me-made may 2015: part one: it’s 8pm. do you know where your black t-shirts are?

we are five days into me-made may & i’m actually pulling it off so far. i’m just taking photos of clothes before i get dressed for the day, because i am mostly alone with ramona all day, & although i have tried, she is still too young to really be a reliable photographer. & i think a quick perusal of this blog will bear out my claim that i am not great at selfies. …& i’m 35 years old. i can’t believe i just used the word “selfie”. anyway, here’s what i have worn so far:

friday, may 1

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100% handmade outfit! blue & pink baby rib knit lady skater dress with lace at the hem, elan 645 bra sewn with black cherry/black fabric trio kit from bramakers supply, matching underpants hacked from butterick 6031, & self-drafted tap pants made from turquoise tricot.

saturday, may 2

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railroad stripe self-drafted high-waisted suspender skirt with eyelet lace at the hem, pink three-quarter sleeve jennifer lauren vintage bronte top with navy blue buttons, & ivory/peach elan 645 bra sewn with a fabric trio kit from bramakers supply. i sewed this bra in the morning & wore it for the day to test the fit. i maybe should have gotten a photo because YOWZA. this was an extraordinarily boobtacular outfit. i was giving joan harris nee holloway a run for her money. i wound up altering the apex of the cups for a smoother silhouette, but that’s another story for another blog post.

sunday, may 3

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take ten A-line skirt from “the essential A-line” sewn with raccoon print fabric from tula pink’s acacia line, & flannel pajama pants from the pajamas for everyone pattern in “weekend sewing” by heather ross. obviously i also wore a shirt (a black tank top), but i didn’t photograph it because i didn’t make it. this was a very lazy kicking-it-at-home day.

monday, may 4

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mermaid print sailor collar top hacked from the jamie christina miz mozelle dress pattern, & ivory/peach elan 645 bra. i didn’t wear this shirt in forever because i didn’t know what to pair it with. i tried it with a basic RTW black jersey skirt &…holy shit! it looked great! & it was still totally practical for romping around the playground with ramona! however, it got up to approximately nine million degrees this day, & it really sucks to wear quilting cotton when the weather is over about 75 degrees.

tuesday, may 5

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black rayon/spandex deer & doe plantain tee (just sewn today, because i realized i desperately need more me-made tops, specifically in the black t-shirt family, & the plantain pattern is free), & melody miller viewfinder print imagine gnats alder skirt.

although i ordinarily wear things i made almost everyday even when it’s not “me-made may,” i am trying to go deep into the archives & wear some things that don’t get a lot of action, just to see how they’re holding up & if there’s a legit reason they don’t get worn much. that was why i wore the mermaid sailor shirt, which is pretty adorbs, but the reality of the situation is that a) the bodice is too short, which is so annoying to wear, b) i usually prefer to team black tops with crazy printed bottoms, & therefore i have not known what bottoms to wear with this crazy printed top, & c) the fabric is not practical for hot weather.

i already knew i had a major black t-shirt hole in my me-made wardrobe, & i’ve idly been thinking about filling it for months. but it’s tough to get too stoked about sewing black tees when there are so many more exciting colors & fabrics demanding to be sewn. it needs to happen though. i sewed the plantain today & had enough yardage left to eke out a renfrew as well (with a colorblocked back), which is about halfway done. i ordered six more yards of black jersey to make even more shirts. not the most exciting thing to make, not the most exciting thing to blog about, but if my goal is to eventually have a 100% handmade wardrobe, i need some black tees in circulation.

i also need more bottoms that are not skirts. ordinarily i wear pants a lot more than it would appear from this record, but i only have two pairs of pants that i’ve made myself & it’s been way too hot & miserable for me to deal with them. i do wear a lot more skirts & dresses during the summer, but still. i need to make more pants & shorts, for sure.

i’ve also been trying to mix up my daily wardrobe choices to make the blogging a little more interesting. left to my own devices, it would be all jeans & a black tee everyday, but i don’t want to be that guy taking photos of the exact same outfit everyday for a month, so i’m trying to put together more interesting looks. it actually has made getting dressed a little more fun. & i have learned that i actually like to press my clothes before i get dressed. who have i become?! an adult, i guess. it’s okay.

i must admit i don’t really sew clothing for ramona, but she has also been looking pretty stylish lately. toddler style!

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jared dresses her every morning (with some input from ramona), & i was surprised that he was putting her in so many dresses. finally he admitted that it’s because she’s growing so fast, all the cute 2T & 3T t-shirts we bought for her at goodwill just a month or two ago are already belly shirts on her.

achievement unlocked: pink & blue lady skater

i really liked the way my gray floral sweatshirt fleece lady skater dress came out, so i decided to make another in a more summer-appropriate fabric:

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this is a baby rib knit i got from fabric.com. i bought two colors of the same fabric: blue & hot pink. i think i originally bought them to make t-shirts or something, because i only had two yards of each. i decided to take a chance & see if i could eke a lady skater out of one color, & i probably could have, but i was kind of dumbass about cutting out the skirt pieces (i just folded my yardage in half instead of only folding the amount i required for the skirt width). i managed to cut out the skirt, the bodice, a pocket (my own addition–the original pattern is pocket-less), & one sleeve, but i didn’t have enough material left for the other sleeve or the neckband & armbands. i squeaked a second sleeve by angling on the bias, hoping that would mimic the original stretch. (spoiler: it totally worked.) i decided to cut the armbands & neckband out of the pink yardage, which i’d already used to cut a t-shirt (sewn yesterday, to be blogged soon), so i had plenty left over.

it wasn’t until i was almost done sewing that i realized using a different color for the bands turned this into a 90s-style ringer dress. & also that it matched my sneakers. that was totally unintentional. but kind of awesome!

fit-wise, i think this dress is too big. i cut a straight size 6 (this patternmaker has assigned non-conventional size numbers–this isn’t the sort of size 6 you’d be seeing at target), which fit great in the sweatshirt fleece. but that fabric was heavier & more stable, & this is a lot stretchier. i think i easily could have sized down to a 5. the waist sits a little low, the shoulder seams are a little droopy…but whatever. it’s wearable. i will almost certainly make this dress again, because easy breezy knit dresses are my favorite thing to wear all summer when it’s 110 degrees out everyday. next time i will just make sure to choose a size with the fabric stretch in mind.

the shitty thing about this fabric is that it’s really lightweight. like to the point of being sheer. the pink, which supposedly was the exact same fabric, just in a different color, is actually opaque. i held the blue up & asked jared if i needed to line it & he was like, “yeah, i can see your eyebrows through the fabric.” luckily i had some really lightweight black jersey in the stash that i didn’t know what to do with. it was also too sheer to be applied to its original purpose. but it’s great as a lining. it makes the fabric opaque without really adding any extra weight.

however, when i was basting the layers together, my thread got caught in a tiny groove on the spool, & i didn’t realize it had happened, so it was pulling my thread & fucking with my seam allowances. i wrote about this in my last post. it was a disaster & i was sincerely worried that i had destroyed my fabric. luckily, it was salvageable.

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i added in-seam pockets to the sweatshirt version of this dress, but i’m kind of over them. i don’t like the bulk they add to the seams. so i drafted this quick patch pocket & lined it with pink quilting cotton i had in my stash. i enclosed one edge of the pocket into the side seam. it’s perfect for my fitbit, keys, & ipod.

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i also added pink lace to the hem because, i don’t know. i’m an over-designer. there’s nothing wrong with a simple blue knit dress, but i didn’t want to just leave it at that. this lace was part of a huge bag of lace that my friend rebecca talked me into buying at the antiques mall. i had planned to include it from the beginning, but once the dress was done, i realized it tied in the armbands & neckband really well & makes the whole dress look more cohesive. plus it makes the hem really swishy & swirly, which i love!

jared’s review: “you look beautiful in blue.” ramona’s review: “mommy is wearing the blue dress! it’s blue! it has…it has…it has the PINK!”

i suspect this dress will get a lot of play this summer.

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not relevant to the dress, but, ramona’s hair is now long enough for a ponytail:

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thread nightmares

so, i guess i’m going to try to do me-made-may this year. see here: http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com/2015/03/me-made-may15-sign-up-here.html
aside from “endevouring” (gotta love how british english puts the letter U through its paces) to wear something i’ve made everyday, i will also endeavor not to commit too many of the sins as described by sew sorry sew fat. of course, i’ve already failed by posting about my me-made intentions at all, & linking to that infographic.

i’ll probably do a weekly photo round-up, but definitely not daily. & honestly, let’s not be surprised if my commitment to a weekly round-up falls by the wayside by mother’s day. ah, mother’s day. i’m really looking forward to it this year. i’m hoping to arrange for french toast for breakfast, & then an entire day of not having to sing any of the ten bazillion rounds of “the wheels on the bus” that ramona has made up. sure, the wheels on the bus go round & round, the cats on the bus probably meow, the babies on the bus say wah wah wah, but what do the mr. dursleys on the bus do? & of all the characters in the harry potter books, why is she so fixated on mr. dursley? or what about the polka dots on the bus? according to ramona, they say something. she hasn’t offered much guidance about what that might be, but i need to come up with something or i’ll have a tantrum on my hands.

she was really chill with me today. i became fixated on tackling a dress i had cut out over the weekend. i was going to take it easy with my sewing for a while because i’ve made a lot of new things lately. yesterday i sat down with the projects i cut out over the weekend, intending to just do any staystitching or basting that needed to happen. but i had weird thread issues & things got really jacked up really fast. eventually i figured out that the thread was getting caught in a tiny groove on the spool, so it was pulling too tight, & that was turning my basting stitches into regular stitches & my staystitching into a nightmare-ish fabric-eating mess.

the dress in question is made of a very lightweight baby rib knit. it’s so lightweight that i had to line it. i chose a very light, sheer jersey for that purpose. so then i had to baste those bad boys together, but my thread tension was ruining my life & i was really worried that i had just straight up ruined my fabric. after jared left for school this morning, i became fixated on beginning construction to see if it could be fixed.

well, spoiler alert: it could be fixed (more or less–it’s not a perfect sew, but it’s fine). the dress was done by the time jared came home. i’ll try to get some decent photos & a real post about it soon. (thrilling, i know.) but the really cool thing is how chill ramona was about me sewing. i usually try to only do it when she’s asleep or with jared, but since she seems to be in the process of giving up her nap (which is HORRIBLE–she’s not even two & a half yet! i really thought i could count on at least another six months of guaranteed napping!)…well, mommy needs to sew.

i asked if she minded if i sewed for a while & she hugged me & said, “i like it when mommy sews!” then she went & sat at her wooden toy sewing machine & pretended to sew too. she also sat on the couch & “read” out loud to me (not sure how many books she has memorized at this point–at least fifty), & then she played with her barn animals & arranged them so they were all looking out the barn windows together. she put some music on her little fisher-price record player & spun around pretending to do ballet for a while. she fixed a plate of plush food (she’s partial to the tomatoes, broccoli, oranges, & fish) & tried to feed it to the cat. it was a pretty calm morning. by lunchtime, my dress was finished, except for the hem.

also this morning, our three-legged cat took a running leap & managed to jump on to my desk, where we keep her food & water to discourage ramona from getting into it. (the cat is missing a back leg, which really interferes with her jumping ablities. i usually leave a chair out for her so she can get on to the desk.) she landed with one paw on the food & one paw on the water, sending both bowls flying into the air, raining cat food & water all over me, as i was sitting at my desk at the time. man, this cat is the worst.

&, in especially thrilling news, ramona seems to have learned the F-word. probably from me, because jared almost never cusses. i do it rarely, especially when ramona is around, but i do it more than he does. the first few times she said it, i was like, “…what?” but i didn’t want to repeat it in case she was just messing up trying to say a different word. like maybe “fracking”. or “duckling”. (yes, she is using it in the gerund sense. which is confusing, because the few times i have slipped up & said “fuck” in front of her, it’s mostly been as part of “what the fuck”.) but she’s said it enough now that there’s no doubt. she has no clue what it means & seems to just drop it sometimes in the hopes that we’ll give her some context for it. i tried to explain that it was a word she probably shouldn’t be using, but obviously she’s too little to understand. not sure how to proceed. i guess i will just double down on really trying not to use that word in front of her, continue to not react when she says it, & hope she forgets about it. right?

achievement unlocked: A-line skirts

these are remakes of skirts i made in 2013.

ruffled mix tape skirt:

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pleated bookshelf skirt:

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both are based on the basic A-line skirt pattern from the book “the essential A-line”.

so, the first time i tried to make the mix tape skirt, it turned out fine, construction-wise. but somehow it was way, way, way too big. i cut it out using the same pattern pieces i had used to make several other skirts that fit just fine, so i have no idea where i went wrong. & since i’d made the skirt so many times before, i didn’t try it on to check the fit until it was completely finished. because i didn’t think i would have to check the fit! there was no reason for it to be literally like six inches too big! i wore it a few times with the waist cinched with a safety pin, but come on. i don’t sew so i can hold my clothing up with safety pins. the skirt has a side zip, so i tried to do an easy fix to make it smaller by just chopping a few inches off the other side seam. unfortunately, i cut at the wrong angle & took the A-line shape out of that side. & i couldn’t fix it without cutting the waist too small.

luckily, i had enough of the mix tape fabric to just cut out a new skirt. not so luckily, i spaced out while cutting it & the print is upside down. it’s a busy enough print that it’s (maybe?) not super-obvious, but clearly this is far from my best work.

i actually re-constructed the skirt like a year ago. maybe more? i finished the whole thing except for the hem & the “design feature”: the ruffles. then i lost steam & it disappeared into my works-in-progress box. when i dug it out again last week, i was surprised to find that it was nearly finished. including a terrible, terrible “invisible” zipper that would not pass muster with me today:

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look at the zipper tails sticking out! ugh!

making the ruffles means finishing the edges with a zigzag stitch (i mean, there are other ways to make a ruffle, but this is how the book does it) & i had been dreading that part because it’s tedious to sew yards & yards of zigzag. i futzed with my settings a little & probably ultimately used a zigzag that is a little too wide, but…again, whatever. it’s not like i was trying to make a couture skirt.

also, i stitched them on in a slightly wobbly fashion. *sigh* if i was making the skirt today, i would have made some effort to line up the rows of mix tapes across the seam so i would have a better guide for where to sew the ruffles. & i would sew a better zipper. & i would make ruffles by folding over a wider piece of fabric & running an enclosed seam up the back, & then ruffling that so i wouldn’t have to “finish” the edges with a zigzag. but hey. life moves on.

the problem with the original pleated skirt i made is that i simply could not understand the directions in the book as far as edgestitching the pleats. i did it wrong ten million times, to the point that my pleat edges were getting all frayed & discolored from having been picked out so many times.

i finally just cut new fabric to reconstruct the entire thing, & those pieces disappeared into the works-in-progress box for a year & a half. when i pulled them out last week, i was really surprised at how quickly the skirt came together. i used to have to consult the book on how to sew a dart, & i could count on having to rip out the zipper & re-sew it at least five times. not only do i pretty much have the basics down now, but i’m also just a lot faster & more precise with my stitching.

i did still have a small struggle with edgestitching the pleats (which is crucial to get them to lay properly), so they are not perfect, but they are worlds better than my original attempt.

& now i’m all caught up on old works-in-progress! so nice to get those taken care of, even if it remains to be seen how often they get worn.

i spent almost the entire weekend at my cutting table, cutting out new projects. i had quite a few things for which i had all the elements: fabric, interfacing, matching thread, special elastics, zippers, pattern pieces cut out & ready to roll, etc, but the fabrics hadn’t been cut. because that is far & away my least favorite part of sewing. but i just devoted myself to it this weekend, packed each project into a gallon bag with all its attendant notions, threads, & tools, & now everything is all ready to be sewn! i hate wasting time with cutting during ramona’s naps (my only real downtime), so now i can just dive into sewing. i have a purse, a dress, a shirt, a bra, & a few other small projects all set to be sewn.

& this is NOT my downtime & ramona has decided that it is crucial that i lavish her with attention right now, so away i go.

achievement unlocked: ponte de roma V1411 pants

first, a bloggy housekeeping note: the other day, i averaged nearly 2000 hourly views. i typically get closer to 4 hourly views, so this was a huge anomaly. i can only assume my blog was linked somewhere, but i don’t have the most sophisticated blog tracking so i don’t know where all that traffic was coming from. i get a pretty steady stream of viewers coming from pregnancy forums or people looking for info on pregnancy tests, thanks to my whole thrilling negative-blood-test-even-though-i-was-pregnant saga, but these viewers were looking at all kinds of posts, including a lot of my sewing posts.

if you are visiting thanks to a link somewhere online, would you mind commenting & letting me know about the link? just because i’m curious. or, if you have a hot tip on good (free!) tracking software i can use (with a free wordpress account) to get a sense of where my traffic comes from, that would be great too.

okay, pants!

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these are the same vogue 1411 pants, designed by sandra betzina, that i made a couple of weeks ago. this time i used some black-on-black floral ponte de roma that i bought online from mood fabrics. it was easier to sew than the denim. maybe it had a little bit more stretch? it also shows the seamlines & topstitching better, which is great because that’s kind of the whole point of these pants.

rear view:

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maybe i am getting a lot of blog views because i am suddenly posting photos of my ass & myself in a bra? hmmmm.

these were pretty quick to sew up since i’d already made the pattern once. the ponte is actually really nice to wear, but could not really be pressed. not a huge problem aside from the fact that it makes the crotch seam a little bit prominent. it looks fine in the mirror, but it was hard to get a photo that didn’t just scream, “hey guys, check out my crotch!”

i suspect this post will get a high ranking in some pretty unsavory google searches.

i cut these pants in a straight size F (sandra has her own unique sizing system), which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the sizing chart. therefore, i think this is a great plus-sized pattern. it has an extensive size range & the curved seams are super-flattering. jared’s response when i modeled the pants for him: “those make your legs look really good. like…REALLY good.” i practically had to throw a bucket of water on him.

the only alterations i made were to raise the rise in the back a tiny bit (like half an inch) & to scoop out the front crotch curve just a little bit more. i also added two inches to the hem. these are designed to end at the ankle, i guess, which would look good with heels. however, i never wear heels, so i like my pants hems to touch my foot.

i did try to add side-seam pockets, which was a colossal fail. i forgot about how the waistband adds an inch & a half to the top of the pants & i set the pockets in way too low, & it just wasn’t going to work because this pattern is designed for stretchy fabrics & relies on a certain degree of negative ease for fit. which means the pockets would inevitably gape open. trust me, it was horrific. so no pockets this time. kind of a bummer because pants without pockets are of limited utility in my life, but i guess as long as i have a purse or a jacket with pockets, it’s fine.

thus far, wearing these pants has not given me an uncontrollable urge to run away & follow cinderella on tour.

in other news, we signed the lease on a house. not the house i wrote about the other day. we could have had that house but we chose a different one for reasons that are somewhat inexplicable. they’re both great houses. the one we ended up choosing is half a block from south park (the main big city park in lawrence), two stories, equipped with a perfect little home office for jared, MORE than enough room for my sewing, & the landlord is having the interior professionally painted the colors of our choice before we move in. i haven’t lived in a single-family two-story house since i was like 16 years old. it seems so grown up. i mean, i guess i’ll be 36 when we move. that is an age that most people consider “grown up”. but of course, a secret of adulthood is that you never actually feel grown up. you always feel like a 15-year-old who has somehow conned the world into giving you a decent credit score & complementary life insurance from your credit union.

achievement unlocked: turquoise tap pants & underpants

& also the camsisole & a second pair of underpants, using butterick 6031, but those were both big fails, so i can’t say i unlocked any achievements there.

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i already wrote a little about this stuff in a previous post, but this is the details post. i drafted the tap pants myself, in an effort to have something modest-ish to wear underneath dresses, so i don’t get arrested if a gust of wind blows my skirt up. they turned out pretty well. definitely wearable, though i drafted a new pattern (yet to be sewn) because i decided i wanted a higher rise, & i wasn’t 100% in love with the crotch curve on these. i mean, it’s fine. it could just be better. i was definitely freehanding it with the drafting, with the end result being that the back of the pants is nearly identical to the front. i’d prefer something a little shapelier in the back, to accommodate things like butts.

but i have worn these under dresses & even as hot weather pajamas around the house & they’re great. the legs, including lace, are a little less than four inches long, which is perfect for me. the fabric is 40 denier tricot (i got mine from fabric.com, it’s still available) & it is delightfully cool & silky. it was also quite easy to sew with a stretch needle. some reviews on fabric.com complained that the color bled. i was nervous about that, because i didn’t pre-wash. but i didn’t have any bleeding. after a couple of washes, my white lace is just as white as ever.

i did kind of screw up stitching the waistband elastic. the thing about sewing elastic is that you need to pull it through the machine both front & back, & i forgot to pull from the back, so my stitches are all over the place. luckily i got my act together before i had to turn the elastic in, so it’s only the stitches on the inside that are janky. the ones on the outside look great.

the underpants are butterick 6031. i loooooooove them. so comfy. i want to make 10,000 more pairs. for best results, this pattern requires fabric with a fair amount of stretch. this tricot has 50% stretch. & remember to cut your stretch lace to fit the fabric. don’t stretch while you sew. it’s worth noting that the directions with the pattern are a little muddled when it comes to attaching the lace. i simply overlapped the lace & the fabric by a quarter-inch & sewed with a 2mm square zigzag. easy enough.

oh, also: i wasn’t sure how these underpants were going to fit because the technical drawing doesn’t really match the sample on the model on the envelope.

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see how the illustration looks more like bikini panties, but the model in the peach get-up seems to be wearing boy shorts? well, the finished result for me was much more like boy shorts, which was great, because that’s what i wanted.

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& here are my fails. same butterick 6031 underpants, & the longer camisole from that same pattern. the fails are my own fault.

with the underpants, i was confused about how to attach the lace. i took a chance on stretching to fit, & i also sewed it so the top edge of the lace overlapped the fabric, & i stitched along the bottom edge of the lace. then i trimmed away the excess fabric under the lace. the final result was underpants that were just too small. i was flummoxed by the directions & simply made all the wrong choices.

with the camisole, i was attempting to grade between sizes, but i was a dummy who cut the top of the camisole according to my high bust (as you might with a dress, in order to get the shoulders to fit). obviously a camisole doesn’t have shoulders that need to be fitted, & my idiocy resulted in a garment that barely fit over my rack & is unfixable.

but!

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the construction is pretty fun! the pattern comes with cup sizes, with bust darts for shaping. after you sew the dart, you cut away the excess fabric & topstitch. it’s a fun challenge to make the darts absolutely perfect with no wobbles or puckers. mine came out great. too bad it doesn’t fit.

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you are also instructed to add 1/8″ elastic to the underside of the stretch lace at the tops of the cups, to help hold them to your body. this was also kind of a fun challenge, sewing something so narrow & fiddly to something so stretchy & fussy, & having to follow a curve in the process. i think mine came out really well…too bad about the fit. i imagine a person could probably use clear elastic here if they wanted?

not that it mattered in the long run, since this wasn’t going to fit no matter what, but i also cut the body panels for the camisole on the cross-grain by accident. the tricot i had was almost a perfect square & i just wasn’t thinking clearly about which way the stretch should go. (obviously it should be traveling horizontally around your body instead of vertically from bust to hem.) whoops.

i do plan to try this camisole again, because i think it would be the perfect complement to tap pants as summer pajamas. so i will hold off on making any final decisions about how i feel about the pattern until i get a chance to sew it up properly.

i’m almost recovered from my latest illness & looking forward to hitting the sewing machine again soon. i cut out the pattern pieces for a new purse this morning, & i have a lot of other projects on the go, including a swimsuit of my own design!

movin’ on up to the east side (of the alley)

ugh, i’ve been sick since wednesday. today was my first day really getting out of bed & putting on normal pants. i feel like i’ve been sick for most of 2015 so far…& now that i really think about it, i really have been sick off & on for at least half the year so far. at the risk of being disgusting, i will confess that i actually coughed up blood the other day. jared, who is usually hard to rattle, asked if i needed to go to the hospital, but it only happened once, so i’m not gonna stress about it.

in the midst of all this illness, our ladlady texted me the following: “i just realized the text i sent you weeks ago didn’t go through. my friend does want to rent the house at the end of july.”

i think i mentioned a month or two ago that our landlady somehow got the idea that we were planning to move this summer & offered the house up to a friend of hers. when she contacted me about showing it, i was like, “uh…we were hoping to stay?” & she was totally flummoxed. in any case, she showed the house to him anyway, as is her right, & he liked it, as is his right, so we have to clear out.

it’s a pretty major bummer in a lot of ways. i’ve lived in this house for longer than i’ve ever lived anywhere in my entire life, even as a child. it’s been four years. ramona has lived here her entire life. we’re only looking to be in lawrence for one more year (though we’ve been saying that for a few years now, so…) & of course it’s a giant pain in the ass to move, only to turn around & move again a year later. we love the location, so close to downtown, & the rent is dirt cheap. yes, the house is small (only about 375 square feet), but we’ve been making it work for years now.

i was pretty pissed off when i first got her text. finding a decent place to live in lawrence is ridiculously difficult. pretty much anything that isn’t on the verge of being condemned is already leased for august by mid-march. the landlady has known for a MONTH that her friend wanted the house & just didn’t tell us, despite seeing us out in the yard, walking up the street, etc. there are some hidden jewels here & there, but you have to know the right people, run in the right circles, & keep your ear to the ground to find out about them. if you don’t mind living in some anonymous townhouse on the edge of town, finding an apartment is a snap, but if you want something with some personality, it’s nearly impossible.

thankfully, i did happen to stumble into one of the right circles at the right time (thank you, local mommy facebook group!) & tomorrow we’re hopefully going to be taking care of all the necessary paperwork on a new house. the pros: it’s a house! no sharing walls/floors/ceilings with randos who might annoy us or be annoyed by us. hardwood floors! not one, not two, but THREE bedrooms, which means ramona will have her own room, we will have our own room, & we can turn one room into a home office for jared! there’s a sunny little breakfast nook that jared has already earmarked for my sewing table! cupboards cupboards & more cupboards in the kitchen! a washer & dryer in the house, not in a scary spider-y basement that can only be accessed via a bulkhead! a fenced-in yard for ramona! central air! & it’s less than a block away from our current house (same alley), which means we’ll still be super-close to downtown, the farmer’s market, the library, etc! the only quasi-downside is that it’s a pretty big increase in rent, but i knew we were paying below-market rent for our neighborhood & never expected to find similar quality in the same location for the same price. for all the great things about this place, the rent is more than reasonable.

i mean, there are things we haven’t loved about our current house. we don’t have any cabinets, for instance. there’s only one built-in countertop in the kitchen (we provided another by owning a butcher block table), but it’s not braced well & can’t really be used for anything. our bathroom mirror is smaller than the average hand mirror, there’s no ventilation in the bathroom, the bathroom is so tiny that ramona’s potty won’t fit inside, there’s nowhere to put the litterbox except for somewhere in the kitchen (yuck), the washer & dryer can only be accessed via an outside bulkhead, the yard isn’t fenced & opens on to a busy alley, the backyard has a pond in it so ramona really couldn’t be out there alone at all even if it was fenced, & now that i’ve started listing things, i’m surprised to find that i could keep going.

i mean. we have a bathroom door. that’s a big step up from the place we had before this. & it’s not a studio apartment, unlike the place we had before that. we have not had to have the house condemned by the city, which is an improvement from the place before that. & we’ve never been victims of a home invasion here, unlike the place before that.

i guess you could say that we’re pros at making do with what we have.

anyway, now that it seems we might have a pretty decent place waiting for us, i am a lot less grumpy about having to move, & feeling more like, oh boy! when can we move?! i mean…not sharing a room with ramona anymore? she’s the greatest kid in the world, i love her more everyday, etc etc, but that is going to be AMAZING.

over the course of the four days that i have been sick, i read seven books cover to cover. i also ordered even more fabric & findings to make bras. i’ve decided the underwire on the black cherry bra is too short & it makes me want to kill someone every time i wear it. i ordered longer wires & plan to make a swap as soon as the new ones arrive. i’m still pretty far from being 100% better. i’m maybe like…20% better. but i need to get my shit together because now i have “pack up the house” added to my to-do list.

i also made a (secret) new year’s resolution to make baby quilts for everyone i know who has a baby this year. well. two people i know have already had babies, another is about to pop any second, & four others are at various stages of pregnancy. i guess i have A LOT of quilts to make if i’m actually gonna stick to this resolution. i don’t think i was thinking clearly on this one.