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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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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have had a week. First of all just let me say this:

Pinwale corduroy
Bamboo knit
Terry towel
Swiss dot

Houston, we have heartbeat.

It has been confirmed. My daughter is pregnant and I am going to be a grandmother. My DD has had some problems in the past but it looks now like things are going to work out. I am delighted, she is too but not feeling all that great, but this too should pass.

I volunteered to do maternity clothes (they don't do that anymore apparently, just wear everything really tight, like T shirts with Baby printed on them and arrows) but have the OK for baby clothes.


I have realized, and my daughter is just understanding this too, that pregnancies are a community thing. It takes every woman back to where she was once herself, erasing all the years. Daily calls from my 81 year old mother who when she was pregnant with me was a public health nurse in the toughest neighbourhood of a tough town, a job she still misses by the way, "And then I got off the bus and threw up behind a lamp-post, and your aunt used to keep soda crackers in the O.R., and your mother wasn't sick but she ate all the time and was huge ..." Every day some new piece of family experience to recall and revive.

For me I am remembering my first SWAP.

I am realizing now that in all my sewing career the wardrobe I was most happy with was the one I made for my first pregnancy, with this daughter actually.

I was tall and I was working in Australia and at that time it seemed to me that all the maternity clothes were designed to make you look like a child yourself. All that was missing was the Choo-choo trains on the pockets, although I am not sure I didn't see those too.

Peter Pan collars, tiny florals (which might have been fine if you were a tiny flower yourself and I never was), puffed sleeves and lace trims and billowing gathers. And all way too short, so short that a person's belly showed out under the bottom of the tops, not a cool look at the time. This is now, that was then. 

So I made all my own clothes and I could tell you in detail what each garment was, the fabric, the patterns, how I altered non-maternity patterns to work for me.

I realize that this was my first SWAP. I made a complete wardrobe, every thing in it, and I kept it small and deliberate, and colourful and fun because I knew that before the year was out I wouldn't wear it again (it was all worn in fact by many other women on a rotating basis). There was a real freedom to sewing like that and I only made things that were fun to sew and didn't necessarily have a future. It is interesting to me that of all the hundreds of wardrobe builders, classics and good clothes I have made since then nothing has satisfied me like my first SWAP wardrobe.


Paulette said...

Oh Barbara - congratulations!! How fun to be able to sew baby clothes!!

Barbara said...

Thanks Paulette. I am so pleased to have this opportunity. It makes me feel 30 years younger just to look at the fabrics.

a little sewing on the side said...

CONGRATULATIONS to you and to your DD and, what the heck, to your mother, too. Wonderful news, and entertaining post. I sewed maternity clothes, too and remember those garments vividly.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.