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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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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Back to sewing

It has been a busy week and most of my sewing until last night has been in my head. A trial yoga class one night (it's been over 25 years since I took yoga and turning 55 has put taking care of myself back on the agenda - my husband, ever alert for an opportunity to bring more equipment into this house helpfully bought me a Nintendo Wii fit on ebay which is also fun, although my stomach muscles took a really beating trying to break my 9 year old niece's record on the hula hoop), dinner with a 35ish former assistant who is now a friend, we do a nice restaurant once a month and gossip, my evening class to teach, and of course the US election.

Like the rest of Canada I was elated by Obama's election - he impresses me so much as an intelligent, measured and thoughtful man but of course it was a nerve wracking night at the beginning. At one point my nerves couldn't take it over Virginia and I had to go into the other room and have my spouse shout out the news. We all need a trustworthy leader in America. My 80 year old mother reported that she and her church guild were booked to make their annual mince meat fundraiser, but when the ladies, all around her age, realized that it was the US election night, and such an important one, they rushed the job, threw together 125 containers down at the church kitchen in less than half and hour, and rushed home to watch the TV. My mom even got out of bed again at 4:00 a.m. to catch late results. And she is an elderly Canadian woman on the Prairies, imagine how it must have felt like in so many parts of the US.

So that was another non sewing night.

However my mind was racing all week with sewing thoughts and with a long weekend ahead of me, I will try to get some of them down.

And I will be sewing. I did yesterday what I always try to do with what I think might be a successful pattern and wore my new P&S pants to work yesterday to see how they held up over a whole day. I have found that wearing and comfort are the real tests of any garment, not just your first impression in the mirror, and that this is the best way to identify the tweaks.

These pants passed all tests and so last night after supper I cut out another four pairs which I intend to sew and photograph, decently this time in the daylight, over the next day or two.

Any more thoughts later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Pivot and slide pants

Really only another sewer would not think this whole process is crazy. Uploading unflattering pictures of my body in pants that are in varying degrees not that successful - but as nuts as this seems I am finding this very interesting. My apologies for the quality of the photos, yet another technical hurdle but hopefully some other sewer somewhere will find this interesting or at least useful. 

I am going to make another pair in a lighter fabric this week for possibly more useful pictures, taken in the daylight.

As you can plainly see I am one ordinary sewer just trying to find a way to make some comfortable pants.

These three pictures here are of my P&S experiment, and I have to say I am pretty surprised and pleased with the results. This whole thing about starting from a pattern two sizes too small and adding on seems to have worked for me. As you can see it has given me the fabric where I need it (these are very comfortable pants) but has moved me away from the baggy back and baggy legs of earlier experiments.  I think the legs are a whole lot more flattering and the wrinkles are surprisingly few, and essentially there were no post-first edition changes or additions to this pattern after I had done the initial on the fabric, cutting, and adjusting manipulating the pattern at the layout stage. This is actually pretty impressive I think and if a sewer got really comfortable with this method and her own body I can see getting to a stage where you could work with many out of the envelope patterns and get a pretty good fit by just pivoting and sliding as you cut. This pair is made out of a navy rayon blend and since I had run through this once with my test pair, I reckon it took me only about 15 minutes longer to do this pivot and cutting than if I had cut out this pattern unaltered.

I am definitely going to do a brown paper pattern edition of this pattern and try this approach again in another more fashionable pattern and have a good look at how to do this method on bodice fitting.

Since I graded the last method I should do that for pivot and slide.

Ease of use: first time I would say about a -B, once you get used to how to measure the pattern about an A.

Results without further fiddling about an A too, for a body like mine with straight sides, not really heavy legs but weight in the middle, the "menopad" my friends call it. 

I would like to hear how other sewers with different figures manage with this method.

Big news on the pivot and slide front

I got off work a couple of hours early on Friday and after tossing my candy into a big bowl by the door and moving my pumpkin out (we get an enormous number of kids every year) I started to stitch up my P&S pant test. 

This is an extremely odd way of approaching pattern alteration but because it was so strange, pretty interesting. There was also a quick and easy aspect to cutting the alterations into the fabric as you go that appealed to a time-challenged sewer like myself, although of course if this works I will be doing this on paper.

The concept of using a pattern 2 sizes smaller was also interesting, and I am not sure exactly how when you really have to add so much, this works, but the idea of working off the actual pattern by pattern direct measurements is interesting. There is a potential to respond on a case by case basis to patterns rather than trying to implement the same alterations to very different patterns, or pattern lines, that appeals to me, and of course this might, if it works, open up the possibility of making a wide range of patterns  work.

OK back to the test. When I made them up and was standing at the door when the spouse came home, they actually fit really quite well. "Darts look good," said my husband who was pleased with his ability to make a relevant comment. I was pretty thrilled so left him to deal with making dinner, trick or treaters, and a fox terrier tied up the fridge door as we could not explain to him why all these strange people were at the door, while I ran down to Fabricville to pick up some "good" fabric.

I cut a pair out yesterday and but lost the rest of that day to the new leaf-vacuum-mulcher my DH lovingly bought me as a present.

Today I will finish those up and post a picture for comment.

And then on to Wild Ginger.