January Reflections

January sort of flew by without much fanfare. It’s normally a busy month and this January was no exception. However, on top of being busy, I was also dealing with an increasingly worse cough. Since November, it has been getting worse and worse. I’ve had it since November 2016. For anyone who has had a cold with a bad cough, you know how the aches and pains increase throughout your sickness. Now imagine that over a year and a few months. My ribs are aching every day. My throat is constantly scratchy. I’m exhausted.

Luckily, I now have a new respirologist who is going to work with me to figure out how to get it under control. Since seeing him for the first time last Thursday, I have seen a bit of improvement! It was such a relief finally having a doctor on my side to fix this cough. My previous respirologist spent the year telling me I must not be taking my meds correctly and blaming me for the issues. She failed to order tests and, when I had pneumonia at the beginning of last year, missed that diagnosis entirely. When my current respirologist said to me that he’d figure out how to manage my symptoms and make it easier for me to breathe, I basically cried in his office. Imagine: breathing! What an amazing thing that would be.

I’m feeling more hopeful already on my new meds and breathing a bit better already. ❤

Other than spending a lot of time forcibly resting due to the cough, I got through my pile of mending. At the beginning of the year, I went through all my clothes and packed up a bunch for donation. There were a few items I set aside to be fixed to make them wearable again.

I made these two Concord tops ages ago when the Concord T was just released.

 

My shape has changed a bit since then, especially in my arms and the shoulders kept slipping on both tops. The other issue with the tops was the fabric. On the red one, the sleeves have become too tight and don’t have as much stretch causing the shoulders to fall down. On the blue and white one, the fabric has poor recovery and the neckline became stretched out by the end of the day. As a result, I haven’t worn either top in a while. My solution with my Turner dress last year was to put a cowl on it and I decided to go that way for these two tops as well.

 

I love a cowl neck top! I happened to have the exact right of leftover material for both tops in my scraps bin. Lucky lucky! Both cowls are just tubes of fabric sewn on the neckline. I’ve worn both tops a bunch since fixing them and am really happy I did that instead of throw them in a donation bin.

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These two skirts had a poor choice for fabric on the hem bands. The fabric was some sort of blend that I picked up at the thrift store. It started breaking down faster than the quilting cotton I used for the skirt. Instead of tossing the skirts out, I took the hems off and replaced them with quilting cotton. Now they are back in my wardrobe rotation and look great.

I also patched up several pairs of leggings, but I didn’t bother with a picture for those. And I replaced buttons on a cardigan. I wasn’t a fan of the buttons I originally used on it.

The final thing I did was take an eShakti dress and turn it into a skirt. The bodice on the dress did not fit well and I always covered it up with a sweater.

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I figured why do that when I could just make it into a skirt. It’s difficult to see in the picture, but the skirt is underlined with turquoise lining that peaks through the lace overlay. I had a turquoise, white and grey floral print in my scrap bin that matched the colours perfectly and I used that for a thin waistband. Now I can wear it with confidence. The dress originally had pockets so I kept them, of course!

I also busted some more scraps by making a quick envelope pillow case for a throw pillow.

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I love the bow on the front and the use of the striped fabric. It has a nautical feel to it.

Speaking of stripes, get ready for the Sewcialists #sewstripes month for February. I have a project to share soon for that.

I have only 2 UFOs to tackle (both are half done), but I am glad to get my mending pile done and out of the way. New year, fresh start. 🙂 Now my to-do list is ridiculously long so February will be pretty busy.

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Upcycled: Circle Skirt Mania

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Oh how I love circle skirts. I’ve made the Pavlova skirt and refashioned a UFO into a circle skirt recently. I haven’t been wearing skirts over the past couple of years, but since making the Pavlova, I’ve caught a bug for high-waisted circle skirts.

This one is a wrap skirt that I upcycled from my first me-made dress from a pattern:

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I made it for a burlesque routine to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit (hence, the sexy face as I strip). Wrap dresses are great for burlesque reveals. This one had awesome twirl action.

Unfortunately, since doing that routine in 2009, about a month after, I fell down some stairs (klutzy Andie!) and couldn’t walk without pain for about…..um….6 months…. and haven’t done burlesque since. I didn’t break anything, but I tore something and the doctors I saw didn’t figure it out. I got physio in the summer of 2010, but haven’t had a great left knee since.

I still adore dance and I have been wanting to take lessons again. I took hip hop and Bollywood dance workshops in June and loved it, but I have a lot of health setbacks that make me worry about taking a full class if I can’t commit or have to miss classes. Health setbacks and weight fluctuations resulted in me not being able to wear this dress anymore. The bodice showed off the girls (good for burlesque, bad for office work) and didn’t fit quite right with a camisole under it, because of the princess seams and the fitted look of the bodice. The original is from McCall’s 5314 view B:

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I really do love this pattern and plan to use it again in the future, but my dress couldn’t be fixed and the fabric/colour was too nice to waste and I was too attached to it to put in the charity bin.

So, I chopped off the bodice and ties and cut about two inches from the bodice for a small waistband. I attached the waistband and then reattached the ties and opened a small slit for the ties to go through. I finished it in an episode and a half of Battlestar Galactica (swoon Starbuck!). And now I can twirl again:

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Or do a cute curtsy:

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Oh how I love it. I want to make more, but I have lots of other plans in the works, which I will talk about in length on Friday. I’ll have to make more circle skirts after all my plans.

There are a lot of other garments at home that I want to upcycle as well. I have a tendency to hold on to my favs, but not be able to wear them. I’d love them to stay complete and just shrink down to that size again, but ultimately I spent the money on them and I know how to sew so I might as well upcycle them into things that I can wear again. Lara over at Dreaming of Avonlea inspires me to do it. Check her out!

UFOs, Costume, and Cat Lady stuff

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Remember this UFO? Well, it’s a UFO no more!

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The colours in the skirt are closer to the first pic. Low light and my camera settings seems to have coloured everything a little blue. But wait, Andie, the top one was a dress and this is a skirt, what genius is this?

I can’t take credit for the idea. It’s from Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy. Erin started off with a dress and then decided to chop it into a skirt. You can read more about it by clicking through to her blog.

This started as McCall’s 6504, but didn’t work out. I graded the pattern up, but there was already so much ease in the pattern that it ended up being very large. Then I tried to fix that, but nothing was working out. Too many pattern pieces meant one side would work and then the other would go wonky and fix the one and then the other one goes wonky. I started the dress in May and finished it in August after Erin’s post. Took me one night to chop it into a skirt and add a zip. Would have taken less time if it weren’t for having to sew the waistband twice. I find waistbands really troublesome to sew especially with so many layers of fabric and different types of fabric. The sewing is still not entirely straight, but I am done fiddling with it. I love the skirt. It’s ultimately another circle skirt and very similar to the Pavlova, but there is a lapped zip on the side with two hooks in the waistband to keep it closed. It’s really wrinkled in these pics after a day at work.

Action shots. Circle skirts are for twirling! You can see the shorts I wear under all my dresses. Scandalous!

The other item I am going to share with you is still considered a UFO:

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It’s a Parisian Top hacked into a cardigan. I got the idea from A Lemon Squeezy Home’s Project Sewn Leading Lady Challenge. I know it looks lovely and complete in that photo, but I finished it shortly after my last entry in August and haven’t worn it since and didn’t want to blog about it. I don’t like how it looks on me. Hence, the pic of it on my living room carpet. I’m determined to make it wearable. First off, it needs to be shorter. All of my dresses and skirts are high-waisted and this hits me on my hips. Second, the buttons gape. I can’t make a new button band, but I can add more buttons. Other than that, it’s okay. The neckline doesn’t quite work with any of my tops or dresses, but I will figure something out for that. It’s completely made of remnants from my stash. So yeay for that!

I would make it again with the alterations mentioned and a better fabric. A ponte knit would work really well on this.

I haven’t sewed a lot lately other than that. I did an upcycle for a friend for a costume and it was featured in the Mary Sue for uncommon Fan Expo costumes as #18:

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The white underdress was upcycled from two nightgowns and the purple vest from a robe. The three fabrics are all manner of material: poly blend, silk, and satin. All incredible frustrating to deal with, but looked good in the end. The white poly blend ran and I had to patch a part of it. Made me almost tear out my own hair! I made the shoulder pads with the same yellow silk from the bottom of the white dress, felts for stuffing, and foam core board. I put it together with hot glue and then attached them with velcro so that the top could be washed.

It was my first paid gig!

In other news, some funny pics of my cat in a cone to stop her from scratching:

 

Speaking of cats, have you checked out Miss Crayola Creepy’s October Cat Lady Sewing Challenge?

Oh yes, I will be taking part!

I am basically a crazy cat lady, but I am just crazy for my crazy cat. Isn’t that crazy?

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Phew, long post. This is what happens when I procrastinate on taking pictures and blogging. Ooops!

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I’m using the glasses on my necklace as real glasses. Crazy!