just checking in.....

Monday 28 February 2011
I've read somewhere that one of the ways to have a better blog is to post frequently and constantly. Alas, I have failed on that count. But it's all very well for those fashion bloggers or interior design bloggers who not only have the time but also a lot of (semi) interesting things to post about like their daily outfit, latest acquisition, furniture rearrangement etc etc. However as a sewist with little time (more time in front of the sewing machine please!) and longer lead time in for sharing a project I'm a bit lacking in regular posting these days. Sorry 'bout that, I'm sure you understand.

But I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth, just been dealing with life's little dramas. A horrendous stomach bug made it's way through our little family last week, and even though Anna got over it relatively quickly both my husband and I were very sick. So sick that at one point we were both laying on the grass in our backyard while Anna jumped on her trampoline - God knows what our neighbours were thinking! At least Anna was resourceful, she dragged her little chair from the playroom to the kitchen to help herself to a packet of biscuits from the pantry and bizarrely a packet of frozen peas from the freezer. She used her manners though, also getting a dish out to pour the peas into before eating them.

Once that had passed Anna then decided to further test the waters by eating my wedding ring. Yes that's right, she popped my wedding band into her mouth, nearly choked on it before swallowing it and then happily asked for some crumpets for breakfast! Our doctor says she'll be fine, it'll just take 3 to 5 days to pass through and in the meantime I have to keep checking her output to retrieve it. The ring is insured, I just can't imagine what I'll tell the insurance company if we somehow miss the ring and it gets thrown out with a dirty nappy.

The final drama is an ongoing one for us - Anna's battle against sleeping has ramped up a notch and it's now all out war. We've finally conceded that we can't manage it ourselves and are now booked into see a sleep specialist to have it looked at properly. Although all our paediatrician could offer was the advice to be 'tougher' on her - and this was in response to me telling him that I've kept a sleep diary which has revealed that she sleeps on average 6 - 7 hours a night in 1 - 2 hour blocks, and we spend the other 6 hours trying to settle her! Bear in mind that toddlers should be getting around 12 -13 hours a sleep a night. No wonder I'm exhausted, I'm not imagining or overstating the problem at all.

But I did manage to squeeze in a tiny amount of sewing, and I've finished (except for the hem) a test garment of the dress that I've modified the pattern and made two muslins for. So I guess you're expecting the world's best fitting dress after all that effort? I know I was. Too bad the result is a bit ordinary, but I will share it because I know you'll all have some thoughts on it.

And true to form, like many of you when I'm not sewing I seem to be spending on sewing things instead! Have a look at this Vogue pattern (8543) I bought recently during Vogue's $3.99 sale - please tell me honestly whether those sleeves are kooky or quirky:

I love the lines of the skirt, and the back of the jacket but I'm wondering whether those bell sleeves are a bit too much?


  1. I'm so glad Anna didn't choke on the ring! And so sorry you have to examine diapers - ick!

    I hope you get some good advice / info from the sleep specialist.

  2. From a medical perspective - wise to get it checked out

    From a mother's perspective of a child who was exactly the same - he learned to sleep through when he was 4

    From a mother's perspective who has a few children - we only had 1 'conflicted' sleeper

    Summary = you poor dear!

    PS Sleeves are lovely made-up and if you stand like that but I would find many ways to get them wet and dirty during the day

  3. No I like those sleeves . Go on be brave . You could always chop them off and make it a 3/4 sleeve if you dont like themThat look would be appropriate with that skirt . You poor sauasge It sounds like you are severely challenged at the moment . You certainly have a girl with enterprise. Wait till she is a teenager . I hope you keep all these blog enteries so she can read them when she is older and know what her mummy was doing and thinking and having to deal with. . I have started blogging too and have a whole lot of quite interesting entries and pics but cant find the cord to connect my camers to the computer AAAAAHHHHHH. I often read your blog and thoroughly enjoy doing so . Keep it up and do soldier on !!!

  4. Good luck with the sleep specialist. I hope she can bring you all some much needed relief!

    You should look that pattern up on PR. There was one made up recently and it was quite beautiful so no I don't think the sleeves are goofy.

  5. Welcome to the 'challenging child' club. It sounds like torture in your home at night and hopefully someone can offer you some real help with it. My son has different challenges but ones that are more like torture by day.

    It's hard, especially when other parents give you advice based on their own experience, which is nothing like what you are experiencing, not even on the same planet kind of experience!

    My sister tells a great story about her son who has a strong aversion to eating vegetables. Another parent said to her, " well, I wouldn't put up with that, I'd just make him eat it." She said, "ok, now tell me, because I'm curious, what do you do when you make him eat it and then he vomits it back up onto the plate. Do you make him eat the vomit?"

    So parents who say "just make them etc" usually have compliant children who actually can be "made" to do things... and if you had a compliant child you just can't imagine what it would be like if there weren't.

    Fingers crossed for you - I hope you get a good night's sleep soon. There would be few challenges greater than long term sleep deprivation.

  6. The jacket and skirt are lovely, but my initial reaction to the sleeves is the same as yours. I think Tim would say there was a lot going on and you needed to do some editing to make it work. I'd like simple bracelet length sleeves in that jacket.

  7. Oh you poor thing! Just keep that bug in Sydney :).
    As to the jacket, I think the sleeves are great for "going out" but a bit much for the work environment. But that is just my humble opinion :)

  8. Kristy, I sympathise about the sleep issues, Alexander is mostly a great sleeper, but when he doesn't he's up every 1-2hrs also and there is LOUD teeth grinding and some nightmares thrown in. Add to this I am a poor sleeper (like Anna since I was a child), and I am constantly exhausted! I know people who have used the sleep specialists with good results and you will have some too I'm sure.

    Now to sleeves... I love the sleeve (even tho they would probably annoy me if I was working in them) but I think they look great and it would look super exclusive too. Go for it I say... as as someone else said, if you don't like them you can cut them off!I do love the lines on the skirt too.
    Good luck.. can't wait to see that outfit

  9. Good luck with the sleep issues. It really is the worst part of parenting. Re: the sleeves. I'm not a big fan - they are not my style, but you just never know until you try them.

  10. I love the suit but the bell sleeves + the peplum jacket is too much. Best of luck with the sleep challenge.

  11. Mary Nanna said it so well--parents of compliant children just can't imagine what it's like. My son is now 11, but I slept in the same room with him until he was 10, with lots of sleep interruptions every night. Clearly I'm no sleep specialist! I hope your breakthrough will come at a much younger age, but I can assure you that when it does the relief will be amazing. My son now says goodnight, goes into his room, closes the door and that's it. Such limited sleep must be challenging also for her and her moods. I'm looking forward to hearing what you find out from the specialist--good luck!!

  12. When she gets big enough to not eat the rings and other stuff that is a no no maybe you can sit up with her and sew while she wanders around.Lol! All children are their own little people and like the story Mary Nanna recounted about the force feeding, you may just have to wade through whatever works for Anna. My dh wanders around at all hours early AM, doesn' sleep much- would hate to know I had to be up and watching him. One of my daughters has totally child proofed the room for her little boy(removed anything even he could use to climb or stand on and puts up two stacked babygates so he has to stay physically in the safe room when he goes to bed or at least is sent there. Good luck this too will pass if you live through the sleep deprivation. mssewcrazy

  13. You poor dear; best of luck with the sleep consultant. My neighbors used one and were had good luck with it. My first was a "compliant" sleeper; my second was a trial.

    The sleeves actually do work well; I've used similar drafts. But be very careful with the skirt: it can be difficult to get the parts to work correctly. I made it up for my daughter and documented the problems on my blog:


  14. Good luck with the sleep issues. It sounds like you're taking the right approach.

    As for the pattern. I admit that I bought that pattern because I loved the sleeves, but I can see how they would get in the way at a desk.

  15. I made that pattern a little while ago and found it quite lovely (see http://jenibrown.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/something-old-something-blue/). I think the sleeves balance out the peplum in the back - if you took them both off, it would make a nice tailored and slim line jacket that would still compliment the skirt. But I wouldn't leave one on and take off the other!

    And I haven't found the sleeves get in the way when working (I'm at a computer or in front of a classroom all day)

  16. I do like the look of the sleeves.

    I hope you have good advice from the specialist and figure out what Anna needs. Obviously it's not a simple solution - possibly a comination of issues.

    I was a sleep terror as a toddler. The body and mind just won't shut down, even now when I'm adult. Taking a melatonin supplement really helps me - it's the body's sleep hormone. Food intolerances can also cause sleep disturbances; for my dd it's milk. So, whatever it is Anna needs, you're doing the right thing in seeking advice and you'll be enjoying a long nights' sleep soon.

    I hope you get your ring back soon (:

  17. It's a miracle that you get any coherent action done at all, considering your sleep deprivation. I had about three weeks of only getting 1-2 hours of sleep in a row when DD was born (a preemie and feeding was difficult), and it was all I could take. I wish you lots of strength, and a speedy solution with the help of your specialist!

  18. There is so much I can relate to in this post.
    Even though I sew one of the reasons I don't blog about my sewing is its glacial pace.
    I had to go "fishing" in my son's nappy when he swallowed the black pearl off a pendant during my brother's wedding ceremony. Nice!
    Frozen peas were my daughter's favourite treat at 2 - and she is still partial to them at 11.
    Those sleeves look great but I can just imagine them trailing in places I don't want them to trail, getting caught on door handles etc. How much do you value practicality over elegance, or vice versa?
    No advice, just sympathy, to offer on lack-of-sleep situation which must be driving you and your husband to the point of despair. Sleep deprivation is the worst.

  19. I don't know how you're managing to even think about sewing. I like the sleeves; I considered this pattern but thought I should make some of the others I've bought before I buy any more. I don't have kids, so I'm not qualified to help in any way, but I do think a sleep specialist will at least be able to make you feel less crazy. Good luck.

  20. I really like the pattern including the sleeves! As a matter of fact, I have the skirt cut out and as soon as I muster the courage to fit the jacket, I will make it. The thing I am unsure about is the collar, it looks incomplete in my eyes.

    I wish you good luck with the sleep specialist!

  21. sleep deprivation is horrible! I hope the sleep specialist can help you out.
    The wedding band story is a great one!
    I think the sleeves are cool.
    I'm sending you tons of positive energy!

  22. you should definitely try and get help with the sleeping problems! we went through the same thing with our son and took him tresillian for a week stay in the end... i though i WAS being tough on my son... but those hardcore nurses made me cry! they sure did teach me a lot... and i came to respect what they were saying- i mean they deal with problem sleepers every-single-day... so i went home and tried a lot of what they said on my own... after a very tough-love month my son started sleeping through on his own... it was a really hard month, but i'm so glad i stuck it out and it's taught me (as we're expecting no.2 now) to not let it go so long next time before doing something about it... the lack of sleep was killing me :)

    p.s. i thought swallowing money and small toys was bad... but that tops it!

  23. As everyone else has said - good luck with the sleep clinic, I hope getting the issues sorted, or at least manageable, happens as quickly as possible. And well done on getting any sewing/planning done at all whilst you're having so little sleep and being ill!

    Anna's food choices sound like excellent preparation for student life! (the biscuits and peas, I mean, not the wedding ring).

    I'm not a big fan of the sleeves I'm afraid - they have a bit of a "renaissance fair" vibe somewhere for me, and on the jacket I think they compete a bit with the peplum. I think it would look much classier with bracelet length sleeves. But I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

  24. What a whirlwind little Anna is..
    hope that you can get her all worked out... and sleeping soon! How in the world she does anything for very long (without sleeping much) is beyond me!
    I'm not a bell sleeve person! I had some (a couple of times) and let's just say... I've learned that I don't like them at all..... on me! Although, I have a friend that wears them all the time and they look quite feminin and pretty! It's totally up to the person you know! I think that I've purchased that same pattern... I love the jacket and the skirt... just would make the jacket with straight sleeves. Just how I would do it!
    Your in my prayers kid you and hubby!

  25. Oh, thank goodness she didn't choke. What a brilliant story though ;) I had a stomach bug this year. I thought I was going to die.

  26. I am amazed that you manage to sew and blog and get on with daily life on such little sleep! My almost-one year old fights sleep in any form. She now sleeps through the night about 3 times a week and this feels like a major achievement (BTW I didn't do anything different - she just decided to give a little!). I agree with the previous commenters - people who tell you to "just make them" do it clearly haven't experienced it. Good luck with the sleep specialist.

  27. I think they're perfect, with that peplum thingie at the hip.

  28. Well, I always find you have lots of blog-worthy stuff to write about, sewing or otherwise. This one was certainly worth the wait! It's a good thing you have a wonderful sense of humour. Best of luck!

  29. I think the sleeves should somehow mimic the skirt. The Peplum is nice, and the skirt is FAB!
    (I have a friend who couldn't remember or didn't like "peplum;" She'd always just say "WOOSH" with appropriate hand gestures and everyone would know what she meant.)
    I hope the sleep people can do something. Enough is enough!

  30. I've always loved that Vogue pattern. Do make those bell sleeves!

  31. good luck with the sleep. i'm 'working with' our 8 month old who has yet to sleep for more than four hours (we're on hourly wakes currently) so my heart goes out to you. we too have a sleep specialist on board and we're progressing. you'll do it!

    also good to hear from a mother who still manages to blog and sew - - you give me hope that the sewing will come back eventually.

    always good to see what you've been up to!

  32. Love the skirt, love the peplum, not so much the sleeves, which remind me of the 90s. :-) sorry to disagree with the other commenters!

    Anyway, good luck with the sleep specialist.