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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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Saturday, March 19, 2011

A change of seasons

Spring officially begins tomorrow, but I have already declared it here. 

It has to be.

This week I purged perfectly good winter clothes that I was sick to death of and put them into a big garbage bag. I took it down to the diabetes society bin and threw them in and let the metal drawer close before I could get sensible and drag them back out.

This week I also decided black is no longer, after my whole working career, my basic. Black and grey make sense of course when you are traveling for work, or downtown in buildings, but my life is changing. At the end of April I become a part-time teacher and that's it. My private life or the classroom, no more meetings, no more pitches about projects people are "so excited" about.

Black is so sensible when you need to stretch a wardrobe but there are a lot of cool colours that you can't wear with it. OK white, sure, and primaries and red and grey but it is not so comfortable with anything quirky or individual IMO. So I am going to go in other directions now. Indigo navy, who knows what else.

This week I took my partially completed SWAP that was based on black and white and red and winter fabrics and bagged it. Put it away for next fall when I am likely to change my mind again and need those clothes.

I refuse to do any duty sewing. Ever. OK except in emergency, family situations. But never, not for myself.

I am done sewing a wardrobe. It's time I sewed a life.

And where does this leave the White Shirts? Right where they should be. In the department of I will make them when I get up in the morning and decide that's what I want to sew. And I will. I have collected some wonderful fabric and patterns but the long sleeved versions will be waiting along with the old SWAP for cold weather. The seasonal white shirts will appear not when required, but when desired.

On the subject of seasons I was killing some time in my office this week between appointments and read CNN for news. I got distracted from even that by an article on midlife etc. etc. A question posed was that people tend at mid life to think of all the things they would like to have done, but haven't.

So I wrote that down and thought about it. I was surprised at how short the list was, but it was important to me, and some of it I note had to do with things. Here goes:

  • I would like every single thing in my wardrobe to be a "piece" I love
  • I would like my house to be really clean, every day. (this will require getting rid of some family members and the dogs, and will bite into my sewing "pieces" time, oh well maybe next life)
  • I would like to have a big laundry sink. You know for dirty paint brushes and muddy boots and big things that you want to soak. Somebody ripped out the old one that came with this house and replaced it with a bar sink. All you can put in that is a teaspoon and a shoe lace.
  • I would like to be able to say I am in the best shape of my life. This probably isn't as hard as it sounds considering I have never even tried to go there so far.
  • I would like to write a book, OK, even a booklet. On sewing.
  • I would like to have the same number of towels in my cupboard at the end of the year as at the beginning. Why does no one ever know where the towels have gone? The same people, incidentally, that want to know what I have done with the other sock.
That's it. I realize this is a weird list. Not on it are family or travel I notice. I have done a lot of traveling in my life and worked in other countries and any more places I go to are a bonus. I have a husband I really like, and will like even better when he comes home in  few weeks. I had three kids and I am glad about that. Two boys and a girl. I used to wonder if I should have had another girl, but then now I have Scarlett so that's fine. As to working I have had some tough jobs but at the end of my career as a teacher I am doing the best job of my life. I am glad I will be finishing work this way - imagine if the best work of your life had happened at the beginning and the tough jobs came after? 

I don't wish I had a big house. I can hardly keep up with this one. I don't wish I had more money. If I have a fabric budget and can afford to go visit my son in the States and my family in the rest of the country I have all that really care about.

And I want spring to be here, really here. It's change time.


Jodie said...

I LOVE your list. In talking to my Mom (my best friend and retired) and reading your blog....I think that's what I want too (retired)....right now, today, anyway. I'm in the middle bit and am raising the kid/dog, married, teaching full time....sigh, not much sewing time in there sometimes. And I'm taking time today to get my house clean because it is driving me batty. Of course we are moving into mud season, but I'll feel better, I just will. I've got the big house and wish for a smaller one. Here in Alberta there's 3 feet of snow on the ground that is melting, very, very, VERY slowly. I'm tired of my black teaching basics too. And in looking at my spring/summer work clothes, not a black item to be found. I must feel this way every year.

You made me smile today as I sit a look at my messy, dirty house. Time to gird my loins (or whatever) and get at it. I hope spring comes soon to your part of the world.

How are the assignments going? I survived Sex Ed day not too many issues (thank goodness). Done for another school year! Take care,

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

What a great post! I totally understand. I've started to realize that I need to live these next 2 decades for me! That I've spent the last 3 taking care of others and that I'm going to do things I want. My list is a little different from yours but I understand the sentiment...and sewing, reading and enjoying my life are tops on mine too!

Karin said...

I am looking forward to your quirky new wardrobe. I'd like to live in a clean house too, but like you, I have to share my house with too many messy people that I love!

Amy Jo of BlueHippoArts.com said...

If you don't mind me asking, what is a clothing SWAP? I hear talk about all over the sewing blogosphere, but really haven't the slightest what it means!

Love your blog and the great narrative you spin on sewing and life!


Amy Jo

Barbara said...

Jodi, the marking is still there, I am convinced those assignments are reproducing at the bottom of the pile, And Amy Jo SWAP means sewing with a plan - a concept developed by Lynn Cook editor of Australian Stitches, initially one jacket cardi, four bottoms and four tops.

Great idea if you can stick with it.

Amy Jo of BlueHippoArts.com said...

Ah ha! Thank you! That makes a lot more sense than people sewing clothes for people they don't know and shipping them around to one another! :-)

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing how your new wardrobe evolves.