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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, January 10, 2009

Ottobre tops finished

As promised, earlier in a busy week, here are the two Ottobre tops I finished for my SWAP.  I agonized over the longer top because I was worried about the mutton-dressed-as-lamb thing with an empirish waistline but I am pretty happy with the way this turned out. There are long ties that sort of integrate the under bust seam into a waistline and the lower part is panels, as opposed to under bust gathering so that helps too. The grey top is another version of the blue one posted earlier and I like the slight ruching at the bottom that serves as a pretty decent foil to the midriff/waistline issues that come with the territory. Easy to do with about 6" of clear elastic zig zagged into the side seams, stretched over about 8". Trick is to start the elastic about 2 1/2" above the hem so the sides don't pull up.

Pants are a product of my pant fitting experiments.
 I could wear these knit tops to teach in, they are essentially T skirts but both in nice rayon knit and with some details I think they look a little more than that, I hope.

Virtuous sewing

It is amazing how we sewers are totally uninspired by routine, fix-up, repair, alteration type sewing.

Case in point is a black straight skirt I made last year but was never quite comfortable wearing. It just felt too tight even though measurement wise there was not reason that it should have. After leaving this skirt in the to-do pile for about 10 months I finally dragged it out last week and figured out that for whatever reason the lining was too tight. I came too this conclusion by ripping open the lining side seams and finding that it was suddenly just fine - I could sit, walk, climb stairs without feeling like I had to take mini steps. No idea why this was (hang on ... is that the skirt that I changed the centre back seam on to accommodate a vent and move the zipper to the back ... did I forget to add the new seam allowance to the lining... bingo I think we have a winner).

OK anyway. It was obvious that I needed to add to the lining side seams and I didn't want it to look too crummy. So in the end I grabbed my Value Village silk tie collection ( I think I was once going to make a quilt) and cut two pieces from the thinner end and inserted it in the lining. Sort of cool looking I decided.

Note to self. If you have to do a repair/boring sewing job try to find some creativity in it to give yourself the energy to actually get it done.

Ten months is too long for any 20 minute job to be in the in basket.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A top machine

Well no not really but I have been working on two more Ottobre tops for my SWAP and am pretty pleased with myself, because I have tried something new and easy and it worked. Both tops will have to be hemmed and photographed in the next day or two but here are the details.

Simple I know but for me something new.

I liked the blue jersey top I did a few days ago enough to try another version. My SWAP colours are black, grey, red and white (boring I know but the assignment this year was to do a typical week) and one of my tops is from some grey rayon knit that has been festering waiting for transformation for a while now. A grey top is not the most exciting project in the world so for the neckline and sleeve binding (the sleeves in this pattern are gathered slightly into sort of cuff-like binding) I used some patterned knit that I had a scrap stuck away in a corner. Why only a scrap when I bought 3 meters of the stuff is a good question. Suffice it to say that sometimes, despite long experience, I sew something that I know will not suit me, because I am so entranced by the picture on the pattern envelope. Of course this meant only that some perfectly good fabric got wasted on a droopy old dress that even my husband noticed was highly unflattering. So out it went with some remnants saved because I couldn't face a complete sacrifice. That remnant became the binding for my grey top, and this totally simple thing that most other sewers have done, made me feel so creative.

Second innovation was to finally, five years after I bought it, use the belt loop maker attachent for my coverstitch serger to make ties of top #2 which is a variation of the first pattern,

Pretty slick and completely skill free as a process. Of course the fabric was very stretchy and I was not able to fold under or zig zag the tie ends without mega distortions, so for now the end are just knotted.

Off to bed now, school tomorrow.