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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Thursday, August 7, 2008

On frozen peas and why I don't dream about George Clooney

It appears I am going through the Change  late, and apparently making up for lost time.

It has been a hot summer.

A sewing friend of mine was telling me about another sewer I admire, one who always tries the patterns first and does something neat and creative like emboss her velvet with stamps ... I mean a major performance sewer, has lately been running into the kitchen in the middle of the night to press bags of frozen peas to her chest.

I found this very comforting. If someone who embosses velvet has resorted to frozen peas then I might be normal after all.

It has been one of those summers where I have gone on line with my morning coffee and used search terms like "coping and menopause". I have found out a few interesting facts. First one is that it is possible to head off, or at least downshift a hot flash by deep breathing and relaxing thoughts. There is a real connection between stress and hot flashes, which is why you get one when you lock the keys in the car.

As an experiment, and because there is not much to do at 4:00 a.m. when no one wants to talk, I focus on things like buttons I love, or say, interfacing. It works. And when I have trouble falling back to sleep (it's all part of the same transition) I imagine to myself I am the owner of a cool little fabric shop, and I think what I would stock on those shelves. I go over all the possibilities in my head and sometimes I fall back to sleep around the Swiss cottons and the dupionni. Or if I stay awake I don't care anymore.

Another fact that I read on the midlife sites was that women at this stage of their lives sometimes lose the ability to fantasize. I don't know about that, just maybe the fantasies change.

And maybe I should call this blog, gone over the edge ...

Let's explain the edge

Don't anyone get excited by the title of this blog. Sewing on the edge doesn't mean my sewing is edgy, on the leading edge, or other things that might raise your hopes. Take a look at the picture. That's me, a fifty something, closing in fast on that senior's card at Fabricville, woman with her best sewing assistant. Sorry Rascal I woke you up for this picture and your eyes are sort of closed.

Sewing on the edge to me is that my sewing is often done around the edges of a busy life and also, no matter what else I do, sewing is always hovering around the edges of it. I sometimes think, or feel, that my sewing to-do list is the real list of my life and there are not many hours that don't go by without thinking about making something.

Also to me sewing close to the edge, as in really good edge-stitching, which is a much finer version, sort of a graduate version of the old basic topstitching a presser-foot-distance-away from the finished edge, really good, close to the edge edge-stitching is a sign of knowing why you are doing what you are doing, which is to flatten and define a folded or seamed edge of fabric.

And those things I finally figure out, or get, are what this blog is about, because if it is news to me, it might be to someone else too.

Oh and by the way the thinner the fabric the closer to the edge your edges stitching should be. For a cotton blouse, really close. For a mohair coat, back it right up, maybe even as far away as a presser foot distance away.