Sew Obsessed

There's a French comic making the rounds right now about the mental load of motherhood.

I find it completely fascinating. I'm blessed with a husband who wants to take his share of the load at home, but I am also the stay-at-home parent, so I tend to put more on myself despite the fact that I am serving as a caretaker at all times. You don't have to be plugged in to the feminist community to understand that mom brains are typically going a thousand miles per hour and juggling various to-dos and responsibilities. For me I think this is why I have fallen so in love with sewing.

I only began sewing in earnest in March, so I am still learning so much about my machine, garment construction, pattern reading, etc. Any time I sit down at my machine it requires my whole attention. I can't sew with the baby in the room or while talking on the phone. I have to put the entire world on the other side of the door and just focus.

That is super rare in my life. At one point knitting was like this, but now I am so accustomed to knitting that it is actually hard for me to sit and knit without the tv going or a book on my lap. It's great to have an activity I can do during mealtimes when Pasha insists on feeding himself, but it does nothing to tune out the craziness in my head. It helps me to stay calm, but it is not the complete escape that sewing has become.

I know this probably sounds ridiculous, and there are many other factors that contribute to this new-found obsession. But the chance for a complete escape, even just for a stolen thirty minutes during nap time, is so precious right now. And that makes all the difference.

Coffee with Dragons

If there's sewing for baby there obviously has to be sewing for mommy, right?

I mean, I think that's how it works.

Last year Katie of Inside Number 23 hosted a sewalong for the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic. I was not sewing at the time, but I did watch the videos and file it away for the "one day I'll sew" dream pile. Well, one day came!

It took me a while to decide on fabric for the skirt. The pattern calls for something that is not directional, and I am not one for solid colors when I can help it, so I needed to find something with a fun all-over print that fit into the wardrobe I am building. I was clicking around on Hawthorn Threads when I found Baby Dragons. Perfect! I love the entire fabric line, so don't be surprised if I just have baby dragon everything at some point.

This is the skirt that almost wasn't. I cut out the fabric one afternoon while talking to my sister on the phone and for some reason I cut a size or two too small. I sewed almost the entire skirt one Sunday night, staying up far too late, only to conclude that it really did not fit. I'd say I was devestated, but that's a tad dramatic.

No, it's not. I was devestated. I put it aside for a few days while I figured out what I wanted to do. Eventually I spent an evening deconstructing the entire skirt and reevaluating what I wanted to do. I did not like the way the seams looked either, so when I started sewing again I used French seams, which had a more finished look (I don't know why I was having such a hard time with the seams, I'm sure it was a product of sewing too late at night).

I did not have enough fabric to cut completely new panels, so I cut the larger waistband and then two extra strips to add to the back of the skirts. The end result is not perfect, but also not obviously an error.

The fact that this skirt has such generous pockets practically guaranteed I'd make it again before I even tried on the finished product.

The verdict? I love it. I feel very comfortable and stylish and love that the dragons just look like polkadots from afar.  Plus it looks great with tshirts, which is always a win in my book!

Bugaroo

Yesterday we hosted Pasha's first birthday party

It was so fun! I haven't thrown a party of any kind in years, and we have not had occasion to have a bunch of people over since we bought our house. You can probably guess our theme.

Pandas!

If you've been here for a while you've seen the stuffed panda I used for all of Pasha's monthly photos. We went to DC for my birthday in 2015 (to visit the Indiana Jones exhibit) just after learning that I was pregnant. The pandas at the national zoo had just had their baby, so we bought a little stuffed Bae-Bae which I carried around like a baby for the rest of the trip. Since then Pasha's stuff has been loosely panda themed. 

Luckily it is graduation season, so finding black and white decor was rather easy. I made the tissue paper tassels using this tutorial. It was super easy but also time consuming, so I don't recommend trying to make them all in an afternoon while baby-wrangling. Just a thought.

Of course no important occasion is complete without a new outfit. Because it is so hot, knitwear was out. Instead I sewed a pair of overalls.

This is the first time I have sewed for Pasha and I can say with certainty that there is a real dearth of sewing patterns for boys. Puperita has a ton of unisex patterns that are just darling, and as soon as I saw the Little Birds pattern I knew I had to make it. I used basic denim for the outer fabric and Cotton + Steel for the lining. Because it has PANDAS! 

This was also the first time I made button holes and it was so easy! I have been avoiding anything with buttons for myself because I was worried about ruining the project by doing it wrong, but it was so easy. I read this tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons and just jumped in. The whole project took little more than a day to sew (I had the pieces cut out a while ago). 

Because PANDAS!

Hit Pause

You ever have a moment where you just want to freeze time?

Things have been a little quite over here because I was having one of those moments. Several of them actually. Because yesterday our little bug, my darling Pasha, turned one. ONE! Can you believe it?

This year has been so hard and so wonderful and I wouldn't trade any of it. Being this kid's mama has made all of the struggles worth it. But at the same time it seems like the experience is flying by and I just want to hit pause and spend a little more time in the moment. So yesterday in honor of Pasha's birthday and my first year as a mommy I put all my current projects to the side and started something new for myself.

I picked up this yarn at Black Mountain Yarn Shop over the weekend because I am finally, FINALLY, going to make a TCPT. The Totally Perfect Crop Top was published last summer but I was not in a place where I wanted to knit garments. This year I have already sewn several high-waisted skirts, so a crop top should be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. By the time I got the yarn wound and cast on someone was up from his nap, so I didn't get much done, but it is a start.

We also ran some selfish errands, picking up books for the birthday boy and fabric for me! Pasha decided last week that he is done nursing, so I'm finally free to start wearing pullover dresses, not seperates or items with handy zippers. First up? Deer and Doe's Arum Dress. Hopefully it is as quick and easy as it looks.

We had a lovely time with the birthday boy, but now it's back to reality. There are grandparents coming to visit and a birthday party to  host, so mommy's got to get herself in gear. But I did enjoy my little selfish pause. Here's hoping I don't have to wait till his second birthday to take another.

When It Doesn't All Come Up Roses

It's Mother's Day here in the US.

A day when we place special emphasis on the women who birthed us, care for us, support us. It's not a happy day for everyone, and if that is your case today I am truly sorry. You have my love and any support you may need. I wrote last year about how hard Mother's Day has been for me in the past as we struggled with unexplained infertility, so you would think that this year, my second Mother's Day (if you are having a baby, you are a mother, even if you are the only one to have "met" your child), I would be full of joy and light. And I am. But it is not always that way.

You see, I have Postpartum Depression.

I think it is important to tell you this because my son turns one this week and I am still fighting this battle. My diagnosis came several months after I gave birth because I did not recognize the signs. Too often PPD is presented as uncontrollable sadness or a complete disinterest in our children. That is a version of it, but it is not the complete picture.

PPD is an umbrella diagnosis that encompasses symptoms I had not even heard of. In my case it presented as uncontrollable rage and fear. I would stay awake after a three AM feeding and scrub our tiny apartment on my hands and knees, convinced that I would be a bad mother if things were not perfectly clean. I had intrusive thoughts, not about hurting myself or Pasha, but about insane fears. Once I became convinced after starting a load of laundry that I was so tired I had accidentally put the baby in the washer instead of the clothes, even though I was holding him.

It wasn't until I threw a handful of knitting needles at Chris that I began to wonder if my family would be better off without me. I wasn't suicidal per se, but I knew I could not continue to be a wife and mother in my current state. I was fortunate enough to have a phenomenal midwife who knew enough to ask the right questions. At every postpartum appointment she asked me questions beyond the standard questionnaire and helped me find treatment options that worked best for my situation. I still have my rough days, but no more than any mom of a young child.

May is PPD Awareness Month, which is why I feel compelled to tell you my story. I was blessed to be raised in a family that normalized postpartum issues. I grew up knowing women around me who battled PPD and were amazing mothers -- yet I still did not recognize it when it happened to me. I recently shared this post on Facebook and it reminded me that so many women do not know the signs. 

1 in 7 women who give birth will suffer from PPD and in some areas that number is as high as 1 in 4

If you are a new mom who has recently given birth one of the most important things you can do is answer honestly when taking a PPD assessment at your doctor's office. It is a standard questionnaire that should be given at your followup appointment. And if you are pregnant or looking to become pregnant, start educating yourself now. A little information can go a long way in the battle for maternal health.

Most importantly, if you suspect you may have PPD seek help. Speak honestly with your healthcare providers. Talk to other mothers because chances are you know someone who has been through this struggle. And support those around you. Together we are stronger than we can ever be in isolation.

Love you, mamas.