This was supposed to be a slam dunk. I really enjoy plants and planting and playing in dirt. I’m proud of the food my neighbors and I grow together on our neighborhood farm, and I’m proud of the community we create and support.
Also, I really like prints. So much so that when I had to have my picture taken at work and the guidelines suggested no prints or sleeveless blouses I was rather at a loss what to wear.
Obviously a shirt featuring vegetables should be just the thing.
I think, though, that I might like it better when I’m retired and taking master gardening classes. Perhaps it will feel authentic, then, and not like I’m a 40-year-old trying to look like an ironic 20-something trying to look like a 70-year-old. Maybe by then my tired old eyes won’t feel so assaulted by the garish combination of green and red.
Or, maybe I’ll wear the shirt anyways.
Anyways, Willamette, great pattern, great camp shirt, easy to wear, satisfies my enjoyment of a collar and apparent distaste for button-downs (I don’t even know why, I just know I almost never reach for them). Bad for wedding, though, you could see down my shirt. Whoops!
This is not the dress I’d intended to make. But it is, to state the obvious, the dress that I made.
I taped the pattern together. There was a skirt front. There was a skirt back. I cut out a skirt front. I cut out a skirt back.
Reading the instructions much later I learned that if making view C you were to cut two rectangles so-big by such-big.
I had cut out the skirt for view B.
Good thing this pattern included instructions in English, unlike Evol which I totally winged, guessing at the construction based on experience and pictures. Now that I can cross-reference French words like “interface” I realize Evol would have benefited from some. Google translate has a long way to go, folks.
I mostly work with cottons and linens and did not not enjoy any part of dealing with this shifty, slippery fabric. I found it so difficult I was sure everything about this dress was going to be a disaster. I went on and on complaining about it, so much so that when I donned it to show my husband he said, “What’s so awful about it?” And I was like… well, nothing. It’s great. It feels great. It fits great. I can’t even explain how this can be. It’s objectively more flattering than my usual sack-dress shapeless makes. Drape must make up for all manner of ills.
Other random notes: I added a bit to the bodice length. by cutting it at the waistline for the next larger size; the way the elastic casing is made is neat-o; this fabric feels dreamy against the skin; I didn’t bother with button holes, the neck hole is big enough that I was able to sew the plackets together when sewing the buttons on. I wore it out on the town not quite finished and I still haven’t serged the seam allowances on the armhole because I have to change the thread out. Lazy me!
May! My favorite month. What child isn’t predisposed to prefer her birth month above all others? May’s so great weather-wise that I’ve continued to like it even in spite of my birthday. Or Mother’s Day. Or the 50,000,000 things that crowd the familial calendar leaving me to wonder when I’ll ever find the time or energy to keep things afloat. Still: May! Yay!
May! Me-Made-May! I didn’t have it in me to formally sign up this year. Buuuuut I got to wondering if I could wear a me-made every day without repeat, so I made that my loosey-goosey unofficial unadvertised goal. No selfies, just flat-lays to keep a log.
I can hear what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But all you have to do is go to your closet and count your me-mades to know if you have enough to wear a month without repeat!” Not so, my friends. Just because I have the thing doesn’t mean I wear it. Some me-mades I need a little reminding to wear; some I need a little cajoling; some I avoid entirely; and some I probably should avoid (threadbare gray bird-print blouse I’m looking at you).
Without further ado, here are the mostly terrible flat-lay photos I took of my me-mades either wrinkled from wear or wrinkled from the washer. I forgot a few. The weekend of June 1-2 was so so fine I wore a couple me-made dresses I hadn’t during May and threw them in the collage to make up for the photographic lapses.
This experiment made me think of my my-mades in a different way than I usually do. Typically I’m getting dressed to have clothes on; I’m not thinking about why I wear the things I do or, more illuminating, why I’ll wear some things I don’t feel great in and why I don’t wear the things I don’t: fit, color, style, lifestyle, weather, weird personal associations. I was reminded of how great a dress fits that I rarely wear because of the color; how much I love the style of a particular blouse but never wear because it’s a smidge too small; how much I absolutely love camp shirts and should really just make 5,000 of them and have a personal uniform; and, finally, how even though I bang on about needing to make more bottoms in my heart I really have no interest, at least not right now, and I’m giving myself permission to cross them off my to-make list and stop feeling guilty for making the things I like instead of the things I think I should.
Outstanding can mean “not done yet” or it can mean “exceptionally good.” This post is to celebrate these socks’ graduation from one use of the adjective to the other after being in WIP purgatory for 6 years.
Folks, I want to be able to say that 6 years is a long time for a project to languish. And maybe it is, objectively, if you’re the sort of knitter who makes a point of finishing the things she starts. I’d say it’s about average for me if I compare it to the other WIPs in the basket/closet/bin/drawer/unused luggage/vault/mom’s house/off-site storage facility. I jest, I jest.
Sometimes life interrupts knitting, but more often a project is packed away because something’s not working. As you’d expect, upon taking this pattern up again I remembered exactly why I’d put it down.
The chart uses a red line and an indistinguishably thicker red line in the same ink to indicate two different things. Moreover – get ready for some controversial knitting semantics – I disagree with the idea that a 4-stitch jog constitutes a “row.” It’s not. Call it the jog it is. Put those 4 stitches at the end of the prior chart row. Or at the very least state what’s happening in the pattern instructions instead of relying on a chart symbol in the same ink used to indicate a pattern repeat. I mean, c’mon, help a knitter out.
By the time I picked these up again I had forgotten everything I had already learned the hard way except that the chart was garbage in a way I couldn’t remember. I’m really quite good at reading charts, though, so I powered through, much as I did the first go-around, and wondered what my problem had been years before until I realized the pattern wasn’t stacking the way it was supposed to. Back to ravelry’s helpful notes I went and oh, hello other instance where there’s a end of row red line impersonating a pattern repeat red line.
This became a project I was’t going to let outsmart me. I can be stubborn. When I find myself digging in it’s usually a sign that I”m cutting off my nose to spite my face, but this is only knitting so I dug in, knit the damn sock leg no less than 4 times before getting it right, and finally finally got my pair of socks.
Get ready for a slew of socks, I’m having a bit of a moment. Or maybe the new socks I’ve cast on will languish for 6 years before you hear about them. It’s happened before.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m KoMari-ing my house, but I have been cleaning out. I’m not looking for joy. I’m looking for absolution. I want to be unburdened by things I’ve kept far too long, things that I thought might be useful or that I thought my future self would want. I can’t speak for my future-future self, but my present future self wonders why her past self couldn’t part with string art she made in junior high mumble mumble years ago or why she thought her present future self would ever want it.
My time to clean out is limited, and often interrupted. It turns out this works in my favor because I don’t get decision fatigue before I have to take a break. I have the mental energy to be honest and ruthless. If I can get the stuff that may still have some use to someone else into bags in the basement then it stands a good change of getting moved out of the house. Things are neater, shelves are clearer, drawers are emptier, boxes that I’ve moved twice without unpacking are gone, and storage bins I bought when I misunderstood my problem to be one of organization and not over-accumulation sit unused and have become clutter themselves.
I’ve been on such a roll that my attention has even turned to areas formerly sacrosanct. I’m talking fabric stash, folks.***
At first thought it isn’t so big and it’s easy to justify. But as I continue thinking about it the stash snowballs. I realize that I have enough for several dresses, a top, two shirts for Hubs, a skirt or pants, and some other random stuff that I bought for such-and-such purpose then abandoned. The stash no longer feels “not so big”. But you know what? Those don’t bother me. Those fabrics wait patiently on the shelf. They’re all earmarked or usable quantities and I like them. Let’s call that part of the stash “curated”. It was the stuff in the bins that gets to me. What’s even in there? And why do I keep it?
It turns a big chunk of it was scraps of fabric I don’t like and/or aren’t big enough to be usable in any significant way. Off to Scraps KC it went. Another chunk constituted scraps large enough for children’s clothes. I had three choices: 1) admit I was never going to get around to using the scraps and give them away; 2) continue to store the scraps indefinitely in case I ever did get around to making kids clothes; or 3) make the damn kids clothes, already.
I’ve made both these patterns before. If you click through you’ll see that this is even the 2nd pair I’ve made from the leftover mustard yellow linen. I overbought by a bunch. I can’t speak for the recipient (she told me they could be for her brother when she saw me cutting them out) but I personally LOVE them.
And finally, not kid-related, I made a project bag.
I put heavy expectations on this one cut of fabric that’d been in my stash for too long. You know the one: it’s pretty and special and you want the perfect thing for it and the longer you look at it the higher the stakes become.
I wanted something businessy enough for the office, casual enough I would wear it everywhere else. I was sorely tempted to hack Peppermint Magazine’s Peplum Top into a dress, but it would be too casual, too balloony, too sleeveless.
What followed was a long, indecisive story full of false leads, boring twists, humdrum turns. Highlights include an ill-advised pattern purchase which I don’t want to talk about because there’s nothing wrong with the design, it just wasn’t me and I don’t know what I was thinking. I stuck with it long enough to make an ugly muslin of said pattern out of terrible, cheap fake satin from Big Box Store.
Overwhelmed by my lack of ability to make a decision that wasn’t horribly misguided I finally did a thing just to get this fabric made into something and out of my head.
It was a mistake to preface the debut of this dress to my husband by announcing that it was “a little weird.” The style wasn’t exactly flattering, but then I wasn’t sure it was exactly supposed to be, and I was self conscious about how the pleat fell right on the apex of my belly, making me regret all the more the Mexican food and ice cream I’d gorged myself on the prior weekend.
“It doesn’t look weird,” Hubs said. I felt relief, but he hadn’t finished. “It looks like a sack dress,” he continued, shrug implied. He meant it as statement of fact, not criticism, and really, this dress is the very definition of a sack dress (I looked it up), but the word “sack” destroyed all hope that I had achieved the subtly quirky yet sophisticated garment I had wanted.
I slept on it. I wore it work. I realized it needs a pair of heels, not my usual flats. I noticed it was comfy as all get out. The soft brushed chambray feels like wearing giant flannel shirt. Soft + comfortable + professional without being stuffy. Isn’t this combination exactly what I wanted? Why be disappointed that it’s not as flattering as a fit and flare which, cute as they are, I can’t stand wearing for more than a couple hours? I’ve worn this work quite a lot. It’s become a go-to, part of my regular biweekly rotation. I would wear it weekly if I didn’t think people women would notice.
If success is measured in comfort and use, this one turned out to be a dark horse winner.
Excuse the wrinkles. The only drawback to sewing my own clothes is that by favoring cotton and linen I have added to my ironing chore.