Jeffrey, at 3 years old, has entered that “repeat everything Mom and Dad says” stage (which, apparently, lasts until the teen years, when he wouldn’t be caught dead saying anything we said because we’re idiots). That means keeping a close watch on our language around the house…not always the easiest task for two people with a combined 20+ years of Naval service. More than once I’ve caught Jeffrey saying, “Son of a…” because he’s heard me say it; my sole consolation is that “a” is the last word in the phrase, because I don’t finish it.
So, Steve and I have had to come up with creative alternatives–ones that Jeffrey would actually prefer to say. A mom on a message board I used to belong to bemoaned the fact that they tried without success to get their daughter to say “ship” instead of the rather similar profanity, but come on–what little kid wants to say “ship”? Where’s the fun in saying something so plain, that no one will react to? So I chose snickerdoodle (which I thought was a made-up word; I had no idea they actually exist). It’s fun to say and people tend to laugh when they hear a child snap “Snickerdoodle!” in frustration. Jeffrey has since added “bananapants” to the list, but I’m sticking with my choice.
And “snickerdoodle” got some usage as I worked on Lexie’s romper, made to match Steve’s most recent Hawaiian shirt. This was the first article of clothing I had ever sewn that was not a simple button-down shirt, so the pattern pieces were a little confusing. It didn’t help that most pattern pieces have so many weird angles and crazy protrusions that it’s hard to tell which end is up.
(This is called foreshadowing.)
I finally decided that I knew where the legs were–there were two extensions that looked leg-shaped, with a U-shaped cut-out in between that looked like it was marked for snaps. So I laid the pattern on the fabric accordingly–important because I’m dealing with a directional fabric–and cut.
(This is more foreshadowing. You should pratically be able to hear the horror movie music playing.)
One of the things I dislike the most about patterns is that the only actual pictures of the finished item that come with the pattern are the tiny ones on the front of the package. So it wasn’t until I started sewing the romper that I realized what I thought were side seams were actually center front and back seams. Once I had those sewn, I took another look at what I had…and got that sinking feeling in my stomach. What I thought was the section between the legs clearly couldn’t be, because those U-shaped parts were now on the sides of the romper. And those lopisided protrusions that I thought were sleeves were now sewn together and in the middle…and they looked a lot like the flaps that go between the baby’s leg.
As I stared at what I’d done, I could almost hear Jeffrey: “Don’t say that word, Mommy. Say snickerdoodle.”
The worst part is that this shouldn’t have happened. Although the pattern piece was not marked with directional arrows or a top/bottom indication, it did have print on it. Had I placed the pattern on the fabric so that the print was aligned top/bottom with the fabric, then the flamingos would be right-side up. Instead, I over-thought things and tried to outsmart the pattern. There’s a 10% rule–you must be 10% smarter than any tool you’re trying to use in order to use it successfully. Apparently, I’m dumber than tissue paper.
The big consolation–and this is a big one–is that Steve is thrilled. I know it sounds weird, but since Steve’s first Hawaiian shirt had upside-down flamingos, he thinks it is awesome that his daughter’s first will too. My first instance of Australian flamingos occurred because I didn’t pay attention to the direction of the fabric. My second occurred because I paid too much attention to it.
Hopefully, with Jeffrey’s first shirt my level of attention will be just right.
At least my Doodle Shrug was more successful.
The ribbon yarn in the back worked out even better than I’d hoped. I’d already seen that it looked good next to the Doodle yarn, so my sole concern was comfort. The ribbon is scratchy, and there was going to be a band of it laying across my neck. However, several hours of wear tonight at Knotty Girl’s Sit ‘n Knit proved it was plenty comfortable. It also showed me that I need to sew the arms up several inches further to keep the shrug from sliding off. Still, for a first attempt, I’m calling it a success…and I’ve got a few more colorways of these yarns for a little variety.