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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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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sewing what I feel like

In the last few days, in breathers between marking (you learn to take a break when you find yourself wanting to write "You have got to be kidding" at the end of a paper), I have done some quick and easy projects.

Wide linen pants.

Knit shorts.

A sort of caftan 80s thing.

I am severely photographically challenged at the moment. 

My photographers are AWOL, and since the only interesting thing about the pants and shorts is fit, there doesn't seem to be much use in posting a hanger shot. I will have to keep cornering family members and emailing my DH that I really need him at home.

In the meantime I am going to go ahead and show you my caftan thingy anyway, on a hanger.  My daughter told me when she saw it that it looked awfully Bedouin and North African, and of course I did make it while watching CNN, so I think I am going to call it my In solidarity-with-the-Libyan-people outfit, documenting once again how shallow and impressionable I am, and which sounds better anyway  than housedress, which is how I will wear it and what I had in mind when I made it.

To me this garment will fill a specific wardrobe gap in the upcoming trans-seasonal early spring/summer period. I will wear it:

  • blogging on Saturday morning, or more likely reading other people's blogs when I am avoiding the dishes
  • running out very early on Wednesday mornings in a race to the curb with my blue bags just ahead of the recycling truck
  • over a bathing suit to the pool on not so hot days
  • as something to put on after a bath when it is too early to go to bed and too much trouble to put on real clothes but when there might be other people around
  • when I am feeling lazy, which can occur at any time
Here is the original pattern found in the massive collection of vintage patterns given to me by a neighbour:

Of course I had to add in a major way to make it fit my no longer 1982 body, but this was a nice, fun, well-thought out pattern to make.

The more I look at these old guide sheets I have to tell you I am absolutely convinced that the quality of pattern instructions was about 1000% better when I suspect they had sewers who were actually considering the pattern in front of them writing the instructions, rather than the generic cut-and-paste stuff we get today. I don't know about you but increasingly I don't see any mind at work in pattern instructions, just some word processed default instruction for a detail slapped in without any effort to make sure the method chosen is the best one for that specific garment.

At any rate here is my version of this old Butterick, in striped linen, which eventually I will get someone to photograph on me someday when I am in action lounging around not doing anything useful - which is exactly the occasion I had in mind when I made this.


Patty said...

Thanks for putting a smile on my face with your post today :-)

sdBev-NL6538 said...

Love you version and must comment about the "cut and paste" method of instruction writing. I'm convinced that's what several of my patterns last year were wadders. They cut and paste not only instructions, but pattern pieces as well; never checking to see how it works as a whole. I have made several changes to my sewing procedures to overcome the Big4's negligence. But I wonder what will become of the new sewist?
We used to lament that there were fewer and fewer an ask what we could do to increase our numbers. Now I'm surprised that we have any new dressmakers at all.

Ripple Dandelion said...

Your dress looks great--I would love to have one like it. I'm sure my husband would find a way to make fun of me in it, but it looks very useful and, in its own way, more dignified than the usual sweat pants or other slouching around clothes.

Anonymous said...

It's always nice to see what others are wearing to retire in!
Agreed on the cut and paste instructions. We live in a cut and paste world now. Everything is based on volume, not quality.