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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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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Training bras

Today I watched my Newfoundland bound son drive off in his moose whistled truck and, second son to exit in the last 24 hours, I felt like my world was coming to an end. Then I remembered this guy is 25 and I had done a pretty good job of stringing this mother thing along this long and so I decided the best thing to do with the rest of my life started with going down to the basement to start dyeing bra elastic with Koolaid.

It is amazing what you can achieve with a broken heart, a mason jar of hot water and a package of cherry and a package of strawberry kiwi. Pretty cheery.

I am going to try a new bra pattern and panties tomorrow continuing my rehabilitation.

BTW my kid is still on land. They held the ferry in port due to rough water and a storm and he is sleeping on board and they will try again in the morning. He sounds pleased with this further adventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Well we are on the other side of Christmas.

One son is here

One son is here - these are not the same place
I am here
My middle son left a few hours ago to go back to NYC where he belongs. 

I am going through my usual and thankfully temporary wrench.  I always have felt that my mothering with kids at home was me doing my best work, but let's face it that's done now. This is the one child who really left home definitely when he was the youngest, at 19, and he immediately went off into the world, traveled, studied, and did just fine for himself. 

Our time since then has been visits shared with so many other people, and I always feel I missed some sort of a stage with him, of adjusting to living along side an adult, as I was able to do with his siblings who lived here in the early adult stage. You get to know each other on new terms when you have the privilege of day-to-day time with them. So when he comes home I sort of look for the kid who last lived here and doesn't anymore, and he sort of sees the mother of a teenager, I'm not that person anymore.

We need more time doing ordinary things now he is in a place where he is likely to stay.

So I will be in New York for a few days the end of January and again if I can organize it in February. 

As I have said before I am a little stressed about making a regular space for myself in New York. I have lived in Toronto, Montreal, Boston, and Melbourne Australia and traveled many other places. It's not that I don't know big cities. But I am more of a neighbourhood kind of person and I have to figure this out. I know I just have to.

Maybe it's my past and maybe it's that I have lived here in Nova Scotia too long. After all I grew up in a small prairie town. Do you know I was 18 before I had seen the ocean and regularly been on an escalator? 

How about that? 

And this is the kind of place where I know so many people I think I could just lie down anywhere on any sidewalk in this city and yell and someone I know would show up and say "Barbara what are you doing lying down there on that sidewalk?" I am quite sure this would not happen to me in Manhattan but I may be wrong.

Tomorrow my youngest son is leaving home to go to work in Newfoundland for a while at least. Unlike his brother who boarded a plane with his crystal glasses as carry-on and the New Yorker app. on his iPhone, this son is packing up a truck and going to drive 5 hours to a ferry, go over night on the ferry, and then drive 14 hours across the island of Newfoundland in the winter. He is mounting the moose whistles on the truck tonight. This is not a joke. The interior of Newfoundland is crawling with moose, but not people, and they regularly stand on the road and more or less fall over cars. At several tons each this is not a good thing. However if you don't drive at night (and he better not) and if you have a special kind of whistle on your car that they just can't stand, they move out of the way and you live to tell the tale (which he better).

I also suspect they do not need moose whistles in Manhattan, the place where no one would tell me to get up by name if I was on the sidewalk.

And on New Year's Day my husband heads off to Tennessee for the winter, although there will be visits/trips you better believe that.

I wonder how this all happened when it is so cold outside.

I am feeling disoriented. All I know for sure is that I am going to go off now and freeze a bunch of turkey in single portions and then I better get back into my sewing.

Yes I really need to sew.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours.

May you get your dishes done, may you get one really good sewing gift even if you have to buy it yourself, may you be wise enough to know that not all families are perfect, and not holidays like a dream, but have someone in your life who makes you realize it might all be true after all.

My sweater was appreciated, my socks a hit, and the grow bags fit.

Here is little Heidi on her way to bed in her's:

And to all a good night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Now on to sewing and flypaper thoughts

  • Only 1.37 of a sock to get knitted and I am done.
  • Would some good knitter tell me how to fix my ssk? My k2tog are neat, my ssks are loose and looked like some pigeon knit them.
  • Last week we got a call from Costco to throw out that Tabouleh.  
  • You know that rare impulse purchase because I am knitting too much to cook.
  • Recalled for Listeria.
  • My son and I ate two tubs.
  • Not fair in a house where we grow our own organic Kale.
  • Looked at each other for signs for three days and then forgot about it.
  • Kale makes you strong. Body and teeth.
  • I have thrown out my rash inducing retinol and am now washing my face in baby oatmeal cereal.
  • In my mind there is a direct line between these events.
  • DIY.
  • Skin's great.
  • Kale helps.
  • I am renting my tablecloths and napkins this year.
  • Thank you Auntie Nancy for the idea.
  • I think I ordered a big package of red bra strap elastic and fasteners last night when I was sleepy.
  • Not sure, I was trying to ssk at the time.
  • There is sure a lot of sewing for self backing up over here.
  • Thank you McCalls for the Spring patterns.
  • Nicer than usual.
  • Going to cook for two days now.
  • I am doing the recipes that say "fast and easy" spouse is doing things that say "complicated and involve ingredients we have never had in this house before."
  • Sent me out of celeriac root and I came back with Japanese Daikon. 
  • This is a large radish.
  • It does not look like celeriac root. 
  • It is however a root.
  • Apparently this is not close enough.
  • Now we are going to have Vietnamese sandwiches on Boxing Day.
  • Calls for Daikon.
  • Since these things are not made in a crock pot I will not be involved.
In closing here are some shots of what my spouse brought to my knitting location for dinner last night. From a recipe from this family friend. Going to miss that man when he goes back to Tennessee. 

At least I have the dogs and the crock pot. And a whole lot of red elastic.

New year's thoughts sort of

Every year I order a Moleskin diary. They have the days of the week on one side and a lined notebook page on the other.

This is really useful in meetings when people say things and you can grab your diary and look serious and responsible while you write things like "Spring wardrobe gaps: replace black skirt, make three new fun tops from knits."

My fingers must have slipped when I Amazoned this year (I have maintained my festive season mall boycott) and what arrived was a mini version of what I usually order.

One the left is my current diary and on the right 2012:

 I was a bit annoyed with myself until I realized this was A Sign.

You see recently I have been having some conversations with a variety of people that have reminded me there needs to be a statute of limitations on some of the stuff that gets passed on from year to year.

Every life and every family has some of this.

How many generations should anyone pass on what happened in the war?
How many nights should anyone lie awake thinking of an old betrayal?
How many years should anyone resent the sibling who was always presented as prettier/smarter/more successful?
How many decades should anyone discuss that someone could have should have married better, done more with their education, never left that job?
How long until that mistake has been forgotten?

This made me realize that the common family activity to explain people by recapping the above in fact functions primarily to just keep it all alive - to write it into next year's diary before the year has already begun.

What if the diary was smaller and there wasn't any room to do this?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sleep sack pattern

I have just finished two sleep sacks for the little girls for Christmas. I was totally appalled that my daughter was spending $60 for Growbags for the kids to sleep in.

Babies these days don't sleep with blankets or bumper pads or stuffed toys in their beds - all those things we used to load up the cribs with. In fact even as they get bigger they still sleep in these sleeping bag units. Miss Scarlett had a sleepover here last night and she was cruising around in her's for hours this morning, having perfected walking in a bag.

I have had a good look at the expensive store-bought ones and looked at the patterns in the books which typical for many kids patterns seemed to me to be too wide in the neck and the chest.

So I went on Etsy where the young mother sewers hang out and found this pattern, which looked to my eye to be very similar to the ones you buy. I have been picking up some of my crafty type patterns on Etsy recently and am pretty happy with the results.

Here are my two versions - prototypes for my daughter to evaluate and for me to do a better job next time. The outside is flannel and the inside a coordinating fleece which of course I realized was going to stick in the zipper teeth - so my top-stitching is a bit erratic.

The only changes I made to the design were to add a little topstitched square at the bottom of the zipper ( you put the separating zipper in upside down) - a detail I saw in the commercial ones.

I also rolled the body back so I could sew as much as possible of the lining to the zipper by machine, sort of a bagging technique, rather than rely totally on topstitching from the right side to catch the lining on the wrong side next to the zipper teeth, as was suggested by the pattern.

This sewer has been around the block enough times to know that was not going to work without angst, so I attached the lining and then did my anarchist topstitching to finish more for decorative effect and to stitch down some of that fleece fluff away from the zipper.

My list is shrinking. Only a bit of knitting and some organizational work.

I have been pondering how to fit in a large crowd to sit down for dinner on Christmas Day and yesterday I had the bright idea that because my living room is bigger than my dining room I could switch the furniture for just a few days.

I have suggested this to my returned spouse.

He has just gone off for a nap now.

Nothing like the holidays.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the festive home stretch

First of all here are some shots of my daughter's playgroup at her house where I did an impromptu how to turn the heel on a Christmas stocking lesson. 

They may have me back to do "how to hem pants rather than take them to the tailor's." I can't believe young mothers are taking pants to someone to do this. My daughter knows to bring that stuff over to my place:

My daughter has a nice house they are slowly fixing up. They bought it from a man who was recently a widower. He was determined to have his house go to a young family much against his realtor's horror so he practically gave it away, and I mean gave it away.

It is an interesting place. The former owner was a bag man for a political party and there is a full bank-sized safe in the basement. His wife was a great entertainer and the kitchen has two ovens and even a built-in indoor BBQ with a chimney up through the kitchen ceiling.

The house also has come with a ghost. As far as we can figure the lady who spent her life hosting there was not quite ready to leave. As a result the toys are moved around in the night and the cushions on the chairs rearranged and straightened up at military angles. It's not a bad vibe and we figure that when she has it all out of her system she will move on. It must be hard to let a place go you spent your whole life maintaining.

Back in this world my Christmas production is on the home stretch. Four pairs of socks, one housecoat, one knitted cardigan, three pairs of pajamas, and two baby sleep sacs by tonight if I get moving.

Then I am just going to do some back-up knitting. My husband comes in at noon today from Tennessee and this place will move from Santa's workshop into Santa's test kitchen.

All of this virtuous sewing for others, which I do because the homemade gifts go over better than the store bought with adult children (or they are too diplomatic to say otherwise when I tell them I nearly killed myself getting this all done on Christmas morning), has  my own desire to sew for myself  boiling along inside.

To satiate this need I have been happily ordering patterns, specifically the independents for a change, and have some Pamela's patterns, more Style Arc, Brensan and Jalie's on standby on the runway.

I have also signed up for the French Jacket online class on PatternReview. 

Yes, I know I have the books and a fair idea what is involved but after finding out what a difference a good teacher made to my bra-fitting I decided it would be a treat for myself to be taught. So far in the warm-stage the commentary and notes have already been very helpful.

I had some difficulty finding fabric though until I contacted Fabricmart and will wait till I go to NYC in January to source the trim.

I am looking forward to all of this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank you and details

First of all I want to thank my commenters on the last couple of posts. 

The knitting advice has been so useful, helpful, and interesting. (Rebecca I am intrigued by your cardigan recipe, what do you mean join at the sides? Do you mean you knit the whole thing as one piece?) And thank you too Karen for the lead on that sock yarn, I have some on its way.

It means a lot to me when folks go to the trouble to comment on something I have written and to help me out. 

Since last we spoke I have that sweater done and it's downstairs drying from blocking. I have decided it was a smarty pants pattern - just because you know a technique doesn't mean you have to put it in everywhere - all those dozens and dozens of short rows were unnecessary I decided - reminded me a bit of those wearable art jackets that used to be around that had every known decorative technique on them.

All I have left now is a couple of days of sewing to do, more knitting, and my spouse will be home Saturday for two weeks.

Like many women of my generation who got married young and then had children I do not have much experience living alone. Even in my single mother years I was still a mother.

So for me to be on my own while my husband is sent off for work for long periods is an interesting and educational experience for me. A life stage I kind of skipped and am learning how to do now.

I come from a big and interactive family. 

I think I was about 35 before I was ever in a room by myself. 

In my house "being alone" was regarded as a sickness. I remember having a visitor stay with us once and my mother frantically calling us into the kitchen "Somebody get into that living room - he's in there reading the paper and He's Alone, someone go in an talk to him." Silence, in the house I grew up in, was evidence that someone wasn't doing their job.

And working, having a bunch of kids of my own, pretty much has filled up my own silences.

So it's a novelty to learn to be by myself.

I miss my husband and living with an advanced level eccentric and excellent cook. He's fun. But being on my own has been good for me.

I was reminded of this over the weekend as my two sisters-in-law and I took my mother-in-law to show her the apartment we have picked out right near me. This is chapter two of our campaign to move her in from the country where she has still being living since my father-in-law died into the city where we can help her out more. I think she will be really happy to be near family but the process of making a decision about what she herself likes is almost too much for her. She says she still hears his voice in her head telling her what to do, what she likes.

Now women of my generation can hardly imagine that but my own unfinished business is learning how to live when there isn't anyone in the living room I need to go and talk to.

Being so busy with my projects is taking care of this, and of course having two dogs around who are permanent children is good too.

Still, it's interesting and important to be doing this.

Now off to my daughter's mother-baby group.

Someone over there is in tears because she can't figure out how to turn the heel on the Christmas stocking she is knitting for her little baby. I just got the 911. 

Since I am now an expert ripper-outer this sounds like just the job for me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Late night elf work: Family ban alert

I have spent the last week coming down from term, helping my daughter with the kids, and getting some Christmas stuff worked through.

I just can't stand the stores during the holidays so it's either handmade or shopped online.

I laughed and laughed though when I saw this label on Meg's blog:

I am working on exactly that kind of project now, a sweater for one of my sons.  I am about 10% of the knitter I am as a sewer and I made the mistake of thinking I could actually make this:

I have knit sweaters for the other kids and it was my NYC son's turn.I got it in my head that since the designer was in Brooklyn and young it would be something he would wear. Yes, I know.

Like a lot of young knitter designer patterns it has more emphasis on structural knitting - short row shaping and I cord and fashionable techniques than traditional patterns. What I call mathematical knitting, based on my personal observation that a lot of good knitters are good at math, which I am not.

Getting this thing wrestled to the ground has involved as much ripping out as knitting and hours on Raverly and iTunes watching fast videos made by people who actually know what they are doing.

The sleeves have just about done me in.

Since the whole thing is knit in the round (good thing I hate sewing up knitting - those yarn seams just don't look sturdy enough to the sewer in me) you have to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and knit those on double pointed needles.

In my case this has involved knitting on 5 needles and every time I come to turn a short row (took me the first sleeve to figure that out) I sort of haul the whole unit around and slide half the stitches off one of the needles, put those back on the needle and try again.

Every once in a while I stop and check on things and if you were here next to my Lazy-Boy you would be hearing a lot of  "What the hell?"

I admit those sleeves are going to involve some hole darning to get them to look like sleeves, and the underarms look sort of like Rascal knit them. 

By the way here are some pictures of my assistant elves obviously exhausted by all they have been doing to decorate the house and get things ready:

Matching dog beds I hope you notice.

I should have sleeve two done today and then I will spend some rescue time with a needle and wool and put in the zipper.

The thing is I actually have learned a lot of new techniques making this and if I made another one now it would be fine. 

Maybe I need another label that says- "The next one will be better."

Once this is done I have only some sewing to finish and this morning that looks like a piece of cake then I think I am due to be a Lazy-Boy myself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bra school

Well I am done.

My classes for this term that is. Now I can pick up my creative life for a bit.

Last Saturday I kicked that off with a fantastic day with bra-maker extraordinaire Tory LeBlanc where we custom-fitted and sewed a prototype bra.

I have made bras before with some success but wanted a second opinion on fit. What I got at Tory's class was actually far much more.

First the final product:

Now this just looks like a fairly standard bra but what you can't see is the best part, a completely flawless, can't-be-improved-upon-in-any-way, fit. 

Can't show you that since this is a family blog and I can see the headlines now:

Middle-aged teacher posts pictures of herself in her underwear on the internet. Students mortified.

Back to the bra. Absolutely perfect, not a wrinkle, not a tweek required, great comfort, and terrific support. I started out by saying to Tory that the thing I didn't like about self-made bras was the seam, which showed in T shirts, and she told me that with the right fit and construction you can't see that seam.

She's right.

I wore this bra under a knit top yesterday and it was as smooth as those ride up foam-cup numbers you get from the store.

I cannot recommend the help of a good teacher, this teacher, enough. Tory only teaches small groups, there were only three of us in the class, and she gives private lessons. There is time enough to get the fit right and to really have good advice on technique. I, for example, was told to use more pins, I did and it made a huge difference:

I think the difference between teaching yourself how to make a bra and a good teacher is the experience gap. Tory has made thousands and frankly she really knows boobs. I ended up with an altered band size (I am between sizes), a different cup size, and a totally different underwire size than I was expecting.

And it worked.

Tory also give more designer classes on how to customize the basic pattern to a different style, and she thinks I should make a bustier. To be honest I think I have about as much use in my life for a bustier as I would say, a dog sled, but changing things up a bit from the standard issue might be interesting. 

The one thing I can see myself getting into is dyeing and here are some samples of bra fabric done in Kool Aid. The darker samples are those that were left in the Kool Aid a long time and the lighter ones just went in and out:

Finally here is her email as Tory says she is interested in doing workshops for groups anywhere who are interested.

Now off to work on my neglected house and my Christmas projects, more later.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Flypaper thoughts

  • My last real class of the term today.
  • Now I think I will miss them.
  • New year I am going to make a Chanel jacket.
  • About time.
  • Mainly because someone said it was like wearing a cardigan.
  • I like cardigans.
  • Looks like I am going to be asked to teach more distance courses in the future.
  • This will suit me very well. I can knit while I am online with the headset.
  • Two dogs, one ball in a house while there is rainstorm outside is crazy.
  • There would be no Christmas at all if we left it to the men.
  • Just a turkey and no vegetables.
  • And presents bought at Canadian Tire (just what it sounds like) at 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve.
  • I can't find Jarbo Garn sock wool anywhere.
  • It is the only yarn bulky and soft enough for fast socks.
  • The one mail order place I tried ran out.
  • Might have to go to Canadian Tire.
  • My last child to move out next month has suddenly started to clean up.
  • A sign he is ready to go.
  • He broke the vacuum.
  • They all are neater in their own places then they were here.
  • Do you send out Christmas cards anymore?
  • A few students have brought me some.
  • Happy holidays written in big careful first year script.
  • I am excited about my bra-making workshop on Saturday.
  • I have made bras before but the teacher is funny.
  • After teaching all term I want to be taught.
  • My husband is going to be home two weeks at Christmas.
  • He can buy the turkey.
  • And walk the dogs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Restorative therapy

I am heading into my last week of classes and exams. I have had a good term and great students, but we have pretty much worn each other right out.

So I am lining up some restorative therapy for myself. 

I know some women go to a spa and get wrapped up and steamed when they need restoring.

I did that once with my friend when we were at a convention in Vegas. We went to the day spa at the Hilton and ended up hysterical with the giggles the whole time because we, a couple of girls from Nova Scotia, had traveled all the way to the desert to get wrapped in seaweed. Made complete fools of ourselves in serious company so after we went out and had our fortunes told and then took our good pores out for Japanese food.

Off topic.

OK, some women go to a spa, or buy a nice bottle of wine and light candles. Not doing that because my husband has left me a case of his pretty-good homemade wine. 

And those candles. 

Do you ever wonder about those movies where they are in rooms  or around bathtubs and there are about 400 candles already lit? 

I mean usually it's some beautiful single mother entertaining Matthew McConaughey, and she has put her two year old to bed and she still has time to light all these candles before dinner. 

Or it's Meg Ryan or somebody in a bath recovering from her sleazy husband's affair soaking away in a gorgeous bath with at least 500 candles in different sizes all lit around her bathroom. 

You know just before the day where she shows someone her dress, this old thing I threw together, and they offer her a job as a head designer for Dior. So there sleazy husband.

OK, all I want to know is who lit all those candles? A single mother with a two year old? A woman who 20 minutes ago discovered she is dead broke and there never was pension fund after all

How long do you think it takes them to light all those candles? 

Who puts them out? 

Where are they stored between crises or romantic evenings?

Under the sink? I want to know. The back of the linen closet? Down the basement? 

Would you ask Matthew McConaughey to hold the two year old while you went down to the basement and got out all those candles from the shelf next to the Christmas decorations and that wreath that is mostly now only strands of glue gun glue and a few wobbly pine cones?

And don't they worry about fires?

On topic.

So this is why I am not soaking in bath surrounded by candles (and the combination of hot water and my husband's aged a full two week wine is probably not good for my blood pressure) and why I am not at a spa.

So instead I am restoring my soul with what I know will work for me when this week is over. This just arrived from Amazon:

And Saturday I am treating myself to a full day bra-making workshop.

It couldn't get any better than that.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vogue 1137 Mom's version

Having discovered what a cinch Vogue 1137 was to make I decided to use it for new, warm, housecoat for my Mom. She lives in Winnipeg, Winterpeg to those who were born there like I was, and a place where the police directing traffic used to wear long Buffalo coats, which must have weighed 800 pounds but certainly were warm.

Dressed for warmth in Winnipeg

In fact a famous Winnipegger went down in the Titanic in his Winnipeg Buffalo coat, probably was not the best for staying afloat when wet. Much like the wool bathing suit my own grandmother, also from Winnipeg, made me wear one summer to keep me "warm in the water." When the first wave hit me and I got wet I went down and I could hardly stand up.

That's wool for you, when wet.

Needless to say I went synthetic with my Mom's housecoat and used Polar Fleece. To make it easier for her to get in and out of I put in a long separating zipper. The front of this pattern is sort of overlapped at the front so it looks closed when you wear it, which I like. Just like the bust darts that give this a little shape.

I left off the dramatic cuffs because I thought they might get in her way. I cut the sleeves back a bit to make sure the really narrow part was gone so they are sort of 3/4 length, or 2/3 length, or 1/2 length now. My sister Nancy says if the sleeves turn out to be too short when Mom puts this thing on she will sew something on the bottom for me.

Actually my mother who is very short has been complaining for the past 50 years that all her sleeves are too long.

Be careful what you wish for.

Here it is:

The pockets are parallel I promise. This must be an optical illusion.

On to other Christmas present making - although this is going to be a hard act to follow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel has red and green lights on it

I am entering a new season.

My husband left for Tennessee yesterday and will be there until spring, with one week off a month during which he will come here or I will go there. He is astute enough to have integrated some fabric shopping and family visiting into this arrangement so I will be OK.

On the way down he stopped and visited his cousins in Boston on  layover:

As photographed by a young member of the family.

Like nearly every Acadian (French) Nova Scotian family a bunch of them moved to New England at various stages for work, and even a generation or two later all come back to Nova Scotia frequently. The group you see here must come back to Isle Madame off the coast in Cape Breton four or five times a year at least and they were all born in the States. The same is true of my son-in-law's family and every Acadian family I know.

My dogs marked the first night we were batching it by being up every 1 and 1/2 hours to see if anything was new happening in the yard. We have a lot of wet snow and they didn't get a lot of exercise yesterday. I will be running their little paws off today - although they are now exhausted and passed out in the living room.

I have one more week of classes and then a term off where I do nothing by my own thing and work on building some online courses which I can do from my dining room table.

I figure this will be the first time in 24 years that I won't be dragging myself off to work somewhere in the winter. I am really looking forward to having some time to collect my thoughts and remember what I do when I don't have to do for anybody else.

This weekend I am free to sew, mostly finishing up Christmas presents, and having a friend over for dinner tonight where I am going to be serving her the easiest thing I can think of as possible.

BTW on Vogue 1137. I decided to make my mom a version for a housecoat - big pockets and separating zipper up the front, and I hope it works out. The thing with that pattern is that the sleeves are cut quite narrow below the biceps ( you might want to be careful about this and cut them wider for yourself.) I have tried it on about a fifty times and tried to recall how wide her arms are.

Off I go for a third coffee and to do some dog glaring.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vogue 1137

Here it is, a quick version of Vogue 1137. Pardon the lack of baseboards in the background, all part of the process. 

And I have my arm in the air as part of my very clever sleeve display strategy.

OK, so how did I get here?

Every holiday folks show up in the morning before I am organized, or I sit around and do that present thing and later look at the pictures and think I didn't look completely or even partially organized in the old robe with jammies hanging out.

So I decided I needed to get more elegant. Only problem of course being that neither I nor my life are elegant, and I don't really have a lot of sewing time right now.

Enter Vogue 1137.

The issue before last Vogue Pattern magazine did a neat version of this pattern morphed by a clever staffer into a coat. Really clever, it also featured a skirt made out of a vintage apron pattern, which I can guarantee you is not an idea I would have ever thought of.

Anyway. I have been looking for a coat pattern that grabs me for a couple of seasons now-trouble is I have worn enough winter coats by now to have a picture in my mind of what I want, but am not seeing that same picture in the pattern books - so I had the idea that maybe I too could morph this pattern into an acceptable coat.

But as a coat uses up a lot of good expensive fabric I decided to make a muslinish out of something, and figured I could use some nice cotton velour I had hanging around, in a much richer blue than this picture shows, and kill two birds with one stone.

This is my verdict.

I like it.

I mean the sleeves are cut-on so there is not a lot of sewing, I used the collar as is (but left out the pockets because I ran out of fabric), lengthened it to accommodate tall me, and wacked in an invisible zipper down the centre front. The pattern is for no closures so this worked out fine without alterations.

I interfaced the cuffs and am currently under the delusion that the cuff detail lifts this velour housecoat into elegant territory. It certainly looks better than what I wore under the tree last year.

Will I make a winter coat out of this pattern?

No probably not.

The sleeves are a little narrow and the collar pretty close, great for a housecoat but not roomy enough for an overcoat,  but my "muslin" is useful enough for me not to care.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flypaper thoughts

  • Finished my housecoaty thing.
  • I have a beautiful slip stitch.
  • Who decided cover-it-all loungers had to go out and unwrapping robes with bulky ties that make you look pregnant even when you are post menopausal had to come in?
  • I saw snow out my own window yesterday.
  • It melted but I know it is waiting.
  • Miss Scarlett told me I was a good girl.
  • Don't you think Demi Moore has to be happy she no longer has try to be younger than she really is any more?
  • She seems to have to come up with a new boob size for every man.
  • That's got to wear on you.
  • One month and a bit to Christmas.
  • Does anyone bake anymore?
  • Are there any old guys still left who eat fruit cake?
  • You don't think it was the fruit cake do you?
  • I am going to spend the next two weeks when the marking is done making home made presents.
  • I am going to spend the two weeks after that trying to find somethings I can buy that are the value of home made presents.
  • I have to find my Temptations Christmas CD somewhere.
  • I am getting myself the movie channel the minute that man leaves the house.
  • I think I am going to make a shocking pink velour lounger with a zipper up the front.
  • So there.
  • I think Demi should have one too.
  • Anyone have a recipe for cinnamon rolls that won't kill you. Whole wheat maybe?
  • If I am going to be making my own coffee in the a.m. for a bit there's going to be good self-care.
  • Particularly once it snows.