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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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Monday, June 6, 2011

All cut up

I am actually back working this week so my sewing will have to be organized, not self-indulgent.

I have two new versions of McCalls 6241 cut out with a neckline facing extension and I will see how that goes:

I have also cut out and serged two pairs of pants from one of the patterns I tested on my holiday, and cut out four elastic waist skirts for my mom.

I am feeling badly that I haven't done more sewing for my mother. I sewed her a couple of these skirts two summers ago. She brought them to Florida and told me how great they are and how her friends admire them. Older women get stuck in polyester and things that don't fit.

I was embarrassed. 

Because I don't see her every day (she is in the middle of the country and I am on the edge) although I talk to her nearly every day, I had no real idea of what she needs to wear. Look at all the sewing I do and all the thinking and talking about sewing and blogging about sewing I do. All these skirts are is a front and a back and an elastic and a hem. She also told me she has only one pair of capris because it is hard to find anything for an 83 year old woman who is short and has a waistline wider than the average. A tailor, a tailor, told her to buy a larger pair and they would take in the legs. You and I both know that wouldn't work. And what would they charge her?

I have to start sewing for her. This is after all a woman who drove down at 6:00 a.m. and joined a gym that specializes in cardiac patients so she could stay fit enough to keep up with grandchildren.

I also had some random thoughts on my own sewing.

I looked at my skirt fabrics and figured that I need to make some more straight skirts over the summer for the school year that's coming up. And I realized that if I continue to teach part-time for another 5 years or so that I could potentially sew up all the straight skirts right now that I would need for the rest of my career. That gave me a very odd feeling.

I then realized that since I started working I could have used the exact same straight skirt pattern all these years and been in fashion every single year I wore them. Now what other garment can you say that about?

I also thought about tailoring. I actually know how to do it from a period of my life when I was putting a lot of effort in learning things like that. But I don't really do it much at all any more.

Why? Mainly because my sewing has become more about comfort and variety and fashion and speed I guess. The return on that pad stitched lapel just isn't there for me anymore. I actually don't want to be sewing any one garment for more than a week (and I am talking part-time sewing) these days and I certainly don't want to be wearing anything over and over for years. I am already wondering what neat things might be in the fall pattern catalogues.

I also wonder how much of this has to do with internet sewing. It's not the same now with online catalogue access, cyber shopping and the eye candy of other blogs as it was when it was just me driving over to thumb through the patterns on my own. I see so much more now, my community of inspiration is so much wider, and my life too is that much busier.

How has your sewing life changed?


Bunny said...

My sewing life has definitely changed as well and I love the change. Before my career ended I would do the Nancy Zieman inspired 2-30 minutes of sewing. I would wake up each day at 5:30, immediately hit the sewing room for one hour, do a half hour of exercising, and then get ready and go to work. Some special weekends I could get in maybe a two hour sewing stretch. It was a tremendous release from the tensions and pressures of work.

The past five years have changed that. I have worked part time off and on, mostly off. I sew hours most days. I take leisurely trips to the fabric store sitting at the pattern counter casually looking at the books and marking down numbers. No more 5 minute, race thru the book at lunchtime, pattern shopping! I cruise the internet, getting inspired by blogs, forums, and drooling over fabric, fashion and pattern websites. That takes time, time I didn't have when I was working. I have become better at sewing from all of this internet inspiration. The inspiration is never ending. In my work days inspiration mostly came from high end snoop shopping and basic fabric store shopping. Today it is universal, available at any time, and just lots of fun.

One big change is that I now sew for grandchildren which is an absolute delight, much different from the tailored suits I turned out for years. That may be the biggest change. I now sew for fun, not for work clothes.

Myrna said...

You said - I actually don't want to be sewing any one garment for more than a week .... and I certainly don't want to be wearing anything over and over for years.

I'm not in a huge hurry to get anything done but I also don't want to work on laborious forever projects. Tailoring is definitely out.

I'll take a lot of time up front to get a garment well fitted and then use that pattern over and over. T & T patterns contain a world of possibilities.

I hear you on I don't want to wear it for years. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. It's along the lines of use the good china - use it up - get new dishes.