Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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About me

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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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Friday, February 11, 2011

My apologies to Bren

A while ago Bren from Brensan Studios emailed me and asked I add her to the white shirt project list. Unfortunately her email was put in my Junk Mail where it has been waiting far too long with a bunch of other useful and maybe not so useful stuff.

Bren has done some white shirt sewing and you can read more about that here.

Sorry Bren.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This would say it all

I have found the perfect teacher:

 At last someone clear and at my level.

Tuning up

I had my annual Dr. visit today, all was cool, despite the fact that my doctor who is otherwise sensible, thinks that people should stay the same weight they were in high school.

He doesn't quite seem to understand that I was way too underweight in high school. A problem I have fixed since then.

It got me thinking on the drive home that I really hate going to the doctor, I mean really hate it. I would rather rip out a welt pocket than do this.

So it seems to me the point of improving your lifestyle is to reduce the times you have to go see those guys.

Which, since my doctor has a picture of himself running across the finish line in a race on his wall, got me to thinking about fitness.

There is a lot to think about. 

For instance there have to be four kinds of fitness. How fit you could be. How fit you should be. How fit you want to be. How fit you have to be to get by best you can.

The last one is all I am concerned with. All I want is to stay in the same multi-sized pattern range but have fewer lower body alterations.

Gyms don't do it for me. By the time I get home from work I am not going out again, except in we-need-milk emergencies where you at least can look forward to bringing home new lipstick too.

I have a treadmill that yes I do use, particularly since I have learned to knit and walk at the same time (go for slower speed but higher incline, it works) so I figured that maybe a workout  DVD might suit me. 

Last time I went to Cosco I threw a Pilates DVD in the cart since the core is what's shot but that didn't work out that well. Those people are crazy. Let's just leave it at that. I regretted the $14.99 I could have spent on lipstick.

So on my way home from Mr-winner-of-the-race I stopped by the local library. I adore libraries and have complete faith in them to deliver for me.

In this case though I was completely frustrated by the titles they had, which to my mind just showed a complete disconnect to the kind of people who would be reduced to borrowing exercise DVD's from the public library.

I mean do you have any idea how hard it is to find something that doesn't have the words "Burn" "Iron" "Bootcamp" "Blast, fast and endurance" on it? Where were the titles I was looking for? You know ones like:

Pilates for people who don't yet have the stomach muscles to do Pilates

Core work for woman who had really big babies a really long time ago

After work yoga for people who are stressed out working for crazy people

Exercise with good music for people who would rather be doing absolutely anything else

In the end I had to settle for a beginners pilates dvd that at least you get to sit down for on one of those exercise balls that someone keeps putting in my sewing room no matter how many times I put it out - in a routine much like Fred Flintstone putting out the pet dino.

Plus one where you exercise doing Bollywood dancing.

Listen I love Bollywood. So much. I watch through so many bad movies just so I can get to the part at the end where the whole family comes out and dances. I am a big time wedding dancer, the kind who hits the floor with the eight year old in a sweaty bow tie doing the Snake, so this makes perfect sense to me.

I will let you know how it turns out.

BTW WW online version is great - you just put in what you ate and it gives you the points, at which point you say "No kidding!" and resolve to do better tomorrow. I have lost about 1/10 of what I put on since high school since I have been on it.

I will leave you with my exercise aspirations:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sewing up the raveled hem

I had a fairly frazzled weekend. I was busy, I was out, I talked to people. I felt scattered, worried, and just wish my husband's tour of duty working away was over. I have too much to do and too much on my mind right now.

And if you are alive and particularly if you have been alive a bit, not all news is good news, some people you care about are going through tough times. One of the best and most alive men I know, one of my oldest friends and the husband of one of my best friends, has started a long struggle with a tough degenerative illness. Their faith isn't the same as mine, and I don't know where you stand on such things, but I have to tell you, when the chips are down it makes a difference.

So because of a lot of things, not anything I can control or fix, the weekend wore me down.

It wasn't until 8:00 tonight, Sunday night, that I made it down to my sewing room.

At first I just sat there and looked at my stuff.

Then I got out the boxes and boxes of 60's, 70's and 80's patterns my neighbour had rescued for me from a church sale and I looked through them. I am taking a bunch to the local sewing guild Tuesday night but keeping all the ones that have meaning for me.

There are patterns in those boxes that I absolutely remember making, or I remember my sister making. It is as if all my very own patterns from decades ago in my life have come back to me. Looking through them I lost the years too, and it was as if I were in my dad's house in the basement sewing something new to wear to school, waiting for my mother to call me for dinner - my life just that complicated.

The amazing thing is  with all the things that have come with an adult life, the challenges and adjustments that come with serious territory, my sewing life and how I feel about it is exactly the same - that part of me is completely intact. Me, in the original, is there -with none of the parts broken off or worn off or given up on or taken away.

I am still there, as is, as always.

One of my sisters used to do some home care for a lady named Doreen. I went with her once on one of the visits. Doreen was in her 90s then and had lost a considerable number of her marbles, but when she heard I sewed she took me into her bedroom where her machine was set up and she was working on a blouse. The blouse was turning out very well, and this woman who I think had the elements disabled on her stove for that burning pot thing I think we are all going to do one day, had even taught herself how to use a serger, which she said wasn't all that hard to thread once you got the hang of it.

True, she wasn't remembering every body by the right name, even people she might have gone into labour for, but I sure understood why Doreen kept that little table in the corner of her bedroom set up to go.

That's the spot where she knew she still was.

So tonight after I looked through those patterns and felt myself settle down inside, I picked up the navy wool skirt I had started to make to go with some of these white blouses and I finished it, and took a lot of time pressing it too.

It turned out absolutely beautifully and while I sewed I felt like all my own scattered parts flew in from the corners of that room and sort of reassembled inside of me. So by the time I was done I was saying to myself that yes I knew what to do, it would be OK, these things can happen to anyone, we would all get through it.

And then I turned off the light and came upstairs.