Be yourself

For those of you who want to read only about the Brooklyn joggers, go ahead and skip to the end 😉

Write a blog, they said. It’ll be fun, they said… OK, I said it myself, but who’s keeping track, right? Anyway, I started this blog thinking this wasn’t going to be that hard and that it would be fun to share what I was up to. But if you see how long my previous (only the second) post has been, it turned out not to be that easy. But that’s because I was just making it hard for myself. I wanted to mainly talk about my crafting journey, but without talking about the person I really am and the struggles I’m facing, both in crafting and in life in general. I thought a lot about it and decided that my crafting journey started out only because of what happened to me. And these two things are intertwined so much that it’s impossible for me to separate them. So I’m not only going to write about the crafting itself but also about what I come across, being chronically ill. It sounds so heavy, so gloomy, but I have no really better words to describe me.

In short (or I’ll try to be), I had a stroke a bit more than three years ago. At first, it was impossible for me to do any hobbies, my main one was reading. Since I’m not really the person who likes to sit still, I had to find something to keep me busy. I started out knitting, then crochet and after several months, I took a sewing workshop. From that moment, I was completely hooked. It took me a year and a half to go to work again and even then, only parttime. I worked for a year and every month working,  I noticed myself getting worse again. The pains came back, looking for words, understanding things people said to me, remembering things. When I started making mistakes at work, the doctor put me on sick leave and that’s what I am now. I am home on sick leave, but when you see me down the street or even talk to me, you won’t notice that something is wrong with me. And yet there is. My husband notices it when he sees me completely beat in the evening (and often even in the morning). A lot of the time, I have to force myself to get out of bed, to do my household, even to do my crafting.

Crafting has been a way of expressing myself, of challenging myself. Shortly before getting sick, I had gone back to school and had graduated as a nurse. I was planning on keeping studying, or learning new things. Now, thinking of getting my master degree, is a dream I had to give up. I might be able to do it, but it would cost too much. So I found new ways to keep learning in doing creative things.

There are weeks that I stop crafting, that my household is harder to do than usual and that I would just do only the essential. People keep telling me that I need to get enough rest, but often resting my body is not beneficial to my mind. Sometimes I need that extra something to get me started with the crafting again (when I’m really exhausted, that doesn’t work). Because when I do, it always makes me feel so much better. Sometimes it’s going fabric shopping with my mother in law. Oh, the fabric shopping! And other times, it’s applying to test a pattern.

This year, I applied to become a pattern tester. I had applied somewhere else but had not been withheld and I never thought that I would get in. But I did. I test patterns for Rebecca Page and I’m loving it. It’s often what I need to get me started. When I see a pattern I like and I think I can make the deadlines (or sometimes even when I’m afraid I can’t), I apply. The last one was hard, because it’s been crazy busy the last weeks/months, but I made it! And today I used the credit and free patterns that come with the subscription, I printed them, taped them together and copied them to pattern paper. I chose fabric from my stash and will try to get at least something done this week. I’m feeling a bit of drive again, let’s see how long it lasts 😛

Anyway, wanted to make this post a little less gloomy, I’m sharing the first pattern I tested a while ago. I tested the Brooklyn joggers. I have to say that choosing fabric for a pattern is often hard. I have this idea in my head and it looks good, until I actually get the garment done. I’m slowly getting better, but it’ll take some time.

I made both Brooklyn joggers from stash fabric. They are so very comfy, the pockets are amazing and the sew is really quick. I had the final pics taken with sneakers and a hoodie, the sporty look; and the others are with heels and a classier sweater (I didn’t have a proper t-shirt or blouse that fitted with the fabric of the joggers), for a different look. I probably won’t do the classy look myself, but I did kind of like it however. I think I’m too conservative in my clothing style.
Also, did I mention the pockets? 😉

The Brooklyn joggers for ladies can be purchased here.
There is also a children’s version.
And while you’re at it, check out all the freebies.
And in case of doubt, there’s also the wonderful Rebecca Page Sewing Group on Facebook.
Fabric : Stoffen Verkempinck

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Firsts

A few weeks ago I applied to become a tester of patterns. I never thought I would get to test patterns, since I haven’t been sewing that long yet and it’s not as if I have been active online very much. While I was waiting for an answer, I got a mail to ask me if I wanted to take part in a sew along. The pattern was a trench coat, with lots of different options. I hesitated for a bit, but the thought of being able to make such a coat, and getting lots of help along the way, really appealed to me. So I bought the pattern, bought my fabric and did the preparations-printing and drawing out the pattern, washing and cutting the fabric, getting the material I needed.

The first two days of the sew along, I kept myself busy around the house and realized I was procrastinating out of fear not to be able to do such a complicated pattern. I caught up on day 3 and found out that the videos were really helpful, everything was explained in detail, the instructions very clear. If you had more questions, you could always ask them in the Facebook group RP Sew Alongs. You didn’t only get help from admins and moderators, but basically anyone who could answer your question. For two weeks, every weekday, there was a new video to follow. There are a lot of options to choose from, and every single one of them was explained in the videos.

I chose to make the short version of the coat, with the front and back yokes, the shoulder and sleeve tabs and the belt. I was planning on making the welt pockets but in the end I decided against it. It sounded really complicated but I kind of wish I had tried it on some leftover fabric after all. I love the welt pockets better than the patch pockets but the result isn’t that bad. I also planned on doing the back vent, but because I made the short version, I thought it ended up too high on my back, so I sewed the vent closed. I didn’t make the hood either, since my fabric is not waterproof and I saw no use in it.

I loved every step of the sew along, even when I made some mistakes or things didn’t always go as planned. The truth is, without the sew along, I might have bought the fabric but never started it. It gave me a lot of confidence in my sewing capabilities and I learned new things along the way. I didn’t sew a lot with woven fabric before, but I’m feeling I got better doing this. The plan is to make at least two more, one waterproof one (with hood) and another a more fancy one (with welt pockets!). But it won’t be for right away, taking a little break now after all 🙂

As to the firsts in the title. This was my first sew along, the first coat I made, the first time I hand sewed 20 (!) buttons on one project, first time lining and entire garment, the first me-project I’m absolutely proud of. Lots of firsts to enjoy.
Thank you to Rebecca and her entire team for all the support.

Website: Rebecca Page
Pattern: Taylor Trench (also available in children’s and doll’s sizes)
Fabric from: Stoffen Verkempinck

Hope you like the coat as much as I do! Photos made by the hubby.

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