Taking My Own Advice

My chimes are noisy in the fall wind and I can practically smell sharpened pencils, new notebooks and wet pavement as school starts here in the Pacific Northwest. I have a pile of “school year” sewing which really means, sewing for the new season.

I haven’t been blogging, so you probably don’t know that when I recently moved from Seattle to Edmonds (a city so close it touches) I donated 30% or more of my belongings. It was incredibly freeing to remove all the clothes from my life that I didn’t like or didn’t fit. However I find myself actually needing more clothes. Cardigans and sweaters, jeans and athletic gear, and I always need more knit dresses. So what becomes a fun hobby suddenly transforms into a necessary skill. The weight of necessity is heavy, and I find myself not sewing things together.

Summer came and went so briefly I feel like I barely felt the heat. I lived in this shirt I made early on in June, one of a few things I finished. I am wearing it today, as I have worn it most days. It was the perfect match of fabric and pattern. A cotton poly lycra blend for a draped tank top.

draped tank by bird and bicycle

I should clearly be paying attention to Gillian’s “better picture project” tips and tricks as this iPhone picture isn’t the best. What it does show you is my messy cutting table, my comfortable draped tank, and my sewing room (aka storage closet.) The tank has a hi-low hem, and with my usual adjustments it came out fairly fun and easy. I made two of them, and will definitely call this a keeper. I should make a few more for gym work outs maybe… but sewing has felt so tedious of late.

Also on my work table is my new cutting mat. I didn’t think I would care so much, but after using the same one for over 8 years, this new mat makes such a difference! The mat was a 60% off purchase at JoAnn’s, the cheaper fiskar brand, but it has a nice light grey color. I really like a lighter color beneath layers of fabrics. My husband suggested grey to help with color matching. Apparently graphic designers do know something about color, because it actually is a lot better than the dark black or the intense green.

cutting table

You can also see my many works in progress. A Skylander’s button up shirt for my kid. This is a compromise. I want him to learn to open and close buttons but he won’t wear anything that isn’t related to cartoons. It’s a half-button up, like a woven-fabric henley neckline. So when I get frustrated about the buttons he can just pull it over his head too. It’s an Ottobre pattern of course. Also there is a self drafted pair of shorts for me to sleep in. I need to get the elastic in those just so I have another option for sleeping attire. And you can see my planning for “school jeans” for my little guy (note: school started last week). I love articulated knee patches. He is 4 years old since August, and has really taken a whole new approach to “rough housing” so double patches are a necessity.

Kindly ignore the three ziplocks in the back corner. The skirt is from two years ago, the dress even longer. I set them there in June to guilt myself into making them but the guilt isn’t working.

Finally, my last “current project” is some work out clothes. My YMCA membership really paid off this summer, and even thought I have been on break for a couple weeks, I will start again this Monday and keep going. Leggings are great for working out in, for yoga class and weights and the treadmill. I am surprised to discover I enjoy these activities. What I don’t enjoy are ill fitting attire, fabric that stretches or doesn’t snap back into place after being worn once. I am probably plus size. I haven’t ever labeled myself as such, but I am a size Large usually. Is that plus size? Anyway, work out gear doesn’t come in L or even an XL. So here I go, exploring lycra and loving my serger!

bird and bicycle current projects cora leggings

I purchased some anti-microbal “breathable” lycra from Koshtex fabrics and man do I love it. For leggings only, it feels a bit scratchy on my arms but apparently my leg nerves are dull or dumb. I sought the sales, and failed to notice I have blue red and black and it will love very “super hero” in the gym. I am trying two patterns all at once because I like the comparison. Cora Leggings by Jalie and the Duathlon Shorts by Fehr Trade. The shorts I plan to make into padded bike shorts, but I also have the Steeplechase Leggings to make for yoga class.

So these should keep me busy until I start the Jalie hoodie sew a long with Kelly. Or I could start some cardigan sewing from the awesome knits I got at the District Fabrics anniversary sale, or bring my muslin of some Style Arc pants to a friend to help fit, or pick up my Ziggi Jacket muslin and work on that…

Today we had a little party for PinCushionTreats and it was so lovely to be with other sewists. GMarie hosted and hopefully someone took pictures because it was so fun! It has me excited to get blogging again, before the trend fades away, before I only take Instagram photos and stop writing, before I stop sewing altogether. So I am going to take my own advice and put effort into my sewing circle. One stitch at a time.

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10 thoughts on “Taking My Own Advice

  1. I LOVE the idea of you dressed as a superhero at the gym! It sounds like you are putting so much pressure on yourself to do more, be more, make more… I hope you are cutting yourself some slack, too! Feeling like you “should” do anything is a surefire way to make yourself not want to do it – or at least that’s what my husband’s therapist told him! 🙂
    How is the new house? Is it feeling like home?

    • The new house does feel like home! It is a cozy two bedroom, but in a great location as it is a quick drive to everything. And yes, I do put too much pressure on myself. It’s a life long habit I am always trying to not do, but it’s hard you know? I think all I need is to reach out to my sewing pals more often, and chit chat, and maybe re-join twitter, to get some positive sewing vibes going on. And maybe some super hero gym gear is exactly what will do the trick!

  2. So good to see a blog post from you! You’ve been missed. But don’t feel bad about not sewing, finishing. I know I’m there with you – can’t seem to finish anything, sewing a necessity, etc, etc. BUT, I’ve heard this from a lot of bloggers lately. Maybe we should give ourselves a break and just have fun with it? Anyway, so good to “hear your voice” again! Congrats on the move, too (that probably threw your mojo off a little too, always so much going on with a move.)

    • Thank you so much! Yeah I think it was a hard Spring/Summer for many people, sewists bloggers and otherwise. Something in the air, some circadian rhythm, I don’t know what. I am hoping we can all shake it off and move on. Keep sewing! Keep blogging! Keep sharing!

  3. I’ve been having a really hard finishing things lately, too. It’s hard when it feels like a chore. I finally started on a dress I cut ages ago and managed to fluff it up. It’s almost like I can’t read and follow directions anymore. Ha!

    But I bet it’ll all come together eventually. Just work on it here and there and before you know it you will be done!

    Looking forward to seeing your workout pants! I think I told you how I really want to get back into moving my body post baby. Maybe some groovy superhero pants can help with the motivation!

    • Thank you lady! The funny part is, when I count it up, I am actually finishing about 3 pieces a month, but almost all of it is for other people. I need to embrace sewing for others as my primary focus, and just recognize that I dislike fitting patterns to my own body. It’s nearly impossible! And I need to stop comparing myself to other people too. Ha! I am 37 and still growing up! I love your new sewing space so much! It is so inviting! Hopefully post baby you will be more inspired to use it! And we can always work out together anytime!

  4. The Cora running tights is in my sewing cue awaiting a “fabric consultation” with my daughter (which may take awhile 😃). I’ve read great things about this pattern!

  5. Great post lady. I think I missed part of that convo as I was playing with a baby. It’s funny that I don’t feel old enough to be most of your mother!! I love your plans and I think we need to alternate ASG with sewing circle meetings. That are more sewing than eating (although the food today was amazing!). g

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