Still sewing, just too tired to write about it!

Still sewing and wanting to write! I’m just worn out from a combination of fibromyalgia, and yoga teacher training, and trying to clean and organize the house. Additionally, I plan on moving the blog off of the site and onto my own site, but it will take a couple of weeks to get that set up. Once that’s complete, posting will return to a more normal schedule.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the things I’ve made recently:

A raglan using the Patterns for Pirates raglan pattern I love so much. So far, this is my favorite t-shirt pattern. If you don’t use contrasting fabrics, it just looks like a normal shirt. The fit is great on me.

Adorable Midnight Slippers! I had one little error with the serger, it didn’t quite pick up all of one toe, so I had to sew a patch. I love patches, though, so I never consider that a real problem.

This is the raglan from above, but with the long sleeve option. Rainbow sleeves, baby! I have several yards of that fabric, I’m saving the rest for something amazing. It’s one of my favorites.

Verity Hope’s Smock Pinafore, which is fast becoming one of my base wardrobe patterns. I’ve made four of them. For about two weeks, I just alternated between them, and with the ability to add different colors of shirts underneath, I never felt like I looked the same day to day. I bought some linen to make some more, but now I’m thinking of putting that toward a pair of linen overalls. I’ve been waiting a long time for overalls to make a comeback.

This is just a tank dress that I make using the Dress No. 1 pattern. Over time it’s proving not to be great for knits, however. It needs some fit modifications, it gaps in the back a bit too much, and I want to change the shape of the arm scythes. I think this will just take some skimming of a book on fitting, but I haven’t gotten the time and energy for that yet. Nevertheless, I love this dress and wear it all the time. I’m wearing it right now, in fact.

So, sewing is still happening, and the desire to write about it is definitely there. But, I’m tired all the time. Thus is the life, living with fibromyalgia. In the next few months I will hopefully get a call for a trial of new treatment. I’m on the waitlist. I think about it every day, wondering what might happen if it works. What would it be like to feel better? I go between daydreaming about it, and pushing it out of my mind so I don’t get too attached.

Until then, I take it day by day. Stitch by stitch. Asana by asana. I’m looking forward to getting the blog moved, so I can work on the design, and write on a more regular schedule.


A blank canvas of a purple linen dress

I hacked Sonya Phillip’s Dress No. 1 pattern (for the umpteenth time, I love those patterns), and made myself a Rather Long Dress No. 1. I had bought all this purple linen, and I don’t have the skills (yet!) to turn it into something with buttons or pleats or darts other fancy things, but I had to make something because purple and linen are two of my favorite things. So here we go. A very basic, but very comfortable dress.


I dug out my old sewing machine to see if it still worked. For some reason I thought it was broken, but no, it’s motoring along just fine! So now I have access to some fancy stitches. It’s a Singer Brilliance something-or-other, it has a much better range of stitches than my Singer Heavy Duty. I’m thinking of going over the purple dress hems and seams with some contrasting thread. My Norwegian friend, C, is sewing her heart out right now, making amazing things, and she uses a lot of contrasting thread to great effect.


I looked at this photo and was like, “Hey! There’s my waist!” Which I don’t mean in a body-shaming way. I mean, I’m amused, and also startled. My measurements are so straight, I’m what they call “apple-shaped”, but really I think of myself as a thick rectangle with nice legs. I’ve been thinking of trying out Cashmerette’s Wrap Dress, but it requires a belt, and I don’t think of myself as having a belt area. But look! From the back, you can kind of make out a waist area. Who knew?


The shirt I’m wearing underneath is a soy and hemp shirt from Betsy at Intertwined Designs. I’d love to have a winter uniform of long-sleeved knit shirts and long dresses. The sneakers are these neat parachute fabric, they’re from Patagonia, but I don’t think they make them anymore.

I look at these photos and I think, “I have to find a place to take photos, where I can set up my tripod and do it myself.” No offense to my very sweet husband, who is taking these for me, but wow, this needs work. Hey everyone, look at our messy deck! Don’t those propane tanks go stellar with my new dress? I have a nice DSLR and I know how to use it, I’m actually a very good photographer. But it’s really hard to photograph yourself without a spot to take the photos, and our house doesn’t seem to have an uncluttered spot in which to set up my camera.

Don’t get me started on the clutter. This is what my sewing room looks like right now:


That’s Frasier on the big screen – Greg bought that screen a week ago, I thought it was for him. It gets here and he says no, it’s for me so I can hook my computer up to it and watch Netflix while I sew. Awwww! Oh, I love that man. Greg, not Frasier. If we’re going to talk about Frasier, it’s Niles I have a television crush on. Although I know he’s gay. I mean, David Hyde Pierce is gay. Not Niles. Niles is just nerdy and fastidious and passionate. Anyway.

The point is: this room is a pit of clutter despair. I am attempting to clean it this week.


And here’s the $&#*head responsible for some of it: Cal, the cat who loves sergers. That’s why he’s laying next to the Juki, he’s thinking, “When she turns around, I will pull every last thread off of this machine, and trail their beautiful tendrils out of this room, through the laundry room, and all the way to the stairs.” He did, too. Three times. I tried throwing some fabric over the machine (in the picture above), but that doesn’t seem to deter him. Tonight I’m getting a screen to put up in an effort to keep him away. We don’t have doors on the doorways, the house is old and the doorways in these two rooms aren’t to code. There’s no normal door that would fit. I’m about ready to install in the doorway a giant….whatever eats cats. A cat-eating gargoyle? A pet hyena? Cthulu? Maybe I can install a moat! YES! A moat. Then I can install sharks, and that will keep away cats and children who ask me when dinner is ready.



Learning to look at clothes again. Learning to enjoy fashion.

I put these on my Amazon wishlist yesterday:


Since I started making my own clothes, I’ve begun giving myself permission to enjoy…..umm….clothes and stuff. Fashion? Is that what they call it? I guess I think of fashion as what’s in fashion, i.e. the current trends of the day. I don’t like most current trends, my interest is more in older styles. I like a lot of the 90’s, I love some of the artsier stuff of the 80’s (boxy shirts and baggy pants), I love funky cotton prints and big swaths of neutral linens (not always together, but sometimes), and patchwork clothes make my heart go pitter pat. Oh! And I positively love something I recently found out has a name: lagenlook. And then I love Regency styles because I love Jane Austen movies. And I love a lot of other costumes from other movies, which I won’t try to describe because I’m sure I’d get the historical periods wrong. I suppose all of that is still fashion. So I guess I’m saying: I like fashion. Which is very strange to hear myself say. 

I don’t know why this is so hard to talk about. I don’t mean my feelings. I mean, it’s hard to articulate clothes. I don’t know how. I don’t know the first thing about fashion’s history, or rules, or anything (nothing could be more obvious at this point). The feelings, though, are the easy part. Clothes telegraph feelings to me, sometimes whole ideas. I just never thought I was able to be in on the conversation.

FullSizeRender 5I’ve always been big, always too big for the stuff I wanted to wear. About once a decade I will come across some tiny little gem of a clothing source, where what I love is exactly what’s being made, and it fits me. It always feels like a miracle, and I always end up becoming friends with the owner and buying scads of their clothes. It’s as if I walk around with a voice always too low to hear, in fact usually I don’t even bother trying to speak. I just let myself be invisible (why hello, my fat girl uniform of navy and black t-shirts, and khaki pants). And then I find someone who will give me a device that will let me feel seen and heard, and like I can participate in the conversation. Sigh. I’m usually much better with metaphors. Anyway. In the late 90’s and early 00’s it was a clothing company called Zen Tropic, that made these amazing batik dresses and shirts. I ran into their booth all the time at local festivals. Later, it was Betsy’s stuff from Intertwined Designs. Her things are handmade from hemp, it’s all gorgeous stuff. I bought scads of it. Unfortunately now I’m too big for all of it, and her entire line, but I still love Betsy. I ran into her at the Oregon Country Fair, and she knew who I was, which warmed my heart. She’s a very sweet person. A couple of years ago I ran into Cada Johnson, and her t-shirts are big enough for me, and beautifully sewn and designed. I wrote a post about her. But, she followed her artistic heart and stopped making clothes, and now makes more textile art and these graceful, beautiful prayer flags. I already treasured my Cada clothes, but now I treasure them even more. 

Besides those three, two of which are gone and one of which doesn’t fit anymore, there hasn’t been anything else I’ve been able to wear that feels native to me, that gives me the feelings I want my clothes to give me. For years I got lots of feelings from Patagonia stuff, and so I wore their women’s XL and just stretched the hell out of things. I loved their company ethos, their styles, their warm fleece, and their durability. Their stuff wears like iron. It’s amazing, I love it. Eventually I started shopping in the men’s section for outerwear and some t-shirts, pretending it was for my husband – a tactic I imagine was blazingly obvious to the young and thin sales girl. And of course I bought lots of things that didn’t quite fit, putting them into my “eventually I’ll be thin” pile. A pile that I recently bagged up and threw into the closet of my sewing studio, so I could eventually go through the favorites and adjust things to fit, now that I have some idea how.

The next time I saw clothes that gave me that feeling, was when I bumped into 100 Acts of Sewing by Sonya Phillips – I write about it here and I even talk about “that feeling”, which I still haven’t described well at all. Her clothes were colorful, artsy, and simple. They made me so happy! And they were patterns. I could make them myself. That was the start of all of this.

And now here I am, looking at books about fashion and getting excited. As if this was all somehow mine, too. Something I get to enjoy, a place where I can belong. I know I’m not describing this well, and I know that it might be frustrating to read, but that’s okay because I also know that as I practice writing about this, I’ll get less bumbling and more articulate. For now I just want to get the bumbling out. I want to at least try to describe where I’m starting from. Because I’ll be really curious to see where I end up in a few years.