Forced Mojo

I need to force my sewing mojo out of its deep sleep.  When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I named it Sew Transformed.  After reading blogs like Carolyn’s, Adrienne’s & Erica’s, I was inspired and wanted to dust my sewing machine off and tell y’all about it. That’s the “Sew” part. The “Transformed” part was to focus on what I was reading, because books can transform our lives. As you can see, there has been way more transforming than sewing happening around here.

One of the reasons has been my fit issues. I’ve said here before that I have gained weight in my adult years and I don’t have the sewing skills or the patience to alter patterns to fit this new body. I’m working on it though. Another, and possibly more important, reason is that the stuff I want to make doesn’t fit into my current lifestyle. A lifestyle that entails going to work and then coming home.  At work I have a dress code, which is basically the uniform of a barista at a popular coffee house:

This is what I wear to work every day!  I work in a bookstore that has a cafe in it, and while I am not a barista, as a supervisor I have to be prepared to work over there if needed.  Yes, I can make you a mean latte, but my cappuccinos suck!  I hate wearing the same thing everyday and sometimes I sneak in an orange or turquoise polo just to shake things up and to get compliments. On the non-work front – nothing.  I rarely have money to go out and when I do it is to the grocery store or the movies by myself.  Those are t-shirt and jeans times.  Not much need to sew nice things.

Recently, the crashing economy has made me realize that I need to start working on Plans B, C, D.  Retail has been hard by the recession and we aren’t bouncing back at all yet.  Those plans require a more versatile wardrobe than I currently have.  I have a whole library of fashion and style books and they all have the “must have” lists in them.  Reading over them just reminds me that I have nothing on those lists in my closet! I don’t have a little black dress, or a pair of black pants or a trenchcoat.  If, God willing, I got a call for a job interview tomorrow, I don’t have one thing in my closet that I could wear!  I don’t have an updated resume either, but that’s another story.

So, I need to get moving and make some basic pieces and will start work on them this week. I also need to free some money up to buy some fabric because the fabric on these shelves are good for accent pieces, not the foundation for a wardrobe.

I collected most of that fabric (and the many boxes you don’t see) when I didn’t have a dress code and I did have more of a social life.  So wish me luck as I pull the rug from under my sewing mojo and force her to get to work!

Retail Ranting

I don’t rant on here a lot about what happens at my job. I usually leave that up to Doret, cuz she is so good at it. Please visit her blog and read the “scenarios” of what we go through everyday and if you have children you will enjoy her book reviews.

So, those of us in the retail industry realized the economy was slipping way before it started making the news. Our sales have slipped steadily since the beginning of the year as people have less and less discretionary income. Also, returns of items started to pick up, especially those without a receipt. Lately, though, the returns are getting out of hand – it’s almost like the days after Christmas!

Now there are always people who seem to clean off their bookshelves and try to bring books back to us sometimes in large shopping bags. They think we are a library and that they can just exchange their old books for new ones. On the upside, though, they are usually serious readers who take care of their books and are therefore re-saleable. No crumbs in the pages!

This new breed, however, just bring anything in and expect us take it back. Today I get called to the register to approve a return without a receipt. When I get there the customer has left the books there and is presumably browsing the store for items she wanted to get in exchange. She brought back 9 books!

What I Wouldn’t Take Back:
3 books had yellow pages, dirt on the cover.
1 book was a hardcover book from the first year of Oprah’s BookClub – we don’t even carry it in paperback anymore.
1 book that was water damaged.

What I Did Take Back:
1 hardcover book, recently published in excellent condition
1 paperback book, recently published in excellent condition

The Wildcards:
She had a hardcover version of Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet and it’s companion journal.
Both in excellent condition.
But, we don’t carry the hardcover anymore; we only carry it in paperback. I refused that return.
We do carry the journal as a current title.

When people return books you always have to look through the books because people try to bring back books that have been written in (test books usually like the GRE or LSAT), or that their grandfather wrote an inscription in when he gave it to them.
I open up the journal and inside was a card that read:

“Thank you for visiting the Oprah show in November. I hope you enjoy you Best Life Diet set …blah, blah, blah.” signed – Bob Greene
That heffa got those books for free!!! She had money to go to Chicago and see the Oprah Winfrey Show, but now she is cleaning off her shelves!!??!!
Sure enough, the woman comes back to the register dressed to the nines with the new things she wanted to buy. She seemed fine with the way things turned out and wound up owing us 61 cents which she took her time digging out of her Christian Dior wallet!

I did take the journal back because I was feeling charitable. Plus our policy changes next week and no more returns without a receipt…period!! HA!


I keep trying to love Hancock’s. But my local store makes it real hard. I live in Atlanta and I don’t drive. So, while there are a few fabric stores here (not as many as I would like), the Hancock Fabrics at Lindbergh is the one that I can get to the easiest and quickest. The store is small by fabric store standards and they try to pack all they can in there. What with all the damn fleece (ughh!!) and home decorating crap (if I wanted some end tables, I would go next door to Home Goods!) they barely have enough room for all of the tired linen blends they love.

I went today for two things: single-fold black bias tape & 99 cent McCalls patterns. There was not a single package of single-fold black bias tape to be found in the whole store!!! How can you be out of something so basic and popular? That is like being out of black thread!! (Which they have before). There were dust bunnies everywhere (I think all that fleece creates extra dust). Buttons and notions just lying around on the counters. There was fabric on sale with no signage. There was bolts of fabric mixed in with where it did not belong. Nothing straightened at all! This was when the store was just opening for the day. I work in retail so I know that you aren’t supposed to leave the store looking like that at the end of the night!! I’ve also worked in a fabric store and so it really pisses my off!
Anyway, I calmed myself down enough to buy these patterns:

5592 – These will be perfect in linen.




5596 – Good wardrobe pattern
p.s. I am using double fold bias tape instead.


(Old, fat lady, retail back)

I am not one to be too caught up in this country’s youth driven mania. But I must tell you that if you work in retail, do not get fat or old. It can be detrimental to your health.
I have been absent from my computer for the last 2 weeks (except my e-mail which I read periodically standing up) because of a recurring back problem. Years and years of spending hours on my feet, lifting boxes, and shelving things on bottom shelves has caused me to develop sciatica. Gaining 50 pounds on top of that in the last 10 years doesn’t help either.
Usually it stays in my lower back and then disappers after a few days. Sometimes (this time) it stays in my lower back and then moves down my left leg. Sitting down is very painful. You are supposed to keep moving and doing normal activity. Which is fine at work because all I do is walk around our very large store. On my days off though, days that I usually putter around my apartment and read blogs and web surf, there is not a lot of room to roam.
So I ingested a lot of Tylenol and slept alot to avoid the pain. Today I feel a lot better as there is just a small nagging pain behind my knee which tells me that it is almost over.
I have already completed 10 books this month and am currently reading 11 and 12, so I have a lot of posting to do.
No sewing (obviously) yet, but I have some hemming to do today on some RTW pants and some crocheting to finish on some Xmas/Kwanzaa/Birthday/Just Because gifts.