Vintage Adjust-O-Matic Dress Form and a Healthy Body Image

Have you ever seen one of these?

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Made in the mid-1960s and costing only $6.95: “with your Adjust-o-Matic dress form you see in advance just how attractive and becoming your dress, skirt, coat or blouse will look!

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Inside the box was a bewildering assortment of pieces. I have to admit, as a person who kind of sucks at puzzles, this put a bit of fear into my heart.

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Thank goodness there was also an instruction booklet! And let me say right now, that all instruction writers in the world should read this instruction booklet and take notes.  Seriously! This was so easy to put together! I was amazed!

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I spread the pieces out on the kitchen floor and proceeded to fit tab A into slot A and on and on until I was finished about an hour later.

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The Incredible Adjust-o-Matic is a miracle of modern engineering. Honestly.

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The form was built in three sections: first the hips, then the torso, then attach the neck piece and close the shoulders. When I built the hips section, I held it in my two hands and thought that surely there must be some mistake. These hips are too small. My hips are much larger than this. So I double checked the measurements. And yes…these are my hips.

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I suddenly felt a little teary-eyed! So here’s something about me that you may or may not know. Several years ago I lost a great deal of weight. Yes. Yes, I did. You can read all about it here. At some point after that I suffered an illness. My brain chemicals and hormones went out of balance, brought on by a combination of stressful life events and menopause, and I was diagnosed with acute depression.  It took me a couple of years, but thanks to a lot of very hard work and the love and support of my husband and a couple of close friends, I recovered. Unfortunately, however, I am left with a 20 pound weight gain. I can’t begin to tell you how I have beat myself up over re-gaining those pounds! The vicious, terrible things I say to myself! Horrible, just horrible.

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So holding those hips in my hands made me cry. Because I saw that they aren’t gigantic ugly hips at all! Yes, they are 3 inches wider than they were 3 years ago. That is a fact.My body-image is so out of whack, it’s scarey!

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I will get back to a healthier weight again. It’s just taking longer this time. My body is different than it was when I lost the weight before. I’m post-menopausal now.  I’m not teaching 5 dance classes every week. But I go for long walks every day with Samson, and I’m making an effort to get back into my yoga practice. I still go through phases of being very mindful of what I eat and then binging on ice cream (hard not to do on these hot summer days!). Over all I feel like I live a very balanced life. So the weight will probably be much slower in coming off this time around.  And you know what? That’s okay. Besides, the incredible Adjust-o-Matic will reduce right along with me as I re-loose those inches. She’ll help keep things real.

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She doesn’t actually belong to me. She is on loan from a friend. It belongs to my friend Jean’s mother.

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Jean’s mother is in a nursing home now, and the dress form was taken apart and packed away into Jean’s basement some time ago.

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I still think she looks smaller than me. But every time I check the measurements again, hers and mine remain the same.

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She sits in my sewing room and I look at her every day. She reminds me to be kind to myself.

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Overdoing it

The creative quilting bug hit hard on Monday and didn’t let go until yesterday afternoon. I worked almost non-stop on an idea for a lap quilt, and as a result I have completely wrecked myself! I don’t believe it! Both hands, wrists, forearms and my shoulders are weak as babies today and man oh man, do they ever ache! I’m afraid I’m going to be on the sewing sidelines for a while!

So….what in the world was so important? Two design roll of Free Spirit’s Wrenly by Valori Wells!

I had a great idea to make wonky log cabin blocks:

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And then I had the idea to make a couple of wonky houses and wonky hearts:

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And then I thought: how about sewing all the strips in a design roll together end to end…then find the center & cut in half and sew those two long strips together…then find the center & repeat & repeat & repeat?

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Oh, argh!   Now I have two little tiny quilts and some miscellaneous blocks  when what I really want is one comfy size lap quilt for snuggling under with a good book!

Hummm…..how about I cut up the strip quilt and use it as a border around the wonky log cabin blocks with some grey sashing in between?

Since I’m showing what I’ve been up to, I’ll just go ahead and empty out my on-going projects baskets and show you what else is on the go, eh? (these two baskets live in the living room where they valiantly try to contain everything I am currently working on. The rest of my WIPs live in the closet, away from prying eyes.)

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This is a garden-themed bow-tie quilt that I’ve been working on for more than a year.

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I decided that it wasn’t busy enough, so I’m sewing hexie flowers into the blank spaces. What was I thinking???

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And then Moda Bakeshop hosted a trifle dish-themed quilt sew along, and I just had to join in because I adore trifle – it’s my favourite dessert next to strawberry shortcake. Just calling the quilt a “trifle dish quilt” guaranteed my participation, lol!

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This is as far as I have gotten. There are 4 more rows to go.  I’m using up my little collection of 1930s reproduction prints.

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Also in the on-going projects basket is my Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which hasn’t progressed one inch since I posted this update here:

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And last but not least, today I am wearing another skirt that I sewed. I didn’t use a pattern…I just bought some stretchy material and measured around my waist, subtracted a couple of inches and sewed it into a tube. I hemmed the bottom with a zigzag stitch (and it made this really pretty lettuce leaf edge for some reason but I love it). I turned the waist over twice and then sewed a narrow seam around the top edge to hold it down. Voila! A skirt!

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Congratulations, you made it to the end of the post!

I am tired of talking about sewing. I think the next few posts will be non-sewing related, eh? Good.

Now I am going to go and have a cup of tea and piece of home-made sourdough toast (from bread that I made yesterday) because my wrists ache just from typing all this. Come over and join me if you can spare a minute!

Vintage Simplicity 9852 Strikes Again! (shorts version 2)

Remember these shorts?

Well, today I made another pair, out of…get this… a curtain that I got for $1 at the thrift store. Yup – a curtain.

013No pockets this time. Actually, I did make pockets, but I screwed them up. So rather than unpick everything and re-position them, I simply cut them off and sewed the seam closed. Problem solved!

012I swear to you, they are hemmed evenly! (I must be standing funny…)

014Meanwhile, everything in my garden is blooming!

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