Holy cow. It’s been 3 months since my last blog post? Quite a little gap, there. Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time starting this post? This is, like, my 5th dadgum try. Pfffft. This is it, folks. My uninspired opening paragraph to the post that broke the sewing fast. Hooray! Now, let’s go eat some fabric.
What I have for you here is some Anna Maria Horner rayon challis. I bought this pre-sewing fast and fell even harder in love with it when it arrived in my little sewing room. It’s softness is delicious, and just looking at it makes me feel like I’m in a shady room in the middle of a scorching hot summer day; it’s nap time and the sun is filtering through tree branches, winking this way and that — my day bed is ready for my nap, a soft breeze is whispering around the room, and the pattern on this fabric is the last thing I see for an hour as I snooze away the heat of the day.
I knew this fabric had to be sewn into some sort of blousy, voluminous thing I could swath my upper body in, because I needed to be able to really experience the stuff in an immersive way.
But then, this thing happened. Click here if you just want to get to the sewing part and avoid the story part, by the way.
I was in my sewing room, one evening, and my husband was in his office and we were each doing our own thing. I was messing around with my blog design and he was catching up with an old friend over the phone. Music was playing in the den – probably some soft jazz. Just a normal evening for us. And while I don’t make it a habit to listen in on Paco’s phone conversations, my ears did prick up when I realized he was talking about me. Especially when I heard him say, in a quite voice, “Well…. she does some sewing.”
Those elipses were so LOUD, you guys. There was just so very little to that sentence, obviously spoken in answer to the question, “What’s Waco up to these days?”
I read, recently, that in America we say, “I feel angry,” as opposed to other languages where a person might be more likely to say, “I have anger,” or “anger is with me”. I must say, the anger, it was with me. But so were a whole lot of other emotions. I mean – that’s all? That’s all Paco thinks to tell somebody about his very interesting, busy, creative wife? Elipses and “some” sewing?
Clearly, that was all he could think of. And then some sad was with me. And, also, some misunderstoodness was with me, along with some sorry for myselfness. To be honest with you, some insecurity also came and joined us. Mostly, though, the anger was strong with me.
My blog was a mess. I’d tried to switch to a completely new design and I’d started running in to some bugs that were really affecting performance. But all the feelings that were with me crowded out the answers as to how to fix the blog bugs and the next thing I knew I was just sitting there, staring blankly at my computer screen, hearing nothing more than the blood rushing to my ears, surrounded by frowny feelings.
I avoided Paco all night, and the next day, I put away all of my sewing stuff. The sewing machines and serger fit nicely on top of my file cabinet. The old dining room table I’d been using as a sewing table went back into storage. All the fabric went into tubs. The mannequin was dismantled and stashed on the closet shelves.
All of the sewing was put away, and I resolved to replace that focus with a focus on going back to work.
Aside from a few months when I seriously attempted housewifery (which, to my surprise, does not suit me at all), I had intended to go back to work since I quit my job two years ago. Somehow, it just hadn’t happened. I turned down one offer. Occasionally, I’d apply for something. I had a job interview right after I broke my shoulder, in fact, though I didn’t get that job. Mostly, I just kept putting off the job hunt because the fun is not with me when I am job hunting, whereas the happy is very big with me when I am sewing and blogging.
Carting stuff back and forth across the house through a thick fog of emotions, I couldn’t escape the unemotional truth: a little sewing really was ALL I had been doing for months. I imagined what feelings were with Paco when he answered his friend’s question about what I’d been up to and I had to admit that they may have been very similar to the feelings that were with me when I heard his answer. So then a big guilt came to be with me and motivated me to change things up.
Long story short, I switched gears, somewhat fearful that I would never get back to sewing.
Since then, I have gotten my Scrum Master certification, fixed my broken blog, reworked my resume and LinkedIn profile, and I’ve applied for approximately seventy five million jobs in Austin as well as a few other choice locations we’d be happy to move to. I’ve had a good response, with one interview this week and another (with the company I left two years ago) scheduled for Monday. Which brings us back to the Starry Eyed fabric I mentioned earlier (and also explains my absence, here, these past few months).
Having gotten my feet under me where my return to work is concerned, the guilt and other frowny emotions departed the premises, and I finally felt free to turn my own starry eyes, once again, to my fabric stash.
I did not want to screw this fabric up. I needed a pattern I would love to wear and was capable of sewing, and I didn’t want to spend any more money on sewing so it had to be a pattern I already had available. Thus, I ultimately returned to this pattern; I knew it wouldn’t be terribly flattering, but I wasn’t looking for flattering – I was looking for starry eyed nap clothing, for wear-it-around-the-house-in-a-mist-of-happy-feelings-blousyness. Also, having some experience with this pattern I felt somewhat safe giving it a second chance.
This was the first time I had worked with rayon challis so I was completely unprepared for how incredibly difficult it was to cut anything out accurately. Of course, nervousness was hovering all over my kitchen island, where I was attempting to cut the pattern out. I ultimately decided to rip every straight edge (rather than cut) in order to ensure that I would be able to keep the pattern on the grain. That worked out well, surprisingly — the fabric did not stretch at all, and the pieces were finally cut out, though in a pretty misaligned fashion (which I thought I could adjust for as I went along).
This was also the first time I have sewn gathers — and that’s what very nearly completely destroyed this blouse. I was determined to use my serger on all the seams, because the fabric frayed heavily and there was not enough patience in the room for me to attempt enclosed seams. Unfortunately, this was also the first time I had attempted to sew a self-faced top to a gathered bottom or arm of something. One sleeve turned out markedly longer than the other. The facing did not line up on the bottom, and when I serged the gathers I did not catch the right side of the back facing and ended up having to do it all over again. I didn’t bother trying to unpick the previous stitches. I just wrestled what was by then a big wad of gathered fabric through the serger a second time. I knew that would make the back of the blouse shorter than the front but by then there was no care with me. By then, then only emotion with me was the one that often seems to come over me when I’m sewing; I have no name for the emotion, but it always feels (to borrow from The Bloggess) quite stabby.
Having conquered the seams, I hung the blouse up in my closet, intending to come back to it when I had the patience to hem the sleeves and bodice, and turned my attention to my next project: making an interview dress.
I’ll blog about the interview dress in another post. Suffice it to say that story involves the universe not wanting me to complete said dress in time for said interview, me being unwilling to wear my only other dress (a sweater dress) to said interview, and me having sixty seconds to put together an interview outfit from the choices available in my very nap-like, hasn’t worked in two years wardrobe.
I wore the unfinished blouse to the interview. The sleeves were tucked inside of and most of the bottom hem was hidden by the blazer I wore over my big legged jeans and, aside from the possibility that a good bit of my bra may (or may not – you never know) have been showing throughout, it was fantastic. I felt so dang confident, even though I knew my outfit was hobbled together and so exceedingly out of date that it bordered on some sort of “Keep Austin Weird” thing.
It was the magic fabric. It felt so soft, and the color was so reassuring. It was comfortable and it was mine and I was proud of it, even with all the mistakes. I ended up wearing it all day long.
So, that’s the story of the past 3 months and my first resulting job interview. I hope all of you have been having a lovely summer (Presidential election and world wide catastrophes aside), and me and my actual interview dress will see you again soon.