Sew Grateful Week

Well, I’ve mainly missed Sew Grateful Week, but today still counts, so I’m grateful for that! It’s been a busy week with work and keeping up with our fitness and good eating . . . and most importantly, wedding planning! That’s been really fun and exciting too, but it takes up the same kind of time and energy as my sewing usually does.

However, I’m here now, and boy am I really very grateful! Doing laundry yesterday, I realized how many of my clothes, and my favorite items, are now Tiger-made. Some are obviously not perfected–I have to do a swayback adjustment on my Renfrew pattern next time I make it up, for example–but in the main they fit so much better than RTW. And this is only getting better as I learn more!

A little over 18 months ago, I was working for a non-profit organization and my earnings were enough, but not all that ample. Add to that a tough summer without my partner, during which I put on some weight, and I found I needed some new clothes on a budget. Well, with my amateurish sewing skills, a discount fabric store and the internet, I managed to get myself clothed in pieces I enjoy and which still fit me now that I’ve lost the weight. (I was very careful to choose patterns that would do that–empire waists, knits, etc.)

More importantly, however, I found the sewing blogosphere, where I learn new things every day, celebrate people’s successes, and get to know people all over the world with whom I share values and interests. One of my desires this year is to comment on more posts so that the people I feel familiar with have a chance to get familiar with me!

There are some really great values represented in our crowd: love for ourselves and our bodies as they are, belief in our abilities, creative adventure, ethical interaction with people and resources, and lots of both practicality and fancy. We have created amazing resources for each other, from Gertie‘s great book full of tailoring and drafting tips, to The Slapdash Sewist‘s very thorough and detailed pattern reviews, to StephC‘s wonderful patterns, tutorials and source roundups, and of course Debi‘s wonderful social enterprise, Weaving Destination. Dozens more offer each other free patterns, hack ideas, refashioning tips and so much more! We’re a very giving group.

I shortened the midriff band a bit all around, and this eliminated any swayback issues.
I shortened the midriff band a bit all around, and this eliminated any swayback issues.
Tira Full
I went for a nice relaxed fit, and will enjoy this dress in the summer for sure!

Due to time constraints, I’m going to combine reflection and project here in one post. I’ve also had the luck to make up one of StephC’s Tiramisu dresses in a fabric that she sent to me, all the way from Australia! And today I’ve finally hemmed it, so here it is, my very own Circus Tiramisu! I know I flog my love of Steph and her patterns and blog rather often (or is that just in my own fangirl heart?), but really, she’s amazing! This dress went together beautifully, and the pattern and sewalong really held my hand through the fitting process. I just love it!

As I really can say, truthfully, I love all of you in your own special ways. It take a brave person to show off her hobby to the world, a generous person to share the things he’s learned over time, and fun, funky, friendly people to grow together into something like a community from our far-flung sewing spaces and laptops. I am so grateful to you all, and to this hobby, and to myself, for sticking it out and continuing to learn and pursuing something so enjoyable and productive!

Tira No Gape
See! I fought hard, and now it doesn’t gape!

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.