Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I'm realizing that I wore something I made every day (not even counting underwear) for the past few MONTHS.  I think it's because I have no more storebought dresses in my rotation, really, and enough blouses and bottoms that I actually like now that I kept reusing a few of them.  Still, I was pleased to realize this.

Work is really busy and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.  We've got new activities for the girls after school, so the bliss of the little one being in Kindergarten (one pickup!) is tempered by really sleepy grumpy kids in the short time we have with them in the evenings.  And I've got my normal early fall cold/allergies - any time in the evenings after kids are in bed is spent working on the laptop on the couch drinking tea, followed by an early departure to bed (8:30pm!)

But I still have time to be grumpy!  I am increasingly grumpy about certain phrases and I'm not sure why.  "Nurture", "Nourish", and, most recently, "intentional".  I think I've got a certain amount of blowback against a smugness within the more liberal parts of our society (of which I am part), which I now see as needlessly alienating the people who now have moved to support Trump.  It still is ridiculous to support Trump, I'm not giving them any wiggle room there.  But we didn't help.  And the folks who are the most smug and who repost the most offensive cartoons also seem to be the ones who are a bit anti-scientific and embrace the slight holier-than-thou aspects of the above words.  So I give them eye-rolls and am smug myself. Yikes.  Just don't know where to go with this.  This post is a bit of an attempt at a self-exorcism, but I'm also unsure about what would be in its place.  Condemnation without smugness?  Is that better?  A calmer ability to talk to people about the problem when I see it?  Maybe. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017


I churned out another blouse, this time one from McCall's archive collection - out of a batik-y rayon that I've had in stash for two years.

I was concerned about the pattern because of its craziness - the front has two panels that include self ties that make the bow in front, and are both attached with a deep v into a panel on the bottom.  The sleeves are cut on down to mid-upper arm, but then have bouffant-y lower sleeves attached.  So...I just sewed the whole thing up and hoped for the best.

So far, it is one of my favorite shirts!

In this case, I think that the crazy print (I made no attempt at pattern matching) makes the shape less distracting.  Crazy + crazy = good.

I almost left off the sleeve lower parts and just hemmed them mid-arm, but now I see that it looks better from the back with a little visual interest on the sleeves.  Print isn't cut badly- I just am slouching a bit there.

 Shot of where the two front panels join the lower front piece in a v.

If I make this again, I'll close up the lower bit of where the ties come together.  The ties are heavy, and pull the shirt forward.  If the shoulder seams aren't right on my shoulders, then this opening dips below my bra.  You can't normally see it (floppy bow ends), but I don't want to inadvertently flash a poor student!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Being petty...

Okay, I might have broken away from my love affair with Alabama Chanin.  Primarily since I've been following their blog in hopes of getting inspiring, and have instead been getting swamped with the mostly uninspiring and unflattering new items.  Clearly, my interest is not one that they need to pique- I'm not in the target demographic for their clothes AT ALL, financially.  But I found myself getting really annoyed this week when they posted a tutorial for couching.  It amounts to  - "put down cord on fabric, stitch around it, stitch the ends together".  I was trying to figure out what bothered me so much about this post, and I think I've got a handle on it now.  Couching is REALLY simple in it's basic operation and form.  And, yet, there are a lot of things that will make your work look much better, like choice of fabric/cord, width of cord, spacing of stitches, how you finish the ends.  I experimented with ALL those options when I was making my coat.  The AC blog post simultaneously raised the simple part (stitch around cord) to a level of detail that somehow makes it seem way harder than it is, and left out any information about the things someone would actually wonder about if they were trying this on their own.

It's silly to be annoyed - it is totally against their interest to teach people how to do all of this when they are (hopefully) making a lot of money out of the courses they teach, which are the one part of their whole package that I would actually really aspire to do some day.  But - if I were going to do a blog post of that sort for an audience like they have, I would stitch up a couple samples with variations on cord thickness, with curves and an overlapped end, and would photograph those to give people an idea of HOW MUCH some of these things could matter. 

Edited to add: Oh, and this is all on top of my annoyance at their stencil designs.  "Magdalena", which they charge for, is totally a stock image - I saw it on some kleenex-brand tissue boxes at my mom's house this summer.  And I'm really not excited about their newer stencil offering this summer.  Again - totally looking gift horses in the mouth, but I was surprised at how much I found myself repelled by the new stencil.