Friday, July 14, 2017

Sew all the things: Birkin Flares

The most satisfying thing of all to sew is a well-fitting pair of jeans.

This is my sixth pair of Birkin Flares. (I know. It's ridiculous). I can't seem to move on from this pattern because it's just perfect for me. High waisted, curvy (my waist is about two sizes smaller than my hips so everything normally has to be adjusted), perfect pocket placement. I've used this pattern to make flares, bootcut, skinny jeans, more skinny jeans.

I've spent a lot of time perfecting the fit, especially with the skinny jeans - which was a lesson in patience and new, inventive ways to curse. So I'm hesitant to start all over with another pattern that may not produce good results.

The pattern is well written and easy to follow. The fly is the most difficult part, and even that's not so hard if you slow down. (Let's not talk about how many times I've sewed the fly closed accidentally.)

For this pair I made a smaller size because the denim was so stretchy and decreased each flare by 4 inches.

Fabric is 9 oz stretch denim indigo slub from Indiesew.

I wish it wasn't so incredibly hot outside so I would be more comfortable wearing these ...

Here are my previous five versions, in case you want to see.

(There are entirely too many pictures of my butt in this post.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

However I am making myself a lemon birthday cake

36, wearing a homemade dress and an almost-fishtail braid.
I turned 36 this morning.

I don't really think I have anything profound to say about it. Birthdays aren't what they used to be, right? I don't look forward to them like my almost-9-year-old son does, whose birthday is three days after mine. For him it's all party prep and the anticipation of having a whole day just for himself, where he gets spoiled.

For me, I'm just happy to have one more year, you know? Happy to be where I am in life, happy to be mama, wife, friend, writer.

I don't know what I expected 36 to be like when I was younger. I make jokes all the time about how old I am, but (in all it's cliched glory) I don't feel old. My almost 87-year-old grandmother-in-law called me from Germany at 6:30 this morning to wish me a happy birthday and she told me that I was so young. For a second I felt 18 again.

Every so often I have thoughts about what it would be like to live through that time again. But it seems silly to think about going back. What I've got now - a husband who makes me laugh and the ability to watch my kids grow and mature and learn and fight and fly and be fearless - well what else do I need?

I honestly didn't know how it would feel to officially be in my late 30s. Should I start being depressed? Should I have a crisis? But other than having quite a bit more gray hair and buying "youth infusing" face products it's kind of the same as when I was 30.

I do sleep a lot less, which may have more to do with having a puppy and two children who wake up at all hours, but nevertheless I spend most of my time with friends discussing how tired I am.

I am a joy and a delight and the life of the party, is what I'm saying.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sew all the things: Joni Jumpsuit

So ... how have things been? It's been almost a year since I wrote anything in this space that wasn't for a newspaper. I'm feeling a bit rusty, and a bit hesitant, but here I go anyway.

In the past year I have sewed jeans and t-shirts and dresses and more dresses and shorts and maybe another dress for Adele and button-up shirts for Sebastian and bras that never really fit right and tank tops, and ... and ... and ...

It's exciting to sew, you know? It's rewarding and therapeutic. So I do it a lot.

Much of my sewing inspiration comes from Instagram because my feed has morphed to be mainly other sewists, so I get to see all that they do and copy. :)

Recently I've been seeing the Joni Jumpsuit from Friday Pattern Company pop up in my feed, namely Meg's from Sew Liberated. I loved it, like Capital 'L' LOVED. I probably didn't need to buy another pattern or more fabric right now, but what can you do when faced with such a thing?

Now. I realize that I am probably not the size or shape of someone who normally wears this sort of jumpsuit, but I gave up worrying about what people thought of my clothes a long time ago. I wear what I like and what makes me feel good. It saves quite a bit of my sanity.

The pattern is actually really simple and quick to sew. And I should know because I've sewed it twice.

I first sewed a XXL bottom, grading to an XL top. I wore it for a day and it was just too big. The straps, which are a gorgeous aspect of the jumpsuit, wouldn't stay in place and I spent the entire day moving and adjusting to try to keep my bra from showing. (I have to wear a bra. Like HAVE TO.)

If I'd sewn the right size to begin with it probably wouldn't have been an issue. I went large to be on the safe side, to not have fabric stuck to my behind and showing every bump. But throughout the day wearing the too-large piece I realized that it didn't matter. I wanted something that fit, not something that was uncomfortably large.

So that night I took off my jumpsuit and got out my seam ripper. I unpicked all the seams to the entire thing, laying out the pieces and re-cutting them to be a size Large. I also did away with the long strap ties and sewed regular straps. It may be a little less design-y, but adds to my comfort level tremendously.

Now, I will say that it was kind of an annoying process and probably perfectly executed, which is why I kind of have a perm-mini-wedgy because the new torso is not quite long enough for me. But I'll live.

By sizing down I took something that I liked and turned it into something that I freaking love. I'm so happy I took the time to rework it.

Pattern: Joni Jumpsuit from Friday Pattern Company
Fabric: Laguna Cotton Jersey in Onyx from imagine gnats



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Motherhood & More: Wrapping up public outlet before the kids discover it*

This is it, guys. I think I’ve said all I can say on the nature of parenthood and my children.

I mean, probably not because I am wordy and super into over-sharing. But I also am in great danger of repeating myself and it’s much more forgivable to do that over a glass of wine with friends than in this column space for everyone one to see.

Of course, I could keep discussing with you the impressive stubbornness of my daughter.

Just this morning, we woke up 30 minutes late for school and instead of hurrying to catch the bus, she slowed down her movements to a comical degree. That’s the logical step when your mother asks you to go faster, correct? Her hair was half-brushed, but she was all the way dressed so I’m calling it a win.

Or I could talk about my son and the recent introduction of back talk into his behavior repertoire. This goes hand in hand with his need to always be right, no matter what, and his refusal to give any ground when he’s sure of himself. Obviously, I always am wrong in these situations.

Or maybe I could discuss the kindness of my daughter and how she is the first to check on someone when they’ve gotten themselves hurt and the first to offer comfort and assistance. And how she has single-handedly tamed our shelter kittens just with her will and need to love them.

And then there’s my son, who is determined and introspective, who wants to learn all he can about everything and who’s already starting the fourth Harry Potter book when he’s only 8 years old. We could talk about how sweet he is to other children, especially those younger than him. Except his sister. That goes without saying, right?

But at this point you probably know all of that already, don’t you? You know me, you know my children. You hopefully can see the pride I have in each of them, even when they push me to the brink of sanity.

And maybe you can see that my parental complaining is intentional. I like to use this space to show solidarity with other parents.

Kids are weird. When we see someone else’s child acting weird, we can stop feeling like we’re screwing up our own because weirdness is an inherent trait they all share.

You are welcome.

So I am running out of ways to share all of this with you and life is becoming overwhelmingly busy. It’s time to streamline for the good of the family.

If you’d like to keep in touch, I do have a blog I hope to update more often: But I make no promises — life and whatnot.

I’ve really, really enjoyed my time in this space. I love having a reason to stop and think and analyze. It’s been cathartic and challenging and wonderful. Thank you for allowing me to be here, but it’s time to go.

Also my kids can read and I live in fear of them picking up a newspaper and seeing what I’ve written about them.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Sept. 28, 2016.