Sunday, December 08, 2013

Normal or not?

People are often surprised (and some of them are even almost offended) when I tell them that I have never in my life life believed in Santa Claus.

Maybe you're surprised too. Maybe you've never heard of someone, a normal American who was a normal kid in a normal Christmas-celebrating family, who didn't ever believe in Santa. I can understand that. Most kids do believe in Santa at some point. It just happens that I didn't, and (as far as I know) neither did any of my siblings. I don't know whether or not my parents believed in Santa when they were kids, but I do know that when we were kids, they chose not to make us believe Santa was real.

Again, people are not only surprised to hear this, but they sometimes act almost like they're offended. "But believing in Santa is fun for kids!" they say. Well, I have news for you: Christmas is fun for kids. I still got presents, I still wondered all December what kinds of things I'd get on the 25th, I helped decorate the tree. Christmas was my favourite time of year, Santa or not.

I've gotten the same kind of surprised reaction about other things too, such as "You haven't LIVED until you've worn makeup!" when I was 16. Well guess what. I wore makeup for the first time when I was 19 (I had to, for a play I was in), and it wasn't that great. Everyone told me how great a job my friend had done putting it on me, but I thought I looked like a clown. Since then, I have occasionally worn mascara and eyeliner, and even though I really like the way it looks, I can't say I hadn't lived until then. So when you give me your but-this-is-fun or you-haven't-lived-until, what I'm hearing is You can't possibly have fun if you aren't interested in doing the same things that I do. I know that's not what people mean, but that is what I hear.

For me personally (and this was probably the same reasoning my parents had), if I ever have kids, I'm not going to purposefully tell them, and lead them to believe, something that I know is in fact not true. I don't judge parents who do let their kids believe in Santa: most parents do, it's pretty harmless, and yes, I assume it is fun to write letters to Santa and leave him cookies and wonder what he'll bring you. I don't judge you for it, so doesn't it seem a little backwards that people judge me and/or my parents for not going along with all that?

So tell your kids there's a Santa. Or don't tell them. Do whatever. They're your kids, not mine. I'm not trying to persuade you one way or the other. All I'm trying to do, really, is get you to stop and think: if someone doesn't like/want/do something considered "the norm", should it be a big deal to me? Is that person angry? Cynical? Rebellious? Lonely? Looking for a friend? Or do they just not like the thing, simply because they don't like it?

I don't care that much for makeup. I don't even currently own any. I don't own any consumable hair product besides shampoo and conditioner. I don't want an engagement ring. I don't want a public proposal. I usually don't like wearing dresses. I liked Legos and GI Joes when I was kid, and almost never played with dolls. I don't use an umbrella when it's raining. I don't care about tanning. I don't see what's so great about Mr Darcy. I don't care which celebrity is having a baby with another celebrity, or which one looks good in a bikini. I don't like spaghetti.

Am I weird? Perhaps. I like to think that I am. I also like to think that despite my weirdness, or perhaps through my weirdness, I'm really just a normal kid who likes to have fun.

I like sewing. I'd rather make something, if I can, than buy it. I plan to wear Chuck Taylors at my own wedding. I am okay with being pale. I still like Legos even though I'm 23. I'm right-handed but I wear my watch on my right wrist. I like Jane Austen and Shakespeare and other classics, as long as it's not Wuthering Heights or Beowulf. Despite being 23, I jump in puddles and walk on curbs and the cement bumpers in parking spaces because, yes, it's fun! I can play volleyball for hours on end. I like eating pizza and omelets and messy burgers dripping messy things like barbecue sauce. I make up words like 'funner' and 'costed' and use them like they're real words. Despite the stigma among the older-than-13 crowd of anything remotely associated with Twilight, I love The Host and it's one of my favorite books. I can confidently go into town wearing sweatpants. I like walking in the rain.

I know people who don't like chocolate. I know people who choose not to eat meat. I know men who wear pink or purple just like any other colour, and I know people who hardly wear any colour besides black. I know people who spell colour with a U even though they're American. I sometimes use the U and I sometimes don't. I've known guys with hair longer than mine. I know people who go along with the Santa thing, and some who don't. I know someone who's obsessed with London, and with England in general. I'm obsessed with France, and anything in French or that takes place in France.

So. Are they normal? Am I normal? Are you normal? I say no. We're all different, we believe different things, we all have our own values/joys/wishes/hopes/regrets/dreams/abilities/inabilites/priorities. We're not normal, so believing or not believing something makes me no less normal than you. I say we're all weird, and in our weirdness, we're really all just normal kids.

[On a side note, some families don't even celebrate Christmas. I'd like to see you tell them, "But it's fun for kids!"]

Friday, November 01, 2013

Pyramid change purse

I made a change purse. Fun fact: when you can't find your rice heating pad to use as a pattern weight, a (filled) change purse works great.

I used a combination of the 2 tutorials I found at Craft Passion and Nicole M Design. They're mostly the same thing. I used the sizing of the Craft Passion (because it was in inches), plus the accent fabric at both ends of the zipper and the batting inside. But instead of sewing together 2 squares like she did, I used one rectangle like Nicole M, and didn't quilt the outer fabric and batting. I also made my own modifications, such as remembering at the end that I forgot to add a ribbon loop.

Open. Inside-out. Could be reversible if you have a reversible zipper pull.

I wish I had better pictures of it, but I don't feel like finding my camera and messing with settings/lighting to get decent pictures, and then transferring files from my SD card to my computer. So instead I used my iPhone. It's much faster, but lower quality.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Anniversary Card

Here's a card I made finally finished today.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I made a shirt.

I made a shirt. I broke down and bought a sewing pattern. I hate paying for patterns, but I can't draft one with that many pieces. It was worth it though. Evidently I have very wide shoulders; I can't wear women's button-up shirts (even several sizes too big), because I can hardly move my arms in them. Men's shirts fit me and are very comfortable to wear, but they're not made for shapely persons, and I wanted at least one well-fitting garment to throw into my work wardrobe. So anyway, counting the pattern, fabric, thread, and buttons, I spent about twice as much to make this shirt as they cost ready-to-wear, but I don't regret it because it fits me well, and is nice enough to wear to work.

The pattern I used was Simplicity 2447. While I don't especially like how it looks in the line drawings, I really liked the way it looked on the model. There's something (to me) about tunic-length shirts. It looks so streamlined. Or something. Also, I liked the bias-cut yokes.

I made my shirt out of plaid flannel, which as it turns out is frustrating to work with. Partly because the flannel stretches diagonally, and I mostly skipped the stay-stitching step, so my bias-cut pieces kept getting a little warped along the edges; and partly because I'm OCD and the plaid on all the pieces must match up.

Alterations I made to the pattern:

  • I flat-felled the seams on the front, back, and yoke pieces. I tried to do it at the armhole and sleeve seams too, but despite making 2 (!) mock-ups first, it was still tight across the back/shoulders, so I had to narrow-ize the seam allowances there, and they ended up not wide enough to flat-fell. Ergo they have less-than-beautiful raw seams which are semi-finished with zig-zag stitching (plus a 2-inch patch of an attempt at using my Turkish hem stitch disk).
  • I widened the back piece and the back yoke by maybe 1 1/2 inches. This (combined with making the armscye seam allowances narrower) made the shirt wide enough for me, but made the total neckline circumference bigger by 1 1/2 inches, so I also took in the shoulder seams starting at the princess seam, progressively taking in more as I got to the neckline.
  • I took in the side seams to make them more woman-shaped. I also took in the seams over the bust line to make them less woman-shaped.
  • Placket! I'm not really sure what the cuff was supposed to look like, but it didn't have a placket. I added them using this Magic Placket tutorial at Gigi Sews. Very easy!
  • And of course I had to lengthen the sleeves. I guess I have long monkey arms.
  • I widened the front band (is that a placket too?) and lengthened the circumference of the cuff, to make up for the gaps created by all the other alterations.
  • I ignored all notches, dots, and other markings on the pattern pieces. I just looked at my store-bought shirt to determine button placement and pleat size/placement.
  • I also kind of didn't really read the directions. I did read the part about the neckband and the collar, but other than that the pieces were self-explanatory enough.

Alterations I made but kind of wish I hadn't:

  • Where the side seams are split, I rounded the back and side-front pieces instead of leaving them to hang straight down. I like the flower-petal-y look, but since this shirt is somewhat loose around the hips, it just kind of looks weird sometimes. It also made the bottom very hard to hem, because it was so much rounder. I'm actually kind of embarrassed by my hemming job.
  • I didn't interface the collar, and interfaced both halves of the cuff and front band.

Alterations I will make next time:

  • Make the sleeves even longer.
  • Either don't round the bottom, or just make the whole shirt a little shorter.
  • Put interfacing on one half of the collar, cuff, and front band.

To be honest, I almost didn't finish this shirt. My shoulders must be ├╝ber wide, because even after making the whole back/yoke wider, it still wasn't right. With my arms down, it was merely uncomfortable. With my arms forward/up, it pulled behind/under my armpits to the point where I was paranoid I'd burst some seams. I very seriously debated which I'd more regret: not finishing what I'd started, or finishing and still not being able to wear it.

In the end, I undid the flat-felled seams in the armscye and sleeve, and just did regular seams (and with very narrow seam allowances). So now it fits, but the armscye and sleeve seams aren't very sightly on the inside, as I mentioned before.

Anyhow, I really like this shirt, and as long as you don't have man shoulders and monkey arms, then you should be able to make this with minimal, simple modifications.