I made a friend last year
with eye of variable width.
That eye, like mine, became
an eye of deeper sight.
We traveled some, we did,
mostly close to home;
but there is much to see
when far up close you look,
when close you view the things
that far away you see.
And now we say goodbye,
this friend of mine and I.
Our eyes, once one became,
must once again depart,
to go our separate ways.
I, changed forevermore;
he once, always, the same.
A friend asked about ironing shirts faster. I don't know that my way is the best way, but it does yield an ironed dress shirt in much less than the 15 minutes my friend said it takes him. So here goes! Some general ironing tips in a note at the end, for any other readers who hate ironing and want it to be less of a chore.
First I iron the collar, flat on the board. Unbutton the collar, if it's a button down collar.
Then the two fronts of the shirt. (For the other side of the front, you'd be rotating the shirt clockwise, then, around the tip of the board.)
Here's the rotation... Don't worry about getting the shoulder tops perfect; you'll hit them again when you do the back of the shirt farther along...
Then the back of the shirt...
Rotate the shirt again, similar to how you did the fronts, to lay the back yoke flat on the board, and get the tops of the shoulders and top of sleeves.
I do the sleeves last. Lay them flat as possible, straightening the bottom hem so the crease will be neatly on the top of the arm.
I used to mess around with carefully ironing the cuff and cuff pleats, but then I saw professionally dry cleaned mens' shirts up close. They're done in a professional flat press, and the pleat is ironed however it lands in the press. So that's how I do it, too. Just press it flat.
General ironing tips for people who despise ironing:
1. For pete's sake, buy a good iron. Heavier is better. Higher wattage means it will heat quickly. Look for the best quality you can buy with the fewest bells and whistles to break. No digital do-dads, etc. Just an iron. I know, you don't want to spend money on a chore you despise. Having a good tool will make the job faster and easier. Trust me. A $15-30 iron will slow you down, not steam well, and generally make you frustrated.
2. Hang stuff up right out of the dryer even if you can't or won't iron it right away.
3. Iron in front of the TV or with music or a podcast to listen to.
Choosing surprise linings and facings is definitely one of the perks of sewing some of your own clothes. I was going to use some black anti-static lining fabric for the pockets, but when I started to assemble the pocket bags, it was clear the anti-static was way too thin. So I went stash diving and found this, which I had bought to use for the pockets of a pair of jeans. There's plenty of fabric for both this and the jeans pockets, though. Speaking of those jeans... I need to re-do the pattern fitting for those (I've lost weight since the last time I made the pattern) and get those made up... hm... maybe I should do them as a pair of cropped pants for summer...
When I look back at this time in our lives, I think that I will say that studying Anglo Saxon saved me. Saved my mind from imploding entirely. Saved my sanity.
My mystery headaches are nearly gone. I discovered they were from clenching my jaw. Since spending time each day studying Anglo Saxon, they're gone except for during the absolute worst stress (like this week.)
A friend said the language is powerful. I'd call it haunting. It changes the very air around you when you read it. Culture really does carry itself along with language; you can feel it even when you don't understand meaning of the words. I find Old English beautiful, even more so than German, which I have always loved.
French never felt "right" to me. I always had trouble remembering the gender of words in French. German felt natural. Its rhythms and grammar made sense to me, even when they were very different than English. Old English feels much the same; I doubt I'm going to have trouble remembering the gender of nouns in OE. After just a few weeks of study, even the dizzying array of inflections is starting to seem like a normal thing, and not like something cooked up by an insane masochist, which is how it seemed at the very beginning.
The other day, I looked up a passage that was referenced in the dictionary at the back of my textbook. To my surprise, I understood the whole sentence. To look at a sentence written 1200 years ago and understand it? That's like working magic. Or maybe like flying. Or time travel.
I found some mystery sheer fabric in my stash that is just the right stiffness for supporting cat wings. I think it may be silk organza. It holds up to a very hot iron, so it's not polyester. It's not cotton lawn, because the hand of the fabric is way too stiff for that. It has a bit of snag when you run a hand across it, which makes me think silk, not cotton.
At any rate, whatever it is, it works beautifully as an interlining, and it would be the perfect thing for underpinning a sleeve head with a bit of structure or giving a dress bodice a bit of oomph. And it's just right for wings.
(Mom, if you're reading this, it's that weird super stiff sheer fabric I took from your stash, the stuff that wrinkles horribly if you try to wash it.)
I mean, really now...
Yes, it's still possible. You've got to be resourceful, though, if you sew to save money as well as to have a creative outlet. Here are just a few of the things I do. (Veteran sewing friends of mine will have additional ideas, I'm sure.)
1. Buy zippers in bulk, off of eBay, or from estate sales. A box of forty-plus zippers cost me about $15 a few years ago. I'm just now getting down to the last pile of them. Soon I'll use up all the short ones and weird colors for little zippered pouches, pencil cases, and misc other small projects and go shopping for another box of zippers.
2. Don't buy sewing-store accessories unless there's absolutely nothing else what will do the job. A magnetic pin holder costs between $9 and $12 if it's sold as a sewing accessory. An old pipe tobacco tin with a big hardware store magnet inside of it does exactly the same job for almost free.
3. Don't buy celebrity-endorsed sewing notions when something else will accomplish the same job. A certain celebrity seamstress sells fancy basting tape, which is entirely identical to Nexcare 3m Gentle Paper tape sold at Walgreens, for about 1/3rd the price. The Nexcare tape is wider, too.
4. Think outside the (big) box (sewing store) for notions. This is cotton-blend clothesline. You can buy it at the hardware store in 50-foot bundles. It's as close as makes no difference to upholstery filler cord (for making piping), but costs a tiny fraction of per-yard price of the "filler cord" sold in the upholstery notions.
5. Cut off the useful or re-usable parts of things before you throw them away. This is high quality no-snag Velcro fastener. A package of this costs about $6 at the big box sewing store. But this was free, cut off an old ankle brace which was headed for the trash. I also cut d-rings and buckles off of purses, pull any still-good elastic out of pants that are worn out, clip off interesting or pretty buttons, etc.
6. Never ever pay for a "pillow form." It's just a muslin bag full of fiberfill! You can buy super-cheapy pillows at Walmart for $5, cut open the end, and use the fluff to fill your own scrap-fabric pillows to the size you need. Better yet, wash your retired bed pillows in hot water and bleach to sanitize, then slice them open, re-fluff the fiberfill by tearing it apart, and use that. No reason to pay $9-$24 for a pillow form at the store.
No-one will be the wiser: