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, July 29, 2011

Where did the week go?

Good question.

I have had a work intensive week which is a good thing because I am feeling well caught up with my classes. I have to tell you I just love my students. Why do so many adults let this kind of funny openness be taken out of them? 

The kids got off track at the end of one class and started talking about getting ready for the work world (they are last years). The girls in particular, in fact the girls only, didn't want to talk about salary or work itself but about the terrible pressure to wear the right thing. As we talked I realized that for women of this age it is all about fitting in. The big question is "what are you going to wear?" translated to I want to fit in, not be over-dressed not be under-dressed. I wondered at how much time, money, and most importantly emotional and intellectual energy is being diverted into this.

And I wondered if this kind of process is what takes those nice edges off them as they "grow up?" What pieces of themselves do we make them leave behind in all this fitting in?

I was surprised this week to get an message from a former student, a sort of silly, wild child but a good kid, signed with his name and "who loves you like a son." And the big, athletic, beautiful and quite wonderful student who, on the subject appearance, told her classmates that she knew she would never be one of the pretty girls in the work place and had the students on either side put their arms around her. There is a solidarity to these kids that I feel quite privileged to see. Gee I don't want them to lose that.

It also made me think of course that I too spend a lot of emotional energy on the "what will I wear" question myself, but that to me I no longer feel, at all, like any desire to fit in. 

So the big question, and at the root of why we make our own clothes, is how do I want my clothes to make me feel? I am not sure if I can define that yet, except to say it is more about how I want to feel about myself. Not as how others see me but how I feel inside those clothes.

Like myself, comfortable, cheerful, relaxed, stylish.

I also realized that for a sewer, most sewers, they are wearing the process as much as the product. What we each get out of that process is very different for each of us. I can see that in my blogs I read.

Some of you are fitting sewers and are so good and energized by the almost mathematical challenge of perfecting fit.

Some of you are collection/competition sewers and have wardrobes that give you clothes for your life.

Some of you are designers and transform TNT and other patterns into something special.

Some, like me, need variety and are excited not as much by a patterns that works, as by a pattern that may or may not.

With this rare bit of self-insight I threw out so many patterns yesterday. I am not going to be working on last season's to-do list next season. I am dying for my new fall patterns to arrive.

That is of course why my white shirts stalled after three. I was soooo bored. I can only do these when I have something new to work with, and those are going to have to get done one at a time when I have a new pattern that inspires me.

On the home front I am going to be doing a little son shirt sewing this weekend. My middle child headed off to London Wednesday and then to NYC in October. He is doing so great. I am just lucky and keep reminding myself to keep my eye on the person he is and not the person who used to live here.

And this weekend, a long weekend here too in Canada, my daughter and her husband are going away to a wedding, and it's going to be just Miss Scarlett and I for three days. She's pretty busy but awfully funny. We are both good schleppers so it should be a good weekend.

However if any of you want to drop by and give me a hand, well that would be fine too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My weekend

First the sewing.

I have, the last woman standing, finally made my edition of Vogue  1250 What a nifty pattern. Here are my back of the bathroom door shots, as my photographer is still in the middle of nowhere. I miss him a lot. Great cooks who will listen to you talk for 20 hours of a day and still love you are not all that easy to come by. Took me a while to find him.

I took an extra shot of the neckline because it really is a thing of beauty. I need to get a someone, probably my daughter, take a picture of it on me. It really looks very nice, with the control panties and the Spanx going on both, and if I stand up straight. I actually think I may wear it to my DSD (dear step daughter's) wedding instead of the Loud Dress. It would probably be appreciated.

Until I get a picture taken I can tell you that it looks just the same on me as it does on the model on the envelope, if you can image the model at 57 and having had three babies, one of them 9 lbs. 10 oz. and a C section. Cool, easy to sew, fun to sew dress.

So far I haven't seen anything in the fall catalogues that has this potential for star status. What do you think? 

I am hoping, seeing the BVM Butterick sale on now, that they will deliver something soon, or the next version of Vogues. I love an interesting pattern.

My next projects will be shirts for my DC to be NYC son, which I have been putting off because I find men hard to sew for, they can be so particular, but he loved the last shirt I made him a year ago, just wanted the collar " a little different" - can you translate that into fractions of an inch? 

I am also going to be making my daughter some knit wide leg capris, sort of gauchos, with a pregnancy waistline. She is due with #2 on October 10 but was in the at Emerg today with some definite contractions and some dilation so is off work immediately. Those 12 nursing shifts are too much in these circumstances. I am going to have to help her more when I am not working with Miss Scarlett. I know that she is feeling big and unattractive and thought some new versions of the capris I made her for her last pregnancy would help.

The other reason I have not done a lot of sewing this weekend is that Nat, my son in transit, came home for the weekend between moves. His company is actually sending him to London England for two months before he starts in New York and he decided to have a break here.

I've got to tell you something and it doesn't make me look good.

I am a little stressed with this move to NYC. I really love this guy and miss him a lot. Every day.  He is great company and if he were ever to decide to move back into his own room and reinstate me as part of his day-to-day life that would be great, but that isn't going to happen of course.

My way of dealing with it is to keep in touch with where he is and what he is doing. I got used to DC. I got used to his neighbourhood at R and 1st. and liked it. I had my own system there and was happy visiting him. DC is on the top edge of entering the south, and I love the south. The south makes sense to me. That whole family oriented, not real hurried view of the world is pretty much the way I am. I have done some high powered work in my time, but me the person is not very high powered. At all.

Now he is going to NYC I feel as if I am moving too and I wonder how I will do. I am sort of holding on to the idea of the garment district and trying to figure out what the visits will be like. He is living of course with room mates and I will be in hotels. It looks like a night in a Manhattan hotel is my seasonal fabric budget. Should I stay outside and travel in? What is the transport like? 

Man is this guy ever going to get married and have a normal house with a place where his mother can stay and set up her machine and do the mending? Will he be with someone who will give me jobs to do and make me feel like part of the family? Middle aged mothers think these things, but never say them. In the meantime how sophisticated do I have to be?

He will be back in the States and at work there at the beginning of October. Then I better get down there and get myself a relationship with New York.

In the meantime off to make maternity pants.