Sunday, 28 June 2015

An end-of-June, halfway-through-the-year, good-grief-where-has-the-time-gone post

Ah, the end of another month in which I totally ignored any plans I made at the start, spent money I didn't intend to spend, bought fabric that I didn't mean to buy, and sewed things I didn't know I wanted or needed until I was actually making them. You know, I often wonder whether my incessant goal setting is more stressful than useful a lot of the time. How fortunate there are no resolution police or sewing police to take issue with me when I inevitably fail to achieve any of the things I claim I want to do!

At any rate, I did get two woven tops made this month -- one very mediocre New Look 6407 (which did not improve with the closer acquaintance of wear, but isn't so bad that I have flung it out the window (yet)) and one more successful Kwik Sew 3555. In the latter case, I must admit to the calamity that followed the first wear: one of the yoke seams shredded in the wash and I have had to cobble it back together in a very messy way. I think I was over-enthusiastic in my seam grading which, combined with highly-prone-to-shred linen and my viciously efficient washing machine spin cycle resulted in disaster. :( I am very disheartened because it was such expensive fabric and I really liked my shirt when it was done. I have fixed it for now but I am concerned that more seams will come apart in future washes.

This month I also made some PJs and some striped tops, both of which, thankfully, have survived wash & wear with my previous good opinion of them intact. I also finished (!!) my Roman blinds, except for a little bit of hand-sewing for the stringing process, but I haven't put them up yet so no photo. Not that anyone cares because, no, really, it's a Giant Rectangle. Even I'm not interested in them and I made them.

HP Weekender Sunshine mark 2. That is the residue of my recent sunburn on my neck/chest, honest, I am not just really grubby. Also, for some reason I decided to twist and stare off into the middle distance to one side when the timer went off, hence the strange diagonal lines. Model error rather than fit error, promise!
I did make one other quick repeat this month: I went back to the HotPatterns Weekender Sunshine tee, which I previously made in April. At the time I said that it was a wearable muslin, despite the very low, very wide neckline, but actually, after I wore it the first time: LOL NO, it was a TOTALLY unwearable muslin unless I wanted to flash everyone my bra ALL THE TIME. So, that got pitched. However, I still liked the idea of the pattern and this weekend I used 1m of a grey and black animal print (a bit of a departure for me, I am not very much into animal prints in the normal run of things) to make a second version.

Neckline comparison, new and old tops. They look remarkably similar, given the size of my adjustment, but through conscientious freckle location comparison (no, really) I can confirm that the grey one IS higher and less wide, but just... not high enough to not show off my bra. :|
On the plus side, though very hard to tell from photos because of the print fabric, I did about a 3000% better job with the front gathering this time. \o/ Minus side: .... everything else. I raised the neckline by 6cm (by chopping off the upper part of the bodice, redrawing new armholes and making sure the side-seams still worked). My unfortunate (and lop-sided) sunburn/tan line on the image above, while stupid looking, actually helps because it shows where one of my current favourite scoop-neck tops, with the neckline depth I prefer, lies compared to this HP Sunshine top. As you can see, despite my adjustment it's still wide and it's still pretty low.  If I bend over even a little bit: bra, fully on show.

Overall, this is frustrating. Looking at the fit of the grey one up close, I wonder if I could do with also dropping a size (from a 12 to a 10) through the shoulder, as the seam is over the point of my shoulder. I'm not sure whether I will try AGAIN to fix the pattern, however. I do really like the idea of neckline, but I don't know if I love it enough to go through round three when there are so many other knit patterns in the world.

Since it's also the middle of the year, a tiny update on my 2015 sewing goals:
  • Stick to my 2015 budget. /o\ I am about 10% over for the first 6 months.
  • Sew more fabric than I buy, reduce garment stash by 50m, bag stash by 20m. /o\ I've bought way too much garment fabric already this year, so much that in fact I am +5m compared to where I was on January 1st. There's still time to improve on this though, and, tiny positive point (very tiny) I am -2m on bag stash.
  • Reduce my yarn stash by half (by weight). \o/ Definite progress here: I am down from 4000g of yarn to 3225g, even though I bought 450g new for my current project.
  • My favourite thing so far this year!
  • Maintain and stick to my wardrobe plan. \o/ It probably doesn't LOOK like it, because my blog only shows the new things I make, not the larger wardrobe it fits into. As a result it probably looks kind of scattershot overall. However, I haven't made a single thing this year that wasn't already in my wardrobe plan and that I hadn't consciously thought about how I would wear it in multiple different outfits. As a result, apart from the handful of things where the sewing/fit has let me down, everything I've made so far this year has gone into medium-to-high rotation in my wardrobe and been genuinely useful. Not everything is equally successful or heavily worn, of course. My absolute best/favourite/highest rotation thing so far (other than PJs) is the blue gingham shirt I made at the start of May using Burda 03-2013-124. I LOVE this shirt and since I made it it has basically never actually been in my closet: I'm either wearing it, or it's in the wash.
I had some more specific skill-building sort of goals in my list as well, but I haven't made any real progress on any of them since my last update at the end of March.

A lot of the non-goal-meeting going on in my life is to do with illness, again. It's been very up and down the last three months: April was pretty good, May I went through a short-lived but unfortunate flare-up, and June I've mainly been recovering from the relapse and coping with going back on a high dose of the medication with all the side effects. Meanwhile, my case is stuck in some kind of committee hell where, because what I have is super rare and expensive to treat, and because I am not actively dying or hospitalized, I keep getting pushed to the end of the queue for consideration. Then the committee has questions and has to wait for a response from the one doctor in the UK who is an expert in my condition, and then it's another month before the committee meets again, and then it gets passed to the NEXT committee.... and so on and so on, until now when it's just a week short of 6 months from between being told what I need to have prescribed and today, and I still haven't got the prescription. I mean, I won't hear a word against the NHS, and of course I do entirely agree that of course sicker people who ARE actively dying should have their cases reviewed first, but in practice it's hard not to get frustrated and fed-up about the whole situation. Obviously, what I talk about here on my blog is my sewing, but I'm also not able to work, or continue with writing up my PhD, and I'm rarely well enough to leave my house for more than a couple of hours at a time, and some weeks not even that.

So, that's all pretty depressing stuff, but also it's my reason why I haven't made too much progress on the stuff on my skills-building list that needs e.g. a lot of fitting work or concentration/effort. Once I get better -- and I am determinedly optimistic that something will happen SOON on the committee side of things, and that I will get better once treated -- then the sky is the limit! Though, er, also I do need to finish my PhD as a serious matter of urgency, and find a job and all that kind of normal-life-again stuff. But sewing will be a part of that too. Although I'm all \o/ and /o\ about my goals, in reality I know that at the moment I can only do what I can do, and I don't let any of it really stress me out. I do hope that I will eventually make a bit more consistent and interesting progress in my sewing, though. I follow a lot of blogs of sewers who consistently make so many gorgeous, beautifully executed complex garments and I'm like /o\ /o\ ahaha, why do people even READ my blog (hello, all 190 of you who read my blog on Bloglovin' alone, why are you here) when all I make is like, shirts and t-shirts and endless pyjamas. (I do know ~200 readers is not really very many, but it's about 199 more than I ever thought would bother, and the 1 loyal reader I expected is a long-suffering RL friend of mine.)

This is what a HEATWAVE OMG! weather forecast looks like if you live in Manchester, UK :D I know, I know, I've lived places with a proper changeable climate too, I know how funny our HEATWAVE OMG!! thing is. :D
Finally, next up on my sewing table for July: I have a maxi skirt all cut out and waiting to be sewed up. I am hoping to make some more summery woven tops and will be tracing patterns for that this week while we have a (British) HEATWAVE. (Note for people from actually hot places: you can stop laughing now.) I still have some simple dresses on my list of things to make for summer. I am waiting on a knit top pattern from the new Simplicity collection arriving in the post that I will be making the MINUTE it arrives. I have started a new knitting project and have decided to try to knit a small amount each day this month in order to make some consistent progress. And I have some minor bag-making plans. No doubt I will start next month having made precisely none of these planned objects and lamenting it, but why break the habit of my blog lifetime? :D


  1. I am so with you on the illness thing. I'm having an episode right now and it is quite debilitating. I was doing fine for a few months and them wham.

    So big ol huggums to you from across the pond. *hugs*

  2. Oh no, poor you! Hope you feel better soon! *squeezes you*