home again, home again

I knew I'd officially been gone from home too long when this conversation transpired:

Amy: [snip] costume research while chicken cooks. hi.

Brian: hi

Brian: I am also cooking chicken

Amy: the stuff you had in the fridge?

Brian: yep

Two three-day Atlanta weekends in a row, separated by only three full days home, bordered on too much, no matter how much I adore Brian and Suzan. But "too much" is the summary of the summer, as we gradually divert our energies and interest away from the mundane chores of daily life into the sucking void that is dragon*con, techops, and in my case, dragon*conTV.

The panic hit me sometime on Saturday morning. I know this panic well. The first year, it was "what have I gotten myself into?" The second year, "what was I thinking, and why am I doing this again?" The third, "How am I going to get all these slides done for Brian?" This year? "Oh, hell. Preparation is futile. Why worry?"

Still, it's good to be home. The cats have filed official grievances; if the unpaid scritchie debt isn't paid within 24 hours, they're going to be forced to resort to truly scary measures.

The bad part is now figuring out what the hell is going on with me, weight-wise. I know what I had to eat this weekend (please, don't make me recount it in detail, because I could, that's just how neurotic I am) and I know that there's no conceivable way that I've gained five and a half pounds since Friday morning.

It just doesn't work that way. Deep down, I know it doesn't, but I stood there on the scale and stared at the number it was telling me and whispered to myself, "This can't be right. It just can't be." I did my workout, went back to the scale, and weighed myself again. Still the same. I went home very confused, and tried on the size 14 jeans. They wouldn't fit, and now that I concentrated, I could feel the difference. Something wasn't quite right.

As if that wasn't enough to make me want to curl up into a little ball for a while, I spent a little while this afternoon talking with Jake, who agreed to participate in the tech staff dress-up night (pirates and wenches) if I did. If I showed up as a wench, he'd show up as a pirate, and we'd call it square.

Sure, I thought, no big deal. I got a costume recommendation from Joyce and blithely went on my way. Then, when I realized that I should probably check fabric requirements, I discovered that having lost 25 pounds has not made a damned bit of difference when it comes to sewing patterns.

I might be a size 14 or 16 in virtually everything else, but according to the pattern Joyce pointed out to me, I didn't even qualify as a size 20. Judging by the change between sizes, I was likely either a 22 or a 24 in that pattern. The pattern stopped at 20.

I cried.

This was a reminder of everything I'd been - everything I've been busting my ass to get out of for the past six months. I'm tired of being the woman that can't find clothes that fit; who is always four inches too short or four sizes too big.

It's hard to buy into your friends' statements that you're fine and lovely (or whatever) the way you are when you can't buy clothes or sewing patterns because, as far as clothing and pattern designers are concerned, you just don't exist.

I do exist. I'm tired of apologizing for my shape or my size. I'm sick of looking in the mirror and hating what I see, of how seeing photos of me throws me into a serious tailspin because it becomes so obvious how far I still have to go.

I just want to wear a costume. I want desperately to be able to fit in; to have group photos taken and not stick out as the fat girl, to be just another face in the crowd and not the one that people look at and quietly imagine what she'd look like if she was at a better weight.

Maybe the rest of you don't see me that way, but I do.

I'm going to take a chance on this costume and hope something will get worked out. I can make the chemise and skirt myself, but the bodice (which must be fitted) will require a pattern and some help from a more experienced seamstress. I can at least work on the chemise and skirt and hope that somehow, in the meantime, I will find a solution for the bodice.

I keep promising myself that next year, it won't be like this. I hope that's true.


Being cooped up in a car for extended periods of time can do strange things to the human body. Give it a couple of days to straighten out. I saw you this weekend and you look mahvelous...keep up the good work. I know you have it in you.

Yup. Sewing patterns officially suck. There is absolutely no correlation between the size of a pattern and the size of a store-bought garment. It's much worse than just buying something from a different company/brand than usual. Different brands are usually only one size bigger or smaller than "normal." Patterns are usually at least 3 or 4. Drives me crazy.

Patterns vary wildly, depending on pattern company. Vogue tends to run really small. Simplicity is better. Just ignore the "size" and go by measurements. You know you've lost there, so why worry about an arbitrary size number?

I wish there was something I could say to ease your discouragement... but here's a big virtual hug. I'm thinking of you! :)

Everything everyone has said here is true, but also: I'm sure you know that when it's time to go for a ride on the cotton pony, as it were, one can gain up to 10 pounds in water weight, and one's clothes can cease to fit properly. Obviously I don't know where you are in your cycle, but if it's about that time, it can easily explain it. (Personally I have a terrible time of it. When it's my time of the month, I can press down on my shin bone and cause edema pitting as deep as half a centimeter.) How to fix it? I don't know if it works for everyone, but if I am careful to drink plenty of water and avoid salty things, I don't get the same water retention.

I know from experience that this is only of limited help, but I also know it's nice to hear, so: You are doing extremely well, and certainly much better than you feel you're doing.

solarmax: it was Simplicity, and she was going by size; the pattern didn't even list any of her measurements! Commerical patterns are terrible about sizing. Amy, try these: http://www.alteryears.com/renaissance/ren-womens.html I recommend the Easy Peasant Bodice: Front Laced. The sizes are still all out of whack with store-boughten clothes, but at least they list the measurements you need.

Amy according to Simplicity by body measurements I don't fit into a size 16 pattern. I make all mine in a 14 because you HAVE TO look at the garment measurements at the bottom of the envelope. For example Simplicity 5304 (skirt) a size 16 is 42 inch hips. However the hip room in the finished skirt is 45 1/2 inches. Now depending on how your shaped will depend on how much extra room you need. A good way to check if you are not sure if it will work is trace the patteren onto white paper. Pin it around your body at seam allowances and figure out where alterations are need. I always use this method for fitted tops cause I always need darts that are never a part of the pattern.

Geeky math check: have you tried taking your daily weighings and plotting a graph of the ten day moving average? It smooths out the random up and down flunctuations and gives a better picture of what's going on. Compare the graphs on these two pages to see what I mean: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/subsection1_2_4_0_3.html http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/subsection1_2_4_0_5.html (graphs taken from "The Hacker's Diet: How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition". Despite the name, it's not a spoof page.) And while one could google to find out how to do exponential moving weighted averages with a bag of chips and a coke, it's much easier just to download some of the Excel or Palm software tools this guy has written: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/comptools.html