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, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

I had a great time last night and intend to do everything I can to enjoy 2011 as much as I can.

My husband and I did a little babysitting, and rather than going out later to parties he made a wonderful supper, lobster and a fruit plate. He then lit firecrackers on the front lawn, enjoyed by the little boys down the street, and afterwards we slow danced in the kitchen in our pajamas.

I figured that was just about a perfect evening.

Now this morning I am starting in implementing my New Year's resolution. Here it is:

Sew more. A lot more.

Enough with fitting sewing in around all my other duties. I am putting it back on first. See enjoy 2011 as much as I can above.

This is what that is looking like:

1. Major organization of the sewing room, started this morning in the same outfit I wore dancing last night. I will be posting some pictures of this. Right now it involves putting the fabric I actually think I will be sewing, like all my white shirt fabrics, out on shelves and putting what I am calling "all that weird shit" into boxes for the moments when that is exactly what I need.

2. Learning to use the very nice camera that my husband gave me for Christmas after having reviewed my blog. So I can take better pictures of what I sew.

3. I upgraded my PMB software to version 5 yesterday. I had fabulous success with a well-fitted sheath a few years ago with version 3 but got bogged down getting the pants to work, probably user error more than anything. Some women in the local sewing guild say the new version is easier and more effective. It's not so much that I have fitting issues as it is that I get frustrated sometimes trying to find a pattern in a style I see in the collections or magazines. For instance I really want a slimmer pant right now, not a trouser and not a skinny jeans. I think a couple of us locally are going to be working on getting proficient on the software.

4. I'm going to buy more fabric in 2011. Yes, I love fabric and living in this fabric purchasing wasteland I just need and want more on hand. See enjoy myself above.

5. Get those shirts going again now the Christmas production cycle is over. Dying to get this started.

Now I have a major question for you. Any great ideas for a good shirt collar interfacing? I prefer a sewn-in and don't want one of those cardboardy kinds you find in so many men's shirts.

What works for you?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3:40 a.m.

Well the first thing you should do is go over to Carolyn's blog and read her thoughts on accepting the changes of your life.

It is funny but I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep tonight. So I sat down with a snack and started to read and there were her words - just saying the things that had woken me up in the night.

Thank you for that Carolyn.

I have also been thinking how important it was to let relationships change. 

This is really hard to do, and in fact I think it has been a theme of my life to try to keep that from happening. It is particularly hard when the relationship, from your own point of view, has been just about perfect.

I have probably spent too much time in the last couple of years trying to hold on to times in my life that were very happy but leaving my life. I think for example of that terrific feeling I had when I put three kids to bed and knew they were completely content with their lives and their home and I could head off to the sewing room for some time by myself with the same kind of peace in my heart. A lot of times I just wanted that back.

But lately I have been accepting that relationships just change and you have to let them. This takes some effort when the person who has initiated that change is not you. It has taken me some time to come to terms with my middle son leaving not just home but this country too, and that the kid who talked my ear off and shared everything is going to be a visitor, not at home, where I am anymore.

But the funny thing is that the more I have accepted the changes in our relationship the more it feels like it did between the two of us again.

I have also just realized that there is change too in the relationship with my husband. In our partnership I have also been the one who did the talking, had the schemes, and asked for support. My husband has been the anchor man - the one who fixed things for everyone and provided the kind of steady backup that we all needed.

With him off to work in the US this year all that has changed. Now he is the one with the stories, and the buck has been stopping with me for all the things that have to happen to make a household work.  In some ways it is making me feel like a single mother again and that's not a feeling that makes me particularly happy.

But I recognize that this situation is temporary, but more significantly, that it is just his turn to be the one with the adventures for a bit and he really deserves this, after all he has done for everyone else for so long. So it's my turn to do some adjusting, to be the anchor man.

I suspect, no I know, that as I get older that life is not going to get more settled as much as require me to experience many changes, including in my relationships, even the ones that were just the way I wanted them.

As this unfolds I have to say that I am just so glad I have my sewing. That is one relationship that is constant for me and has been my whole life and because of that probably makes all the other transitions just that much easier.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It was a merry Christmas

Here is a requisite picture of myself and my granddaughter at Christmas. We had a blow-out 14 people dinner at my daughter's with lots of food, little kids running around, and general chaos.

My daughter kept saying, "Is this too wild?" and of course it wasn't and can't be. My husband did the major cooking, turkey, stuffing, gravy and all the pies and cooked for us again yesterday. Here he is in the middle of carving, just before he hit the couch:

I know that there are a lot of folks who don't like this time of year, but I love it.

First of all Christmas allows me to go all out on family doting which I need to do, so I really enjoy myself. Things change of course. Operations moved from my place to my daughter's this year, and that felt right. I am very happy to be doing back up and glad I have the time to do it.

Secondly New Year's really is a time when I review my life and see what I want to get done and if I am still steered in the right direction.

I have been thinking some preliminary thoughts on that one over the last day or so.

I think for many of us in this much busier world the key is becoming as much what we are not going to do in the new year as what we are going to be doing. 

It seems to me that this is not a time for me so much for self-improvement as self-focus.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is how important my sewing life is to me. What that looks like as I move forward bears some consideration and I am going to have to decide what I am going to be letting go of to move what matters more into focus.