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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Pants





It's been a while since I was really sewing a lot. As a result I've been wearing mostly the same work clothes for a while. But lately I've been having an itch to step it up a notch. Now that I'm in my 30s, I worry sometimes about dressing too old or too young. I also  have a lot of clothes that I made because I was able to make them, not necessarily because they're what I want to wear everyday or because they project the image I want.

One major example is pants. I've made a couple of pairs of pants and I'm not really happy with any of them. Part of this stems from the technical challenge of pants but there is definitely a deep seated insecurity about my body. Skirts are easier and more forgiving to my body.

I would like to wear more pants, I think. Especially at work. A smart little cigarette trouser, maybe hemmed at the ankle. Last weekend I took another crack at shopping for pants, something that I had avoided for long enough that I had genuinely forgotten the frustration and disappointment that inevitably follows.

Any cute work pant from places like J Crew and Ann Taylor are painted on through the hip and thigh, gape at the waist and bag at the lower leg. Any crotch that is long enough to cover my butt in the back is way too tall in the front. Three stores and I was back to the anxiety I felt before I started sewing my own clothes.

And that thought returns - My body is irreconcilably weird, wrong and unattractive. Why else would it be impossible for me to find pants? Everyone else manages to find pants that fit. There must be something wrong with me.

Okay deep breaths.

I reason with myself that this must not be the truth. My body is fine. The booty's recent rise in popularity has helped me feel more confident about my pear shape, but I'm still just sad about my short, knock-kneed legs. I'm even dealing with knee pain because of the angle of my thighs. Ugh.

I see cute pants on other people and I want that. I know that pants won't really make my legs look longer, or my thighs and hips narrower or my knees straighter. But I would like pants that fit in the waist and skim over my lumpy bits instead of being painted on right where I need camoflage.

I would like some pants that fucking fit and I don't think that's too much to fucking ask.

Monday, 24 April 2017

More interior decorating progress and other stuff

Oh, hi there!

It seems like I've been doing everything except blogging, lately (and really, for a while now). It is nice for me to have a a record of everything I've made but I just don't have the bandwidth to put the time into it that would actually make it good. C'est la vie!

Anyway, I took some photos of our main room, and I'm so happy with the progress! I'm now at a place where I'm not just constantly thinking about all the other changes I want to make.

Oh, and does anyone else find that pics get a lot darker when they save them to Google? I uploaded these to Google Pictures and then to the blog and I swear they get darker every time.

Before:




After!


 I'm in love with this rug! Every time I walk into the room I'm happy to see it.


Like it was made for Instagram.


Most important of all, I got the light fixture I've been lusting after for ages!! After a very stressful purchase and shipping experience (I'll spare you the details; it was mostly me stressing out about nothing) it's finally up and I freaking love it!!!


 I had been worried that our ceilings would be too low, but to my eye it looks like a million bucks. I think it really balances the room and it's like having a really beautiful sculpture that also adds some lighting depth. Every time I see it I'm happy.


 Oh, we also did a makeover on our fish tank. It only took a weekend and I'm absolutely thrilled with how it looks. Unfortunately, through a series of unfortunate events (Ich infection, and possibly some poisonous tank decorations) we lost a bunch of fish. Hopefully the tank ecosystem will be back on track soon so we can fill it up again with some pretty little fishies!



Here's another shot of the light. I love that the shape changes from every angle. Isn't it gorgeous?

Bonus round: I recently took some pics of a shirt I made. A friend gave me some gorgeous shirting fabric in lengths that were too small to make a proper shirt out of. So I did an off-the-shoulder blouse!


I'm really pleased with this solution! I know that this trend won't last forever so this is a nice chance to play around with it. And man, it was so quick to sew up! I adjusted a basic shirt pattern (a smaller size of the pattern I used to make this shirt). So simple!


Now I just need the summer weather to get here!



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Silk trapeze dress for travelling


I haven't really been sewing much since the spring, so of course I as bitten by the sewing bug less than a week before I headed off for vacation (3 weeks in Australia!!!!).

As if I didn't have enough to do to get ready, my brain decided I needed a new silk dress. I have wanted to make a slip/trapeze type dress for a while, but I think I had been putting it off just because there are so many different styles that I liked, I couldn't decide which type to make! You can see the Pinterest board I had dedicated to this project is a little all over the place.


I ended up keeping it really simple, mostly in the interest of getting this thing done on time and trying to balance getting nice fabric and not spending too much money.

In the end I knew that simpler would be better, so that it would be more flexible to dress up or down and the hardest decision was whether or not to cut it on the bias. I ended up cutting on the straight grain to save money and time (cut on the bias I would have had to have seams in centre front and back as well as the sides and it would have taken a lot longer to sew up).

Catching the last rays of sunlight in Bondi Junction

I'm pretty happy with the dress, and it did come in handy on vacation. We did everything from spend an entire day on the ocean to attend a ballet and I kept packing to a minimum so that I could bring back lots of gifts and souvenirs so everything that I brought had to do double or triple duty. And thank God for Airbnbs with washing machines!!



I like it paired with a white t-shirt for a more casual look. If only I had some white sneakers to go with it! 


Even without cutting it on the bias, this dress moves so nice!


I used the True Bias Ogden Cami pattern and just re-drafted the side seams to give me an A-line shape and extended it to reach below my knees.










I can wear the dress with heels for a more polished look. It also pairs well with a leather jacket.




I love the back neckline! I also love the architecture in Melbourne, where these pics were taken





Sunday, 9 October 2016

Rug burn

Hi friends,

So I'm quickly learning that buying a rug is impossible. Or at least it feels that way.

I knew I wanted the rug to be the focal point for the room, and ordered one online. Turned out that one had been sold from the show room the day before. Since then, I've done nothing but second-guess myself.

I've filled board after board with rugs for sale on Etsy, ebay and chairish. Part of the challenge is that it's really hard to imagine what a rug will look like in the room - inspiration photos can only get you so far - and they're expensive, meaning won't have a do-over if I'm ordering online.

 I got so desperate, I started looking for rug DIYs. Turns out there are a lot of DIYs (Hey, is it just me or are DIY rugs like a new trend? Or am I just seeing it now because I'm obsessed with rugs?) but I don't have faith that any of them will give me the result I want either.

I did see a brand new West Elm kilim style rug on Kijiji that I didn't love but I thought might work so I bought it and tried it out. I wasn't giving me the look I wanted, so I'll have to resell it.



Oh my God, sorry for the terrible quality photo. I was going to take a better one but ...then I didn't. If anyone wants to buy this barely used rug, let me know: $370.

I wanted to try to find a rug from a local shop and I'm super lucky that two fantastic rug shops, Mellah and Tavares Oriental are both within a kilometer of my home. Score! Both allow you to try rugs in your home for a day. The first one I tried was Mellah, even though the style I really like is Turkish and they're Moroccan (why oh why didn't I buy a rug while I was in Turkey?). They didn't have anything in my price range that was wide enough to go under the table. Bummer!

Next I brought home two rugs from Tavares. The first one, which is in the style that I like the most, didn't have the pop I was looking for and it was too narrow.



The second one:




Pretty sexy, right? This is a lot closer to what I'm looking for. The only hesitation with this one is that it has a lot of primary red and blue, as well as a very basic green. It does have some of the golds, oranges, teals and pinks that I love, but I worry that the red, blue, and green would be too limiting to my colour pallet in the future. Such a tricky decision! It's also pretty pricey.

At least I've learned that I need a rug with pops of black and white (thanks, mom, for this hint!), and for it to have rich, intense colours. I also confirmed that the 200cm width I was going for is the right size so that the chairs don't slip off the back when we sit down. I have a better idea of what I should look for in the future.

I'm glad I was able to test this rug, I was starting to think there was no hope for me!

I know I could get away without a rug, but I really think a rug would (oh god sorry!) tie the room together.

Actually I'm not sorry.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Before and, uh ...progress

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent some time this summer redecorating. I also mentioned that the process is ongoing, probably forever. In that light, I wanted to post and document a few of the things I'm most proud of and excited about. I know this is supposed to be a sewing blog but really it's just a place for me to document and brag about the cool shit I make and pretend that anyone cares.

It's kind of just my own little corner of the internet and so if I want to post about how excited I am for the new couch we ordered, that's what I'm going to do!

So yeah. Now feels like a good time to post before shots and show my progress so far.

Because obvs if I wait until I'm done it'll never happen.



Yeah, so these are the before pics. The furniture we had was very handsome and well made and completely wrong for us. Well, me. Matt didn't care what it looked like, as long as it worked, which it did.

I was just sad every time I looked at it. I would see so many beautiful things on line or in magazines and just wish for a more beautiful home. Things were complicated by the fact that the dining set was a family heirloom (beware of hand-me-downs that turn into heirlooms. Heirlooms can't be left on the curb. They have to be - at the very least - donated. This is more complicated than it sounds).

Anyway, Matt manfully undertook navigating the family politics and I got to work figuring out what the heck I did want now that I had options.

It took months but here's where we are now.




A bar cart is on it's way, since our frankly obscene number of bottles can't be contained by the new buffet. I'm also working on a proper rug, but the look that I have my heart set on is a traditional Turkish style that tends to be narrower than I need. I wish I had known that I needed a rug in my life back when I was actually in Turkey. Buying this stuff online is hard!

Along with the rug, I want to add a light fixture. Of course, I have the opposite problem as the rug. I have no idea what kid of fixture I might want.

In other news, I sometimes buy flowers now.




Friday, 9 September 2016

Reflecting on this summer

Well, summer's coming to a close.

This summer was a little different for me. I haven't posted a new project in ages because I haven't sewn anything in ages! I did complete one garment but I just didn't have the motivation to get it photographed and posted.

Sometimes I fall into the trap of always expecting myself to get a million things done. Work, working out, trying to keep the house tidy and making sure I have clean clothes in my drawers, playing music. But in the last few months, I decided to take a little break from that expectation. It's been a nice little vacation!

I still kept pretty busy (with an interior decorating project - more on that later) but I took a break from sewing and also put the gym on hold for a bit, at least while I'm still biking every day. I haven't played music in ages.

Like I said above, the thing that's taken up most of my creative energies this summer has been redecorating. Although it's not really redecorating.When my boyfriend and I got together, we ended up with some truly spectacular heirloom furniture. Furniture that was incredibly well-build but was, to me, a real eyesore. In another context, another space, these pieces could be gorgeous, but they were just not for me.

This spring, after almost 10 years, we made the decision (well, I moped and Matt acquiesced) to replace our table, chairs and buffet, with possible option to replace the couch.

Wow, what a difference! The process of interior decorating is simultaneously a blast and completely exhausting. And difficult. So many different elements to remember and so much second-guessing!


I'm happy with the progress so far!

Even with all the progress I've made in the last few months, it seems like this is one of those projects that will never really be complete. Which is exactly as fun as it is frustrating!

Anyway, letting go of the old furniture was surprisingly hard, but I'm so thrilled we did. It really does make such a huge difference in how I feel to come home to a house that is on its was to being beautiful and reflecting my (and hopefully Matt's) personality.

As my space has been transforming, I've found myself more and more motivated to keep the place tidy, and even to cook more and eat at the table together more!

This weekend I tried to "style" our bookcases for the first time (not yet a success - we have too many books!) and made some paper art to hang over our beds.

It's funny, though, because the more I do around the house, the more /excited/anxious I am to make other improvements! It's addictive just like sewing but way more expensive. I'm almost looking forward to the fall weather. I love sewing clothing for the colder months, even if I don't like the cold weather! And it's way more affordable.

All this to say I'll be posting more decorating stuff and probably less sewing stuff. Or maybe I'll start a new blog, who knows?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Follow-up to DIY downloadable clothing


I was really excited about the concept of so-called downloadable clothing that I wrote about in my last post. I started looking for fabrics, deciding which of the patterns I would try and scouting out places to have the pieces cut.



I planned to use the t-shirt pattern, since it seemed like the thing I would be most likely to actually wear. This pattern, it turns out, requires a cutting surface that is larger than most of the non-industrial laser cutting options had.

Image result for laser cutting machine for fabric

On top of that, apparently neoprene, which seems like the most appropriate material to make this out of, contains spandex, which creates hydrogen cyanide gas (hint: it's not good for you!). Not as bad, I hear, as cutting PVC, which creates hydrogen chloride gas, which will damage people and machinery alike, but still most of the places I contacted flat refused to cut neoprene because of the 8% - 10% spandex content.




My only option was industrial so I emailed out for a quote (and learned that they do water cutting, too, which sounds pretty neat).

Turns out it will cost, like, $250 just for the cutting. So...yeah. Glad I didn't buy my fabrics yet!

I am disappointed, though. Maybe I'll save up.