I Draft a Cris-Cross Apron Pattern; Make Two Aprons

I found this tutorial to draft your own pattern for an apron dress, and decided to go for it.

Here’s my current apron situation. As you can see, it’s been well used. I was also looking forward to going for a style that does not tie around the waist.

I followed the instructions for drafting the pattern. They were good. I had a few moments of uncertainty, but it went fairly smoothly.

Making notes to myself on the pattern.

You can see that I used the finest pattern paper available. (It was great the Christmas wrapping paper was printed with grids on the obverse.)

I hit two Goodwill stores first to look for material before going to an official fabric store. I found the blue material at my neighborhood Goodwill. It’s an Ikea duvet cover. I paid $7.99. Old duvet covers are a great source of material for household products. The other pattern is officially fabric and it came from the superstore Goodwill on Grand. I paid $9.99 for several yards.

Buying used (really unused) fabric at thrift stores is a great way to cut costs. This amount of material would have run me probably $50–$60 at at fabric store. In the Portland Goodwill system, they seem to direct all fabric yardage to the superstores, so that’s the place to go. But I’ve made things from tablecloths, sheets and now duvet covers, all of which are available at my neighborhood Goodwill store.

When I turned the duvet cover inside out to cut it apart, I found a fun surprise: a bonus sock.

One of the downsides of drafting your own pattern is that you have to figure the amount of material you need and the amount of notions. I made a mistake with the bias tape and only bought enough for one project. Bias tape, by the way cost me about $10.00, so more than costs for either material.

I decided that I had enough material of the duvet cover to cut two. Then I could sew the two sides wrong sides together and flip them, eliminating the need for bias tape. This also gave me a thicker apron, which I thought would be good.

it turned out that I didn’t have enough material for two complete cutouts, but I cut individual right side/left side pieces for the backing side and sewed them together. Sewing provides many opportunities to #problemsolve.

Mid sewing.

Here you can see where I’ve joined the right and left sides of the backing and that I managed to remember to add in the seam allowance when cutting.

I really liked the technique used here of adding the bias tape to the edge and then folding it over and using a twin needle stitch on the top. (Watch the video for a visual explanation as words are failing me here.) It gave me a completed edge, took less time than if I had used the bias tape as it is usually used, and took much less time than hemming all those seams would have. (I hate turning up edges.)

Sentinel, as he always does with sewing projects, helped.

For the duvet cover, I twin stitched along the top on the front side.

The finished project version one.

I made a mistake in drafting the pattern. The woman who designed the pattern is a small woman. I assumed the three-inch neckline (six inches when doubled) was going to be too small for me, so I switched it to a four-inch neckline (eight inches when doubled.) I was wrong in that thought, so there is a lot of gaping there.

Also, I haven’t pattern drafted enough to understand how gentle curves work, so this apron rides up in the front, though not in a way that keeps me from using it.

The apron takes a little concentration to get put it on (there are a lot of places your arms can go) and I have to manually adjust the back to overlap like it’s supposed to, but I really like the wrapping effect.

For this one, I fixed the riding up in the front situation.

The back isn’t as great here, which might have to do with me not having a photo assistant who is cognizant that one of his jobs is adjusting things I can’t see before he takes the picture.

Overall, I spent about thirty dollars, and maybe six hours (including driving around looking for material) and I got two aprons in fun patterns, plus got to muck about with some low-stakes pattern drafting.

I declare this project a win.

Space filled above TV

This big old space above the TV has been haunting me for months. What will go there?

And now we have our answer: a so-so student project that someone archivally framed and then eventually discarded so we could buy it for $15 from someone on Craigslist.

I’ve had a few months to stare at this since it went up, and I’m quite pleased with it. While the art isn’t stunning, I enjoy tracing the lines and circles with my eyes. Plus, I like how the slight diagonal of the TV makes it a subtle paralleogram floating below the very vertical nature of the art.

Plus, it was fifteen dollars.

In a perfect world I would rent art from the Portland Art Museum and trade it out quarterly. But cost and logistics mean that wasn’t a thing that was going to happen at this point in my life. This is the best solution for now.

The Orange Door Time Zone Clock Display

I’ve had a dream for years of making my own time zone clock display, but instead of New York, Paris, Tokyo, it would feature all the time zones where Matt and I have lived.

The thing that has been thwarting this dream is that Matt doesn’t like ticking clocks. However, I ordered a new clock for work and it does not tick! So I got the go-ahead from Matt and ordered six clocks.

Then they arrived and sat for a couple months until I could find the time to test out arrangements.

Here are the cutouts of the clocks and the labels.

Test #1: Tight above the map.

Test #2: Less tight above the map

Test #3: The least tight above the map.

Test #4: Next to the map

You can see what we went with.

Still to do:

  • Buy batteries, so we can make the clocks run. (Future me can tell you that this took months.)
  • Get name plates made with the name of the cities. Right now we have pieces of paper cut in the size of nameplates and printed with the names.

Still, I’m happy to have gotten this project up to this point. I’ve been dreaming of this display since 2005.

Washcloth completed

Here’s what this washcloth was supposed to look like.

And here’s what it actually looks like.

That bit near the top where I switch to ribbing was because I was a little more involved with the movie I was watching than I was with the knitting I was doing. I also think the variegated yarn doesn’t really allow the pattern to shine.

Oh well, someone will get some good dishcloth use out of it.

Books read in June 2019

One of my YA-zeitgeist books is on this list. Check out Dig, by A.S. King.

Picture Books

Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies
Jorge & Megan Lacera
Read for Librarian Book Group

A funny book about a zombie kid who prefers eating vegetables to eating humans; it also doubles as a nice coming out narrative.

I am Hermes
Mordicai Gerstein
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book has illustrations that pair perfectly with the text. It makes for a whimsical illustration of the life of Hermes.

Vamos, Let’s Go to the Market
Raul Gonzalez III
Read for Librarian Book Group

The pages are packed with a ton of things to look at, appealing to those kids who like to really study their picture books. There’s a great English/Spanish mix of words and the journey through the market is interesting.

Where are you from?
Yamile Saied Mendez, Jamie Kim
Read for Librarian Book Group

A long (and beautifully illustrated) answer to a question we* should probably be more aware of what we’re saying when we ask it.

*we=white people

Middle Grade

Other Words for Home
Jasmine Wanga

Read for Librarian Book Group

A slimmer novel in verse that shows us Jude’s life in Syria and then how her life changes when she comes to America.

I would have liked more details, but I enjoyed the verse. I also couldn’t remember anything about this book when it came up in book group discussion until I looked at the cover.

Young Adult

A.S. King
Read for Librarian Book Group

“Am I really up for A.S. King’s weirdness?” I asked myself as I picked up the book.

Turns out: yep! I was. It’s best to carve out a larger segment of time to get started with this book. There are many characters and many things aren’t clear as the book begins. But stick with it, and soon it will be hard to stop reading.

Most A.S. King books are uncomfortable. She seems to tap into the parts of this modern world that just aren’t right. But being uncomfortable and adrift is not an uncommon feeling in life, so perhaps A.S. King has her fingers on the pulse.

If you are a white person ages 15–107, this is your 2019 zeitgeist book.

Again, but Better
Christine Riccio

At first, I thought this book was aggressively mediocre, but I kept reading because the mild social panic was described so well. I also liked the idea of a college student realizing she’s done a terrible job making friends and trying her best to start fresh during her study abroad program.

Then the story changed and I was hooked. Overall, I found it to be a somewhat brilliant book.

Not to mention, it’s YA fiction with a 20-year-old protagonist. I’ll have to add it to my list of YA-in-college books. (Take that, agent who told me I wasn’t writing YA!)

The Afterward
E.K. Johnston
Read for Librarian Book Group

E.K. Johnston builds us a world where a group of knights, a mage and a thief have successfully completed a quest and now it’s back to the everyday. But the everyday is tough. Some of them have battle trauma, some of them have to do things to survive that become increasingly hard. Some of them are in love, and can’t be together for various reasons.

This book constantly challenged my mental pictures, and I love it for that. It’s also a fantasy book that doesn’t take place today that I was still interested in reading. Big wins! Hopefully it will get a better cover in the future.

Grownup Nonfiction

The Power of Habit
Charles Duhigg

A thorough examining of how habits rule our lives, not just on an individual level, but in companies, and in social movements.

This is more of an informational text than a self-help book. I would have liked more of a how-to on how to change habits. But I’m sure there’s a book out there for me. In the meantime, this was interesting and informative.

Nolo’s Guide to Single-Member LLCs
David M. Steingold

This is a handy guide of things to know if you are thinking about starting a single-member LLC. The information is clear, it breaks down details and there are links to free forms.

Celebrating Matt’s birthday

For Matt’s birthday we visited Han Oak and partook of their very delicious tasting menu.

For appetizers we had the kimchi plate, curried potato salad and the seaweed and greens. We picked the chicken wings and the onomiyaki for the snack and had dumplings. Also the smoked hanger stake and the pork bo ssam. Plus the dessert.

While we didn’t love the dessert (we reestablished that neither of us like mochi, or meringue) the rest was incredibly delicious.

Plus, they were playing hair metal ballads the entire time, much to my delight.

SKS Postcard: Alma again.

Another first-of-two postcard that arrived first!

Sara grabbed this when they ate here for their anniversary dinner. She had a comment about the food that she told me not to put on the blog so I won’t.

The dinner was there courses with wine pairing and she reports that it was nice to visit a place they’ve been wanting to go to for a special occasion.

Fence creeping closer

We turn to the housing development down the street to see how it progresses. We illustrate the progress with blurry pictures (sorry).

This house used to have a full driveway. It now has a skinny sidewalk. As I am concerned about how this development will affect parking in front of my house (which does not have a driveway because I am also part of the problem) this isn’t great news. I assume the house is staying (but perhaps not?) and eventually those two units will be occupied again and will need parking, just like all the new units will.

And when I say “units will be occupied” I mean by rent-paying people. The squatters who have been living in it don’t come with cars. You can see where the trash has been emptied from the house. Again.

A view from the opposite corner. I can’t remember how high this development will go, but it is probable that eventually the house will not be visible.

SKS Postcard. Fancy!

This one arrived a little worse for wear. See: that schmutz in the corner. But it’s fancy. It changes when you move it in the light.

She found this while packing up her office. It originally came from Virginia, but has made its way to me. She hopes that I’m enjoying that packing and moving is NOT part of my summer.

And her hopes are not in vain. I always enjoy when packing and moving are not parts of any season of my life.