Monday, November 19, 2012

Sewing Disasters

About 5 years ago I decided that I wanted to learn how to sew clothes.  I bought a cheap sewing machine on clearance and asked my Gramma to teach me how to sew.  She and I sewed two skirts, but the truth was she sewed them and I watched her do it.  I decided that I needed to go to a class.  Luckily I lived in St. Paul and Treadle Yard Goods offers amazing classes.  I took a beginning sewing class, a winter coat class, and an advanced beginner class.  From there I started sewing when I could and I used their sewing salons for help when I got stuck.  I didn't have a ton of time to dedicate to sewing and found that the clothes that I made just turned out "ok." 

One of the reasons that I wanted to learn how to sew is that I have kind of weird proportions and it's sometimes hard to find clothes that fit well.  I am fairly little on top.  I have wide hips and fat thighs.  I hoped that sewing would allow me to create clothing that fit me better.  The problem is, I don't know how to adjust patterns to make them fit me better.  And now I live in a place where there aren't any sewing classes or salons to help teach me these skills.

I now feel fairly confident on a sewing machine and following patterns.  Where I fall flat is in choosing the right fabric for a pattern and choosing the right pattern for a flattering look on my body type.  Take my sewing project of last week.  I decided to create Simplicity 2690, view A (that's the one the model is wearing in the picture).  It is a mini dress.  I thought that the V-neck would help me look taller and I liked the ribbon detail.  I thought the flared bottom would help hide my fatter bottom.

Thought this would be a great pattern!

I chose a silky fabric from Joann's because I thought a cotton fabric wouldn't drape as nicely.  It turned out to be a tough fabric to work with.  It was really slippery and I needed to use lots of pins to keep the seams together and it unraveled quickly so I had to finish each seam with a serger-type stitch which made taking it apart and making adjustments next to impossible.  Here is my finished look.  The bodice turned out too big, the bottom turned out too tight, and I feel like it makes me look like a fat box.

Whale of a dress!
Does anyone know of any good resources for learning how to choose patterns based on body type?  Adjusting patterns for a better fit?  And choosing the right fabric for a project?  I have a closet full of clothes that I won't wear in public (well 3 shirts and a dress-but that's a lot of wasted effort!).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rural Winter Living

So the place that we moved to while we are waiting to buy our house does NOT have internet.  Jason and I got a mobile router that gives us internet through our cell phone service but it's kind of expensive and we are burning through the allotment, so I am trying to limit my internet surfing.  Luckily my car needed an oil change and the auto shop has wifi so I have a chance to respond to emails with more than a sentence, update the blog, and do more in depth web surfing.  We're hoping that there will be a way to get high speed internet at the house.

We still haven't heard from the seller's bank to see if they will accept the offer.  Short sales certainly aren't short.  Our realtor continues to tell us that he thinks that the bank will eventually accept the offer.  I am learning patience. 

In the meantime we have had two snowfalls and the latest one (Sunday night) is still lingering on the ground.  The snow is beautiful here in the mountains.  I just wish that our apartment had a window with the beautiful view we get from the exterior stairs up to the apartment. 

Winter Wonderland

Because of the weather our already dark apartment is even more dim which makes sewing a little more difficult, but I have been carrying through.  I have made a pair of work out pants for myself which inspired an idea for Christmas presents for my in-laws (they don't read the blog so I can post that!).  I also hemmed some fabric for the Kettle Falls library display cases.  Right now I am working on a mini-dress pattern that is considerably more complicated than anything that I have done previously.  So far it's going pretty well.  I chose a silky fabric from Joann's and it's pretty slippery so I am learning a lot with this project.  Next I want to make another dress for my friend's daughter (we will spend Thanksgiving with them and I would like to bring another dress) and start making pajama pants for the in-laws for Christmas presents. 

I need to figure out a way to meet more people in town.  Next week our friends Hillary and Mark leave for Pullman and we won't have easy friends to count on.  Through them we have met some people and I need to be diligent about calling them and trying to build friendships, but I also want to meet some new people.  I have been thinking about volunteering somewhere, but I am not sure how to find those opportunities.  I thought about joining a knitting group (even though I don't know how to knit) but when I showed up at the fabric store, it was about 10 women in their 60's lamenting Obama's reelection, so I just walked away.  If anyone has any ideas of how I can meet more people, please let me know!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our New Apartment in Kettle Falls

Moving from the city to a rural area is going to take some getting used to.  Today we paid the first and last month rent and I started moving our stuff into a SMALL one-bedroom apartment in Kettle Falls.

Kettle Falls is the red dot, it's 7 miles from the metropolis of Colville.

When I got to the apartment at 10am like we had agreed, the owner wasn't there.  I called her and it went straight to voice mail.  It was raining and a little cold out so I sat in my car and read on the kindle ap of my iphone.  She called me back, she had been held up at the vet but told me I could start moving my stuff into the apartment.  I start lugging action packers and canvas bags of stuff up the outdoor stairs and into the apartment.  When I got into the apartment, I was shocked!  There were hundreds of dead bugs everywhere-on the window sills, on the floors, under rugs-this is the stuff that nightmares are made of.  Luckily I had my vacuum cleaner with me and before getting anything else from my car, I quickly vacuumed all of those buggers from the apartment.  I still shiver thinking about it. 

When the owner got home, I gave her the check and asked for the keys.  "Oh honey, no one here uses keys or locks up their apartments.  In fact one of the apartments doesn't even have a lock."  I explained that we are coming from the city and even though it's perfectly safe, we would feel comfortable with keys.  It took her about 10 minutes to find a HUGE ring with about 10 keys on it labeled "GARAGE APT."  By comparing the keys, we realized that there were 4 different keys on this ring.  She gave me one copy of each and asked me to figure out which one opened the deadbolt and which one opened the door knob.  Only one of the keys was actually for our apartment, and it opened the door knob.  She has no key for the deadbolt.  There was no-"I'll get you a key." or anything like that, we just only get to lock our door knob.  Maybe I am being paranoid, but I would like to be able to lock our door with the deadbolt.  What if the zombies come?  They can totally get through the door knob-anyone with a credit card could. 

I also learned not to go shopping on the first of the month.  I don't know if it's just pay day or some other reason, but the stores were crazy!  I didn't know that there were that many people in this little area!  I needed to get 2 light bulbs and a trashcan and I could hardly move around the store.  People in small towns just randomly stop in the  middle of the aisle, blocking it unaware of the people behind them.  They also walk so slowly.  Maybe someday I will be one of them and learn to slow down, but I still have the city in me and it was infuriating today!

One great thing about the apartment is the view.  Kettle Falls is much smaller and more rural than Colville and it's close to many rivers.  Here is the view from the stairway to our apartment.  The owner has horses and there are farms all around.  It was raining so there's lots of mist.

Tomorrow I will finish moving the rest of our stuff in the apartment and give Hillary and Mark's basement a thorough cleaning.  We have loved being here and will miss them a ton but it's time for us to be on our own.

We're starting to settle down here.  I still can't believe that we moved to Washington!