It has been a long time. A lifetime, practically. (My Baby’s lifetime, boom boom! This is a joke I have been making a lot. I amuse at least myself.)
On the sewing front, I have done very little. Mostly because I had very little time, and also very little motivation, but I think my lack of motivation was due to my lack of time. It is all very circular. I desperately want to get back to sewing, and I have so many ideas (so many!) but time remains an issue.
On the blogging front, well, yeah. Things were always winding down on the blogging front. Social media has changed the landscape, too. Instagram felt like the perfect place for sewing stuff, but it is annoying for a variety of reasons (mostly to do with being taken over by Facebook), and I wonder if we will go back to our blogs as a result? Possibly, but maybe not.
But lo! Some time last year I was struggling with not-sewing and as a result (the truth is I’m still struggling with not-sewing), started re-arranging furniture. Look, it makes sense, okay? But not only did I need space – that was not the kitchen table – to sew, I also needed motivation. So I bought a ticket to the Sew Melbourne Garden Party, and it was aaaaages away and I figured I’d manage to make something for myself by then. You can laugh; I’m laughing as I type. Even before Baby, it could take me FOREVER to finish something.
Prior to falling pregnant, I started making the Deer and Doe Bruyere. I even blogged about it. My Bruyere muslin is *still* in the state you see in that blog post. Partially because even then, the waist was probably going to be too tight, so I faffed and have not advanced any further. Maybe I’ll return to it; maybe I should now be looking at making the next size up in any event!
I do need new clothes. All kinds of new clothes. Outwardly, my body has not changed significantly post Baby (who is insisting that I cease to refer to her as Baby but this is MY blog, Baby, and you cannot read yet, so take that!) but there have been huge psychological shifts (er, I’m responsible for an entire human being now) and discomforts in my current clothes, and I still have lots of wardrobe gaps because, I don’t know, life? laziness?
I have actually been sewing some bits and bobs here and there. Mostly harem pants for Baby because they are so fun, and I have been upcycling things that don’t fit me anymore into things for Baby. Harem pants are fun because you get to this point where they just look ridiculous, then you put in the waist elastic and – ta dah! – cute baby-butt pants.
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I make my clothes! I also re-made my clothes into these ridiculously cute harem pants for my baby from: (Blue floral) was a Colette Laurel, which had major fit issues, became a Scout, which was too big but then so perfect after baby’s birth that I wore until I ripped the sleeve, so became baby’s. From really lovely fabric gifted to me by @sewbusylizzy hence all the permutations it went through (Oranges) was a Sureau, which was too tight in the waist even pre-baby but the fabric makes me so happy that of course baggy baby butt pants magnifies that (Elephants) was a sari from an op shop that became one of the very first items I sewed – a shift dress from Simple Modern Sewing.
For the Garden Party, I decided on the fabric – bought when Baby was an actual baby with the intention of making a breastfeeding friendly summer dress. LOL. And then I spent forever dithering about patterns. I had two in mind in particular: Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges (a pattern I bought after Baby’s birth with the intention of making many breastfeeding friendly dresses. All the LOLZ) and Deer and Doe’s Reglisse (a pattern I’ve had for ages but just never got around to making). I put the pictures side-by-side and left them on my phone, and looked at them randomly as I tried to decide.
Darling Ranges is definitely more me, and I’ve liked the pattern ever since it was released, but my sewing nemesis: buttons! (Well, many things are my sewing nemesis…) Reglisse sits squarely within ‘party dress’ territory for me. But I like lots about it (hello, elastic waist and bias cut bodice). Darling Ranges has pockets; Reglisse does not. Darling Ranges has a straight skirt; Reglisse’s is a 3/4 circle skirt – dangerous territory for me.
I finally decided I would sew Darling Ranges, printed the pattern, cut out my size and then – Baby got hold of my phone, found the picture and said, unprompted, “I hate this. I love this. Mummy make this.” She hated Darling Ranges and liked Reglisse.
Look, maybe it’s not the most sensible thing to have your 2 year old direct your sewing plans, but that threw me. I dithered some more.
And then the weekend before Sew Garden Party had arrived and I had not even started! I eventually decided to make Reglisse, helped along by the fact that I had traced my size so long ago that I didn’t remember doing it and discovered that when I traced my size I had also modified the skirt to include slash pockets. Thanks, past me. You’re a champ! Thanks to the elastic waist, I decided it didn’t matter that I had traced a size 38 without grading out the waist. I figured I’d just have a less gathered waist than many.
Serendipitously, I had the weekend before Sew Garden Party all to myself. So, on Friday night, I cut out the pieces. I spent all of Saturday sewing it up. Slowly, with lots of breaks to watch random youtube videos completely unrelated to sewing. It’s just a thing I do when my partner is not at home. I had to dredge up from my memory how on earth to sew darts. I followed the sewing instructions, but not the order, so I had to keep reading the entirety of the instructions to develop a process that works for me, which I used to be pretty good at doing after a quick read of sewing instructions but that muscle memory needs some work. By the end of Saturday, I had the bodice pieced, the skirt pieced and the waistband done. All that was left was to put them together.
I went for a long walk on Sunday, and on Sunday night put the whole thing together, packed up my kitchen table so it looked like a table again and let the dress hang in my sewing wardrobe to allow the hem to drop. That and I did not have anywhere near enough of the right coloured bias tape to do the hem. The Saturday before the garden party, I dashed off to Spotlight to purchase some bias binding during Her nap and that night, attempted to true the hem and hem the dress. My truing didn’t work. I put my dress on and asked my partner how terrible he thought the hem looked (yes, I skewed the result by asking a loaded question) and he tried to be kind and honest by saying it was definitely uneven but looked okay. I didn’t take a photo. I went to bed a bit miserable about it, and woke the following morning despondent. So despondent, I announced that I didn’t feel like going to the garden party anymore.
No one who doesn’t sew would notice; every one who does sew, would. They were whom I had made the dress for (and myself of course.) And I was sad that my first full not-t-shirt garment in the life of my Baby was not resoundingly successful. There’s lots tied up in how I felt that morning, having much to do with how I feel about myself now that Baby is in my life, and it took my partner’s unfazed, “Are you going to fix it or wear it?” that had me madly working out how to fix it in the time I had left.
I unpicked the bias bound hem and my partner helped me true it. My Baby kept asking us what we were doing and then wanted me to true a hem for her (she wasn’t actually wearing any clothes at the time but details, details). Then Partner and Baby departed the house and I used the overlocker to trim the hem and tried to decide whether to use bias binding or something else for the hem. I’d cut off quite a lot of hem by now and I like my skirts at knee length. At this time, it was 11 and the garden party started at 12 and I needed to leave the house! Instead of the bias binding, I decided to do a dodgy narrow hem. No pinning, just eyeballing. It wasn’t perfect but it was much, much better. About 15 minutes later, I was out the door!
The garden party was, of course, lovely. I arrived an hour late, but I walked in at the same time as Li-ann (@happylat), so at least we both arrived late together! Everyone looked fabulous, it was so lovely to see and talk to everyone again, and I stayed pretty much until the end, gasbagging. At some point, I started trying to make my way around to all the faces I didn’t know or knew only through Instagram but not in person but I think I got waylaid by Finska, cheese or strawberries and suddenly, people were slowly departing and I was saying bye to people I had not even said hi to!
Oh well, next year!