Monday, July 25, 2011

Colette Patterns Rooibos Sewalong

The Colette Patterns Rooibos Sewalong was announced today, and I am definitely participating!  I hope they address how to pronounce the name...

Monday Morning

Does anyone else look around on a Monday morning and think, Where did the weekend go?  Did I even sit down?  Oh my god, did I really build a bookshelf?  (Why yes, yes I did.)

I know this isn't a rare thing to think about.  When I was a kid, I knew weekends were precious to adults, but they were just an extension of boredom to me.  Oh, it's too hot to do pretty much anything?  Wonderful, gives me more time to watch Daria.  (Thanks, 1996.)  Now, I find myself thinking on Sunday nights, Is everything really done?  Am I a bad person because I didn't have time to vacuum?  I hope not.

We don't often have time to do anything truly fun on weekends.  We both work long hours with pretty hefty commutes, so weekends are spent catching up on whatever we didn't have time for during the weekend.  Over-ripe bananas are turned into muffins and full hampers are cleaned and put away.  The refrigerator is stocked and the paperwork is completed.  Anything that has been waiting is neatly filed away.  But where does this leave us?  On Monday morning, my coworkers and I do the general smalltalk of weekends, and they always undoubtedly have fun stories of a new restaurant or a trip to Hains Point.  When I say, oh, I made pulled pork Friday and enchiladas Sunday, and spent 45 minutes in line at Wal-Mart Saturday night, I feel like I'm failing as a twentysomething.  I know we all have different lifestyles--I'm the only one with a live-in partner--but sometimes I think they view me as boring, conservative or scared.  I just don't have the time, is all.  I'd love to go out to dinner each night and linger over drinks, but that takes both hours and dollars that just aren't there.

Does anyone else feel like this?  When I was in college, my friends were older, so we all worked forty hours a week and had secondary responsibilities, whether that was kids, college or husbands.  It wasn't rare to hear someone say that all she did over the weekend was write papers or hand out cold medicine every four hours.  This is the first time I've worked with people my age and basic social group (no hippies who described houses and trees as "magical") and I feel like I'm woefully behind.  I know as long as I'm trucking along I'm doing fine, but is fine acceptable? 

I'd go into talking about my birthday plans (none!), but I feel like that's a tearful post to be scheduled in September, simply because I have a while to dwell on how I'm not doing anything.

Okay, let's shut up with the negativity.  Here are a couple pictures from the weekend:

Yes, that would be my brand-spanking-new iPad with the chewed cord.  Eleanor is really outdoing herself with the level of sabotage she's performing. 

Oh hey, I built that!  Nick was pickling peppers and I was building a bookshelf.  This is how we work.  However, right after this we went to Ikea and the fabric now lives in neat green boxes.  The tops don't close, but oh well, they're there.
Back to work!  It's another week, getting closer to the holidays all the time.  I'm so ready for fall and, subsequently, Christmas I could scream.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Monique Dress

I don't know about you guys, but it's sending me into a deep depressing knowing I won't have another day off until September.  I know, we all got through winter without anything (for three months!), but I think the combination of no summer vacation and complete boredom is doing me in.  I'd love to take a few days off to just sleep and sew, but until my parents figure out where they'll be and what they'll be doing for the holidays, I can't afford to risk it.  So for now, it's work work work all the time.

I'm just having a weird week in general.  Yesterday felt like I was a kid with ADHD.  I was at work by 7:30 and just couldn't focus.  I'd sit down to work on something, and instead, I'd peel off my nailpolish, or look at the pictures in my cube, or check my phone.  Whatever.  All damn day.  I went to Starbucks (I was exhausted yesterday, which didn't help my focus) and didn't have enough money on my gift card, nor did I take anything but said gift card with me.  The manager covered the $1.18 difference, but have you any idea how embarrassing that is?  Good lord.  By the time we got home from grocery shopping last night (after 8:00), I still hadn't eaten dinner, so I settled for some deli ham and cheese and Nick's leftover Sam Adams. 

Today, while I'm wearing the dress I'm detailing below, I've also dealt with an overdrawn bank account and incessant construction overhead.  I know people overdraw their bank accounts--shit happens, you need to both pay your bills and buy groceries--but I hold myself to such high standards that this is the ultimate failure in my mind.  I can't even handle my money?  How can I handle living on my own and being responsible for other people?  Ugh.

So anyway, let's get into it.  While Nick was gone over the weekend, I sewed, and cut, and bought, and planned, and washed...pretty much everything involved with sewing.

I've had the Serendipity Studios Monique Dress in my stash since I first started thinking about sewing.  The Laura Gunn giant poppies on the front were enough to reel me in.  While I didn't choose that for my dress--it's enough being on my work bag--I still decided to make the dress.

There was one big scary thing involved with this dress: an invisible zipper.  I went in with trepidation, not even knowing how to sew a regular zipper, and came out wtih a fully functional dress!  Now, how do you like that?

Also, all fabric choices were greatly influenced by this post on Patty the Snug Bug.  I bought the shown City Weekend fabrics forever ago and knew that I didn't want to waste them on some future snot-nosed kid, so I better use them now while I have the chance.

I never take good pictures of myself.  I'm just not meant to be a fashion blogger.

The dress, pre-ironing.  I promise I ironed it this morning.  It even still smells like linen water!

Pay no attention to the mismatched waistbands!  Nick thinks they're hilarious; I'm slightly embarrassed but happy to wear a cardigan to cover them up.

Could that invisible zipper?!  Yes it is!  And a hook and eye above it.
It was an okay dress.  I'm used to more professionally-written instructions, so that was hard to get used to.  Also, the waistbands.  What's wrong with me?!  I'm guessing the darts on the bodice just threw it all off, but if I had matched up the waist, the shoulders wouldn't have met.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Some other pictures from my weekend:
My outfit for picking up Nick on Sunday.  We were also going to District Taco.  Again, not a great fashion blogger.

My first four cuts of Children at Play.  Now, what to do with them?
Does anyone have any ideas for the Children at Play yardage?  Again, not holding out for any lameo kids, so how do I use them in a non-cutesy way?  I don't want to be a sexy baby.

My sewing list is stocked up for a while.  I've cut out Simplicity 2154  in the constellation fabric I bought a while ago.  I also bought the new Lisette brown chambray from the fall line and am making the Lisette Traveler dress (view B) in it.  ALSO on the Colette blog yesterday she explained how to create pintucks in the Violet I plan on doing that too. 

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Monday, July 18, 2011


This post should contain pictures of the Serendipity Studio Monique Dress I made over the weekend.

However, as I was topstitching the hem last night, the power went out, and didn't come back on until we were in bed.

So that'll be tomorrow's post, I suppose.  Sigh.  How irritating!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gingham Shirts

Let's just say, it's been a day already.  My zipper in my new (only worn once!) skirt broke, it took me over an hour to get to work, and, well, I just don't want to deal with it today.  I want to be at home, sewing, or shopping, or something.  I'm just not into it.

Is this a generational thing?  Maybe we all look back on the '40s and '50s with rose-colored glasses, but you never hear about old people saying they weren't "into" work.  They knew they had to work.  End of story.  Maybe I'm reading too far into things?

Anyway, I sewed a blouse yesterday.  I feel like it's been forever since I've sewn something!  I did make that Modern Marigold Pretty Shirt.  What a nightmare that was.  It's huge!  I look pregnant in it.  So I have to go to JoAnns this weekend and get some white grosgrain ribbon.  I don't normally like belts because I'm so short-waisted (and not wasp-waisted either), but sometimes, you gotta cinch it.  (Gap Girls for the win) (Not the correct link but I couldn't find the one I was looking for.  You get it!)

So I sewed this top with some dotted Swiss my momma gave me.  I have a ton of it.  I'm thinking of also making an Oliver + S Puppet Show tunic out of it, because I've been dying to make one and also because I have a ton of it.

God, could I take worse pictures?  This is a Simplicity Threads pattern, and it seems to have dropped off the pattern planet because it's not on the Simplicity website or Google.  Weird.  It's a pullover and there were separate bodice pieces for different cup sizes.  I love that!  All patterns should have that.  I don't know why the industry standard is a B but it shouldn't be.

Yes, that is me in my office bathroom.  I wanted to show off the J. Crew shirt I bought Saturday.  Gingham!  And it fits perfectly!  I had planned to wear it with the terrible skirt that broke, but instead I had to go with this white skirt, which is too tight but thankfully still zips up.  It's J. Crew, so who knows if I'll be able to afford another one, but I love it and plan on wearing it forever.

This is the skirt that broke.  As you can see, the zipper pull is clearly at the top, but the zipper is pulling apart.  Interesting.  My mom suggested zipping it up and down to get it back on track, which I had Nick do, but it pulled apart as soon as I moved.  And then we couldn't get it off.  It's been a stressful morning.  I've contacted Loft because I bought it with my Loft card last month, but is there anything I can do?  It's an invisible zipper and there's a skirt lining.  How much do seamstresses charge to fix this?

Oh, also, I have a giant zit on my face (right under my nose) and my hair is looking...crunchy.  I should've just stayed in bed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Adulthood: Scene 1

Our vacuum broke yesterday.  I had declared Sunday the day of cleaning (cleanliness is next to godliness, after all), and before it even started, it stopped.  My mom gave us this vacuum, which she bought in 2001. 

We had to go to Target to buy a new one.  We spent 20 minutes comparing them, Googling "cyclonic action," and debating how much we should spend.

$150 later, we had a new vacuum, with cyclonic action (worth it) and a HEPA filter for pet hair. 

I used it.  I loved it.

Never have I felt more like a housewife.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I've been terrible about writing in this lately.  I don't really have an excuse, either.  I guess I'm busy?  Working, taking care of the apartment and Nick (and Eleanor), and the reprise of my kidney infection are all that's going on.  I've sewn a little bit, but not really.  Does sewing charm squares together count?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

I did go shopping this weekend, against Nick's will.  I bribed him with a trip to Crate and Barrel (boy loves him some beer glasses) and just like that!  I was in.  Ever since I started sewing I haven't done much shopping.  A few trips to Loft is all, really, besides picking up the $10 tees at Target which go with everything and are amazingly flattering.  So it was weird to actually spend money on clothes and feel good about it.  I ended up with a few things: a gingham button-up from J. Crew; and a windowpane-check button-up, a madras button-up and a cotton skirt from Land's End Canvas.  Everything was on clearance with an additional percentage off, which made things even better.  Lord knows I hate paying retail (and just about never do).

I also listed some of my clothes on eBay.  I don't really have an emotional attachment to clothes, besides the robe my mom made me when I was nine (that still fits, by the way) (I'm not that small, I just never developed shoulders or a torso).  I'm actually always excited to get rid of things.  So I found eight items that were in perfect shape, some including tags, that I didn't want to give to Goodwill.  I know, that's awful, but I donate to Goodwill a lot, and I shop there too.  I'd like to make some money off of things I've never worn, if at all possible.  So far, no bids, but they do have a lot of watchers.  I'm optimistic.

Anyway!  So I was in J. Crew, heading straight to the sale section--after working there, I don't bother with the new stuff.  It'll be on sale soon enough--and so much of what I saw along the way was beautiful and classic--and yet so ridiculously easy to make.  Shift dresses, camisoles, straight skirts (one was a complete rip-off of the Colette Beignet, with the buttons down the front--that style looks awful on me but I know a lot of people like it)--all you need is the pattern and your fabric and you're made in the shade for a third of the price.  Or a quarter.  Really, they're just overpriced.

Do not even tell me you couldn't make this.  It's a cotton pencil skirt!  And it retails for $98.00!  Just do it!

So that got me thinking, I see things everyday in magazines and stores that I want, but that I'm not willing to pay for.  I think everyone does this.  Maybe not the rich and famous, but I doubt anyone rich and famous--besides Mellow Mushroom--is reading my blog.  Why am I not remembering these?  Pinterest is a pain.  It always freezes my computer and I hate hate hate seeing all the "exercise routines" and "thinspiration."  Barf, people, go hang out with some middle schoolers if you're into that.  So I started a tumblr. again.  I know, it's so weird.  Now I should go hang out with the middle schoolers.  I don't plan on using it as I did my old one, but only as a place to store images.  A virtual bulletin board that Eleanor can't knock over and that won't freeze my computer, if you will.  If you're interested, go check it out: Pearl Cotton.  If not, well, whatever, that's fine, it's my bulletin board anyway.

Also, just a note: I've been dying to open that fabric store lately.  How do people do this--start a business, leave their jobs, follow their dreams?  Does anyone have an anecdote?  On that same note, would anyone like to help me out?  We can be broke and overworked together!

Also!  Happy birthday to my lovely cousin Jessica!  I wish I was there to celebrate and eat some strawberry pie with her.  Happy birthday Jesse!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy birthday, America!

I love long weekends.  I have three days to do what I normally cram into two, Eleanor wonders what the hell I'm still doing around on a Monday (she knows her days of the week), and Nick starts to get on my nerves by Sunday night.  But no, really, they're the best.

We tried to step out of the box this weekend and not sit around for hours at a time, watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons ("we" = "I").  Saturday we spent the day in the sweltering heat, walking around Capitol Hill and Old Town Alexandria.  We really weren't prepared for the heat, as the last 90 degree day we had was in May.  It was a little rough and I single-handedly disproved the belief that women don't sweat, they glow.  No, I was sweating.  We were also verbally attacked by a Metro employee (we've reported her but have yet to hear anything back from WMATA) and dealt with really loud tourists.  But all in all it was a fun day.

The rest of the weekend was spent running various errands, though we did eat at Mussel Bar in Bethesda last night.  I thought it was delicious.  I don't eat mussels (or really any seafood, save crabs and lobster) so I had the prime rib steak sandwich with frites and a glass of rose.  I know, wine?  For me?  But their beers were mostly imported and I'm an American craft beer enthusiast.  We also ordered dessert, which I haven't done in God knows how many years.

So here are some pictures.  Did  you all have a nice weekend?  The next long weekend is Labor day!  Can you believe it?  This year is flying by.

Starting out the day as two innocent kids who had no idea of the messed up people they would encounter on their adventures.

Navy diver punching a shark, something you can only see at the Eastern Market

Mmm, green tomatoes

The vendor was offended I was taking pictures of her flowers instead of buying them.  Sorry!

Hill's Kitchen, where I bought two icing spatulas and a present for my mom.  Way to go crazy!

The stuff nightmares are made of.


I love these porcelain milk jugs

Ahhh, finally.

California Pizza Kitchen

Fried Mac and Cheese!

Some of the weird produce at Safeway

Eleanor enjoys helping us with laundry

A monkey dressed like a banana at the Paper Source in Bethesda
Images by Freepik