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Thursday, August 28, 2014

If it weren't for bad news (story and a dress)

You know the saying; "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have none at all." I'm just going with "bad news," because it's probably not about luck. Oh, and I did an almost instant dress refashion:
I previewed this thing on my last refashion post. Ooh, look at that thing. That's so bright and flowery. That's sure to be a fun dress.
Nope. Let's see: I've been dealing with a recent issue so difficult that I didn't plan on discussing it here. Let's just say, "huge change in living situation." I'm devastated. But, it's the end of summer, and although this is traditionally a hard time for me (get a year older, weather gets a little colder, general feeling of "not ready") I wanted to be back to work. You know, the school year.
Throughout the last year of my blog, and the year before that, I have been through many troubling events. I've been knocked down so many times, and felt so low that I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed. I was ashamed of what I had become. Of course, through all of this, I have always had one saving grace. I had one very important thing that I could be proud of. My work.
(Record skip noise) Hold on. Wasn't I supposed to be showing off a dress refashion, rather than launching into a story of woe several years long? Fine, I'll do both.
On Tuesday, I completed this dress in the easiest way possible. It was a no-sew that I turned into a some-sew. Also, I stole the idea. (Ahem: Refashionista). 
 Like my best refashions, this one came off the $0.50 rack, alongside this gorgeous 80s-made-but-1940s-style purple peplum dress that I may or may not have ruined by hand-washing it. As soon as I saw this piece, I wanted to make it work. It was so tacky and outdated that it actually appealed to me. This was bought from Outfitters, the store I pass by on my home from work.
So, I added my tweaks to the dress on Tuesday night, planning to grab some pics and write up the post the next day. I woke up yesterday and did some chores, making a trip to the post office and stuff. I decided to check my work email, see if there was anything I needed to know.
 For those who don't know me or my life, here's the rundown: although I have a degree in elementary education, I am not currently working as a classroom teacher. I work in the special needs department of the same elementary school that I attended as a child. I mostly work with specific students in kindergarten to help them meet their goals. I do a lot of behavior management (positive reinforcements, consequences, etc) and helping the students function with less anxiety by giving them a clear, expected schedule. 
I have found this job to be very rewarding. I watch these children learn and grow, dealing with everyday struggles that the average child might not have. I do my best to teach them how to do their best and I see the fruits of my labor in their successes. I love what I do and take a great deal of pride in it. 
Our school has within it, an onsite pre-school program. It is for 3 and 4 year olds, many of them with special needs, a lot of them with mobility issues. Many of them are still in diapers. 
Anyway, I loaded up my school email inbox. There was a message to me from my principal. It read: "Just wanted to let you know that you will likely be placed in the pre-school program."
My heart sank. That's not good news. Not at all.
Oh, hello. I'm just modeling a dress I'm about to list on Etsy. Just wanted to use a picture to illustrate my despair.
My degree is in elementary education. I'm qualified to teach a class, k-8. For the last couple years, I've used my limited position to do great things with "my boys" (and yes, they are almost always boys). I'm not trained in early childhood education, nor do I have children of my own. I don't know how, nor am I at all comfortable with changing diapers. 
I've seen non-verbal, non walking children pushed in wheelchairs and spoon fed in between physical therapy sessions. I'm more of an educator, I don't want to work in a nursing capacity. That's just...not what I do. I've filled in for aides in preschool, during the year that I worked as a roaming teacher, working in different classes all day. It was fine for a few hours, but I knew it just wasn't a good fit.
Being in pre-school kind of takes me away from the general population of the school. I'll be in pre-k, I won't be with my peers and co-workers that I've been working with. I won't be with the kids I've come to know. I won't be doing what I love to do. I will have to look for a transfer, I'll need a new job.
For so long, I've been battling depression and it just gets harder and harder with each setback. I am in the middle of a financial crisis and I've been filled with anxiety as I prepare for my next difficult step. I wasn't sure how I'd handle that, and now I've got another huge loss to deal with. 
Another dress I'm modeling. Here, I'm expressing a defeated exasperation. Moving on.
I don't write this stuff for sympathy. Surely, my sorrows don't seem too awful to anyone but me. It's just...I needed this job. My work gives my life meaning. It motivates me to go on. No matter how awful everything is, I would show up each day and give my children my all. With all that I've lost; how could I lose this, too?
So, you wanna see the damn dress?
I somehow managed to set up my tripod and get a few pictures. The show must go on, or something. 
Could I possibly look any sadder? I purposely did the sad sack, slouched over, head hanging pose to go along with my story. That is one depressing floral party gown. Meh. Wanna see how I did it?
That's the Refashionista in the dress re-style that I ripped off. Here's how it's done:
First, you put the dress on, keeping your arms through the top, not placing them in the sleeves. Button it to fit. Your sleeves will be hanging uselessly at your side.
I twisted each sleeve toward my body a little and then tied them together, like so. You see what I did there?
Brianlessly simple. I just wanted a little more stability. I am often leery of strapless, and have a strap adding habit.
Oh, I also have a thread losing habit. Like, a month ago, I couponed some black thread at Joann; the good stuff; "Gutter" something. I can't find it, and I'm not sure why it would be anywhere other than in or at my machine. (edit: found it under my bed which is right next to my sewing machine) Seriously? I had to grab something at Walmart, so I grabbed some thread there. I also needed some black elastic for which to make straps, as I was all out. (Maybe I'll show you what I did with it, later). Walmart was all out, too. Only had packages and packages of white elastic. Grrr--wait! What is that item carelessly tossed near the sewing supplies? Do you see what I see?
A pack of two elastic headbands, $1.50. Looks like straps to me. Thank you to whomever changed their mind on headbands and tossed them out.
Why do 80s garments always have so much extra material? I had to cut that thing out of the back for easier strap placement.
 Straps placed. I actually cut one headband down the middle and used both sides. Hell yeah, frugality. Now, I have a spare headband/elastic. Oh, and I moved a button from the bottom to replace a missing one in the middle. Let's just do the sweaty, sobbing fashion show.
Filter added to protect you from glare of pale, white leg.
I love the rounding of the boob area. Can you see how there's a ruffle in back? The long back of what was once the collar looks cool hanging in back. Lemme get a close up.
I 'shopped out the back moles. I'm embarrassed by them. The black chain necklace was a conscious effort to badass up the dress which prominently features pink flowers. The black bandana was worn in an attempt to camouflage my too-hot-to-style hair in a pony tail.
Guess what? This one's gonna have to be a two parter. I've rambled on enough already, and I didn't get to what I wanted to write about. Later.


  1. I too am a teacher and I've experienced transfer into roll that didn't have a good fit with my expertise or preferences. But what I did find was that the school year does pass quickly.
    It's not much reassurance for you but sometimes it's not as bad as you

  2. Think. It's frustrating for you though.

  3. Thank you for your comment. I'm behind on my writing, so I haven't had the chance to inform readers that I'm back in first grade!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Yay! Glad to hear it :-)

  4. Hi, Erica. I'm pleased for you! Over here in New Zealand I am a newly qualified 'mature' (dang) Y0-8 teacher, and there are almost no jobs for 'beginning' teachers in my area. I have seldom felt more useless.
    I bet your students love to see your your interesting clothes and jewellery. Previously I worked in an authoritative role so all my black power dressing is gone in favour of colours the children respond to! I didn't enjoy being grown up- so I've grown back down. ;)

    Cheers, Leslie

  5. Thats a cute one. Colors fits you well, too ;)