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Goals for 2013

We’re a strange bunch when that New Year clock draws near to its goal, we go into overdrive with our own goals, dreams, aspirations and resolutions. And what of all these resolutions. I’ve been pondering how empty the blogosphere would be if we removed all the ‘New Year Resolutions’ conversations made in the last week. Resolutions? Not me but I do make and aim for goals continually, some of which I meet and others I don’t. I like to have too many goals because it leaves me room for more rather than getting to the end of my list and not knowing where to next.

Dictionary.com says (relevant meaning chosen from multiple meanings)

A Goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end

Dreams are an aspiration; goal; aim: A trip to Europe is his dream.

Aspiration is 1. strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations. 2. a goal or objective desired: The presidency is the traditional aspiration of young American boys.

And a Resolution is
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.

They all seem very similar to me. Before today I held a belief that I did not believe in New Year Resolutions but each January 1, I would formulate a list of things I wanted or intended to achieve that year. For as long as I remember I’ve always been a goal setter. I vaguely recall making lists while I was in upper primary school and clearly remember making goals during my high school years. I also remember that a great many of my goals were not achieved. It would often see me questioning the value and of course being hard on myself for not doing all that I planned. Now as I look back I see I was learning how to set realistic and achievable goals. It was in my early 20’s that it all came together for me. I had become a single mum with an 18 month little princess. My goals for that time actually started before then. My newfound circumstances were the result of wanting a better life, a life that a sweet, smart pretty little girl deserved. And so we embarked on our new life. They were difficult times but the optimist in me made it a good life, public pools, libraries, playgrounds, playing together & reading books, baking and gardening. Lots of debt, little money and at first no home. We started our new life together in emergency housing for the homeless. Each tenant was housed for 8 wks in which time they were expected to save the money required to rent in the private market. Most people stayed well over 3 months and some up to 6 months. Right up front I was told about the expected 8 wks plan to independent living but also not to worry if I didn’t make it in the time, as failure was common and because of the Christmas period I would be given extra time. Ahh, I’d been given a goal and I rose to the challenge. We moved into our own privately rented unit in the 9th week, Christmas period included. That Christmas I realised God was real when the Salvation Army left a box at my door and it contained every item from my shopping list I’d not been able to buy, right down to a can of soft drink for each of us. That was massive, I had stood in the supermarket crying as I’d tried to figure out what to leave behind only to receive it all plus more from strangers. My next goal was to pay out all my debt and save for a ‘brand new’ fridge and washing machine while I waited out the expected 6 months wait for state subsidised housing. And I did it! Moving into my new unit with my first ever new electrical items was a very proud and exciting day for me.

So now I’m saying goodbye to 16 years of marriage and making new goals again. This time the goals are helping keep me happy and focused. It’s not so much about the physical need but more about the process. It gives me something to plan and dream, it keeps me focused. Honestly, the last 3 months have been the most difficult in my entire life, more difficult than escaping a violent relationship, more difficult than starting out young with a baby girl but because of those past goals and lessons learned I know this time I can do it again. Looking back at all my past goals and the testimony of all God has done in my life shows me I can. I know getting bogged down thinking about how hard it is doesn’t help and lately I am guilty of having trouble remembering that fact. But time and time again Jesus lifts my spirit and I get back on track. No matter how often I fall He picks me up.

So for this January 2013 my goals are very simple but they are big for where I am at. They are enough to remind me where I’ve been, what I’ve achieved and where I’m going. They are enough to remind me of His working in my life and give me peace to just be – where I am today.

I’ve a perfect little 1 bedroom flat to settle into and put my stamp on. I’ve plans to make a patchwork rug for the floor. I’ve also committed to making 12 sewing items and declared it publicly over at Karen’s from didyoumakethat. I’m even going to put a bit more pressure on myself by promising to make a donation to charity if I fail. Maybe I’ll still make a donation if I achieve them as a means of celebration. And of course I’m going to get well and get a job. I’ve not worked since 2004 except for voluntary work in our church office which I loved. I’m looking forward to having a job I enjoy more than the prospect of increased income. So I have dreams and goals for 2013 but I still don’t think resolutions are for me!

So how about you are they different words, same meaning? I wonder if it depends on your world view, perspective and to some degree whether one is an optimist or pessimist.

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My Space Saving, Cutting Table

Hi ya,

Gorgeous warm, sunny day here in North Queensland and we’re right in the middle of a great week.

I read a while back on Karen’s Blog over at didyoumakethat that she cuts out on the floor. Not an option for me due to aged skinny bony knees and stiff joints but it got me thinking. I had previously cut on the dining table but it has its drawbacks, getting around it is hard and our table often has piles of stuff there waiting to go home. It’s our dumping place!

Any how hubby got me a piece of ply 92 x 100 cm which I started to use on the table as it was wider than the table. He sanded one side for me so that it didn’t catch on the fabric and pull threads. I recently thought to try putting it on the ironing board as a better option. I can adjust the height, full height is perfect for working also I can plant it right it the middle of the room and walk all around it. It’s super. When not in use I store the ply wood behind a cupboard in the spare/sewing/computer room. It is only a few mm thick so takes little room. I do need use care when I place heavy items but it’s not been a problem so far.

My home made temp space saving cutting table

Now I just gotta get/make one of those wrist pin cushions, I know it will also make life easier.

Hope you are having a good week.

My foray in New Look 6515 (and my version of the FBA)

My ‘learn to sew fashion clothes for myself’ began here using New Look 6515. After that mammoth sewing experience I needed a break.

I didn’t realise how draining it had been until the weeks went by and I could not bring myself to have another go. Almost 5 wks on I realised I would need to force myself into it if I was to ever sew again. I knew in my head the rewards would be great but my heart struggled.  So it was time to apply some pressure. I had read comments by Rachel & LinB on Karen’s post on didyoumakethat about an ill-fitting tank top. It seemed while I was doing all that trial and error (read lots of errors but not wasted) I had done the right thing without realising it.  I wrote:

“LinB this comment about the FBA caught my attention because it seems I recently did this without realising what I was doing. I graded up only the front of a pattern because that’s where I thought the problem was. I’m such a novice I didn’t even think about the back. Doh. The hem length didn’t match though & I had no idea why! On my blog Liz commented about a FBA so I’ve since been reading about it. Thank you for adding to my knowledge as well, seems I was on the right track, albeit blindly”.

I had not fully understood what Liz had written on my blog post but she had said basically the same as Rachel and LinB, (intelligent actions of a blonde)!

So off I went with fear and trembling and obstinate stubbornness to make my version NUMBER 5 of NL6515. Following the above suggestions I traced a size 14 back bodice with extra length and for the front a size 14 from the shoulders to near the bottom of the armhole and below the arm hole a size 18. I have since learned to divide the armhole into threes and do top 2/3 in the smaller size. The sizing I determined by comparing my measurements to the pattern envelope. I pinned my traced pattern pieces together and did a basic fitting, which seemed okay. Next I made a toile using large basting stitches, no seam finishing and only up to the first fitting. It felt great, excitement was taking the place of stubbornness. I tossed the toile in the bin and cut into my fashion fabric. (The toile was a hot pink, cheap synthetic lace)

floral fabric for summer blouse

Blue is not usually my colour but the woman at the shop said the colours suited me and at $3 metre, it was  a good buy. A necessary prerequisite at the moment.

There’s not much more to write. It went together perfectly and fits beautifully. I underestimated how fantastic a handmade item could fit. And so I present my Number 5 New Look 6515 which I will wear to death with much pride.

My Summer New Look 6515

Thank you to everyone who helped me. I shake my head and marvel at all the years I tried on my own and how the internet and such wonderful ladies from all over the world have helped me conquer the mountain called ‘Clothes That Fit’!

wishing you a fun weekend…

Here’s a good start: Get on over and read Andrea’s post on foursquarewalls  it’ll have you laughing all day.

Best day ever?

Hello friends, I’m feeling like a child wanting to tell everyone it’s my birthday. I want to tell the whole world how great the blogging world is. I made another NL6515 and it is exactly perfect. This wonderful blogging community changed my life by helping me to overcome something I’ve struggled with for 25 yrs: How to sew clothes that actually fit me. I’ve even inspired a friend who has never made clothes but quilts. No photos ATM though, I’m sitting in my nightie in bed but on the inside I’m jumping up and down squealing with delight. I’m hoping for a sunny day tomorrow to take photos and will then write a post. Unfortunately not everyone who’s blogs and comments I read will in turn read my posts but to those that do thank you sincerely for the contribution you make to our community and myself personally.

Now back to some quilting, I’m working on half square triangles.

It’s Friday…

Hi there friends,

Another week ends. Hope you have a little time to relax over the weekend. We have planned a trip to the chemist and the fabric store. Then home to housework and finally some relaxation…

Our Boy had a Super Hero theme night at youth tonight. So this is what I did this wk. I’ve never sewn anything successfully with stretch before thankfully it was easy.

I used a basic elastic pants pattern but I didn’t take any notice of the pattern sizing. I measured him, added 3 cms for ease of movement then measured the paper pattern and chose the size closest to his size. I sewed them up in the longest stitch length as a basting stitch. He put them on inside out and I pinned where I needed to take them in.

For the top I laid a t-shirt that fitted him on the fabric and cut around it, though I cut the sleeve separately. It fitted perfectly no adjustments were necessary.

The boy made the patterns for the extra yellow and red breast-plate. I’m not that good. I thought I couldn’t do it. The boy designed and I just sewed. He bought the mask on line and also proper gloves arrived in the mail late this afternoon. I haven’t seen them yet.

He was very thankful. Before he left he said “Mum, it’s really good, especially as you can’t sew that good”.

He’s such an honest boy!

Hope you have a lovely relaxing weekend. Enjoy the last of the Olympics until 2016

Just one more, cause I love him so

Just a check list

Sorry for the boringness, (boringness, anything is possible) of this post. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with the numbers of items I’ve been doing lately so I’m making a list as a genuine record/diary.

6 tablecloths for church ladies group
6 plus another 6 gift card pouches

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2 embroidered lavender potpourri bags

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Finished the embroidery section for a fabric quilted carry bag
Quilted the fabric for a carry bag for grand daughter no 3
Hemmed jeans for The Boy
1 Bedding Protector

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It doesn’t seem so much now but it has kept me busy in a happy sort of way, no stress just pure relaxation.

Next up is 2 more bedding protectors for a customer. Finish the quilted carry bags. Make a winter style NL5615 My undiagnosed pain in my feet & wrists is still a problem but I am feeling a bit more settled because the specialist Dr is trying everything he can think of. I feel we have moved forward in this journey.

Hope you’re all keeping busy & happy

Cheers

My Sewing Attempt with NL6515

Well what a journey I have been on these past few weeks. Several weeks ago I found Karen’s blog at didyoumakethat and a wk later Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing as I read I had a growing desire to learn to sew clothes for myself properly. I have sewed for 22 yrs. I’ve made clothes for 4 girls and 1 son; Curtains for 4 houses, floor rugs, patchwork and an interesting variety of home decor items. Over the years I have tried to sew clothes for myself but it always ended it tears and frustration. I’d give up and a few years later give it another go. Sadly, no matter which brand I tried the commercial patterns just never fit me.

Three weeks ago I set off on a journey with New Look 6515. Easy! It says on the pattern envelope, honestly it was easy to sew but the fitting was not!

Last year I had made view A in a size 18 because the envelope said that was my size. I had high hopes that It would fit me, how naïve I was! View A turned out way too big for me. I do hope some one bought it from the thrift shop. I tried again in size 16 and while the sizing was closer to the mark, it didn’t fit well. I gave up. Again.

Fast forward 1 year:

June 2012: Off I went again with view B this time. Unfortunately I had previously cut the pattern to a size 16. Lesson 1 for me: do not cut multiple sized patterns! This time in mid June, I measured up and decided I would have to go with the 16 and use 0.5 cm seams instead of 1.5cm. Possibly my first mistake?

Toile Number 1:

I did not take a photo – a sad day. That band is supposed to sit just under the bust, mine sat half-way through in a very unflattering place. Definitely not a good look. Disappointment & Recovery followed; My journey to better sewing had begun.

I think where the band is makes it an Empire Line? Not having a clue what I was doing I unpicked the shoulder seams and added 1 inch to the front and back on each side to bring the band down and give more room for the bust. The center split went way down too far for my liking. I’ve seen on the internet that several others have also changed the length of the split. The underarms sat too low and the shoulder lines moved out of position. I wrote all over the toile. I was reasonably happy with the blouse style, it made my belly look not so noticeable and I like the front split. I think I’m perhaps past the age of being able to go sleeveless but come summer I’ll change my mind.

I love this fabric. I now wish I had not used it on my first toile…

Toile 2 was too big, that 1 inch on each shoulder seam had become too much. I re-sewed the shoulder seams with a slightly larger seam allowance. The armhole gaped underarm, my underwear was clearly visible although the armscye had improved a little with the larger seams on the shoulders. I took in the side seams, getting right into this toile adjustment thingy now. The armholes improved somewhat and overall it was better although not perfect. I’ve been game enough to wear it out although I’m not sure if I’ll do so again.

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I noted my changes on the paper pattern and went to research via the internet for more help. I found Casey’s tutorial on an amazing blog called Elegant Musings. Casey explained how to adjust commercial patterns in a beautifully thorough style. On other pages and You tube I also saw some information about pivot adjustments. After days of reading and thinking I decided to try the cut and move method. I’d also learned about ease. I worked out how much I wanted, measured myself again and added my desired amount of ease; I then divided into four to calculate the required width of the front and back pattern pieces. It seems complicated now but one step at a time it was okay. I traced the original pattern pieces, cut and moved them apart, then redrew new pattern pieces adding 1.5 cm seam allowances. I pinned the new pattern pieces together and did a fitting.

Feeling optimistic I cut into the fabric for Toile 3, there was heaps of fabric so I decided to lengthen it to a dress. I’m pretty pleased to say Tolie 3 came together like I always dreamed sewing ought to be. Several fittings during the process with a couple of minor adjustments. Those armholes were still too big so I took the side seam in, lesson learned with toile 2. I was just a little excited and made it in secret. When I put it on to show hubby he said

“Wow it fits perfect. Well done”. It is not perfect but it’s the closest I’ve ever come. The bust gathers are in the wrong position. However I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. A mountain load of thanks to Karen, Gertie, Casey and all the other fabulous internet users who have shared their knowledge. I am so very grateful.

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I like it more now, although it will only be worn at home.

3 toiles are enough. This weekend I made my good version of N6515. I took a cm from centre front and it doesn’t flap around like the dress does.

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The boy, (BB) said

“it looks great, the best ever”. That is something coming from a teen. I tend to agree.

Can you help? The bodice front seems to be floppy near the front armholes. Please can you suggest what I ought to adjust next time? And I’ve just notice the issues with the waist area? Anyone?

Onwards I march…