Sewcation Day 7: Alteration exasperation

Sewcation Day 7 - exasperation

This is the face of exasperation.  Do you recognize it?  It’s when you take a week off from work, spend the bulk of 7 full days working on a pattern, and don’t even get to the part where you get to play with nice fabric.  I am tired of working on this muslin.  I am DONE.

Noteworthy happenings from today:

  • I firmly decided to stick with the Robson, after getting *this close* to pulling the trigger on this Burda trench.  Morgan, you crafty temptress!  You almost had me.  If I’m making a mistake, I only have myself to blame!
  • I pre-washed all my fabric.  Everything went through 2 wash cycles on warm and into the dryer.  No disasters to report, thankfully.
  • I transferred all my muslin alterations back to the paper patterns.  I hate that part.
  • I re-drafted the front and back trench coat flaps, which proved to be rather unpleasant.  Details below.
  • I didn’t draft the lining pieces yet, but I’m brainstorming strategies.  Will have to take into account the fact that the interlining and lining don’t stretch, but the fashion fabric does.  What’s the solution – pleats?

Ok, flaps.  FLAPS!!  The back flap wasn’t too bad, but the front flap drove me insane.  I need a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy to bring me a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy who will draft my flaps for me AND bring me a cocktail.

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Sewcation Days 5-6: Updated muslin and thank you!

Sewcation Days 5-6 - pattern alteration zone

Wow, thank you all so much for your thoughtful fitting suggestions!!  This is where being part of the online sewing community is unbelievably helpful and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  :)  Your comments were very thought-provoking, and they helped me to zone in on what issues were bothering me the most, and what (perhaps) I could live with.

First, I decided to stick with the Robson pattern, for now at least.  I haven’t cut into my real fabric yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind!  I suspect most of this has to do with the fact that I’m very stubborn and have sunk so much time and effort into this thing.  It would be satisfying to tame this pattern once and for all.

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Sewcation Day 4: Forge ahead or abandon ship?

Sewing friends, I am at a crossroads with this pattern.  While running errands and cooking for most of the day, I was pondering my fitting issues in the back of my mind.  Can I save this Robson, or should I move on?  I decided to try to fix one more issue and then re-asses.

I was experiencing some tightness across the front upper chest and bust, especially when I moved my arm back.  I’m pointing to the issue below:

Sewcation Day 4 - fitting upper chest 1

So I opened up the princess seams and tried to maneuver the fabric until things felt a bit more comfortable.  I was feeling pretty smug for “discovering” this awesome technique until I realized that everyone does this, LOL.  It definitely helped to fix the tightness across the chest, but it was by no means a miracle cure.

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Sewcation Day 3: Muslin mania

Sewcation Day 3 - sewing machine in twilight

Today was all muslin, all the time.  I cut out and assembled my Robson in plain cotton muslin (and thankfully, I had just enough left over from previous projects).  I tried it on.  I stared at my shoulders.  I pinned, I sewed, I seam ripped, and I pinned and sewed some more.  Then I stared at my shoulders again.  I raised my arms.  I lowered them.  I tugged and pulled and poked and prodded.  Then I took off the coat and declared defeat.  Temporary defeat.

I WILL figure this out.  Just not today.

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Sewcation Day 2: Tracing and flat pattern adjustments

Sewcation Day 2 - tracing

Work on my Robson trench coat continues!  I didn’t touch any fabric today, but I made a lot of headway in preparing for the muslin.  First I traced all the pattern pieces so that I have the originals preserved in case all my adjustments turn out to be total crap.  There are a lot of pieces, so tracing actually took me a few hours.  When tracing, I graded between 3 different sizes based on my measurements: a size 12 in the shoulders and bust, size 10 at the waist, and size 6 in the hips.  This is what happens when the pattern company is drafting for pretty much the opposite of your body type.  I hope I don’t regret my pattern choice!

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Sewcation Day 1: Pattern and fabric

Sewcation Day 1 - assembling PDF

First of all, thank you so much for your very thoughtful messages of support after my last post about work-related stress.  I generally don’t expect to get much feedback on random non-sewing related posts, but it was wonderful to hear your encouraging words, suggestions, and well wishes.  I was really touched – thank you.

After several weeks (months?) of dealing with pressure at work, I’m delighted to announce that I’m taking this upcoming week off from work.  Yes, a whole week to myself, hooray!  Essentially I’m taking my holiday vacation a few weeks late, since I wasn’t able to take it during the usual time.  Unlike the holidays, however, I have no travel plans and have decided to make this an epic sewcation.  I’m thrilled!

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Finding balance in a stressful situation


I have just emerged from a month-long project at work that was challenging, stressful, and exhausting.  I worked for most of the holiday break while everyone else was relaxing, and I finally submitted my project on Friday.  To say that this project took a toll on me is an understatement.  I’m so glad it’s over.

I’m still struggling quite a bit with my new job, both in terms of the work itself and in maintaining some sort of enjoyable personal life outside of it.  The hardest part is dealing with the increased level of stress on a daily basis.  Even if I get home from work at a decent time, I’ve been having a really hard time calming down my mind enough to enjoy anything in the evenings.  I’ve barely been sewing or, for that matter, doing anything other than zoning out in front of the tv before crashing and falling asleep by 9pm.  And I have stress dreams about work every night, ugh.

I’ve been questioning my ability to do several things lately:

  1. Remain in my current field, which will only get more challenging and more stressful as the years go on.
  2. Maintain this blog when I can barely manage to carve out any time for creative hobbies.
  3. Find a new equilibrium in my daily life, something both sustainable and enjoyable.  I feel like I lost this on the day of my thesis defense in August and haven’t managed to get it back since.

I keep telling myself that change is difficult, and it’s only been a few months.  Pushing yourself to learn new skills and take on more responsibility can be challenging and unpleasant, but how else will you grow if you never push yourself?  I’m proud of my progress and, when I step back, I really do enjoy my work.  I just have to adjust to this new day-to-day situation.

Today, I feel beaten to a pulp by this last project.  Tomorrow, maybe I will feel stronger.  Next week, maybe I will feel great!  I’ll have to take it one day at a time.

Here’s wishing you all strength and courage in whatever challenging situation you’re currently dealing with.  Perhaps we can all find support in each other.  :)

Holiday giveaway winner!

Allspice Abounds Holiday Giveaway Winner - Robin

Today I’m pleased to announce the winner of my holiday giveaway: Robin!  Congratulations, Robin!  I’ve emailed you, and your copy of She Wears the Pants will be on its way as soon as I get your shipping address.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and also to those of you who de-lurked and shared your blogs in the comments.  I’m looking forward to stalking your sewing now.  :)

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Happy Sewing to all!

2015 Year in Review: Misses

Sewing Top 5 of 2015 - Crafting a Rainbow

After taking a look at my favorite sewing projects of the year, let’s see which projects rarely made it out of the closet.  I only have 4 projects that I wasn’t really happy with, and since most of them were experiments, I guess that’s not too bad!

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Holiday giveaway – last chance to enter!

She Wears The Pants - cover

Win this book!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Just a quick reminder that my holiday giveaway closes today (January 1) at midnight EST.  Up for grabs is a brand new copy of She Wears the Pants, a Japanese sewing book with some fun and funky garment patterns.  Entering the giveaway is super easy – just leave a comment on this post.  Good luck!

I hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing day off today and spending time with loved ones.  Unfortunately I’ve been working all week, including today (booooo!!), but that is a story for another post.  I’ve fallen a bit behind on my Top 5 posts too, but I plan to make a bit more progress on them this weekend.  Such is life!

Here’s wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and enjoyable year ahead.  What does 2016 have in store for you?  :)