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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon
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Friday, April 2, 2021

Sewing when that's all you can do



This last week my oldest son, the one who lives with his family in Berkeley, had a birthday. 

I really wanted to make him something special. In my mind it became really important to send something in the mail that came from the house he grew up in, a house that remembers him.

He had mentioned once he liked summer pyjamas. So I made him some from a vintage men's pattern, out of seersucker with piping. It seemed to me to be very California dad of a certain era, and being a dad is my son's very best thing. I also wanted to make these using only vintage techniques. My serger was not used in this project. All seams are either French seams or bound. I also bound the back of the neck and around the fly pieces on the inside. I was real careful with this project.






I haven't seen Nat or his family in over a year. Last March I was just about to go and spend a few days with my granddaughter while her parents went away. That trip got cancelled at the last minute, theirs and mine. That's bothered me all year.

I don't have the words to describe how much I miss this guy. That's my own baby I can't get to.

But I can still sew something for him. And because he is my son, and grew up with all this sewing going on around, he knew exactly what pictures to take. When he emailed me a thank you he sent detail shots of the parts that were the most work.

He'd knows.

That's my kid.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Flypaper thoughts illustrated version

 



  • Since last we spoke I was on March Break duty
  • Running my crack highly structured childcare operation
  • As illustrated
  • My main qualification for this facility is that their mother and uncles turned out great
  • The assumption being that the same child raising principles are still in effect
  • Not so sure about that
  • When I raised the originals
  • I was under the impression
  • That there was a right and a wrong way to do things
  • And I should try real hard to do the right thing
  • There was no pop (soda) in my house
  • TV was limited to PBS at 30 minutes a day
  • As you might have figured out by now
  • That supervisor has retired
  • Which is just fine with the current crew
  • In addition to being a day camp
  • I have been making maternity clothes for my niece
  • Best to get those done before the baby arrives
  • I have made a series of pants with the excellent free maternity waistband from P4P whacked onto them
  • And a made up dress from a T shirt pattern and some pleating


  • Other news
  • My husband has taken up stained glass
  • Pretty nice stuff he is making
  • Interesting to see that collecting glass is not unlike collecting fabric
  • I think the downsizing, move into a condo trend will not find much traction here
  • It's good to have a hobby
  • Or in my spouse's case 43
  • Guy I used to work with
  • Somewhat intimidating at the office
  • Is spending a lot of time posting on FB 
  • About the culture of crows
  • I had no idea
  • About him 
  • Or about crows
  • The cat continues to be entertaining
  • Bit like living with a flying squirrel
  • One who has figured out that if you flip over glasses of water
  • With your paw you can drink whatever hits the floor
  • But what can I say to Daisy's best friend?
  • They have wrestling sessions every night after dinner
  • And then lie down and groom each other
  • The cat works on Daisy's legs
  • And Daisy grooms the top of the cat's head
  • What is going on in those small minds?
  • My husband and the cat are in love with each other
  • She taps her paw on his beard
  • "Like being touched by the hand of God" my husband said
  • Basically not something I would have anticipated he would ever say
  • After all these years
  • But then again this is our first cat
  • I also finished a dress for my niece
  • Not illustrated as it is a birthday surprise
  • Then I am wide open to sew for myself
  • I am considering 
  • Concentrating on things I don't need
  • It seems these days are occupied enough with seriousness
  • Not my area to be adding to that
  • Read instructions this week
  • That told you to sew a hook and eye to close the back of a T-shirt with a knit band
  • What is going on McCalls?
  • You all sitting in there with T-shirts with hooks and eyes on them?
  • Good things about the pandemic
  • I got my sewing room reorganized and fixed up
  • Putting my money where my heart is
  • I have read a lot
  • Even self help books people recommended
  • Most of them are short
  • Which when you are improving yourself is helpful
  • Transitions by Bridges makes sense
  • So does Marcus Aurelius
  • Who sure put up with a lot
  • Running that Roman Empire was no piece of cake
  • I am appreciating every one I know who has common sense
  • Turns out that's all that matters
  • Knew that before
  • But now I know that it's the only thing that matters
  • Trouble is it is something you have to be born with
  • Seems real hard to add later
  • No matter how other people try
  • Or how many books with big letters on the cover
  • You read
  • My grandmother had a sister Hilda
  • Very pretty
  • Used to go over there and talk to her budgie while she 
  • Over wound my hair on perm rods
  • Nicest lady
  • Never heard her described as anyone other than as
  • "That Hilda has no sense when it comes to men"
  • The husband I knew walked around all day with a coffee cup in his hand
  • Awful cheerful man
  • There actually are people who have to be told to come in out of the rain
  • It is quite possible 
  • That this is time to know when to come in out of the rain
  • Time to sit out an inning
  • Not time to read the end of the book before you get there
  • We'll get there and it will be fine
  • In the meantime enjoy the sewing room
  • The crows
  • And the feel of a tiny paw on your face
  • Don't want to miss that one
  • Just in case

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A quick video on the blind hem foot

Yup still at it. The husband and I are sort of housebound this winter and doing these little videos is keeping us out of trouble.



 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A quick little video on the narrow hem foot

Thanks to those who sensibly asked me to use contrasting thread in these short videos.

Made a big difference. This is another one of my favourite feet.




Monday, February 22, 2021

Flypaper thoughts Mars edition

  •  First
  • An apology to all those astronauts who read this blog
  • But those who know me well 
  • Know that the one thing I have little time for is outer space
  • First
  • I hate heights
  • Second
  • And confined spaces
  • So the thought of being that many thousands and thousands of miles out there in the dark
  • In something without windows...
  • And besides the concept of fresh air is irrelevant
  • Is past my own personal edges of where common sense is effective
  • Also
  • Who in their right mind
  • Thinks that the world we are to take care of
  • Is in such a state that
  • Anyone can say
  • Done! Now let's go find somewhere else to fix up
  • Maybe the search for intelligent life would be worthwhile 
  • Here
  • On top of outerspace
  • I have run out of the good interfacing
  • Which is serious enough to have set me off about Mars
  • I am sure you are with me on this
  • Remember when fusible interfacing looked like a picnic table tablecloth?
  • That some one had dotted with Lepages white glue
  • And once fused these glue dots seeped through to make dark spots in the fabric
  • Which now also had the malleability of the paper plates you set out on that picnic table cloth?
  • Fortunately those days are gone, in most cases
  • But fusible interfacing survivors can still be found
  • Wandering around Joanns, Fabricville, and Spotlight
  • Numb with the PTSD of it all
  • However a good woven fusible 
  • And a good knit fusible (let's hear it for Sewer's Dream if you can order it)
  • Are a different story altogether 
  • And something you miss enough to get mad at the solar system
  • When you thought you had tons and you don't
  • I'm thinking these days
  • It's time to actively seek out the bright spots
  • Closer to home
  • For me it was the decision to make sure as many as I can
  • Get a chance to find out sewing is fun
  • So I had the kids and some friends over to sew yesterday
  • Lower the presser foot
  • Lower the presser foot they said to each other
  • I now no longer need to wonder where I am going to store that big bag of stuffing in my new sewing room
  • Everyone made pillows
  • Multiple pillows
  • Go forward and go backward at the beginning and end of the sewing part
  • Don't worry, said the 11 year-old
  • It gets easier with experience
  • Yes it does
  • Yes it does
  • And so grounding



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Another Covid moment

This afternoon one of my sisters, the only one who still lives in the same city as my mom, posted this picture to the family WhatsApp.

It's a picture of the bear my mom has on her bed. 

This bear has been tucked away forever but has made a reappearance during my mother's nearly year long isolation in her house.

Now my mom is about as sharp, tough, and resilient as they come. She says that if the pandemic doesn't end soon she doesn't know what she will get up to next. Still the sight of this little bear, now 93 and the one my mother had as a baby, has really touched me. Note the nose darned by my grandmother, who I never met, who died when my mother was a girl.


The thing about the bear is that my mom recently knit her a new sweater. She says she is going to work on a new skirt next so the bear "looks respectable." 

Now I don't know what is getting to me more. The knitting new clothes or the thought that this little bear has made a reappearance after all these years to be a comfort.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A quick little video on my favourite foot

 I have been using my edge stitch foot a lot lately. As a result I decided to do a quick video for folks who might not yet realize the power of this little accessory. I figure new sewists in particular would really benefit from this foot in their sewing toolbox.