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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Well hello there.

So, yeah, I’ve been missing for a little while. It turns out that even when your no-time seems like it should be lots-of-time because you’re on summer hiatus, something else pops up to turn it in to no-time again.

To wit: we bought a house.

Here’s the thing: everyone who tells you that being in escrow was the most stressful time in their adult life (this includes people who have had children) might be understating it a little bit. Escrow is terrible. I have a stressful job, I feel like I manage stress pretty well, but this was a whole other monster. Between just wanting to curl up in a vibrating ball of uncertainty and terror, and spending hours in the black hole that is google image searches for “bathroom paint colors”, sewing has been basically nonexistent for more than a month. Sorry ’bout that.

But! We closed! Then we had to move! (Silent horror screaming commence!) I have always understood that I have a lot of stuff, but that understanding didn’t really sink in until I started actually opening closets and attempting to pack. I’ve been much better recently about not keeping stuff I can’t think of an immediate use for, but we’ve been in our place for eight years, which equals about 6.5 years of collected cute-small-plastic-doodads and random-rectangles-of-foam and boxes-from-things-I-got-rid-of-4-years-ago and truly-horrific-hat-I-bought-at-a-college-costume-sale-and-why-do-I-still-have-this?! My hoarding tendencies did not start with my epic stash, I tell you what.

Anyhoo, I will answer the one question that matters, and then shut up about it. Yes, there is a room in our new house that will be the sewing room! Hooray!

All that out of the way, I do actually have a small backlog of things to share – to tide you over until the sewing can recommence. (I need to buy a table for my machines, in my new sewing room, so my dining table can go back to serving its intended purpose, solely. More hooray!) I will start by sharing a quick dress I whipped out in a most careless fashion in the middle of July, mainly because the marvelous Ms McCall has already spoiled it (she had a fried hard drive and beat me to it! My house excuse is sounding pretty sad…)

Nhi Sandra and me

About a month ago (eesh!) I had an awesome visit from the most wonderful and talented Sandra (of Brown Paper Patterns) and Nhi (co-founder of the new Lolita Patterns), up from LA for the night. We finally made it to the weirder ugly cousin of the LA fabric district, the Crazy Fabric Store in Solvang (sadly, it has seen better days, it was mostly ancient polyester this time); we had a lovely swap in which I acquired the remainder of the aqua and silver stripe jersey that Nhi’s shirt is made of (which was passed on to her by Cindy of Cation Designs – what a pedigree!) as well as a few other cool things (including loan of like 6 Burda issues and other pattern goodies); we saw a show at my old theatre company; and generally just hung out and chatted and had a great time. And Sandra bogarted my photo wall! (Well, I guess it isn’t my photo wall anymore, now I have to find a new spot at my new house…) But I had a dress I needed to photograph too, so it worked out.

Simplicity 1881

In the midst of escrow craziness, I found myself wanting a new summer dress to wear to a friend’s annual giant backyard party, so I somewhat arbitrarily pulled out Simplicity 1881 and a yellow polka dot ITY I had recently ordered from fabric.com. I chose the pattern mainly because I only had a couple days and I judged that a fully lined halter bodice meant no time-consuming edge finishing, and the construction seemed very straightforward. The fabric I ordered in a fit of weakness in June when my common sense was overruled by my love of yellow and dots. But, predictably, it is not very nice fabric. It’s rather shiny and slippery (most ITYs are matte, I thought?) and pretty thin. Too thin to wear without a lining or a slip (needless to say, with my time constraint I went with “slip”), and I probably should have interlined the bodice or inserted bust cups, or both, because even with a double layer the fabric feels pretty insubstantial up there.

It did go together easily, though I’m not in love with the results. I didn’t really think about the effect my very small bust would have on the fit (shouldn’t I know better by now?), and because I shortened the back elastic substantially to get a tight enough fit, it pulls the bust area toward the back and creates wrinkles below the bust (because I have nothing fighting back against the elastic in the front, I guess). And it still slips down in back. Sigh. I like halter designs because I like my shoulders, but I think I should stick to nontraditional halters (like my open back dress) because they work better with my no-bust.

Simplicity 1881 back

I didn’t use the recommended purchased bias tape as the elastic enclosure (though I think it’s a great idea) simply because I didn’t have any (and although I live in a metropolitan area of more than 150,000 people, there is not a single place to buy regular ol’ Wright’s or Coats and Clark anything within 40 miles anymore. Seriously). So I had to use self fabric, which doesn’t stabilize the elastic casing at all, obviously, and the elastic twists around something terrible, which probably exacerbates the slipping-down problem. Lesson: follow the directions. (Within reason, of course.)

I didn’t hem the dress (see: time constraints), though I may go back someday and line it properly and hem it. Or I may not. I’m not sure the fabric is good enough to be worth the effort. But, all things considered, I had a new yellow dress to wear to the party. And that felt pretty miraculous at the time.

And appropriate too, because our new house is Bright. Yellow.

When I logged in to WordPress today it congratulated me on my two year blogiversary. Well, that came out of nowhere. As much as I’ve enjoyed (slash been tortured by) the house-buying-packing-moving-decor-planning process, when I ducked back into a few blogs I hadn’t read in a couple weeks I realised how much I missed sewing and reading about sewing and admiring all of your creations. While I’m sure it will take me a while to get unpacked and settled and sewing again, I certainly want to, and I will make a valient effort to tear myself away from the IKEA website occasionally and rejoin the sewing community. And I promise to not make curtains. Well, maybe a roman blind or two… but that’s it!

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