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I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vintage summer dress

I fly off to London tomorrow and got up early to think about packing and to finish some marking so I can get my class marks for summer term in before I go. 
Am I doing any of that? No. Instead I have been thinking about my latest project and how satisfying it is to sew something easy and fun. Back to an earlier post I have been feeling pretty warm this summer, and there have been a lot of hot days too. Not that we ever complain about that in Nova Scotia. In searching for something quick and cool to wear I came across this 60s Vogue pattern for what we used to call a tent dress. Very full four gores, gathered into a band that ties at the back. I think I made something very similar if not identical for my daughter when she was a baby in fact. I also had some crazy glazed cotton with 50s sort of print from Fabricmart in navy, white and pink and it seemed to me to be suitably retro. The dress also has large lined patch pockets and an optional tie self fabric tie belt that adds some shape if you want it.

The pattern instructions were very interesting. Being an old Vogue it even suggested every piece be interlined, which is a stage I skipped since this was supposed to keep me cool. I did slip stitch the pockets on though as suggested and I am glad I did. They seem to flow lighter into the garment - I think topstitching would have stiffened it a bit and since the pockets were self-lined it seemed a respectful thing to do.I wore this out to dinner on Sunday to our favourite Lebanese restaurant and I felt comfortable and stylish.

I am wondering why I enjoy these patterns so much. One thing is of course they do have style. I figure if a pattern is 40 years old and still looks cool then it is not going to go out of fashion on me any time soon. Secondly I just love the guidesheets, I learn something new every time I sew one of these patterns, something new or I remember a technique  I had forgotten. Finally I like to connect with the time these clothes evoke. To me this dress reminds me of my mother and her neighbours, making the coffee rounds in the backyards when we were kids. Agendas were lighter then and it's not bad to remember that was just O.K.

Now back to my to-do list. I am really looking forward to this trip because it is to visit a beloved son, but I have a few stresses over traveling. Which is funny because I have done so much business travel in my life. Two things are hard for me, one is packing. I seem to be unable to ever pack the right clothes, always the wrong temperature, I always end up wearing the same one thing and hauling the rest around. The other thing is that I have no sense of direction. None, absolutely none. I practically get lost in my own house. I have to get myself from Gatwick to the hotel in Kensington (he has a flat mate so mom is in the hotel) to a meeting in Soho, to fabric stores, the V and A and back to the hotel by dinner. Nat is leaving London A to Z, tube passes and a cell (mobile) to reach him, as he'll be at work on Friday at the hotel for me to pick up so I should be OK, although I am the stuff of legends when it comes to getting lost. Wish me luck.

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