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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4 times the dirndl, 4 times the fun

Reader, I sewed a lot of skirts this month. I do not need to sew skirts for a while. I made 4 dirndl skirts this month. A dirndl skirt, for those who don’t know, is a simple gathered skirt made of two rectangles sewn together and gathered on to a smaller rectangle, the waistband. Gertie has a tutorial for a dirndl skirt.

When I started sewing my skirts, I needed skirts or felt I needed skirts because my wardrobe was lacking in a million skirts. Now that I’ve sewn 4 skirts in a month, I think I’m good for skirts for a while.

The challenge for this project, however, was making the skirts with in-seam pockets and a side zipper as well. I have to count that a success all around and I got better as I made more and more of these skirts. Here is the progression on my skirts:

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The plaid skirt, my first one, has an exposed zipper and the other three have lapped zippers. The two bottom floral skirts are equally matched for quality. I didn’t attempt to do pattern matching. Although, I did try to match the plaid on the vertical. I mostly succeeded. The side with the zipper is about 4mm off, but perfect on the other side.

I extended the waistband of all skirts. For the two bottom florals, I added buttons; the plaid and pink floral have hidden hooks.

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I adore the buttons on the blue floral. They’ve been in my stash for a while now and I love them.

I didn’t do any fancy math or actually follow a tutorial when I created these skirts. I cut them based on the fabric amounts I had available. Some are longer and some are shorter; some are more gathered than the others and some are less gathered. I wasn’t really concerned with that. As long as you have some gathering, the skirts work quite well.

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My favourite of the four is definitely this blue and white floral; it’s the perfect length and perfect gather. It’s a cotton lawn from Joann fabrics. It’s a very light, flowy fabric and is perfect for Spring/Summer. I wish I had gotten more to make a dress as well, because I crave light florals like this. Do you go through fabric cravings like I do? Probably the reason why my stash is so large…. :/

My second favourite is the yellow plaid. I really love the fabric. I got it from the thrift store and it’s a very light fabric. I am unsure of the fiber content, but it’s likely a poly-cotton blend.

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I usually wear the plaid with my red Bronte top, but decided to wear all my skirts with mostly sleeveless tops in this photoshoot.

My skirt collection would not be complete without a pink floral skirt. I’ve been hoarding this cotton floral for a while and am very happy with it. I chose to put a colour block at the bottom of the skirt to increase the length. That was also a testing of my skills to match along the vertical. I accomplished that rather nicely. 🙂

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The last skirt I made was this red Christmasy floral that I inherited from my nana with a colour block on the bottom.

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It’s definitely the shortest and most gathered of the skirts. I am not sure I will wear it much to be honest. I feel very…Lolita in it. Which isn’t a bad thing…really. I like a lot of the Lolita style, but I’m not sure how I feel about it on me. I would definitely feel better in this if I were wearing some leggings or tights. Both this one and the blue floral flew up when I was taking pictures. Luckily, I was just on my back porch, but I definitely need something under those two for walking around in the summer.

I look at these pictures and I feel good about myself. I feel good for being brave enough to wear sleeveless tops and bare legs; things I have felt really self-conscious about in the past. I feel good about having made skirts that scream my own personal style. I might not have the supposed ideal body that society tells us is ideal, but this body is mine and I am determined to feel good and feel happy in it. I feel positive about myself in these skirts and that is what sewing is to me.

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