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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, September 6, 2009

Easy coats

Living in Nova Scotia outerwear is important to me, and as I also walk to work, pretty essential. I have been plotting new coats for a while now as I have a definite gap in the mid-weather (as opposed to really cold winter) can wear over a suit or skirt stuff. You know those times where you have to go somewhere and the same coat you wore to walk the dog in the morning won't cut it. Sort of a car door to the front door coat. I have collected some nice fabric and quite a lot of different patterns, but nothing that made me want to get up early and start sewing. I was also concerned in making something too trendy, aka dated, in nice fabric that I would not be wearing every day and would therefore likely have around for a few years.

Also, see previous post, I have some interesting fall projects lined up, plus a whole heap of bra-making supplies under collection and really didn't want to invest my precious Labour Day weekend in something that would not turn around pretty fast.

So on one of my many online whims I ordered Christine Jonson's Easy Coat, because, well it was even called easy, and seemed a pretty classic style. To tell you the truth I wasn't expecting all that much. This pattern has been around a while and I thought it might be dated and boxy, but felt it was worth a try. For my "wearable muslin" I decide to make an unlined version first in some metallic type nylon taffeta I got on a buy-one-meter-get-two-free sale.

I made it up yesterday, while dog sitting the three extended family dogs who entertained themselves by wrestling across the floor for 14 hours straight, and I love this pattern.

Here's why:

1. It's really well drafted and all the pieces fit together very smoothly. A one day project no problem.
2. It is simple, but not crude and boxy. Nice slim fit through the shoulders and chest with enough flare to cover wider parts without alterations. The finished pattern measurements are printed in the guidesheet so I knew exactly what I was getting. Good shape.
3. The sleeves are as close as a set-in as a sleeve that is still sewn in flat with that one long up under the arm seam as you can get, not too wide, and for my average size arms fit perfectly.

The coat I have would be good for traveling or for throwing on over a skirt outfit doing the dash-to -the-door-run in the rain.

So today I am making a wool gab version with a silk lining and have high hopes and glad I ordered a few more CJ patterns.

Been busy sewing

When I opened my blog this morning I couldn't believe how long it has been since I posted. I also realized that the last time I wrote anything also marked the day that my summer company started arriving, closely followed by the week of prep and week of sewing of the Wardrobe in a week competition at Stitchers Guild.

I am posting the suit, blouse and skirt (you had to make four items in a week that you had cut out and marked the week before) I completed for that one. I have also been busy with baby sewing for my daughter, bedskirt for the crib, valance, receiving blankets, wet bags for transporting the diapers, and knitting more diaper covers/soakers. It has been an intense sewing time for me and I can feel I am entering into one of those phases.

I also reconnected with an old friend I haven't seen in a long time and we had a good sewing Saturday together. She was in a bad accident and still in recovery and it was poignant to see her slowly start to sew again and how nice it was for her to see something come together.

Oh yes and I have been super busy at work getting a new program launched and a new course online. Neither are really my thing, what I love to to do is teach and it was useful to struggle with administration (all those meetings how do people stand it?) this summer to remind myself that the classroom is where I belong.

First off let me tell you what Wardrobe in a Week sewing has taught me.

I am a real sewing contest failure. I tried SWAP a couple of times and ended up with things that fit the rules but I didn't want to wear. WiaW has limited garments, four, and a tight time frame so the emphasis is on sewing not planning (see comments about aptitude for the classroom versus the meeting room) and I do better at that. WiaW, invented by the way by the brilliant Ruthie, the sewing contest champ, also has built in to it a whole week in advance where you are not allowed to sew, only get organized. I thought in the past getting a pattern and fabric was as organized as I needed to be before I started sewing but I was wrong. Held back from actually stitching I had nothing better to do than fit, cut, fuse and go and get in the buttons, thread and zippers, wind bobbins and put it into bags (BTW those plastic bags with zippers new blankets come in are great for WiaW prep). This is not my usual procedure and I can tell you if you get everything ready in advance your sewing just flies by. This reminds me of my change in my baking when I decided to pre-measure all my ingredients just like a cooking show (and put all the other stuff away) before I made anything, as opposed to the old way where I would walk back and forth to the pantry as I went ... one teaspoon of baking powder, where did I put that etc.

Makes the whole process enjoyable. So I have decided to prep and bag all my fall projects, the other thing I have been doing, and plan on treating all my sewing if I can like a WiaW.