Sunday, February 9, 2014


First thing—thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post. It was incredible to receive such thoughtful comments from people around the world. It helped a lot.

Now... I've been promising this post for too long. What better time to deliver than while procrastinating doing my workout.

New Year's 2013 Dress

I can't even review this dress like I normally would because it doesn't resemble the pattern envelope in the slightest for many reasons: 

1. Fabric choice. 
I picked out this brocade with the help of Tanit-Isis  who just happens to work at Fabricland. Brocade is not a recommended fabric for this pattern. I thought that I might be able to make it work since this particular brocade seemed to have a less-stiff drape, but it turned out that I didn't have enough for the fuller skirt anyway (more about that later). Taran and I went through the whole store and I kept coming back to this super shiny, bright turquoise fabric. I must have been a crow in another life.

2. Not enough fabric.
Taran suggested that I do a straight skirt instead once she saw that I wanted to use the brocade. In my head I poo-pooed the idea only because I wanted it to be comfortable, and straight skirts to me look like torture devices—turns out the dress was actually pretty comfortable. I had Simplicity 5259 in my stash and I liked the side front slit–gave sort of an asian-vibe that went with the fabric I thought. The patterns matched up pretty well with small adjustments (kept both front seams instead of making one a dart to match the lines of the top).

3. This mess (ie: fitting gong-show): 

My strategy was to fit the lining pieces and then transfer the sba I had to do to the outer pattern pieces. Not so much. WAY TO COMPLICATED FOR ME. I'd still like to give this a go as drafted, but maybe in a simpler fabric. I had three muslins for this, and even after the third one fit pretty perfectly, once made up in the brocade, I had to take it out to the limit of my seam allowance around my rib cage and bust to make it fit. Not sure what happened there. My muslin fabric wasn't stretchy, but it was a cotton twill, so there must have been more give than my polyester brocade. obviously.
Long story short, I used the lining pattern for the top portion. 

4. And of course, I burned a hole in it. 
As per the usual turn of events, I melted a hole in the bottom of the skirt which resulted in the addition of the bottom band. I call it a design element. 

It's fully lined and I used a couple of tutorials and made at least three attempts at the lined front vent. Don't ask me how I did it because I couldn't tell you. A friend suggested sewing a reinforcement bar at the top of the slit. I would recommend this tip to everyone. It definitely helped with the strain from sitting. 

If I had to do it again, I'd but in a lapped zipper or move the invisible zip to the side – mostly because of this at the back waist: 
That zip shows much worse when it's on me. 
And here are a few pics of me actually wearing the dress (in all their blurry glory): 

I found the most perfect jewelry and wore my orange wedding shoes. The fabric did get pretty creased from sitting but it's to be expected. Anyway, it was a hit at the event and I'm pretty happy with it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sad News

I've been absent for a few weeks from posting. I had every intention of showing pics of my new year's dress (and still do), but then my brother went in the hospital the second week of January and passed away on January 17.

Mark suffered from severe Crohn's disease and lived with varying levels of pain for his adult life (he would have been 36 in August). My older sister also has Crohn's, but has a much more manageable case using diet and first-tier drug therapies to stay healthy.

It has been such a long battle that I've had to compartmentalize my worry and sadness over Mark's situation for the last 10-15 years to cope. I went to back to work this week and I automatically went into coping mode only to wake up today with too much time to think and the sadness is creeping up on me again. It's for the best, really — I was getting a stomach ache holding it in and felt incredibly disconnected. Crying can be good for you.

B and I were pretty much with him at the end. I say "pretty much" because we left the room for a couple of minutes for the nurses to attend to him and he "slipped out" the door right after us.

We don't have any pictures of Mark from the last 10 years or so (he refused to have his pic taken as his condition deteriorated), but we got a great shot of him in University from one of his friends.

Mark was an incredible athlete. He had a black belt (sash) in Win Chung Kung Fu and also studied Wushu (think Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan). He had plans to go to stunt school in the States and had even put a deposit down when he was more or less healthy. His health didn't improve so he didn't end up going.

He made a little video for his stunt school application that I debated uploading to this post, but I'm not sure I want to have it on the internet for all of eternity so I think I'll keep it to myself for a while at least. It's frickin' amazing by my standards.

Mark was a super funny guy who genuinely cared about others and over the years he became my best friend.

I've learned from Mark:
1.  If you find something difficult physically and want to quit, remember that there is someone out there who would give anything to do the same thing and can’t. Use them for motivation.

2. Having fun is incredibly important.

3. Find your passion and make it your life no matter how ridiculous it seems to other people.

It is a privilege to have this blog and cathartic to be able to share bits of my life. Thanks for listening.