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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, August 27, 2011

Style Arc Linda pants

My Style arc Linda pants pattern finally came and I whipped off three pairs in the last two days. All stretch wovens because that's what the pattern calls for. A grey pair of stretch gabardine wool from G Street  I have had for a while now and wondered what I would do with it, some stretch poly crepe that was meant to be my muslin until it turned out, and some RPL.

Front step you can see the width of the leg

They are going to want to see the motorcycle he said
I wore these with shirts because I wanted to show that even though these are elastic waist pull on pants they can be worn with the straight stuff, although in real life I probably won't wear these shirts
OK just take the picture
Shams has put us all onto these patterns and I have to thank her for that. Apart from adding to the waist, natch, and what is now my regular 1" addition to the top of the centre front and centre back crotch seams. I just whipped this up like a crazy person without any further alterations.

I have a few observations that might be useful to another sewer:

  • Don't get hung up on the Bengaline fabric suggestion. I used three different kinds of stretch wovens and they all worked fine.
  • These are pretty fitted though in the hips, which is good in a stretch woven, but I noticed there was more comfort in the fabric with a little more stretch. I did the 4 inch test and the fabric that pulled to 5"was great, the 4 1/2" slightly less so, but still very wearable.
  • The instructions suggest you top-stitch the seam allowance that attaches the waistband to the pants after pressing it up - I did this once and am not sure I like it. It was fine on the finer RPL but made little pleats in the heavier wool stretch - but maybe that was just operator error.
  • The seam allowances are small - 3/8" which means you can't really press them open. Be aware of that. I straight-stitched the seams and then 4 thread serged them, so there is slight seam allowance bulk but really only I can see it.
Serious consideration going to go on around here about ordering more Style Arc patterns.

A good bit of back-to-school sewing for me. Tomorrow I am going to take a look at that Vogue jacket.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Deep acting

Those Syle Arc Linda pants are great. I have a day off today and have made one pair and just cut out two more. More on that later.

I realized I haven't talked about my amazing visit with my old school friend yet (we haven't seen each other since 1972 if you can believe that). It is worth talking about because it, and she, brought some things together for me.

First of all, our outsides have changed. What hadn't is that we each knew exactly who the other person was, the original.

You know how good it was to spend an evening talking with someone who really knew who you are? 

We talked about everything, including my dad who has been gone now for nearly twenty years. She remembered everything and she made him come back to me. I don't get many chances to talk about him around here, my children barely remember him, and my husband never met him.

I felt very connected together when she left.

This has got me thinking of something I read about and something the movie The Help made me think about. 

It's a concept psychologists call deep acting. There was a lot of deep acting going on in that movie. It's a behaviour women get involved in, especially in work situations, where we are called to put a smile on our faces or act interested in something we are not, or be "professional" when we really feel we are by nature an amateur. I remember going to so many official events in my life where the other women were in black and large silver jewelry and in houses that were so precious, you know I would have killed to have gone into one of those powder rooms and seen a crocheted toilet paper cover someone's grandmother had made. I think of meetings where I said something was "exciting" when it wasn't at all, at least not to me, and of working for politicians who really thought the purpose of my life was them. Really.

All of this over time separates you from the original, and by the way, people who are forced to do deep acting too long really can't get back to themselves if they tried. The disconnection can be haunting.

Lucky for me sewing has always been my route back. Lucky for me my family and current job are what I need.

And my school friend, she knew I still sewed. She didn't need to ask.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My McCalls 6078 and Vogue 1264 shot

Finally after one of those weeks with a lot happening between me and the camera, I got a shot of the pants of Vogue 1264 and the top of McCalls 6078 together.

Since I am not young, thin, or cool I was wondering how this would all work. You can decide for yourself. You can even tell me, I can take it. The jacket will pull it all together, and yes I wish I could have accessed some rayon knit rather than this polyester for the top, so the top is sort of a wearable muslin.

This whole outfit is super comfortable. The short pants work better than I thought they would. They are actually quite roomy in the thighs without looking baggy. I think I will make these again longer for normal pants sometime.

I have also decided that wool gab is the best fabric for these pants. You really need something with structure and will hold a press (how long has it been since we have pressed in  creases? ) You need a crease too to lengthen these pants and to balance the choppedoffedness (not a word, but I think you know that).

I have used up all my wool gab except some red (when is that son going to move back to the States so I can go visiting fabric shopping?) and I am wondering if red pants are too nuts. I haven't worn red pants since I was about eight, on the don't attract attention to where you are big policy, but I am not sure. Maybe with the same boots and a black tunic. Is this too much for a person over 50? Does it really matter? Does anyone really care? 

Glad the week is almost done. If I don't get some real sewing done again soon, I am not sure what I will do.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tabs and tops

I finished my pants this weekend and am very pleased with them. I am happy with the fit, and enjoyed the details like this one on the inside waistband, although I am totally convinced Vogue was wrong to say this tab should be buttoning up to the front of the pants:

I also decided to make a top to go with these pants and so whipped up McCall's 6078 view B, the view with a full, not plunging, back and which has exactly the same neckline as Vogue 1250. Great pattern, good clear instructions, and highly recommended as an up-to-date shell alternative.

Now, I would like to show you what these two look like on but my photographer was in the garage for the weekend. Self-imposed.

I got a call a few days ago from my best friend from grade seven, who is in town and somehow tracked me down. I haven't seen her in almost 40 years. I know she is now married (in town because her husband is a lawyer at a convention) but I know nothing else about her. Does she have children? What does she do? I am looking forward to finding  out. My daughter says maybe we have changed but I told her, how much can anyone change since grade seven?

We are having them for dinner tomorrow and part of my prep involved telling my husband there were Things to Do Around the House. This usually makes him go to the garage for a few days.  There he moves things around so he "can find the tools" he might need. This has taken him out of photographic action.

Not that there hasn't been progress. One time he came in he said I am supposed to shoot him the next time he brings home more junk. Might have a deal there.

In the meantime there is a large device on wheels which is meant to hold up the drywall for you when you are drywalling a ceiling by yourself, which has happened yet.

It is on the front lawn with a sign on it that says "Free." People are stopping the because of the free sign but drive off again because they don't know what it is.

Not to worry. He is the best damn lobster cook in the Maritimes and that is going to come in handy tomorrow night.