Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Have More Fun

Last week was both a mix of stuff to do and a mess of stuff, both inside the house and out. I know it eventually comes together but in the soup of it all, mess can be a bit disconcerting. I've lost track of what I talked about in recent postings so I may repeat myself. If so, I'm sorry.




I was finally able to get back to work in the yard this past weekend and filled in the upper decking at the edge and built the stairs between levels. They are temporarily tacked in place at the moment. Part of the deck still needs leveling before I can finish the stairs however, this is progress. I also swept all the mud off the studio deck from when my grandsons were playing there and hung up the outdoor - battery operated - light that was part of my birthday gift from my husband. It looks lovely.




Inside, I'm having some changes made to the basement suite to make it more user friendly for my tenant, currently my youngest son. Originally, there was only one four foot wide closet that wasn't even full depth. It has now been extended into what was my storage space and is six feet wide and deep. I still have plenty of storage so this is a win-win. The workers also took down the wall between the very small bedroom and the main area creating a studio apartment which may sound counter-intuitive except that the suite is not very big, just under 300 square feet, so less needs to be more and this is more open and brighter. I also added some more kitchen cabinets. Ideally - says the mother in me - this will mean a cleaner, neater space now that there is actually somewhere to put things. I hope.




With all the work going on, it's been virtually impossible to get anything done in the studio so I've been sorting, sifting, clearing and cleaning. Several times a year, I like to go through absolutely every box, basket, closet, cupboard, drawer, and container and decide what stays and what goes. Not only does it open up space and create more flow, I literally touch everything I own which gives me plenty of ideas on what to do next.

I have a large thread collection from when I was a textile artist and the best system I've found for storing it is in jars by colour and by regular or specialty thread type. In the jewelry section, I need to come up with a similar system for pieces to be recycled as well as findings, chains, and other components. I've been given a lot of jewelry, accepted under the condition that I can decide what I want and donate the rest. I've decided not to keep anything that is plastic and to take apart the pieces and put similar parts together such as beads, focal stones, or clasps. This will - hopefully - be more useful but I don't really have enough experience to know yet. Time will tell.

Part of all this cleaning is my normal routine but part of it has to do with the pending second wave of the virus. I think we'll either be locked down again this fall or choose to stay home as much as possible and I want to make sure that I'm ready to maximize that time. I've been accumulating project supplies like interior and exterior paint for the house, stashing up on basics for the studio, and even Christmas shopping so I'm prepared with things to do and won't have to worry too much.


 

Earlier this month, I was thinking about a small, carefully curated, pattern collection and wondering how many of each pattern type - tops, pants, dresses, etc. - I would keep if I wanted to go small with potential. I thought about that idea for a while since there is a lot of creativity to be found working with T & T patterns however, when I thought further about what would nurture me and make a potentially very difficult fall and winter somewhat easier, I realized that I wanted to have more fun with sewing while not thinking too hard. A few months ago....




... I made the decision to not lose or gain weight but rather to work at staying the same size. One of the reasons for that decision was to have the ability to create a more extensive and interesting wardrobe. I am tired of growing out of my clothing in one direction or another, especially as I tend toward a limited wardrobe. Asking myself how would I like to have more fun with sewing clothing, I've decided to try some different styles as well as patterns that are more labour intensive with individually cut pieces or designer details.

With Butterick 6355, I liked that the tank-top-ish bodice would cover bra straps while the off the shoulder sleeves would add a fun element and the hi-low hemline will flatter my hips far more than a straight one. In stash, I have a floral linen that would be perfect. The flower is 6" across to give you an idea of the scale.




My preference is for lower garments that are more architecturally structured and upper garments like the Butterick top that are softer with more flow. That may be one of the reasons I haven't sewn Butterick 6459 yet even though I really like the pleat details and fabulous collar. This pattern came out quite a while ago and this fall may be the exact right time to get to it.




Vogue 1704 is also more structured. It reminds me of the sleeves on a dress I had at a much younger age. I like the way shape is achieved with seams and darts. The fabrics recommended are softer which will make it more approachable. Blouses as opposed to t-shirts are a somewhat of a new adventure which is quite funny because way back when I sewed that dress, I never sewed with knits and now I'm trying to go back the other way.




Five years ago, when I first moved here and was renovating the upstairs of my home, I fell head first down fourteen stairs because my left sock caught on a nail at the top. Luckily, it stayed caught and didn't let go so instead of pitching into the stairwell, I landed against the stair noses with most of the impact on my right hip which is now forever bigger and lower than my left hip. It could have been much worse. I am alive and walking which I remind myself of whenever I feel a grumpy about the styles I'll never wear again. I've always liked asymmetrical hemlines but now they are especially helpful in hiding that lack of balance. I'd like to sew McCall's 7904, view B, in a stable knit to see how that softness might bridge the move from t-shirts to blouses.



McCall's 8025 is again asymmetrical and flattering on my figure and a bit more fun to sew than a basic t-shirt as is McCall's 7975. I don't like the neckline on this later pattern but that's easily changed. What I really like is that I have more than enough fabric in stash to sew these patterns and more. In looking at the wardrobe gaps in my closet, one thing that's missing is some plain but not denim pants. Last Wednesday, I picked up a dark plum, almost black, cord that will make fabulous winter pants. That's another thing I'm working on - more seasonal clothes. Right now, the only difference between most of my summer and winter wardrobe is the addition of a sweater. I'd like more variety between seasons. What are you planning?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a fabric stash

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