Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just under the wire

I finally finished up my entry for Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing Design Challenge. It's very interesting how much I have learned about myself as I worked on it. And it worked hand in hand with a couple other things to enlighten me. First off, here is my entry.

One of the things I have learned recently is: I have no style. I mean, current style. I used to have style, in my own way. But ever since I had kids, it has just been whatever I can cram myself into that doesn't have holes in it. And recently, that has been an incredible challenge. Apparently I can only go about 2 years without buying a pair of pants before I have holes in every single knee - right and left, though left always goes first.

Second, I am fat. Oh, you wouldn't think it to see me on the street, no. But I am. Fat enough that when I went to try on dresses to wear to my brother's wedding in June? Oh, I can't even tell you how awful it was. I can never show my face in J Crew again.

So I have had to think a lot about style to do this project. What was it that used to drive my style, and how do I recreate that in an adult sort of way. In high school and college, I had one pair of ripped patched jeans. ONE. I also wore cargo pants long before it was cool. And Chucks long before they were cool. In fact, 7th grade was sheer torture because Keith Cronin refused to stop teasing me about them, and I refused to stop wearing them. Keith, I'm sure you have grown up now. I forgive you.

Other than that, I wore collared shirts, white v neck t-shirts and a jean jacket with Darth Vader on the back. So my style is simple, first off. And moderately tailored. But with a little kick. I can't wear Chucks anymore, to my great dismay. Now I wear Birkenstocks 24/7. I own the two pairs on my worksheet and one other pair. Grownup feet need more support. Sigh.

So I went into Kohl's the other day to buy Blue a swimsuit. And while I didn't find her an appropriate swimsuit (Gag - no, not Hannah Montanah, pleeease!) I did stumble into the women's clothing section. Believe me when I say that Kohl's has been there for 3 years and I have never been in the women's section before. I have been in the section right in front of you as you walk in, but never in the women's section in the corner. You know, with the slightly preppy stuff. Hm, now that's interesting. My friends would never describe me as preppy, but - moving on.

So I went to the sale rack on a whim and grabbed a few things to try on. And I scored a velvety black cropped jacket for 90% off of $80. And it's cute. It gave me hope, and I dragged a few other things in to try on. (Ivy was thrilled as you might imagine.) I have a very smart friend who said recently (right before the dress-shopping horror episode) "Just try on some things you would never try on and see how they look." This is just what my mother said to me during the prom-dress-buying horrorshow of '88. But on my way from the sale rack to the changing room, I grabbed things at random, in many sizes (because I don't even know what size I am). And I came away with not only the jacket, but a cute black bias cut skirt for ($3!), a white t-shirt with a knot between my boobs that looks fantastic (who woulda thunk it?) and a flowy shirt with a square cut neck - also adorable. Yeah, and a new pair of jeans with no holes.

I apologize if I am rambling. I am on my 8th cup of coffee.

Anyway lately I've been thinking a lot about fashion. What would I want if I had a weekend all alone to sew? What would really be my style? What would look good, not just frumpy. First, I made a few rules for myself. I wanted everything to be mix and match - Grrranimals style. And I was kind of stuck on the combination of red and light blue/aqua that I saw on the Feathered Friends fabrics. I am very much a fan of blue, white and green, but red is a different color for me. So I made a few things red, but my stock items are blue and white. My clothes were not allowed to have any dangly things. Ivy and Blue are awful with anything like ties on my pajama pants and such. Nothing like giving a kid a handle to undress you. I don't wear earrings or bracelets or necklaces for the same reason. But I am a fan of rings. And I haven't looked at rings in a long time either.

So I'm pretty pleased with my contest entry, and now I own a couple new things that make me feel better about myself, and I think I'm actually inspired to make myself something. It's easy to make cute stuff for kids. Kids are naturally cute. And so it always feel productive and rewarding. But I need to feel good about me, too. Seriously. And to that end, Jason and I bought an elliptical machine. And I have been on it every day. Every day but one. And so has he.

Okay, before I go on and on. Let me tell you about Blue. She desperately wanted to be a part of the clothes designing team. But really she just wanted to trace what I had done.

So I let her trace for a while, but then she got a little carried away and drew all over my entry.

Please notice the multi-legged pig on the bottom left. Blue is obsessed with pigs. On the right you will see three 'mermaids' Letters A, B and C. She handed this to me and said "Which one is different?" and then screamed with glee "A! Do you see? A has a flower in her hands!" A also doesn't look so much like a reptile, but I didn't mention that.

And even the page that she didn't draw all over was destroyed. Are those greyhound footprints on this page? Smudges from the floor in the car? I swear, these pages have been carried around everywhere with me for weeks trying to get finished.

Today, as I was trying to finish up, Blue wanted to do some more tracing. I told her she couldn't because I had already drawn these things three times (I can't even find the first incarnation) and I didn't have time to do it again. Besides, designers design their own clothes. She told me she was not good at that, and I convinced her to just draw what she would want to wear. And here it is:

The item on the left is a rainbow bathing suit. On the model is an "American" suit. But don't let's get carried away. After she was finished, Blue told me she really wouldn't wear that American suit. Same old story. But I'm so proud of her. She described it to me in detail and obviously put a lot of thought into it. I wonder if she should win a prize? I doubt she'd be all that into Weekend Sewing, but maybe I should get her a sketch book and a box of colored pencils?

Did I ever mention I love being a Mom? Even with all the hassle and exhaustion. It is amazing to watch these little people grow and learn and create. Awesome.

Now I have to go empty the bathroom of everything for the construction which will be happening in there soon. Don't be jealous, I haven't had a sink in two years, or a shower in 8 months. I totally deserve to have a sink and a shower.

Edited to add the links.
The button ring
The square ring with the blue stone

Antique Elgin watch
Red Birkenstock Alma

Birkenstock Milano
Sundance stacking rings

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