well, this is eventful

I am not feeling well ​today.  I am quite a firm believer in staying the eff home when you’re under the weather.  Viral illness is the pits; no need to take everyone else down with you.  However!  I’m basically a border collie, and am unfulfilled unless I actually have something! to! do!

So as I sit here with my audible wheeze and sick-person snacks (nothing quite like seeing a One-Touch ad when you’re scarfing down chocolate-covered pomegranate bits), ​trying to keep busy since I can’t pop into work (boo! hiss!), and writing the longest most parenthesized sentence ever, I’ve been thinking about sewing.  Particularly, how we approach sewing.  Some people use seasonal palettes, others find the fabric and let the patterns come later, others use designer inspiration as a launching-off point.  I don’t know.  I’m sort of a whiny lightweight when it comes to this type of thing.   I just want an organizing principle that works for me, so I’m throwing a whole bunch of stuff to the wall to see what sticks.

There are a lot of issues at play here.  (Can you tell I miss talking about political conflict?)  I have to reconcile my body type with my style.  (I spend most of my life convincing people that I am not pregnant, just sickly, so I’ve got fit issues galore.)  Then, my skill level​ with the quality that I expect and my lifestyle with the things I like best.  As a student, I’m not bound to an actual dress code.  I figure, if some people show up to class in pajamas, who says I can’t just toss a cardigan over a brocade dress and call it casual?  Right?  Stop with the head-shaking, reader.

I’ve chosen to tackle skill.  As in, getting some.  I’ve got a list of things to make, most of which require hand-sewing and consultations with my spirit guide (a.k.a. Claire Shaeffer).  So as not to bore you too much, I’ll focus on one area: the non-ugly, non-poufy, non-low-rent-prom cocktail dress.  The deal is, I only like cocktail dresses that are lacy and sparkly.  I know.  Pressing, pressing First World problem.


This dress makes me very many types of happy.  Naturally, it took 252 hours to bead.  Oh, Oscar.  I suppose it could be a super fun project, getting some bugle beads and sequins and trying to not muck up or develop early-onset arthritis.

Source: style.com via Charlotte on Pinterest


Without sounding too much like an insufferable dork, I have to say that seeing the Michael Kors Fall 2008 RTW collection was really a watershed moment for me.  Actually, a lot of Fall 2008 RTW ​had a big impact.  It was then that I first realized that I cared about fashion beyond pretty High Street dresses.  This collection was the first that made me think, “So that’s how I want to look.”  (I do wish this model had the kick-ass hair and glasses that the others did, though.)  It was a Charlotte love letter with tons of tweed and camel and tortoiseshell, but this dress really stuck out.

Source: nymag.com via Charlotte on Pinterest

I still can’t figure out if I love this dress, or if I just love Emily Mortimer so much that I’ve let that spill over.  I don’t know.  (She just strikes me as a complete spaz*, but in the adorable way.  I, on the other hand, am a complete spaz in the annoyingly clumsy and babbly way.  I think maybe I need some sort of accent, yes?)

A sparkly dress and a full-skirted dress with lace overlay have been added to the list.  What list?  The List of Things I Intend to Sew This Lifetime, So Help Me Yves.

I’m off to not die with my now-cold tea and my really good book (Swamplandia!)​.  Hopefully, I’ll be better tomorrow.

*Using spaz like an American, by the way.​  Which is to say, inoffensively and with no reference to actual physical disability.  God, that was likely unnecessary.

Note: I actually got my boss’s permission to blog!  This thing had been private since its inception, because I really wanted to a) have a space to organize my sewing thoughts and b) essentially talk to myself.  She gave me permission last week, but I think I’ve finally gathered the gumption to actually hit the button.  Being lightheaded has somehow made me brave.  Now, instead of my mother saying things to me like, “God, that paragraph about lace was so boring,” the Internet can do it for her.  Somebody wins in this equation, y’all.

Also!  I’m going to follow my workplace on social media platforms like one of those people who is not afraid of saying or doing something absolutely mortifying.  If that ain’t improvement, I don’t know what is.

The Brakes

I can make a dress in about four hours.  A pencil skirt takes about an hour and change, and a blouse like the Colette Sorbetto takes even less than that.  From cutting to sewing, I can think of something in the morning and have it made up by that evening.  It feels great.  

When I sew, I buy fabric like a madwoman, then I spend months hemming and hawing about what that fabric should be.  Sometimes I feel that I never buy enough yardage, others I find myself drowning in scraps that hover around two yards.  By the time I get down to the business of sewing, I’m usually in some sort of rush.  Mostly because I don’t want to give myself enough time to change my mind again.

Why am I doing this again?  I love to sew, but it’s not a race.  Just because I can sew something in an afternoon doesn’t mean I should.  So I’ve decided to take it slow.  Mostly because I’ve been watching Claire Shaeffer’s videos on Threads, reading up on technique.  Your sewing never feels as shameful as when you watch someone like Claire Shaeffer take a hack at it.  Good Lord, I was taken with the vapors.  You thread trace your seam lines and hand sew but not before you wax your threads and please remember the seventy-five types of stitches while we’re here?  I sew because I want really well-made garments and because I’d like more of a connection with my consumption (hippie, yes).  Obviously, this means that I asked for it. . .

This week, I’ve cut out two dresses.  While I haven’t thread traced the pattern markings, I have actually basted the skirts and darts into place so that I don’t have to pull out my hair come showtime (or sew-time—yes, I slay me).  Y’all.  I don’t baste.  Ever.  I usually just perpendicularly pin and call it a day.  This is a big, big deal.  Tomorrow I’ll insert the interfacing and turn on the sewing machine.  Then I’ll let you know if the slow sewing is worth it.  Usually, I’d have banged out these two dresses already.  Sure, they’d have had crappy darts, and I would’ve spent most of my natural-born life fighting with sewing the bodice through pleats, but still.  I wonder if it’ll be worth it.