Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

One’s Better – One’s Worse


Gosh, you wake up one morning and all of a sudden nearly four weeks have gone by!

Thank you all so much for the honest comments about the dress. There are so many that I haven’t replied individually but I read every one at least twice and took on board your advice and criticisms. Most of you were absolutely right about the bodice and that was the one thing that threw the whole balance of the dress off, apart from Sally, who is a little weird (I know her in real life) who loved the dress just as it was – there’s always one huh?

I went with the majority:  the scissors were brought out and the bodice has gone. I removed the zip altogether and just folded down 2″ to make a casing for 1″ wide elastic.

So now I have a pull-on full and swingy skirt.


Much better.

On the other hand, DH (who knows everything) washed my fancy pants (left) with the the red cotton top. Well, guess what happened there! My vibrant and colourful pants came out with an all over pink hue. So clever…….


I bought a thing to remove dye that was created for occasions such as this and soaked the pants overnight.

All the colours except the pink dye faded! Reds went to faded orange, oranges went to pale yellow, greys went to khaki, blacks went to grey and the white stayed pink!


Much worse.

I was moved and inspired by Shams and her posting about weight loss and health. Then Sarah wrote a little about it too and I followed it up. I’ve put on weight since the middle of May most of my clothes were no longer tight they just didn’t fit anymore. I realised that when you make clothes for yourself they are made to fit perfectly and any deviation in weight has a most dramatic effect on this tailored fit.  I purchased the e-book Eat to Live and started on Dr. Fuhrman’s  plant based diet a week before we went to Salisbury on choir tour. I started at a whopping 75kg (at least 10kg over my recommended ideal weight) – Within one week I’d lost 2.5 kg (5 1/2 lb) – the red line on the graph below.

[2.2lbs = 1kg]  Then we went away……


I’d no intention of sticking to the diet when we were in England – eating out every night, hotel breakfasts and so on, but I was a wee bit good and returned home with just a little weight back on. But I expected this and didn’t beat myself up about it. So this week I started again (purple line). Starting point on Tuesday was 74kg and by Friday I was down to 72kg and today it’s 71.5kg!

The diet is hard going, I’m not going to say it’s easy. I live with a carnivore and an omnivore and the Eat to Live diet is predominantly vegan. I did ask if anyone in the house wanted to join me but there were no takers, so I’ve been making a meal for them and a meal for me. The shopping trolley has a split personality – vegetables and fruit, beans and pulses at one side; meat, potatoes, bread and biscuits on the other.

I believe it’s also easier to follow the diet in summer, especially in a heat wave. I really can’t imagine eating salad with raw vegetables and a dash of balsamic in the middle of January when it’s dark at 4.30pm and 3 degrees celcius outside – just a hearty beef stew with lots of potatoes is the right thing for then. I also try to buy locally produced and in-season fruits etc. It’s not always possible but I don’t know where I’d get raspberries in February in Belfast.

I’m a girl who puts a shot of double cream in her three cups of coffee every morning: who always grates a bit more Cheddar cheese than is necessary so I can nibble it prior to dinner; who eats her sirloins blue and who cooks with salt and then salts her food: oh, I can also drink olive oil from the bottle. The frying pan is the most used pot in the kitchen arsenal in our house. To completely remove salt, sugar, meat, diary and oils from my diet was a BIG challenge. I have no underlying health issues (thankfully) so this was purely for weight loss but I can easily see how anyone’s general health would be improved on this plant based diet – there’s just no bad things in it! Every night I think – tomorrow I’ll go back to normal this is such hard work – and then I weight myself every morning and another 0.5kg has gone and I decide – just one more day. When I get to the 70kg mark I’ll have to make a new graph.

Much, much better.

I trust you and yours are all in good health, enjoying (but taking care in) the sunshine (northern hemisphere) and wrapping yourselves in wool and cashmere (southern hemisphere).


37 thoughts on “One’s Better – One’s Worse

  1. Wow, great to catch up! I was wondering how you were as the heat wave has been enjoyable but I remember you’re one with good erason to roast in the sun.

    Good luck with the diet: I’ve always thought you looked fabulous but did enjoy the image of you swigging olive oil from the bottle 🙂
    And how right you are that diets are easier in the summer. I don’t diet but just naturally eat more in winter (it’s my ‘central’ heating) then almost unconsciously lay off the stodge when/if I get lucky with the weather.

    Great skirt. Really suits you and looks fantastic with the top. Shame about the pants…. Make sure you remind your husband of it in petty arguments from time to time!

    • The heat in the south of England was almost unbearable last week – 34 according to the car, but a few cool Chardonnays in the beer garden eased the strain. Should I be grateful he does the laundry at all?

  2. You can only do what you can on holidays. I tend to go hard at it once I get back home to lose the kgs because I’ve worked so hard to make the clothes that I love. I also know what medical conditions are ahead of me if I don’t
    You are such a creative and inspiring sewer. Enjoy your break.

    • Good plan – holidays are exactly made for taking time off from the usual cares of everyday life. I’m thinking of exercising now – well just a little – you do yoga don’t you?

  3. Much better as a skirt than a dress, looks fabulous now. Love it.

    Damn husbands and laundry. What a shame about your lovely pants. Can you manipulate him into letting you buy some expensive toy/tool that you need for your sewing toolkit?

    Good for you about the diet and weight loss. I was a vegetarian for a number of years and never stopped craving meat, I can’t even imagine being vegan. You’re a better woman than I.

  4. OK, now I need a skirt from that Vogue- I love it! What a great idea, especially for such a bold print. I’m sorry about the pants, but hey, they are still cute- just muted cute.

  5. Your post had me laughing out loud!
    I love the new skirt – especially with the red sweater!
    Your post brought back memories of the time my husband decided to wash all of my nice pink clothes in hot water and dry on high heat.
    ……. and now about Eat to Live……. you’re looking great! I found giving up salt to be the hardest part of this diet, followed by olive oil. My way to stay on the ETL program is to cheat with a weekly trip to the Bistro and eat whatever I’m served when I’m away from home. At home it’s spinach shakes and lots of beans 🙂
    You’ll be at the 70 graph in no time. Good luck!

    • Yes, giving up salt is hard and I do cheat a little every now and then. I heard the other day about a New York food critic who is vegan until 6.00pm, then anything goes! He still lost weight, blood pressure is now normal and his risk of heart attack is greatly reduced. Once a week treat sounds good. Thanks for the support and encouragement.

  6. Bummer on those pants. They were so pretty. Oh well, makes room for something new 🙂
    The now skirt is lovely. It must feel like a dream to wear such a bright and swishy skirt. I always like swish!!
    As for the weight loss, congratulations!! I’ve followed your blog long enough to know that you can and do accomplish anything you put your mind to 🙂

  7. The dress looks much better as a skirt! So sorry about the trousers.

  8. Hee hee. I understand, Ruth! Congrats on the weight loss! The skirt is a HUGE improvement and looks fabulous with that wrap top – what a pop of color! I love it! And what a SHAME about your pants!!!!! I had no idea that those color catchers could do that! (Did you use a color catcher, or was it something else? The color catchers are supposed to catch extra dye, not remove it.) Anyway, you look great, *especially* in that first picture! A killer outfit, and your look healthy and happy!

    • The reason, Shams that the pants turned pink in the first place was because DH didn’t use a colour catcher! – Idiot. The stuff I used seemed to be invented to try and cover up when other DHs washed red cotton tops with whites! I think it was the fabric in the end. It’s not 100% cotton but with a little Lycra. Oh well.

  9. Have missed your posts. Always enjoy them and you. Love the skirt now and with the top, it’s perfect. Like Pretty N Pink, I still like the pants, and they fit well, so with the grey top in the pic they are fine. Just not the party pants you wanted. Admire people who can do the eat to live. I can’t. But I know it’s healthy and if you feel better about yourself, and can wear all your fabulous garments, that’s good. Did you see the new Center for Design Four Square Dress yet? I think it would be fabulous on you!

    • Thanks Lynda, I couldn’t believe how time had flown by myself, Off to Centre for Pattern Design now – thanks for that. I’ve missed so much out there recently

  10. well, you sure did save that gorgeous fabric. I love the skirt and while I loved the dress, I do think your skirt is better on you. Good luck with your eating plan and happy sewing.

  11. You are on my Bloglovin list and when I read this post today I had to laugh. I wore a skirt this morning that evolved from a dress fail and wore it with a top that I only made because my skirt needed something to match it. Serendipity! In addition, thanks to Goodbye Valentino and Shams who are also on my list, I have ETL on my Kindle and need to start losing (using– Freudian slip there) it. Thanks for the reminder. BTW, if ETL doesn’t work out for you, my husband is down to his goal weight by logging all his food on WebMD’s food and fitness tracker — and no soft drinks, sweets (he loves desserts!), and only healthy snacks. I really like the look of my grocery cart these days, even if it isn’t all veggies. Your skirt is a winner!

    • Thanks Isabel, I’m now scouring the wardrobe for other things that didn’t quite ‘make the grade’ to see if I can salvage something from them. Just not eating between meals has had a big effect too

  12. Way to go Ruth; I knew you would “make it work” in the words of Mr Tim Gunn and you have. Fab transformation.

    Congratulations on the weight loss programme. I know what you mean. I have always worn very fitted clothes, and since illness and then surgery my figure isn’t what it was!! I am trying to loose a little weight, but like you why have single cream when you can glug double cream……………………

    Thank you so much for your inspiring blog and actually more than that, for being one of a rare breed of bloggers who actually answers queries. Frabjous Couture, your goodself and La Sewista can always be relied on to be wonderfully inspiring and approachable too.

    Enjoy your summer.

    Oh, so sorry about the laundry blunder… excuse to go shopping??

  13. So glad you’re back, Ruth. Great save with the skirt…it’s gorgeous! As for the DH ruining laundry, been there, done that…:(
    Good luck on the ETL plan!

  14. I absolutely love this as a skirt, great solution!

  15. Now we can all appreciate your beautiful face in that solid red top…it is a killer too!!! The skirt has been “released” and has more room to spread it’s wings….you did it! Yes, crapped out pants end up for gardening or painting…they were a little hard on the eye anyway to be honest…maybe hubby did you a favor rendering them “transformed”. Diets only work while you are on them but at least they make us happy on the scale until we make a lifestyle change and decide looking good and feeling good is the goal. Low salt and low carb are the rules in our house and it keeps the bloating and blood pressures in check. Good for you taking the challenge…you may find clothes in the closet that are begging to be worn again…a real bonus!

  16. I’m heartbroken about your lovely pants! But do like your skirt 🙂

  17. such a shame about the paints I loved them – sort of thing my hubby would do lol. Love the transformation of the dress to skirt.

  18. I’ve wanted to make this dress, but wasn’t so sure about the silhouette. I love your transformation of it into a fabulous skirt. You are sure to wear the heck out of it. And congrats on your hard-earned weight loss. Like everyone else in the first world, I’ve been told I could lose a few to get back down to what I weighed when I was 20 yrs old, but my issue is exercise. I live a very sedentary lifestyle. Oh. And chocolate. And I’m scouring my closet, too, for things that I wasn’t 100% happy with, to remake them into something lovely!

  19. Pingback: Dress of Two Halves | corecouture

  20. Pingback: Indies 3 – Four Square | corecouture

  21. Aha, good save, the skirt looks fab with that gorgeous top. And congrats on the weight loss. I still have to find something that works for me…

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