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I’m Thankful For Some Warm Clothes!

It’s gotten chilly in Vegas.

I spent the last week hosting a big family Thanksgiving dinner, which was wonderful and went a million times more smoothly than I could have ever expected. Unfortunately, during the festivities, our heater broke. It has since been fixed (thank goodness for appliance warranties!) but  for a few days, it was pretty cold inside. Luckily, I had a little foresight. When it got down to 40 degrees outside and wind started knocking over patio furniture, I decided that I should probably make some pants.

Until about two weeks ago, I was pretty much living in running tights and leggings because I only own one pair of jeans these days, and they fit terribly. I still had the two pairs of linen pants I made a couple of years ago, but one pair was tucked away and the other has a little too low a rise these days. That pair has been seam ripped to add a more useful waistband and update the shape of the leg, and the other pair is out of storage and back in regular rotation.
And then I made this pair!IMG_7105 (2)

I decided to buy a pattern this time since my weight has gone down since I last made pants (20 pounds since August!!), and I wanted a slimmer leg without having to put the effort into shaping it. Since I liked the Colette pattern for the Wren dress, I decided to give another of their patterns a go. I chose the Seamwork Moji pants because they were simple, cute, affordable, and accessible. I wish I could say I made them exactly as the pattern was written, but I didn’t.  For starters, I used 1 1/2″ elastic instead of a drawstring in the waist. I know my hips. A drawstring would absolutely not work. I also discovered that, according to my dear friend Ariel, my “knees must be skinny!” When I sewed the leg seams, for whatever reason, it appeared like the knees ballooned out bigger than the thighs. They weren’t actually bigger than the thighs, but they seriously looked ridiculous. I graded the seams in near the knee area by at least an inch on each seam, and the problem was fixed.

And, because I’m apparently terribly predictable, I made them in linen.

I’m also really happy to report that I’ve lost enough weight (duh! 20 pounds makes a pretty huge difference) to fit into my favorite sweater! I got this 100% cashmere beauty for $7 on clearance seven years ago and haven’t fit into it, really, in five years. And it looks great with my new pants!

Now I just need to work on some seasonally appropriate footwear!

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Thoughts on Whole30 and Custom Croqui

Saturday was a happy Halloween for me, for sure. I got some yard work done, I got some sewing done, and I got my croqui done! I love them and already have sketches on several of them. I left blank space on each page so I could write notes or attach swatches, and included a front, 3/4, and back view. Yay! I’m also really excited because, looking at them, I feel like I have a nice figure. For years I have felt like I look better naked than clothed, but after having a baby I had my doubts. I’m getting a little body confidence back and these figure drawings certainly aren’t hurting.
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Also, Saturday was the first day after completing my whole30. Last month, after hearing great things about it from Olivia at Mid-Century Modern(ization)
I decided to do a whole30 month with my husband. In addition to the 30 or so (40? Who’s to say?) pounds I wanted to lose, I also suffer from Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis (a common autoimmune disorder in which my body attacks and damages my thyroid, leaving it underactive) and PCOS (which affected me so great in the past, my toddler was a miracle to have conceived) and was hoping for a little hormone regularity. Parentheses aside, we took the plunge.

It was a good month. It started hard, I got into the swing of things and adjusted. I think the hardest part for me (aside from my husband never really being on board with the whole thing and making daily comments about all his cravings and how hungry he was because he kept skipping lunch, against the rules) was the balance of it all. Trying to eat this way isn’t convenient. You can’t just make a quick sandwich or bowl of pasta. You can’t just go out to eat if you are feeling lazy. Trying to adjust to that and also make time for exercise and anything at all you enjoy is hard. There’s enough time, it is just mentally and emotionally draining. If I was working now, I’d probably be pretty depressed with the perceived lack of balance, but I imagine it isn’t such a big deal if you are used to it.

The cooking, though! I vowed at the beginning to use my crock pot finally, but I never did. My husband, it turns out, it’s a much pickier eater than I, and all meals, even simple egg and veggie scrambles, took a lot of prep and a lot of dishes. I found it was much easier to not stick to a meal plan at all but just make sure that we always had ingredients on hand and try to mix up the variety regularly so things could be somewhat simple without being too boring. I definitely feel like I live in the kitchen these days, and I enjoy food less because of it. I like how much more flavor depth you experience when you strip everything down, but I no longer actually enjoyed sitting down and eating, which was pretty depressing. And, I still hate black coffee, but am glad because I drink a lot less coffee overall now (even though I do like coconut milk in it).

That said, it was a great experience, and the best way for me to transition to a paleo – type, whole food, grain – free diet. My hormones have been all over the place, so I’m interested to see how things are at my next endocrinologist visit. I didn’t experience the same physical or emotional reaction that is typical of people on the whole30, probably because we already ate pretty darn clean, but I think my cycle is already more stable.

I plan on continuing to eat very close to the whole30 plan even now that I’m done, and I think I’ll get better art the balance of kitchen time with the rest of life, eventually. And I’ll start running again, and yoga practice again, and all that. I definitely feel healthier than I have in a long time, even without much exercise. And, I lost 8.5 pounds. So there’s always that. 🙂

And I was totally the mom who tried giving out non-candy Halloween treats. I found these awesome spooky temporary tattoos at target, and apparently no one liked them as much add the candy my husband decided to supplement my treats with. Oh well.


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The Dress that Almost Wasn’t (aka Colette’s Wren that I TOTALLY Love)

Every sewist has a few projects that nearly don’t see the light of day for whatever reason. This dress was that project for me. Not only was this THE DRESS that really got me sewing again, it wasn’t actually difficult to sew, so it’s near incompletion is just because I am so severely out of practice.

Imagine, if you will: It is about 10 pm. My toddler is asleep in his room, finally, and I want to finally sew something! His room is on the other side of one thin wall away from my designated sewing space. I unplugged my machine and took it into my bedroom to rest on my bedside table. I moved the table in front of my reading chair, set my coffee underneath and got to work. I finished the bodice, and got up to try it on for fit, and dunked the bodice into my coffee. Instead of trying it on, I got to handwash it, with clips still holding parts of it together. The next day, after it was dried, I tried it on, basted it, and went to work attaching it to the skirt. The skirt is a six gored styled, and I managed to fully finish the elastic and waist sewing to realize (this time closer to midnight) that I had misaligned to side seams and the whole thing was crooked. So, after a bit of effort to fix it, I was able to finish the whole dress. Well, except the sleeves. I had the brilliant idea to draft tulip sleeves, but since I was working with a longer-sleeved pattern, I forgot to account for the underarm length difference and had a TON of extra modifications to do. All in all, I’m so glad I shook the rust off with this dress. It is really comfy and beautiful, and feels exptremely feminine while still being completely practical. And I’m glad I did the tulip sleeves. They are perfect, in my opinion.IMG_7081 (2) IMG_7073 (2)IMG_7074 (2)


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Self awareness in planning and organization

I’m not an organized person. I strive to be, I really do, but it usually doesn’t work out. With sewing, especially, I really want to be more organized– make a plan, stick to the plan, keep everything orderly — especially when I see other sewists organization. I recently saw this post and realized that I don’t utilize croquis! A croquis is a figure outline used in fashion to create garment sketches. At one point, I sketched flat images of things I wanted to make and kept them in an inspiration notebook. What good is a flat drawing when I’m trying to plan garments to properly fit and look good on my not-flat body? Jenny Rushmore (aka Cashmerette) saw a gap in resources for curvy and plus – sized women and created this beautiful sketchbook. While that is definitely a step in the right direction, drawing on an inaccurate body outline is going to result in an inaccurate idea of how something will look, regardless of the girth of the figure model.

And then I found this site! First off, this has to be the most brilliant effort in body image confidence building I’ve ever seen! Second, I feel completely idiotic for never thinking of doing this for myself. I studied studio art in college! My favorite class was figure drawing!!

As a result of all of this, I’m happy to report I’m well on my way to having a set of croquis traced from photos of my actual body! Maybe thus won’t actually make me more organized, but maybe it will help me better cull future pattern selections and be more happy with end wardrobe results. Right now, that’s plenty good-enough for me!


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I’m back! Did you miss me?

Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve written! Last year in September, my amazing husband and I bought our first house. Half a year later, our adorable son turned two. The combination of these facts resulted in almost no sewing, and somewhat unorthodox exercise sessions. The house is a new build, and the first place I’ve lived where I had the freedom to make my own. As much as I love sewing, HOMEmaking will trump it most days. I have spent the past year painting (nearly) every room, hanging photos and artwork, refurnishing, landscaping, hanging shelves and towel rings and ceiling fans, installing cabinet hardware, and trying to survive life as a parent of a toddler.

As part of my efforts to truly settle into this house and make it our home, the only sewing I’ve really been able to do has been to work on my first adult sized quilts, ever. During the almost 8 1/2 hubbs and I have been together, we’ve never bought attractive bedding, just whatever was cheap and got the job done. No bed-in-a-bags, no pretty coverlets, nothing. In fact, we’ve never upgraded from our metal frame, and haven’t bought a new set of sheets or a new blanket in at least five years. Priorities. There are two quilts in progress. I think it will honestly be spring before they are done, and I’m okay with that.

The only other key things that have happened in the past year are that I ran two 5ks this year instead of just one, I chopped my hair off in the last weeks of being 30, I Konmaried my life and wardrobe a little too much this summer (ah-ha! The reason my excitement for sewing has been awakened), and I jumped on the paleo bandwagon (day 25 of my first whole30, actually).

And I just bought (and sewed) my first Colette pattern ever: Wren. But more about that another day. It’s so nice to be back!
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PiYo

So, I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I haven’t exactly been chatty about fitness, lately. That is because I haven’t really been doing much. With Vegas summer heat, I stopped running (temporarily). With my husband’s erratic work schedule, and him not being home in time for me to make an Orange Theory Fitness class or go swimming, I cancelled memberships (which made me really sad). And, while I did complete my 30-day plank challenge, as soon as the 30 days were over, I stopped planking.

I suck with working out at home because I always feel like I need to do something else first: ‘I’ll workout after reading to Dylan, or folding laundry.’ If Dylan is awake, he tends to literally climb all over me. Doing a burpee while holding a toddler is impossible. Ask anyone!

So, I’m trying something new, yet again. I’ve enrolled in a Beach Body Challenge. For the next two months, I have committed (to myself, my friend, and a group of strangers) to follow a workout schedule and interact on the group Facebook page to ensure accountability.

The program I’m doing is a new one, called PiYo. It is a high intensity, low impact workout series that uses body weight and elements of Pilates and yoga. Today was the first day, and so far, I really like it. The group is really encouraging, too, and there is a reward system in place to encourage participation and accountability. I don’t know what results to expect, but I know that just working my but off every day for two months is certainly going to make me stronger and more flexible, and hopefully it will also get me more into the habit of putting my health before the dishes.