Random Thoughts and Anecdotes

Just needed to get something off my mind, and I figured I might as well post it here.  If you aren’t into the personal melodrama type blogging you can skip down a few paragraphs and read about sewing…

But, first, a bit of a personal ramble:

Have you ever knowingly made a stupid decision?  I mean, I am confident I made the right decision.  I just also know it was the stupid decision at the same time.  See, I have been sort of delaying reality in the pursuit of higher education.  Which was always going to come to an end eventually, and with recent publications that somehow equal “progress towards the degree,” the time grows near.  Which means reality cannot be denied much longer.  However, after spending several years focused on my field of study, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t actually like what I am doing.  Part of it is knowing that there are some things I have lost or given up pursuing this goal, and knowing that the trade off really wasn’t worth it does taint it quite a bit.  Part of it is realizing that my strengths and skills could be better applied elsewhere.  Part of it is just being burnt out.  In any case, a really great opportunity for a future career came my way.  The sort of job that is the reason people spend over twenty years in school.  The sort of job parents love to brag about.  The sort of opportunity that is a no-brainer.  Except, well, I just don’t think I can face a lifetime of doing what I am doing.  The past few months I have even been questioning if I have enough in me to finish what I am doing now.  So, I turned it down.  Which, given the state of the world and my current position in life, was a really, really stupid decision.  But, I also have no doubt in my mind that it was the right one.  I realize that my decision here will make my future more difficult, but, I am hoping, it will also make it more rewarding.  It has been a long while since I have cared about my real-world work (part of the reason I have become so sewing-obsessed this past year), and I hope that at least knowing there is an end of the tunnel will help me reach it.  Remains to be seen how this will all work out, and could be I am kicking myself over my own stupidity, but for right now, for the first time in several years, I am finally happy with the direction my life is moving (however slowly) and I am actually looking forward to figuring out where it is going to go.


And now for a slightly less boring, sewing ramble:

Ok, so I finally had to deal with stash organization this week – my recent purchases have been sitting around in bags, which isn’t exactly conducive to actually moving around in my living space.  Not that I have been doing much moving around – I have had the cold from hell the past few weeks (the cough and congestion persist, but the sewing mojo and energy have returned enough that I am going to consider myself “better”), which only contributed to the non-organization.

Anyway, I finally got around to organizing it all, which essentially meant going through my entire fabric stash.  See, at the moment I have my fabric stored in plastic bins, mainly because I have a sun-roof window thing in my apartment where the fabric is located, and I want to prevent discoloration and UV-damage as much as possible.  And I store fabric based on type – I have a bin for knit solids, knit prints, bottomweights, wovens for shirts and dresses, jacketing, lining, and wool coatings.  Oh, and three bins of skating fabric – one for competition worthy fabric, one for practice dress fabric, and one of leftover fabric (which is surprisingly useful when you make things like skating costumes – you can often use scrap bits of fabric in a design).  Not to mention a cardboard box full of fabric that is earmarked for muslins.  And a bag full of random scraps.  Oh, and another bag full of my partner’s fabric.  And a bag full of my sister’s fabric.  And a few bolts of things like muslin and lining for skating costumes.  And the box of fabric for my sewing challenge items…

Ummmm, yeah, anyway, so I am finally getting around to organizing it all and now I really want to sew up fun things for me!  Nothing like going through the stash to get you full of ideas, and motivation, and sewing mojo.  I want to make springy dresses, fitted blazers, pants, and more sewing challenge items.  But, well, I just don’t have the time!  Aside from killing my desire to do anything but sleep, the sewing mojo was non-existant this past week and I am behind in my costume-making journey. Add to that the need to sew for two other people… well, I can’t justify making myself a pretty spring dress when I should be spending my sewing time hand-stitching appliques or glueing rhinestones.  So yesterday I decided to impose on myself the following:  No non-skating sewing shall happen until the 5 pieces I have to make for regionals are finished.  Two are sewn, one is half-done, and two I have yet to make.  All of them need embellishment.  And, even though I still have about two months, that isn’t all that much time, especially when I have limited hours near the sewing machine, and even more limited access to the bodies I need to fit.  So, I was feeling really creatively frustrated because I am having too many ideas and not enough time to sew them all!

Of course, this morning I saw the latest Contest on Pattern Review – The “Best Of” Contest!  Basically, you can choose any one pattern from the Best-Of List of 2009, 2010, or 2011.  And, as I may have rambled on about in a previous post, my main problem with a lot of these patterns is that many of them are easy-to-make knits in simple shapes.  But, well, seeing as how I just got a bunch of knits from the Loft, and how I am short on time, and how I am itching to make a non-skating sewing project, this might be the perfect opportunity to enter a contest and scratch my creative itch without taking up a ton of time (I really wanted to enter the RTW contest as it would also be part of my year-long sewing challenge, but my RTW knockoff is going to be a very time-intensive project and I just don’t have the time to do it right now).  I decided that if I am going to enter this challenge (1) it has to be a new-for-me pattern (2) it has to be a pattern for a knit, (3) the pattern and fabric have to come from my stash, and (4) it has to be fast to sew up.  So, of the 30 pattern options I actually own 8 of them.  I have already made one (M6078) and another four aren’t easy knits (J2908, M5522, M5525, S2451).  Which leaves me with three options:


Right now I am debating between the Vogue dress (so easy, looks amazing on everyone and EASY) and the Simplicity pattern (which I was going to make up anyway as part of my challenge).  Hmmmm…. I think the Vogue dress is winning out purely because of the time crunch.  Ok, this is so getting cut out today…


And now, since I have bored you with a personal ramble and a sewing ramble, I will attempt to make it up to you with a sewing anecdote in which I am somewhat snarky and possibly entertaining:

As you may recall, I did quite well on my recent trip to the LA fashion district.  And, you might also recall, I mentioned that I went on said trip with a bunch of people from skating.  Of course, I was the only one who bought non-skating fabric, and quite a lot of it, from the Loft.  Which, as most home seamstresses would know, means I really got a pretty kick-ass deal (can you say $1.20/yard?) on a lot of fabric that I am (eventually) going to use to make a lot of different things.

Anyway, the first day that I saw a few of the people who had been on the shopping trip, one of them asked me, with a somewhat skeptical and accusatory voice, “So, what are you going to do with all that fabric?”

Well, this is one of those people who has never actually done anything to make me dislike them, yet they somehow have always given off an “I dislike you muchly” sort of vibe in my direction.  And so I have just never particularly warmed to them either.  However, this past week they have been acting all nice and buddy-buddy.  Of course, they also now know that I sew.  Probably won’t be sewing for them, but regardless, the timing on that particular behavioral change didn’t escape me one bit.

Anyway, despite their effort to make nice, the tone of the question still implied that I had to provide an answer to the question of what exactly was wrong with me?  The snarky bee-yatch in me actually had quite a few somewhat socially taboo responses all lined up:

*Nothing.  I am actually a hoarder and I just buy things in an attempt to block out the sun from my living spaces.

*Eat it.  They are actually going to film me for that “Strange Addictions” show in a few weeks…

*I use it for weight lifting.  It is plenty heavy, but won’t break my foot when I drop it.

*Oh, I don’t actually sew it, I just toss it on the floor and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.

My actual response was “Make clothes.”  Quite a bit more boring, if somewhat more accurate.  Though it may have been delivered with the tone that a teen would use when explaining technology to their parents.  It took much effort to refrain from finishing my statement with “Duh.”

The reply: “You make all your clothes?!”  Alarm, and a slight incredulity.  The tonal implication somehow making me feel like I was in one of those crappy teen movies where the poor kid makes their own clothes and everyone makes fun of them for being the poor kid, regardless that they are probably better dressed than their peers.

My response: “I do now.” And I skated off.  I dislike wasting practice time with idle chit-chat, even when it is about sewing.

So, I am going to ask – was I too harsh?  I am giving home seamstresses a bad name?  Do you ever get asked innocent questions in a way that just totally puts your back up?  And, if you feel like being a bit snarky today – what response would you give someone who asked what you do with all your fabric?

9 thoughts on “Random Thoughts and Anecdotes

  1. I totally loled at the thought of swimming around in your fabric like Scrooge McDuck. (how did he keep from hurting himself. swimming in gold can't be comfortable!)

    It's best to skate away form some people!


  2. Ugh, I totally know that feeling. I once had a “friend” (in quotes because I didn't really feel she was a real friend, just someone who came along with the rest of the group that I liked to hang out with) ask me, “So, what's with this sewing thing?” and the way she stressed the words “sewing” and “thing” made me feel like she looked down on it and wondered why the heck I bothered. My hubby said she was probably jealous but I think some people just don't understand having a hobby (although I don't like to refer to my sewing as a hobby) or anything else in their life. I chose to feel sorry for her instead and get on with enjoying being the super creative gal that I am ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Wow, that first bit is the inside of my brain for like the last two years. Good luck! I know I'm hanging on by my fingernails (and yes, sewing as a result)

    I really like the scrooge mcduck answer to your snarky “friend” ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. No, you were definitely not too harsh. My response would probably have been “what do you think people usually do with fabric?”. Or why do you want to know? Or do you really think that is any of your business? I love answering slightly rude questions with questions. It is fun, and the best part is, the people that ask them usually leave you alone after you question them back.

    Isn't it interesting how some people rub us the wrong way from the start, I always wonder why that is.

    PS-good for you in making the right and stupid decision, it was very courageous.


  5. I just can't get on board with the Vogue–I feel like it will emphasize my belly and de-emphasize my waist, which is exactly what I don't need! The Simplicity is a good one for me. I've made it before and will try to get around to it again during the contest.


  6. Yeah, I kinda feel like the Vogue might be a risk (or a reason to invest in Spanx!), but I figure if I *really* hate it I can cut off the skirt, keep it as a top (which I believe is allowed for the contest) and use the skirt yardage in another project. Also, while I really like the fabric I am using, it was only about $1.20/yard, so it won't be a great financial loss if it does end up a wadder. Or a great time loss either, since it looks so easy to throw together. I do worry a bit about the tummy issue, but I figure I won't know if I don't try.


  7. This is a biased answer, but knowing skating people, you weren't harsh (your answer would probably rate “nice” or even “sweetly” on a skating “bee-atch” scale). However I do like your other answers, and part of me wishes you had given one of those instead. However, I think you said and did the right thing. This mystery “friend” probably thinks making your own clothes implies not being able to afford buying ones from a store (like in Pretty in Pink?), and she doesn't understand that you can get a better fit by making your own thing for your own body (as you have explained to me before). So she is just naive…though her tone was probably unnecessary. And besides, I know you already know this, but what matters more? Her snarky tone and misunderstanding, or how awesome you feel in your new coat, or top, or dress? Obvi the later!

    And I also think you did make the right decision. If it's not right for you, then it's not right.


  8. And here I thought I was the only one not on board with the Vogue! I'm convinced it will accentuate my hips and thighs, while failing to draw attention to my bust and waist. THis is the opposite of my entire sewing strategy. LOL

    BTW – I think your decision about the job is brave, not stupid.


  9. Thanks for the encouragement about the job Clio – I think I have just had too many people telling me what I should/shouldn't do with my life (you won't like this, your too good to do that sort of a thing) and after a while it just kinda eats at self confidence and resolve.

    And, as for the Vogue… ummm… yeah… Definitely not made for those of use with thighs.


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