you guys, i have totally lost my sewing mojo, and i’m weirdly not that upset about it.  not in a bad way, not like i don’t want to sew anymore, just that i’m enjoying a break from it.  the night before we left for san diego, i dropped my little baby sewing machine off for its first servicing.  i’d been putting it off forever, too busy with art fair and then the holidays and then squeezing in all my orders before our vacation to do it a second sooner.  

knitcollageimagine my shock when i learned it would cost as much to service as it would to just order a brand new machine!  yikes.  while i really want to graduate to a new machine, i don’t have the funds immediately available, and i figured i’d keep the existing machine as a backup and wanted it in good shape.  so, we parted ways for 2.5 weeks, which is definitely the longest i’ve gone without sewing in over a year.  while i kept myself busy with several knitting projects (see above), i also noticed that we’ve been eating more varied and interesting meals, doing more activities, watching more breaking bad, writing more, sleeping more (except last night, when i was awoken THREE TIMES to replace a blanket, hence the 6am blog posting), and i’ve had some space in my brain to start thinking about what kinds of projects i want to do next.  there’s a palpable degree of relaxation that i don’t usually feel in my daily life, and i’m not in a huge hurry to get back to my machine.  all in all, i’d never elect to be separated from my machine that long, but it’s been a nice change of pace and is helping me re focus my energy.  i got it back last week and am only using it to complete existing orders…i’m definitely into planning mode for my own projects, and am deeply appreciating the meditative properties of knitting.


but before all that, i made this shirt.  it’s lovely, right?  light, breezy, simple but detailed, it had all the makings to be my new favorite sewing project.  i’m really itching to get into women’s clothing (which is where most of my planning energy has been allocated the last few weeks), so i’ve been experimenting with some patterns–this one is simplicity 2365.  it’s the first commercial pattern i’ve ever used, and the construction went totally smoothly.

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i marked all the pintucks top to bottom with water soluble pen, and things were going quite well but for my [former] iron spewing its usual bile here and there on the white voile.  we have very hard water here, and being rather careless with my belongings as i am,  i refused to feed my iron better water than i give my children.  as a result, it had crazy mineral buildups and regularly vomited brown sludge all over the place.  you’d be amazed how long i put up with this, but perhaps you will relate that i *really* wanted to MAKE my own ironing board cover, so replacing the whole operation kept getting postponed.  after the debacle with this shirt, however, i replaced everything immediately and keep only filtered water in my sewing room now.  in spite of this, my new cover already has a collection of brown spots from the few uses its gotten.  i give up.


here is the cautionary tale.  i wanted to spot treat some of the iron stains with bleach.  it might not surprise you that i’m not the type of person concerned with getting my whites whiter, and so, i know nothing about bleach.  i only own a small bottle to deal with my iron woes.  i put a drop on a q tip and set to work, which i did before dissolving my pintuck lines because i wanted to keep the bleach as localized as possible and prevent it from diffusing into the whole shirt.  to my horror, the moment some bleach bled into the blue pen, some chemical reaction occurred turning the blue brown, and leaving what appeared to be a permanent stain–at least one not dissolved by more bleach.  i rubbed away, and i was warned that sometimes bleach can just flat out destroy fabric, but i wasn’t sure what else to do.  finally, i forfeited.

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this was quite irritating, but the spots were so small, you couldn’t see them from far away.  i made this cute little outfit to wear the day of my major haircut, when i sent david to the bar next door to get some beer goggles on as he and our children remain the most resistant to this change in my appearance.  considering it contains no knit material, this outfit definitely wins for most comfortable besides my usual yoga pants and t shirt combo.  the skirt is simplicity 2226 which i blogged about previously.

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unfortunately, a combination of the super low riding skirt, well under the muffin top, and the pintucks making the shirt belly billow in just the wrong place, it was difficult to make this outfit look flattering, though i loved wearing it.  that’s why i photographed the skirt with a more fitted top, and planned to photograph the shirt with fitted pants on our san diego trip.  i threw it in the suitcase as it was, and a few days into our trip, i pulled it out to wear.  i was shocked to find a mysterious, gaping hole torn right into the bottom.  the more i touched it, the more it tore, like the bleach had turned the voile into wet tissue paper.


anyway, the hole was so big, i wasn’t sure what to do about it.  i resolved to send it through the wash to remove the damaging bleach from the fibers, then just chop it and re hem it.  if it’s too short for me, i’ll have to begrudgingly pass it on to someone shorter than me.  the final insult was taking it out of the wash to see the brown spots, formerly blue pen, had totally washed out on their own without any bleach.  i’m taking this as a sign that bleach is destructive and useless.s2365_3  so that is the sad story about this particular shirt.  however, i like the pattern.  it’s a cute garment and can be made with buttons or as a dress, too.  i will make it again.  the infinity scarf is from a lovely and super soft korean double gauze gifted to me by teri, whose predictions about my shirt disintegrating from the bleach horrifically came to fruition.  the scarf  is four seams and can be made in half an hour tops–maybe i will post a quick tutorial.  i know i always say i will, and i have a million photos for tutorials filed away, it’s just a lot of work to write them out when i’m not sure anyone will be interested.


i’m sort of at a point in all my creative endeavors where i’m trying to regroup and allocate my energy where it will be most satisfying to me.  it’s interesting how the public side of my creativity evolves alongside the private.  just as i get curious about pursuing new crafts and taking on new challenges, my feelings change about in what capacity i want to share those adventures.  when i first started, i was obviously very blog focussed, which has major challenges when you don’t have a big audience.  it’s easy to feel like you’re wasting time when you write to crickets every week.  rooting myself in something more tangible, the art fair and now my shop, have diminished those insecurities, though of course they make my presence here more scarce because of time issues.  as we know, art fair was a flop, and i’m not quite ready to commit several hours weekly to promoting the shop…i’m still tinkering with inventory, what i want to make, how i want to sell it, etc.  it’s all a very interesting process (and somehow very fulfilling and not at all disheartening), and i like the flexibility of having concrete goals, but the ability to change them on a whim when something rubs me the wrong way.  i’ve been working hard for months now on making things to sell…i feel ready for a little rejuvenation and focussing on doing some new and fun things just because.  more on that later.

9 Comments on simplicity 2365 and the dangers of bleach

  1. I sewed up the version of this pattern with buttons with a little extra room for a 2nd trimester belly the last time I was pregnant…2 years ago. I should really get those buttons sewn on this time around.

    I have a box full of hair bows that I made in November but haven’t taken good pictures of to list on Etsy. I was thinking this morning I should just give them all to my daughter because it’s not like I have time to dedicate to promoting and running a handmade business, no matter how easy other people make it look.

    • oh, this would be a really cute maternity top. lots of room in the belly. creating listings for etsy is a huge investment–those pictures have to be so good. it all ends up taking a lot of time; i don’t blame you. i partially started selling on etsy because my kids *wouldn’t* wear what i made, but i still wanted to make things! you are lucky if you have a willing recipient! that would be a cute party favor, too. if i make women’s, it’s all going to be in my size, because right now i’m saddled with a closet full of baby clothes and nothing to do with them. it’s tricky!

  2. Wow, the first couple of photos gave no indication of the disaster that was to follow! And the last photo of you in your shortened blouse is great. Looks like a perfect top to me.
    this blog is refreshingly honest, and as someone else who can completely ruin a load of washing, it’s one of my favourites!
    I nominated your blog for a Liebster award. You should see that as flattering but it does have a chain mail side to it, should you choose to accept it. (I say no obligation, you can just take the compliment if you like!)
    My nomination blog post is here: http://bartacksandsingletrack.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/ive-been-very-busy-sewing-cutting-more.html

    • shelley, that is so kind of you! thank you so much for the kind words on your blog and for thinking of me. i also really appreciate the permission to just accept the compliment :) i’ll see if i can’t find a few minutes to play along at some point!

    • it was pretty upsetting. but something had to compel me to finally switch out the iron, right? so many almost-as-awful things happened, but none were quite awful enough, until this. so, at least i got a new ironing set up out of it.

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