The Big Queue

I have a very large queue of patterns I own and would like to sew. For many of them I have fabric already, some of them are important to my wardrobe development in the next months, and some don’t really fit in until I feel I’ve lost some of the most very extra fluff on my body at the moment. I’m still a bit in the mode of sewing things that will fit well now and later, or which are at least not too hard to take in. I also have a couple of gifts on the list for making soon.

In expected order of sewing:

Simplicity 4074 Long-Sleeved Top

I have already sewn up the skirt in a nice dark brown cotton/rayon jersey, and the sash in a rayon jersey pattern that nicely ties the dark brown to the clear grey-blue jersey I’ve chosen for the top. I have the top cut out already and plan to sew it up, along with taking in the elastic on the skirt waist a bit, tomorrow. This will bring much-needed help to my cool weather wardrobe, though of course these days in SF we’re not that cold! Still, I know it won’t be long, and with my weight up, I need another couple of easy to wear pieces. I haven’t been wearing the skirt as much as I’d like, without the top to go with it.

Burdastyle Free One-Piece Kimono Sleeve T

I’ve already made this easy T in three jerseys, and am starting to be interested in adapting it some. I also have a bunch of jersey left over from the two empire-waist dresses I’ve made in the past few months, and the outfit above. I think I may have to piece one or two together to get the fabric I need, but I have a serger and I think I could do some fun color-blocking with at least two of the blues that I have (if it’s in the same color family, does it count?). Anyhow, I need more tops and I find this one fits me better and looks more interesting than the commercial tshirts I have in my closet, so why not use up fabric rather than letting it sit in my stash?

Collette Negroni

I owe the Lion this shirt, which I promised him when he first laid eyes on a fabric he could imagine wanting me to sew up into a shirt for him–chocolate chip cookie quilting fabric! He knows that it may be a bit stiff, but he’s a real chocolate chip cookie man, so quilting cotton it is! I anticipate making the shirt a little boxy, like an aloha shirt. I’m excited to sew something for him! Ive knitted him two hats, a pair of socks and a pullover, but this will be the first thing I sew for him. I’m not sure about fit so I got a cheap fabric to use to make a (hopefully wearable) muslin.

Collette Clover

I’m attending a fit clinic on February 18th, so I’d like to get the muslin for these made up by then. I feel a little mixed about it, because I hate to spend time on fitting pants as I (hopefully) shrink some. I don’t want to “punish” myself with wardrobe austerity, but I also want to concentrate on making things that are versatile enough to fit me well over a longer period of time. I think that this fit clinic will be a good learning experience no matter what, even if I put the muslin away and fit it again in a couple of months.

Burda 8351

I’m sewing this dress for my mom, a belated 60th birthday present for her. We weren’t able to go shopping for fabric and pattern until 4 months after her birthday, but we chose something in linen, underlined with cotton broadcloth, so it should work OK to get it made for summer. She lives in Los Angeles, so my plan is to cut out and baste the underlining for her to try and mark (in washable pen), after which I’ll adjust, cut the fashion fabric and make it up. I’m hoping this goes well, as I will have experience fitting muslins and adjusting patterns by the time she tries on and marks the underlining. Notice I’m also planning to use the underlining as a muslin? Lazy Tiger!

Simplicity 2145 and 2369

I got totally taken in early this month by a 99 cent Simplicity sale, so there are a lot of Simplicity patterns in the queue now. I think I will do two dress patterns I got early this year, because they’ll fit now, and fit pretty well later, too, I reckon.

One thing I love about being hourglass-shaped is that no matter what my weight, there are some styles of dress that look good on me. Jersey wrap dresses are one of these, for sure. I may do my Vogue wrap dress instead of 2145 first, since, well, wrap dresses are even more “adjustable.”

Collette Meringue Skirt

Though I may not be back down to what I consider “normal” girth at this point, I think it will be time to start the fun of sewing from the Collette Handbook. I have a wonderful lime green poplin for this project already, so I’m likely to get it going some time early in the queue. And I think if I make it with the facing, rather than drafting a waistband (which would actually be my preference for further iterations), it won’t be too hard to take in at a later date. And even if not, well, my dear bod deserves some nice new things even if they only fit for a while, right?

Simplicity 1812

I need some more tops, and when I’m fitting into the majority of my trousers again I’ll definitely be wanting more separates. I think it will be fun to dip into vintage patterns by making the blouse from this pettern. I’d love to do the pants and overskirt some time too, but as a start I know I’d really enjoy the Mandarin collar and edged sleeves of the blouse in the teal ensemble quite a bit. Especially if I can find a light woven with a bit of stretch in it. I have an office that’s unfortunately rather warm whenever the heat is on at work, very unlike my frigid open-plan workspace last winter, so having options that fit well under a jacket or sweater, but which are fairly light themselves, is really handy.

Simplicity 2215

By the time it’s appropriate to make this pattern up, it should be getting close to summer (or the little bit of summer we get in May/early June here in SF, before the cold of June/July/August, and I will be training for the 101st Bay to Breakers 12k. We’re just easing into our running again, and did a good 7k this morning, so by May I anticipate we’ll be doing some hill and speed workouts, and long runs up in the 15k  length or so. Which all means, I look forward to making this in a size that’s more usual for me! The top and dirndl skirt are most likely what I’ll make, without frayed edges.

And, on top of all that, I’ll be doing my best to interpret patterns and test-sew some of them for The 1912 Project! My personal goal will be to learn how to read these old patterns, to practice piecing and sewing shapes that are very new to me, and eventually at some point in 2012 to choose something to make “for real” with lovely fabric, which I could wear in a little less than a year to San Francisco’s Edwardian Ball (which is thankfully not strictly Edwardian period, but also includes things Edward Gorey-ish).

If I accomplish all this, I will be a very very happy Tiger!

Thanks, Sally McGraw!

It’s all her fault. Sally McGraw‘s Already Pretty was the first stepping stone on this path to jumping into the sewing/crafting/thinking/dressing blogosphere.

In my first post I mentioned that I spent the summer of 2011 on my own at home in SF while my Lion went abroad to do some study and travel. While encouraging him to take the opportunity, I knew that I would miss him immensely, but I also imagined I would enjoy the time to myself, sew and read, take awesome care of my body, and be even fitter and stronger when he came back (or I went to meet him in Italy!). I mean, what else did I have to do in the evening after work but work out? Why would I be tempted to linger in bed in the morning rather than go out running?

Well, I didn’t think about the not-sleeping that I’d do for the first couple of weeks. It took getting used to sleeping with someone by my side, and well, of course it takes getting used to sleeping without him again! So, there was that. And then the time difference and our internet logistics meant that the only time we could communicate when I was home was . . . right at workout time.

At work, things were heating up as I did both the job I was originally hired for and a percentage of the job I’d convinced them they needed me to do. I’ve since transitioned fully, but boy was that a busy season! So evenings were more often about a glass of wine and some sewing than rock climbing, a run, or anything else.

All of which was leading to some increasing girth. My clothes weren’t fitting as well, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I felt a bit at war with my body.

And then one day someone shared one of Sally‘s posts on facebook. I clicked, I read. I clicked around her site, and read a lot more. I will admit it: I cried some. Having been really fit and strong in the spring, and feeling very svelte and confident and pretty, I had this feeling that I’d slipped, was sliding down some scale of attractiveness, and had a lot of work to do to get back to pretty.

But Sally’s very good and simple point shone through: I was, I am, already pretty. I was at 140 and I was at 155 and I would be at 160. Way, way back when, I even was at 185.

I already had an empire-waist jersey dress and a jersey wrap dress on my sewing table, both styles that suit me when I’m heavier as well as lighter. I was planning how to clothe my fluffier self without feeling like I was wasting money on “fat” clothes. But with Sally’s help I began to think about how to not just clothe myself, but adorn myself, style myself, so that I felt interested in and proud of what I was wearing, and how I was looking, every day.

One of my Tiger-Made pieces for the trip to Italy

The Tiger who showed up in Rome surprised the Lion not only with all my Tiger-made clothes, but with the fact that every day I was wearing an outfit, that I was thinking about not just the cuteness of my shoes (which I think every woman with body issues loves for their constancy), but the whole cuteness of me. And he sure agreed!

By the time I left for Italy, as I’d mentioned, I’d found my way from Already Pretty to Patty the Snug Bug and beyond. I was learning more and more about fit and how ready to wear clothes can make the most beautiful of women feel awkward and lumpy. I was learning to pay more attention to fit as I sewed up a pattern (and I’m finally feeling ready to sew and adjust my very first muslin, for Collette’s Clover pants). I also started remembering to wear bracelets and vary my necklace choice, thinking about hats and purses, and “shopping” my own closets for forgotten pieces.

This process has been all of a piece, and an important step in loving myself for who I am and where I’m at. Yes, I have new fitness goals this new year, but I’m not going to wait to sew lovely things for myself. I’m going to make myself look as great as I can every day, for myself, because I deserve it.

For so many things I have to thank Sally. For linking that fateful Friday to Patty‘s blog (from which I found the sewing blog world), for talking frankly about body image, self love and style, and for helping me to have a different reaction, for once, to one of my periodic upswings in weight. Rather than get down on myself, try to hide, and punish myself with silly wardrobe austerity, I decided to get creative, pay attention, and make the most of what I have right now.

Hello World, Indeed

Howdy folks!

While this isn’t my first blog, it’s my first sewing/knitting/crafting blog and my first blog which owes its nativity to a blogging community.

I’ve been sewing and knitting off and on for decades, but never with as much engagement, thought, research, learning and plain old obsession as in the past year or so. This past summer, when I had three months to myself while my partner (the Lion) was abroad, I enjoyed an orgy of sewing the like of which I’d never experienced before. And through a facebook post I happened upon one blog, and then another, and then another . . . and I’m still discovering this vibrant, inspiring community! What a joy it is to read and learn from so many people all over the world.

Made for my trip to Italy!

Last summer I went to meet the Lion in Italy for 10 days, and I took with me . . . 4 tiger-made garments. This meant I wore me-made clothes almost every day on the trip! I used a technique from Patty (the Snug Bug) to hem the t-shirts I made. It felt so great to have a technique at hand that fit the bill perfectly!

This fall I slowed considerably, due in no small part to the addition of a small cat to our den of big cats. The kitten, Django, sometimes needs a time out when I’m sewing. But nonetheless, I made a heap of costumes for nieces’ and nephews’ Christmas presents. And again, at the end of the process (which I’d done assembly-style as per Robin’s guest post on Gertie’s blog), I found myself using a technique I’d read about in blogs and books. But this time it was without even knowing I was doing something new! I just realized, in the middle of doing it, that I was inserting my first zipper invisible-style! Thank heavens I realized in time to put the right foot on my machine.

Some of the Christmas presents of 2011

And so I realized, in late December 2011, that I had really gained a LOT from my engagement with the sewing blog community, and that I will surely be gaining more and more. I’m set to meet up with fellow San Francisco Bay Area sewists next month thanks to the Sew Weekly, I’m going to participate in a project to test-sew patterns from 1912 (Hellow Downton Abbey fetish!), and more. My life is getting ever richer thanks to this crowd.

It’s my turn, I reckon, to start sharing, challenging myself, putting a little pressure on to keep sewing and not just reading and fantasizing. I’m excited to share my knitting as well, and quite likely the odd kitty picture. It seems de rigeur ’round these parts.

So that’s what’s up with me. Hello World! I’ve been reading you for months now, and am excited to add my voice to the cocktail party.