Friday, November 12, 2021

The Big Shirt

 OK -- something is wrong! I have had no issues with my internet connection for a long time. I did two presentations yesterday, and there was no issue. But when I went to open up the computer last night to do the third one of the day, things just didn't work! I managed to get the call open, but not until I moved the laptop to the office and even then. I had to abandon the call! That's the FIRST time that's happened. 

I'm not sure what the problem is. It still doesn't seem 100% right this morning - it's terribly slow. Now I know that DH has had some issues, and I wonder if he did something? Anyway -- I'll reboot the modem later and see if that helps. Yes, I'm regularly rebooting my laptop and computer to clear the memory, so I know it's not that. 

Oh well -- I've had pretty good success up to now, so I can't complain. Let's just hope that it'll be OK for the next session. 

Gosh -- it's so slow - it won't let me upload pictures. OK -- let's go make breakfast and see if I can then upload. 

OK -- here we go -- we've got pictures. Yesterday, I mentioned The Big Shirt by Cindy Taylor Oates. Well, it didn't take any subconscious thoughts to find it. I knew that it was in the tub of garment or garment-making things that need to be finished. The tub sits under the long arm. 

A tub of garment making supplies

So within mere seconds, I had the shirt and the pattern. I even found the thread (that was in my thread box). Wait for that. 

The Big Shirt

I still like the shirt, although it's probably NOT what I would choose for fabric today. It's a bit pale for my liking. But it looks finished right? Well, it's almost finished. But there is one detail not done! And I won't tell you how many years that's been hanging around.

The ugly pocket

The pocket is only basted in place. I think I actually got my MIL to do the pocket and the buttonholes for me. That was years ago. The topstitching thread is to stitch the pocket in place. And I believe I was going to topstitch around the collar. 

The pocket is basted in place

The inside is beautifully finished, either with turned under edges (a yoke facing) or serged. Done by me!!!

Beautiful finish on the inside

So the dilemma is what to do with it? I tried it on this morning. It's HUGE. This was started when I made everything larger than I needed because I had a complex about my size. For those of you who know me, don't judge me! Especially in grade school, I was "tormented" about my size. It's not that I was huge, but I was the largest kid in school, so I was FAT. When I really wasn't. It's incredible how comments that kids make can mess us up for life!

As a result, for years, I envisioned myself as a large person and therefore needed to make LARGE clothes or buy oversized ones. I know - totally stupid, but sadly true.

Thankfully, I'm over that now, and I'm down about 35 pounds from my heaviest weight. So did I have anything to worry about? No, but I did. Anyway -- this shirt is too big for me. I'm going to try it on later and take a picture, but even as an overshirt, I think it's too big. And I HATE that pocket. It's so wide and shallow. I may just nix the pocket, and then - well, I could give the shirt away. It's about a size 14??? 

However, I do like the shirt! I love the finishes on the inside, and I really should remake it. It'll be an excellent project to showcase the sergers and sewing machines, and without the pocket, it'll be the perfect place to put an embroidery motif! Yes -- I know I don't have time to make it right now, but December is coming! 

Let's just say that things are getting a tad messy in Studio B. There is ZERO time to clean up. I'm prepping the new serger presentation, and in the middle of QUILTsocail blog posts, so things are a bit out of control. I'm a bit tired these days, but that is just the constant stress of keeping ahead. It'll be over in a couple of weeks. The daily walks are a blessing. I feel the stress peel away while I'm out, so that has to be a constant in my life, no matter how busy I am. 

There's an ironing board under there?

The ironing board is pretty much buried! And the cutting table is full, but it's not bad, and not much stuff has got tossed to the floor. I might try to tidy up a wee bit tomorrow. 

The cutting table is a tad out of control

If any of you have a dog, I'm sure you can relate to this. Especially a big dog. I was having lunch yesterday and sitting with my hands on the table. A certain someone comes along and nudges my arm so that it drapes around HER. And you dare not take your hand away! Oh yes -- Little Miss Clingy!

Attention-seeking Murphy!

Then as I was sitting at the kitchen table having dinner, I spotted this. It looks like we are living in a fiery inferno! But nope -- that's just the taillights of a car across the street! 

An inferno out the front door

So here's the moral of today's post. That Big Shirt of mine? It's been there for years! I've NOT been able to finish the garment or decide what to do with it. NOW is the time. What is the point of waffling on this thing? Get it done, or get it out of the house! 

Recently, I heard of a quilter who passed.  She and her husband lived in a condo. The husband had no idea what to do with all her crafting stuff. The son said, "toss it!"  The husband called a local store and wanted to know if they could get rid of the machines and the quilting stuff. So it was all bundled up and sold. Not including the sewing machines, they made a tidy sum on the fabrics and other supplies that will be donated to the local women's shelter. That's a sad story!

Think about your own place. What would happen if you didn't come home today? Yardage, patterns, batting -- all that can easily be bundled and sold. But what happens to those partially finished projects? That's a HUGE dilemma, and I'm trying to not let that happen at my house, so hopefully, I've got a few more years to live to clean up that part!

But I've made three decisions in my life to help with that. 

  1. I buy ONLY what I need to finish a project. I don't care how deep the sale is or how pretty the fabric is. If I can't use it for a project in the next month, I won't buy it. And for the most part, I've done that the last five years or so. 
  2. I have my lists of UFOs, and I'm working on them. I'll provide a better update before the end of the year, but I'm digging out some of those HUGE UFOs and working on them. The lists help because it's way easier to work on current stuff and forget these long-ago projects. The UFO Club is also helping and if anyone wants to join the UFO group for next year, send me an e-mail. I'm not sure what the count is at the moment, but I'll be starting a second group. And the maximum I'll take is 20!  
  3. When I start a new project, I start with the intention of completing it. There is no abandoning a project. And so far, I've done very well with that. My ongoing projects for 2021 are almost finished, and that's an incredible feeling. My goal is to get them done by the end of this year. And I don't think there is any other project that I started this year that isn't finished or nearly finished. For me? That's HUGE. 

We are the ones that made these messes, and I couldn't live with myself, knowing that I'm not making an effort to fix it. I would NOT want to leave the mess to my family to clean up. Yes -- I'm working my way through the magazines, and believe it or not, the books. When something new comes along, I dig out the appropriate books and do my homework and research. And you know what? It pays off! While I've still a LOT to learn for some new techniques, I'm starting to feel pretty confident, and there's so much valuable information in those older books I bought. I just wish I had a bit more time to read. I haven't touched a physical novel in MONTHS, and that's not like me. But I've got my head in books about sergers and machine embroidery and sewing, and well, I'm making headway, but not fast enough!

Here's the other thing. People come to my classes (or lectures), and I usually give them a homework assignment. Can you believe that less than 5% of the people actually do the homework? They either think they know it already (and some of them do), or they just don't do it. Yet, they come to class (lecture) to learn. I don't get it. I know we're all busy, but sheesh --- you can't understand unless you do!!! I barely get time to properly make anything - I spend most of my days just cranking out samples  -- I test, test, and retest. I try everything a dozen different ways, so I can understand how it works. 

What's your homework assignment for this weekend? The first thing is to get some boxes and clear the clutter from your sewing space. I don't care if that hurts, but you CANNOT work on twelve projects simultaneously. Clear the clutter to have space to work and feel like working when you enter the sewing room. Label the boxes, so you know what is in each. As you pack, prioritize! Then when you get one or two done, open a box and pull out another project. Think LONG and HARD about starting a new project. Unless it's for someone specific, you do NOT need to start a new project. I don't care how pretty or how cute or how current it is. You will abandon it and then another UFO!!! Don't do it!

And I can appreciate that there are loads of classes out there. Loads of learning -- guess what -- pick the ones that you really want to focus on. The others? Well, someone will be teaching them again next year! Or the year after, when you have more time! 

In case you think I'm telling you something that I've not done, come and look! I did this with my space. I've put everything away except what I need to work on. In December, I even plan to pack away the current project table. There's way too much stuff on it, and it doesn't look like I accomplished anything this year. I have a place to put the stuff. I'll be selective as to what stays on the table, but the rest is going to be packed away! 

Now, if that new project is part of a sew-along, where you have goals - then I'm all about that. Those are usually learning experiences (at least classes with me are), but to just start a new sew-along? Unless you are diligent and get them done -- don't make the mess worse! That's the only thing I work on these days.

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm off on an adventure today, and I'm looking forward to the break. Then it's back to work and heads down for the next two weeks. 

Have a super day and get packing!!!



  1. For 12 years I belonged to a Stashbuster group at my fave LQS. We paid a membership fee (super cheap) and received 13 free patterns designed by the owner/staff each year. We received a $5 shop coupon up to 3 for each completed flimsy we presented during show n' tell. CRAZY! I did at least 7 each year and nearly all donated in the community which I felt appropriate for all the "freebies" I got.

    I have knocked out 18 of 38 UFOs so far this year and finished EVERY new start which totals 5. 12 total have been donated in the community, Long Time Gone is mine mine mine ;-)

    Of the remaining 20 UFOs, 3 will be Christmas gifts. And since it is mid-November, I believe I'll be going into 2022 with 17 remaining. They are all big intense, small piecing projects. Some are long-term scrappy projects that I work on as Leader/Enders so these will make themselves to block stage.

    Well that got long. Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope others are applying your lessons to their homes, studios and lives!

    There was 1 woman who bragged about having never sewn up a single pattern. We were all speechless as was the owner.

    1. OH there is one in every crowd!!! I love the Stashbuster group. Anything that is helping us to use up the fabrics -- that's what it is all about! nd YES - Long Time Gone is yours. It's gorgeous!!!