Monday, June 16, 2008

wannabe craftiness

This morning I was reading Anne of the Island for the umpteenth million time while I fed Jules and read a conversation between Anne and Philippa where Anne mentions that she really should stay home and finish sewing her blouse, rather than going for a walk in the park.

First of all, I wish I felt comfortable going for moonlit rambles by myself (but unfortunately, I don't live in safe friendly turn-of-the-century Nova Scotia), because I really miss being outside at night (Neil and I always used to go meander around before we had small children that needed to be in bed).

But secondly, and more to the point of this post, I wish I was a more confident seamstress. (Although to be honest with you, since I don't have a sewing machine it's hard for me to find time to do much sewing. One of the quilts I've made is completely by hand: it took me about three years.)

One of the things I really admire about my husband's family is how talented they are in hand-crafting--I have a beautiful crocheted blanket that exactly matches my living room that my sister-in-law Monica made and the photograph at the top of this post was the beautifully sewn gift my mother-in-law gave me last Christmas. It is my very favorite piece in my whole house.

Anyway, over the last ten months I've lost a lot of weight (a real surprise, given that I was pregnant and then I had the baby, right?) This is great, but it also means that most of my clothes no longer fit. Not only do my pre-pregnancy clothes from college and high school not fit, but the clothes I bought in April don't fit anymore either (although if you know me in real life you're probably thinking, "uh, you don't look that skinny to me anyway." And as a sidenote, it's funny how I'm still unhappy with my body image. I'm somewhere between a size 4 and a size 6 now and I still see lots of figure flaws. And I feel really guilty if I eat cookies or something like that, and I feel wretchedly guilty on any day when I don't exercise, which is something I would like to prevent in my daughters. How do we teach our children to be happy with their bodies and view them as wonderful creations and not to stress so much, while also emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy body...without going crazy over it?)

But my point is, I wish I knew how to sew things that would fit for a long time, or how to take my clothes apart and sew them back together so they would fit again (except that's not a good solution, since I would probably want to wear them again when I was pregnant and needing a bigger size). This is of especial concern to me because I hate looking sloppy, which happens when all your clothes are too big.

Specifically skirts. Doesn't the idea of a nice floaty summer skirt with an adjustable waist sound great to you? Do you have any experience sewing these kinds of things? Do you know where one would look for patterns? Please, if you have any wisdom/experience/input, share share share!

Meanwhile, I CAN find cute patterns for other things. Like this twirly skirt for little girls:
and this adorable shoulder bag:


Katrina said...

I would love to be able to tailor my own clothes. What a handy skill. I have pants in about 3 different sizes in my closet and I did contemplate getting some of the nicer ones taken in, but I figure I'll be able to wear them again after the baby so might as well keep em the way they are.

As for body image... I think I've been blessed with a pretty positive body image. I have a far from perfect body by magazine standards, but it is healthy and strong and gets me where I need to go. I think it's really sad how many women and girls think they are ugly or fat when they aren't at all. I think the biggest way we can teach our daughters to have positive body image is to set the example by not criticizing ourselves. Even if you have to fake it, show your daughters you are happy with your appearance and that they should be too.

Rachael said...

katrina, that's exactly the good advice I needed to hear. Thank you! I will definitely make an effort around my girls to express more of my feelings about my gratitude that I have a healthy body and that I can eat good foods and exercise to keep it strong.

The Jones Family said...

I feel the same way about body image. Like you, I feel guilty eating a 'bad dinner' or not running one day and I definitely don't want Brooklyn being like that. But I agree with the previous post about example. I am going to try and at least not talk about it or obsess (because that is definitely what I do) about it in front of Brooklyn. If I still feel what I feel I'm just going to try and keep it more to myself the majority of the time while trying to show her the importance of eating healthy and getting exercise. I think it's a battle that will never be won unfortunately, at least not in this life!

And congrats on the sizes. I too have lots of clothes that don't fit because I'm about 10 pounds less than when I got married. I have no clue how to sew and don't own a sewing machine either so for now my clothes in the closet will just have to range from size 2 to 10! Oh well, all the more reason to be able to buy a few new things for myself :)

Heatherbelle said...

Rachael, You are such a kindred spirit! I love love love those books!
As far as skirt patterns I am also on the hunt for a good knee-length flowy skirt pattern. I'll let you know when I find one. You are welcome to use my sewing machine anytime. If you want to start on an easy project I could help you make some matching pajamas for your girls. They aren't as hard as they sound and it is so delightful to see your kid wearing something you made yourself. I found some great material at Hobby-Lobby this past week and with my 40% off coupon it was only $3 a yard. And they had way more girl fabric than boy fabric! Let me know if you want to attempt it!

Sarah Groux said...

Hey Rachael--
I regularly read your blog after reconnecting with you on Facebook... I wanted to drop a comment here and suggest that you read a book called, "The Body Image Workbook." The author is Thomas Cash. It's really quite amazing how a bad body image can trickle into all parts of ones life. It was an real revelation to me after reading it and conducting the exercises how low my body image really was. It's a struggle you have to work on every day.
Best of luck! And as a side note, your children are absolutely adorable. Still being a single gal, it's fun to see how the "others" live!! :)

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