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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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Sunday, November 30, 2008

I hate home dec

Just because you sew does not mean you like to sew everything. 

Let's make that clear.

I love fashion sewing and spend most of my free time thinking about it, even when I can't get at my machine. I like the project nature of sewing clothes, all the variety of jobs contained in one garment, and of course I just like clothes. And because fashion changes, there is always something new and interesting to think about, and sew. Which is why I have never been able to restrict myself totally to the idea of core patterns and why my pattern collection is so delusionally huge.

The have-to-sew stuff is what I avoid. I have not made slipcovers for my living room furniture, although that would be a very good idea and the bought ones I have on the couch don't fit, and despite the fact I have the fabric, patterns and tons of how-to books. It all seems so tedious and to me represents the kind of non-gratifying sewing that would cut into my precious sewing time in a big way.

To me this stuff is production sewing in its worst sense, all about product and not about process - and I love process.

Curtains are even worse. I hate the large pieces and the fact you lose any sense of where you are, where the edges are, and mistakes when you make them tend to be large and obvious, like curtains that are 4 inches shorter than a the window.

But I have to do it. My husband is big on destruction, of walls that is, and I now have a larger bedroom with three, rather than one window. With Christmas coming and people coming home I should do the right thing and get some really simple curtains up. I have gorgeous fabric and have invented a really simple way of doing the casing involving blanket binding so there is no real excuse.

And the upside of making curtains is that I won't be sewing slipcovers.

Since I have promised myself no more big garment projects until Christmas is organized (and I feel that I am almost ready for Christmas 1982 this year) the only other way to postpone this is to get to work on my second most disliked job, alterations, which now is looking actually quite attractive since I hate home dec sewing so much. I figure that I have about ten items in my closet that if they were tweaked a bit could return to action.

This week's projects for sure.

The mom skirts done

My mom's skirts are now done and wrapped, soon to get packed off with other things for family and entrusted to Canada Post. Sewing for people at a distance can be tricky and waistbands, even those in elastic, are the most difficult. This is a problem I am sure for grandmothers who sew for children in other places. 

So for these skirts I decided to use the elastic with buttonholes in it, something I have not done before. This elastic is actually quite expensive and since I have acquired rolls of elastic at various discount places over the years (does anyone but me have tons of notions stashed away that they had totally forgotten they had, where they got it, or even what project it was for?) I decided to piece it. Pretty simple and it is nice to know that she can make these skirts fit. If I did this again, and I probably will, the one change I might make is to wait until I had threaded the elastic through the casing to add the button. It wasn't a problem but I think I was lucky and another time the button might get stuck crossing a seam. And of course I left a small gap in the waistband casing stitching so my mom can get at the elastic to adjust it.

Oh and I put a small piece of woven interfacing under the button on the wrong side for reinforcement.

I also like the fact that I could go in and straighten the elastic once it was in. I must have some weird perceptual problem because 99% of the time when I insert elastic into a casing and stitch it together I have a twist in the elastic and have to cut it, turn it and restitch and usually I make the same mistake again.