Mama needs a new dress!

Hmmm…. where to start.  Well, let’s get the icky stuff out of the way.  This weekend was a tough one for me and Jack.  This single parenthood thing is hard sometimes.  But something good came out of this weekend: The List.  I bet you’re wondering what list could it be?  Well, obviously it’s the good parent cheat sheet, silly!  I am not proud of my behavior this weekend; I hope Jack’s long term memory hasn’t kicked in yet and that he doesn’t remember July 4th weekend of 2009, or as I like to call it, “Bad Mommy Weekend.”  So here’s my “post it” list of things to do or not do to be a better parent…

The List

  1. Sleep: It’s the most important weapon in a parent’s arsenal.  Don’t stay up late.  Ever!  Because Murphy’s Law dictates that if one stays up late, one’s child is guaranteed to wake up at 4am for the day (or even earlier, like 2:45 am).  If you get enough sleep (7 hours minimum, 8 hours ideal, more than 8 hours and you probably went to bed with your kid), you are not only fresh as a daisy the next day, but you have patience.  Patience to handle the whining, the constant throwing of heavy and hard objects into the air to crash into china cabinets, etc, and general kid stuff all day long and not start drinking at 9am in the morning (and I’m not talking coffee here).  Patience is not a resource I have in abundance.  I guess you could say that it’s almost a non-renewable resource for me I have so little of it.  So sleep is very important for my patience quotient.
  2. Act your age, not your kid’s age: My major realization from this weekend was that I was throwing temper tantrums.  Me?  Temper tantrums???  Whoa!  Poor little Jack.  I was sleep deprived, but that’s never an excuse.  I was not acting like a mature adult.  It’s just not a pretty sight to see an adult lose it because her kid likes to throw hard objects into the air 24/7 (oops, did I mention that already?).   Once I caught sight of myself throwing a tantrum, I just stopped. 
  3. The mystery of Three:  Three IS the magic number.  When Jack and I are with other people, even if it is just one other person, it’s magic.  There are hardly any temper tantrums (adult or child), there is significantly less whining and everyone is happier.  I see two-parent families in the park all the time and it seems like heaven how they can take turns caring for the cranky child.  What bliss that would be to have a fall back person.  It makes me almost want a husband.  Almost.  😉  So, plan playdates and get that third (or 4th or 5th) magical person into the mix.
  4. Plan an outing or activity every day: Sounds simple doesn’t it?  If Jack and I don’t get out and “do something,” he gets hyper and starts venting his ginormous reserve of energy into activities like throwing large and extremely heavy objects into the air (I don’t think I’ve stressed the throwing thing enough yet).  Some weekend mornings, I just don’t feel like going out to the park; I just want to be lazy and hang out inside.  But then I “pay” for it later with a child who’s bursting at the seams with energy.  Boys need to be run like dogs or so I’ve heard. 

I know there are only four items on The List, but those four strategies will go a long way to making my parenting skills better.  Of course, I am open to suggestions, so please feel free to leave a comment with your favorites for the list.

Ok, now that that’s off my chest, let’s move on to sewing matters…  I’ve done a lot of research into what my next major project will be.  I knew I wanted to make a dress.  I knew I wanted it to be knit.  And I knew I wanted it to be easy.  I only have one knit dress in my wardrobe and I would wear it every day if I could, so a knit dress (or maybe 10) is definitely the way to go.  I looked at my Simplicity pattern stash (my friend Victoria insists that I start with Simplicity patterns) and narrowed it down to two patterns, 3678 and 2850.  I read the reviews on PatternReview for both and decided that 3678, view A (on the bottom right) was the one to make up right away. 

Simplicity 3678

Simplicity 3678

Of course, as soon as I made my choice, the parade of endless questions started, beginning with which size should I trace and cut out.  My measurements indicated a size 16.  16????  Yes, I wrote a size 16.  It was just as jarring for me to find that out.  I knew there was no vanity sizing in patterns, but sheesh!  That’s down right insult sizing if ever I heard of it.  I am going to wing it with a size 14 (I’m totally ignoring you Size 16!) with some fabric bought on line which was not a winner upon receipt.  Let’s just say it has a 70’s vibe to it, not in a good way, and leave it at that.  During one of my son’s naps over the weekend I traced it out, and over the next couple of evenings, I cut the fabric and transferred all the markings. 

Oh before I forget, to the other newbie sewists out there: Here’s one important lesson I learned when I cut out this pattern.  If the pattern says 2 yds are required for your size, don’t cut down your 3 yd piece of fabric to 2 yds and then lay out your pattern pieces to cut them out.  Why you might ask? Well, I didn’t need the whole 2 yds.  I could have gotten away with using 1.5 yds and had 1 large scrap left over instead of two small scraps of fabric which may or may not be useful in the future.  The drawings for the pattern layouts are not to scale!!!  So check how much fabric you really need by laying out the pattern pieces BEFORE cutting into your fabric.  Ok, rant over.

Remember when I ruminated over the learning process for sewing?  And how I talked about maybe hiring someone to teach me at home?  Well, I bit the bullet and sent an email to the woman who helped me with the infamous couch slipcover project, Thea.  What prompted this decision was the fact that I sat down last night to start sewing Simplicity 3678 and couldn’t get past the first direction!  I don’t have the pattern instructions in front of me right now, but that one paragraph had me asking an awful lot of questions…  ARGH!  Carolyn and Karen agree that I am overthinking things, and I know that, but I don’t have the experience yet to move past the questions and just do it.  And, although I love PatternReview, asking questions on the boards there is not an instantaneous thing, meaning if you need an answer right away, you’re not going to get one right away necessarily.  A lot of my questions are about interpreting the directions, so with time and experience, I will have less and less of these questions pop up, I hope.  As I also mentioned in the ruminations post, taking classes is an expensive proposition when babysitting fees are included.  So taking private lessons, I think, is the way to go.  My plan is to work on a couple of specific projects with Thea from beginning to end to address all of my questions along the way.  I’ve asked her to come over twice a week for a few weeks and see how that goes.  Her rates are very reasonable and I found her very helpful last time. 

Besides, Simplicity 3678, I am going to work on my pant sloper with her, a skirt and who knows what else I will add to the list.  I am very excited to work with her and tonight is our first night.  Woo hoo!  Can’t wait.

Happy sewing!


5 responses to “Mama needs a new dress!

  1. This is a great post from beginning to end – hilarious and informative!

  2. Didn’t realize you were a single parent as I am one also. I really don’t share the crap that happens around here as I figure most can’t relate. Good to know I’m not the only newbie raising kids solo. I’m also glad to know that I’m not the only single parent running around singing “Put a ring on it” although I do have a bf.

    But about this pattern thing. Stuff like this is why I can’t deal with Big4 patterns and I don’t like PR for the reason you stated. I don’t feel like waiting when I’m in the mood or have the energy and time to do some sewing. A face to face person to help would be great but I can’t find one. I’m sure your progress will be speedier and you will get some great results with the help of Thea.

  3. oh I’m at the tailend of parenting. She’s 18 and can’t wait to leave nest. I’m returning to sewing to give me something to keep me busy. Staff at your local fabric store are great resources. Just haul your project and the little guy in. Hey, that’s how I learned my colors when I was little. Good luck!

  4. i know how you feel with the sizings, from my measurements i come up a 16 on pattern sizes (particularly simplicity/new look), but i usually end up making a 12 or 14 and that fits me. I’d recommend looking on the pattern pieces/envelope back for the finished garment sizes at various spots (or measure the pattern and work it out) then compare it to a similar garment you already own, you might find you’re more like the size you would expect rather than the one you should be according to your measurements.

  5. We’ll see how this dress works out… stay posted.

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