Sunday, 4 October 2015

Workin 9 To 5

 . . . What a way to make a livin'

Barely gettin' by

It's all takin' and no givin'

They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it

And let me tell you, some days it does drive me crazy . . . and in actual fact has succeeded entirely recently, as the docs recently diagnosed me with depression and anxiety, most likely due to exhaustion, hence the little break I have taken from blogging the last couple of weeks.  You may also have noticed my absence from social media thingies.  But, part of it is my own fault, I was told I was suffering exhaustion a few weeks ago and that I needed to rest and probably take time off, but as I am a glutton for punishment, I refused to get signed off sick for a couple of weeks. . . I did cut down on what I do outside of work in an attempt to fight a bit of the exhaustion, but it was just getting worse and the anxiety and panic attacks were getting more frequent (4 in one week was the final straw, especially when one comes on just because you are putting your tights on, one at the theatre which I ordinarily love, and one when out on my bicycle, which is supposed to be helping me reduce them!).  

I eventually decided enough was enough and after a particularly horrific counselling session where all I did was cry, I took myself back to the docs and got myself a sick note, and then my biggest fear happened - because I stopped, I couldn't start again!  For the first few days all I did was sleep, I barely ate and I had no enthusiasm to do anything.  I made myself shower and dress each day (although most days this was in the afternoon) as I knew in the back of my mind if I stopped doing that then that might be the end of me, but I didn't leave the house for days and I had no interest whatsoever in doing anything but sleep - no sewing, no reading, no cycling - all the things that make me 'me'!

Work's reaction didn't help - Do they think I wanted to feel like this?!  That I haven't tried to stop feeling like this?  That I didn't want to feel normal and able  to go at my 100-mile an hour pace again (lesson learned to slow that bit down again though).  I was perfectly honest with them throughout what was going on and I just got it all thrown back in my face . . . lovely!  I think it set me back a fair bit to be spoken to like I was about something I was already feeling totally out of control of (cue another panic attack! Thanks).  So, if anyone is looking for a usually very efficient legal secretary/PA in the Yorkshire area, occasional panic attacks may occur but these seem to be more or less under control now . . . .

I did eventually start to feel more human - after about a week's worth of sleep in four days - but it still took me a while longer to have any interest in doing anything other than lying on the sofa watching telly.  I would like to say thank god for skyplus and ondemand as if I had been forced to watch daytime TV that might just have been the end of me :-)

Anyway, back to work I have now gone.  The first couple of days were pretty horrendous, but icy attitudes seemed to thaw towards the end of the week and I really feel for my lovely line manager who has been caught in the middle of the fall out.  but, enough about my woes though - I would like to share something positive, which is something I made before I actually ended up having my lovely nervous breakdown, but hadn't had chance to wear and photograph as I have been in my casuals since finishing it.

First thing is first: I really really need some new work clothes, but why would I want to sew work clothes when there are so many non-work pretty dresses out there to sew (and my list of those to sew just keeps growing).  Pretty dresses make me happy; the thought of work sends my anxiety levels through the roof, but I was down to quite literally 2 dresses (which can be found here and here) and 2 skirts (one of which can be found here and the other is unblogged) at one point - my outfits couldn't even get me through a full week, so I decided I had to take a short break from the pretty dresses and sew some work clothes, and after Christmas and Panto I shall crack on with some more work clothing (holiday clothes, Christmas makes and Panto will be taking up my time for a while yet though)

I had already bought some (what I thought was) lovely fabric for a top, and decided I just needed some plain skirts.  However, I am not one for totally plain, so I looked for a pattern with a bit of detailing.  I knew roughly what I wanted as I was basing it on an old skirt that got eaten by the washer a couple of years ago (I could've cried,  in fact if it had happened now I probably would have cried), and it had something akin to princess seams, so that was the look I was going for.  It took me a while, but I eventually found New Look 6312, which, while not perfect, would do and once I've mastered the fitting I can play with the design a little.  I knew that due to my chunky waist measurement (seriously - some of that fat needs to travel south to my backside so I can be a more sewing-pattern-friendly shape) I would have to make a couple of adjustments to the pattern with the old slash-and-spread (ooo-errrr).  So, I added about at inch altogether to make the skirt fit, or so I thought.

Please excuse the mess in my living room
but be in awe at my awesome, massive
fireplace (that doesn't actually have  afire in it)

Now, I had read blogs bemoaning the amount of ease in patterns of the big four, so I had even checked my measurements against the 'finished garment measurements' and these indicated that the extra inch was needed.  However, after cutting out and sewing up my lovely black gabardine and somehow managing to sew my waistband upside down (can you tell my brain was giving up?!), the skirt was mahoosive.  So, I took the waistband off (which I was going to have to do anyway, but I thought I might as well get the fit of the skirt before I sewed it on again) and took out all that extra inch and then some to make it fit.  I could probably go down to the size 18 on the skirt (maybe more now as depression = no interest in food/food tasting funny = weight loss!) and I need to figure out how to take some out of the hips, but it doesn't look too bad.  I then sewed the waistband back on, correct way up this time, and check out my zip - I thought I had got it nearly bang on when I had sewn the zip the first time (before my waistband discovery), but maybe it is a good thing I had to take it off an try again.  Maybe totally emotional breakdown is what is needed for me to finally get a good zip insertion.  I've not tried one since I have been feeling a bit better so it will be interesting to see the results . . . maybe some scientist peeps should do a study on this . . .

Anyway, onto the top.  As said earlier, I had bought some of what I thought would be lovely fabric to make a top from Boyes a while back.  I couldn't tell you what fabric it actually is supposed to be, just that it is polyester.  It had always been intended to be a GBSB shell top or variety of the same, previous versions of which can be found here and here.  After toying with the idea of doing the standard top with a big satin bow rather than the button and loop closure, I finally decided to do the button back hack as shown in the Fashion with Fabric book.  After my previous two creations, I decided that I needed to add another inch in length, but decided against an extra FBA, as it really depends which bra I wear underneath my others as to whether it looks as though it needs an FBA or whether it looks as though it could do with the existing FBA reducing slightly.
The back 

Cutting out was a smooth and easy process.  Sewing the damn thing however . . .

The fabric is lightweight and has a lovely drape so I decided to use a new size 8o needle, which might be wear I went wrong - I don't know.  This fabric is awful to sew.  Despite the floaty floaty-ness of the fabric, it felt like I was sewing paper!  Trying to get a needle through the fabric was a challenge, especially when it came to the handsewing, and trying to press the fabric just wasn't happening.

The construction process is pretty simple.  The button plackets at the back are formed by simply added some interfacing and folding the edge over, and the neck and arm edges are bound with bias.  With hindsight, I'm guessing that pre-bought simple black bias would have done the trick and look perfectly OK.  However, I had decided before I started sewing that I was going to make some self-bias.   This is where I discovered the stubbornness of this fabric when it came to pressing, but I persevered and managed to make enough after a few hours of pressing.
I tried to get a good pic of the buttons, because they are
pretty awesome, but it was really difficult because they
are so small but if you look really really closely you can see
that they have a little pattern on them, which I thought tied
in nicely with the print of the fabric

Even with the difficulties pressing, the sewing on the machine part only took me an afternoon.  What took me a further two weeks was the handsewing.  I wanted to hand stitch the bias binding at the back, blind stitch the hem (which is something I so usually do) and because the fabric was so very horrible I hadn't been able to do the buttonholes on the machine, so I had to do them by hand too.  It was so difficult to push the needle through that my poor fingers couldn't stand it for more than a few minutes at a time, so this could actually be the longest outstanding project yet (although I do now have one that has been left on Doris the Dressform for two weeks waiting for some more fabric to arrive), so maybe the longest outstanding continually worked on project.

Anyway, I wore the outfit to work one day this week and was complimented on it a few times, so that makes me happy.  I've been working on little projects since I went back to work to get me into sewing again, as I didn't go into the sewing room while I was off work because I didn't have the energy, and the couple of times I tried I just sat there in tears.  Anyway,  I will share those projects with you shortly and I have plans for bigger projects - the one currently on Doris, which is a dress for my holiday, which is now fast approaching, a new rain mac, halloween costumes for the nieces and an elephant costume for the youngest niece's birthday (I think I'm  now looking forward to the days when all they want for birthdays is money).  Also, I have been doing some panto designing, so I will be starting work on those soon - sparkly pink hotpants for the Dame anyone?!

I'll let you know how it all goes . . .

Happy Crafting!


and another one of my fireplace . . .

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