Blog Hop Around the World

I was nominated by the amazing and fantastic Tanya of Mrs. Hughes.

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Look how awesome she is! Photo credit Tanya Maile.

Before I answer the questions, I am just going to have a slight fan girl moment here. I started reading Tanya’s blog earlier this year when the Curvy Sewing Collective was formed with the Collette Patterns release of the Moneta and Mabel with expanded plus sizes, which made me so exceptionally happy and led to a billion Monetas for me (Okay, four, just four Monetas so far). I found a lot of blogs at that time: Idle Fancy, Cashmerette, Two Random Words, and QuirkyPrettyCute.  I’d already been following the other editors: U & Mii and Young, Broke, and Fabulous. I was keen to join in the curvy collective conversation.

I had been blogging on my old blogger site between July and October of 2013 with a post on Jan 2014 and then I moved to wordpress in April when the Moneta and Mabel were announced and when I also discovered the Monthly Stitch.

The two discoveries combined got me back into blogging. But I have to say reading the blogs of the Curvy Sewing Collective makes me want to blog more than any other kind of blog. It makes me feel like part of a community full of acceptance and support. All sewing takes a lot of skill and patience, but being a curvy girl…there are some very big fitting hurdles to get over. You can get pretty discouraged with fitting your size when you are plus sized. Just like shopping in the ready to wear world, sewing isn’t any easier in terms of fitting a plus sized body, but once you get there with a few tried and true patterns you are set and heavily addicted to it. Having the Curvy Sewing Collective and the amazing editors’ individual blogs has helped me like crazy and increased my confidence in sewing.

Tanya is a great supporter of the collective and its curvy bloggers. Her makes are so wonderful and she is a fellow Whovian and fan girl of many other things. She’s an incredibly wonderful and beautiful person. I honestly should stop gushing right now, because I could go on forever. Needless to say, when she emailed me about the blog hop, I didn’t reply for an hour and a half because I was basically happy dancing and texting everyone I know. To sum up, I am a big fan of Tanya’s blog and Tanya herself. 🙂

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Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And now on to the question and answer part of the tour!

1. What am I working on?

I usually finish up projects pretty fast once I start sewing them unless there are major fitting issues. I’m all about instant gratification so I am usually wearing clothes and photographing the day after I sew, but right now I have a bunch I am working on. This is odd for me to have so many things. I blame it on having fitting issues and then wanting instant gratification and thus moving on to a different project. Here is my list of things that are UFOs or cut out patterns ready to sew:

a) Cake’s Espresso Leggings: I had fitting issues due to the large difference in my waist versus my widest part of my hips (6 inches for me). I also have wide calves so that was a fitting issue and my thighs ended up tight for some reason. Just lots of issues. I need more jersey material for another muslin to fix these issues, but I think I am just going to scout out the thrift shop for cheap fabric for it and then invest in better material when I have the fit right. So, it’s currently on hold for more fabric.

b) Lekala 5199 Little Atlas Dress: I’ve had this cut out and ready to sew up for a while, but the idea of making a cute summer party dress in the fall seems….odd….

c) Burda wrap tunic dress: Cut out and ready to go for the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong.

d) Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi: Cut out and ready to go.

Perhaps the real issue is that I cut out more than I can sew….

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Such potty mouth, Captain Picard!

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?

The Little Atlas dress is waaaaaaay outside of my genre as I usually make casual dresses and secret pyjamas. I’ve never made a party dress (although, I would party in any of my me-made dresses). I like to think that I think outside the box in terms of colour and style choices and I also tend to tweak patterns and add bits and bobs to tailor to my wacky style. I’m not even sure what my style is… It’s Andie style! I also buy a lot of fabric from thrift shops, like Value Village. They are a great source for out of the box fabric colours/prints and using sheets for sewing, too!

3. Why do I create what I do?

I sew for two very important reasons:

a) Mental Health:

I sew for my mental health. I started sewing to wear costumes and found that working on a sewing project was a great thing for my mental health. I got to analyze and work through problems visually and hold the finished product at the end. When I started sewing, I was in grad school and spending all my time writing with non-tangible results to show at the end of a heavy day of research. It’s very defeating to work for hours and hours and only have written two pages or written twenty, but only have two salvageable pages. My mental health was suffering and creativity was/is always the thing to make me feel better. I’ve struggled with mental health issues throughout my life. I’ve been on the upswing and healthy for the past 13 years and have only had minor relapses in depression and anxiety. Part of that is because I try to be positive about every situation and focus on solveable issues while letting go of the things I can’t fix. I can’t solve the past or make it disappear just like I can’t make world hunger disappear in an instant, but I can create things and feel good about them and proud of who I am and contribute to local homeless shelters and worldwide charities. For every issue in life, there is a way to cope. You can’t fix it all, but you can focus on the things you can do and do that. I’ve always been creative throughout my life. When my nana passed, she left me a lovely box filled with all the handmade Christmas ornaments I made for her over the years: cross stitched, hand sewn, painted, etc. I look at that box of ornaments as an evolution of my creativity. All of them have the years stitched or written on them by me. Other than that, I’ve drawn, painted, sculpted, knit, made prints, made dollhouse furniture/clothes, etc. throughout my life. I’ve always really connected with working on tangible/visual objects. It makes me feel better to focus on a task and work through it and have the finished object in my hand at the end. It’s all about working on the things I can change through a creative outlet.

b) Body Postivity:

I sew to decrease my own body issues. I’ve always been fat since hitting puberty. It’s a fact that I accept and I don’t shun from the F word anymore. I try to be a very active person and until about a year ago I was extremely active and then I hit a bunch of health problems many of which I don’t even have the answer to. I’ve gained a little weight since then which makes me extremely unhappy, but it’s nothing I can help because I haven’t been able to be active. I eat healthy and do what I can do maintain a healthy body, but exercise isn’t in the books for now except for light stretching. There will always be haters out there and saying anything about body positivity opens you to those haters, but I won’t let it stop me from loving myself and choosing to wear clothes that showcase my confidence. There is nothing better in my opinion than sewing clothes that fit your style and having them flatter your body. I get constant compliments on my me-made clothes that reinforce for me that I am shining in confidence when I wear them. The extra confidence is from knowing I accomplished creating something that started as a thought and then followed it through to completion. I do fully acknowledge that sewing can also be a double-edged sword. You gain weight and you realize a TNT needs to be tweaked for your extra derriere. It can be really defeating working through a complicated pattern and having millions of fitting issues throughout. My first pencil skirt went that way, but there is literally nothing better than sewing a garment that you love and finishing it to your satisfaction. That pencil skirt is forthcoming on the blog. For me, I also approach every fitting issue as a learning experience to help me through the next time. I believe in body positivity and being confident in your own skin. Part of my process for that is not buying “okay” clothes but making clothes I love and am proud of.

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4. How does my creative process work?

I usually start with a visual of what I want to accomplish and then go fabric shopping and either I find what I want or I adapt based on the new selection. Sometimes, I am very driven by fabric selection and get enough fabric for any of the patterns in my collection. I have an oooh shiny mentality when it comes to fabric shopping, which is why I have been trying to limit it to thrift stores for my wallet’s sake (and paying for that pesky wedding) or sewing from my stash.

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Nominations!

Nominations were haaaaaard. To give you an idea, Tanya emailed me September 5 and I finally decided on my one nomination on September 17. I thought of other people. I did, but then they’d post about their blog hops!

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Then I decided that just the one was enough, because she rocks so very very much!

So here is my single nomination!

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The wonderful and fantastic Nicole from pudge and nico.

Nicole or Nico is a lovely lady from Austin, Texas. I found Nico through the Curvy Sewing Collective Flickr group to complete the Curvy Sewing Collective circle of love. 🙂 I can’t express my love for this collective and am always finding more and more lovely curvy bloggers to follow. Not only does she have a great style and randomly inserts cat pictures and a hilarious humour and she is gorgeous, but she also has such terrific makes! She uses such fabulous prints (Bottom left is a hedgehog print dress and middle right is a deviled egg print dress) and has the best heart-shaped sunglasses (seriously, I want those…). But enough gushing about her…

Shake your tushy over to pudge and nico and see how awesome she is!

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One of Nico’s random cat gifs! She’s da best!

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12 thoughts on “Blog Hop Around the World

  1. I love and totally identify with both of your reasons for sewing. Right now, I’m especially clinging to my creative pursuits as a way to maintain my mental health. I’m a grad student and nearing the end of my program, which is way more stressful than it is a relief. I have so much to do that just seems impossible and I can work all day and end up with nothing but a list of more work that needs to be done. After a really hard week, I spent most of weekend finishing up a sweater I’ve been knitting. The week had made me feel like a failure, but the weekend made me think, “Whatever. I made an amazing sweater!” Totally therapeutic!

    • I’m so glad you identify! Especially as a grad student, it made so much difference in my mood to make something and touch it and be proud of it after a week like you’ve had. Grad student work can be so self-defeating, but creating wearable art is so satisfying. 🙂 Keep at it. Even though in the late stages of a degree, you might feel more and more guilty taking the time to be creative. Don’t stop, though, because those breaks refresh your mind and you’ll come at your week in a much better mood. 😀

  2. Awe, thanks for the love!!! My feelings are mutual!!! 🙂 Plus, you have my favorite Doctor and Jean-Luc in one post. You can’t go wrong with that. Sewing really allows us to fulfill our dreams of fangirl style with clothing that fits. I’m extremely happy to be part of the CSC and all of the new blogs and friends I’ve found because of it. 🙂

  3. Great post! I sew for my mental health too. I wrote a post somewhere about it as it pertained to quilting, but lately I’m finding the quilting community a bit, ah, cliquey so I’m sticking to my curvy sewists. Also I get to push out a top and a skirt a lot quicker than I can a quilt, and I can’t wear a quilt to work. 😉

    And I love the CSC! Totally made my year. I always thought I was the only plus sized blogger in the blogiverse! So glad I’m not.

  4. I really enjoyed learning more about you and your sewing philosophy! I agree that sewing is a great way to overcome anxiety/depression and body image issues. Before I started sewing my own clothes, I wasn’t very confident about my body and so I wore a very boring “uniform” of the same pair of jeans (bought several of the same ones) and the same v-neck t-shirt in different colors (which actually came from a grocery store, Whole Foods, lol). Sewing taught me you can look great in well-fitting no clothes no matter your size. Sewing also taught me patience, and that making mistakes is okay! I used to get really down on my myself if I couldn’t do something perfectly the first time, and I always wanted to rush through my sewing just to have something new to wear. Now, I really enjoy the journey of sewing, and I feel that it’s extended to me enjoying the journey of life more too. Corny, but true!

    • I used to wear men’s jeans and t-shirts and hoodies and that was it. So glad I stopped doing that. I really love the way I feel in pretty clothes.

      Good point about the mistakes and patience. I’m sure we could write a book on Zen and the Art of Sewing. 😉

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