Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, August 21, 2010


A sewing site I visit recently directed me through a link to something on Ageing Gracefully.

Since I am sure I am not going to do that right, I read it right through. I realized that most of the ageing well stuff you read is all about skin and freaking out about looking older. Since it hasn't been my looks that got me what I needed my whole life, this is not my own particular crisis.

Let's face it I am older. So what? But there are some thoughts and observations I am putting together and I expect this list to grow. This is what I have so far:

1. Have younger friends. If all your contemporaries are going to die or get sick around the time you are that's got to get you down. If you have younger friends you will still have someone to talk to who understands you. My best examples of great ageing are my mom and my professional mentor. Both have friends 20-30 years younger, in fact nearly all their friends are in this category. Over the next two weeks I am having dinner with each of two younger women I worked with in the past, both in their thirties. One girl is making me dinner and serving me wine while I alter some pants and we catch up. Sewing is a great connector.

2. Go to your kids, don't expect them to go to you. This is not your first choice, but it is theirs, so you do it. Let's face it, all we want our whole lives is for our parents to be interested in what we do, and that involves being where we are. Naturally it would be far nicer to have them back asleep down the hall than staying in some hotel waiting until they wake up to call, but this makes the difference and if you want to keep part of their lives, move on with them. The parents who complain that no one calls or visits are the ones who sit at home and wait. I am noticing this.

3. Babysit and sew and cook and not just for relatives. Be useful and be glad every time you can do it.

4. Don't over invest in things your whole life. I am starting to see people de-clutter and downsize. What was the point of working your ass off for most of your life so you can spend the last part of it trying to get rid of all the stuff? I have a message on my answering machine from a relative who are moving out of a huge house I always admired asking me if I want "first crack" at buying their stuff so they can move into a condo. They have worked so hard and been so house proud not everyone knows them, and now they want to offload their life's work. BTW I have all the stuff I need.

5. Keep working, at something. I hate to say this because so often I figure it would be great to retire and cruise around but you really don't see that vacant look in seniors who have a job to do. This can be some kind of work, taking care of family, and even treating your sewing as a real job (I know that is completely possible to do and one day I am going to do it). I have an 84 year old father-in-law who says "there just isn't enough hours in the day" because of all his building and gardening activities. My husband puts it another way "if you can contribute, you should."

Anything you would add?

Fall is starting, at least the sewing part

There is a moment every year in August when I open my door and I can smell Fall. This doesn't mean the days can't still be warm, but it does mean that the change of seasons is in the air. When happens I know it is time to put away all my unfinished summer sewing projects and start thinking about fall.

I have a dilemma.

I am thinking about nothing but dresses at the moment but at the same time I know my skirt wardrobe has just about hit its expiry date. There are two black gab skirts that can and should be updated and shortened but the rest really shouldn't see the inside of a classroom this year.

That's the thing about skirts. Your old regular straight skirt is a classic and you can wear it to death. That's what's happened here.

I need a plan. Starting Tuesday if I finish all my summer term marking, I have some sewing time opening up.

I have decided that the thing I should do is this:

Two skirts, one dress, two skirts, one dress. Repeat until I get those dumb skirts out of the way.

To give myself a boost I am going to try some new Vogue skirt patterns and on the TNT attempt to add one cool designeresque feature to keep my interest. I have some wild silks I mistakenly thought might make cool coat linings (that impulse to be completely gaudy, clashy every time I opened my coat has passed) that I might put inside some of these old skirts.

I figure I should really rip through my skirt sewing this way, because really all I want is some new dresses.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage pattern give away a day late

My apologies. My son is home for a week from DC and the place is hopping with family related events and meals. Not to mention the end of summer term marking I am supposed to be doing.

No sewing is getting done either, but all for the best reasons. Next week I am giving myself a sewing staycation and looking forward to that so much.

In the meantime here is a Large (bust 38-40) Bishop Method coat pattern.

It will go out to the first person who emails me with her address.

More later.