Me Made May 2017 Round up, Summary, and Plans

Well, another Me Made May is done. Other than not loving the term “me made” (but embracing the fact that it is out there and accepted terminology by most of the sewing blog community), I really enjoy the concept of it. This is the second time I have fully documented my outfits throughout the month. 2015 was the first time. In 2014, I didn’t have a huge amount of outfits to wear so I half participated. Last year, I was in Europe for our honeymoon and participated when I returned.

Sorry for the massive embedded video. I can’t seem to make it smaller.

That’s what I wore every day in May. Lots of Cashmerette, Muse, and Colette patterns, but there is also Style Arc, McCall’s, Simplicity, Cake patterns, and some simple “self-drafted” and rtw cloned garments. I always wore handmade undergarments as well.

This year, I didn’t make a formal pledge on the blog or with So Zo. I had some informal ideas worked out in my head.  I didn’t want to declare that I needed to wear X number of garments since I wouldn’t really be able to plan that out. I wear pretty much 90% homemade clothes, but have some gaps in my wardrobe that RTW fills. I wanted to pay attention to that and not stress over grabbing RTW items. During the month, I wore RTW cardigans with a waterfall front style. I haven’t made anything like that yet so I’ve added that to my wardrobe plans. I wore RTW tops that are less casual than what I make. I’ve added a few dressier tops to my sewing plans now. I also wore a RTW blazer and that reminded me of my goals for the year to sew a damn blazer so that is in my sewing plans. I’ll get to all my plans later in the post.

For a sewing goal this month, I wanted to get my UFOs and repairs done. I had let 16 of them pile up. I got 9 done (Winslow Culottes, M6754, Belize Shorts, Embroidered Lenox Dress, rtw cardi repair, repair on Philippa top, repair on Three’s a Charm jacket, Jennifer City Shorts, Misty Jeans in capri length), and, out of the 9, 1 was a failure (Jennifer City Shorts, but I will try again with this pattern). I threw 1 into the scrap bin since I felt like it would be a failure anyway due to fabric that was not appropriate (what was I thinking?!). I have 4 more in progress (3 circle skirts and a pattern hack dress) and 2 left to revisit (2 piece swimsuit and my old floral misty jeans that need a strip of fabric added to the sides).  The 4 in progress are pretty close to being done. For the circle skirts, I just need to attach the waistbands and then I let them hang for several days. For the pattern hack dress, I have to re-sew some things after a fit test revealed some issues. I feel confident that, after that is done, I can cut out new items now so I can work on my #2017makenine list (I only have one thing on the list done) as well as my wardrobe plans for the summer. I did not get my UFO swimsuit done or even touch it. It will happen soon (hopefully before the end of June), but I wanted the “easier” things out of the way. I should be able to get the bottoms done in no time and then putter away on the top, which uses the Maya bra pattern. The floral Misty Jeans will need the hem and the side seams ripped out first and then it should be really easy once the fabric is cut out for the strips. I can probably get the rest done by the end of June and be able to sew other things on my list.

Which brings me to my list. Me Made May provided me with the opportunity to really evaluate what I need in my wardrobe. Ongoing needs include: leggings, bras, and underwear. I’m not going to plan those things out individually, but say they are continually on my list. This list includes items that I discovered I wanted more of as well as patterns that I wanted to try out and have been in the works for a while. I haven’t added a dress to wear to a wedding that we are going to at the end of September, though, since I haven’t really pinned down what I want. Thanks to Michelle who gave me the idea of planning this out with my Curvy Sketchbook and thanks to the CSC for in inspiring Mini-Capsule Wardrobe month.

Top Row:

  1. Appleton Dress: Tropical Print Maxi Length 3/4 length sleeves
  2. M5050: View E White gauze with lace; Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)
  3. M7094: View C Navy Blue crepe with orange squigly squares; Jennifer city shorts: twill (to buy)
  4. Lenox Dress: Cotton mint eyelet
  5. Oceanside Shorts: green linen rayon; Concord T: Hello Kitty Cotton Lycra

Middle Row:

  1. Barton Shorts: Tropical print linen rayon with lace; Concord T: Lightweight jersey (to buy)
  2. Three’s a Charm Jacket: Black Jersey; Springfield top: Red Rayon; Pavlova Skirt: (In progress)
  3. Simplicity 2350: White crepe with coral satin lining; M6555: White crepe and turquoise crepe
  4. Scarf Neck Cardigan: lightweight jersey (to buy); Dartmouth top: lightweight jersey (to buy); Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)
  5. Peplum top: black rayon; Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)

Bottom Row:

  1. Burda Cowl Neck Top: lightweight jersey (to buy); Oceanside Pants: Chambray (to buy)
  2. Winslow Culottes: Linen or Chambray (to buy); Concord T: Made or planned above
  3. Burda Keyhole Dress: White rayon with navy polkadots
  4. Burda Kimono Robe: Silk or Satin (to buy); PJ Pants: flannelConcord T: Made or planned above
  5. Springfield top: Flannel hacked into a babydoll sleeping top; PJ Shorts (Barton or 5 out of 4 short length pjs): Flannel

That is 24 things to sew. Not all of this will happen and I am not giving myself a deadline on these plans. Some of them will work for early fall, too. I’m not stressing over finishing this list. But, if I have the energy and motivation to sew, I tend to get a lot done and it is possible that I will get it done. Only a few of these will require the muslin process (the Simplicity blazer, the peplum top, the Burda keyhole dress, Barton shorts). Everything else is either meant to fit big or has been fitted previously. I only need to do an FBA on M5050 and M7094 needs a narrow shoulder adjustment likely. It will be interesting to see what I get done, but I am excited for a bit more variety, versatility and sophistication in my wardrobe.

 

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

I’ve been sewing a lot all of May but haven’t had the time to take any pictures. I’m hoping to get the rest of my UFOs done in the next couple of weeks so that I can move on to my summer sewing plans.

I finished the Belize shorts from Itch to Stitch on May 20th, but I started them last September. Initially, I had graded up 2 sizes to accommodate my hips, but when I tried them on they were too large overall.

I took out the waistband, the side seams, the leg seams and the crotch seam and sewed it back together much smaller. I took out about 5 inches overall. Sadly, that was about 1 inch too much in the back. When I tried them on again, I found the back was a smidge too tight. I also found both the front and back rise were too high at the centre. The back rise needs about an inch taken out at the centre back and the front needs about 2 inches taken out at the centre front.

There are some major fit tweaks to get this right, but I actually quite like the shorts. The length is perfect and the crotch doesn’t ride up too much while I am walking. Not that I’ve done much walking to test this, because it’s not really shorts weather here yet much to my chagrin.

The fabric I used is a hot pink stretch denim. Leftover from a Snapdragon skirt ages ago.

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts
  • Pros: Love the the flat waistband at front with the elastic waistband back. I like the variety of looks with the pattern and the skort option.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes and then needing to grade down. Makes me not trust size charts!
  • Make again?: I might… To be honest, I kind of feel like I found a good casual short pattern with the Oceanside shorts. I also have two other shorts patterns in progress. I doubt I will come back to this pattern this year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md3.5/5 stars

 

Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and M6754

Edit: I forgot my TL:DR review for the Winslow Culottes. D’oh. Added at the bottom now.

Another edit: After a request, here is the Full Butt Adjustment I follow for pants (at the time I followed a different tutorial, but I find this one is better). I didn’t lengthen the waist area for the Winslow Culottes as they didn’t need that, but followed the rest.

I started my Winslow Culottes in July of last year. I’ve been having issues since last year with finishing things. I have several things cut out and in various states of completion. Some are just sitting there based on motivation. Some are sitting there because there were fit issues. My Winslow Culottes were victims of fit issues. I graded up the pattern by two sizes. I also made the back crotch a bit longer. I’m glad I did that adjustment, because it fits quite well back there and hangs nicely. The fit issue was simply bringing the waistband in a bit.

But of course, the culottes got tossed in my UFO pile and left for several months. Sad times. Especially sad, because I really loved the colour and material I made them with and they could have become a wardrobe staple several months ago. The material is a poly rayon in a plum colour.

The Winslow Culottes are super comfortable to wear. I think they are made for flowy, drapey fabric like linen, rayon, silk, soft chambrays, voiles, lawns, double gauzes, etc. Lush and lovely fabric perfect for summer. I’m kind of glad that I am finishing them up in time to wear and duplicate for the summer months. Our spring has been cold and rainy here so I am prepping like crazy for that time I can actually wear these outside without tights.

There aren’t a lot of fit worries with a pattern like this. Make sure that the crotch length is correct. You don’t need to make as make adjustments as other pants patterns due to the volume of fabric, but there is a certain amount needed to make sure that you get the right drape in the front and the back. I read somewhere that 4 inches of ease between your crotch and the culottes crotch will work out well and that is what I made my adjustments based on using my Misty Jeans pattern as if it were a sloper. Make sure the waistband is sitting in the right place and is short enough to keep it in the right place. I could go a couple inches shorter with this waistband, but I was not going to rip it back another time. I made the back pleats a bit deeper to make the change for this adjustment and left a little length in the waistband for a hook and eye closure.

I love the pleats and the in-seam pockets. I am a big fan of this pattern and can see several future versions using my new fabric obsession linen. Bonus for those who are interested is that the Winslow Culottes are on sale this week! Woohoo!

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I also got another item cleared out of my UFO baskets. I made a M6754 using the peplum view C with raglan sleeves and princess seams. Like the other version I made, I needed to size way down and even with the XL needed to size down again. BMV’s ease never seems to be negative for knits so you have to size way down. I will never understand why they do that.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I think I shaved off an inch from every seam and then I reattached the peplum. I will also do a sway back adjustment for any future versions.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I love the top, but it was kind of a ridiculous amount of work for a knit top. But I will likely make it again. I’m having trouble justifying buying fabric at the moment since I have so much in my little space so I probably won’t revisit this pattern for a while unless it really fits a gap in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have enough knit dresses and tops to make me happy for a while.

So far, if Me Made May has taught me anything, I need to focus on making a couple of basic cardigans, blazers, bras, underwear, and more dressy tops and dresses. I have enough basic/casual “cake” for my wardrobe but RTW is still the icing in my wardrobe and most of it doesn’t fit quite right anymore. Once I get through the UFO piles, I’ll be making a list of things I want to make. The bra project should finally get underway (underwear…har har) for me to have bras that don’t kill my shoulders and fingers to get them on. I also feel like my objective for sewing is a bit different. I crave slower projects right now.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
  • Pros: Simple design. Super easy to grade up and make. Pockets! ❤
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes. Otherwise a 5 star pattern.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great pattern and I see lots of these in the future in different lengths.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Introducing the Cashmerette Lenox Dress

Edit: The Montgomery dress had to be renamed to the Lenox dress. The url reflects the old name, but I have updated my blog post for the new name.

Let’s get this out of the way… Yes, I tested this. Yes, I received the pattern for free. Yes, I am biased. But seriously, it’s a shirtdress and I was going to be biased toward the pattern anyway. And sure I am biased, because I am friends with Jenny and I’ve tested for Cashmerette for a while. I am biased because the fit with her patterns is usually really good and works for me. I am biased because I get the patterns for free. I dgaf. This dress rocks.

The Lenox shirtdress has so many great features: princess seams in the front and back, a back yoke, a waistband, full collar and collar stand option, gathered or pleated skirt option, banded sleeves, v-neck shaping on the button band, and pockets. My go-to shirtdress before now has been the M6696, which I have made several times before. To be honest, I’ve never quite achieved a great fit there. I’ve gotten a good fit, but not a great fit. There are some issues I have with the pattern overall. The side-seam pockets are really shallow and the one time I used them I almost replaced them afterwards because my phone fell out. The back of the dress is pretty puffy due to the gathers. I’ve always meant to go back and alter that part, but generally forget. I also don’t really love the shape of the button band with the collar. If you button it all the way, the collar chokes a bit. In comparison, M7084, which I used for my wedding dress, is a bit closer to what I want in a shirtdress, but my fit on that was still not great and again the collar was a bit high. The Lenox dress sort of hits all my wants in a shirtdress. I was sick at the time I tested it, but could not say no to doing it so I powered through.

The yoke is sewn on using a burrito method and there is an inside waistband for two really great finishes to make the insides pretty. A shirtdress with these details is a time-consuming creation, but completely worth every second you spend on it.

For my tester version, I used the full collar with the gathered skirt. I did french seams throughout except for the sleeves. I find that can be a bit difficult and wasn’t worth my trouble for the tester version. I finished the seams at the armholes with pinking sheers. I made the dress using a white cotton that I got from a friend purging her stash.

After I was done testing, I put the dress on a hanger and left it unhemmed for a bit. I didn’t really feel keen to wear a plain white shirtdress in spite of the fact that when I started I wanted just that. I decided it would need something for me, the colour nut, to wear it comfortably.

Then Ciara posted about the beading she added to her dress. Add to that, all the embroidery I was obsessing over through pinterest and instagram. I kept pinning designs of varying levels of difficultly. I decided to use a variegated embroidery floss in all the colours and do very simple lines of Xs along the collar, arm bands, waistband and hem, as well as using the floss to put the buttons on with an X as well. At first, I was going to do two lines of the Xs at the hem, but several hours later and a pair of sore arms, I just left it at one line. The embroidery details are subtle and lovely. It gives it enough of a pop of colour that I don’t feel like I am wearing a plain white dress.

I'm really excited about how this is turning out. #embroidery #sewing #sewcialists

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I’m really happy with how it turned out and want to make a few dozen more. I wish I had a crazy fabric budget right now since I want linen like crazy to make another version. I’m going through a linen fabric obsession right now. It’s just so lovely to work with and wear.

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirt dress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

I will say that the pictures here are showing weird fit issues that don’t actually exist. I had just cleaned a bunch and was all sore and red from that. I may not have buttoned it correctly since my fingers tend to have issues after cleaning.

This picture taken this morning reflects the bust fit better:

20170515_074013

There is some rippling along the princess seams, likely from doing french seams and not getting it flat enough.

Expect to see several more versions of this dress  on the blog. I’m getting through my large UFO piles right now, though. Some things in that pile have lingered for almost a year. I got through a bunch of things this weekend and am still working my way through it. Let’s just say the pile is deep…

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

April was a busy month for me. I was slow to recover completely from the pneumonia. I am still a little low in energy in comparison to before, but the pneumonia is definitely gone. My chronic cough is now being managed fully by medication. I’m so relieved that it is finally responding to the many meds I am on. I am also not having a lot of sinus issues likely as a result of the antibiotics.

I saw a doctor last week who may have significantly changed how I approach my life. It’s a shame that she was a specialist and is not part of my primary care, because the advice and guidance she gave me was excellent. The biggest take away is that she advised me to focus on keeping a steady weight instead of losing weight like other doctors. She commended my nutrition, but said to supplement that with a long list of vitamins. I’m supposed to stop doing heavy housework and focus on using my hands for the things I can’t give up, like sewing and cardmaking. Guys, I basically got a prescription to get out of housework. Haha!

No braces for me yet. I’m probably going to get finger splints, though, on my own. Other than that, KT taping is working wonders. I actually went to bed last night without a throbbing hip so it seems to be healing my hip bursitis. The overall joint dislocation and cartilage damage is still sadly happening, but the bursitis was extra pain on top of that and terrible to deal with. It was especially difficult for sleeping.

Spring also tends to be a better time for me as there are more warm days. Unfortunately, there has been a steady stream of rainy and cold overcast days which is leading to migraines, but there is sun on the horizon!

I managed to get some of my sewjo back last week with pattern testing. The deadline with pattern testing tends to get me back into the sewing mood. Blank Slate is a great company to test with if your sewjo is low. Their process tends to include tighter deadlines and lots of fitting and fit guidance for the larger sizes. I think it’s pretty effective for getting a good fit, learning fit tips, and testing that the pattern can do the pattern alterations you need. It’s always a positive process and really puts me back in the mood for sewing.

The Oceanside pants/shorts are an older pattern recently sized up to 3XL. I made the 3XL and did 4 muslins to get a good fit in the shorts. There are a couple of changes I would make going forward: add a couple of inches to the hem of the shorts, make them in capris length, and embellish like crazy: I’m talking scalloped hem, laced hem, bias tape finishes…. etc. In other words, I am happy with the fit I have for them now. There are minor issues there, but they are minor. They are great for a relaxed fit short with an elastic band waist.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

I made my shorts in a turquoise linen that I got from the thrift store back in the fall and used lime green buttons for the pockets. I need all the linen now to make a bunch more.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Real talk now. I haven’t worn shorts in public since I was really really young. When I was a teen and bullied horribly, I stopped wearing anything that remotely showed my shape for a really long time. When I was 25, that started changing when my friend Lisa took me clothes shopping and challenged me to buy fun clothes. I also self-harmed and my legs were covered in cuts from age 16 to 21. I now have the scars internally and externally, but have emotionally healed so much and haven’t self-harmed or had a suicide attempt since I was 21. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come since then. Now I mostly wear skirts and dresses in the summer with little bike shorts underneath to prevent chub rub and for the ever fun wind incident. But shorts…. Not sure why they are still a barrier for me. I feel like I must have worn them and gotten some mention from the bullies on how they felt about my legs at 13 and stopped wearing shorts as a result. My legs became a target for me and I stopped showing them. I even stopped swimming for the most part. I loved swimming but I stopped feeling comfortable in a swimsuit. After healing my mind, I’ve done a lot to find joy in my body. I have a genetic disease that has effected me my whole life and I can’t change those genetics. I can only care for it and love it and try to stop it from deteriorating further.

Shorts are something I’ve been making over the past year in various forms, but I haven’t made a pair that I felt comfortable leaving the house in. I have a few more cut out and one UFO needing a quick fix. But these really helped me remember my goals to overcome these irrational clothing fears. I also need to get back to that UFO two piece swimsuit that I was making back in the summer so I can join the YMCA and get back in the water.

It was great to have the opportunity to test the shorts and be reminded of the things I want to make to support loving my body.

Look at that butt:

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

That’s a good butt.

I’m Alive!!

The tale I have to tell you.

2017 has been horrible so far, but things are finally feeling a bit better. Back in December, I got sick. I had a cold over Christmas. I didn’t think anything of it, but then January and February I got worse and worse until I couldn’t walk in February and was having such a difficult time with breathing and I was coughing so much. I wrote about it a bit in my last post back in February. Turns out I had pneumonia, but getting to that point of diagnosis was ridiculous. I didn’t have a fever at all, but I generally have a lower body temperature than the norm. I found out my dad has that as well. In February, I saw my GP several times and saw my respiralogist. Neither of them thought I needed a chest xray because the cough has been present for 9 months and I didn’t have a fever. I told them I was sweating and having chills, but I was checking out okay at a temp of 37.5 degrees celcius, which is high for me. I’m usually around 36 and rarely up at 37.

Eventually, I got diagnosed after going to the ER because my coughing was causing pain in my abdomen, a mild hernia. I got a CT scan and a chest xray and both showed pneumonia in my left lung.

I missed a month of work in total… Not good.

I got back to work and then ended up in the ER again after 2 days back because I sneezed and pulled a muscle in my back/dislocated a rib. It was terrible. I also got costochondritis, inflammation in the rib cartilage from coughing so much, and I still have that and a sore lower back. When you have a chronic illness, getting sick is so much worse and takes so much longer to recover…

I’ve been back to work for two full weeks. I had a migraine this morning, though, but I still feel like things are getting better.

I have little to no desire to sew. It was all I thought of while I was confined to my bed, but now that I am better….meh to sewing apparently!

Here is a recap of what I have sewn this year, though, since I won’t be writing individual posts on things (sorry, I need the spoons):

A blue Cashmerette Upton dress made with the same polyester fabric I used for the Star Trek uniform I made in the fall. I had 12 yards of this fabric so you’re going to see it pop up other places. 😉 I just love this pattern. I have many more plans for it. This version uses the gored skirt. I left the zipper off, because the fabric has some mechanical stretch to it. I’m also still perfecting the length of those waist darts and the width of the neckline, but overall I am pleased with how it looks on me and how I feel in it.

I made two bullet journal pen holders. The black and white bunny one is for my friend, Selina, who loves bunnies. Her holder has velcro on the back. I didn’t have white velcro handy for mine though so it ties around the journal. I’m going to switch that out eventually since it does not sit flat. These holders are great scrapbusters and took me a half hour to make both of them.

I made several of these Burda sweatshirts, which were part of my #2017makenine. I left the zipper off, because it’s not necessary and I didn’t want to struggle with it and the knit fabric. It’s a nice boxy sweater and comfortable. I made a size 52 and graded to a 48 at the shoulders. My first version was pretty large in the shoulders.

But the versions after worked out well.

I didn’t take final pictures of two of these, but you can see the colour combos below. All are made either with sweatshirt, terry, fleece, or cotton lycra with ribbing in various colours. The blue sweatshirt material with black brush strokes is the same material as my Golden Rippy Omega Angel jacket. The material is from 1986! I’m bringing the 80s back. 😉

I designed a couple of future dream projects using my curvy sketchbook:

Spent the day home feeling terrible but had fun sketching this design. #sewing #sewcialists #curvysketchbook

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Mostly, I’ve been making cards and enjoying that part of my creativity and the amazing team of people I am a part of with Stampin’ Up. Yep, I signed up as a demonstrator since I kept giving them my money. Hahah. It’s also been such a positive experience being part of a great team. It’s really helped getting cards from my team members while I was sick. ❤ It’s also a really great time to craft and be social.

I’ll be doing some small cardmaking classes in Toronto. I have one coming up on April 30th. If you live close by and just want a fun easy project to work on and want to be social, you are more than welcome. Feel free to contact me for more information.

I’m hoping my sewjo returns soon, but I’m glad that I’m feeling better every day. I do tend to sew more in the summer, because I want all the summer dresses.  I am still lacking in a lot of energy, but it’s getting better especially with the weather getting better and Spring in the city. I used some precious spoons this weekend to clean up my deck and prep for the flowers and herbs I will be putting back there. I’ve been enjoying my indoor plants and finding joy in the small things.

The happiest little corner ever. 😍😍😍 #plants #indoorplants

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I also really appreciate the notes I got and the well wishes. Friends sent me flowers, brought soup over, and I got a stuffed fox from one, too. It made being sick for that long easier knowing how much people cared. ❤ Thanks all for your emails, comments, and well-wishes.

 

Chronic Illness and Reliability

I’m not reliable. I’m not present.

I have a chronic illness and have been very very sick in increasing ways the past two years. Last Spring, I was diagnosed with one rare disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is all about joint issues and chronic pain. I have had a chronic cough for 9 months now and it has led to an ER trip and most recently 2 horrible weeks off work due to illness. Doctors are still unsure what to make of this cough as tests keep coming back negative but I keep getting worse and worse and medication is not able to manage the issue. One more attack like last week will land me in the ER and on short term or even long term disability. A person cannot function with a cough that bad along with EDS. I literally dislocate from coughing. I also am at risk of a lot of complications from this cough that are potentially and additionally life threatening.

I’m not reliable because my illnesses are changeable. I could be well one day and unwell the next. Or, as has been the case more these days, unwell one day, but really really unwell the next.

You gain a new normal with this sort of issue. My 100% energy level is probably about 50% for you. My 10 on the pain scale is probably 20 for you. Probably as a result of this, I haven’t gone to the ER when I should. Chronic illness really changes your perspective on things. My reasoning last week was that I *could* walk to the bathroom so I must not be that bad, but in reality, I should have gone to the ER and any other person would have, because they struggled to get to the bathroom. Chronic illness also makes you feel like a bother to doctors as they struggle to diagnose your issues. You can also develop a fear of doctors, because they often treat you as if you are making up symptoms or must not be doing something correctly or are lying or exaggerating your symptoms. Often I get dismissed because of my weight and shamed into not taking my health seriously. Often I get dismissed by specialists because I don’t go into the ER and I make it to my appointments. It’s always always always a Catch 22 experience with chronic illness. Always.

I’m not reliable. I cannot be counted upon. Not in the ways that society defines Reliability and presence are so wrapped up in each other. If you are present at an event that you said you would show up at, you are reliable. I’ve struggled these days with even saying “yes” to anything, including events at my own home. I push for energy on good days. I push through pain and respiratory issues.

My “yes” has changed to “maybe.” Which is a “no” to so many people. An unreliable person. A person who isn’t present.

I deal with a lot of guilt on a daily basis because of this issue. I don’t feel like a present member of my community. I can’t participate in person. Events that have an online aspect rock my world because I know I can do them. I can take part from my home and not have to worry as much, because I can log into the laptop or on my smart phone. But if it includes talking or being present on camera, my enthusiasm differs. I don’t know if my cough will make it difficult to speak or not.

I don’t feel like a good blogger. My concept of good blogging used to be every couple of weeks at least with every week at best. But even with a selfie stick and indoor picture or mirror pictures, just taking pictures in the outfits I make is a lot of work for me these days. I haven’t been here for a month because my energy went toward planning and throwing a birthday party for my husband and then being horribly sick the past few weeks afterwards. I have made things. Several things actually, but I don’t have the energy to share except for a picture on IG here and there.

I don’t feel like a good pattern tester. I have had to drop out due to sickness. I’ve also informed the pattern designers that I tested fit and didn’t have time to thoroughly look over the instructions, but did follow them. I usually try to read through them several times.

I don’t feel like a good friend or a good family member. I miss shows. I miss birthday events. I miss occasions, like baby showers. I send mail more frequently these days, though, but sometimes that is slow to come, too. I may not call to wish you happy birthday, but a text message or FB message is what I can do.

I don’t feel like a good wife. I miss my husbands events. I barely see him on stage. I don’t feel as supportive as I wish I could be.

I am reliable. I am present.

It’s different from what most people want or society deems acceptable.

I live mostly online these days. If I like your post on any social platform, it means I am present. I am here. I care about you. I’m using a precious part of my energy to put it out toward you and say, “hey, I care.”

Most people would think that is nothing, but to me that is everything.

I’m available best by email (contact form), IG direct messages, and Facebook.