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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Which I Find My Optimism Inexplicably Restored

I decided to sew this week.

Mind you, this wasn't a new venture. I've sewn before. Quite a lot, actually. But in recent years, that hobby has fallen by the wayside. There are so many reasons; foremost amongst them being the double whammy of the fact that (for me, at least) sewing tends to require a lot of both time and space. For "time", see my children (and, ahem, the housework which I habitually ignore until it becomes overwhelming). For "space", see my "studio", aka The Dining Room Table.

No, Crafty-Blog snobs, I do not have the standard fancy self-healing cutting mat.
I use an old-fashioned cardboard jobby. It's second-hand and it's covered in scribbles. And I love it to pieces.
It's difficult to really get into a project when one is interrupted by countless requests, questions, needs, and minor emergencies and then, whaddyaknow, it's time for another meal and the space must be evacuated. I swear, I spend more time setting things up and packing it all away than I do actually sewing.

Between the birth of my first and second children, I used to sew "after bedtime". Then we welcomed C into our lives. This child has (and has always had) the lowest sleep requirements of anyone I've ever met. Rare is the night that I get him to sleep before 11 pm. Rarer still is the phenomenon of me having any ability to remain conscious beyond his final surrender to slumber.

But this week, I threw caution to the wind. The kids were happily Otherwise Engaged, so I pulled out some stuff and got to work.

A sane person might have picked up a pre-cut project from the "in progress" bin. But a less sane person knows that New Projects are always far more exciting. And what better to get back into a favorite craft than by using a notoriously tricky raw material?

Oh yes, I am talking about the dreaded Stretchy Fabric.

I've worked with this a number of times before. Almost all...okay, ALL...of these adventures involved some crying and a fair amount of swearing. Stretchy Fabric is evil stuff. Plain old cotton knits are tricky enough, but throw a four-way stretch Lycra onto your feed dogs and you'll question everything from your skill level to your mental capacity. And you may even hear your 6-year-old saying helpful things like, "Just walk away and calm down!" Good advice, and yes...I took it.

There are tricks. I know them all. As I worked on this project, I realized that I'd forgotten a few. I spent a lot of time readjusting everything imaginable and taking picture after picture of skipped stitches and looped threads because, frankly, disasters are FAR more entertaining to blog.

But I slogged through. And although I'm disappointed on the microscopic level, as long as you're standing at a great enough distance to not inspect the topstitching (in fact, if you are that close, you are engaging in a major violation of my personal space!), I think it turned out pretty darn well.

Before I present the final product, I'll follow at least some of the sewing blog conventions by showing you the inspiration piece:
Not my typical style At. All. I bought this on clearance, without even trying it on.
 It looks fabulous on me. You'll have to take my word on that. ;)
the pattern I used:

and discuss how I modified it. That is, I shortened it to make it into a blouse rather than a dress, and I cut the sleeves to 3/4 length because, well, that's my favorite.

Okay, enough chitchat. Look what I made!

As you well know from my recent over-analysis of a certain pair of knit hats, I am beyond my own worst critic. I'm also aggressive in my sharing of this criticism, whether you want to hear it or not. So the fact that I am ignoring an entire set of photos documenting the errors of this piece speaks volumes. Despite all of the aggravation, I can't even muster up the energy to complain because I love the final product that much.

And that's saying a lot.


  1. Love it! My kitchen table is my craft table/homeschool table, so sewing just doesn't get done around here. Someday when I don't have a roller/crawler to chew on the pins I drop...
    You look fab BTW. :)

  2. you need to come move next door to me so I can be your apprentice. I am so in awe of you. I want to be able to sew! I am glad that you love it in spite of its imperfections, Heather! Definitely can't tell that it isn't perfect (but I do understand the compulsion that is SHOULD be perfect!)

  3. That's awesome! Beautiful job!

  4. LOVE it! You did a great job, stop being so hard on yourself!! (Who am I kidding, you won't.)