Selling and sewing

Well, I must admit that sewing fleece quickly lost its fun factor BUT the scarves are still selling each time I renew the Facebook ad (usually weeky).   That’s a good thing!

Today I made a baby blanket with a matching ‘taggy’ blankie and have posted it for sale too. I bought pink and blue fabric but only sewed up the pink set so far. Will see if there are any takers/orders before I buy/sew any more.

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So cute!

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Sewing to sell…

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My “advert”

Amazing what a buzz you get when someone buys something you’ve made!  I’ve always been terrified of anyone actually paying me money for something I’ve cut out and sewn from scratch.  Will they see my seam wasn’t quite as arrow straight as it could’ve been?  Did I miss any errors?  Scanning over each hemline or edge to spot an untrimmed piece of thread.  Terrifying!

BUT – the chilly winter weather that blew in this weekend, with accompanying grey clouds and quite a bit of rain, did WONDERS.  Last week I took the plunge by advertising (using both the pic to the left and another showing the scarves worn by me) but I had such a low response that I ended the week on quite a low.  Today, with the wintery chill still on the wind, I posted the ad again and, Ta Daaah, orders!!

I now need to get my butt back to the fabric shop to stock up on the deep pinky colour and the grey.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Open faced honesty

I will never understand how , despite recent experience, a person chooses non verbal, non face to face communication over regular, real, open faced talking.

Am I a stranger? No.
Have I hidden my true feelings? No.

I so much prefer real, open, honest, no holds barred people than closed, sneaky, “must look good” people.

Grow a pair. Be real. Show your truth, even if it’s not pretty, even if it’s raw.

Be whole, for goodness sake. Be a human that’s proud to be called a human; don’t use that species title as an excuse.

February Sewing Fun

You guessed it; my boss is away for a couple of days, so this is the first time I’ve had my machine set up since before our move.  Joy, joy, joy!

After beginning with a pair of ‘home shorts’ for my husband I decided to try this next project.  I have copy pasted the sewing instructions from the original website because I wanted to try and insert pics of the different stages.  I hope that’s okay🙂

Free sewing pattern – Cupcake dress from BasteandGather.com (You can click on the link to go and see the wonderful pics & download the pattern)

Sewing Instructions: 

1. Fold straps in half lengthwise with RIGHT sides together and press. Stitch around all but one short end with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim seam allowance 1/8″ from stitching – OR – if using a very lightweight fabric like I am, you may leave the seam allowance to give the straps a little heft. Turn straps right-side-out; press. (pencil is in my photo because that’s what I had on hand to help turn my straps right side out!)

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2. Pin straps to the RIGHT side of the front bodice piece as indicated on the pattern. Match up the raw edge of the straps with the raw edge of the top of the bodice front. Baste in place.

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3. With RIGHT sides together, sew bodice front to bodice lining along top edge only. The straps will be sandwiched in-between the two layers. If desired, you may reinforce the straps with a second line of stitching on the seam allowance and close to the first line of stitching. 

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4. Fold back bodice piece in half lengthwise with WRONG sides together and press.

5. Stitch a line 1/4″ away from the folded edge. Stitch another line 5/8″ away from the raw edge. Finally, baste (use a wide stitch that will be removed later) another a line 3/8″ away from the raw edge. (The following pic shows point 3, 4 & 5 – and the 2nd pic shows how I tried to correct the sewing lines on the back bodice… ahem… to fit the two pieces of elastic through)

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6. Insert one piece of elastic in the casing you just created along the top of the back bodice piece using a small safety pin or bodkin. Carefully tug on the elastic until the end of the elastic meets with the edge of the casing. Stitch that end in place. Remove safety pin/bodkin, and repeat for the other side.

7. Insert second piece of elastic into the casing at the bottom of the back bodice piece. Stitch the ends in place as you did for the first piece of elastic.

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8. Open up the front bodice, and insert the back bodice into it. The back bodice piece will be sandwiched between the main and lining of the front bodice and touching the right sides of the front bodice pieces. Line up the side edges of the front bodice pieces with the back bodice piece. Make sure the back bodice piece is jammed all the way up there so the side seams will be even when everything is turned right-side-out. Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew bodice pieces together at the side seams.

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9. Turn bodice pieces right-side-out and press. You may clip curves along the front bodice if needed to make it lie nice and straight.

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10. With RIGHT sides together, sew skirt pieces together at side seams. Serge, zigzag or pink seam allowances, and press toward back. Repeat for lining if you have chosen to include one.

11. Baste a wide stitch along the top edge of the skirt using a 3/8″ seam allowance for gathering. Baste a second line of wide stitches using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Grabbing only the two top threads at the beginning of the stitches you just made, pull to gather the skirt. Repeat for lining if you have chosen to include one.

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12. With main side of bodice touching RIGHT side of skirt, pin skirt to bodice, matching side seams and center notches. Adjust skirt gathers evenly to fit. (Don’t do what I did and get so excited that there are no side seams in sight on the bodice that you forget to make sure you’re pinning your skirt to bodice ‘right sides together’.  My fabric is a dark inky blue chintz and I used the same fabric for my bodice lining so I couldn’t tell right from wrong sides.)

13. If including a lining, you will now pin the right side of the lining to the lining side of the bodice, sandwiching the bodice between the skirt main and skirt lining. Adjust gathers evenly to fit.

14. With a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew skirt and optional skirt lining to bodice. Try to keep a very accurate seam allowance on the back side so you don’t catch the elastic in the stitching. Don’t stress too much if you do, though.🙂 Serge, zigzag or pink seam allowance. (I was still unaware of my mistake at this stage, and I even did the zigzagging of the raw edge instantly.  There was no way I was going to try and unpick!  See below for my solution/hideaway)

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15. Flip the skirt and optional skirt lining down, and press seam allowance up toward bodice. Almost done!

16. Turn bottom hem under toward wrong side 1/4″ and press. Then turn it under another 1/4″ and press again. Sew hem in place. Repeat for lining if you chose to do one. (I’ve fallen for this slightly ‘fancy’ stitch and often use it on the hem of the little girl clothing I sew)

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17. Give everything one last press, and put that dress on a little girl! Adorable, right?!

(I hid the exposed front bodice-skirt seam with a piece of lace and simply zigzagged the back raw seam down.  Not very pretty but quite all right!)
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When tough times hit

We survived.  We’re settled into our new little (little!) home and we’re actual functioning human beings again.

For a long while there we were in survival mode.  When you are ‘drowning’, you have no time to do anything except try to keep breathing air, try to keep alive, try not to give up.  If someone is not helping you, it feels like they are simply pushing you under or splashing big loads of awful water into your lungs.  Vindictive bastards.  As a drowning person you are not open minded.  And you certainly don’t have any scope to see anybody else’s problems/lakes/oceans.  Pure survival mode.  Not pretty but it serves its purpose.

In the past, we’ve had the normal (and not so normal) stresses of life, and somehow have been lucky enough to almost ‘take turns’ in feeling the effects.  Like, when I’ve been losing my grip, my husband has been strong/positive/supportive, and when he’s needed me to be the strong one, I’ve been able.  It must be a pre-designed thing; sometimes you carry and sometimes you need to be carried.

Being in a suddenly unaffordable debt-carrying situation and having to make the huge decision to sell our house, our home, our base? Totally new and uncharted territory.  Definitely goes in the NOT normal list of life stresses.

How do you cope when you are both so tightly wound that you can barely keep yourself afloat but know you need to be there for your spouse?  With difficulty, I assure you.  Realising this new space you’re in is essential.  TALKING to each other about this new space is MORE ESSENTIAL.  I’m hating where we’re at & I know that you’re hating it too, it’s awful that we’re not in that one-up, one-down space, please know that I’m here with you; I just don’t know what to say or do but I love you!  Talk to each other!

Delays (and more ridiculous delays) during our house sale process meant we were going to be three, and in some cases four or five, months late with various bill payments.  As business owners ourselves, we learned a long time ago that the only way to be a decent customer was to KEEP IN CONTACT with the person you owe money to.  Nothing worse than having to chase people who owe you money.  A simple phone call to say, listen, I know I’m late, I’m still stuck but will be paying as soon as I possibly can, goes a long way to easing a ‘normal’ business owner’s mind.

The problem is, in this day and age, it’s not possible to talk to a real-life thinking, feeling, human being in the accounts department about your situation and the fact that you’re going to be paying asap.  Instead, what you get is:-

DAY 1 — You phone and politely explain your current situation and why your debit order will definitely be bouncing.

DAY 3 — You receive capitalised text (and email) stating your debit order has bounced and “as per your arrangement” (what arrangement??) your debit order will repeat next week and you better have enough funds in your account to cover it.

DAY 3 — You phone and get a different person (most probably in a different call centre and different city) and politely explain everything again and that there was no ‘arrangement’ made and there will be no funds until house sale or miraculous windfall.

DAY 5 —  You receive reminder text and numerous call-centre phone calls and hangups (what’s with call centre hang ups ffs?).

DAY 5 — You again call, and again get a different person, and again explain…..

Basically, repeat the above each and every week for the entire 3, 4, 5 months.  There is no reprieve, there is no relief, there is no fresh breath of air.  You are digitally and telephonically bombarded and have nobody with brain power to talk to.  Each ‘person’ you speak to follows a set script and has no ability to think for themselves.  Madness!

What was shocking (not sure why it was shocking but it was, for us) was that the bank, who we’ve banked with for years, was just as maddening to deal with.  Two weeks before the official lodging of our house sale, our account where the money from the house sale was to be eft’d, was suspended due to bounced debit orders.  For real.  Even though it had a credit balance.  Even though we had kept in contact with the bank and even though the eejit debit ordering companies did so in error. *insert floral language here*

BUT!!  And this is a huge but.  Remind yourself and each other that you are dealing with call centre minions and they have absolutely no clue that you are even a human being.  You are a name and number listed on a giant list of people that they have to contact on any given day. They are not attacking you personally and the ridiculous scripted protocol they follow (including the millions of texts, emails, posted reminders, threats, etc) is simply that; a preprogrammed protocol that has nothing to do with you personally.  It has nothing to do with the amount (big or small) that you owe, it has nothing to do with your moral standing, your past impeccable (or not) credit record, and absolutely NOTHING to do with you.  Nothing at all.  By the way, don’t take your stress out on the call centre minions either.  They’re simply doing a thankless job for a wage that they need.  

When you’re both so stressed that you can’t take it any more, get out of the house and away from routine.  Walk on that promenade, stroll barefoot in that park, eat those ice cream cones, babysit those friends’ kids.  Do alive stuff even if you can’t do your own regular alive stuff.  Don’t turn on each other – BE with each other.  Be there for each other even when you can’t be, you know?

You’re gonna be okay.  Truly.

* I am adding this in late.   I don’t know why I left it out.  I guess I wanted this post to maybe help a desperately Googling debt-drowning person no matter what their beliefs.  Anyhow.  During this whole time, it was incredibly hard to stay faith-filled.  DO remind each other that God is for you.  DO remind each other that there’s been many times before when God has come through, even when you’ve thought it was too late.  DO remember that He is not distant and ignoring or unaware of your anguish and fear.  DO pray!