Monday, 9 March 2009

Some sewing, no FOs...

Well, I've been dragging my heels a bit on the Jalie tshirt front. I decided to make the wearable muslin have a bias-bound slash neck, but it's going to be a bit of a faff, so I haven't gone any further with it. I want to twin-needle topstitch the lavender silk-blend version, and haven't made it to Berwick Street for a needle, so haven't started on that one either. I do really like the slightly barmy pink/white/black/fuchsia print of the wearable muslin, so I'm sure when I actually knuckle down and do the bias binding I will kick myself for not doing it sooner.

In the meantime, I have made a muslin of View C (the skirt) from Butterick 5335. Unfortunately, this is a fugly skirt. It doesn't help that I am neither as tall nor as willowy as the lady in the drawing, but more to the point, the skirt is just not like the skirt in the picture. See, to me, that looks like a skirt with some gathering at the seam joining the yoke to the main part of the skirt, and then actual flare in the side seams of the skirt, continuing into the contrast band. In fact, it's a straight-sided rectangular piece with an identical-width (but shorter, obviously) band attached. So essentially any 'flare' is provided solely by the gathering, meaning that the skirt is basically the same sort of shape as the top of a Christmas cracker. It's a shame, because I think that the skirt in the picture is lovely (though I'd probably have to leave off the contrast band either way).

I have flitted, ADD-ishly, on to my next thing, skirt 405 from the current Burda Plus magazine, a nice, simple pencil skirt with 'princess seams' (I suppose?). I've traced the pieces (using Fabri-Baste, my new Favourite Thing) and was planning to cut it out of a nice navy cotton today, except I fell asleep. Oops. So I will hopefully get a chance to do that on Wednesday or Thursday, and who knows, I might even sew it up!

I can't decide whether to line it or not, my main reason for doing so, if I'm honest, would be that it'd make hemming invisibly a lot more likely - I don't really want to topstitch as it would interfere with the nice vertical seams, and I'm rubbish at invisible hemming on smooth/plain fabrics. I suppose it would also make finishing the back split/s easier (the pattern has one split, but seeing as it has two side-back seams, I may as well have two splits, which I rather like anyway). If I do line it, I'll use some nice strangely-dyed-and-thus-ridiculously-cheap silk lining material from Goldhawk Road, at around 1m of each fabric the skirt should still come in well under a tenner (well, if I don't include the cost of the Burda Plus, anyway) including zip etc. Not bad for a silk lined cotton skirt, really.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Neckline confusion

I'm making a muslin type thing of Jalie 2566, the t-shirt. I'm using the turtleneck's body, as I want to make a turtleneck out of some lilac silk-blend jersey I have, but I'm actually rather liking the muslin (which is made of some remnant of jersey which I'm assuming is viscose as it's lovely and soft). It's a rather bright and busy print, though, so I don't think a turtleneck will work at all (I'm not sure that the lilac will work as a turtleneck, as I have a fairly round face and not especially long neck) and am not sure what to do with the neckline.

Here's another really high quality picture (*cough*) - excuse both the weird colour loss and the fact that the picture was taken by me holding the phone at arm's length (which is why the top is all crumpledy, it fits nicely in real life):

I think that the pattern seems to let the much-higher-than-I-would-normally-wear-a-neckline aspect work, but I'd probably scoop it out a bit more if I were going to do a bound neckline. I'd like to do something a bit less plain, but then that would probably be a bad idea with the print - it probably needs a very simple neckline really.

Incidentally, I love this pattern - it went together really easily, in spite of me having used 7 different sizes (from a Z shoulder at the back to a FF sleeve) and deciding to experiment with a half-cut-on sleeve, which actually worked quite well. The muslin is really comfy and I don't like to take it off! I'll do a proper review when it's all finished, though.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Here is a very rubbish picture of my dress:

In real life I am not bright orange, honest. Also the dress is less unflattering (though really I should wear a belt with it...) particularly as I was actually wearing it with a cardi over the top, but DD made me take off the cardi to show the dress properly. She also made me do a superhero pose (by day I am bad-tempered cripple Anwen, but by night I am... FASHION QUEEN!!! Apparently.) but you aren't seeing that.

I'm pretty pleased with the dress, it's comfy and warm but still fairly smart. I mentioned to my line manager (when I went for a meeting to discuss timescale for going back to work after being off sick for months) that I'd made it and she was rather impressed *grin*

Next thing I want to make is McCall's 5466 (view C) in the navy wool crepe I bought on Tuesday - I was thinking of a simple sheath dress at first, but I suspect it might veer too close to boring/frumpy... The McCall's dress is different enough to be interesting, and the pleated neckline seems reasonably current - I am not much of a trendspotter, but I went 'snoop shopping' (nowhere particularly fancy - I'd be scared to try things on in case I somehow ripped them) today and saw a few dresses with a similar neckline. I tried one on and it looked nice, but it had princess seams which looked a bit odd with the pleats, so I had to squint and try not to see the superfluous seaming...

I'm also planning to make a beige/camel Burda 8407 after trying on a similar skirt and finding it ridiculously flattering and glamorous, particularly when worn with a slightly darker caramelly beige top. It also looked really nice with a dark teal ribbed short sleeve jumper with a short turtleneck.

I absolutely have to make some sort of skirt that fits properly ASAP, because I really didn't want to have to put my brown cords trousers back on in the changing room, they are strangely baggy around the tummy and have to be kept up with a belt, except I only have a pretty but cheap plasticky feeling one. I haven't lost a vast amount of weight or anything, just enough to make these trousers look horrible. I have a petrol blue cord skirt which still looks mostly OK but also needs the belt to hoik it up.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Wardrobe planning

I've been reading a bit about wardrobe planning (and related things) recently, because I am basically a bit rubbish at clothes. I've been on sick leave since August and am hopefully going to go back to work this month, so I will need to actually look like a proper sensible person three days a week. More or less.

One thing these articles/books always recommend is to go through your clothes and see what you already have. I was a bit cynical, feeling fairly sure I have nothing decent, but it turns out I have the following good things for work purposes:

Monsoon suit (from ebay) in a nice burgundy-and-cream smallish houndstooth check. The skirt's a bit small but the jacket's fine and will go with other things.

Burgundy wool skirt (ebay again - Betty Jackson Studio seems to be the brand, no idea who that is) made from interesting felted knit stuff, with unfinished edges and visible seaming detail. Nice a-line shape, with an elasticated waist that doesn't look elasticated. This is handy, as it actually fits without having to be held up with a belt.

Navy short sleeved jumper with white narrow stripe around neckline and sleeve edges. Not sure if this will go with the burgundy, but I'm planning to make at least one more skirt, possibly beige if I can find some substantial beige wool fabric...

Acid green cardi with 3/4 sleeves and nice buttons. I really want a vibrant blue skirt or dress and a good white tshirt to go with this, though it will also go nicely with the navy dress I've just bought fabric for.

Dusky pink top from Bravissimo - bit low cut, and I may need to consider wearing something underneath it, but it goes nicely with the burgundy things.

Navy-based print top with cream and red flowers and tiny amounts of a green which nearly matches the cardi (but is a bit more subdued) which makes them look fab together.

I think I need to figure out what colour would be best for a skirt to go with the two navyish tops, navy is probably a bad choice as it's v hard to match one navy to another, beige would be nice but a bit impractical. Does burgundy work with navy?

Went to Goldhawk Road today and got 2m of navy wool crepe for £6 total, yay! Will be making a sheath dress or possibly a slightly flared skirted dress. Luckily I found the navy zip I bought last year and had lost in Stuff Soup. I haven't had a chance to sew up my dress from last week, but I've cut it out in a fairly simple pullover style and have the sewing machine all set up to sew, now all I have to do is Get Brave and actually start stitching...

ETA I have sewn up the dress. The hem is a bit rough and ready, but this is mostly because I am planning to shorten it when the weather gets a little less yucky, as mid-calf isn't really an ideal length, but I'll take any extra insulation I can get at this time of year... Went with a slightly cowlish necklinewhich I *think* looks ok, and because it's only slight it shouldn't interfere with wearing the dress over tops and such.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Everywhere the Carnabetian Army marches on...

Well, encouraged by the lovely Isabelle on our trip to Glodhawk* Road with the also lovely Melissa, I have decided to start blogging my sewing type goings on.

So, first a wee disclaimer. I have only ever actually sewn four or five garments, as I was just starting out when I went into massive venlafaxine-enhanced/induced fibroflare and couldn't even find the energy to wash up, much less do sewing (not least because the couple of projects I did get halfway through last year kind of ended up in Stuff Soup, aka the very muddled contents of my flat, which were bagged up fairly randomly but extremely efficiently during the speed cleaning provided by the dratted social services who wouldn't have had to pay for such a thing if they had in fact given me the ongoing help I should have been receiving all last year. But I digress**.)

The things I have made are:

+ a lovely slightly A-line skirt made from beautiful but probably unwise quilting fabric with an all over intensely red rose pattern, with silk organza underlining and french seams. I don't do things by halves, me.

+ a satin frock with half-circle skirt and matching princess-line cape thingy for DD's school dress-up day last spring. She got a mention in the newsletter as having the best homemade costume in her class. I suspect it was the only homemade costume in her class, but I was pleased. It had green bias binding on the hem, and little ribbon flowers sewn around the bottom of the skirt with little green thread 'stems'.

+ a very quick and cheerful dress made from ready-shirred (elasticated 'smocking') blue fabric with floral print, with ribbon hastily hand stitched on as straps and a very dodgy hem. Oh, this was also for DD - I am 30 and busty, shirred frocks are hardly a good Look for me...

+ a super quick holiday dress for me, made by folding a 2m piece of some lovely patterned cotton in half, cutting a hole for my neck, bias binding it, cutting approximate Anwen-shape sides and seaming them, then getting in a bit of a muddle about the sleeves. It ended up sort of mildly kimono-styled, and very cute with matching fabric sash thingy, if I say so myself.

Just before I got Very Very Ill, I did a pattern cutting class which was excellent, as it was quite enlightening both to observe the differences between everyone's blocks [the class involved drafting custom 'blocks' - a basic bodice and skirt pattern according to our own measurements]. I think I have quite a good spatial imagining brain thingy, as everyone was going 'oh no, mine doesn't look anything like yours' to each other and I was the only person who seemed to grasp that this was because, well, we were all quite different shapes, and obviously my muscular arms would result in a different armhole compared to a very slender lady sitting opposite me. Anyway, this is quite handy, obviously, especially if you go round doing daft things like trying to make dresses by cutting rather random shapes out of fabric based on safety pin markings...

So, anyway. I have lots of fabric (luckily I was able to find the energy for a couple of fabric shopping journeys last year, and one yesterday!) and patterns and ideas to make up, and thankfully I am much improved since realising that the medicine was doing me Absolutely No Favours and reducing the dose drastically. So, the flat is returning to some semblance of order (those who have known me a while will fall off their chairs at that, but seriously, before I started going downhill, I did have a couple of months of having 'cracked it', tidywise, and the flat was looking spiffy), which means I can actually see enough of the floor to sit on it and cut things out etc.

Tomorrow, I am planning to make some wool-mix knitted fabric into a very simple, probably sleeveless, pull-on dress, with a silk devore (devoré?) overskirt, or possibly overdress. The plan is that the wool will be snuggly and also, you know, not seethrough, while the silk will be beautiful and swishy and floaty.

The wool will be fairly straight and knee length, while the silk will be mid-calf or so and A-line with probably some godets. My camera is borked, but if I manage to get anything actually done and wearable, I shall attempt to take photos with my mum's camera and show them at some point. I'd do the same with the skirt and dress, except a) they probably won't fit me right now and b) I have no idea where they are in the Soup...

*(there are certain words that I can't help but misspell, not for reasons of dyslexia but because it makes me giggle to myself. Glod, slat and housinge are the main ones. Slat = salt. I am either very, very sad, or highly awesome, depending on what mood my darling daughter is in...)

**I do this a lot. I also go in for horribly run-on sentences, multiple parentheses, etc. Sorry.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Memory and perception of time/age are funny things. My memory isn't what it was, thanks to the medication I'm on, but some moments from my teens (both meaningful ones and thoroughly dull ones) seem as though they were only a few months ago. It's hard to believe that they are over a decade in the past, that I'm thirty now.

Books often portray children and teenagers as thinking that anyone over about thirty is "old." I never really understood this, even when I was a kid. Did other people think that as children, or is it just a lazy-grownup-author assumption? Yet now I see groups of teenagers trying to look tough and scary and they seem like little kids, even though they're all twice my height...

I don't know if it's because they are closer in age to my daughter (and my washing machine) than to me, but I just want to tell the groups of girls cackling at the backs of buses to sit down, shut up, and get on with their homework. Perhaps this is the solution to the 'hoodie' problem - stop taking them so seriously, walk past these groups with a cheery "Morning boys!"

My memory-filing years seem to follow the academic/Jewish year more closely than the Gregorian calendar, probably because my birthday's in the autumn. September 1997 to about November 1998 is one segment, then December '98 till October 1999 is another. They were both pretty dramatic years. The first took me from nearly-19-never-been-kissed to reluctantly moving back to London and getting a job in a Bingo Hall via making friends at university, snogging half my male housemates, spectacularly fvcking up academically thanks to the ADD which wasn't diagnosed for another 8 years, having a bit of a nervous breakdown, trying antidepressants for the first time, having a terrifying experience after taking one dose of the third one I tried (including what I'm fairly sure was a miscarriage), my first boyfriend, an eight week intensive Welsh course and the disastrous return to Aberystwyth.

The second began with the new job and ended with having my daughter a week before I turned 21, via lots of boring work, living in a pub, living on the floor of the 'shop' at my mum's place (now semi-converted into residential space), two brief hospitalisations, and being moved into a horrible B&B by the nice housing man so we would have enough points for a flat, which luckily worked, and we got the flat three weeks before I had to go for a caesarean.

In some ways, both seem a lot less than ten years ago, but in other ways it's hard to believe they are actually adjacent. My mind seems to have inserted a few extra carriage returns between the two, though it mostly tries to block out most of October/November 1998, probably because I was having a fairly horrendous time, having screaming fits and so on. I was fairly incoherent, I suspect, alienating the people I lived with and trying desperately to find a way out of the situation that didn't involve actually going back to London.

I expect this should have some sort of terribly well thought-out conclusion, but I can't think very well these days, so instead I shall just stop.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Blogging against disablism

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2008

I am not quite sure what I want to write about for Blogging Against Disablism Day, so I'll just slip in a quick introduction, as this is a new blog. I am likely to blog about my various hobbies/obsessions/interests, specifically sewing, fat acceptance, disability, etc. I am a single-ish mum (in that I have a boyfriend but we don't live together or anything) working part time due to disability for a Jewish charity. I am currently very into sewing, which I started as a combination of frustration about being unable to find nice clothes which fit, and an ethical reluctance to buy clothes which have been made by people on 2p an hour. I have fibromyalgia, chronic severe depressive illness, ADD, plus not-officially-diagnosed autism, OCD and PCOS. I suppose that brings me to my subject...

When I went to my GP to request a referral to a specialist to investigate my suspicions that the severe fatigue, pain, migraines, IBS, etc that I have had for more than half my life might add up to fibromyalgia, she said "well, there is a lot of debate as to whether fibromyalgia is psychological, and you DO have mental health problems..."

One less obvious part of disablism is 'diagnostic overshadowing' - particularly often relevant to people with mental health diagnoses, this refers to the tendency of many medical professionals to dismiss any new problem (or request to reinvestigate an earlier problem) as part of the main diagnosis. For example, I have fairly strong OCD tendencies and I have also experienced fairly moderate psychosis at a couple of points in my life. Because I have a diagnosis of depression, and the antidepressants sort of work, the doctors either say there's no point addressing the OCD or that it is probably just me assuming that perfectly normal insecurities are in fact a bigger problem than is really the case.

Another example of this is the bizarre idea that if someone has a formal diagnosis of PCOS, it is not possible to concurrently diagnose fibro, or vice versa. Yet there are strong indications that the two are overlapping and probably related conditions. Both seem to be linked to insulin resistance, both are common in autistic people and other non-NT (neurotypical) groups such as ADDers.

Of course, this is not strictly speaking a disability issue - it is possible for someone who is not actually disabled to have two coexisting problems which may be subject to diagnostic overshadowing. An obscenely high number of people who don't actually have an existing illness, but who happen to be omg!fat, are diagnostically overshadowed when their supposed healthcare provider refuses to treat or investigate actual health problems until they lose weight.

Nonetheless, in general, diagnostic overshadowing appears to be essentially a result of not taking disabled people (whether we have mental or physical difficulties, or both) seriously. Oh, don't worry, the pain in your legs, bowels and head are simply a result of your faulty thought processes! I'll leave (because I have run out of steam and should probably go to bed) with the Fibromyalgiac's Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change,
The courage to change the things I can't,
And the wisdom to hide the bodies of doctors who said,
Don't worry! You're fine! It's all in your head!