sew fantastic!

this past week, i started the summer session at my workplace and have been adjusting to normal adult hours, i.e. waking up at a decent time (7:45am). it’s been a bit hectic as our diablo caregiver left at about the same time, resulting in a loss of sleep, and a simultaneous increase and decrease in stress. i’m pretty exhausted; on the whole, though, i’m feeling much better. breaks are nice, but not working, irrespective of any projects or personal studies i might have going on, always feels unproductive after a while.

my students this time are a mixed bag, but i feel like they always will be. at least i don’t have children from hell, like i did for the past 6 months. i swear i had the worst class in the entire school. these six boys were the rowdiest, loudest, most uncontrollable brats… i mean… err… kids. fine. i’ll grant that some days, i really enjoyed them and they could really make me laugh. but most of the time, i lived in fear of my boss barging into my classroom to tell my kids to settle down and behave. the other class of older kids that i taught were much better and, as they were all girls, extremely talkative, emotionally expressive, and full of predictable teenage moodiness.

this summer, however, i have a whole new set of kids. well, except for joe, my only chinese student who, poor guy, just can’t get anything right. he failed my class last time, and i fear he’ll fail again this summer. i’m crossing my fingers for him. the rest of the younger kids are, well, younger kids. they’re fun, sweet, active… and annoying as hell. as for my older students, this time i have a group of adolescent boys (and one girl), all about ages 14-16. and the boys, my goodness, they just can’t look at their teacher. i don’t know what it is, whether i’m just strange to look at or they’re all extremely shy, but none of them ever look at me, much less volunteer to talk during class. they study their shoes, stare intently at their booklets, or look past me at the whiteboard: anywhere but me. my hunch is that they’re going through that funny male adolescent phase of being withdrawn and untalkative. in any case, it doesn’t bother me too much. i’d rather have a quiet class over a bunch of rowdy students any day.

the fantastic thing about summer session is i get three day weekends. i’ve put a hiatus on all my other activities – sewing, reading, studying spanish – this past week in order to get settled into the routine of summer session. but now i finally get to make my post on more sewing excitement!

first up is my first ever homemade garment, a simple shirt with elastic in the sleeves and neckline.

i can’t believe i actually made a wearable garment – yee!!! it’s incredible! i can make clothes! well, at least a shirt. it’s rather imperfectly done, and i haven’t yet had a chance to finish the seams, but it’s wearable and looks great – surprisingly so, since i just cut up an old, hole-y bed sheet as my fabric. it’s much better on my sister, to whom i’m giving it, since i messed up a bit on the sleeves and forgot to adjust for my fat arms.

next up was a trip to the workroom for more fabric and the amy butler “birdie sling” pattern, which was next on my list of must-do sewing projects. the main exterior fabric i chose ended up being, inadvertently, the same as the one on the pattern picture. i guess i had been looking at this pattern for so long that the fabric got imprinted in my mind!

anyway, i’m a huge fan of amy butler patterns. the gumdrop pillow i made was also an amy butler pattern, and i just find that her instructions are extremely clear and easy to understand. clear instructions are probably the best guarantor of success, especially for a beginner like me, but they are surprisingly hard to find on most patterns, even the ones labeled “easy”.

this bag was extremely satisfying to make. i managed to complete it in one day (although i now know to break up my projects, since working on one for more than a few hours at a time makes me feel very tired, exasperated, and impatient), and it was awesome to see my bag come together. the pleats were an especially fulfilling touch.

i really love the size of this bag – it’s huge, but i really do enjoy big bags. the only two complaints i have are that 1) the pockets are a bit too large for my taste – next time, i’m going to fully customize those to my own preferences – and 2) the handle construction makes it a bit difficult to fit big things in without taking the bag off first. i also plan on inserting a magnetic clasp because i seem to lose and misplace things rather frequently, and need some sort of closure. otherwise, it’s a fantastic bag. it’s absolutely perfect for bringing papers to and from work, along with fitting in my lunch, water, and a book with loads of room to spare. and the handles are surprisingly comfortable! now i’m toting it everywhere with me, even when i’m not working.

as a last note, i’ve really been thinking about making my own cork bulletin board along with homemade pushpins (i know, super amounts of domesticity). i finally got around to making the pushpins for this project using simple thumbtacks and fabric-covered buttons. i got this idea by following a tutorial i found on how about orange. i currently have an orange obsession (the number of orange items in my closet is increasing at an exponential rate), and this site is, well, true to its name, not to mention the great creative projects and ideas she posts.

i still haven’t gotten around to making the cork board, but at least i bought some paint and cork. we’ll see if i manage to complete this project by the end of the weekend…

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