McCalls M6359 (it’s a halter-tunic?)

So I have to wait for Sarah to come over and help me figure out the pattern for those damn Colette Juniper pants. In the meantime, tonight I decided to re-make Tunic C from the McCalls M6359 pattern. Now, last time, I learned that it was a bad idea to actually follow the smallest size of the pattern, despite the measurements. They’re totally inaccurate.

I cut the smallest pattern size and here’s what I got last time:

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This is AFTER I made some slight alterations. Ugh.

This time, I altered the pattern before I even cut out the fabric (which is what you’re supposed to do, I assume). I basically took out a lot of fabric, both from the yoke and from the front and back pieces (it was way too wide and long the first time).

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It’s not completely done yet (I need to finish making and then sewing bias tape on the armholes), but it’s already looking better and fitting better than last time. I’ll update this post once it’s finished and show how it fits.

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Help me, lords/ladies of fabric! You’re my only hope.

I’m completely stuck on this Colette Juniper project. I feel like I’ve done something wrong. The directions said to finish the edges of the pocket linings BEFORE you even line up the notches, thereby eliminating the notches! Ugh. Keep in mind this is my first pair of pants, so I have a lot to learn.

Can anyone help? I feel like the pockets aren’t lining up, and I don’t understand where I’m supposed to sew if I don’t know how/where they line up! There seems to be extra fabric in the area it’s telling me to stitch.

I'm stuck on 8-10.
I’m stuck on 8-10.
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Here’s the pants with the pocket already attached.
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Trying to line up the two pieces.
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But what’s this extra piece all about?
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I feel like something is wrong here.

My newest hobby: sewing

As I’ve grown more fond of sewing, I’ve been flooding my facebook feed with posts about the clothes I’m making. From now on, I’ll be documenting that here. I think I’ll make a few posts discussing my past projects (and lessons learned), and then pick up with the project I’m working on now: 1024 Juniper, my first pair of pants by the trusty Colette Patterns.

But first, let’s give a hearty goodbye to my faithful Wal-Mart brand iron. It has kicked the bucket, the last straw being when it started to leak water all over the fabric I’m using for the Juniper pants.

That said, I’ve had it for at least 5 years, and it’s endured more abuse than I’d expect any $15 iron would. It now joins its fellow irons past, going to that great ironing heaven in the sky. Or maybe just a landfill, or Goodwill. Let’s not get too dramatic.

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And now, to Target!

The Three Reasons I Don’t Like Hugs (From Most People)

I am an outgoing person who likes to share jokes and laughter with my friends, family and coworkers.

So when new people get to know me, my aversion to hugs confuses them. If you don’t mind delving into my psyche for a few moments, I can explain why I became so anti-hug.

1. My Hometown’s ‘Constant Casual Hugs And Kisses’ Culture

Where I grew up, it is considered polite when arriving or exiting a party to kiss everyone  on the cheek. This usually involves a hug, which varies in intimacy depending upon how well the partygoers know each other.

I hated this. It is what caused my descent into Irish goodbyes (leaving without telling anyone). It also reinforced my dislike of hugs. I still cringe when I go home and have to deal with it.

2. My Family’s Constant Hugs And Kisses

Don’t get me wrong: I love my family. My family is important to me. They are my number one life priority.

However, my family is touchy. My mom throws out hugs like Oprah does cars. She’s basically a tackle on a football team. It’s my belief that I was overhugged as a child, which made me wary of anyone who wants to hug me. I know the term “overhugged” is ridiculous, but I’m only partly joking.

3. And Most Importantly, My Association Of Hugs With Romantic Relationships

I first fell in love when I was 15. We were crazy about each other. And we hugged all the time. Besides kissing, hugging was a big way we expressed our feelings (I mean, I was young, and hadn’t quite figured out all the other physical ways of “expressing feelings” in a romantic relationship).

We were hugmonsters, but when it came to hugging other people, things didn’t feel right for me.

I associate hugging with intimacy. To me, hugs should be shared between lovers or close family/friends in situations where someone needs comforting. I’m not sure when I developed this train of thought, but it’s been true for at least the past 10 years of my life.

My friends don’t understand that a big giant hug, which they think is a nice thing to do, feels like an intrusion into my privacy.

This isn’t to say I never hug my friends or family. Are you newly engaged or married? CONGRATS HUG. Did someone die? SAD HUG. Am I intoxicated? DRUNK HUG.

I liken this to the European tradition of kissing others on both cheeks as a greeting (similar to my hometown culture). Would that make you uncomfortable? Would it invade your personal space? Would you think it was abnormal? I’d wager the answers are “yes.”

That’s the same reaction I have when I get blindsided with a hug.

Sandy Hook: There are no easy answers

Image by Cloe Poisson, Hartford Courant
Mourners pause as they pay their respects Saturday at a makeshift memorial at the scene of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown. Image by Cloe Poisson, Hartford Courant

The Sandy Hook school shooting horrified me. Like many others, I was glued to my computer, unable to concentrate on work as I searched for more concrete news. Who did this? Why did it happen? Was it mostly children? Oh god, it was mostly children. The journalist in me didn’t believe half of what was published immediately, and I don’t believe most of the anecdotes that have begun floating around Facebook and Twitter (all of those teachers are heroes, but we don’t yet know exactly what slain teacher Victoria Soto did).

Let’s go over what we know for certain, and only what we know for certain.

  1. A man named Adam Lanza killed 27 people and then himself.
  2. 20 of those killed were six or seven years old.
  3. The murder weapons were legally obtained, but probably not by the killer.
  4. Adam Lanza was quiet/shy/a geek/a gamer/a loner.

Everything else is conjecture right now. We don’t know if he had a history of mental illness. We don’t know what exactly happened inside the school. We don’t know some vital parts to this story. I point this out because there is a massive rush to judgment happening, an emotional response that is understandable but is still (for the most part) a knee-jerk emotional outcry. I don’t fault anyone for their reactions; however, no one thing or action will prevent this scenario from happening again in our country.

So far, there’s been:

1. We need more gun control. We need less gun control. We need more guns! We need fewer guns!

To those in favor of stricter gun control, I ask: Where will all the existing guns go? Will they disappear? Won’t there be a black market for assault weapons if said weapons are banned? Can we control an illegal gun influx from South America? Will no one be able to get their hands on a gun if we enact more laws that people don’t follow in the first place? Don’t people in rural areas need guns to hunt? Would the shooter’s mother still have been able to legally obtain a gun with stricter regulations (Probably!).

To those in favor of fewer gun restriction laws, I ask: Should everyone be able to own a gun? What are the limits? Should people with mental illnesses be able to own a gun after a waiting period? What would we classify as a “mental illness”? Would you feel better knowing that anyone, anywhere could be carrying a concealed weapon? Would that make this country more or less dangerous? Do you remember that moron you were friends with in high school who isn’t “mentally ill” but has a pretty short temper? Do you want him/her carrying a gun everywhere?

2. Our mental health system needs to be overhauled.

Is this an accurate statement? Absolutely. Stories like this mother’s are commonplace in America. We don’t know what to do with our severely mentally ill, and the stigma of mental illness still very much exists. Once a troubled young person hits 18 and exhausts family resources, there are few places to turn. And unless a person has a history of violence or actually hurts someone, jail is not an option. What do we do with these people? Do we lock them up? Do we drug them? This is not a life they chose, but it isn’t fair or just to allow sick people to be free to hurt others on the basis of being politically correct.

However, again, this statement is an oversimplification of a massive issue. Every case is different. Every person is different. Mental illness is constantly being studied, and there’s so much we don’t yet understand. No one has these answers. And no quick overhaul can prevent another Columbine or Tucson shooting spree.

3. This happened because we’re straying from God and our country’s Christian roots.

Christianity throughout history has been insanely violent, so I’ll just skip this and pretend it didn’t happen.

4. The prevalence of violent images (video games, movies) caused this.

Pure anecdotal evidence: I play Halo, Skyrim, Fallout and other first-person shooter violent video games. I also take a low dosage of antidepressants, though not for depression (confusing, right? See above about mental illness being complex). I have never in my entire life considered taking my Elven Bow of Extreme Archery (Exquisite) and reenacting my Dark Brotherhood quests on someone I dislike. If anything, I fear one day I will snap and curse at someone.

But seriously, video games and movies are a scapegoat here. I won’t argue against the existence of a culture of violence. However, when have humans existed in a solely nonviolent way? It wasn’t too far in our past that we hanged people in public, and people brought their children to watch the festivities. How many of you watch UFC? Or even football? I cheer during hockey fights.

And how many of us don’t kill mass quantities of people with guns? 99.9999999 percent.

What caused this young person to take the lives of helpless babies? I don’t know. You don’t know. We don’t know. We may never know.

Death and violence happen every day. Beautiful, amazing acts of kindness also happen every day. Could these shootings be anomalies?

Can we acknowledge that bad things are going to happen no matter what we do to prepare for them? Is it possible that life is not just a series of beautiful events, but a harsh journey full of suffering, too?

I am not ready to assign blame, but I am ready to accept that I do not know or understand everything that happens in this world.