KonMari-ing as fast as I can.

After 10 years at our current address, we are moving to another apartment in early September. As if that isn’t nerve-wracking enough, I’ve also decided to complete the KonMari process I began last year (then abandoned after clothes and books because my energy took a terrible nosedive) before we go.

Needless to say, this is probably not an approved application of the KonMari process. Oh, well! I’m a rebel and I’ll never-ever be any good.

It is, however, going well — at least in a tentative way. I did a very thorough sweep through clothing and books the first time, but I did a “touch up” to get myself started again. I managed to clear most of the clothes I had in the storage unit (a few small boxes), a coat I didn’t like, and a few other odds and ends — and another small box of books and a large box of magazines — before moving on to paper…for the first time.

I really thought I had paper under control. And I probably did have a lot less than the average household. I’m mostly paperless already, but even so I had not purged old tax files in years and found a lot of miscellaneous, random paper I’d kept for…question mark? I have no idea. I found a bunch of 2011 utility bills that had somehow escaped an earlier purge, for instance. Anyway, I did it all in one day — with lots of breaks — and today we took three boxes of paper to the recycling center and two bags of paper to Office Max to be shredded. I now have one plastic file box of important papers, one plastic file box of old writing and sentimental items (collected, but not examined — I’m mostly following the rules), and one file caddy of client work that is maybe a quarter full.

Good progress.

We also started on the komono today, and went through all of the CDs and DVDs. I had an unrelated purge of CDs a couple of years ago, when I digitized most of my collection after a shelf broke on our CD storage, so there wasn’t a lot left that didn’t spark joy for me. However, Lennox got into the spirit of things and discarded a whole box full of CDs and videogames. We discarded very few DVDs, though, because almost our entire collection sparked joy. Sometimes that’s how it goes! Some categories are already pretty joyful, and require far less pruning.

We took the books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and videogames to Half Price Books to sell, and they paid us $45.00. We were pretty pleased at the unexpected cash; they rarely offer so much!

Next up for me will be sewing and knitting related items, and then kitchen komono in various subcategories. I hope I can keep up the momentum. My energy level has been pretty good lately, so the pace hasn’t been too much for me — so far.

Wish me luck.

Wrapping up Me Made May.

I’m not sure I’ll participate again — I may, but it will depend on my energy level next spring — but like most participants, I did learn a few things during Me Made May.

I do a good job making things I actually like to wear — and I sew clothes that work with my existing wardrobe, and that are practical for the actual lifestyle I lead. No fancy party dresses with nowhere to wear them, that’s for sure! As I mentioned earlier in the month, I tend to stay within the same color palette to keep things simple, and that helps, too.

Though my favorite purchased garments are mostly all fit-and-flare dresses from eShakti, I really do like pared back styling. I like simple lines and knits, and although I’m certainly capable of sewing more complicated items, I really do like the stuff I make. So far, so good.

However, I’ve realized that many of my sewing expectations are bananas. I have a ton of fabric, hundreds of ideas, and almost no energy to sew most of the time. I didn’t write a single word on my novel re-write this month, simply because I was focusing on finishing sewing projects I had already cut out. I need to be more realistic about my limitations. That being said, I can knock out a simple tee or a Mabel skirt in just about an hour. So it’s good that my fashion instincts lean toward simple projects.

All in all, I had a really good month and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I only repeated one garment the entire month, and only failed to get a picture one day. I managed to wear something I’d made every single Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday — and one bonus Sunday. I actually wore a couple of other things on other days, too — my infamous bunny print lounge pants, yet another Mabel skirt, and some linen shorts — but I didn’t bother to document them.

I made my pledge, and followed through. I call it a success.

Not pictured.

I’m not posting a photo for Me Made May today because although I’m wearing a self-made garment, it’s basically a house dress and I can’t be bothered to take a picture. Way too low energy today.

This particular dress is a fraternal twin to the knit Staple dress I wore earlier in the month. It’s the same, except that it’s a black and grey floral print. I consider it a fabric failure, because it got extremely pilled only the second time I wore it. We drove to New Orleans last year for our anniversary, and by the time we reached our hotel, the front of this dress had a visible line of pilling where the seat belt had been! I was so sad. It was basically brand new, and already too “worn” to wear out and about — what a terrible, cheap fabric. Ugh!

The dress is perfectly sound in all other respects, though, so I often wear it around the house — and so comfortable that I’m tempted to make another version one of these days.

Maybe I will.

Practical sewing.

image

Today for Me Made May I wore the same Comino Cap dress as the other day because I did laundry yesterday and it’s my new favorite. I also wore a self-made apron while I was baking earlier.

I probably wear this apron more frequently than any other handmade item I have — usually every day. I wear it while cooking and while doing dishes and other chores. There was a fad for apron making a few years ago, but most people were making frothy half aprons, which look great in a retro sort of way, but do very little in practical terms. A good apron has to cover your clothes to save them, after all.

I traced off an old apron to make the pattern for this one, and used two layers of quilting cotton instead of one of canvas. (I’ve also made reversible aprons this way.) I used purchased twill tape for the neck and ties, so it was even easier to make. I love that such a simple item gets so much use!

My friend Tanzy came for tea today, so I made bannocks and a hot black eyed pea dip. We also had the refrigerator pickles I made on Thursday, and the blueberry freezer jam I made yesterday. It has been a busy week in my kitchen! I really do enjoy cooking and baking when my energy level permits it. I get a little self-conscious baking for Tanzy, though — she trained as a pastry chef. Today she brought a meringue roulade to share!

But we had a nice chat, and my apron got yet a little more use. (And I made the Hello Kitty tablecloth, too.)

image

This pattern has Comino Cap-tured my heart.

image

*Groan!* What a terrible pun, am I right? Aren’t you glad Me Made May allowed me to force such dreadful wordplay upon you? Of course you are.

I now totally get why sewing bloggers  went bananas for this pattern when it came out. The t-shirt is great, and the dress is marvelous.

I graded out at the waist and hips again, shortened the bodice by two inches, and added several inches to the skirt’s length. I seem to add length to everything these days, despite being only 5’2″. I’ve got nothing against short skirts on others, but I’m 40-mumble years old and I work in accounting. I’m not wearing anything much above knee level to work. From a stylistic perspective I prefer midi length, anyway — I think it’s more elegant.

Yes, this is the same fabric I used for the tee. Unoriginal, sure — but at least I knew it would work well. I got both the tee and the dress out of 3 yards, even with all that extra length in the skirt. What a great (and economical) pattern!

I would also like to say that this is the best neckband application I’ve done to date.  But then I turned around and made one of the crappiest hems I’d done in a while! Eh, win some, lose some. I’m still very satisfied by this dress, and totally in love with the pattern.

A great skirt for a not-so-great day.

image

I’m wearing yet another Collette Mabel skirt variation today (I think I’ve made 6 Mabels total) for Me Made May. I think the boxy top (from Target last year) gives it a mid-90s vibe. This outfit pretty forcefully recalls all of those rib knit skirt and tee combos from Express I wore back in the day.

This is one of the most comfortable skirts I own. The ponte knit is especially soft and stretchy — I wish I’d gotten more of this fabric in other colors. I needed that kind of comfort today. I didn’t do a great job of respecting my limitations over the weekend, and now I’m paying the price.

After two days of non-stop busy-ness, I woke up this morning with super fatigue and mystery pain, and a brain fog so bad that although I was at work for six hours, I only billed out one and a half. I couldn’t think my way out of a wet paper sack today. Not a great day.

But at least my clothes were comfortable.

A really great t-shirt.

image

I’m wearing a Comino Cap t-shirt today for Me Made May. I love this shirt, and I really love this sewing pattern. (I think the fabric is still available at Girl Charlee, too, as it was a fairly recent purchase.) I also have a Comino Cap dress almost done (no hem yet), which I’ll almost certainly wear before the end of the month.

I procrastinated on making this shirt for a long time. I was off the size chart at the waist and hips, and the armholes looked almost impossibly tiny. A review at the Curvy Sewing Collective convinced me to try it, and I’m really glad I did. I added the amount I needed at the waist and hips, and the armholes are exactly right, even for my generously sized arms. It fits very, very well — neither too tight, nor too loose, great medium length, almost no pooling above the waist in the back. I particularly like its little cap sleeves — just enough, and not an awkward kimono sleeve. It’s simply ideal; I anticipate making a metric buttload of these tees.

I really am feeling very enthusiastic about this shirt — a feeling apparently shared by both a client and a grocery check out clerk who complimented me today. (Good job me!)

This is the first thing I both cut out and sewed this month — I mean both in May. I still have two things I cut out before May began (one a good long while ago, actually), but I intend to finish them before the month is out. I’m not going to worry about it, though. It has been too nice a sewing month to get all high pressure now.

Good enough.

image

Here I am in all my post-workday rumpled glory, wearing a fat cat print Made by Rae Washi dress for Me Made May today.

Having seen a million cute versions of this dress all over the internet, I bought this pattern when it was still fairly new, despite being outside its size range. My first muslin, made way back when, was a hot mess — and so I quickly abandoned it. I ended up making a really great dress for my (smaller) Mom from the pattern, so it didn’t feel like a waste.

A couple of years later, I made an equally unsuccessful muslin for a similar-but-different elastic back quilting-cotton-friendly dress (the pattern name escapes me), and I realized that the Washi dress was much better drafted, and that my pattern alteration skills had improved in the interim. So I gave it another go.

I’m really glad I did! I gave it an FBA, lengthened the skirt a bit, and lengthened the bodice to give it more of a fit-and-flare vibe instead of the drafted empire waist. I might tweak it a little more if I make it again, but really: it’s fine. Perfectly wearable.

I worked in theatrical costuming for several years in my youth. We didn’t build exquisite period pieces or perfectly tailored modern separates. We worked within a minuscule budget, for short run shows, and specialized in “good enough.” I went from sewing as carefully as I could to sewing as fast as I could. I learned to alter and adapt thrifted pieces, too. If it looked good from the audience’s perspective, it was good enough.

My sewing perfectionism got thrown out the window, and thankfully never returned. Sure, I still love creating a quality garment, but I won’t torture myself over every little imperfection. Are my self-made t-shirts worse than Old Navy? No? Then they’re fine. If I found a dress I liked that fit as well as this Washi dress at the thrift store for $10, would I buy it? Yes? Then this dress is fine.

Embracing imperfection can be very freeing. I recommend it.