stalling and sewing

Instead of sharing a house update or “how to turn Kid Shorts into pants” today….
k2let me just tell you why I’m so lame.hRemember that time you didn’t back up your hard drive for 3 months and you started working on a new pattern, and after 3 days of progress in Illustrator your computer froze on a gray screen and never came back to life? And it turns out your hard drive was mostly dead?
That time?  Yea.  That just happened me.

The good news is, I backed up everything in June.
The bad news is, I backed up everything in June.
And the takehome lesson is….don’t feel sorry for me.  This is something we all have to learn and remember.   It’s so easy to just click on that little time machine every night and send stuff over to the external drive.  Doi.  It’s the little things that can be hard sometimes, right?
So now my laptop is at the data extraction doctor….because 3 months of data was more than I could part with.  Have you ever gone to one of those?  The kind of extraction place that actually opens up the drive in a “clean” room with hazmat suits and junk like that?  It’s kind of crazy.  I was expecting a normal computer store front with apple-y signs in a small strip mall.  Instead I pulled up to a medical building, found the company name on the lobby placard, and took the elevator to their waiting room.
And reassuring.  I have high hopes that surgery will go well.
And in a week I should be back up and running.

In the mean time, I’ll just keep testing my own pattern! The First Day Dress

Thankfully I had printed one black and white copy of the semi-completed pattern (and rescued the pages from the outside trashcan.  And wiped melty chocolate cake off of the front.  Worth it)
Dude.  By the time this thing comes out you’re gonna be sick of it….or itching for it!  But I really think you’re going to like it!
And thank you for the input on the pattern name.   You talked me into keeping it as-is.  Because the First Day of anything deserves a special Dress or Top.  Then every time you wear it, you’ll remember that first day excitement all over again.
This time around I used the pattern to make two Tops for Lucy.
And we both loved them!…despite the fact that I sewed the sleeves on wrong.
I sewed the hem side into the armholes which makes the sleeves flare out more than they should.  But eh.  It works.

I added an extra inch of length to the sleeveless version, since the gray one seems a bit short.
And finished it off with a nice lining and folded hem.
I seriously love this thing.
and I hope you will too.
Stay tuned!

And have a great Thursday.
And don’t go to bed without backing up your computer.
The Little Mermaid Giveaway is still happening from now until 10/15.  Enter HERE  if you haven’t already! Plus, check out other bloggers who are hosting similar giveaways for more chances to win (links at the bottom of the giveaway).

  1. If they are successful in extracting your data, could you please post (or PM me) the name of the company that helped you? I am an Austinite as well, and am in need of getting some data off an old hard drive (like oh, I dunno, BABY PICTURES!!!)

    Many thanks,

    • 2) Dana

      definitely. they’re awesome!
      The company is Flashback Data:
      Depending on how gone the drive is, it could cost anywhere from $400-$1900. So it’s not a cheap fix but worth it if there’s something you really need….like baby photos!

  2. 3) Anne

    Sorry for what happened! I do HIGHLY RECOMMEND to use CrashPlan. It backs up everything automatically and regularly, you don’t even think about it! Changed our life 😉
    Thank you for your awesome blog BTW!

    • 4) Dana

      great tip! Thanks!

  3. O noooooo! Praying that the can get what you need!… I’ve been checking back multiple times a day for your “its here post”. I love these 2 versions! I really cant wait. I have some wide navy stripe in there. Thanks for that idea. Thanks for the peek. Im glad you had a draft copy. The chocolate cake is a little bonus. And i just bought one of those picture keeper usb. I need to plug it in asap! Thats scary

  4. Oh no Dana! My heart just breaks for you! Crossing my fingers that they will be able to fix it. (and yes, I’m backing everything up tonight!)

  5. Another company for automatic, cloudbased backups is, you can set it up so it’s done automatically, so you don’t even need to remember to click on a button!

    • 9) Nina

      I use and recommend BackBlaze, too. And I’m glad to hear the pattern is in the works! Best of luck with everything!

  6. 10) Abby

    Hope you have success. For future, time machine has an automatic setting in it so you don’t have to manually back it up. My husband is a computer nerd and we use time machine automatically to an external hard drive as well as CrashPlan automatically to an opposite computer on all of your computers. Yes overkill:) Good luck!

  7. Happened to me just this summer. I thought I backed up in June, turns out I only backed up blog stuff in June, and aaaaaall 2013 baby photos are GONE.

  8. 12) Tara

    Lucy’s little skinny pants are so cute! I just recently attempted to make a skinny ‘basic pants’ by making a pattern from other pants for my 13 month old boy. Fail! But I will fix it- I get huge encouragement from your blog and sweet patterns and there’s hope for these pants!

  9. 13) Erin

    Ah! Lucy is just getting so big! This only makes me realize that my kid lets are getting big, too, whether I realize it or not.
    Love the striped top! And where did you get those cute velvety jeans!

  10. so sorry about your comupter!! hope they can recover everything. and I seriously need one of those orange striped tanktops for myself. end of story. 😛

  11. Dude. I LOLed. Not at you, with you, I swear. So that time I ran out of the Apple store in tears and had to dodge people in the mall through tear-blurred vision because my laptop crashed the day before my husband deployed? They sent me to one of those data recovery places. In an office park off the freeway. And the lady says, in a quiet soft voice like an undertaker, “We have option A, which allows us to access the hard drive and extract the data onto a new drive. Then we have option B, where we take the hard drive apart physically in order to access the data and manually retrieve it. Option B, of course, is more time-consuming and expensive.” So I say, “Um, well, I’d really like option A, then,” right before blowing my nose. In that calm, measured voice, she replies, “Everyone does, dear.”

    Ha ha! They totally rescued everything (including a ton of stuff I forgot I even had) and all was well. Which did NOT stop me from doing the EXACT SAME THING when my drive froze on a flight to San Diego four years later. I’m a slow learner. Now: it’s iCloud for me, every night! AND a terabyte external hard drive. Just to be sure.

    Am sure you’ll be up and running again in a jiffy. And that part about the chocolate cake? Hysterical. I might have done that even without a crashed hard drive–chocolate cake makes every day brighter! 🙂

  12. good luck with the data extraction. sounds very sci-fi!

    I need to make this top for my girls. they need dressy shirts like this and i just can’t find them anywhere. this will do the trick. soooo cute and just well perfect!

  13. 17) Margaret

    Dana – I absolutely love your patterns and fabric choices. It makes me sad that my little are full on teenagers and too big for this kind of sewing, Without trying to be creepy or pervy in any way – I think you have the most adorable children! And they look terrific in your creations. Thanks for sharing!

  14. 18) Nicole

    Not backing up since June? You look great compared to me. I kept thinking “I’ll get around to backing up” Never happened. THREE years later my hard drive crashed. You read that right THREE YEARS! I have 4 young kids….that’s a lot of baby photos, along with lots of other stuff. I am sure you can imagine the tears. Lesson learned the hard way. 🙁

  15. 19) Clover

    Oh yes. I paid $500 dollars to retrieve all my kids baby pictures from a hard drive that crashed at only one year old. It was a hard lesson I will never forget.

  16. Ugh, so sorry about the data loss, I hope you recover it! And I CAN NOT wait for this pattern to come out.

  17. Eek! I’m so excited about this! My little girl NEEDS me to make this for her;)

  18. 22) Damme Blanche

    I just love this pattern! My 5-year old wants me to make her this shirt, glad to hear you could rescue a copy of the pattern 🙂

  19. 23) Tammy

    Oh I so feel your pain. Our old computer died but thankfully all of the files including my business files, were backed up to an external hard drive. Bad new last week the external drive died. I never thought about an external drive being able to die. Duh!

  20. I totally used your shorts pattern to make pants! 🙂 Can’t wait for your version though. I’m sure you have some great tips. Here’s my blog post about shorts to pants:
    I apologize in advance for the not-so-great photos…the camera battery needed to be charged. It’s amazing the difference between a fully charged camera photo and one that is around 50% charged. Now that my studio is finally completed, I’m in the organizing my stuff phase-yes!, I can get back to making things again.
    I hope your hard drive can be saved. And I need to get mine backed up soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. 25) Sri

    Hi Dana,
    I usually don’t leave comments, but this time, couldn’t stop myself. The gray top is super cute and Lucy is a fab model. I dont have a girl to sew for and still want to buy the pattern. Love your photos & styling. Great job (again!).

    p.s: cuddly kisses to Clara doll.

  22. 26) Maria

    I hope the “surgery” turns out ok and you get your data back!!
    I’m totally itching for this pattern, I love it!
    It would be great if you could make a tutorial for the lining, I can’t get it right ando I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…

  23. oh gosh, what a nightmare! But thanks for sharing your nightmare because it’s giving me that kick in the butt to actually figure out how to do automatic backups. My computer is old and not in good condition and every so often I get a scare. But do I back it up? Nooo!

    I’m looking forward to the First Day pattern! 🙂 Lisa

  24. 28) Tiphaine

    I just can’t wait !!!!!!!

  25. 29) shelley

    Dana, I can’t tell if you have provided a full on pattern for the flutter sleeve shirt or not. If so, could you direct me to where it is or to purchase? Also, there is one other dress I am looking for … was red and vintage with twirl skirt. I’ll search my catalog of “want to make asap” patterns and ask if it is available too.
    thanks. shelley

  26. I totally need to back up my computer. Thanks for reminder. I need to get some discs and go for it. I feel totally old school with my lack of an external hard drive. 🙂 Those tops look great!

  27. 31) Maureen

    I am sorry to hear about your computer troubles. At his very moment my husband is upstairs coping with the same problem. That is why I am downstairs not saying “I told you so.” I love your patterns and I have been checking your site every day hoping your new pattern will be there. It’s lovely.

  28. 32) Melinda in NC

    Dana – do you already have all of your testers for this pattern? If not, how can we go about becoming a pattern tester for you?

  29. You should check out BackBlaze! I recommend it to everyone in the world. They back everything up automatically (you never have to consciously back up ANYTHING) and they’re only $5/month! I love love love them.

    • Oh – and they include (read: doesn’t cost extra) a “locate my computer” feature, in case your computer ever gets stolen or otherwise misplaced. 🙂

  30. Hope the ‘surgery’ goes well. The dress/top is awesome!

  31. 36) HokieKate

    Good luck! I would love the shorts to pants instructions, though. The one upside to temperatures still being in the upper 80s here is that I can be a little patient.

  32. 37) Ute

    I hope you will be able to retrieve everything! I love the gray top very much! I would like it for myself! What fabric did you use? It is gorgeous!

  33. Oh ugh. I’m terrible at backing up my computers. I’ve been extremely lucky in that my last few started exhibiting weird behavior which prompted me to BACK UP QUICK! before their demise. I’m a big believer in Dropbox now

    Love this pattern can’t wait for it!

  34. 39) Julie

    Thank you for sharing during a very frustrating time- I love your posts they inspire me and make me smile. ( but this one i felt in the pit of my stomach) I hope the surgery goes well.
    Can’t wait for the dress!

  35. I am terrible at backing up my stuff! Thanks for the reminder to get to it. Sorry your computer is sick. I hope surgery goes well!

    And I love the tops!

  36. You made a pun – “…I should be back up and running…” 😀

  37. That sucks about your computer, but I’m excited to see you are in Austin, too! Did you go to Mactronics? That place is awesome, weirdly in an office building, weirdly the same office building where the real estate company that runs my house’s hoa is… Anyways that were super nice and brought my dead computer back to life 🙂

  38. Best of luck with the data recovery! The geek take on file management is that a file does not exist unless there are three copies of it, one of which is offsite. The latter can be managed with a trustworthy friend or family member with whom you swap hard drives on a regular basis. You back up your data on hard drive A, they back up theirs on hard drive B, then you swap. One week or how ever long later you back up and swap again. Cloud can provide additional security if you’re generating files that aren’t too large. It’s not an ideal option for anyone who works with CAD software or lots of RAW files.

  39. Doh! Sorry to hear you—what a nightmare! The thing about backups is, they absolutely have to be automatic. Even the best of us with the most pure of intentions can’t realistically be expected to manually back up.

    Mac makes it easy with Time Machine. Mine is set to back up every hour and it has saved my a$$ multiple times, not just from hard drive crashes, but from my own idiocy of repeatedly saving one file over another by accident. It truly is miraculous, and if you have mac, it’s already there!

  40. Dana, gutted for you! Just getting into the habit of backing up weekly. I am so going too stick to it now. Hope they extract everything!

  41. 46) Meg B

    uhg! bummer!!
    Can I just say that it makes me smile that you sewed the sleeves on wrong because I’m a new(ish) sewer and do stuff like that on many projects. Good to know we all have our moments. Even pro’s like you. 🙂

  42. I actually clicked over here to see if you’d posted the First Day Dress pattern yet 🙂 My sister is having a little one at the end of October and I thought I’d give the dress a whirl for her going-home outfit. Fingers crossed they’ll be able to save everything!

  43. hey, don’t feel bad. My brother backed up 7000 photos from the trip of a lifetime on an external drive as you should do right? Well the drive is unable to read ant data on it. Currently drive at the “drive doctor” with no garantee of recovery…. there is no safe place

  44. 49) Carolyn

    I hope the computer surgery goes well!
    I am currently making up my second pair of shorts using your pattern. I’m having so much fun in the process! You’re a great teacher – instructions are very clear for a novice seamstress like me. I am excited about the First Day top/dress pattern too. I would honestly credit you as being the main person to teach me how to sew. Thank you so much from half a world away (in Australia). Now back to the shorts sewing…

  45. I love the stripes! Where is the fabric from?

  46. oh my gosh I hope that data recovery all goes well!

    HOWEVER those tops are DAMN cute. I like it with the flared sleeves! They remind me of angel wings or something 😉

  47. I am really looking forward to this pattern. Great work Dana!

  48. 54) Tiffany

    So sorry for the back-up blunder, but I am so excited for the new pattern. My twin girls are going to have a new top and dress wardrobe!!

  49. 55) Peggy C

    I can relate! Computers are the boon and bane of modern life (right up there with spellcheck-lol!!!).

  50. 56) Lisa Renee W.

    Can you tell us where you got Lucy’s purple skinny pants?

    • 57) Dana

      both pairs are from the GAP Outlet

  51. again wishing i had a girl to dress and sorry to here about the computer issues!

  52. 59) Daniela

    Hi Dana!
    Very nice your clothes.
    I’m Daniela (from Brazil) and I would love to buy the dress pattern first day of school.
    how could I buy it?
    thank you very much

  53. 60) Tiziana

    Dear Dana, are Tiziana I discovered your site by accident and was delighted by what you’re capable of doing, very good!
    I’m writing to ask if I can buy the paper pattern dress top sewing the wonderful dress with skirt crechio Lucy! how can I get it?’ve tried to turn in your pattern but have not found anything just an excerpt of photos PDF? me you can send the pay what you need … but not knowing English because I’m Italian, I find it hard!
    thank you I hope you can riospondermi!
    Tiziana soon!
    P.S. I started to sew when I discovered! thank you for what you do and monsters!

  54. Hello Dana,
    this shirt is adorable.
    Can you give some advice which kind of fabric you use for the lining?

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