February Craft Goal Success (Mostly)

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I promised to report in about my February Creative Crafting Goals after the month was over.  I talked a little bit about progress in last week’s post, but this will be the full report with photos.

Project #1: Be the Light Cross Stitch

I’d started this project in January, so finishing it was my first goal for February.  I think it turned out pretty awesome all told, and looks great on my wall.

Cross stitch of a jar of fireflies with the words Be the light incorporated in the design.

Project #2: Teal Jeans to Teal Pencil Skirt

This pair of jeans originally belonged to my mother.  When she lost weight, they no longer fit, so she let me have them to do what I would.  I had to take them in at the waist in the conversion process, so there was enough material to make them into a pencil skirt.  I did this largely with basting and trial and error.

Let’s highlight the error:

They turned out pretty good when I got them completely done.  There’s a slit in the back up to the knee so that I can walk in them without being super constricted.  Part of the conversion plan was to preserve the decorative bits on the side seam at the bottom.  I may still do some additional work to add similar embellishments along the hem all the way around or maybe just around the edges of the back slit.  But these are now in wearable condition, so I’m calling them done.

Project #3: Light Blue Jeans to Light Blue & White Skirt

After the experience with the first pair of jeans my mother gave me (this pair was the same brand and size as the teal ones in project #2), I decided to do my more usual conversion style, which is a wider, more flowing skirt, with triangle inlays in the front and back.  I’ve made three or five versions of this adaptation before, so I knew what I needed to make it work beautifully.  So I started by taking out the inner leg seam so I’d have as much material to work with as possible, and then I did the pleats at the back to make the waist fit properly.  This let me bring in the waist while retaining all the belt loops and the original waistband with side elastic.  This worked out better than the darts I did in the other pair.

I decided white would be a good color for the triangular panels, so I ordered some white denim to use for this, as well as enough extra for another project as some point since it was fortuitously at a decent sale price when I ordered.  I think the panels and pleats method turned out much better in the back than the pencil skirt design, and I’m definitely going to be adding some embellishments to this one, but again, since it’s wearable as is, I’m counting the project as complete for the purposes of my February goals.

Project #4: New Dress Shirt

This is a pattern I picked up a while back when there was a really good sale on patterns (I think they were $1 each) but I hadn’t gotten around to making yet.  It’s Butterick B6563 if anyone’s interested.  The goal for this one was to at least make some substantial progress, not necessarily to finish it completely.  Step one was copying the pattern from the flimsy pattern paper onto muslin to make a mockup.  This fabric doesn’t have much stretch, so I could make something that was nicely fitted as my base, and then I could make it with both normal non-stretch fabrics or with slightly stretchy ones.

It took the better part of a Saturday to copy the pattern over and cut it all out because I had to take fairly frequent breaks.  I have the front and back shirt pieces, both collar options, and all three sleeve options.  That should let me test out each sleeve option to make sure the arm holes are right so I have the basic pattern pieces in muslin and the fitting adjustments figured out before I start working with the actual fabrics I want to use.

This process reminded me that cutting out patterns is one of the worst things I can do to my lower back though (hence the frequent breaks).  The best place I have for laying out, transferring, and cutting is my bed.  It’s on risers, so it’s closer to a standard dresser height than a standard desk height, but it’s still not ideal.  I’ve researched cutting tables and while they are expensive, it’s definitely something I want to figure out how to save up for.

Final Thoughts

So that was my February of sewing and needle craft projects.  Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself.  I followed through with my plan and got some substantial progress on things without breaking my streak of writing every day.  I may not have gotten as far on the new dress shirt as I’d wanted, but that’s okay.  I knew that a fourth project was probably ambitious when I set out my goals for the month.  And not getting much further on that one was as much about self-care as it was about sewing.  When I do something to aggravate my back, I need to be extra careful with it for a few days and not do anything else to make it worse.  It took a lot of years of physical therapy and following doctor’s orders to get myself back to a baseline that didn’t involve daily pain, and I don’t want to undo that work.  I love my hobbies, but it’s important to make sure that they don’t detract from my overall wellness, as that defeats the purpose most of the time.

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2019 Edition

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July is a Camp NaNoWriMo month, so I went in with the goal of writing at least 30 minutes a day.  I rounded up a little for a goal of 1,000 minutes of work across 31 days, which averages out to about 33 minutes per day.

My final count was 1,050 minutes, which is also the target average of 33 minutes per day.

All of those minutes were spent on the third book in the Swords and Shields series.  I’m pretty happy with book two, but have one more round of beta readers looking at it before I start contemplating the copy editing and cover design phase.  Book three needs a lot more TLC and a lot of redrafting before it will get to that point, but I made a lot of progress this month.  I have a better idea of the overarching plot, what’s important, and what’s not. Continue reading