Slowing down

I’ve always been a very active person, trying to use my time to make things, to make it matter, and not spoiling any minute by doing nothing. I guess that’s one of our problems of us, makers, as Teresa Gregorio said in one of the episodes of her podcast. I started sewing a bit more than a year ago and I can tell you that it’s so easy to get in the wagon of trying to finish things fast, start new ones and participate in all the sewalongs of the world that you can get lost in the madness. I rushed myself in several occasions due to this and felt like thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. And now I have to slow down, like Rachel from House of Pinheiro beautifully put it today.

I really wanted to participate in the last sewalongs happening around. I had my pattern and fabric for the Sew Dolly Clackett since almost a year ago, and Sew for Victory was in my plans since I’ve seen the pictures from the last edition. I really wanted to participate but sadly I can’t.

First I need to focus on getting better and healthy. Not that I’m sick but I have to learn to live with my new condition until it passes, if it does. I’m eating a bit more healthy than before but I still have troubles to get all the calories that I need to function normally. I can’t practice capoeira and it breaks my heart, I can make it to the end of a Pilates class but it’s very very hard, since I’m out of strength halfway of it. But it’s better than at the beginning. When this got worse, the first two days I really starved. I had no energies, I had headache just because I needed to eat. I felt I was going to faint and even I had plenty of time (we had the Easter break) I didn’t feel like sewing. I felt like doing nothing at all.

So I need to slow down. I’m working on my long awaited Cambie dress without rushing, doing things correctly and I will probably be very happy with the final result. I try to add new foods to the diet at least every two days although in most cases they give me a reaction afterwards. I need to do things slowly, but I need to do them. I’ve also decided to take a break from frantic series. We’re finishing Breaking Bad and I’ve just finished Mad Dogs. Too many emotions in my already too exciting life. I’ve started to watch again Northern Exposure just to find a little peace and calm. I’ll get where I want to go but I’ll take my time in doing it. I will not be distracted by all the icing on the net, very attractive sewalongs or anything that could stress me too much. Stress raises histamine, didn’t you know? And right now I can’t afford it. I’m going to see a doctor next Tuesday, but I’ve read enough to know that the only thing I can do is following a strict diet for as long as it’s needed. Sometimes forever.

Gerry inspecting my Cambie muslin

Ziggi played guitar

… and ukelele in my case.

wpid-20140421_164058.jpgAs soon as I’ve heard of this pattern and the sewalong I wanted to sew this jacket. I already had this wool blend purchased months ago and it seemed the best option without buying more fabric (ok, I bought the lining, but you can’t just win all the time). I was between sizes 6 and 8 and I doubted a lot before deciding, because as many of you know, Style Arc just packs one size per envelope, so grading doesn’t work like for the other pattern companies. Finally I’ve sent a mail to Style Arc and they adviced size 8, and that I could sew with bigger side seam allowances. I was not sure, I didn’t want a baggy jacket (I hate loose clothes on my upper body) but I also didn’t want an unwearable one.

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When planing the Ziggi I had in mind the coat I made last April. It’s a really beautiful coat, also made of a wool blend, but the ranges of temperature that allow me to wear it are very limited. I’m a cold chick and going out with an inadequate coat or jacket is no-go. My asthma gets worse with the cold and I tend to catch colds quite easily. So I was going to plan better for this jacket to make it wearable and enjoyable. Unlike all the other Ziggi’s I’ve seen online, mine was going to have a quilted lining. And that would also help with that half size extra.

I made the muslin in felt to have a feel of how it was going to be. The felt resulted to be very stiff but at least it had a similar weight to my wool blend. The first thing I noticed was the shoulders felt too wide on me and that the armscye was too low. I had difficulties lifting my arms and it created horrible wrinkles on the shoulder and arm. I also felt the upper sleeve to narrow. As I’ve said, I get cold easily so I would probably want to wear this jacket with a sweater underneath in many occasions. I was not sure if it was just the sleeve design or the seam joining the upper and the lower sleeve, so I decided to widen it and eliminate that seam. I was not planning on quilting any pieces so that seam didn’t add anything to me and created quite some problems. I also raised the armscye and narrowed the showlders. The result is not perfect and I might have stretched a bit my fabric while sewing the sleeves, but it’s good enough and it’s very comfortable now.

While making this jacket I couldn’t take my mind of  Bowie’s song and the jacket Alex Drake wears in Ashes to Ashes.

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One day I’ll make one in leather. I’m not sure how clean I would be able to keep one in white leather but I like it.

The construction of the basic parts was quite straightforward. The front zip was easy enough and for the sleeves and pockets I found some resources on internet, tutorials by Communing with Fabric and Corecoture. For bagging the lining I followed this wonderful video.

 

I apologize for the quality of these pictures. I finished the jacket more than a week ago but first, I didn’t have the time, and then, I was struggling with my HIT issues. I’m slowly finding out what I can eat and I had a couple of bad days, starving and with no energies. I’m also skipping make up completely these days to avoid adding more products to the equation. So all those things together made for bad pictures and and a hideous aspect. I know I look quite bad in those, but postponing could mean never blogging this garment in which I put so much effort. I had to share it and I also had to be honest and explain why it took so long to blog it and why I look like shit in these pictures. And my last reason and maybe the most important: I need to keep my life as normal as possible, and these last days I’ve been feeling kind of paralyzed. I just want to leave that state.

We took them on two different days. The ones at home are taken with an DSLR but the light is quite bad. The ones outside are taken with Koen’s phone one day later. My dark circles are not getting any improvement.

We were having quite worm weather lately but it cooled down a bit during the weekend. This jacket is perfect for weather like this or for more typical Spring evenings, since it tends to cool down at night substantially here in Madrid.

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And I love my lining. I know that it’s much less fancy than the other ones I’ve seen on other sewists but this quilted lining makes my jacket quite warm. I see a lot of wearing here.

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I know that my Thurlow trousers look a bit loose. I’ve lost 3 kg in the last days but I think I’m stable now and I will probably reach my normal weight again as soon as I get used to my new diet. I have an appointment with a doctor next week. I hope he’ll clarify things a bit.

HIT

The inactivity you see here is because I’m a bit overwhelmed lately. Two projects that took forever are done but now I just don’t feel like doing a lot. The last one was the Ziggi jacket, of which I’m very proud. I just need to take pictures and blog it. And I need to sew my Cambie dress muslin, but I don’t feel like doing anything. I’ve been having increasing health issues for almost three weeks that are keeping me in a constant anguish. I’ve had allergic reactions to meat, cheese, ham, mayonnaise, coca-cola, nutmeg, soya and almost anything included in my meals (except the breakfast, thank god). The problem is that there are a lot of things that I couldn’t eat from the start due to my allergy to the birch I developed 4 years ago, so the list gets even smaller. And each day is worse than the previous one, so I’m not sure where this is is going.

The symptoms are generally swelling lips and sometimes also throat. I ended up in the ER on Sunday evening after eating 2 slices of ham. I’m desperate and hungry. I need to eat but I don’t know what I’m allowed. After doing some research on internet it seems I could have histamine intolerance, since I’ve had reactions to very different kinds of food and the link among them is the high histamine they contain. I’m going today to my doctor to request an appointment with my allergist but unfortunately this condition is rare and not very well known. There is just a handful of doctors in Spain specialized in this and I’ve already made an appointment with one of these doctors at the end of the month. I’ll have to stop taking antihistamines one week in advance, I wonder how I will survive.

And in two days we are leaving for Barcelona to attend a swing festival. We’ll be staying in a hotel and eating in restaurants. I’m also ultra worried about that.

And that’s the last news. There’s still a lot of sewing here and loads of knitting (I find working with my hands relaxing) but I just need some more time to find the right state of mind to put everything in words.