thoughts one encounters when taking/editing/posting photos of oneself in clothes

I had no idea my neck looked like that. Interesting.

Can I make the neck look different? What if I stretch it out a bit?

Nope. That just looks haughty.

Okay, make some goofy faces to loosen up. You can just delete them later.


omg Are my hands disproportionately small?

Does the disproportionately small size of my hands indicate that my ENTIRE BODY is too large? That the weight I have accepted as ideal for my bone structure is actually much larger than ideal?

Dude, what? Why do you think about bone structure so much?

It’s the default comfort for tall girls. Don’t take that way from me.

Okay, fine. Smile at the camera. DO NOT LEER AT THE CAMERA.


Though, it’s not much worse than all the others. Bring back that crazy eye photo.

Maybe when I see “crazy eyes,” other people see “totally normal person who is alluringly passionate about life.”

Why is my face doing that weird thing? THAT IS NOT WHAT MY FACE LOOKS LIKE.

It happened again. Okay. Maybe this is my face. This is my face. It’s a great face. PEOPLE LIKE ME, WILLINGLY SPEND TIME LOOKING AT ME, AND DON’T MAKE COMMENTS ABOUT HOW WEIRD MY FACE IS SO MAYBE IT’S NOT WEIRD.

Some have even called me beautiful. I tend to interpret this as a not-just-skin-deep kind of beauty that expresses itself in the experience more than the image of me. Which is a preferable form of beauty.

Can this experiential beauty be captured in a photo? Let’s try.

Too sultry. DELETE.

Pretty-not-sexy. Pretty-not-sexy. Relax your shoulders. Lengthen your neck. Try not to be too intense in the eye. Smile.

Oh shit I started moving after the countdown but before the shutter so now this is blurry, but…I think…everything that’s not blurry is PERFECT.

Just do the same thing again. Just be perfect on command.

Ummm…I look like I’m farting in this photo. I didn’t even know I had a Passing Gas Face.

Look at the camera. Don’t look at the camera. Don’t look at the camera but look at a very specific area to the left of the camera.

Oh, no, that’s too far. You look distracted, not bemused.

Hrm. Too close. You just look like you’re incapable of making eye contact.

Smile? Not smile?

Resting Grimace Face is not the look I was going for.

How about an open-mouth smile.

Muppet Smile.

Try a fake laugh?

Okay, this is PERFECT, facially. POST IT.


wonderful things

1. This has been a LONG time coming: I budgeted my final credit card payment this month!

I have been meaning to talk about how epic and life-changing it has been to find a budgeting system that WORKS. (And when I say that, I really mean it’s a system that changed my habits: empowered me to make intentional decisions about my money, and then made it very easy to follow those decisions day to day.) The system I use is You Need A Budget, and even though I can’t use the pitch I depended on before (“It’s life-changing and you only have to pay for the software once!”), I trust that their new annual-fee program is incorporating some fantastic improvements.

2. Related to Thing 1, I’m finally discovering the wonder of saving money! Here’s what’s amazing: when you set aside money for something like, oh, I don’t know, a 3-month cushion (guess what I’m saving money for?), and then you reach that goal? YOU HAVE THE CUSHION AND THEN YOU GET TO START SAVING FOR SOMETHING ELSE! It’s, like, blowing my long-time debt-laden mind that I can have these monthly savings that ACCUMULATE, instead of this monthly payment that I send out into the void, seemingly, which never seems to end.

Saving > Debt (mind blown)

3. I’m going to add another point to this stream because, omg, I can’t stop taking about it.

I love that the process of saving is ALSO a process of dreaming. Do you know how many times, in the past 10 years, I’ve said to myself, “Oh, that sounds like a nice idea, but I can’t even entertain it until I pay off this debt.” THAT WAS A LOT OF DEFERRED DREAMING! I HAVE SO MUCH CATCHING UP TO DO!

And I’m sort of pumped that I get to do it NOW instead of 10 years ago, partially because I am so much smarter and more interesting now. Of course, I’m also more cautious, which is something I’m trying to push against just a bit.

This year is the year of Dreaming Big. I don’t plan on making any big actions (because remember: saving for a 3-month cushion) but I love that I’m finally in a place where I’m allowed to realistically entertain these ideas.

4. I meant for this list to be about more than just budgets. (Whoops!) Here’s a photo of some finished quilts:



I’ve been feeling frustrated with myself, with the fact that I haven’t made any clothing in the last few weeks. But then I reviewed my latest version of the Infinite List and realized that I’ve made progress on many fronts.

1. Sleep shorts? MADE SOME. Made a lot, actually! Multiple copies of both the Salme Elastic Waist Shorts and the Lakeside Pajama Shorts. And I’ve been sleeping in them, rotating as I always do with pajamas. My absolute favorite pair, the ones I wish were never dirty, are the Salme version I made from an old set of pillowcases. I think the Salme pattern will be my winner – the one I return to for more versions of lounge shorts – but I might have to give my Lakeside one more try, in an equally soft cotton. Either way, I AM WINNING AT SLEEP RIGHT NOW.

2. Fitness shorts? I reviewed the swatches and color cards, and decided to commit to a few yards of a high-end compression fabric. It’s sitting at home, waiting to be cut into.

3. More Lady Skaters? It hasn’t happened yet, but I think my last two were impulse sewn, which means I’m just waiting for another impulse.

4. Pencil skirt? I haven’t made one yet, but I bought one with a gift card from the Gap, to tide me over. Wearing that has helped me to determine that I probably want a non-stretch pencil skirt (because it is both wrinkly and baggy by the end of the day, and I’d prefer just wrinkles).



I have no idea when I started making this, but it’s a bright green rayon, fully lined. The original intent was to add an elastic waist, like its dress twin, but after a few frustrating runs at the armhole finishing, I think I put this in time-out. It waited there, un-elasticized and un-hemmed, until one morning when I was motivated enough to HEM THIS DRESS AND THE LINING before work. Since that morning, I’ve worn it both belted and with a cardigan.

#bestfriendquilt 👍 #bestfriendquilt

Also, THIS HAPPENED. Or, if I’m honest it’s been happening for years, and I found myself approaching a significantly fun moment in the process. What that means is that a lot of my evening sewing time has been focused on quilting instead of garments.

And not just for one reason…

For everyone who asks how long it takes to make a quilt...(everyone)...I was able to stitch eleven of these blocks while watching M:I-3 tonight. There are 100 blocks on the quilt. #dothemath #thisiswhyidont Since it's finally cool enough to have a big quilt on my lap. #handstitched

Now that the nights are getting colder, I’m reminded that I don’t have a quilt large enough to drape over all sides of my bed. (They’re all closer to an Epic Throw size – large enough to cover a mattress but not hang over the sides.) This one was just waiting to be quilted and bound with no particular deadline. I decided on a simple hand-quilting design, and 100 stitched boxes later, it’s ready to be bound and washed and thrown onto my bed triumphantly! (Next time I plug in the sewing machine, this will probably be the reason.)

the capsule wardrobe infinite list

I may have just, in this moment, made peace with a lot of my personal blogging problems. I am a person who lives in the process, in the brainstorming, in the research, in the give and take and “maybe this” and “have you thought about trying…” and once I get to a decision point, all of the fun is over, I act on my decision and I move on with my life. Which explains why I am NEVER motivated to blog about a project once it’s finished. Once something is finished, once I’ve worn it in public for the first time, I’m already scheming about the NEXT thing, and I don’t want to loan any of my brain to dwelling on the past.

So here’s a list of things I’m thinking about right now.

1. Lounge shorts. Sleep shorts. One of my (long) long-term goals is to replace my wardrobe with entirely handmade garments. This meant that, as the Soffe shorts that I’ve had since college are all falling apart, I needed to find something new to wear while sleeping/loafing. Thankfully, I already owned digital versions of the Salme’s Elastic Waist Shorts AND Grainline’s Lakeside Pajama’s.

Also, I’ve recently sorted through sewing scraps and failures, and had been trying to utilize these fabrics instead of throwing them away! This meant that scrap pique from a summer dress helped test the Salme pattern, and I made final versions out of a) an unused pillowcase set (which is probably the most brilliant idea EVER) and scraps from this striped skirt. I was able to make some Lakeside shorts out of beautiful quilting cotton I bought on vacation as well as flannel scraps from a circle-scarf sewing binge a few years back.

Thoughts about this:
-MAKING SHORTS OUT OF SCRAPS IS SO MUCH FUN! I am so glad I figured this out.
-Finally figuring out how to use a bias tape maker wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. Also, I now have miles and miles of bias tape made from OTHER fabric scraps!
-Everyone wants me to make them lounge shorts now. This…is probably not something I’m going to do, but EVERYONE, YOU COULD LEARN!
-Figuring out the exactly perfect length for elastic waistbands is TOUGH. This might have to do with how snug the shorts fit in general, meaning the elastic is mostly pointless. But I feel like there is a 1/2 inch difference between too loose and just right, and I haven’t yet found it, but I am getting there.

2. Fitness shorts. Shorts shorts shorts. Have I said that word enough yet for it to become gibberish?

Again, I’ve had a situation arise where most of my exercise shorts/leggings are falling apart, and they can be EXPENSIVE to replace, so I’m trying to learn how to replace them my own. I bought the Duathlon Shorts from Fehr Trade, which seem to be everyone’s favorites (and also have an awesome hidden phone pocket in their design). Since I knew this project would live or die by the fabric, I actually bought a collection of swatches and color cards from a manufacturer, which was VERY EXCITING and reiterated that I never can anticipate what a fabric will look/feel like based on the description and a digital photo.

The next step is to order some fabric, so I bought one last pair of awesome leggings to tide me over until then.

3. Making more Lady Skater dresses. The weather cooled off a bit this past weekend, and I pulled on the awesome brown terrycloth version which, people are ANGRY when they realize how comfortable it is, and it is one of my strongest selling points for sewing: “YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN CLOTHES AND THEY CAN BE GORGEOUS AND SECRETLY SWEATPANTS!”

I need to pull from my stash for this one. I think there’s some purple ponte knit calling my name.

One of my concerns is that my “capsule wardrobe” will turn into a closet full of Lady Skater dresses in every color of the rainbow. Which isn’t a terrible idea, BUT will probably be boring after a while, so…

4. Pencil skirt! I have had a pencil-skirt sized hole in my wardrobe for a while now, which needs to be addressed. I don’t wear them frequently, but I DO want to have the option to dress like a Very Professional Lady from time to time. And I think I’ve seen enough ruffle-less versions of By Hand London’s Charlotte Skirt (the paper pattern was a birthday present LAST YEAR) to convince me that it’s going to be the one.

Though, I might wait until I’ve completed this Craftsy class to start making a fitted skirt. It’s already been purchased, and the accompanying pattern is in my house, so this is definitely a winter project.

5. More things. All the things. But I’m going to stop here for now.

sewing patterns from the 90s – part 3

Life update:
-I’ve thrown away two dress patterns since blogging about them. (Butterick 6404, aka the denim dress pattern, I couldn’t bear to toss just yet. I have no plans for it, but I couldn’t let it go.)
-I pulled out Butterick 6534 (aka the audrey dress) and started drafting some new pattern pieces for the bodice. I even made a muslin! I want to continue down this road, and re-draft pattern pieces for the whole dress. Hopefully, at the end, I’ll not only have a great pattern for cotton sundresses, but I’ll also know whether it could be bridesmaid-worthy in a more luscious fabric.

Now, let’s see what else is hiding in the pattern archives…

Vogue 7301

It’s Charlie’s Angels! (The McG remake, obviously.)

Not included in the pattern: any of those tops. Or the kitten heels.

Fun fact about this pattern: I cut out all of the pieces for the middle option, but never got around to sewing them up. By the time I thought about it, they were the wrong size. (Too small.)

I’m tossing this one. Not only do I have no interest in the style of these pants, I would have cut (not traced) the smallest pattern size, and I know that I’ll never be that size again.

Vogue 7280

Not included in the pattern: the bandeau-bra as shirt, the tank top, or the modest t-shirt. Please note the stunning variety of footwear on these models. AND THAT BROWN LIPSTICK!

This was obviously purchased in my wannabe hippie phase. I don’t think I’ve attempted to make any of these skirts. When I look at them now, I am mostly overwhelmed by the number of panels I would have to cut and the number of seams that would need to be sewn. (Which, now that I think of it, is a common theme in sewing patterns I purchased in the 90s.)

I’ll hold onto this, but loosely. If I don’t find a reason to make a knee-length version of one of these in the next year, it’s going to be tossed.