2017

I’d like to start by wishing you a happy 2017. May world peace and eternal happiness be forth coming! #optimist

2017 is only 3 days old and I’ve come to the biggest realisation in years. It’s a feeling I’ve had for a while but that I wasn’t able to properly voice or explain until now.

In a few days my blog will be 4 years old (#congratulations) and in those 4 years my life has known many changes and I’ve shared them all with you. As you well know, I became a mother almost 3 years ago and life hasn’t been the same since. I love my kids to death but three years of being either pregnant or on a diet while being sleep deprived has taken it’s toll.

I haven’t felt like myself in a while. Especially since I’ve gone back to work. Being an introvert, it’s always difficult to start teaching at a new school, but this year round it seemed even more daunting than ever. Like I’ve gone about this one to many times and I just don’t have the energy to do it all over again.

While I got my household affairs and the care for my kids in order, schoolwork and hobbies fell to the background, as did taking care of myself.

I’ve been struggling with my body for the past 11 months. I’ve gained weight since I gave birth, so I can’t really blame the baby. And while I don’t think I’m fat or unhealthy, this body just doesn’t feel like my own. I thought it would get better but it doesn’t. Especially since in my mind I’m still as skinny as I was pre-baby (or in between babies). My aesthetics haven’t changed either, but what once made me feel da bomb, now looks ridiculous.

All in all, I’m going through a major identity crisis style wise.

While a non-sewist would just go shopping and try out new outfits, I felt obliged to sew every single one of my garments. Needless to say this wasn’t happening, especially since I was sewing out of necessity rather than fun. I was sewing because I needed new clothes to wear. Which limited my projects to either fast fashion, finished in an evening or failed garments because I didn’t have to energy to sew a muslin.

I noticed that my sewjo was fading and that I was only sewing when I forced myself to. I felt guilty when I just wanted to watch TV or read a book. I felt like I had no time at all to sew, but when I did, I procrastinated so long, that there wasn’t any time left to actually sew. It didn’t stop me from planning and buying fabric though and I thought that if I bought just the right piece of fabric all my problems would be solved.

Obviously that didn’t happen. So I realised that feeling bad about a self imposed rule/agreement/deadline is just foolish. I shouldn’t feel bad because I’d rather watch tv than sew.

So I’ve decided to start 2017 afresh. I’ve cleared away all my sewing machines, made myself a little reading nook, occupied some more desk space for schoolwork, because I need a sewing break. I need to break this vicious cycle. I need to want to sew instead of having to sew.

I still love sewing, just not now and not for this body. That being said, this blogpost might just be the kick in the butt I needed to get my sewjo back, but if it isn’t, so be it.

I’ll still read blogs and sewing magazines and drool over fabric, I’ll just slow it down to what I truly feel like doing.

That was it!

xoxo

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Laundry Challenge: Conclusions

I´ve learned a lot of things the past two weeks, so let me share them with you!

  1. I have enough clothes to get me through 2 weeks minimum. I didn´t do laundry for 2 weeks and we´ve only had warm weather so I haven´t even touched the pants/long sleeve t-shirts/cardigans I had selected.
  2. There is no need to throw something in the laundry when it´s only been worn once and not dirty.
  3. I´ve got hardly any laundry now!
  4. I felt pretty good in my clothes the past 2 weeks. So no need to go emergency sewing!

BUT

(there is always a but)

Look at the pictures I pulled from my own IG feed:

 

These are my favourite outfits and they all have things in common:

  • dresses
  • dark colours or jewel tones
  • chambray
  • leopard print
  • belts
  • bolt necklaces/scarfs
  • boots

 

The thing is, I don´t do Summer clothes. I am not a Summer person. I like sunshine, but I don´t like heat. I like layers and I like boots. I like Autumn ´till early Spring. On top of that, I don´t like separates. (unless they are maxi-skirts or wrap tops) I gave it a try, but I just don´t like them. I especially dislike pants and t-shirts. Give me a dress and I´m happy! Not too short, because I don´t like showing my legs too much. Not that I don´t like my legs, I just don´t like showing them. Give me a tunic with a pair of leggings and I´m just as happy. I don´t like button up shirts unless they are chambray. I just don´ t do buttons. I don´t do zippers. I like flowy fabrics, lightweight, movable. My dream fabric is rayon jersey. It´s just a shame that they are hard to come by in nice dark prints.

So basically I´m not a person made to own a wardrobe fit for breastfeeding. And that has been my problem for the last 6 months. Don´t get me wrong, I love breastfeeding and I´m planning to keep doing it but I don´t like wearing accessible clothes. AT ALL! I don´t like altering clothes for breastfeeding, I hate the whole concept. I´m over it, let´s move on. And take the stupid heat wave with you! #endrant

(I think I might be exhausted from night time feedings and in need of a nap.)

Long story short: Enough clothes for Summer, let´s start prepping for Autumn!

 

Laundry Challenge Week 2: Round-up

Week 2 and also the final week of this Two Week Laundry Challenge. If you are new, find all about it here. If you missed the first round-up, you can find it here.

Week 2 was less about deciding the pros and cons of each outfit and more about determining why these outfits didn´t work before.

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This is one of the ´forgotten´ dresses. I think everyone woman has at least one item of clothing which she likes but somehow it still ends up at the back of her closet and it rarely gets worn. It certainly applies to this dress. I bought this dress last summer early on in my pregnancy. I had spend ages looking for a wrap dress that didn´t wrap around my belly button (Seriously, I knew I had a short torso but this was ridiculous) so when I came across this navy surplice dress on sale I snagged it up. I only wore it a few times during my pregnancy because after a few times the elastic didn´t play nice with my growing belly anymore. I don´t know why I didn´t dig it out sooner this summer but I´m glad I finally did. It´s neutral, can be dressed up or down and it´s perfect for nursing.

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Many many years ago, I bought a maxi skirt (I think the last time the boho trend was fashionable so maybe a decade ago) which was so long (short legs) that I would have to cut off 10¨ in order for it to be wearable. I never did because I didn´t know how to sew. When I finally did, I attached it to a strapless tube top because I wanted a maxi dress. I usually wear it with a short sleeved jersey cardigan but it was just too hot.

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I opted for cut off leggings and a t-shirt on Friday because I couldn´t handle the heat anymore (and neither did baby) so I wasn´t planning on leaving the house. I felt okay in this outfit until my aunt paid me an unannounced visit and I felt frumpy.

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Friday = Ice cream day (it´s just an excuse), so I had to put on something a little more decent to go get it. So I changed out of the leggings and t-shirt and into my new dress.

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I made this skirt last Summer thinking an elastic waistband Megan Nielsen Brumby would be the best thing since sliced bread, It could have been if I hadn´t used elastic to gather it and just used an elastic as a waistband. But I didn´t so the waist ended up really bulky, which looked aweful as a high waisted skirt. When I pulled it lower, my swayback made sure my skirt was 6¨ longer in the front than in the back. I really loved the fabric so I wanted to wear it again, so I chopped off the waistband and I asked my hubby to pin the hem for me… Shouldn´t have done that, it ended up being totally crooked and I ended up chopping off even more to straighten it out. It´s now under the knee length instead of midi length and I´m not sure yet what I think of it.

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This is the other version of the t-shirt that sales lady didn´t want to sell me, with one of my new Moss skirts. Although the skirt doesn´t look tight and is made in my size, it feels tight. I actually only wore this for 15 minutes and then changed into a stretch denim Moss skirt which was far more comfortable.

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On Sunday evening the t-shirt + moss combo had become too warm and I had to go to dinner at my inlaws so I changed into this maxi-dress. This dress started out as a muslin 2 years ago but it had gotten quite a lot of wear last Spring and last Summer. I really love it in Summer, but it´s too bright to wear through to autumn.

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I really really like this outfit. It could become my momiform because True Bias Hudson + Cashmerette Appleton Top are secret pajamas that looked pulled together enough to go to work. Sadly, it was way too hot to wear this yesterday. So I took it off and slipped into my tank dress again. But I need a few more of these for autumn and work.

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I made this Made By Rae Washi Top when I was pregnant with my eldest. I still love it a lot, especially the colours. It´s the only garment made out of quilting cotton I own/wear. It still fits even though I technically need an FBA to get the fit right. It´s not really noticable (especially for people who don´t sew) but the bust dart is about an inch too high. The waistline also doesn´t cover the bottom inch of my bust 😀 Nothing I´m really bothered by so I´ll wear it just the same. The shorts are the ones I made last week. They are comfy but if I make them again, I´ll straighten out the side seam so they don´t cling to my tighs.

This challenge has opened my eyes to some things, first of all that I need a lot less clothes for 2 weeks than I actually think. All the other conclusions would make this post way too long, so stayed tuned for the next one.

 

 

Laundry Challenge Week 1: Round-up

I´m halfway through my Laundry Challenge (read all about it here) and it´s going really well.

I put the rack of clothing right next to my bed so I can see all my clothes when still lying in bed. It makes me really happy each night and each morning to see them hanging there and deciding what I want to wear.

Big Win Number One: I´m excited about wearing my clothes.

I´ve noticed that since there are fewer items to choose from, I don´t get overwhelmed, don´t feel the need to change 500 times and I´m instantly happy with the choices made.

Big Win Number Two: Time saving.

I´ve felt great each day. I hadn´t been feeling all that well these last couple of weeks/months and I know I said I wasn´t going to care about the extra weight but I still do. I don´t want to, but deep down, the extra weight made me feel sad and I felt like I had nothing that made me look good. By choosing the stuff that I liked/loved, I´ve felt great each day the whole week. That´s the first time in months!

Big Win Number Three: Feeling better about my body!

I´ve already refashioned some me-mades that didn´t get worn. Two of those have now been worn and deemed ¨successfull¨.

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Big Win Number Four: More love and less waste!

The Outfits!

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I started off my week with an RTW outfit. This tunic dress is actually a night gown I bought as a birthing shirt 2 years ago. I bought two and this one didn´t get worn in the hospital so I kept it and I love wearing it with navy blue leggings. It´s comfortable and breezy and I´ve copied the shirt a few times. It´s not really suitable for nursing but since I spend most days at home it´s not really a problem.

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This skirt was my first refashion of the week. I call it refashion, you could call it an alteration. I love the fabric for this skirt and used the Myrtle skirt lengthened into a maxi as a pattern. At the time I thought it was a good idea to just use an elastic waistband but it turned out too high waisted and it was never really comfortable. I think I wore it once or twice last Spring but it just didn´t work as it was. So I took off the waistband and added a yoga style waistband instead. It´s still a maxi skirt (even slightly longer now since it sits on my hips) but it´s much more comfortable. I really like the fact that this waistband doesn´t show under my tops.

The t-shirt I´m wearing is actually the traced version of the tunic I wore on day 1. It´s supercomfortable and matches this skirt perfectly, but it didn´t get worn much because it was slightly too short to wear with regular skirts or pants.

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These trousers are my tester version of the Paprika Patterns Amber trousers. I loved wearing them but they are slightly too big and the front crotch was too short. This has been changed in the final pattern so I think I just need to sew a new version of these. Because they are too big around the hips they make my legs look really short. (and they aren´t all that long to begin with)

Top is a simple RTW shirt. I was in doubt between picking this one (think Closet Case files Nettie with scoop neck and medium back) and a more loose fitting dartless woven blouse. I felt great in this t-shirt so when the sales lady told me I should go with the dartless blouse because I needed to hide my big boobs and tummy, I bought two of these t-shirts. I haven´t regretted it for a second 😀

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I made this dress last year after getting pregnant. I was over the moon with this dress but somehow it got pushed to the back of my closet and each time I wanted to wear this, it just didn´t feel right. Somehow, now it did and I felt amazing all day!

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I made three muslins for Simplicity 1064. This is the result after I took it in 8cms on each side. I´ve gone down 3 sizes (to the smallest size in the pattern) since and it still doesn´t fit like I want it to. This one is comfortable but I need to wear a top underneath because otherwise it´s the most indecent piece of clothing ever… I do like the silhouette with the leggings though, so I´m going to let it simmer for a while to see if I want to revisit the pattern.

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I had been saying for weeks that I needed shorts so when temperatures went up that day I had no choice but to make some during baby naptime. True Bias Hudson pattern to the rescue! I´m glad I did, they are not perfect but since I don´t often wear shorts they are good enough and will get worn a lot.

The t-shirt is another one based on the tunic from the first day but the twin needle hem came undone after a couple of wears and it has always been slightly too long. I shortened it by 2,5¨ and it´s much better now!

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This maxi skirt was part of a Myrtle maxi dress but the white top part got stained so it didn´t look nice anymore. I had a two seam tunic in the same fabric so I shortened the tunic to a top and used the chopped off fabric to turn this chopped of skirt into a maxi skirt with yoga style waistband! I thought about dying it because I wasn´t sure I still liked the taupe stripes but I decided to wear it out first and then decided.

The top is a Seamwork Mesa shortened into a top and given a much larger neckline. Same problem here, it turned out slightly too short so it didn´t get worn. Problem solved.

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They predicted super high temperatures for the next three days so I wanted something really breezy to wear. I had already taped the Groove Dress pattern so I altered the neckline and armholes based on an RTW tank in order to create a flowy tank dress. I added a binding to the neckline and armholes. I left the hem raw because it doesn´t fray and because it dips lower in back and front than the sides do and I wasn´t looking forward to hemming all those curves. It was the perfect dress to wear on a very hot summers’day, sadly I managed to get massively sunburned so I have to spend the last hot day inside.

What I´ve learned so far:

  • I love pockets in clothes but somehow I´m too lazy to add them.
  • I prefer low necklines.
  • I keep forgetting to take my boobs into account when decided on a t-shirt length.
  • Accessories finish off an outfit!

I´m looking forward to what next week brings!

The challenge in the laundry conundrum!

Thanks for your responses on yesterday´s post, I´m glad to hear that I´m not the only one.

I finished laundry today (yes, it took me two days…) and the advantage of having all your clothes clean at the same time is that you can really really look at them.

I´ve decided to conduct a little experiment:

I selected the clothes that I liked best out of my entire wardrobe. This wasn´t as easy as I thought because most of my beloved clothes are either too small or not suitable for breastfeeding. Of the ones left, I selected the items on the rack in the picture.

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I´m going to try and work with these clothes only for the next two weeks. I figured that if I have two weeks worth of clothes, I have my bases for summer covered. (Belgian summer = every type of weather imaginable but mostly rain and very humid)

Does this mean I will not sew for the next two weeks (or afterwards)?

Ofcourse not BUT when I sew it should follow these rules:

  • I need that item of clothing (i.e. I do not own shorts, I should sew shorts)
  • I´ve already cut out the pieces (i.e I cut out a pair of Hudson Pants over the weekend, they can still get sewn)
  • I can refashion items that otherwise would not get worn or would be thrown away (i.e. I have some t-shirts I like but don´t wear because the neckline gapes or they are slightly too long = easy alterations)

My goal is not to have a small mix-and-match wardrobe in the end, because mix-and-match doesn´t work for me. But I want to have a smaller workable wardrobe filled with pieces that´ll actually get worn.

What do you think? Crazy or doable?

 

 

On doing laundry

I was doing laundry just now and it got me thinking. (I hate doing laundry so when I do, it usually takes so long, that I have a lot of extra time to think)

My husband has the exact same wardrobe (give or take a few pieces which had to be replaced) as when I met him 5 years ago. I bought him some new pairs of jeans because the old ones wore out or he gained a few pounds and needed new ones. He got a few new t-shirts to replace others. I even had to force him into buying new shoes because he had been wearing the other pair since before I met him.

When I look at my wardrobe I don´t think I can name a piece of clothing that I owned for more than 5 years. Maybe one cardigan, which I love to pieces and I refuse to let go off. But all the rest of my clothes are still relatively new. I could say this is due to getting pregnant and my changed body afterwards but this would only be part of the story. The biggest part is due to the fact that I learned how to sew 4 years ago. I took up sewing because I needed a hobby and because I usually don´t fit into RTW, but it sucked me into a downward spiral of making clothes and discarding them just as fast.

I´d love to say that I make clothes so poor children shouldn´t but the thing is that all this waste of fabric can´t be environmentally healthy, something I´m usually quite aware of in other aspects of my life.

The problem is that I constantly feel like I have nothing to wear (I know, sounds like a typical woman problem) so I make new things, but it has to go so fast that I don´t have/take the time to create pieces I absolutely adore.

I wanted to make clothes so I wouldn´t have to buy them anymore and I hoped it would save me some money. We all know that this is bullshit. Once you get the habit of buying fabric, you don´t stop, because you need a stash. And now that I have a stash and I know how to sew, I don´t want to buy clothes because I feel I could do it better/cheaper myself.

But when I bought clothes, the pieces were (more or less) carefully considered and I loved them more.

So how do I fix this?

Looking back

When I was writing my blog post yesterday, I got annoying with all the random categories and tags so this morning I sat down, deleted all my categories and tags, made new ones and assigned them to all of my old blog posts.

Here´s some stuff I discovered about myself:

  • I have a lot of posts in the ´Random Ramblings´ category… Apparently I like to ramble, especially in 2013.
  • I wrote more blogposts in 2013 than in 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined.
  • I had A LOT of free time pre-baby!
  • I described my house as ¨requires minimum amounts of work¨ ROFL ! 3 years later, ending nowhere in sight!
  • Back in 2013, everything sewing related fit into a 6×4 foot space. That´s less space than my notions take up now.
  • I was going to sew from stash in 2013, 2014, 2015, … still not doing it.
  • I was going to stop buying patterns in 2013, 2014, 2015,… still not doing it
  • In 2014 I wrote that animal print is ´not my thing´… Who was this crazy lady! Bring on the leopard!
  • 30 lbs ago I wanted to loose 20 lbs… How on earth was I going to do that!
  • I´ve made A LOT of stuff I didn´t blog about…
  • I´ve made A LOT of stuff I don´t even own anymore.

But it´s reassuring to see that the basics haven´t changed!

  • Still zero patience when it comes to sewing for myself
  • Still addicted to buying fabric
  • Still addicted to buying patterns
  • Still loathe ironing and tracing
  • Still love making a mess, hate working in a mess, run away from mess

And this is for the entire sewing community and my readers (Apparently, I still have some despite the ramblings!)

THANK YOU for all the love and support!

(Special thank you to Gillian, without whom this blog had never started in the first place!)

 

It´s all a matter of perception.

I was scrolling through some unblogged pictures and came across these two. Both pictures were taken in the summer of 2014, when I was about the same size as I am now (only difference is that I had already stopped breastfeeding, so my cup size was a lot smaller)

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The dress on the left (StyleArc Mia) was made for a wedding at the beginning of July, the dress on the right (Colette Truffle) was made for a family gathering at the end of June.

How I felt in both dresses is totally clear from the expression on my face.

  • I liked the dress on the right, but after a family member asked my mother if I was pregnant again (apparently, I looked really pregnant in that dress) it was banished to the closet and only came out again for these pictures.
  • I felt like a million dollars wearing the dress on the left. I had made a muslin, I loved the silk cotton I found and I spend hours finishing it to perfection. I was devastated that it was way too big after I lost weight, but I gave it to a dear friend who loved it as much as I did.

So if I had to chose one, I definitely felt better in the Mia BUT looking at the pictures now, I feel like the Truffle is more flattering to my figure and that I look a lot slimmer in it. I feel like the kimono sleeves on the left add a lot of bulk to my upper body even in a very fluid fabric, the hemline isn´t right for me either, it makes my knees look weird. I didn´t feel good in my body back then (still carrying quite a few pregnancy pounds) but looking at the Colette dress I now think I look quite alright. The fit wasn´t perfect yet and it might be the last woven dress I´ve sewn since, but I think it might be what I´m after right now…

What do you think? Am I correct assuming that the right one is more flattering (objectively speaking)?

 

Thinking about size and shape.

For the first three weeks after baby was born, I was sewing up a storm. She was sleeping when she wasn´t eating and I was happy to be able to sew clothes that weren´t maternity wear. But the last week or two, she´s been sleeping less and crying more so I´ve been spending less and less time in my sewing room. Not in the least because exhaustion of nursing 15 times a day is wearing me down and I just want to lie on the couch. Nothing wrong with that 5 weeks post partum but it´s not really what I want to do.

Obviously, lying on the couch, you start thinking. (My husband constantly tells me that I shouldn´t think as much, but being a woman, that´s an impossible thing to ask.) I started wondering why clothes I really liked making or really liked on others, like my latest Linden, didn´t make me look like I wanted them too. I couldn´t pinpoint the problem.

Until Jodi wrote about her Linden. It really got me thinking about the stuff I want to sew because I like the look and the stuff I end up wearing and feeling good in. Those things don´t really match.

For instance, I absolutely adore Grainline Studio patterns. I love the relaxed look of their designs but they never end up looking as good on me as they do on other people. Reading about Jodi´s Linden made me realise that the way I view myself when I plan clothes and the way my body looks is totally different. Up until now my goal was to sew clothes that made me look like I did when I was 18.

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I wish I hadn´t thrown out that dress!

But I´m not 18 anymore. I´ll never look like that again and that´s okay. My 30th birthday is coming up, I´ve had 2 kids, nobody expects me to look like I did back then. Nobody but me.

I realised that there is a big difference between looking skinny and looking good. I´ll never be as skinny as I was back then, but I can still look that good, even with a few extra pounds (or 40).

Everyone would agree that the girl above isn´t skinny but I would kill to look that good. I told my husband about this and he totally agrees. He thinks I look good whatever size I am and he doesn´t get what all the fuss is about. He´s a sweetie 🙂

So from now on I´m done focusing on looking skinny, I´m going to focus on looking good. And feeling great along the way!

Does this mean I´m going to stop sewing Lindens? Ofcourse not, they´re soooo very comfy but I´m no longer going to feel disappointed that I don´t look like a perfect size 0 wearing them. I´m going to accept my body as it is, although I still want to lose the extra baby weight 😉

What does this imply for my sewing? I went through my old blogposts and thought back about all makes that I ended up really loving and wearing to death. Here´s a small selection:

It´s clear that I like dresses and I like wearing belts to accentuate my waist (which is my smallest part), so I should just focus on sewing and wearing those. I like skirts as well, but I have to avoid high waisted and/or gathered skirts because they add bulk to my tummy area and stop right below my boobs… They really make me look like a fat toddler 🙂

It´s time I started showing off my hourglass shape!

 

Bundle of Joy

As I´m typing this there is a small wonderful bundle of joy snoring away next to me.

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