Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Saturday, April 9, 2011

A slight pause

I will be back once I have finished giving this term's students the marks they deserve. 

The best part is the students who surprise you. I ran into one I taught a few years ago in an adult literacy class last night at the grocery store. To my complete amazement he is a) still alive b) now in university and enjoying his intro to law course which he says he is finding useful in his everyday life "on a daily basis." My big struggle with him when I taught him was his conviction that there was no future for guys who had been in all the trouble he had been in. He credits me with hope. 

So it doesn't matter how whiny I get about marking, and throw myself around because it is eating into my sewing time, this is what I am supposed to be doing right now.

I am however keeping myself going by moving things in and out of my shopping cart on before the latest sale ends tonight.

I'll be getting back to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On the way home

I have just heard that my spouse has crossed the border into Canada with a van packed to the gills with a year's worth of my fabric orders, a new dress form, and a cooler full of frozen chicken breasts (they were on sale in Tennessee and I use them for Mr. Rascal's home made food.)

My hairdresser remarked this morning that customs will think he is a drag queen on a diet.

Oh the things that man does for love.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vogue 1179

If you are like me you keep an eye on blogs and sewers that seem to sew things that are particularly wearable to you. Some sewers I admire for their expertise, and some seem to find patterns that would work for me too.

So I took notice when both Myra and Adrienne raved about Vogue 1179. They are right. This one is a winner.

This pattern is also rare among designer patterns in that it actually looks so much better on a real woman with curves than on Miss Size Zero in the pattern book. On her it hangs like a rag, on me it skims and makes me looks slimmer than I am. Of course all I can show you here is my version on a hanger. The official photographer is in a van (full of fabric) on the road from Tennessee to home - but I promise when he is here there will be a full photo shoot.

I used one of Fabricmart's bamboo knits and followed the pattern exactly, no alteration except adding the usual 3 inches in length. You will note that this has a huge hem 4" which is a good idea as it helps the fabric hang better, more weight. I used my coverhem, which was one of the best investments I  ever made, but had to put some washable stablilizer under the wrong side so the twin stitches didn't tunnel.

IMO option this fast and easy sew is one of the great patterns of all time - can't imagine how anyone couldn't look great in it. How's that for a pattern review?

It was also nice to get back to a real pattern again after my walk on the impromptu side - just wish I had more time to tackle something more ambitious right now, but this one will be perfect for my holiday in May.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another shift

I realize that I am developing some TNT with my Wild Ginger PMB software. I made another version of the first shift: 

The neckline is still a bit too open (I have gone back into the software and brought this in now) so I made a pleat and put on a button to tighten this version up a bit. 

I also let go of the facings which I replaced with binding. I much prefer binding armholes and necklines, and if you look at better RTW facings are not used half as much as they are in patterns. You get a nicer, neater dress without them.

I used some African cotton I picked up last summer and I love it. Despite earlier creations I am definitely a more geometric than floral patterned person and being a tall person too larger designs suit me, so I am always attracted to African prints. I used to have some fabric brought home for me from folks going to Africa and unfortunately it is hard to get a lot of the nice patterned wovens here that you find in say West Africa but the prints are still nice.

I also want to share something about invisible zippers. My good machine has been in the shop for two months now (got an email saying they are still working on it - what's going on?) and I have been using my ancient second hand Pfaff. The stitch on this machine is lovely but there aren't any accessory feet. So to put in an invisible zipper I went out and got one of those cheap generic kinds they sell at the fabric store and tried that.

Here is a picture of that foot in action:

The amazing thing is that this foot made putting in the invisible zipper about 1000% easier than the expensive invisible zipper foot I got for my main machine. Because you can just slide it over to where you want it so easily with this foot it is real simple to get it just where you want it. I also find that roller ball on the cheapo foot does a much better job of moving the coil of the zipper out of the way. I think I will keep using this foot even when my good machine comes home if ever that happens.

Incidental thoughts

I have a garment to post but before I do that I wanted to share a self observation and a few other things.

First of all my DD took a look at my last post and said to me "There is a reason they call them house dresses, that's because you aren't supposed to wear them outside the house, and you better not." She is probably right, I do not have a flower dress history.

But looking at the last couple of things I have made I can see myself trying to work something out. I have one more month of full time work then I go part time after a month's holiday in May. I am going to be very busy this month finishing things up and getting things set up for summer classes before I go, and if you asked me how I felt about ending my full-time career I would have said I have no feelings about it either way.

But my sewing proves that wrong. 

After the focus for so long being things to wear to work, and there will still be some of that, but only half of it, I am wondering about transferring operations more formally to this house. I will be working from home and working in the home. Part of me is trying to figure out what that looks like. I don't want to think I am starting a left over life and I don't want to wear left over clothes, as in the comfortable things you put on when you come home from work.

I have been thinking things like, I will be a part-time housewife now, and when the thought went into my head I realized, because I also had only a few hours to sew, that I expressed that in making a few house dresses to process the thought.

Oh, to be so simple that even a cat could figure out why you do the things that you do.

I have kind of worked through that feeling and realized I will just retool and work on ways to be just as stylish at home.

The truth is that this is a good change for me and I am going to grow with it.