Thursday, March 15, 2018

My spoonful of sugar

I enjoy many activities but I tend to only do one at a time and immerse myself in it for a while before my motivation dries up and then I move onto another thing. Over the last 7ish months I have been stuck on sewing. This time it's held my attention for much longer than one thing usually does. With all the things we had happening to and around us in 2017 on top of the post-partum mood disorder I get about 6 months after each baby, sewing became an effective stress management tool for me. It's something neutral to focus on which gave my brain a break, and when I accomplished a project it made me feel good.

I realized how reliant I became on this activity to regulate my mood that when I had issues with my thread tension around Christmas. I thought my machine was broken for good and I had a little panic attack. Then a week later-- a Christmas miracle! I figured out the knit fabric I was sewing was the problem and things went back to normal once I switched back to woven cotton. Crisis averted.

I've been sewing long enough in this stretch that I'm learning new techniques and more widely exploring the capabilities of my machine and my creativity. So far the things I make aren't very ambitious, but I try to do things that are useful and economical. I've been recycling a lot of old clothes supplemented by my fabric stash and the Joann Fabric remnants bin.

Behold, a sampling:

I made a lot of clothes for Pepper. (I awkwardly doctored the photos this way on purpose because I know too many people who had photos of their children stolen and republished on social media outlets by creeps pretending they were photos of their own children.)

The Christmas dress that broke my machine. Pattern found HERE.

Pattern purchased from the fabric store. Sleeves adapted from the Christmas dress pattern.

Shirt was constructed from an old pit-stained white shirt of mine with a pattern adapted from THIS DRESS. The circle skirt instructions are found HERE.

Completed just today using my new serger! Pattern HERE.

Last fall I had a moment of "I HATE BUYING SHOES FOR KIDS. WHY ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE AND BAD FOR THEIR FEET? I'M JUST GOING TO MAKE SHOES!" I finally bought this pattern I'd been eyeing and started making shoes for the kids. I experimented with different materials and not all have been successful. Once I got the hang of the pattern I started making booties as baby gifts to go with the nursing pads and bibs I like to make for new moms and their babies.
Tyler's current pair. Deer leather sole and toe, canvas and fleece boot shaft.

Newborn set, cotton and fleece

I pieced the top of this quilt when I was 9 months pregnant and trying to distract myself. I finally finished the rest midsummer. The storage closet of the ladies' organization at church had a ton of random donated fabric whose original purpose is forgotten so I grabbed this bag of cut squares to make a quilt. A lady at church mentioned that her senior living center can always use lap blankets in their transport van so I donated it to them. This was my first time using binding and machine quilting. I've only made tied quilts in the past. My little Brother sewing machine does a surprising good job handling a quilt.

For Halloween we dressed as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I made Pepper's yellow wig and bear hats for Reece and I with this pattern. The baby wore some bear bunting we already had. 

Ready for trick-or-treating

I am particularly proud of this project. I bought this wool coat (paid like $13, original price $109!) around 2006 and wore it all the time in college. Eventually the original lining started to rip around the armpits. In that condition it probably wouldn't be accepted if I donated it to a thrift store, so I determined to re-line it because the shell was still in great shape. I started the process in 2016 with the help of this tutorial but then stopped when I started feeling crappy during my last pregnancy. I was worried I wouldn't be able to figure out where I was in the process because there were so many pieces, but I sat down and focused and figured it out! And now this awesome wool coat has new life! It doesn't fit me anymore so I'm going to give it to a girl at church in exchange for babysitting one of these days.

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