Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the world blog hop

L over at You sew, girl! has invited me to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. I "met" L online on Pattern Review way back around the time that I started sewing in 2007.  At the time, we were both struggling with trying to fit our short, curvy figures. (I'd recently lost a lot of weight at that time, which I wound up re-gaining in subsequent years.) I always felt like we had a lot in common, even though we've never met in person: we're about the same age, both have degrees in STEM fields, and have very independent personalities.

As part of the blog hop, we are asked to answer four questions and invite up to three other bloggers to participate.

About Me

I was born in Chicago to Chicago-native parents, but we moved to San Diego, California when I was four years old when my dad's job was transferred there. I have been told that certain words still have a slight Chicago-twang to them when I pronounce them. My dad is of half-Danish and half-Swedish descent, so for better or for worse, I often identify with a lot of the midwestern Scandinavian stereotypes. My parents are still together (40+ years!), and I have one brother, who is a little less than four years younger than I am.

Danish open-faced sandwich
I grew up in San Diego, played clarinet in my high school band, and did a lot of the dumb things that high school band kids do. After high school, I wanted to get as far away from San Diego as in-state college tuition would let me go, so I headed to UC Santa Cruz, home of the Banana Slugs. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in marine biology and soon found out that it was impossible to find a paid position doing field research with only a bachelor's degree. Having a BA in a scientific field led to me working as a lab tech at a biotech company in San Diego (HATED that), which, in a round about way, led to me doing software QA and training for a genomics software company in Palo Alto. I stayed in the Bay Area during the dot-com boom and bust and have the accompanying war stores to show for it. During that time I "settled in" to a career as a technical writer because I found software interesting, and it paid the bills.

In 2002, I moved back to San Diego to be closer to my family. In 2005, I met my husband through an online social group, and we started dating in 2006.

David and me at Tony Gwynn's Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony, Cooperstown, NY (2007)
Frustrated with RTW and looking for a new creative outlet, I started sewing in 2007. I was hooked, and have been sewing ever since. David and I were married in 2009, and after a few fertility-related bumps in the road, had our beautiful daughter, Eva in 2012.

Last year, life threw us another curveball when I was unexpectedly laid off from my job. We had just sold the condo that I'd bought back in my bachelorette days, and with no ties to San Diego outside of my parents, I accepted a job offer from a Large, Seattle-based Tech Company, and so we relocated to the Pacific Northwest. I've actually gotten to experience seasons and see snow since moving up here! Plus, the fabric shopping here is WAY better than it was in San Diego.

What am I working on?

In the immediate future, I've got a couple of projects for my daughter in-process and on deck. My husband commented about a week ago that Eva didn't really have any lightweight jackets or sweaters that fit her any more, so I just started on the Blank Slate Patterns Zippy Jacket for her.

In progress: Blank Slate patterns Zippy Jacket
Like anyone else who sews for a daughter/niece/granddaughter, I'll be making an Elsa dress for Eva's Halloween costume this year. As a feminist, I really detest the whole Disney princess thing, but for reasons that are at least a whole other blog post, I really love Frozen and its positive messages (not just for girls, but for everyone), and Eva loves the movie, too. I'll be making the Simplicity version of the dress:

Simplicity's Frozen costume patterns
For myself, I'll be participating in the Curvy Sewing Collective's wrap dress sewalong, which starts in a week. (I still haven't decided between my candidate patterns, yet.)

On top of that, I pulled out my fabric and pattern for a new winter coat, which I desperately need before the temperatures drop into the 30s. And, as the esteemed Debbie Cook recently commented, I really need to just make the Colette Hawthorn already.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm not sure that I have a set genre? Plus sized sewist/sewing blogger? Yup, I'm that, but I also sew a fair amount for my daughter--in fact, I've been sewing quite a bit for her lately because she shot up in height over the summer.

I do think that my work/blogging differs a bit from some of the other plus sized sewing bloggers out there in that I largely sew casual clothes. With a toddler and a corporate job in an extremely casual work environment, wiggle dresses don't really have a place in my lifestyle. I wear mostly knit tops and jeans or knit dresses most of the time, and my sewing reflects this. As far as my blogging goes, I ramble a lot about patterns that I'd like to sew, and sometimes I touch on subjects related to being a plus sized sewist. Body shaming makes me sad and angry, and my posts reflect this.

How does my writing/creative process work?

With sewing for myself, I really struggle between balancing "needs" and wardrobe holes with "Oooh, shiny!" I also tend to procrastinate on projects for myself when I know that fitting will be a PIA.

When I sew for Eva, it's a little easier for me to focus on sewing things that she needs, and as a growing kid, there's always something that she needs, and it seems like there's always a cute pattern that I want to sew that fits that need.

As far as writing and blogging go, I'll typically blog about a finished project (successful or unsuccessful) as soon as I have a photo or two of myself wearing the garment. For my non-finished project posts, I have a bunch of "draft" posts saved where I'll jot down bits and pieces of that I want to talk about. I try to blog at least twice a week--one post is usually a "finished project" post, and then the other post is typically something else sewing-related. Usually, the "something else" post comes from one of the draft posts that I've fleshed out. Occasionally, something will happen that will inspire me to write (such as the recent launch of a new plus sized indie pattern company), and I'll just whip up a post on the spot.

Next up on the blog tour....

I've asked BeaJay of On the Road to Sew Where to be our next stop on the Around the World Blog Hop. BeaJay sews a lot of wonderful clothing with StyleArc patterns, and I love her always positive and encouraging attitude. I'm also working on lining up another blogger or two to participate.


  1. Hahaha! Esteemed.

    Nice to "meet' you.

  2. It was great to learn more about you. Thank you for the nomination.

  3. I apologize for the delay in commenting; I'm way behind in blog reading.

    It was so great to learn more about you. I love that you're a nerd, too. =) It seems like I've known you for so long that I remember these milestones (except for meeting DH)!