Sewing, Life Outside(ish) Baby

P.T. 1

Sometimes I think I've let my bad attitude gobble me up. Presenting, Positive Thoughts 1! 

It's late at night. It's early morning. It's 12:30AM and I'm up, reading blogs. Two blogs specifically have been at the forefront of my clickery the last few weeks. By the way, I write this from Disney World, which I have to say is capitalism at it's best. I feel like I'm in The Truman Show but I can't determine how far away I have to drive from here to finally hit the wall.

Also, I'm in a Jim Carrey mood. The guy is not only hilarious, but a cutie pie, too. I wanted to be him in Dumb and Dumber and I wanted to be with him in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 

This clip!

Back to what I came here to share in the first place: two blogs that have been siphoning my brain over this past week. 

1. Lucky Lucille. She crafts a lot, a lot a lot, but she doesn't ping my CWB (crafty white bitch) radar. Her good attitude is not only endearing, but respectable. Many people with good attitudes strike me with neither of those qualities. I've been reading mostly for inspiration of creating a "memade" wardrobe, I think that phrase goes along with a hashtag, but I'm not quite at that social media stage of development, yet. Maybe you aren't either. "memade," pretty simply put. Something made. By you. Or me. With the hashtag, it transforms from simply a personal accomplishment to a public accomplishment. My beautiful fabric arrived weeks ago, and after a severe fight with my last printer (which involved punching it until it stopped making happy noises), I was out of a means to print the pattern. Since we're already bleeding dollars on credit, I'm going to tuck in a new printer and call that a trip expense so I don't agonize over the cost in a separate financial conversation. Back to Lucille. This lady makes me want to make things. 

2. Fashion Incubator. I've been dreaming of transforming my business from a stay-at-home-mom adorable project into an actual, serious business, where I turn my work space into a work shop and turn this into an endeavor that will support a livable wage. This woman writes a whole bunch of technical manufacturing industry shit and I'm digging through all this information to piece together what will improve my business. I am going to be teaming up with one of my best friends to hopefully share new items, like baby zines (BABY ZINES HOW FLIPPING NEAT), posters, and prints. I've wanted to carry printed items for a while now, and it's time I do. My two biggest visual interests are the modern art movement and 90s grunge. Mid century design has huge appeal, but so does squiggling way way out of the lines. Modesty and it's opposite rule my canvas. I'm moving out all my small cuts of fabric, so there will be lots of one-of-a-kind listings as we get into April, and after that more made-to-order items will crop up. 

I just turned on the light in the bathroom and leapt back when I saw myself in the mirror. That means it's time to read until my eyes itch and I feel like I am drunk, Ken Burns Effect applied to everything I look at. 

The book I'm reading, and wearing down (how is it peeling apart, I've only been reading it a week) is 

It's Lifetime cover doesn't match it's meaty insides. I liked the movie, which led me to read the book, and in retrospect the movie is terrible and the book is delicious. It's Cheryl's account of wiping her slate clean in her 20s after her mother dies, her marriage dissolves, and she becomes a puddle of heroin. Hiking the PCT is now on my to-do list, but since I've got a toddler it looks like I've got a couple decades to go before being able to realize this goal.

Sewing, Down to Business

Sewing for my Spawn

I resent my business with about equal frequency as I enjoy it. I hate that it takes time away from hanging out with my kid, I hate that it's led to me creating a weird crafty white bitch persona at markets that depletes my personality into a one-dimensional "mom" who uses her adorable "model" for "inspiration," I hate that it's become a defining thing about myself and I don't like at all what that image of me is. It's not me. 

I am inspired by the ugly, I love the sweet spot where hideous has looped around to become captivating, where old things mix with new and they hug instead of clash. The careful mess. 

Most people have no interest in putting the things I really love on their new squishes, unfurled from the womb, scent unfaded. Most people love creamy, huggable animals with googly eyes floating away in baskets, arms outstretched. Most of the time, I cater to these people. A custom order doesn't bother me. It's that I go out of my way to buy these things I loathe to set out at markets because they sell and I feel like a huge liar. 

I make tiny shoes because they're funny. I make all the tiny things because they're funny. Infants are hilarious. Yes, cute, but mostly they don't make any sense. They didn't exist, and then they did, and they don't have muscles and they're mostly ugly and they seem to vibrate when they get excited, no, they do vibrate, and I want to make tiny things to dress them in because I simply adore the disgusting creature that is a new human.  

Sewing shit that I know will sell makes me a liar. It's okay for people to like those things, I even bought some of those things for my own tiny thing, but it's not okay for me to compromise myself. I've been saying I don't want to compromise myself, but I've done it in every single aspect of my existence. 

Tonight, I stayed up incredibly late to make things for Iris, something I rarely do because I'm so busy lying around, agonizing over ineffective self-created scheduling, all the while depleting calories and failing to replenish them. Two years later, I made a pair of boots and a necklace for her that reused the wooden balls from a teething necklace one of my customers gifted me. 

Currently, I feel okay about it all. I don't feel okay about my photo setup happening right now, my camera seems to be crumbling by the day, the ISO sensitivity becoming numb or something and it only takes grain-free shots in direct sunlight with stark shadows. 

I mean. 



Get in the corner, little boots. Outta my visual field. 



There were some less infuriating shots I took. Let's all look. 

The boots are stinkin cute. I made them with a fabric scrap I've been holding onto for three and a half years. Once, I made a bandana with it and sold it at the market. Instant regret. These fucking boots and huge bead necklace? Redemption. 

A few months ago, I learned that I can use all the trash ads that won't stop spilling through my mail slot for some sort of stabilizer for sewing leather. I fish for the RedPlum ad, cut out another set of toe and heel with it, lie it on top of the leather, and it feeds through beautifully! Even. Fucking. Stitches. 

A few months ago, I also learned I've been using the wrong size die for my snap setter for three years. Now, I use the right die and the snap sits IN it, not sort-of-precariously-wobbling-and-shooting-out-of-the-press-like-wet-soap. Your snap setter not feeling right? Probably because you're an idiot who should have read the instructions. 

These little boots run about 2.5 hours to make, 3 hours including cutting out and ironing all thirty pieces of fabric/interfacing/batting involved. I've been feeling like kicking the price up to $40 is coming, right now they're at $36 but it's an unfair price to pay myself. Current range is $32-$36, and I think $40-$45 would be fair, considering I use interfacing as well as batting, everything is top-stitched, that's real leather happening on the sole, toe, and heel, and these boots feel good. They feel really, really good in your hand. I also am still sending all orders out with handmade bags that coordinate with their items, as I dislike wrapping up things in paper and plastic, which will head straight to the trash or recycling or your kids mouth or even better the floor for two months, lazily pushed around or stepped on repeatedly until someone asks someone else why we don't they just pick up the trash and suddenly they're questioning their relationship of themselves in the universe and in relation to one another and so forth. 

Three hours of my life should be worth $40 is all I'm saying. 

I think I'll hold off on charging my kid for them, though. She'll "inspire" me by "modeling" tomorrow in the park, where I've promised myself I'll go instead of doing the things I did today which were thoroughly unsatisfactory to her. The things involved Chipotle for lunch and dinner and bingewatching Hannibal. In bed. 


Sewing for Me

Me as in my little body, whose measurements are something like

33" bust x 25" waist x 34" hip

and it's likely if I was at least 5'5'' my clothes would look awesome, more than awesome, I'm pretty sure my teenage sister has my measurements but is a few inches taller than me and looks like a flippin model, but when you're very, very small everywhere and also short, very few things  fit well. 

Collars on tanktops drop below the center of my bra, shirts are pillows of air, waistlines are low, hips are drapes, and there are a handful of clothing items in my closet. Feels not so awesome to look like a drug abuser when I get dressed.

Enough bitching. I'm sewing my own clothes. 

Already laid down the credit card for sweet sweet fabric. 

you're so savory, robert kaufman chambray, i hope you make this look just as yummy

Back in a few weeks when I've done something.


A Brief History of Me + the Machine

I met my first sewing machine when I was in the fourth grade, my aunt's house. Within minutes I had developed a jumble of knots with the bobbin thread. I silently backed away and pretended I had never touched it. 

I met my second sewing machine when I was twelve, I took sewing for each year of middle school. I can't remember my sewing teacher's name, but in my mind's eye she wears a white turtleneck, a patchwork vest, a long, tiered skirt, wears her medium brown banged hair in a half-pony and is bespectacled. I carefully walked my sewing foot through a maze drawn on paper and quickly moved onto quilting blankets, sewing pillows, and in a shining moment I created a three-eyed white rabbit. The rabbit I gifted to my boyfriend and best friend of high school. It was a beautiful creature. 

At sixteen, I bought a Brother sewing machine for $62 and used it to sew in the hip arc on pants, modify garments for dance and occasionally sew a poorly fitting garment such as this: 

I wore this to go hiking in Colorado. I paired it with pigtails and a pair of strapless, kelly-green 1" heels that I threw at my mom when she proceeded to hike a hill. 

I wore this to go hiking in Colorado. I paired it with pigtails and a pair of strapless, kelly-green 1" heels that I threw at my mom when she proceeded to hike a hill. 

That very Brother was the one I cleaned up to use a few years ago when I began sewing again. The sewing wasn't because I thought I had a seamstress inside of me who wanted to possess my body to create a million miniature garments. Christina asked me what I could do outside of customer service jobs that wouldn't result in vomiting at every shift. We were trying to have a baby, and I literally stopped doing everything that involved me using my emotions or body in any way. I stopped dancing. I stopped bicycling. I extricated myself from all family drama. I sat on my ass and drank chicken broth and dreamed of babies and the courage to sing out loud. 

The tiny shoe decision was quick to arise, I think because I have had a longtime love of mini socks. I made a few shitty pairs of shoes and then a few pairs of less shitty shoes and now it's been three and a half years and I'm in marriage counseling with sewing. 

In case you were wondering why I'm sharing all this, Doctor.