Thursday, August 28

the soma swimsuit

I am celebrating four weeks without a glandular fever flare up with some sewing. To be able to sit up straight concentrating for a couple of hours each day is infusing me with joy - that, and the spring air which is whispering to me that better days are here. My heart feels like it will explode with relief that the lighter months have come, the illness ones receeding. I make sure that I inhale my daphne at least twice a day, and stock up on sunshine.

A few months ago, my sister spied this magical mermaidy fabric in the sale bin at The Fabric Store. I decided then that I would make my own swimsuit, as soon as I had the skills. Usually retailing for $28 p/m, I got 0.7 m for $5.

The photos do not capture the shiny scaly shimmer of this print. It is my favourite fabric to date, and the best bit is that I didn't massacre it and therefore will be able to wear it all summer.

The Soma Swimsuit pattern was marked 'skilled', but I decided to go for it despite my decidedly beginner status. I thought I could manage it after making a couple of intermediate patterns recently. It came with clear instructions and diagrams, and I found that Papercut Patterns had put out plenty of photo tutorials for it. I made the Variation 2 bustier top, with high waisted pants.

The XXS small fits me perfectly when on - but getting it on and off is frightening. The first time I tried to get it off I thought: halp, I am going to have to cut this thing off me! It would not budge past my shoulders without creaking. At a later fitting I left a couple of pins in the back, and because it was so tight and twisted going over my shoulders, the pins drove right into my flesh. In my panic, I had this image of me in Emergency wearing an unfinished bikini, for pin removal. That image inspired me to take a deep breath and inch my way out of it. Next time I will size up the back for ease of dressing.
However, it is the loveliest print and fit I have ever worn, so I will gladly spend three minutes dressing myself.

I also made my third version of the Moss Skirt by Grainline Studio. This time, it was in a luxe black wool that I got from the Alannah Hill outlet. Neither of my earlier attempts were as good as I hoped for, but this one came out as close to perfect as I hope to get. The fly worked , the fit was a dream, and the hounds tooth lining was just right. This experience reminds me that if I don't manage it the first time, it doesn't mean I am incapable of it. It means that I have to do it several more times before I do manage it.

Tuesday, August 19

don't do it

We had an inexpressibly wonderful time away. It was a mixture of having each other’s company all day long, and no responsibilities. It was blue and white mountains and clear lakes, and doing whatever we liked.  It was the fact that after the first week it wasn’t nearly over. It was a body which functioned more normally, and accepted alcohol, and slept soundly, and groaned less.

When we spoke to people, they didn’t ask what we did for a job. They asked where we were from, and there was a simple, easy answer to that. We talked about New Zealand, and Australia, and snow fall, and beautiful places. I was free from telling strangers about personal things, and free from my house of tired memories. I cried when I came home.

Very soon after our return, I found myself sitting in a doctors reception for the first time in 2014. Butterflies, and frequent bathroom trips reminded me of the past six years endless of doctor trips. The GPs were running late, and the room was filled with the elderly, all except Ben and I.

There was one particularly vivacious old lady sitting near us.

 “Everything in your body just stops working when you get old. It’s dreadful! But I shouldn’t scare you,” she said winking at us. Everyone turned to us with wrinkled smiles of warning.

“You’re young and life is still exciting for you, and don’t worry, you have many many years before you will get here. And we had fun when we were young too. A lot of fun.”

“Oh yes, we did! “ Chorused the ladies and men around her. When their bodies worked, they had fun.

 “You do have to get used to these very long waits before appointments, you spend a lot of time here when you get old like us,” she said with another patronising wink at us.

Her superior ‘you couldn’t possibly understand’ tone and her ‘your life is a breeze’ winks grated against my decrepit body. I had a slight urge to break to the whole waiting room how mistaken she was in supposing that my young face was attached to a functional body unaccustomed to waiting rooms, discomfort, unemployment and the pension.

Speaking of the places she had spent her life she observed that “You want to move around when you’re young, but I just want to stay put now. It’s such an effort to move.”

Oh no, not everyone wants to move around when they’re young.

And then she said, “What brings you all the way out here?” for we were seeing a doctor thirty minutes from home. It must not have dawned on her that I was obviously here because I am unwell, and obviously here because there was a doctor I particularly wanted to see.

My new doctor eventually called my name, so I stood up and the old people waved a warm goodbye to my young husband and I as we went to discuss my old problem.

The old phrase, 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' echoed through my mind. 
Just don't. Ever.