Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Betty Draper's nightgown

Betty Draper nightgown

When I modeled my newly sewn nightgown for my husband, he raised an eyebrow and said, "Mad Men?"

Ah, he knows me too well. I saw this Burda pattern (#7109) at Joann's earlier this summer and had to have it because the long gown looked like a nightie Betty Draper would wear. I think she's borderline despicable, but that said, I do love her fashion style: classic and preppy with a hint of sexy. I also love the idea of looking halfway appealing at bedtime; it's all to easy to throw on a baggy t-shirt and call it a night.

My mother and I went on a fabric shopping trip last weekend to one of our favorite shops in Worcester. Normally I find only a bolt or two of fabric that interests me, but this time I walked away with nearly 20 yards of fabric for nightgowns, blouses, and a skirt. (And my mother paid for it all. I have such an enabling nice mom!)

This long gown takes nearly four yards of fabric to make, so I cut into the fabric length I liked least for my test run. The fabric washes beautifully -- no wrinkles fresh out of the dryer! -- and it responded well to pressing. I love Burda's designs, but their directions are terrible, I suppose because they're very bad translations of German. I ended up winging it on my own with good results. Really, most of my time was spent tracing out the pattern and cutting it from the fabric. Next time I make this, I'll drop down another size given that I have  narrow shoulders and Germans don't. Also the directions didn't include instructions for stay-stitching the neck and armholes, which I think is an important step to avoid distortion in the finished neckline and armholes. Although it looks long on the dress form, the gown is a perfect length for me at 5' 6". The bodice neckline is trimmed with cotton eyelet lace, and the ribbon is a simple 3/8"-wide ribbon I picked up at Joann's.

I'll definitely be sewing up a couple more and getting my Betty Draper on!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August doldrums



Is it fall yet?

I usually love summer, but this summer has been ... eh.

O and my husband went to Wisconsin, then Texas, in mid-July to visit family. I stayed behind to take care of the cats, both of whom are older and need meds/TLC. Phoebe, the oldest cat, has been struggling with thyroid issues so we've been quite prepared to say goodbye to her. But two days after O left, I noticed that Tinkerbelle wasn't eating or drinking. Thinking that perhaps she was just hot, I kept an eye on her. But the next morning, she really didn't seem right at all, so I called the vet for an emergency appointment. I knew things weren't good when I was able to pick her up and get her into the carrier without losing a limb.

The news at the vet wasn't good: Tinkerbelle had some kind of growth -- probably a tumor, most likely cancerous, in her throat. Given her age and her temperament -- she's a feral -- I made what ended up being an easy decision and had her euthanized. Even the vet agreed that her feral nature would make medicating her on an ongoing basis impossible.

The hard part was, unfortunately, greeting O upon his return with the news of his beloved cat's death. He didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye, which is always difficult. Our kind vet, however, kept Tinkerbelle's body for us so that O could make the decision how to handle her remains, which ended up being cremation.

So! Now we are down to one cat. Phoebe is rather pleased to be the only cat in our household. Frankly, she detested Tinkerbelle and I don't think she misses her one bit.

In other news ... I'm going back to school! Not this fall, but probably this January, when I will start taking classes so that I can get my BSN in nursing and (knock wood) become a registered nurse. This "new" career path comes as a shock to some since more recent friends only know me as a writer. But to my family and friends who've known me forever, this change makes perfect sense. My first career choices as a child were a writer and a nurse -- I even started out college as a biology major, thinking I might go to medical school. I'm endlessly fascinated by the human body, but I also like caring for people. I ruled out medical school/getting an MD, not just because I'm in my late 40s, but I'm also someone who needs a LOT of sleep. My goal is to work in palliative care -- helping patients near the end of their lives, or patients who are dealing with chronic pain. It's a field of nursing I'm passionate about for personal reasons, so I hope I have the stamina to meet this goal.

I'll be honest. Sometimes I wake up with a start and think, "What the hell am I doing? Nursing school? At my age? All that math and science?" But I know if it set my mind to it, I can do it. I have a lot more patience (no pun intended) and experience to draw upon in my late 40s ... I've gotten through some tough stuff in my life, so I'm confident I can get through this. And I know I can keep my eye on the prize: a job where I can feel like I'm making a difference in lives, more opportunities, a reliable paycheck in a profession that's generally recession-proof.

The last few weeks I've been reviewing high school and college math. My short-term goal is to score high enough on math placement exams so I don't have to repeat college algebra and can move straight into college statistics, which is a prerequisite for the nursing programs I'm targeting. Not much knitting getting done, but I have been sewing up a storm. Will post pictures soon. Just wanted to check in with an update. :)