say no to the expectations

I have a dress. You know, the big, important, white kind that you see in pictures for the rest of your life. The kind you feel endless anxiety over because you have to make sure that it's perfectBrides-to-be are expected to pour over magazines staring hungrily at glossy photos of stick-thin models pretending to be blissfully happy, learn the names of a thousand designers who exist in a fashion-centric world completely apart from a normal-person-reality, and then be willing to choose between a kidney or your first born to pay for it all. And on top of all that pressure, there's the ever-elusive magic moment when you see yourself in the "right dress" for the first time and you start to cry, your mom cries, your sister cries, your cousin cries, and twinkling confetti and rainbows burst forth on the horizon as a cherub trumpets this momentous event...and everyone knows....knows it's the dress.

Well, excuse me, but I call major BS.

I'm no expert on bridal fashion (obviously) but I have seen/read enough to know that when I was two bridal shops and nearly 20 dresses in with no tears or magic, I was completely disheartened

Not only did I feel I was wasting everyone else's time, but I also had spent entirely too much of the day in my underwear in front of strangers - I mean, can we talk about modesty in a bridal fitting room for a minute, please. Sorry future-mother-in-law, I wasn't planning to get to know you that well just yet! Regardless, after diving through a literal sea of tulle and satin, we narrowed it down to 3 dresses. All pretty, my size, and reasonably affordable (as much as a wedding dress can be, anyways). But still, no magic.

I was overwhelmed by a sense of dread and dashed hopes because everyone knows, if you don't cry, it can't be the right one. And then, it struck me: what's the deal with all these crazy expectations anyways? I get that this is the "most important day of your life" and that the dress will be in pictures forever, but frankly, I think that's trumped up, Say Yes to the Dress, crap.

Find a dress you feel beautiful in and move on. If you're looking at your wedding pictures ten years down the road and all you can see is a dress instead of the amazing man you've just spent the last ten years with, well, you need a change of perspective, not wardrobe

This mentality may go completely against my romantic sensibilities, but the bottom line is that it is just a dress. One dress. And no matter who designed it, or what you paid for it, you will be stunning -- because you're a bride standing before her best friend as you covenant your lives together.

And if you're like me and the "magic moment" isn't there, don't freak out or feel disheartened. It doesn't mean it's the wrong dress, that you should keep looking, or that you should spend far more money than you have to try to find that impossible Disney magic. Just choose one and know that your future husband is going to think you're absolutely breathtaking in whatever you end up wearing...be it couture or corduroy. 

There is a great quote I read somewhere (no idea where) that I have taped to front of my wedding binder. I try to come back to this every time I feel like I'm getting swept up in all the unrealistic bridal expectations or unnecessary wedding "must-haves":
"At the end of the day, if you're married to your best friend,
then everything went according to plan."

And when you think about the dress through that scope, the magic isn't necessary. Have fun, feel beautiful in whatever you pick, and don't get down on yourself if your experience is lacking in rainbows and tears. Let go of unrealistic expectations and putting so much importance on an article of clothing. You. will. be. gorgeous!


singer's got a brand new dress!

With my morning off, I got productive and finally made the sewing machine cover I've had on my to-make-projects pile for months. My poor little sewing machine has never been properly cared for. In a serious way. If sewing machines had an ASPCA, you'd probably see me on cable TV being dragged out of my apartment with a black bag over my head. Sarah McLachlan will sing in the background as photos of my sewing machine pan across the screen, begging you to adopt it. But it all ends today!

I've planned for years to take it in and get it serviced, but I just never got around to it. My latest excuse is that it would be a waste to get it serviced since it didn't have a cover and would just get all dusty up in its gear-business again. Crafters win at this kind of procrasti-logic.

But today I did it, I made my poor little Singer a brand new dress. And boy is it cute! This is also my first and probably last foray into "pattern-making". To start, I whipped out my tape measurer and plotted a scale from every possible angle. This is what I came up with. It isn't super fancy and ended up being quite a bit too long, but that was a good call in the end.

Using the measurements on the pattern sheet, I cut out pieces from a lightweight cotton fabric I chose for the inside liner. As you can see below, I sewed the two side panels to the top panel first and the sewed on each of the sides.
Once all the panels had been sewn together (particularly difficult at the corners since I'm pretty much rubbish at sewing box corners), I put it over the machine to make sure I wasn't wildly off in my measuring. Just make sure you sew the liner so that the right sides show when it's flipped inside out and fitted into the outer piece. She seemed to realize what I was doing at this point and got excited by all the attention being paid to her.
Next, I cut the same pieces out in the outer, more sturdy fabric. I also did two lines of accent patchwork and appliqued them to the front panel. Once all the pieces for the outer cover were joined, I flipped the liner inside out and did some tiny hand stitches at each of the top corners and midway across the top panel, just to secure the 
liner at the top.
I put it back on the machine and realized I was about 1.5" off on the length. This ended up being a great thing because I reversed it, trimmed the excess inner fabric, then pinned up the outer liner over the inner fabric. I sewed the hem along the pins and then cut any remaining excess. Add some of the most awesome buttons I've ever found and been saving for years, then BAM! I am no longer a sewing machine owner-monster.

And it's done. Now I finally have no excuse not to actually take care of her. You can't tell in the pictures, but the outer fabric is a really pretty egg blue color and looks sweet in my room! Now excuse me as I go sew some more and sing "so happy togetherrrrrrrr......".

As a random aside, do people name their sewing machines? I feel like she needs a name. We've been through almost 9 years of life together (woah, 9 years...when did that happen!). So ideas? What's a good name for an inanimate object you love and can't afford to get a better one could never replace?


a shameless plug

It's my blog so I can post what I want to...post what I want to...ooooh.

Okay, so this is bit out of my normal subject matter, but I'm allowed a shameless plug for my super talented friends every once in a while. And today is that day! 

Meet....Kevan Chandler! (Come on down, Kevan)
Writer, adventurer, intellectual spelunker, and my friend.

His latest book is "Hargood and the End" and if you like zombies and wit (though it may be thin on witty zombies, come to think), you'll probably love it. The description on Amazon reads:

It's the end of an age, and just in time for the end of everything else too. In suburban South Florida, Warnie Hargood is walking his mail route for the last time before retirement when his customers suddenly start trying to eat him. With nothing to lose, the 85 year old mailman decides retirement can wait. He has a calling, a duty that will go unfulfilled if it's not done by him. At the end of the world as we know it, there is still mail to be delivered, and Warnie swore long ago that nothing would stay him...ever.

So check it out now on Amazon, available in print or for your kindle (boo e-readers). But yaaaayy for Kevan! So click here to check it out now!

*Disclaimer: Full disclosure compels me to let you know that due to my heart-palpating fear of zombies, Kevan is in full awareness that I will not actually be reading this book. However, I fully recommend him as a writer. Also, I'm not getting paid for this post. (hint hint Kevan!)*