Not Really Famous

Email “Fame”

Imagine my surprise when I opened the 5 out of 4 Patterns newsletter email and saw myself at the top of the page!  Being the slightly dorky person that I am, I of course had to forward it to my daughter so that she could share my excitement.  And she didn’t laugh at me, but rather commented, “That is super cool!  Do you get to test the cardigan pattern?  My black and gray cardigans both have holes :-(“.  Hah!  So either it really is cool, or, my slightly dorky genes were passed onto my children.   Let’s go with it really is cool.  As a side note, my husband thought it was cool, so again it really is cool or our children are doomed to slight dorkiness due to both parents!

The reason the collage of me appeared on the 5oo4 newsletter is because I was one of the testers for the new Lola pattern that was just released.  If you haven’t tried independent pdf pattern companies, you are really missing out!  There are wonderfully talented pattern designers in the world and some of them have discovered that they can sell pdf patterns online.  They have Facebook groups and sewists around the world join and ask and answer questions about the patterns, post photos of their completed projects and hacks, and discuss all things sewing.

Facebook pattern and fabric sewing groups are the best!  I constantly see comments like, “I just joined this group and this post thread was the first thing I saw.  I think I have found my people!” or “I have to share this here because you guys will understand how excited I am about…”.  The groups are filled with supportive, funny, and generally down-to-earth people.  If you are scoffing at this and wondering how many people would actually join a Facebook sewing or fabric group, you might be surprised to learn that Patterns for Pirates has over 100,000 members!  Yes, over one hundred thousand.

So, back to the pattern testing.  Designers will sometimes post a tester call in their Facebook pattern group and you can apply to be a pattern tester.  You apply online, supplying your current measurements and answer the questionnaire about your sewing skills or style, etc.  The patterns have been drawn up and tested by the designer  themselves, but they want to test and see how the pattern works on multiple sizes, different body types, etc.  You are expected to make a muslin (a practice garment) to check for size and fit, and provide comments, photos and constructive criticism about the pattern and directions as written.  The designer reviews your photos and comments, makes any changes to the pattern and tutorial directions and then the testers make at least one “final” garment and submit styled photos to the designer.  When the pattern is released you share the approved photos and promote the new pattern.

It’s kind of fun to do, but because there is a time frame, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort as scheduled.  I am not a fast sewist and tend to be a perfectionist, so I put a lot of pressure on myself when I test.  You provide your own fabric, and do not get paid, so pattern testing isn’t for everyone.  But I like to stretch my skills and try new patterns so I think it’s fun and interesting to do.  And you do receive the pattern for free once you’ve met all the requirements.

To answer my daughters question above, no, I was not chosen to test the cardigan pattern. 😦  But I did pick up on your hint that you’d like me to make you new gray and black cardigans! 😉  If you haven’t tried independent pattern companies and Facebook sewing and fabric groups, check them out!  Maybe they’re your people too!

The Sounds of Life

What sounds make you happy?

What is your favorite sound?  Is it the sound of a revving engine, which means you’re heading off for a ride?  Is it your favorite song, blasting away on the radio with the sunroof open and the windows down, and you singing along?  Is it the perfect performance of a beautiful piece of music, or the sound of a lawn mower signaling that it’s a sunny Saturday summer morning?

I love the sound of the ocean, how it grows louder as a walk toward the water, how the waves sound as they flow gently or crash loudly on the shore.  But my absolute favorite sound is baby belly laughter.  The sound of a baby laughing always makes me smile!  Baby belly laughter in general is great, but it is particularly beautiful to me when it is my granddaughter laughing.

My daughter and son-in-law live in another state, so I don’t get to see them often enough.  But one of my favorite memories from their last visit was holding Lila in front of my mirrored closet door.  Lila loves mirrors.  She thinks that the baby in the mirror is funny and likes to see herself kick and move.  Dan and I held her in front of the mirror and I let her kick away as she baby belly laughed.  Ah, that sound!  I can still hear it in my memory and it is golden!

I think that is why we love our favorite sounds.  They remind us of the things we like, evoke the memories of a certain time or place, or make us feel closer to the people we love.  Fill your life with happy sounds, and enjoy the sounds that make you happy!

Take a Walk

I love walking the beach.  My favorite part of visiting the beach when it took over two hours to drive there was taking a nice long walk along the shore.  Now that I live much closer to the ocean, walking the beach is a more frequent occurrence.  I am happy to walk anytime of day, but my favorite time is at sunset.

I enjoy walking with my husband, it’s a quiet time where we can chat about what’s on our minds.  The distractions of work, chores, social media, etc. are gone, and it’s just us.  The conversations aren’t necessarily profound, but it gives us a chance to connect and talk or just walk in companionable silence.

When he is travelling on business, I use my sunset walk as a time to think and ponder.  Walking has always been a way for me to work off stress, to think and figure out solutions to any problems in life.  When we lived in Michigan where winters are snowy and cold, and it was dark by the time I drove home from work, I walked the track at the gym.  If I had a stressful day at work, I seemed to walk pretty fast around that track!  By the 8th or 10th loop I had worked it out and could slow down and just let the endorphins flow.

The beach is my happy place and I love seeing the ever-changing waves, feeling the soft sand under my feet, and breathing in the fresh, clean air.  You may not live near the ocean, but I encourage you to get outside, and soak up nature.  There is always something beautiful to see, from the green grass or the leaves on the trees, to the flowers in your neighbors garden.  Maybe your view includes icicles and snow, or fields of crops awaiting harvest.  Getting outside and appreciating God’s beautiful creation can change your view in more ways than one!


Sew it Began

One of my first sewing memories

I like to sew and create pretty things.  My grandmothers and Mom all sewed, so I grew up sewing.  I’ve sewn since I was tweenager.  I remember taking a sewing class for kids with my sister when I was maybe ten or twelve years old.  We picked out a pattern and fabric, went to class on a weekly basis for a month or so, and had a little “fashion show” on the final week where all the kids modeled their creations.

I made a linen background cotton sundress with a strawberry print on it.  My sister (being a tomboy) made overalls out of a denim “patchwork” knit.  Keep in mind that this was the 70’s so that you can get a visual of these gems in your head!  Well, since I basically already knew how to sew, I got to work and had no problem completing my project during sewing class.  Dianne however, had little interest in sewing, and was probably forced to attend the class with me so Mom could have a few hours of peace and quiet!  Needless to say, despite my attempts to help, along with the probably overwrought instructor, Dianne did not complete her project during class.

Hours before the fashion show, my grandmothers and Mom worked to complete the overalls for her to model.  Why the instructor let a beginning sewist pick a pattern with overall buckles and buttons in the first place, I’ll never know!  But I will tell you that I wore that strawberry sundress and Dianne wore those overalls until they were worn out!

When you are looking at patterns and think that something may be a little too hard to try, keep in mind that you’re more likely to wear a design that you love!  Even if you don’t have a sewing Grandma or Mom nearby to help, there is a large community of sewists on dozens of independent pattern sites on Facebook that will gladly talk you through the pattern.  Happy sewing!