Bathsheba made me do it!

I watch a lot of movies when I iron Scott’s work shirts, because ironing is tedious as hell, but as homemaking is my full-time job these days, I really couldn’t come up with a valid reason I should not iron his shirts when he decided to give up the men’s Tucson uniform of polo shirt and khakis every day for a more stylish look.  As much as I hate ironing, I have to admit, he looks damn fine in a shirt and tie.

So one day, I was looking for free movies I could stream on Dish while I ironed, and Far from the Madding Crowd was available.  I’m a Carey Mulligan (who plays protagonist Bathsheba Everdene) fan, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I liked the movie, but I fell violently in love with the costuming, particularly these blue and white numbers Bathsheba sports throughout. (Click photos to embiggen.)

So I went on the hunt, scouring the internet for similar fabrics.  The ones available at the major fabric sellers weren’t quite what I was looking for, and the one I found that I loved I could have direct from China for a minimum purchase of 3,000 yards.

Um, no.

So I checked Etsy and less mainstream online stores, and even eBay, and didn’t find quite what I was looking for.  Until I ran across a seller who had 6 different prints she was was selling in lots of six 1/2-yards.  And while that wasn’t optimal, I was intrigued, and bought it, because 3 yards is plenty for a skirt, or I’d figure out something else.  The first rule of sewing, much like other crafts, is, if you find something you like, buy it now; figure out what to do with it later.

But the thought of the skirt stayed in my head, in the form of a panel skirt.  And what started in my head as a maybe 8-panel skirt turned into a 24-panel (4 fabric patterns repeating 6 times) concept after some internet research, and my discovery of this skirt.  After looking at some tutorials that assumed that my body was completely symmetrical around my waist/butt area (which applies to a very small percentage of women, methinks), I decided to make my own pattern by modifying the world’s simplest skirt pattern which I used for my very first sewing projects when I started taking lessons in the summer of 2014.  The pattern had already been tailored to my particular needs, so all I needed to do was divide the 2 pattern pieces into 6 sections each, add seam allowances, and see if, through the magic of math, it all worked.

I did half a muslin just to make sure it was working as planned, made some adjustments, and was good to go.  Then, because I just hadn’t complicated things enough, I decided to finish the raw edges by folding them under and topstitching them, both for tidiness and to make the skirt lie flat in whatever plane it was moving instead of it wanting to turn in at every seam, of which there were 24.  Which meant that just to piece it together, I had to sew 72 vertical seams–3 seams at every connection.

This is why when people assume I’d like to sew something for them, I laugh.  I’m the only person I like well enough to put in that kind of work for.  Maybe Scott, though it hasn’t happened yet.  (I DID buy a shirt pattern for him, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.)

But I’m pretty pleased, and the skirt looks nearly as good on the inside as on the outside. Which makes me feel like a fancy sewing genius instead of the novice I am.  I finished the bottom with bias tape at the excellent suggestion of my sewing teacher, Jenny, and did a simple drawstring at the waist.  And I finished it today!




You want me to vote for you? Be someone I want to vote for.

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Dear Ms. Steinem and Ms. Albright,

I am no longer a “young woman,” but I’m youngish; younger than both of you, in any case, and a Bernie Sanders supporter, so I presume you are also talking to me. And I would love nothing better than to back a progressive woman candidate for president. Unfortunately, Hillary is not the one I’ve been waiting for. Is she a competent human being who gets things done? Sure. Unquestionably. But she’s too cozy with Wall Street for my taste, and her record does not align with my own wishes for my country. She’s not really progressive enough for me; in saner times, she’d be considered a very moderate conservative.

I thought the same 8 years ago when I voted for Obama (twice) in both the primaries and the general elections. If my sole interest were getting a woman into (or near) the White House, I could’ve voted for Sarah Palin, but that wasn’t going to happen, and it’s not going to happen now. I, like many women of various political stripes, am very interested in voting for women candidates, and study them eagerly when they show up, but we’re not going to vote for them just because they’re women. Their positions and politics actually matter. For me to vote for a woman just because she’s a woman is the ugly flip-side to people NOT voting for a woman just because she’s a woman. There’s a whole lot of not-thinking involved in either of those choices.  And I know there are plenty of voters who seemingly do not think, but I don’t happen to be one of them.

If you want sisterly solidarity, then you need to give me a sister who’s in solidarity with, or at least respectful of, my ethics and expectations, not just demand I fall in line with hers because we are both women. It goes both ways. Because when I vote, I’m looking for someone to represent ME, as much as possible, in this representative democracy. And I’m one of the little guys. Or gals, rather. Bernie is a true servant of the people, interested in bettering this country for PEOPLE and not for corporations. I dig that. And based on the results in Iowa, I am clearly not the only one.

I only have one vote, and with it, only one tiny voice to speak with. By voting for Bernie, whom I agree with 99% of the time, I and everyone else planning to vote for him are asking to be heard, to pull things back from the neo-Dark Ages of the far right, where people don’t believe in science, in women’s humanity, in the humanity of non-white or non-straight persons, in society itself–where the group helps itself by helping each other–at all, and all these voices raised for Bernie should inform your candidate’s considerations and her own politics. If she wants my vote, she has to earn it, and not by yelling at me, or getting her pals to scold me, or displaying her utter and unshakeable conviction that she’s entitled to the job, but by showing me she’s a candidate whose plans and dreams for this country are something I also think are good for us. Ms. Clinton cannot change her past record, but she can change what she does and says going forward.  And she has to mean it.

Should she win the primaries and become the actual nominee, then I will vote for her, because she’s a damn sight better than any one of the Republican candidates, who are frankly appalling in their ignorance, their insensitivity, and their selfishness. But in the meantime, I’m going to vote for someone I want to vote FOR, while I have the chance.


Kristie Cunningham
Registered and active female, feminist voter since 1990