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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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Friday, August 6, 2010

Fall Buttericks and housework, the elephant in the room

I did some extra work in the evenings this week and liberated myself a nice Thursday afternoon to sew yesterday. Thursday is a good day because you can set yourself up for a weekend of good sewing if you get this kind of a head start.

I decided to give myself a snack before I headed off to the sewing room and when I opened the fridge it seemed to have collapsed. Melting ice everywhere. A long distance call to the husband got me good advice "Take everything out, unplug it and plug it in again" (No dear this is not a computer) and to wait until he got home, which means we are going to just go out and buy a new fridge on Saturday.

So one good sewing afternoon shot moving food around to the freezer downstairs and the little back-up fridge we use over the holidays.

Housework is my biggest sewing enemy. 

No one ever says the truth about housework, which is really to do anything at all, really just to do maintenance, it could quite easily be all you do, after the people in your life, and work.

Am I the only one who looks at other sewers standing in immaculate rooms in their new clothes on their blogs and tries to look past them in the pictures for some evidence that their houses are not that perfect too?  Some newspapers on the couch, some dishes in the sink? I mean how do they do it? Where do they find the hours I don't? Two messy males and two dogs don't help I guess, but I'm not ready to give them up just yet.

I also don't find the help I am looking for in statements like "I just make sewing a priority." Sure well so do I but it's floors or darts, cleaning the oven or making that muslin. The truth is I like a clean house I just resent it for being this choice, for making me live in mess so I can do something I need to do.  

Maybe this is why I loved sewing in a hotel room so much - maid service.

How do you negotiate this? How do you get all the sewing time in you need and keep the place looking fine?

The other thing on my mind, apart from my lost afternoon and the fact that I have so many household chores staring me down this morning, is the new fall Buttericks. 

Butterick seems to be increasingly the spark-lite line and I am not sure I get what is going on. More and more of their patterns are all looking like See- and Sews and I don't think that seen-before is exactly the same a classic.

There is the only pattern that I think I might make at all and that is this dress which may be at the end of the empire waist trend but comfortable. The pleats, rather than gathers, the belt at the back, and the advice to make it out of doubleknit would make this more work style than a lighter, clingy, jersey.

As usual though I am counting on other sewers to show me the potential I can't see right now  in this particular round of new fall patterns


Jane M said...

Housework and yardwork are some of the very things that keep me from blogging about my sewing. Of course, mildly incompetent computer and photo skills are part of the equation, too. And yes, grocery shopping, cooking, walking the dog, grooming (me!) etc. I think it's wonderful you do blog and share your creations so please don't compare yourself to the fictional perfect people in your mind. They don't exist anywhere in the real world. Thanks from someone who appreciates you and all the sewing bloggers who inspire me every day. Now I'm off run errands...but I did sew for 45 minutes this morning:-)

Sewfast said...

I, like you, am driven crazy by the mess and it makes it hard for me to sew. I don't get as much time as I would like, but I steal little minutes at work, like tracing out a pattern or handwork during my lunch break. I just do the best I can in both worlds and try to find peace!

a little sewing on the side said...

Frankly, I am almost ashamed of how dirty my house is. I say "almost" because I am just barely mature enough to recognize that I am doing the best I can. This is just how it is, for now.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

In my case, someone else does my housework. If I had to work a full-time job, commute, maintain a household and have friendships...I would NEVAH sew! So someone else does mine. It is worth the piece of mind!

And I picked out that pattern too. I have also been mucho unimpressed at what the pattern companies have issued this fall. Thank goodness I have plenty of other patterns to keep me occupied! *LOL*

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Oh and as I was reading the comments...I realized some other time wasters that I have done for me. Groceries are delivered. I can place my order on my computer, pick a time, insert my credit card and voila they are at the door waiting for me. I usually have them delivered at a time when a dd is home so that she can put them away!

The cleaners delivers...I live in an apt complex so I don't have a yard...flowers on the balcony just need watering...and hair appts are done very early in the morning so that I'm one of the first ones there and don't waste a perfectly good sewing day.

See I've ordered my life around my sewing...sad but true! *LOL*

BetsyV said...

I just don't. Keep the house looking fine that is. When I worked full time, I had cleaners come every two weeks. I stopped that when I retired. Now I do the public areas on Tuesdays, and the rest of the house when I feel like it. Some rooms I just will not do because I don't use the room.

I have never claimed to be anything more than uninspired when it comes to cleaning the house. It just isn't that important.

Brenda said...

Oh, I can relate! I work full time, have two dogs, grown kids, grandkids, a husband (with needs! LOL)church, and yard, on and on it goes. When do I sew? When do I blog?? I try to sew 30 minutes a day. On the weekends I can get in a couple of hours at a time. Husband has a friend who is single so I encourage their guy time so I can sew. I go home for lunch and will clean something then or sew something. Tracing and cutting out need large chunks of time because that is done in the kitchen and I can't leave it out. It has to be done all in one sitting. Because I make housecleaning the lowest priority, my husband will invite company over so I have to clean. (Fiendishly clever of him) He does help though!

Misafir (Ruth) Geldi said...

System helps and batching things. So I plan a whole week's food (half to one hour). Then going out, buying ingredients getting them home and putting them away is another hour or so (I shop from my list, strictly, at the speed of light). Any "extras" during the week DH or DS have to go and get. I then spend a whole evening cooking say five or six dishes which go together (from 7pm to 1 am) and get served throughout the week. That also means the kitchen gets really messed up only once a week, not every day. I might add a small dish to the selection on some days, but in fact I don't choose the same dishes every week, so there is MORE variety in our diet, not less, since I started doing this.

I also believe in the "public areas" thing and the "dust and tidy as you walk around" thing. And the 'DS and DH must do some work thing' (DS does own room - very occasionally)! But actually when I batch I LIKE doing it. I feel very capable and less "defeated" by the whole domestic monster. And it gives me the chance to wear a nice cotton day dress that I have sewn! Dress appropriately, very mood-enhancing!

And no perfectionism. Give yourself a time limit ("I am going to spend three hours on the bedroom, bathroom and living room" not "I am going to clean the x, y, and z)"). That way you prioritize and don't find yourself polishing the light switches, shifting the cooker, sorting through your knicker drawer when you haven't got time, and it never looks done etc. I learned this by watching a friend of mine who always seemed organized and unruffled and achieved lots.

But, that's my way and I would say my house is reasonably clean and tidy most of the time, but not all the time (who cares? I am not a perfectionist!). The batch cooking gave me LOADS of extra time for sewing.

Oh and don't watch TV. Destroys your energy, and EATS your time and
leaves you with nothing of value. For most people, that's an extra 30 hours or so free time per week.

LisaB said...

There are some really great ideas here.

I did my college work in my mid-30s and took time prior to each semester to cook and freeze as much as I could knowing there wouldn't be time for cooking while school was in session. The reminder of cooking in batches makes me think I should do some of that again.

It is not possible to find as much time for sewing as I'd like to have, and sometimes I feel frustrated by reading all you bloggers out there. :-) Sure, I get lots of inspiration from all of you, but often I'm left feeling like I'm some sort of loser for not accomplishing more. That's why I appreciate your blog so much, Barbara. You keep it real all the time. Thank you!