If at First You Don’t Succeed….

Try another pattern…or two!  Since I am not going to arrive naked at a beach wedding (you can thank me later), I will need something to wear and I am not giving up on the homemade route quite yet!

Tonight, I went out and bought two patterns that looked very easy to sew that I found at my local Hobby Lobby.  I usually like to wait until there is a sale or a coupon to do something like that, but some days it has to be done!

These are my current selections….

Another Hatchett Job, plus sized sewing, learning to sew, photo by Ethan Hatchett, frugal life
McCall’s M6971
Another Hatchett Job, plus sized sewing, McCalls M5640, sewing patterns, learning to sew, frugal life, photo by Ethan Hatchett
McCalls pattern M5640

 

I am using woven fabric in florals for the dresses that I have in mind for this beach-y affair, so I couldn’t use my new Colette Moneta pattern, as it is designed for knit fabrics only.  But, these should be simple to pull off, big enough to need minimal pattern adjustments, and quick enough to finish in time for my trip.  Plus, I love the tunic options that are on both patterns.  As long as one of them is ready to go by Friday at noon, I am happy.

Let’s hope I can get some happy!

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

My First Muslin

Or vintage sheet creation, if you prefer. Ahhh, it started out so well. I located and purchased a pattern that would be more than large enough and which appeared to be flattering. I found amazing fabric with a 40% off Another Hatchett Job blog, creative commons, frustrated woman, education, homeschoolcoupon. I carefully adjusted my pattern according to the few things I had learned to do. And I used a lovely old sheet for my muslin to make sure everything would fit just right.

Then, it all began to unravel….

Sewing curved seams bedeviled me. I found oodles of excess pleats and little tucks that got sewn in, out of nowhere. Sigh. Un-sew and sew again. And again.

And finally, the fitting. I was absolutely giddy as I changed into my new “muslin” (isn’t that professional sounding?) so that Mom could help me pin the back seam and check the fit.

Um, wow. The dress was nothing at all as I expected it to be. Even after adjusting carefully for my measurements, the yoke, which was supposed to end on my high bust was dangling dangerously off my full bust, leaving the full bust curve underneath my bust entirely. Much like a cow, I now had udders. Sigh.

We raised the shoulder seams and that got the yoke partially raised into place. But, if I arranged the waist and high bust correctly, there was still quite a bit of fabric that will need to be removed from the bottom of the yoke and the top of the bodice.Another Hatchett Job, plus sized sewing, learning to sew, first muslin, vintage sheet, photo by Ethan Hatchett

My Mom kindly noticed that the side seam of the skirt seemed to stick out at an odd and unflattering angle. After smoothing the skirt, we determined that, unfortunately, that was the angle that runs from my hip to my waist naturally, so there really isn’t any fixing for that (at least that is sewing related).

Other than that, the skirt is nice and full and flowing, just like a summer dress should be. I am almost tempted to cut off the skirt, put in a zipper and waist band and wear it anyway. But, I am holding off because I know that this pattern is not completely hopeless and that as I pick up more skill in altering patterns, I will know how to alter this pattern in the future.

If I can fix it in the future, it will be worth it, because despite the odd hip angle, the skirt is really awesome.

But, that means that this dress (which should have been my Easter dress) that I was planning to wear to a wedding this weekend ain’t happening.

On the other hand, I am so glad I didn’t cut my fashion fabric and made the muslin. So, I have purchased two more patterns and different fabric for a sundress that, I hope and pray, goes together quickly and without a hitch.
Wish me luck!

Till next time.

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

And That Is How I Learned to Ride Horses

Another Hatchett Job blog, horses, therapeutic riding, Creative Commons attributionI have always been drawn to animals, mostly the furry, mammalian kind.  Fish are cool and all, but what I really love is a critter that I can pet and cuddle with.  That has pretty much left me happy at petting zoos and with the traditional puppies, kitties, guinea pig, bunny kind of pets.

So, almost two years ago, when my oldest son with Asperger’s had the opportunity to receive 10 weeks of therapeutic riding instruction at a barn not too far away, we jumped at the chance!  While he rode and learned, I met other moms and made friends and fed the occasional treat to the horses that were around.  Eventually, I would also pet them and notice their individual personalities.  We laughed and called them the “Big Dogs” because they really did seem kind of similar to what I had seen with pet dogs and puppies.

I learned all their names from reading the tags on the stalls.  Let me rephrase, I learned all of their names WRONG because the horses in the stalls don’t always correspond with the signs on the front of the stalls.  I re-learned names through trial and error.  I asked a lot of stupid questions.  Once I saw an article on the 10 stupid questions everyone asks horse people.  I had asked 8 of them.  But, the instructors seemed glad that I was asking questions and interested in the horses that they loved so much.  It didn’t seem to bother them that I walked out to watch the lessons and help where untrained labor was needed, while some of the other Moms were happy in the car with the A/C on.  I slowly learned the terminology and eventually could tie a Western Saddle Knot like nobody’s business because I was helping my kiddo.

And over the months I began to deliberately bring snacks to the horses because it was fun to be with them.  I told other Moms how much my son’s balance, confidence, and social skills had improved since he had been riding and I invited them along to take a look.  I taught the other Moms what the horses names were.

One day, someone said that the Moms should get to ride and learn some of what their kids were doing.  Next thing you know, we had a Mom’s once a month riding group and I was in!

Then, we had to actually ride the horses and not kill ourselves.  Most of us had no experience and I enjoyed learning about the tack to use and grooming the horse that I was assigned, a big, white (poor guy got older and his spots faded grey!), Paint named Rocket.  But, eventually, we had to get on our horses and at that I was (all of a sudden) really scared!  I must have been on pure adrenalin and anticipation up to that point.

Another Hatchett Job, photo by Ethan Hatchett, Baron the Shire Horse, Calvin Center Equestrian Program, therapeutic riding, hippotherapy
The Author with Baron

But, once I got on and didn’t die, the lesson went really well as I learned how to hold the reins, use the stirrups, and generally stay upright on the horse.  I went back again…and again.  I eventually asked if I could take lessons also.   I keep progressing at my own pace (I think it’s been maybe 5 months now since my first ride) and I am a trotting fool.  No cantering yet, but I am getting there.

During these months, we received a donation to the program of a beautiful 20 year old Shire gelding named Baron.  He is furry and friendly and big enough to make you feel like he could never let you fall off.  He had  been used primarily for driving and not for riding, so he is building some top line muscles and building up endurance before being in the program.  He is an absolute gentleman and everybody that sees him is instantly smitten.

I am certainly no exception!  I love him and I always save some of the best treats for him each time I see him.  Lately, I have had the opportunity to ride him just a tiny bit at a walk to aid in his training.  I can honestly say that he rides like a dream and that I now have fantasies of running off with him (or walking off until he muscles up a bit).  Of course, my instructor would kill me if I tried and I am sure that at least 30 others are having the same fantasies, but a girl can dream, right?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

What is a Curvy Gal to Do???

project 333Okay, Project 333 went shockingly well for the first 3 months.  I didn’t miss any of the clothing that I stashed away and I even had a couple of pieces in my 33 that I didn’t wear because they just didn’t work for me after all.  But, the important thing to note is that I didn’t feel deprived at all with a severely pared down wardrobe.  It turns out that I ignored much of what was in my closet to begin with and wore a few things in rapid succession.

But April 1st became a bit of an awakening.  When swapping to clothes for warmer temperatures (which we usually have had for quite a bit by now), I was finding that I had precious few things that still fit and that most of what I had wasn’t very flattering at all.  Really more of the proverbial Haggard, Hurried, Homeschool Mom thing.  Not good at all.  And nothing suitable for church.

So, that left me with a dilemma.  How am I going to find flattering clothes that fit me with a pretty much non-existent clothing budget as we are currently paying off some super big medical bills?  Basically, the local shops that bother to carry my size (very short, very curvy) are expensive for cheap-o, low quality stuff that isn’t flattering.  Mail order avails some fabulous designs if you are willing to return and reorder to get the perfect size.  But, that is horrendously expensive, but the quality is better.Another Hatchett Job, Learn to Sew, creative commons attribution, sewing machine, plus sized sewing, plus sized fashion

That leaves, gulp, sewing as my final option.  I can use coupons and watch sales and get fabrics for reasonable prices and even good enough quality to withstand more than one season of wear for less than the local fat shops (but only if I am very careful).  But, I have never sewn clothing before, to speak of.  I have mangled a few attempts and thrown the results away, but no successes.  Quilts yes, clothing…sadly, no.

Now, I really have no choice but to learn how to do this.  I am starting with simple dresses to wear this spring and summer and those should get me through most occasions in the heat and humidity (except at the barn, I am not scooping poop in a dress and, as you never know when you might get to ride a bit, I always wear long pants).

Of course, the sewing route forces me to be rather realistic about my shape and it’s excesses.  I guess I have just gotten to an age when I don’t have time to feel embarrassed and hide my body away.  I won’t go out of my way to emphasize the less than flattering, but as I have to have clothing, I may as well have clothing that is comfortable and that I like the looks of.  If others think I look fat, then so be it.  I really am beyond caring!

Another Hatchett Job, Curvy Sewing Collective Logo, Sewing for Plus Size, Plus Size Sewing, Plus Size Fashion,Lately, I have found a few blogs that I have found very inspirational for sewing and dressing the voluptuous and curvy body.  Among them are the fantastic gals of the Curvy Sewing Collective.  Please note that I am in NO way affiliated with the Curvy Sewing Collective.  I am not an experienced seamstress for clothing and I am not a fashion maven.  That disclaimer having been stated, I am very impressed with how each of these chicas translates Plus Sized Fashion into a creation that fits, flatters, and has so much personality.  I am hanging on every post right now and learning all that I can, hoping to have something to show for it shortly.

There is not a single website for this group (at least not that I know of) but I am listing the blogs so that everyone can see what I am so excited about.

Idle Fancy

U and Mii

Quirky Pretty Cute

Cashmerette

Mrs. Hughes

Young Broke and Fabulous

 

Once you look around these blogs and the various items that have been created, I think you will be excited, too!  I have already purchased my Moneta pattern from Collette Patterns and will be looking for the perfect knit fabric to make it out of soon!

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett