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

Clothesmaking mavens

Clothesmaking mavens
Listen to me on the clothes making mavens podcasts

About me

My photo
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



Follow me on Instagram

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, January 20, 2012

Packing for trips

In morning I fly out. First to Orlando where I am overnighting at an airport hotel, and then on to Tennessee to see the spouse. Thursday morning we go to NYC, and Sunday I fly home.

In between making 18 quarts of homemade dog food for the boys (I have a friend from work staying here and a dog walker coming by in the days) I am trying to pack.

I am the World's Worst Packer.

I wish I was more like my grandmother who was a Great Packer. The mistress of the rolled garment, underwear in shoes, and things packed in plastic. She traveled a lot. She and my grandfather had an arrangement that involved him staying at The Store and her going to Switzerland to buy cuckoo clocks (OK she did this only once) or freeloading on relatives who she claimed where "desperate to see me" (she did this a lot, although usually only once per venue).

She was such a great packer she even wore three dresses on top of each other when going through customs after shopping in the States.

But that's another story entirely.

Thing is I too have traveled  a lot, used to do it for work, and I should have learned something by now. 

I can say with confidence that I haven't learned a thing and am not one bit improved.

This is a nuisance.

My specialty is packing way too much and all of it being the wrong thing. I have a hard time transitioning my head for a different climate then the one I am in. I once went to a convention in Las Vegas in March with a suitcase full of wool leotards and wool suits and big boots. I had sweat flattening my hair the whole time, not really a glam look.

Then there was the time we drove to Montreal for my son's graduation and I packed all our tops in one bag and all our bottoms in the other.

And left the bottom's bag at home.

Good for 200 miles of "I saw it but thought you were going to bring it."

I also am a victim of the "what if, just in case" scenario. I usually pack about five pairs of shoes (rainboots in case in rains, heels in case it's a nice restaurant, running shoes in case I work out in the hotel gym, (I never do), walking shoes for shopping, slippers for the room, other shoes that aren't real heels in case the restaurant is one that I have to walk to.)

You get my drift.

This is why my preferred mode of transport is by car. 

With a van, car top carrier, and trailer my husband has to haul to accommodate my stuff when I am gone more than a week and Need Projects, I do fine. On these stupid airlines where they weigh bags and charge you extra for extra pounds and for each bag even things are more stressful.

The big change in my view of this whole issue has resulted from watching my son's NYC girlfriend come for visits.

This kid always looks totally appropriate and chic and, get this, she doesn't check any luggage, she only travels with a tiny carry-on. My first words when I pick her up are always "That's it?"

So this trip I am trying to emulate her Babs style. For me this means only one large suitcase and one normal purse.

And I am only wearing short boots on my feet and only two more pairs of shoes packed. Black, white and grey clothes (remind me to finish those two pairs of StyleArc Linda pants). We will see how this goes.

What are your packing tips? What are your best travel garments?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vogue 1128 finished

Last night I went to a sewing group meeting (a member is married to a local pastor so we meet in the church basement, hence the drums in the background - and mainstream churches are wondering why they are losing congregations). While we talked I finished sewing on my giant snaps and snagged one of my cohorts to take a picture. 

So this is the unfinal pressed version but you get the idea:

Side view showing how the pleats out of the yoke and at the hem work. You can see I lightly pressed these to reduce the bulge factor, not sure if I will leave this the way it is or steam the pressing out.
The effect of the pleats on the profile of the coat. Actually fairly practical as this would reduce the draft up the backside factor that is particularly relevant to dressing for my climate. Not sure if the sleeves are as wide as this looks or if it was our camera angle - very clear view of how dropped the shoulders are and how wide the sleeves are when you lengthen them. Personally, since I am anything but and inverted triangle, I have no problem with garments that make me look like one.

Of course it isn't too useful that I have my hands in the pockets, but this is one of those cozy sort of comfy coats that you would do that in. I see this coat and this pose and reflective of how I will really wear this - in front of the diary counter at the Superstore talking to someone I haven't seen in a long time.

In the end I went with just the giant snaps and no buttons. 

This fabric is loosely woven (I fused light weight interfacing to the whole thing - now that was a fascinating exercise - think that's why they invented TV), soft and heavy and I think the big snaps, which I feel have been too heavy and a disaster on everything else I have tried to use them on, are perfect here.

I am going away for 10 days to the US in a few days and have a lot to do before I leave town. I will post later about the challenges of packing for travel if you are me and will try to do a proper Pattern Review of this pattern before too long.

Now to answer some commenters.

Calypso a TNT is a Tried and True pattern. This means if you kill yourself making something fit you should use that pattern again to try and recoup some of that investment and to avoid wasting good sewing time fooling around on the unfun part.

Petunia re this coat and adjusting it. These pictures will probably answer your fit questions. My general sense of it is that because this shape is so distinctive and oversized it is best just accepted as is. Fitting changes would IMO be lost in the volume. Shoulder pads for example would not be helpful given how undefined the shoulder line is, and actually looking at the side view here, the bubble factor is lower hem more than over my rear end so maybe pressing the pleats down was not necessary.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

As promised, sort of

Consistent with a life time of over promising and under-delivering to myself as a sewer here is my status report on Vogue 1128.

Hem pinned up but not done, snaps and faux buttons still on the table and not on the coat, but otherwise finished.

I really like it in a costume character way. Due to operator precision this is hanging crooked on the hanger and so the welt pockets in real life are in fact more level, no small surprise to me.

I was totally taken back to see that I executed these two vertical welt pockets very well. The secret is the fabric of course. Choose something with the texture of a living room rug and no one, including yourself, will be able to see any mistakes. Put that one away for future reference.

I would have liked to have finished this today, but sometimes life, just like some of the people in it, doesn't seem to be listening.

Not to worry, a new week ahead.