but to put them aside and pretend to be meek, to be less than themselves and pretend a joy in sacrifice. Women who dealt with poverty and death and other traumas, and who passed them on like a legacy.

Praise be to modernity, while my grandmother was one of 14 children who survived to adulthood, my mother was one of four, three still walking the earth, and I am one of two, both of us still here. Each generation had more food, more clothes, more medical care. More love. I can’t pretend to think that 100 years ago I would be anything but bitter and hurtful, along with those women. That is my legacy.

I am happy to leave that legacy behind. To turn the coldness back on itself and freeze it off of me. Enough.

Enough.

Sometimes I feel the distance between who my mother was and who I am becoming shifting, as though I were slipping back and forth between realities. I catch myself standing like her, laughing like her. I catch a scared and angry reaction to a stressful situation and I know in that moment how she felt when she was at her most hurtful. I stop while sewing children’s clothes for friends to reflect on all the nights I saw her sewing, creating, clothing others.

I see my child-self from the other side, and I see my mother from where she stood, and I am sad for how much and how little promise we had as a family. For how much hurt was behind her hurtfulness, how what I saw as her power came from powerlessness. How similar we are and how that closeness keeps us apart. And in those slippery times I feel more confidence in the choices I am making. The choice not to be a mother, and not to have a mother either.

I don’t have a mother. I do not have a woman who mothers me, who provides love and comfort and who tells me stories of myself with fondness. I don’t, and I can’t have that. And that’s ok. I’m not angry about it anymore. But neither am I willing to maintain a relationship with a person – any person – who refuses to treat me with kindness and respect. Who refuses to understand that I exist outside of her wants and needs, and have my own. Who consistently acts thoughtlessly and hurtfully.

The fact that one of those people is the person to whom I feel closest in my most personal self, is the person who did a very good job of parenting me up until the point where my needs became too inconvenient, that is irrelevant. If it ever counted for anything, it has been worn down to nothing by years of hurt.

I choose not to allow myself to continue in a relationship that means emotional servitude to someone else. I choose to protect myself from that. To mother myself. To refrain from mothering her. The relationship we could have – have had – where I parent her and tend to her emotional needs, is no relationship at all. Nor is the one where I manage her, and spend every minute of contact policing my own boundaries. I have no patience left for that. I am tired. 30 years is enough.

In some ways this leaves me bereft, missing something. But I have come to a place where I am so accustomed to not having that thing that there is simply no place in my life for it. I don’t feel alone or abandoned anymore. I have many communities of amazing women (and some men), who provide me with friendship and support, who are mothers and sisters and aunts and friends of the heart. I don’t have a mother. But I have enough.

Maybe one day I will be up to the task of building some kind of relationship with the woman who is my mother. I would like to hope so, because I would like to hope that one day I will be the person with the strength and wisdom that will take. Right now I am not. And that’s ok.

One day I will be more. But for now, I am enough.

Last year I had a very unofficial goal to sew enough that I could participate in Me Made May this year. And would you look at that? It’s MAY. How the heck did that happen?

I don’t know how we’ll go, I have not magically become a prolific sewer recently. But I do have a lot of skirts. And I do also wear skirts almost every day, anyway. It’s getting cooler but I’ve just been adding tights in. So…

 ‘I, Kate of Craftastrophies , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2013′.

I can already identify some gaps in my wardrobe. Dresses. I only have two handmade ones and frankly, I don’t wear them that much. I DO wear dresses a fair bit, and there are a couple I’ll miss in my wardrobe rotation. Oh well, I’ll be pleased to see them again in April, or maybe I can sneak them in with a knitted jumper. Perfect transitional weather for a bit of this and that from the wardrobe.

Jumpers are my other gap! I have a fair few but about half are op shopped or knitted by my grandma – usually for herself and then she doesn’t like it and someone else gets it. Of my own hand knits, the only ones I wear regularly are my cinnabar, which is looking the worse for wear, and Cobblestone, although I haven’t been reaching for that much, either. I must get on dying that so it’s not blah brown. I’ve been wearing featherweight a bit but it’s awkward under a jacket, and not enough by itself. So, I think there might have to be some frantic knitting and some repair of older knits, like my rogue which I need to either frog and start again or attempt to fix without frogging.

If only I knitted socks. I could get away with a lot, then. Do me-altered or mended items count?

So I forgot to sign up for this until today, but I am wearing a me-made item. I sewed this skirt a while ago, but the red ran and it looked blah. But I found a leftover packet of dye-run saver stuff over the weekend, and so there we have it!

photo

Expect not many, or poor quality pics, since it’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home. But it’d be nice to get an overview of how I actually dress myself for real life.

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