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Sewing with less stress Front
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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, February 7, 2009

An upcoming sewing staycation

Don't you just love it how recessions create new vocabulary? 

Starting next Friday, the 13th no less, I have a week off from school for our winter break. Unlike other times I have all my school work and marking up to date, so this one's for me. There were fleeting discussions about going away to somewhere warm, but my DH can't get away from a project and with the recession and all we are just being frugal, both for the present and for the future.

I have had a pretty intense couple of weeks, personal stuff, family stuff (nothing serious but things to take care of and adjust to) and job decisions like a request from my old employer to came back for a term and work like a crazy person out there in the non academic world. Too much to explain, I get tired just thinking about it.

Point is, dues wise I am pretty paid up at the moment and I have earned a week for me.

Question is what am I going to do with it?

As you all know a week off can be easily frittered away, particularly by me, on lunches and web surfing and getting up late and half started projects.

I really want to sew. I can't remember when I had a dedicated week to sew and I want to spend the week getting geared up for it.

It's interesting that one of Carolyn's posts of the last few days on planning has gone right to the heart of what I feel right now.

If I don't plan, and spend this week getting my supplies and ideas in order, some of that precious week will be wasted.

Question is what are my options?

1. Use the time to do something I need to do and haven't had a clear run at. I'm thinking of those bedroom curtains. Three windows and fabric and lining hanging around at least a year waiting. I have written before about how I hate home dec, being a garment sewer to the core, but would I feel a great weight lifted if I got these units out of the in basket and onto the windows? I don't really know. Whenever I have company I wish I had forced myself to do these curtains and a whole lot of other things.
2. Make a spring coat. I really missed this last spring, something to put over dresses and skirts that covers them to the hem. I have a couple of shorter coats but I feel bitsy in them with some skirts hanging out. I have the fabric and lining for this and a range of patterns from Vogue Vintage to New Look Easy. This would be definitely one of those sewing projects where you want the garment but are not excited by the process. When I have to go somewhere decent in the spring I would be glad I had done this coat.
3. A top week, I have a range of knits that would make good tops and a few blouses and the idea of getting this off the runway and into the wardrobe sort of appeals. I would like to try a sweater set for example and I do have a taste for dramatic sewing as  when I made my five pairs of pants that fit in sort of an obsessive crazy submersion period. 4-5 new tops would really perk up the whole wardrobe and if they are new patterns could be interesting to make.
4. Spring/ summer dresses. I have spent today working on the previously shown Simplicity summer dress pattern and it more or less fits in its fitting muslin shocking pink cotton twill version although I think I need to add a Full bust alteration next time of about an 1-3/4 inches. I made it in a smaller than usual size as per the Pivot and Slide manual that worked for the pants, which in itself has eliminated the gaping neckline, armhole issues I usually have, and of course the A line of the skirt has taken care of my body shape, but it is a lot tighter across the bust, about 1" ease, than I am comfortable with. I should work this out but since there is no way I in real life have a full bust, I am not sure if this is going to work (have done it all on paper this afternoon as a prototype) and I am anxious once I finish current and still wearable version to try it out. I can wear what I have  if I wear a lousy bra it should work (speaking of which I need a good bra, as I get older they just get more uncomfortable but all the sewing versions have that cup seam that is not good for those of us who wear knits) but would love to nail a TNT summer dress pattern sometime before next October, which would be true to form for me. I would love to sew up some bright cheerful dresses but am incredibly, short of fabric of  the weight I need for these somewhat structured dresses.

A trip to the local fabric store at the bottom of the street was no help, more polyester, and all I did was run into a sewing friend who told me I looked tired. Mainly I think I am tired for not finding good fabric. I could try to order some in for these projects but doubt if I could get it in time, I miss Timmel Fabrics which was local.

So that's my week, to figure out how to spend the next one.

Any suggestions?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Burda and red mitts

Of course as soon as I decide that I am not going to sew anything from Burda WF they come out with an outstanding issue full of cool things I want to make, many wearable garments that actually look comfortable. At least I am consistent in my inconsistency.

An excellent international newsagent here gets in Burda and a nice polite man always calls me to tell me when it is in. So four nights ago I went down around 10:00 p.m.  and picked up this interesting issue. Of course the streets in the downtown area are pretty hard to drive on, this is an old city with narrow streets near the waterfront, and with all the snow piled up on the edges they are even narrower. I had to sort of park the car half up on a snowbank beside the newsagent just to leave enough room for the other cars. I then spent about 15 minutes sitting in the car reading the issue by the car light in the cold. 

When I got home I realized that in my excitement I had let one of my nice red knit-by-me (which means one thumb was about 1 1/2" longer than the other) felted mitts get lost along the way.

Today coming home from a meeting downtown I had a brainwave and detoured my way over to the newagent's street which was even narrower now because of a few intervening snowstorms.

Well wouldn't you know it. There right in the middle of the street, looking really alone and dirty and flattened by a thousand cars was my missing red mitt. We were so happy to see each other.

This made me think that it is sometimes worthwhile to go back and try and pick up important things you had left behind, that so often it's just too much trouble, but maybe something is waiting for you to remember.

So when I came home tonight I decided to call up one of my nieces on the other side of the country, she's 10, and we had an interesting talk about sewing which she has just started to do and how sleeves are hard, and I noticed how little her voice sounded. And tomorrow I am going to call an neighbour from my old street 20 years ago who faithfully sends me a card every year, and who doesn't hear from me much because I just get too busy and never get organized to send cards back.

And then I am going to think about what to sew from that magazine.