Sunday, January 5, 2014

Last Few 2013 Makes & New Year, New Figure, New Focus

Hello friends, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate the holiday, and are well on your way to a fabulous 2014.

Posting has been slow in my neck of the web - the sewing has been kind of slow as well.  There is a very good reason for that, other than the whole holiday busy-ness.

I have mentioned before that I've been losing weight, quite happily.  This has been an ongoing process for several years, but 2013 saw the most weight and inches lost after I finally found what worked well for me. I have lost quite a bit of weight and inches in 2013, and couldn't keep up with the size dropping, sewing-wise. I found I would make something only to get maybe one or two wearings out of it before I had to alter it, and I really hate alterations.  I was making mostly knits, TNT's at that, because I didn't want to put much effort into sewing something that would barely get worn.

One day just before the holidays, I had a meeting, so pulled out my last remaining pair of dress slacks to try on. They were literally falling off, so to the mall I went. I bought a pair of black dress slacks, a pair of ponte knit -skinny jean style pants, a pair of skinny jeans, and a pair of skinny jeans in black, all in size 8.  It was really nice to buy pants off the rack that fit pretty well, and NOT in the Women's/Plus Size department.  When I started getting serious about losing weight, I was a size 16W (for the non-US readers, in US sizing, that is a 16 'plus').  It feels weird to be thin again - really, I haven't been this thin since college days - but I love it.  I'm not quite sure where my weight will settle out yet, as I am still losing. I believe I'll know when I get there.

Below is a cell phone pic I took yesterday for the purposes of documentation, wearing size 8 jeans and a size medium top, both RTW.

The point of this discussion regarding my weight loss and size change is really twofold.

First, there is  the change in my sewing focus.  I have been collecting plenty of fabrics and inspiration pictures in anticipation of the things I'd like to make, perhaps even some things I didn't feel comfortable in before because of the extra weight I carried around.  But in the meantime, I've just been slogging away at so many knits - they are quick 'n easy, less of an investment overall.  I'm getting closer to being ready to invest more time, effort, and precious fabric into garments, since I have lost the bulk of what I needed to lose.

The second point is more elusive. It's about figuring out what size I am now, and seeing myself that size.  Going shopping for the bunch of pants I bought was easy. I had no clue what size I was, none. I went to Nordstrom's, found a more than competent saleswoman, and told her what I needed. She visually sized me up and pulled a few pairs of pants for me to try on. She totally nailed it. In less than 1 hour, I walked out with 4 pairs of pants and a couple of long sleeved tops.  But on my own, whether shopping for RTW or fitting a pattern, it still isn't completely registering with my brain that I've gone down so many inches & sizes. Friday Lauren and I went out and had a very nice lunch, then went underwear shopping. I have been wearing the same skivvies as before the weight loss and really, it. was. time. I picked out several pairs in the appropriate size, but kept looking at them, thinking, will I really fit into these? I spent the last two+ decades being very overweight, and I guess it will take a while to figure out not only how to fit myself again, but really how to see myself.  Good thing is, my FBA won't be so F anymore.  ;) Speaking of busts, that is something that has changed a good bit as well.

Gratuitous puppy picture.

My sewing focus right now, and for the foreseeable future, is really just basics.  I really needed tops, so I made two more Style Arc Creative Cate Tops, one black and one red. The red was for a particular holiday function, sorry, but no pics. They are both exactly per pattern, except I made the black one slightly shorter in length.  I have worn both tops numerous times; the style fits easily into my lifestyle, and easily fits my large bust without an FBA.  I did not go down in pattern size on these tops from my previous makes, although if the fabric were stretchier, such as a lightweight rayon knit, I definitely would grade down. I like that these tops as sized are roomy, and since there is not a set-in sleeve, it works out fine.  The black fabric came from Gorgeous fabrics some time ago, I believe, and is a nice ITY. The red fabric is from Marcy Tilton, and is one of the Parisian Microfiber Knits she sells.  The fabric is every bit as lovely as she describes it on her website. I don't get paid to say that, just sharing the fabric love! It's been in my stash a good while, so not sure if it's the same red she currently has stocked.

Red Creative Cate, untucked, but too roomy to wear untucked. Scroll down to see tucked. The Black CC hangs in the background.

Aside from a black ponte pencil skirt that I purchased last minute to wear to a social event (worn with the red Creative Cate), I had no skirts in my wardrobe, so set about to make some. The Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt I made in October? I lost a few pounds/inches before I got to wear it, so now need to take it in to make it wearable. And really - I lost my backside when I lost weight, despite all the squats I've been doing, so the darts I put in need to come out anyway. (See discussion above about figuring out how to fit and see myself how I am now..)  Of course, it's always more fun to make something new than to redo something you just made, right?

 Skirt #1 is a mid-calf length, houndstooth check, lightweight ponte in black and gray, no pattern used, elastic waist, one seam, back slit to knee.  It has been years since I have worn a skirt this length, so I took some pictures, seen below, of the unhemmed longer skirt, and then folded all that fabric up to get an idea of a just above the knee length skirt.  My remote battery was out of juice, so this was a little tricky!  Despite all the lumps and bumps from all the tucked under fabric, I like the above knee look better. The second picture reflects a little higher than I will actually hem the skirt. More pics to come after I get up in the studio to get this finished!  I also made a scarf with leftover houndstooth and black ponte knits that I forgot about until now, so I will get that photographed also.        

Photographing at night, with beige walls, in a black & gray outfit, with no remote, ugh!

Skirt#2 is a refashion from a dress that languished in my wardrobe for a couple years, and was now too big. It was a garment I bought but never wore - still had tags on it. I took the scissors to it, cut off the bodice, and voĆ­la, a new skirt is born. In these pictures, I have the waistband folded over to bring the hem up above the knee. I like that length better, so will have to decide if I am going to a) redo the hem, or b) redo the waistband. The hem is the original dress hem - I'm leaning toward redoing the waistband - easy peasy - just make a new elastic circle and serge it on.

The light was fading fast, so I am trying to hold the lampshade up for light while snapping cell phone pics.  I know, a new low in blog photography.

The original dress with tags.

I found myself also in need of slips.  Using an oh-so-lovely and luscious black knit lining fabric from Emma One Sock, I made a simple slip the same way I made skirt #1, just based on my hip measurement, but made the slip just below the knee length.  I hemmed it using a rolled edge stitch on my Babylock serger. The black slip is hanging next to the black Creative Cate in the high quality cell phone picture above.  I have also done several slip refashions, where I have taken larger and longer slips and made them smaller and shorter.  I'm wearing one under the gray skirt. ;)

What's in the immediate sewing future? This week, I intend to take down the Christmas tree take a new set of measurements, and put in an order for Style Arc. I see a few of their new patterns I'd love to make. I am in need of some work out wear that fits, so that's high on my list - more knits, ha! I have plenty of performance fabrics for that purpose.  Earlier this year, I did pick up the White Shirt Project again and re-muslined it, but didn't pursue for reasons discussed above. So that's back on the list again sometime later this spring.  I may try to squeeze in a quickie winter coat, since the one I own is much too big also. Lauren and I were scheduled to fly up to Cleveland for a couple of days just before Christmas, but had to cancel. We will be going up soon, and this Florida woman has no coat! The weather has been pretty wild up north, y'all, what a winter!

Right now as I am finishing up this post on Sunday eve, the temp is 66F.  We had a cold front last week, and are due for another in the next 24 - 48 hours. Now, I know it's nothing like what everyone in the continental US north of say, Florida, is dealing with at the moment, but at least it gives me a chance to wear a couple of sweaters and scarves! We are supposed to get down to the 30's, wahoo!  Please stay safe and warm wherever you are, and be careful in your travels during these winter storms.  Be well, and see you soon!

It's chilly! (Last cold front)

Christmas Sugar cookies by Lauren

Happy New Year