Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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About me

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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 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day Two, on the TNT

As I write this my husband is shelling lobster to make a special pasta dinner for us for Valentine's day. After an extremely busy couple of months and lots of eating out we are going to spend the evening together, watch "W" on the DVD and maybe hold hands until I decide it is time to knit and Rascal jumps on my husband's lap.

I once asked my husband why he married me. 

When we met I was a frazzled 45 year old single mother with an old dog, three teenagers, and a house that had been only partially renovated and then left. When I asked him this he just looked at me like I was crazy and said "I figured I had better marry you before you got snapped up." 

He has no idea.

What I would say about my husband is that he is the kind of guy who always comes through for you. You can count on that, you can count on him. I have to say that it makes an enormous difference to have that in your life. All the difference in fact.

Another thing my husband has brought to this house is his cooking. He feels about food the way I feel about sewing. But he does it differently.

When the  DH gets on to something he doesn't let it go until it is perfect, and only then will he move on to something else. Like the time he wanted to perfect his pizza crust and we had pizza every night for three weeks, with different things on top of course, but we had so much pizza the kids were bringing home extra people to eat it. We were giving it away. Of course I have to tell you it' s the best pizza in the world, and that's a field with no small competition.

And then there was the pita phase, the bagel phase, the halibut phase, the duck phase... 

I think you get the idea.

It has finally dawned on me that what this man is doing is perfecting his TNT patterns. Once he has the recipe all ironed out it goes in the inventory and it's there to be pulled out when that is what he feels like on the day, and he knows before hand that it will turn out exactly how he wants it.

Contrast this with my own style of cooking that is more random and involves new recipes picked up and let go before I understand them. Much like how I sew.

I need to do some more figuring out on this one.

In the meantime it's time to eat. My dinner is calling.

Happy Valentine's day. Who would have thought, at this stage of the game, that there would be so many nice surprises.

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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A 56 year old woman has just swum across the Atlantic ocean

OK so maybe I can make those curtains.

Now if I can persuade my husband to sail along side of me and throw me food and drinks ...