Sunday, June 10, 2012

making it work

I have to write this in a hurry because it's A SCHOOL NIGHT but I realize that after that last entry and at this point in gestation, not checking in is just inviting people to think that I'm dead.  So.  Hi.

The mild hypomania that characterized my initiation into sewing is nothing--I say nothing--compared to how it's been since I started making those little baby pinafores.  Joe is alternately amused and throwing around words like "obsessed," because frankly, once I figured out how to make a few of these easy sewing projects, it's been like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'VE BEEN PAYING FULL PRICE FOR THIS STUFF ALL THESE YEARS."  (I wear a lot of skirts.)  Here's a little of what I've been doing.




Above is the second skirt I made for myself.  It's just a regular elastic waist skirt, made based on this very good tutorial here.  The first skirt I made for myself actually turned out even better (it was with a lighter weight blue shirting fabric, so, you know, more flowy and such) but I dropped a forkful of Chipotle on it earlier this week so it's in the wash.




This was a flat front pleated skirt that I made based on this tutorial that turned out pretty well.  It's elastic in the back, so, you know, nice for the pregnant ladies.  Also, can I tell you how proud I was that I made a pleat?  And it was easy!  Again: I think I have been overpaying for simple skirts for the past two decades.




These pants I made for Cal based on this tutorial were kind of a fiasco.  I made my own pattern, so I think the inseam turned out a little bit small--also, even though I measured about a trillion times the waist was still too big for him.  They are flat front elastic-backed pants, but I sewed the elastic itself in so I can't cinch them up any more--next time I think I'll use that kind of button hole elastic like they do for all those Old Navy kid pants and leave a little more leeway for the crotch.




Every novice sewer needs to make a tote bag, right?  Also: no matter now many tote bags we have around this house, they always end up getting filled with detritus and then scattered to various corners of the earth, so what the hell, more tote bags for everyone.  Liberally adapted from this tutorial here, though I eschewed the outside pocket for two inside pockets and improvised a contrasting lining.




And then I bent my sewing needle, because apparently when you try to sew through, like, four layers of heavy fabric, you need to switch a thicker needle.  I know, duh.  I'M A DOCTOR, GUYS.  Also: can you tell I like chevron fabric?




The elephant bag was my failed attempt at making a flat-bottom bag that could stand up on its own (I love these canvas bags that we have from Lands End beyond all reason, but my own attempts at reproduction have been slouchy at best.  Then Cal decided he wanted to make a bag too, so we worked on that this evening.  I must be getting better at this, because it only took about two and a half hours, even with all the "help" I was getting.  He picked out the fabric himself (that is my diplomatic way of telling you that I did not pick that girl-ass fabric for him, he went for it himself--I just brightly told him that it looked "very Christmas-y") and the young master has already filled it with nerd accoutrement.




Next up I think I'll revisit the boy pants with hopes of improved outcome--I have this beautiful blue seersucker fabric that I think would look great on Mack for the three minutes that he'll be able to wear it before spilling something irrevocably staining on it.

So!  Craftiness!  It's fun or whatever!

I've felt basically normal after our scare on Wednesday morning.  A little woozy at work on Thursday morning but I took my blood pressure, and since it was basically normal I just drank some water, ate some crackers, and went about my business.  For what it's worth, I'm staying away from high-fat foods just in case my gallbag is to blame (again, there's nothing definitive to say that it was, but it's as good a guess as any), and so far, there have been no more surprises.  I have been a little...touchy, I guess...with people in my life (there are just a few) who imply that I overreacted or say stuff like OH YOU PREGNANT PEOPLE ALWAYS WORRY SO MUCH PROBABLY JUST HAD REFLUX I HAVE REFLUX TOO SOMETIMES AND ANYWAY YOU PROBABLY JUST ATE TOO MUCH because--well.

One of the very first lessons we were taught in medical school--one of the most important lessons, I suppose--was being able to distinguish a patient who is Sick from a patient who is Not Sick.  Meaning: the difference between a patient who just has a fever versus a patient who is septic.  A patient who is just bleeding versus a patient who is in shock.  A patient with abdominal pain versus a patient who has volvulus.  Even if you can't make the exact diagnosis right away, that's the key first step: distinguishing Sick from Not Sick.  I was Sick.  I say this as someone who hates going to the doctor, avoids the hospital (as a patient) at all costs, and as someone who has had two prior pregnancies and spent a total of two weeks hospitalized for periotonitis in medical school.  Maybe I wasn't Sick in a lasting way (and thank goodness for that--certainly I'm not looking for trouble), but if I saw a patient like me as a physician, I'm pretty sure I would say that I was Sick.  I have some perspective, and I like to think that I don't catastrophize. Certainly the episode was transient, but certainly it was real and it happened.  And also certainly I'm all sensitive about it because I try to live my life not complaining and being a good sport about things and trying not to be That Pregnant Lady that thinks every creak and pain is OMG THE BABY IS CROWNING.  But give me a little credit, people.  One should never voluntarily go to the ER unless they're fairly concerned that they might be having a medical emergency, but if they are, that's exactly what the ER is for.

Anyway!  If you want to follow along with some of the easy sewing projects I've been collecting, you can follow me on Pinterest--the sewing bulletin board is the only one I have going right now, but who knows, maybe I'll get obsessed with something else, such as, uh, collecting pictures of cats that I like.  Hope your weekend was as good as mine: that is to say fun, relaxing, and a little bit too short.  Have a good week, all.

36 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:09 PM

    take care!

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  2. The hormonal effect of Thing 3 is astounding. Loving the last few posts!

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  3. Is there nothing you can't do, doctor-blogger-author-seamstress lady-wife-mother?

    All the best with Thing 3! :)

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  4. That really stinks that people think you were overdramatizing your scare.

    As a person with a chronic illness that wasn't diagnosed for a LONG time, I'm sensitive to people minimizing my challenges.

    Glad you are feeling better.

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  5. I think you did the right thing. Go with your gut feel, is what I say (no pun intended)...

    I know exactly what you mean about the "hypomania"! My husband kept saying "another one???" when I started quilting left right and center!

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  6. Anonymous10:46 PM

    Do you have like 34 hours in your day instead of 24? How on earth do you manage to do so many things?! I'm highly impressed.

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  7. I love all your creations! And, can I please make fun of you for using a little girl's skirt pattern for the first skirt? I know you're pregnant and need the elastic and such, but knowing that you're wearing a little girl's skirt makes me laugh :)

    Glad you're feeling better...never doubted for a second that you were truly Sick. No explanations needed!

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  8. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Oh my - sister, you is nesting!!! When the macrame potplant holders show up during night feeds, or you use safety pins on your cloth diapers because they double as sewing tools..you'll need a Martha intervention! Seriously, I am so envious of your sewing skills...and I can't begin to imagine where you find the time let alone the energy! Very cool creations. (And nothing sucks more than a broken needle during a tricky bit of sewing) Glad you're on the improve though, must have been so scary, sounded horrid - thanks for sharing.

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  9. Anonymous6:41 AM

    LOVE the elephant bag!! Super impressed!
    - Jude

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  10. Root_doc7:31 AM

    I hope you realize with your sewing at this point that you are hooked and it might be time to invest a bit more! I highly recommend getting a serger. It will give such a nice finishing touch to the insides of all these skirts, pants and dresses you are ( and will be) making! Sewing is really easier than most people think.... I haven't bought premade curtains since 1988. Take care of yourself!

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  11. Your projects are coming out great! I love Dana's tutorials. she has one for boys pants as well. You might just want to buy a pattern for pants, JoAnns and such put them on sale regularly for 99cents and use that as your base.

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  12. Anonymous9:40 AM

    I second Heather's suggestion on a pants pattern. Haven't sewn clothes in several years, but pants are trickier than a skirt - maybe working with a true pattern for a time or two would probably give you a feel for what to do around the waist and through the crotch.

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  13. Ditto on the pants pattern ideas - I never realized how tricky some of the proportions are in pants until a halloween costume for my partner was unfortunately ... constraining in uncomfortable areas. And congrats on having so many cute things so far!

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  14. Hey Michelle, if you want your bags to stand up you're going to have to use a stronger stabilizer/fabric interfacing. Then your bags will stand right up!

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  15. Pants are tricky! I love the skirts.

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  16. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Michelle, first as to those people who say horrible things when you have been very sick, just ignore the hell out of them. I don't understand these type ppl but I have experienced it myself. When I was fighting cancer and had just had major cancer surgery people said some of the damnest things to me that I could never imagine saying to someone. It really turned me against some of them. And, some of it came from the very ones I would have never expected it to come from.The most support and understanding I received came from my oncologist and strangers who were also fighting cancer. IT was a terrible shock to my system to realize that some of my loved ones could say such mean things.

    Second, you have convinced this old 60 year old woman to take up sewing. I just ordered my very first ever sewing machine. OMG it will be a disaster but these things you make are so cute that I want to try making clothes for my grandchildren.

    I hope things continue well for you and that the next few weeks are uneventful until its time for "thing 3" to be born. But, should that (the sickness of last week)ever happen to you again, I hope you will do exactly what you did the first time and forget these nasty mouthed people!

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  17. Emily2:42 PM

    Maybe your next craft obsession should be those dressed up, taxidermied squirrels you were so into a while ago. I bet you can make those for cheaper than the ones you get on ebay. :)

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  18. I also love the chevron pattern. I have no idea why, besides the fact that it makes me feel refreshed, but still ... organized!!!

    Eek, you were into taxidermied squirrels? Did you know there are classes in NYC where you can make your own stuffed mice. Yup, it's through Proteus Gowanus. Bet that makes you miss living here ...

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  19. Super loving your creations. And Cal's nerd bag is fabulous! :O)

    People like to minimize, often because they don't feel confident in their own choices/actions. The episode you has is so odd. Myself, my husband and four other people that I know personally have experienced similar situations. It was the worst pain I have ever been in. They did an ultrasound the day following my ER visit and thought, maybe my gallbladder was looking a tiny bit irregular. They then sent me for the nucler dye imaging test, with negative results. No gb issues, no other diagnosis. Just a best guess at passing a gallstone. Because several people I knew had experienced this with no answers, I started researching and found that there were loads of people who recently experienced this, with similar outcomes. Recently is loosely used here, recently like within the past 2-3 years. I just find it so stinking weird. And a bit obnoxious. Haha

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  20. Anonymous2:47 PM

    post a pic of the megabed

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    Replies
    1. Just imagine a giant bounce house with sheets on it.

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    2. Anonymous10:36 PM

      Where are you sourcing these great fabrics? Do share!

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  21. Anonymous12:47 AM

    You are so inspiring! How do you find the time for these projects? I have only one kid and a fairly laid back office practice but do NOT have time for stuff like this! Tell me how you do it!

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  22. Hi, Michelle! I've been following your blog. Another great post! I also would like to learn how to sew. Aside from my job, I also wanted to pursue my dream as a fashion stylist. I love making and styling my own outfit. I do hope I can buy my own sewing machine. hehe! Have a wonderful week! :)

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  23. Nice job on the skirts! Very cute.

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  24. People are doubting you?! Screw them. Seriously, screw them. I mean it, and I'd really like to use a stronger word there. I don't know why that makes me so mad (mad enough to comment when I never do) but maybe it's because I've read you long enough to know you toughed it out through like 2-day mat leaves and nursing in a furnace room and what not all. It's making me a little inarticulate, the anger. But hey! the skirts are fab! Maybe Cal can get some sewing tips from Patrick: http://julia.typepad.com/julia/2011/01/perambulin-prose/comments/page/2/ Scroll down a ways. Have a good weekend!

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  25. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Where did u buy the fabric?

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    Replies
    1. Most of the fabric via Fabric.com--they have some pretty good coupons and sales. Also some via Hancock Fabrics, which is just a brick and mortar discount sewing chain near me.

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    2. Anonymous4:16 AM

      Awesome. Thanks for the tip! Keep on rocking the crafts and everything else you do! :)

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  26. Look at you sew! I'm a new sewer myself, and pretty impressed (jealous, maybe?) with your skills. Have you seen Elle Apparel's tutorials?:

    http://elleapparel.blogspot.com/

    I really like them. If you like skirts, I think you would, too.

    Happy sewing!

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