About me

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I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Feeling at home

Quick thoughts from East Village until I am home and better set up to blog and not just tapping this out on an iPad. I have a lot I want to write about like my major collar stand discovery at the Ivy League exhibition at FIT but that will have to wait.

Some of it like my fabulous evening with the quite extraordinary Carolyn will have to be fully digested over the next few days but there is one amazing thing I want to share with you.

Carolyn from diaryofasewingfanatic and now Mood blogger fame is an extraordinary sewist. But she has something, something you really have to meet her in person to appreciate, that I have never quite seen.

Let me explain. Some sewists are great at execution and their work is a technical marvel. Some have an eye for fashion and are great at picking trends. And then there are the fit experts who work their way through muslins and end up with the perfect fit. 

None of these people are me, but I sure do like fabric.

When I see an amazing amount of fabric, like Carolyn and I saw at Mood tonight, I am attracted to the colours or patterns I have bought before ( am I the only one who has a large collection of nearly the same fabric at home?) and I feel sort of overwhelmed.

It was different tonight because I had Carolyn with me and she has a real designer's eye. She can look at the fabric and see the potential garment in it, she can see the creative potential. Shopping with her is about hearing things like "you can run the pattern down like this and cut the sleeves from the border on the edges" she knows right away that she is going to cut the button and from that white strip on the side, that one side of another fabric can be part of a dress front and the other side can be another part. She has a real sure eye.

All this means when I got back to my venue tonight and laid out all my purchases on the bed I had this revelation that I have never in my long and active fabric shopping career ever been so pleased with my purchases. She was right, she had the taste to say when I showed her one coating "you're not sewing for the little girls, this one is a grown-up fabric."

This has really got me thinking now about my own eye and opening them up. About making the most of a piece of fabric not just making it up.

I am going to be doing some major percolating of these thoughts.

On another note my AirBnB experience is turning out just great. First you could say that what I have saved staying in this very nice apartment has financed Mood. 

So once again my fabric purchasing is revenue neutral.

Secondly there are few decent hotels in East Village where my son lives, in an apartment with a roommate that he describes as so small he has to put his shoes on the dresser. So this arrangement puts me close and let's me feel more what his day to day life is like.

Third my host is a polite nice boy, and I do mean that he is about 25 and you might remember I am not. But I have sons and students and that is comfortable for me. The place is neat ( he is a recent grad from design school) and he is out a lot. Would you believe the only food is garlic in a bowl on the counter and bottled water in the fridge? I asked him last night where his tea towels (dish towels) were after I did a few dishes because I still eat even when I come in late. He doesn't own one.

This is an interesting lifestyle.

Anyway last night when I tucked myself into my very nice bed I heard a voice in the dark from down the hall "goodnight Babs."

I thought to myself, sometimes I think I could write a book.

Then I remembered I write a blog.


Anonymous said...

So cool. Sounds like a wonderful start.


Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I'm so glad that I finally got to meet you and especially thrilled that you love the pieces you bought. I know I can be a little bossy when fabric shopping but you did get some great pieces that will make amazing garments. Thanks for spending time with me and I can't wait for your next trip back to NYC!

MarcyF said...

I just love your perspective on life and how you express that in words here on your blog. You are always hilariously on point In your observations. And I'm extremely green with envy that you were able to spend time, and even fabric shop, with Carolyn. Oh, if only I had such an opportunity!

Calypso Flowers said...

So pleased the Airbnb is working out well for you. In September I stayed in one in Berlin, and another in Paris, and both were fantastic. We had the whole appartments to ourselves...I think the host/s moved in with boyfriend/s whilst we enjoyed the appartments. Can't wait to see your fabric purchases !!

Mary said...

Carolyn is the Fabric Whisperer.

Babs. I laughed so hard I woke up the dog.

Lori said...

Sounds like so much fun, can't wait to see your purchases.

Bunny said...

Can't wait to see what sort of fabrications come out of your purchases. Such a treat to visit and shop with the divine Ms. Caroline!

KID, MD said...

Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine how much fun the two of you must have had. I comment far too seldomly (is that a word?), but I always enjoy your writing and sewing. Thanks for sharing with us!

Sandra said...

"Good night, John Boy."
So... when you write a whole post after you percolate on your thoughts about fabric shopping with Carolyn, will you please include something anything about those of us who do not have that talent and that just repeatedly selecting the way we've always selected, well, you know the results. I mean, I know the results. In other words, how can we mere mortals improve in this area? AirBnB, I'm going to save that resource.
Not one dish towel? Wow. Maybe he participated in that project called 100 Things, you know, where you keep only 100 things.

The Hojnackes said...

I'm with Sandra. I need all the help I can get in picking out fabric. Maybe it wouldn't be so difficult if I could see whole bolts of really nice fabrics in person. It is difficult when all you see is what the local JoAnns offers or swatches online. I'm a bit jealous! I'm definitely going to have to make it out to NY for fabric shopping one day. Oh, I can dream!

Martha said...

You always make me smile.

shams said...

Glad you had a fun shopping experience with Carolyn!

velosewer said...

Your posts always make me think.
Glad you are having a great time and shopping with the amazing Carolyn.

Sharon said...

Love your take on life and how you express it! So glad you had a fantastic time with Carolyn, can't wait to see what you purchased.

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to let you know how much I look forward to reading your blog posts! Would you believe I actually "save" them to read with my lunch? :) Sad, I know --ha. Your sense of humor is a treasure!

Oh, Not to rush you or anything, as I know you have a life and are traveling home, but I'm waiting with baited breath for your collar stand discovery! :)

Thanks for all you do for us who sew!


Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading about your meetup and shopping on both blogs. Serously, I think anyone going to Mood needs a guide who knows their way around. Otherwise you could pass out from fabric overload.