Azara

I told you guys last week that I’m on a bit of a Deer & Doe kick, and I’m going to live that out on this blog because I love sharing what I’m up to, and I just keep trying new things! I actually purchased the Azara Skirt PDF several weeks ago before I ever made the Aubepíne dresses, but I did’t get it printed at the copy shop until a week or two ago.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

I have been making a solid effort over the past couple of years to use what I have, and when I do order fabric, I try to use it before it ever gets a chance to sit on my shelf. Much better to put it to use than look at it. I don’t always practice this, but I do try! In a recent evaluation, when I was looking at my shelf with garment sized Liberty cuts, I came across this long hoarded print, Anna’s Garden. I first used it here to make a robe for my mom, and then my friends at Jones & Vandermeer managed to find this super rare print in a dark color way, and I immediately purchased a couple meters. Initially I thought I might just make a whole cloth quilt because I couldn’t bear to cut up the fabric for any other purpose. But then there’s the whole thing where I find whole cloth quilts beautiful, but incredibly boring to sew. So the fabric languished on my shelf for YEARS waiting for me to use it. How ridiculous is that? I need to remember its *just* a piece of fabric and use the darn stuff. That’s actually been the whole point of these evaluations, but I do chide myself for holding some fabrics in such high esteem that I don’t use them. Its really a bit silly in the grand scheme of things.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

Anyway, I’m rectifying my issue of holding too closely onto a piece of fabric, so here we are. My beautiful cut of fabric was transformed into the Azara Skirt.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

So why did I choose this? Well truthfully, I went back and forth on how to use this fabric. I thought pajama bottoms would be lovely because I only have a single pair of long pajama pants which I wear almost daily, so a second pair would be well loved and awfully useful. But there was just something about this print- it wanted to see more than the sheets (okay let’s be honest, I am a homeschooling mother and I wear them all day). When I was browsing all the beautiful Deer & Doe patterns on their site, this skirt captured my attention because it had interesting lines, and it was the perfect showcase for a large, statement print. Pleased that I had found the perfect mate for my fabric, I purchased the pattern.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

I was really proud of my resolve, for when I came time to cut my pattern pieces, I didn’t even hesitate. I didn’t think of every conceivable way to use the least amount of fabric possible so I could hang onto it for some other project. I just dove right in, and it was so freeing!Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

Its no surprise at this point that the pattern sewed up like a breeze. Even those corner Y seams were easy peasy. They are simply a detail, and wouldn’t be noticed right away, but they really do add something special to the character of the skirt. They are flattering on my “shapely” hips, and I mean that they make them look good not that I’m trying to hide them. I recently read that some want the word “flattering” to be removed from vocabulary because its understood to mean that flattering means that you want to hide your curves, and I just want to be clear that that’s not how I mean it. Anyway, I quite like those interesting lines!Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

I sewed up View B, which has a smooth front cut on the fold, and the back has an invisible zipper with a button band on top. Those girls at D&D are awfully clever with that band, by the way! I don’t love interfacing a lot with clothing because it often gives the garment too much stiffness, and it can cause certain parts to fold oddly when worn. I really appreciated that they had the waistband structured with some thick twill tape. Lovely addition!Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

When I finished this skirt, I will admit I struggled with doubt. In fact, I came upstairs and told my husband that I might have wasted my pretty fabric with my skirt choice. I’m an above the knee or maxi length girl. Those are the cuts that generally make my body look its best, and I avoid midi’s. But I always make a pattern the first time by following the directions, so I made the midi. My calves are not long and lean. I’m a very average 5’4″, and my legs are not my lean area by any means. But the sun was going down, and I knew I wanted to get some pictured in my new skirt, so my husband told me to just go ahead and get the pictures, and that I could always change the skirt length and get more pictures later.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

I took his advice, and my daughter took some photos for me. She’s a great little stylist, and had no problem taking the lead, “be still, Mom. okay. Now put your hands on your hips and look at me. Smile! okay, there!” 

I got home and looked through her work, and you know what? I saw myself like she saw me. A midi is never going to be my go-to, but this skirt is not a failure. Its a new look, and one that worked a lot better when I saw myself like my daughter saw me, and not with the critical eyes that were staring at me in the mirror picking apart every possible thing that was not what I wanted to see. I’ve struggled a lot with my body for the last year. This time a year ago, I stopped breastfeeding, and my mind went from “I’d love to have another child that’s hopefully a girl!” to “nope. that’s not going to happen again. Not changing diapers rocks.” With my change in mindset came a whirlwind of hormonal changes that have totally changed my body chemistry. Nothing works like it used to, and my metabolism seems to have taken the greatest hit. I gained 20lbs last year! Its been an ugly year of self loathing, and there were days where I would just stare at the mirror and hate who I have become. I’m thankful for loved ones who speak encouraging words to me, but also push me to be better if I’m really looking for change. I’ve started eating a lot better. I didn’t eat much to begin with, and while I don’t think I was putting in garbage, I definitely haven’t been putting in pure, clean foods everyday. I wasn’t exercising like I should. And most importantly, I wasn’t approaching any of it with a go-getter, positive attitude.Deer and Doe Azara Skirt with Liberty of London

This past couple of weeks has marked a change for me. I want this year to be the year I grow and do hard things. I don’t want it to be a year where I sit and watch things just happen. I am approaching my body with a renewed mindset because I am 28 and I am not dead. I am alive and I want to have a healthy body and a healthy mind, and that starts with recognizing what does and doesn’t work and moving ahead. Hating on my calves isn’t going to do a thing for this pretty skirt. Putting a smile on, and walking straight and confidently will do everything, though.

And you know what? My next make is a fresh one too. I can always lengthen or shorten my next Azara to be more comfortable, to be more “me”. That’s the beauty of handmade. We can make whatever we want to suit us individually for where we are at at any given point in our lives.

Have you ever made a garment that seemed like a failure, but you really just needed to see it with a fresh perspective? I certainly have some patterns that I’ve made and never worn because they just weren’t well fitted for my body, but I’m talking more about the ones that work perfectly well but are just out of our normal style. Let’s hear it!

I hope you are doing well today and staying warm! We are hoping for some snow tomorrow.

-Meredith

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Welcome to Olivia Jane Handcrafted! I'm Meredith and this is my creative journal. Here you'll find loads of inspiration for a handmade wardrobe, home decor, bags, and quilts. I even have plenty of projects and tutorials to get you started or help you along the way. 

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