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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, June 11, 2011

Worry and coats

OK these two things are unrelated but both on my mind tonight. My mind is particularly skilled at holding unrelated thoughts.


Tomorrow we are going out to see my mother-in-law to talk and visit. Part of that discussion will be about things like selling her house in the country and moving in town near us by the winter. My MIL's grace and strength and serenity after my father-in-law's death is amazing to me. She just takes things in stride. I am not sure how much of that is her quiet but solid faith, and how much of it is the family attitude of "there is no sense in worrying." They don't just say it, they actually mean it. Can you believe it?

This attitude to life is something I can only aspire to some days. My own background was more of the if you worry you are creating some kind of insurance of preparedness. Suffice too to say that my father's nickname for my mother when we were growing up was "the voice of doom." She always said that it was better to think of the worst and get ready for that and all the rest was a nice surprise. Well, maybe not so nice because you had pretty much worried yourself to a frazzle by the time the good news came in. But I think you get the picture.

Recently however in our last visit I have noticed how often my mother says things like "well I just can't worry about that." I can actually say that after heart attacks, becoming a widow, and a whole series of other challenges, my mother seems pretty carefree these days. I think it comes with aging, least for her.

I have noticed this in myself, a tendency, after a lifetime of some fairly world class episodes of catastrophic thinking, to start to draw the line and say, well I can't be worrying about that. Maybe when you realize that you don't have decades and decades of time wasting ahead you just get to a point where some things are in and some things are out. 

So lately I have looked at some of my relationships or work situations or people (every one of us has a few of what my dad called "the big stupid" folks visited upon us) and said to myself "well I am just going to have to put all of that, and you, in the can't worry about it box - even if you or it are worry worthy, I'm just not able to do it. Sorry."

Sometimes you just have to do this. Some things you are just going to have to let go undone. You don't always get the big fix-up, the last word, the second chance, the resolution or the result you want. 

I am still working on this. There are a couple of things I know I worry about too much and that the worry isn't advancing anything at all. But at least now I have started to label somethings as things I can't worry about is a real good start. After all the only response to some situations is "oh hell"  and there is no amount of getting ready that is going to make it any different or better. And the only response to other situations is just plain gratitude and your job to be able to fully do that when that happens is enough of an assignment for anyone.

One thing I do know is that the more activities you can enjoy the easier it is to let go of some of the worry. Sewing plays a big role in this for me.

I hope that the folks who don't sew have their own way.

The other thing on my mind is how I have to sew a totally great winter coat this year. I have been waiting for the right pattern now for several  seasons.

It seems that the coats we have been seeing have been nice and fitted, which is nice but doesn't fit my cold winters.

A person really needs a fashionable sharp coat that she can throw on over her at home clothes and look fabulous going to the grocery store at the last minute, to work, or downtown for a meeting. A real style item but also one that is warm.

The coat pattern I am waiting for has these features:

1. In addition to extreme style it has enough ease to fit over the other warm clothes I need to wear like sweaters.

2. It has non-drafty edges. A neckline that closes around your neck. Sleeves that close around the wrist or if the sleeves are wide, storm cuffs up inside to keep out the cold air. A hem that is not too full - ease but close to the body at the hem or some kind of waist shape, to keep you warm is important. 

3. Good secure closures. What's with the closureless coats BWF has been showing? Or coats fashioned with one button or with only a leather belt? I would like to meet those designers at the bottom of my hill some Nova Scotia February and we can walk up together, against the wind or heaven forbid the sleet.

It's only June and I am going to hold on to every sunny day I can but man do I need a new coat come winter. I need it, but I am not going to get too worried about it quite yet.


KayY said...

Let us know when you find that perfect Canadian winter coat pattern. I would probably make it too.

RebeccaHoward said...

Barbara - I'm with you on the worry stuff. I have a black box in my brain where I stick that stuff and shut the lid. This is also for sad stuff. I feel myself getting completely paralyzed by all the things to worry about so I make a list the deal with just one thing at a time. The worry goes into the black box.
On the coat side, Threads did a good article some time ago about adding extra warmth to coats and included some of the things you talk about. It gave me a bit of a giggle at the time (living in Australia) but the ideas stuck in my mind. You should be able to find them on their website otherwise email me and I'll send you the article.

Jodie said...

I live in Alberta (edmonton area) and as a teacher (outside supervision) I care a LOT about a long, warm, good looking (sorry still a little vain) coat. I've a coat my husband bought me when we first got married (classic, long wool/cashmere) that I love. However, not quite warm enough...
So, I found an old Threads magazine article, November 2005, issue 121 "Coats with Lightweight Warmth" that have lots of good suggestions to add warmth to a wool coat. They show modifications to Vogue 2472, OOP, but I bought a copy online. However, the changes could apply to any pattern, although I like a hood and raglan sleeves. One summer (probably next summer, this summer I'm doing dress pants) I'm going to make myself a new wool coat. Hope this helps you and Kay Y - if we're surviving a Canadian winter, we'll need to stick together.


That anti-worrying lesson you taught was quite useful. Now all we need are the abundant practice problems. Oh wait, not a problem. Laurel