Thursday, October 28, 2010
In the interests of personal sanity, I decided to work out what I have left if I subtract "summer" clothes and "shop bought" from my wardrobe... and it looks like this:
three pairs not warm enough unless I wear leggings or tights underneath (ugh!)
one pair charcoal grey wool...with baggy knees
Two tweedy and one babycord
Long-sleeved tops: 1
Plum Rockabilly blouse (too big!)
Central Park Hoodie
Pioneer - short-sleeved so borderline useless in winter
Yay! My felted wool coat with brocade lining - love it!
Shawls and scarves: 7
Hooray! No shortage of neckwarmth!
But... OMG! No wonder I have been tying myself in knots every morning trying to get dressed for work!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
- Photo credit: gap.eu
- The shirt is too big for me and rides up, popping out of the waistband of the trousers and causing the collar to rub my ear-lobes. Ugh! Constantly having to tuck in my shirt-tail is none too elegant.
- The grey wool trousers have gone baggy at the knees and are too big at the waist and require a belt to hold them up, so have a pleat of excess fabric which has to be distributed somewhere around my waist.
- The Boyfriend jumper is almost long enough to be a mini-dress and narrows at the hem, so makes my legs look stumpy and emphasises the baggy trouser knees. And the puffy crisp cotton shirt sticks to it and makes me look like a stuffed toy.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Photo credit: Etsy seller linked below.
After a bit of a mopey weekend of failing to progress my blackwatch 50's top beyond the tailor-tacking stage, I gave myself a mental shake and came up with a contingency plan for the tartan wedding.
My first idea was to get some sort of a hair-piece. I am utterly besotted by this.
Yes, that is what you think it is: a mini tartan top hat with a stuffed crow nesting in the crown. I was thinking of wearing it with my wedding coat (floor-length midnight blue, corset-laced velvet if you didn't know me then!) and a cream lace jabot scarf. Sadly, my dear FL did not get the concept. And I had to remember that these getting-married people are his friends and he has to look them in the eye again. And this is rural Aberdeenshire, not the South-of-trendy-England!
So I reined myself in. And took a deep breath. And ordered some red tartan tights and a matching giant tartan bow hair-clip. Heh heh heh. Subversive enough to keep me feeling alive, but not going so far as to have an ASBO slapped on me at the church door! ;)So...I am going to wear the vintage dress I bought for the August wedding, my Irregular Choice rose shoes, and a shawl, accessorised with the giant tartan bow and tights. Sorted.
But if I did happen to get my sewing done in time, I could be a veritable plaid cornucopia. Smirk.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Tara Starlet tartan dress did not fit. It did not fit to a hilarious extent, way beyond the scope of minor alterations.
My daughter looked amazing in it, but crisply informed me that she did not need a Hallowe'en costume this year.
So I returned the dress to TK Maxx. I have therefore reverted to the 1950's blackwatch blouse / satin skirt plan .
Self-portrait of a p-ed off stitcher
School (a four-lettered word)
I believe the London plan may be off. Or on. Who knows? The grown-ups are going to have to talk to each other and make a decision, because it is too much to ask of a 14-year-old girl. All I am sure of is that The Girl doesn't want to go back to school on Monday.
Lots of tears.
Yeah, it's a risk to go to the Big City and have to learn a whole new (r'n'b) culture... but at least it is full of energy and life. A positive step.
I kind of feel it is now a decision for her dad to make. He is the one who is being asked to give up the comfort of separate "his and hers studies" for instant custody of an unhappy teenaged girl.
But if not London... then what?
I have no idea.
FL and I thought about selling the farm and moving somewhere else to get her into another school. But we had intended to stay here as long as FL is alive. It has been his home for over 35 years, and now is not the time for a dramatic uprooting. It is the wrong time of year to sell a farm. And when I leave here, I had hoped it would be to go somewhere far away: Yorkshire? Canada? Who knows! But I had expected it to be much later on, when both kids had left home and FL was no longer with me. My escape plan.
There is a voluntary severance scheme on offer at work, part of a big cost-saving exercise. I am SO jealous of the people who can afford to just give up their jobs and start afresh! It would be ideal for me right now. And yet totally insane. I need the security of a regular monthly income for a few decades to come. As a couple of my colleagues are leaving, one of them next week, I will be absorbing new responsibilities, so it feels like a good career move to stay put. Sigh.
I would love my daughter to believe that life is all about seizing opportunities, not giving in to the bad stuff. But it is a scary step for her to leave what has been her home for 6 years and start again in London. So watch this space.
What a pile of carp.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
We ate out at the Applecross Inn on a couple of occasions - delicious!
Friday, October 15, 2010
With apologies to Ms Garland and her ruby slippers: "this ain't Kansas... but it sure ain't Brighton either!"
I bought the fabric at Ebay, but they also have it at Fancy Moon, and I think it is about time I directed your attention to this purveyor of wild and lovely cotton prints! This was described as "sheeting" and it is definitely less crisp than a quilting cotton. It would make lovely pillowcases!
I used some yellow and white polka-dot bias binding on the inside of the hem - unseen, but it amuses me to know it is there.
If I was to make it again, I would make it about an inch larger through the body.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
I was reading over my last few weeks of bloggery, and realised how incredibly shallow it all has been. SSS has provided an excuse to hide behind appearances and stitching, as if they were the focus of my world.
Actually, there has been a lot going on.
Most notably, my daughter has been having a bad time at school. Such that we are seriously considering moving her. And ironically, the simplest move is the biggest one: for her to go back to London to live with her dad. She has been here with me for 6 years... maybe it is time to share this responsibility a bit more.
So over the past few weeks, I have been preoccupied by the need to identify a "good school"... and then finding out how to get her into it. It is not enough to live in the right place: the school has to have a vacancy, OR be willing to "create" an extra space just for her. SIGH.
14 teachers left her current school over the summer, leaving a demoralised staff, who all appear to have been dragged back from retirement to fill the gaps. They rely on the same worksheets they have been using for the past twenty years. My former-bookworm daughter had lost all interest in learning because school was "boring". It was bad before the summer holidays, but it is even worse now - and this is the first year of her "exam subjects". It is very frustrating.
But worse, her "best friend" turned against her and seems to have started a whispering campaign. There has been all sorts of rubbish plastered on my daughter's Facebook "wall". Damn Facebook - it should be banned in schools! And I told her Guidance teacher this following the "F-book in the library" incident... but she did not think the school management would consider a blanket ban on the site. Why not? What possible educational purpose can it serve to have staff or pupils frittering their lives away on social networking sites during school hours?
So my Girl is bored AND lonely. Fabulous! Teenaged girls can be EVIL.
I issued my Girl with a list of 100 Best Young Adult Books, found here and started reserving them from the local library. So far, she has read 5 and has had intelligent things to say about all of them. She is reading again - phew!
Her dad was given an appointment at the First-School-of-Choice. A "5-minute appointment"! I got all excited, but it turned out to be an opportunity to check her passport and reiterate the admissions criteria... which she does not fit - great! Meantime, I had a very touching email "conversation" with The Girl. I sent her the link to the potential school's curriculum webpages, specifically for English. Her reply read as follows:
YAY cool :D Romeo and Juliet and to kill a mockingbird ;D
She DOES want to learn! And she ought to have that opportunity!
I emailed the neighbouring London borough and discovered they have a vacancy in an "up and coming" school. I am trying to ignore the fact that the space may have occurred when a girl was shot at the nearby chip shop. They have a smart new Headteacher, a sharp new uniform and after-school Japanese lessons (the Girl is obsessed by all things Japanese)! Her dad is asking around to find out if this school is a real option... or not.
So my son has left home, and it seems likely that my daughter will be heading south fairly soon. It's all change.
In London, The Girl will hopefully have the opportunity to start again in a multicultural school where "difference" is the norm and learning is not only promoted but expected. I will be at the end of the phone / email / plane journey and she might actually find me easier to talk to if I am not the one reminding her to clean her room / do her homework!
Will I be upset if / when she goes? Of course I will! But I know it is for the best. And that's what I have to tell her now. It is literally a life-changing opportunity.
When I brought the kids up North, I thought it was the best thing, that a rural life would keep them safe from all the stuff that goes on in an inner city. But actually, small towns are much much worse. Because of the insularity, the provincialism: if you don't fit in you are isolated. You would have thought I would have known this. I suppose I thought things had changed around here. Ha!
So ... "Carpe diem" strikes again! Why do I feel as if I had been slapped round the face by a wet fish?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I filled two bin bags the other night: one is full of my summer clothes and has gone into the storage drawer until the sun shines again; and the other is on its way to the charity shop. There were a few items which caused hesitation. If they were summery, I let them stay (out of sight is out of mind - I'll decide next year!) but if they were wintery, I let them go. Gulp.
Or buy a pair of mad tartan shoes and then wear them to work afterwards, heh heh heh!
Shoes by TUK - so tempting!
But I am definitely not wasting good sewing time working on something I don't actually want / like.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Today I had to open the storage drawer in my wardrobe to find a non-self-stitched skirt which I wanted to wear. Well – what a revelation! What WAS all this stuff? Did I seriously ever wear that floor-length linen panelled skirt? Or the over-wide, too-short t-shirts? Or OMG that far-too-long windowpane check tweed number?
I considered the re-fashioning potential of these gems, but actually I think it’s time they went. Someone else will love them, I am sure.
And I won’t miss them. Because frankly I had forgotten they were there. How sad!
So the positive outcome of SSS is definitely that I am making space to breathe and grow. I have a much clearer idea of what I like and what suits me. And a greater open-ness to letting things go. I swore I would not let clutter build up, so off it goes! Editing.
Since FL gave me some £s to spend on clothing, almost 2 years ago now, I started to note every item I bought, and it has actually not been that much:
4 long-sleeved t-shirts
A pair of sneakers
A pair of shoes
A black polo-neck sweater
2 pairs of jeans
The vintage dress-for-a-wedding
Total cost: just over £550 (that's in two years remember!)
I spent about half as much again on materials: fabric, wool and patterns. Which, considering that stitching is my main leisure interest, is not bad at all: with the added advantage that I get to wear the outcomes!
I have no concept of what other people spend on "fashion", and really it does not matter as long as I am comfortable with my own level of expenditure and what I have to show for it. I know that I choose ethical / organic options wherever possible, which hikes up the price per garment, but hopefully they are of good quality and will last for longer as a result.How about you? Do you have a "clothing budget"? Do you agonize over a single purchase, or have a big splurge every payday?
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
I re-traced the body and sleeve pieces as I realised the tissue would not survive pinning. I am pleased to say the instruction sheet is fairly robust - I needed it!
Working on this shirt required me to change gear and accept that this is a vintage design, not designed for speed-sewing.
There were so many construction details to be processed: multiple darts, gathering, collar, cuffs, sleeve vents, button tab. The "secret" under-cuff embroidery I felt compelled to add.
That crisp poplin shows every pucker. I regret that the faced sleeve vents are a mess of fudgery and iron-shine. Luckily, they are downward-facing.
I could so easily have become disheartened. I accept that knitting is a long-drawn-out adventure, but with sewing, I always expect to see results within a couple of days. Not possible with this project!
However, it is perfectly wearable. And I will wear it. I just won't rush to make another. Although I have seen some crisp turquoise cotton that fits my palette...
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
I really thought I had reached an age where my peers were finished with marriage and were having divorce parties instead. (Sorry! But you know it's true!)
But no, a couple of FL's golfing friends have decided the time is right and have invited us to attend their nuptials in November. Which would be fine... except they have also announced a tartan theme!
So I need something new to wear. In tartan. So help me!
I have that lovely blackwatch brushed cotton in the stash. I am wondering if I could get away with a 50's style blouse using the va-va-voom pattern, but with long sleeves, pairing it with a petrol-blue satin skirt?
I happened to buy the satin from Croft Mill a while back, thinking I would make a slinky sleeveless top... but it turned out to be a rather stiff fabric, completely unsuited to blouse-making.
- Would it work as a bubble skirt?
- Would a bubble skirt work with a 50's style blouse?
- Or should I go for a circle-style skirt?
- Would the resulting outfit work for a wedding?
I am not going to ask for your advice on shoes. I am wearing my red Irregular Choice rose shoes again, no matter what!
The sewing queue has just been thrown out of the window. Again.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Most often worn: Green Bella trousers and Black Japanese jacket: 5 times each, but never together - why not?!
self-stitched trousers: 14 times
skirts: 7 times
most-worn handknit: Central Park Hoodie, which I also wore in the evenings "off blog"
Of things never worn:
Photo: The Seed Packet Skirt of self-conscious craftiness...
I wore lipstick every day!
Moving forward, I realise I need to stop buying flashy cotton prints (Brighton Pavilions* I am looking at you!) and concentrate my self-stitching on building a warm, practical, layer-able wardrobe. Identifying my palette will undoubtedly help: if all my new items fit the colour-scheme, it should be easier to put together a coherent outfit in the morning.
And that's quite exciting! In the past, I have been guilty of making ever-shifting plans, which got conveniently "forgotten" when the next shiny project caught my eye... and ended up with a great big heap of mismatched summer quirkiness. With a clear practical objective and a colour frame of reference, there will still be room for a dash of quirk, but it will "work".
Well... that's the theory anyway! Watch this space!
*P.S. The Brighton Pavilions tunic is nevertheless on its way: it is turquoise and fills the weekend self-stitched clothing gap - woo hoo!