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

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's missing?

You might notice that something is gone from this blog.

No more You Can Never Have Too Many White Shirts icon.


Well you can, I decided.

Have too many white shirts I mean.

Now you know.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I decided after three that I had never been so bored out of my mind with any of my ideas like this one.

This dumb idea turned my sewing into a chore.

Every time I went into my sewing room I saw this huge pile of white fabric and this heap of shirt patterns and they both seemed to say to me "Well Babs, you better get to work or you are going to look like a fool."

Well, so what?

I don't need my sewing to nag me.

Truth is there are other areas of my life I take pretty seriously.

Yesterday I more or less finished up on a really hard distance course I have been working on. It may not be perfect but it really is the best I can do at this stage. In fact, funnily enough, I feel right now I am doing the best work of my life - just when I thought I was going to downshift.

I also put everything I can into my relationships with my family. The best this particular person's got. 

Mind you, as my kids will be the first to tell you, it's not always great - like giving my son's beautiful and profoundly polite girlfriend a complete summary of all his childhood illnesses over dinner at a chic restaurant in NYC. She probably didn't need to know what the pediatrician said every visit. But now she does.

I mean I can, and often am, deeply clueless but I give it all I've got when I am.

I try to be a good dog mother. 

I even searched the house at 3:00 a.m. two nights ago to try and find Mr. Rascal because his soft complaining woke me up. Turns out he was sitting in the dark in the bathtub waiting for me to turn on the taps so he could have a little drink - he doesn't like the dog bowl water when it has been sitting there, like overnight.

So I can't let my sewing be another thing I have to try so hard at. There simply can't be any duty in it for me.

Sewing is what I want to do when it's time for a break. Sewing can't ever be something that I need a break from.

I have to admit that this morning I am putting the Wild Ginger fitting in that box right now too. 

This is just me but as a sewer I work in fabric and in front of a mirror and in front of a sewing machine. The idea of going back into that software and fiddling with the numbers and printing off a pattern and sewing up another muslin and then going back into the software to transfer in and back and forth so I can get out say a camp shirt to spit out just feels like something that is too much work for me right now. That sort of describes what I have already done working all week on my distance course in fact.

So Wild Ginger is going back into the box for a while, at least until it seems to me that will be a fun thing to do.

As to my wonderful friends who signed up to sew white shirts I am transferring you to my blog roll this weekend, which is where you belong.

More later.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flypaper thoughts, some from the road

  • New York city is not in Tennessee.
  • In TN that middle-aged woman likely has her hair coloured and that baby is her third grandchild.
  • In Manhattan that middle-aged woman is letting her hair go grey and that's her first child in her stroller.
  • In Tennessee they have big trucks.
  • In NYC they have big sidewalks.
  • Knees are to bodies what zippers are to garments.
  • Not the same warranty.
  • In Tennessee they say to me "don't get in a rush."
  • In NYC I walk faster to keep up.
  • Why did I forget to buy buttons?
  • My daughter hired a doula for help with her breastfeeding.
  • The baby now nurses standing up.
  • Looks odd works great.
  • New York is about a lot of small. Small spaces, small shops, small room between people.
  • It's not anonymous, it's close.
  • They don't tell you that. 
  • It's sort of comforting.
  • I heard frogs outside my window in Tennessee. 
  • I swear.
  • On the phone Miss Scarlett said to me "Babs I am going to go to your house as soon as I can."
  • That's why I came home.
  • I love New York.
  • I love Tennessee.
  • I live in Nova Scotia.
  • This is my home.
  • I was born on the prairies.
  • You never know.
  • You just never know.
  • Anytime I walk into a fabric store I am no longer a traveller.
  • These are my people.
  • This is the home I carry with me.

Back home

Well I did NYC and Tennessee and am back home.

There is a lot in my mind I want to share and I don't know where to begin. 

Maybe I should do a series of short posts on specific subjects to share my thoughts. 

That is what this blog is to me, a place to unload the things that are occupying my mental space but may not be highly interesting to the general public - you know those people who don't wake up in the middle of the night trying to decide if that sleeve should really get ripped out and put in again, or if remembering to keep my arm at my side when I wear it will be enough. (Decided I can't always carry a purse or wear a newspaper under my arm - so have gotten up at 3:00 a.m. and just ripped it out so I would have no choice in the morning.)


So let's start with packing.

I was very successful packing lighter than usual. For once I didn't have to pay any extra for weight and have them put those "Heavy" tags on my suitcase. I had room to spare and could bring my fabric purchases back no problem in the one same case.

I achieved this by:

1. Forgetting to pack my pajamas. A friend of mine who was once evacuated in a hotel fire alarm told me to always travel with good pjs - he said you wouldn't believe what some people wear to bed. Mr. Walmart took care of this on the way back from the airport.

2. Not bringing a rain coat or rain hat (another friend told me a rain hat is a more practical accessory than an umbrella, leaves your hands free, and she travels around the world but I forgot this advice. Also I actually don't own a rain hat and my black collapsable umbrella got taken home by mistake by the undertaker at my father-in-law's funeral because they thought it was theirs, but that's another story).

Of course it rained immediately and for two days as soon as I got to New York but one of the things you learn about the place is that once the first raindrop falls every little shop immediately sets out baskets of umbrellas for sale on the sidewalk. Not many tricks missed in that place.

3. I thought about only one venue when I packed. In the interests of smart packing I packed only one theme - black and grey and my Nova Scotian idea of what to wear in the big city.

Of course as soon as I got to Tennessee my husband's work had a team building thing to which I was invited that involved beer and bowling. 

What you think you should wear to a bar in Manhattan and what you should wear in the next alley to a guy named Ace who is bowling 739 are different. 

You can trust me on this.

More later.