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, July 16, 2011

Thanks Shams

Shams over at Communing with Fabric, in addition to inspiring me with ideas for wearable clothes and encouraging Style Arc pants pattern purchases, has also made me aware of Yasmine and her very sewable fashion. :

How is this for a White Shirt?

And isn't this a cool jacket?

Now off to sew summer dresses despite the weather that is wet, cold, and raining again. Anyone want to mail me some of that heat wave the rest of the continent is supposed to be having?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Small pieces

Yesterday afternoon I didn't work and Miss Scarlett and I went through my fabric boxes. I have the real yardages on shelves but four of those giant Rubbermaid boxes with just-in-case stuff a.k.a. scraps. So we made decisions and threw out my giant collection of 1/2 pieces of fabric that I have been hanging onto for years and years, along with enough fake fur to make three lion costumes (OK there was a sale and I thought one day I might want a fake fur coat - that day has  not come in the last fifteen years). 

This is what I thought I might do with those half yard pieces:

1. Line bags. I don't make bags, they do a real good job at the store. Although I have put that Marcy Tilton bag pattern in and out of my shopping cart 47 times over the last 24 hours. Which is often.

2. Make a quilt. What sort of quilt would combine dress fabrics, pants pieces, and cottons? Besides I am a quilting drop-out and would probably only get into quilting if there was a world wide ban on sewing patterns.

3. Get more creative. You know do one of those Koos outfits with all the pieces. Except these pieces don't go together, I wouldn't have quite enough, and I would go shopping again anyway.

So we threw them out, freeing up more space of course for real fabric purchases.

Know yourself.

I think I know myself fairly well but what I know and my sewing ambitions don't always connect at all. Sometimes you would think I was sewing for someone else and some else's real life.

Here are some shots my husband (who is leaving today for three weeks in the near to the Arctic Circle to a place call Deception Bay) took yesterday. This is who I really am, this is the person the clothes need to be made for:

What I need right now is a new apron, and there is that dog bum again

My husband says this is how I look most of the time, this explains why those huge heels I bought were a dumb idea and why all those ruched and wrapped dresses aren't me
Interestingly these self revelations occurred simultaneously with a BMV pattern sale. As a result I ditched some of the less compatible outfits (do you see the person pictured above in that black NYC suit with the pleather?) I think I will wait and see what other sewists do before I commit. I always act like this will be the only BMV sale of all time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Under stuff update

On my way to bed after a long day at work and wanted just to share a message sent to me by a fellow sewist that Christine Jonson has a Spanx like pattern available as a download. Looks interesting so this one is going right on my got-to-try list.

Good night folks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New fall Vogues - calling Kay Unger


I was looking forward to some new fall dresses since I am in major dress mode, but none of the offerings appeal to me. All these yards and yards of twisted knits all over the body, until I see it on real people and am convinced, this seems like too much. Ruching seems to be the thing this season but in tight dresses like this you need to have a skinny bod or be prepared to wear five pairs of Spanx under it. Yes, this is definitely a five pair dress, please tell me I am wrong.

I have seen a lot of ruched satin at weddings, enough in fact to think twice about wrapping this figure up in it.

I never am comfortable in lots of stuff flapping around, I am a busy person and move around a lot and it just seems to get in the way. I wouldn't feel like me in this stuff.

One Anne Klein is nice but it is very similar to what I have. 

Where is Kay Unger in this collection? You can always count on her for elegant.

And I love the back of this jacket, but what is with the no closures? Listen if you don't need to do your jacket up you don't need a jacket. There are a few closureless numbers here and I don't get it. Maybe to wear over a cocktail dress while you run from the taxi, which means I would wear this once every eight years for ten minutes.

Now on to what I really like.

There are some interesting casual patterns, which is a welcome change, and as I am trying to focus on clothes I would wear everyday I will be picking these ones up:

Drapey cowl necklines were my favourite look this summer and this top would suit me. I might even go crazy and do unfinished edges. Anything is possible at this stage.

There are some extremely dopey fabric suggestions for this one, like sweatshirt fleece, but this is a very nice collar and on my definite list for a turn-into-coat pattern if nothing else shows up.

I have a definite shortage of pleather in my wardrobe and since my DC son has now moved to East Village in NYC I am wondering if I should step it up with a few black type outfits to blend in when I visit. Might not be the venue for my good old loud prints.

If I had made these pants I wouldn't be happy with them, but the jacket is interesting. The idea of knit sleeves is appealing. I will have to think about what I would wear underneath it. However as I have been holding onto about a yard of wool rib knit for 17 years, which would be great for sleeves, this one is under consideration.

I hardly ever sew bags, I find them fiddly when I look at the instructions and besides there are too many clothes I want to make. However this looks easy and stylish. I try never to turn down easy and stylish.

Now what do you like?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Final shots of Vogue 1236 with alterations

Here we are, only length added and the FBA as illustrated in previous post. I really wanted to keep the integrity of the design. And yes Nan I added a bit of length to sort of true the hem. But as I wasn't adding anything to a side dart there wasn't much happening to length and as there is so much ease in this dress I think that the extra you might need to go over the bust is sort of absorbed.

Holding my hair on a windy day, this view shows best where the extra got added
I think you can see the extra bust ease and the difference it makes to this dress, with what is really a very simple flat pattern alteration:


I really like this dress, and so glad I went back to it. Remember this is a pull-over your head dress and it has a full back right up to the neck as well as fairly high armholes, which I appreciate.

To illustrate how fine-tuned the upper bust fit is, despite having a nice summery scooped neck this is my cleavage shot - no show through of bras or any other stuff. Not that easy to achieve in an open necked loose summer dress, and a real assist to the wearability.

I am glad now I didn't give up on this pattern, didn't take much to fit it.

No pics yet

The dress turned out very well with the alteration. Unfortunately we didn't get the pictures taken because youngest stepdaughter came by to say she is getting married in four weeks. Small wedding, unlike all other family weddings, only her dad, her mom, and me. In case you are wondering I volunteered to let this just be with her parents but she wants me there and I really like her mom so this is fine.

Now the big question is what am I going to wear?

Off to earn my living, more later.