Did you know watches came in Amy Butler?
Or Jessica Jones?
They do now.
And it all happened because I realized how much I've changed since becoming a mum! Indulge me a bit - I'm going to tell you another longwinded Singapore story. Long ago, like before the children were born, I used to leave the house to go to work. I drove a non-minivan car to the office. I went to meetings and occasionally wrote letters in the name of education bigwigs. I emceed education conventions attended by parliament members. For all this fancy stuff going on in my job, a person needed to dress up, right? I had immaculate makeup. I wore tailored jackets and silk blouses and suede pumps. I carried a briefcase (it's very funny thinking about it now, given the state of my current ratty canvas messenger bag filled with Kleenex lint and old supermarket receipts and one pair of hoop earrings that I never take out, so I can put them on in an emergency while in the car at a red light. Inhale). Erm.. where was I? Oh yes - I also wore serious watches, that coordinated with my rotation of non-purse-dwelling earrings.
Then I became a mother of three kids in rapid succession and my old persona went into the closet, literally. I look at myself in the mirror now and giggle, because I'm soooooooooooo different. I can't say I miss that Old LiEr, because she was so........ corporate and not-really-me. But I miss how I dressed - specifically, I miss having the time to choose and buy really good clothes and feel really put-together before leaving the house. Then, while packing for our recent trip to Singapore, I found these old fancy watches in a shoebox, with their batteries flat, not surprisingly. Suddenly- and it's funny how these connections come out of nowhere - it hit me that was I no longer defined by the ages of my children, especially since little Kate is out of diapers and speaks real sentences. I mean, yes, I wear Tshirts and jeans like a sad uniform, but I actually haven't worn post-maternity transition clothes in years! I'm, like, my own person again! When did that happen? I could still remember yearning, with my three-month postpartum doughy midriff, for the day when I could "dress normal" again. Could that day have actually come and, unnoticed, melted into the lazy madness of convenient, random attire (so long as it was modest) of the new Chauffeur Mum I'd gotten so used to being? No more! She might wear tees from hell, but, by gum, her wrists were getting a life! So I took those watches out, and packed them with us to Singapore to get new batteries installed by the watch guy there - the same one who'd been repairing and revitalizing my dead watches since I was a kid.
In addition to work watches, I also had quite the collection of Swatch(es) from my days as a teacher before I even became Miss Fancypants Uppity Corporate Government Officer. Most of them were Scubas, because they were great for swimming. But I also had a number of these Pop Swatches that were just fun for days out with the girls (girlfriends, I mean; not preschoolers). The batteries in these guys were dead, too - I'd shelved these pretty babies years ago for my current, ultimate Mom-Watch: a Baby G - which I love and about which, in its defense, I will say that it handles a gazillion hand-washes and kid baths and sweat from running after little legs at the park. Well, I looked at these old Swatches and thought they were still awfully cute, so into the suitcase they also went, for a visit to the watch guy.
When I got home with what felt like seven or eight brand new (but old) watches, I decided they needed more than new batteries. They were running fine now, but their straps were old, stretched out, stained and just sad. They needed a makeover!
So out came all the print fabric from my stash, for auditions.
I cut out interfacing and ironed it onto strips of fabric. I experimented with different weights of interfacing with different weights of fabric, and left some of the ends unstablized, to reduce bulk when folding over for the metal rings later.
Here's how I made these straps, and how I make narrow straps in general, that are very heavily stabilized. There is no way a person can sew them into complete tubes and turn them right side out when one is working with canvas, duck cloth and heavy interfacing. So I make mine by sewing all around both ends and one long edge and leaving the majority of the second long edge open (see black arrow).
Then I turned the strap out through the gigantic opening, and pressed the seam allowances in.
And then I top-stitched all around to close the huge opening, and to make it all pretty.
And for this strap, I folded in one end (remember how I left it un-interfaced so it's not bulky?) for the rectangular rings.
It's as simple as that!
Pop Swatches have these little frames that you can thread a strap through
before popping the face on. If you own Pops, you'll be familiar with them.
I decided I'd make a few more straps because they were so fast to do.
And then I realized I could use webbing (it's from the Winnie The Pooh collection, believe it or not) and make it all go even faster! One end was sealed with the candle method, and the other was folded over to enclose the metal rings. So just one hem!
I hate those stitches at the top, though. My needle was wonky with this webbing material. I took all my photos before the daylight disappeared, and then went back and unpicked all the stitches and resewed that line. ICK.
Lots of mix-and-match options!
Incidentally, the Swatches never made it to the watch guy after all. Dad took one look at them and said he'd been re-battery-ing Mum's Swatches for years, and taught me how to do it. Yay.
And that's where I am - four years after the birth of my youngest, and finally starting to toss out the old slouchy pants. My wardrobe may still scream "Clearance Rack!" but hopefully my watches won't. Your turn now - how has parenthood changed your wardrobe and what Mom, Reinvented tips can you share?