Adjusting to life with a newborn, and working on a new pattern.

I’m excited to say I finally had my baby girl, a little more than three weeks ago now. Requisite retelling of the birth (feel free to skip): I spent a lot of time worried about preeclampsia and platelet counts, but that ended up being for nothing as that wasn’t a problem, though labor ended up being awful for other reasons (infection after my water broke, low blood pressure, fever, crappy anatomy) and I ended up having a c-section after 24 hours of labor because my poor baby wasn’t tolerating it and after five hours of pushing and a room full of nurses cheerleading at your junk, well, a c-section starts sounding pretty good. Poor kiddo had some scary complications after the stressful birth and ended up in the NICU for about five days, and I couldn’t even touch her for about two days, so that was an emotional nightmare, but I’m happy to say everything resolved and we’re all home now and  healthy and happy(ish – let’s be real, I have some emotional wobbliness while pregnant / after birth that check a lot of antenatal/postpartum depression boxes, but luckily I am able to caretake and enjoy the moments with my kids despite it).  Sleep deprived, of course, but content. The whole experience was identity-jarring, which has left me with an even more intense minimalism/decluttering urge for convoluted psychological reasons better left explored over coffee with a sister or bff, but eh. Despite my aspirations and birth plans and idealism and well-intentioned attempt at unmedicated labor (HAAAAAHHAHAHA. NOPE), birth is intense and sometimes horrible and sort of existentially traumatizing, at least for me, but I seem to have bad luck in that department. She’s wonderful, and worth it all, and her brother, too, who has been amazing adapting to everything, too. I’m so blessed in that.

Funny, though, that most of the women I know told me that you’ll know labor is imminent when you get a burst of energy and want to clean the house. That sensation is utterly unknown to me. I did get zoned in on working on a pattern for about 12 hours straight, though, which I’m still grading and testing, but hope to release very soon. The world is full of good bra patterns, especially in the boom of interest over the last 3 or so years, but it makes me feel better to work on something I enjoy and I feel much less isolated when I engage with the world via a craft I care immensely about. It’s helping me to really systematize my understanding of stretch reductions, cup sizing, grading different bra parts, and using Illustrator, so that feels like an accomplishment. Once I’m satisfied with the nuts and bolts of this one, I have quite a few ideas for less common, more vintage inspired pattern styles in the future. It’s a simple demi style bralette with slightly angled seam lines and an angled center front band, which works well with the lines of rectangular torsos like mine to imply a little curvaceousness, worked well with the belly I had when pregnant, and allows for a front of bra lace longline detail:

More to come as that comes into shape. 🙂

Advertisements

Current Projects: Sewing Dickeys and Tinkering on the Necchi Esperia

So far I’ve sewn up one dickey that I really like. It needs buttons and buttonholes and some pressing, but here’s the work in progress:

photo 1It’s draped on the newly re-stuffed and covered-in-pinnable-jersey dressform my grandma and I made out of duct tape. Not perfect, but a good start. I wanted a high, cut on funnel-neck style collar so that I can press the edges down for that tuxedo look. Like this:

photo 2I love, love, love the color. I was surprised that it wasn’t pure hell to sew, either–it’s a cheap-ish stretch satin and the only ones I’ve worked with seemed to fray quite a bit, but this is holding up pretty well in the time between cutting and edge finishing.

photo 3Next time I sew this I’ll use lighter interfacing, because with a facing and the interfacing, it ends up a bit wonky around the neck when it’s worn beneath something. Behind it is the machine I’ve been using–it’s a Necchi Esperia from 1957 or so. I love the minimal design and the pastel. It was a Goodwill purchase–the motor was shooting sparks, so I got it for a song. I’ve seen that before, actually; if you’re lucky, it’s one of two simple things: carbon brushes that need replaced, or just dirt. these old machines are just a bit dusty in the motor and if you disengage the handwheel and run it at high speed for a few minutes and maybe add a bit of lubricant to the designated holes in the motor, it fixes it right up and runs much better. That was the case here, but it still isn’t quite right. I’m not sure if the timing is a bit off, but even after about 20 solid hours of sewing it still isn’t quite as smooth as it should be for a Necchi. (I haven’t learned how to work on timing yet, but I will soon thanks to the Ray White sewing machine repair class! :D)

photo 4There’s something I love about the simplicity of a straight stitch sewing machine. So much less to go haywire in the mechanics. And it seems like working with wovens about 90% of the stitching I have to do is a plain old straight stitch. This one is extremely crotchity about backstitching, though, and I haven’t ever noticed the same thing in another straight stitch only machine–if I switch to a reverse stitch from any position other than the lowest needle position, it’s pretty much guaranteed that my bottom thread is going to bind up and turn into a thread nest I have to pull out. It may be that all sewing machines do this and I’ve just been oblivious about the reason for the bind ups, but I don’t think so. Maybe a timing thing? We’ll see.

In my usual trying-to-do-five-million-things-at-once way, I’ve been at work on a black taffeta blazer, binding with chiffon seam binding as I go (my usual raggedy overcast inner seams are a pet peeve at the moment), doing the Burda University digital pattern drafting course, AND living out some of my early childhood library career fantasies by digitizing some of my old sewing books. So many things I want to do and make and try and read and, alas, so little time. #digitalageproblems