I found quite a few random scraps of 70s sewing material in my grandmother’s sewing stash. It was essentially a time capsule and it appears she only sewed from the late 60s to the early 80s. Many more scans to come, though as seen below, light water damage is a main feature.
A few months ago I was inspired by this huge gingham skirt on Pinterest, worn by Brigitte Bardot. I just knew I had to have it for the coming summer months and when Annika Victoria’s latest Make Thrift Try challenge was gingham-themed, well my project was already decided for me.
I realized quickly a simple circle skirt was not going to work to keep the lines straight, so I purchased 3 yards of black gingham fabric and cut it down to a rectangle of 3 yards by about 28 inches. I used this blog and this Skillshare video to get an idea of what I was in for. I have never tried to gather 3 yards down to 32 inches and I definitely ran out of thread with two rows of running stitches at the gathered point and then sewing the hem that I re-did twice after I forgot to add the trim.
I thought that the straight lines would help me with knowing exactly where to sew, but I had a fair bit of trouble adding the waistband and the invisible zipper. At the time of the zipper I was rushing a bit too much and it definitely needed more patience to make sure the lines matched.
Last but not least, I found 5 yards of vintage eyelet trim on Etsy. There was a fair bit of discoloration, but I was able to salvage just enough for the 3 freaking yards (!!) of fabric. I think on Bardot’s dress, the trim is actually attached to the petticoat but I didn’t want a skirt that was too poofy that I wouldn’t wear very often. I used this tutorial for attaching the trim, but I think in the future I will hand stitch the hem instead of being lazy so I don’t have this unsightly line running through the edge.
But that’s okay! I love it in the end! The waistband might be a tad wonky and the zipper pull is more visible than I would like, but I made a thing!
I have recently become obsessed with vintage fashion, lovely lounge wear, and sewing. This pattern felt like the most logical first step to creating my first piece of clothing from an actual pattern. Bear in mind, this blog post is not a guide to using this pattern, but rather a documentation of all the mistakes I made on my journey to becoming a competent sewist.
First of all, don’t use flannel. I legitimately just wanted to test my pattern following skills and wasn’t too focused on making it pretty, so I just grabbed a random couple of yards of this cactus print fabric from my stash. This pattern would really shine with a light cotton and would drape much nicer and similar to the 60’s style as intended. I also omitted the ruffle at the neckline because I really couldn’t be bothered. The next time I use this pattern I will definitely add some delicate lace trim and it will be awesome.
Secondly, learn how to choose your size I guess? I was incredibly confused by the size guide. I picked the size that was closest to my measurements (which was a much larger size number than I am used to but I thought it might be one of those weird sizing things), but I guess it was supposed to be your measurements plus how the garment is supposed to fit, but it ended up being a tent. I sized down quite a bit and it fit fine. Is this a normal step for sewing? We’ll find out.
Lastly, pattern direction is super important. Think things through before just going for it! The pattern is for non-printed material and I blindly followed the layout instructions instead of taking a minute to realize what I was doing…
In the future I will use a better suited material and will use the instructions to add the tie as seen in the longest version on the pattern. I was lazy when I was taking the final shot below and just grabbed a measuring tape, but I ended up making a matching belt/tie out of the scraps and I like the fit better. Eventually I’ll probably make the shorts version too ’cause dang that’s cute. All in all, I give this pattern a solid meh and a definite redo.
Resources I used:
- Professor Pincushion’s How to Sew an Inset Sleeve
- Professor Pincushion’s How to Sew a Bias Tape Finish
- Singer’s The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing
Original inspiration: The Crafty Pinup’s Review
June was a fruitful month for me. After literal months of a reading slump, I immensely enjoyed most of what I read this month. Yay me.
N O V E L S
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | ★★★★☆ | I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, honestly. I’ve learned since I’ve started reading again that I’m not a huge fan of YA that takes place in high school, but I took a chance on this one since it’s John Green. See my full review here.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | ★★★★☆ | “It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.” This is an adorable hate to love romance story about two office workers and their slow burn romance. I definitely had the flu while reading this and barely remember it, so maybe one day I’ll re-read it and see if I feel differently. However, I do remember the moments of the fetishization of classic masculinity. For example, the protagonist compares her ex who couldn’t lift her, to her current love, who can pick her up and carry her places. It just rubbed me the wrong way as someone who doesn’t like hyper-masculinity, hence the 4 stars instead of 5.
The Diviners by Libba Bray | ★★★★★ | I listened to this as an audiobook and highly recommend it in this form. I had tried reading it ages ago in book form, but couldn’t pay long enough attention. The audiobook, though? Oof. Yas. The narrator does an absolutely fantastic job of representing each character uniquely. I will definitely be listening to the next book in audiobook form.
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | ★★★★★ | “They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.” I fucking loved this series as a kid. This is Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching sub-series within the Witches series within the Discworld universe. One of my personal goals is to continue reading all the Pratchett I can get my hands on because it’s pure genius. For anyone that is unfamiliar, the Discworld novels are kind of a huge fantasy version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide in terms of comedy and snark. There are many reading guides, since there are just so many books and I recommend reading them thematically, starting with whichever series snags your interest.
Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore | ★★★★★ | “The woman who insisted Fel call her Abuela Lila told him that, between the flower beds, the blossoming trees, and the sunken garden, there were more petals in La Pradera than souls in the world. Everything here bloomed. The clouds of hydrangeas and lilacs. The arbors and trellises. The beds of lilies and hyacinths.” This book and author 100%. I have read all of her published works and they have all impressed me. Full review incoming. Wild Beauty definitely leaned more towards fantasy than her other magical realism books. I adored the garden imagery and her dreamy writing style. It’s a fantastic story of love and loss and family and fitting in.
P O E T R Y
Falling Up by Shel Silverstein | ★★★☆☆ | Don’t hate me for giving a Shel Silverstein book 3 stars. I got this at a library book sale for like 50 cents, remembering it as pure genius when I read it at 6 years old. It’s definitely a book for 6-year-olds.
Pansy by Andrea Gibson | ★★★★☆ |Andrea Gibson is lovely. I love that she can combine poems about love and sexuality with humor and light-hearted jokes. The video below is her performance of one of my favorite poems in this collection.
Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson | ★★★★☆ | This poetry collection was visually very cool. It’s not really a book you read though. I kept expecting a summary or some bit of history, but no. It’s literally just a collection of photographs of bits of paper she wrote poems on and then a digital representation of the piece with words that are easier to read. Very cool though, it definitely humanizes Dickinson.
G R A P H I C N O V E L S
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes | ★★★★☆ | I’m not sure what I expected from this collection, but it was very cool. My favorites were Emily Carroll’s (of course) and Kazu Kibuishi’s.
T R A S H R E A D S
Cum For Bigfoot by Virginia Wade | ★★☆☆☆ | Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Chuck’s Unicorn Tinglers Vol 1 and Lonely Author Pounded By Dinosaur Social Media Followers by Chuck Tingle | ★★☆☆☆ | “‘All of you?’ I shout, throwing my hands up in the air. ‘Each and every one of you is just a gay dinosaur?’ The crowd of reptilian beasts nods. ‘And I’m just a character in a book? Even though I wrote a book about that very idea?’ I continue, exasperated. The dinosaurs nod again. ‘Then who is writing this book?’ I ask. Bunter steps forward. ‘Chuck Tingle.’ He says.” I don’t–I don’t know what this is. I got these ebooks from a Humble Bundle and then watched this video where Cam from Wolfshot Publishing (jokingly) calls him the best author ever and… I was intrigued. It’s weird, though.
“I realized in the silence that followed that I hadn’t spoken since answering Davis’s compliment about my shirt. Davis, Daisy, and Mychal eventually went back to talking about Star Wars and the size of the universe and traveling faster than light. ‘Star Wars is the American religion,’ Davis said at one point, and Mychal said, ‘I think religion is the American religion,’ and even though I laughed with them, it felt like I was watching the whole thing from somewhere else, like I was watching a movie about my life instead of living it.”
S U M M A R Y
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is a novel that on the surface is about a girl named Aza who, with her friend Daisy, is searching for clues on the disappearance of Indianapolis billionaire Russel Pickett to claim the $100,000 reward. In actuality, this story is a character dive into an OCD sixteen-year-old and the intricacies of her relationships.
R E V I E W
I was pretty conflicted about what to rate this book. To be fair, I’m not the target audience and I’m not a huge fan of books set in high school. However, I read many reviews that rated this book poorly due to the fantastical and unrealistic plot elements and in my opinion, Green set the story up like this on purpose. Aza’s mental disability causes her to experience life in third person. She seems to stumble through life and these spectacular events she experiences contrast against her preoccupied and uninterested behavior. That’s why this book isn’t really about the missing person investigation. It’s about living with OCD while trying to maintain relationships and handle the stress of daily life.
This is why I enjoyed Turtles. Aza felt so real and her anxieties hit way too close to home sometimes. The book normalizes therapy and emphasizes the importance of friendships over romantic relationships. It’s a character-driven story that I would definitely encourage young people to pick up. Just stay away from An Abundance of Katherines…
The one major thing that irked me, though, was Green’s disdain for Indianapolis. Yeah, Indiana isn’t great, but Indy is this little liberal oasis in a sea of red. I can understand a teenager feeling disdain for anywhere they grow up, I just like my city and John Green got it all wrong, dang it! (Also it’s the Indy Star, not The Indianapolis Star; plus other details that probably make sense for readers from other places but annoy me).
All in all, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. Good job, Green. I may even pick up your next one whenever that happens.
Audiobooks are tricky for me. I know there are some people that listen to multiple audiobooks a month at double speed, but I am way too picky for that. If I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s mostly for the experience so I need it to be engaging and interesting enough for me to continue listening on my own time. I am lucky to have a very short commute to work every day, so most of my audiobook and podcast listening occurs when I’m at home doing chores (and I’m a bit lazy). At the moment I’m obsessed with The Adventure Zone podcast, a D&D playthrough, so I am not currently listening to an audiobook.
Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters, and obviously this month’s topic is audiobooks. The following are the audiobooks I have listened to and adored, as well as a couple I plan to listen to in the future.
C U R R E N T F A V E S
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (BBC Radio 4) | I absolutely love both of these authors and was obsessed with this book in high school. I listened to the BBC Radio show to see if it held up, and it didn’t matter anymore because the cast is fantastic. It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to this one, but the fact that it includes a cast of characters, sound effects, and music was fantastic.
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | This is a recommendation for anything by David Sedaris, really. He has a dry voice which works perfectly with his dry, humorous essays. Here’s an example of a story about his French class attempting to explain Easter to a Moroccan student in their limited French. My words can’t do him justice, so just listen to that clip to get the full effect. His narration brings his stories to life and I can’t read his physical books anymore without hearing his voice.
The Diviners by Libba Bray | Oooh this audiobook, man. It’s narrated by January LaVoy who gives every single character their own unique voice in a way that sometimes I would forget it was all the same narrator. The story takes place in 1920’s New York City with a diverse cast of characters, and I found myself using 20’s slang and accents while I was listening to this one
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | I’m not gonna lie, I picked this one up solely because I heard it was narrated by Christian Coulson, who I found out was the kid who played Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. Such a cutie. And his voice worked perfectly for Monty.
P R E D I C T E D L O V E S
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | I tried listening to one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections and got too busy to finish it. While I’ll probably go back to it eventually, I’ve been interested in mythology and Neil Gaimain also narrates this book. His book is so gravelly and nice and I love it.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I started this one last year and got too busy again, but here is another audiobook narrated by Carrie Fisher. The hour I listened to was extremely interesting, but pretty sad every time you remember it’s the last book she wrote before she and her mother died. I’m saving this one for a memoir day.
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (BBC Radio Drama) | Who would’ve thunk, it’s another BBC Radio Dramatization! I just love the in depth productions, particularly for these epic fantasy stories. I’ve been in a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and would love to re-read The Hobbit in a new way because I’ve been wanting to actually finish the trilogy. As a kid I read to about halfway through the Return of the King.
So there you have it! I hope you’ve discovered some audiobooks that piqued your interest and if you see any of your favorites please let me know! As always, any recommendations you may have are gladly accepted.
“I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal life form of midrange intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small, waterlogged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe.”
S U M M A R Y
The Humans by Matt Haig is an interesting blend of science fiction and contemporary, about an alien that takes over a human’s identity to stop a mathematical principle called the Riemann Hypothesis from being solved. This hypothesis is essentially the solution to the pattern at which prime numbers occur, and according to the aliens, it would lead to catastrophe in human hands. Our main protagonist takes over the life of Professor Andrew Martin, an extraordinarily intelligent mathematician with a very poor relationship with his wife and son.
R E V I E W
This book is quirky, tongue-in-cheek, deep, and entrancing. It’s an interesting blend of sci-fi and contemporary. It deals with aliens and strange powers, but reads like a contemporary and has many themes commonly found in contemporary novels.
I have to say while reading the first few chapters, I almost put this down and didn’t pick it back up again. Reading about an alien with no previous knowledge of humanity trying to live as a human, I could barely deal with the secondhand embarrassment. Just keep that in mind if you decide to read this (which you should). It only takes a few chapters and it gets there. I ended up using so many tabs, I had to restrain myself from marking every single page.
The writing is beautiful and incorporates math concepts and imagery to connect and compare the alien race to humanity. Haig expertly transitions from more calculated, scientific language to a more poetic and “human” language as the story progresses and as our main character begins to understand humanity.
Towards the beginning, he listens to Holst’s The Planets (an album I was tickled to realize I owned) and his interaction with music and art are important turning points for his character.
“Listening to music, I realized, was simply the pleasure of counting without realizing you were counting. As the electrical impulses were transported from the neurons in my ear through my body, I felt–I don’t know–calm.”
One of the joys I experienced while reading was listening to the music our main character mentioned.
“There was a Talking Heads song called ‘This Must Be the Place,’ which I played over and over again, even though doing so made me feel melancholy and crave to hear her voice again, or to hear Gulliver’s footsteps on the stairs.”
In conclusion, read this book. It’s a story about love and loss, repairing relationships, and familial bonds. It will make you cry and laugh and think about stuff. If you’re just done with humanity and its bullshit, this book may or may not change your mind.