It’s almost November…

… and you know what that means.

For a number of reasons, mostly health-related, I’ve decided that playing by the rules – i.e. writing at least 50,000 words in November – is out of my reach this particular year. Instead, I’ve set a goal that should be enough of a challenge without being unattainable. I won’t end up with a novella, but I will, if it works out as planned, be able to continue a series of short stories.

Lots of sewing plans in November, too, so I’m going to have to manage my time well (and that includes time for adequate rest and self-care). I have some red corduroy that wants to be a Sienna Maker jacket. I don’t have the replacement buttonhole foot for my machine yet – the one that was included with it seems to have been lost when I moved – but given that buttonholes will be one of the last steps I can certainly get started.

There’s also an Esma top that’s lingering with only a couple of seams left to sew. I want to make another Pembroke, too, out of purple hedgehog-print jersey from l’oiseau fabrics (awesome shop – highly recommended). And I’ve also had an Everyday dress cut out for literal months and still haven’t sewn it – it keeps getting pushed to the side in favour of other projects.

But right now, I need sleep. And tea. Possibly not in that order.

Sewing Machine Innards

So this happened a few days ago. On my machine, there’s a metal ring that keeps the connector for the foot pedal secured to the back of the machine; last week it fell off, and the connector dropped back inside the machine where I couldn’t reach it or plug the foot pedal into it. We do have a local (so-called) repair shop, but they’re also a dealer and only service machines bought from them.

So that left me on my own. Opening up the machine was super nerve-wracking – what if I budged something out of place that screwed the tension or something? – and the parts I needed to get at were behind the whole computer assembly thing so I had to unscrew a lot of components and move them aside. It worked, though! I got things connected, put the machine back together, and it’s been purring along like I never touched it.

I’m not eager to do it again, but at least now I know I can if I need to.

I haven’t been particularly productive, lately, in the sewing or writing or reading departments, but then, this time of year is always difficult for me. The past three winters have each resulted in a health crash and several months off work, and I don’t want this year to be number four. In the past I’ve been very guilty of pushing myself along while ignoring warning signs and symptoms, but I’m doing my best to avoid that now and in the future.

Case in point: things have been heading downhill the past few weeks, so I went to my doctor and am off work this week while we adjust some medications and try to get things back on the right track. I’d rather it be a week now than months later, so. To be honest I probably need more than a week – two would be ideal – but my financial situation won’t allow for that so I’m doing the best I can with what I’m able to take.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to finish one of my in-progress projects: a feather-print Fringe blouse. I think I might hack the pattern into an a-line swing top, but first, I think next in line will be an Esma top from Blank Slate Patterns. The version with the hem band tie, because I’ve been looking for a top like that but all the RTW ones I can find don’t fit properly.

Patterns and Pins and Things

A few posts ago I had pondered the best way to store my printed PDF patterns, since I wasn’t keen on either the creases from folding them or the curled edges from rolling them into tubes. I ended up getting a small set of pants hangers and trying it that way, attaching the patterns and hanging a few in the mostly-empty closet in my craft/writing room – and I think I like it a lot. Everything stays together and nothing gets warped. Think I’ll do all of my patterns that way.

I’m also experimenting with using clips instead of pins. I still do need pins for some things, but I’m not keen on having a lot of them around because I have a cat who’s fascinated by them – if I leave them unguarded he’ll start pulling them out of the pincushion one by one and batting them around – and I’m scared he’s going to hurt himself. I try to be careful, always sticking pins back into the pincushion as I take them out of my fabric and then putting it all away when I leave the room, but pins have a tendency to scatter no matter what I do, so clips seems the safest way.

Do any of you use clips? What do you think of them as compared to pins?

I’m having major pattern envy lately. It’s really only been in the last several months that I’ve started sewing garments for myself, rather than making endless bags and/or sewing costumes at my local dance studio. My pattern library is, at the moment, really small, and because my health is so up and down I often don’t have extra funds to add to it – so I end up sewing the same things multiple times. Which is okay, since when I like something I want it in all the colours/prints, but sometimes I do get caught up in all the new pretties coming out and wishing I could sew more than I’m able to at the moment.

It’ll pass. It always does. And I’m grateful for my fabric stash, because it means I can keep sewing even when I’m not doing so great.

… Now that I mentioned dance (for a millisecond), though, I have to also mention that classes resume on Monday and I’m so excited for the new season. It’s modern, ballet, and tap for me this year again. Yes, you can be a fat girl and dance. The studio I dance at is wonderfully non-judgemental and inclusive, and I appreciate that too much for words.

A few shots that I took last year of the studio’s competitive team. Dance photography is another thing that brings me joy.

Right, back to the machine. The project in the clips photo is another Ione top I started this morning. If I still had a serger I could have it done in record time, but having to sew then finish the seams on the regular machine makes it stretch out a little longer.