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when files fight back

I’ve been working on the employee files at work all week, and I think the files were harder on my hands than the feral blackberry bushes I dug up out of the underbrush (which also contained wild rose bushes) and transplanted Monday.  Some of those employee files have a mind of their own, especially the fat ones that have been sitting on the shelves accumulating matter for years and years, and that mind is not a kindly one.  With the blackberry bushes, at least you can see ahead of time where the thorns are (pretty much anywhere that is not a root or a leaf) and prepare yourself.  The files, though, attack without warning.  And let me tell you, just because the chipboard covers are thick doesn’t mean they can’t still give you a wicked paper cut.  It’s almost enough to make me glad I work just down the hall from an ER.

By now I ought to be used to my hands feeling like they’ve been used for a pincushion.  I’ve been sewing a lot lately, which has been great for my work wardrobe, but hard on my hands.  Still, it’s been worth it. The idea that I’m going to put together a work wardrobe that is almost completely me-made fills me with glee.  I think this is partly because I hate the uniform I’ve had to wear for the past year so deeply.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to get rid of it.  I had been planning a celebratory bonfire once I got it completely replaced.  Then one of the other ladies on my team told me that she plans to donate her old uniforms to Clothes That Work, and now I’m all conflicted.  On the one hand, these old uniforms are ugly, and have seen over a year’s hard wear.  Plus, I hate them, and I’d love to see them go up in flames.  You wouldn’t want to pass that kind of bad karma on to some poor struggling job seeker, right?  But on the other hand, they’re serviceable suits that might do very well to get someone through until they can afford something better, and donating them to a charity might transform the bad karma into something good.  But still, a bonfire would be awfully fun.  What do you guys think?

Another reason I love creating a me-made wardrobe is that there’s the deep satisfaction at taking something from an image in your head, through the planning and design, into the actual execution of the project, into the final, product: a piece of wearable clothing that was only a roll of fabric in the corner of my sewing machine only days ago.  And it’s not just any piece of wearable clothing – it’s pretty, it’s made from high quality fabric, with extra attention to detail that you do not see in almost all ready made clothing, it fits my individual body exactly the way I want it to, and I did it all myself.  It makes me want to go up to total strangers and coerce them into admiring my handiwork.  I know that’s obnoxious, so I try to avoid it.  Thankfully, so far my new things are have gotten enough compliments on their own, and then I can boost my ego even more by saying, “Thank you!  I made it myself!”

So far I have one work top completed (short sleeve, Peter Pan collar), and another on the way, plus the pleated skirt I finished over Memorial Day weekend.  I had initially planned to complete one new clothing item each week, but I quickly realized that this was a bit … ambitious.  Still, even if it takes me two weeks to finish something instead of one, I’m still quickly acquiring a work wardrobe I actually enjoy wearing.  My next project is a Hummingbird skirt in midnight blue cotton, and a Hummingbird top from midnight blue knit, plus a couple of the optional dickies in crisp white cotton.  I also plan to make a Pavlova top from midnight blue knit (a lighter fabric than the knit I’m making the Hummingbird out of), and some simple shells from white cotton voile.  And then we’ll see what comes after that.  Ultimately I want to make a fabulous 1940s/1950s style suit jacket to round out my wardrobe, but I don’t know if my seamstress skills are quite up to that yet.  Maybe I can work up to it.