Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mrs. Obama's Arms Inspire Shirt Dress Sewing and More (Romancing the Dress, Ivy)

Mrs. Obama is an inspiration to me professionally and politically.
Also she inspires me to want to improve my muscles - using sewing as my exercise willpower gimmick!

I've been working on adding weight lifting into my health routine. I'm a regular exerciser, but weights have been a challenge for me to add. They just doesn't interest me like walking, hiking, biking or swimming do. I know, however, that weight lifting is linked to a decrease in health problems that affect ladies of a certain age (osteoporosis). I think it may help with my posture improvement program. I know that it improves lean muscle mass, which increases my metabolism rate (never a bad idea). It's clear from her toned physique and excellent posture, that Mrs. Obama has mastered this exercise skill. Isn't it nice when our leaders and their spouses are not only professional and citizen role models, but health models as well? Images of our president's beautiful wife  have reinforced my desire to improve my own biceps, triceps, and .... you know all that other arm area stuff.

Oh yes, this is my sewing journal!

I don't know 'bout you, but I sometimes have to fool myself into liking a new exercise. I think I may have found the secret for making weight lifting more fun for me. 

You probably guessed that has something to do with sewing...

Here's how I do it... 

Over the last week, I've been working on a new dress, I call Ivy. I had the piece of forest green, raw silk (silk noil) you see below, in my fabric inventory, just waiting for more meaning in it's life, then could be found in my armoire. I bought the material at Thai Silks/Exotic Silks in Los Altos a year ago, planing to create a shirt dress for last fall's Draping class. Part way through the semester, I realized, that I wasn't quite ready to drape something with that much detail, so I made a simpler linen dress with a front zip instead. Since then I've altered a commercial shirt dress pattern to create just the  type of dress I wanted. (More about my pattern work and sewing experiences in my recent Shirt Dressing audio podcast. You can also read blog postings I wrote about my first shirt dress "Peaches and Cream".)
A little pinning, a little cutting - it all fits great in between
ten curls, rows or other weight bearing exercise moves.
Don't you love this deep forest green silk noil/raw silk?
I bet Mrs. Obama would approve!
I'd like to wear Ivy to several events over the holiday and winter season. I've also got a personal deadline for finishing her. There's a supper party coming up midway through this month. Though these events inspire me to complete Ivy, life gets in the way a bit. Believe it or not, I have a few things to do other than sew :-) ! Of course in addition to fitting sewing in and around those things, I need to schedule in my exercise as well.   New activities like weight lifting might just get overlooked. 

So I setup a multi-tasking project session, alternating between weight lifting and sewing.

My weight lifting program is three sets of six exercises. That's 18 different spots of work. So first I do my first ten bicep/tricep thingies. (Yeah, I forget what each exercise is called, but I know what to do each time, and that's what counts.)  Then, while I'm taking my quick break between exercises, I unfold Ivy and do a little bit - maybe I plug in the iron and set up the board - maybe I pin a seam. Next, as you guessed, I do another batch of ten exercises for the next part of my program (that extended flying arm thing maybe - do you like the professional way I describe my exercises?)  after which I sew that freshly pinned seam or perhaps press what I sewed last time.

Well, you get the idea. I do a little bit of each, sandwiching my sewing and weight lifting tasks together. It also really helps me to get through some of the aspects of creating Ivy that I don't like as much. My least favorite parts of creating a shirt dress are the work on the front facing and collar, with all the interfacing, pinning, pressing and basting, working to get a clean, precise, finished edge. 
Collar and Front Facing
I'm not as partial to doing the work involved in getting the
interfaced pieces working, as I am to other
aspects of sewing a garment.
Fitting the steps involved in these less desirable activities around weight lifting, gets me through more easily. It also encourages me to stop regularly and stand back from the task, which helps me to accomplish the task more neatly and thoughtfully. It actually makes me less likely to buzz through too quickly (in an attempt to
Anything that helps me avoid those
 painful personal sessions with
Auntie Seama Rippah is to be encouraged!
finish what I don't like to do), which can typically result in a painful session with Auntie Seama Rippah. I know that never happens to you, of course.

When we elect Mrs. Obama as president a few years down the road, I'm going to write her a fan letter. Of course I'll tell her I respect her stand on important issues. And then I'll let her know that she's been an inspiration to me for quite some time...
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Let's Not Invite Auntie Seama Rippah for the Holidays!

I recommend Exotic Silks (formerly Thai Silks) highly for both price and quality. They are a local business, but you can buy their products on-line.

My Enchanted by Sewing Shirt Dressing Audio Podcast (listen on-web or download to your mobile device)

A wrap-up posting about my first shirt dress project, "Peaches and Cream"

Mrs. Obama's Exercise Program

More Sewing Inspiraton from Mrs. Obama - A blog kept for five and a half years that records many aspects of the first lady's wardrobe