Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, October 27, 2012

London jacket building site shots

I know I know.

The rest of the blogging world has nice styled and shot photos. 

Not me.

This particular set of pictures was taken in the doorway of my kitchen as the door was being replaced. Since resident husband-builder-photographer was otherwise engaged the only way I could get these pictures taken was if I stood in the doorway, took the power tools out of his hand and put the camera in.

And of course it is styled in my sewing clothes, yoga pants and tank top.

I am really super pleased with this as a pattern with genuine TNT potential. I found the shoulder/chest fit to be nice and smooth and if you take a close look at the sleeves those aren't the clunky boxy sleeves you would expect in a very basic one piece sleeve.

The sleeve cap was pretty high and the armhole up quite close to the body but the sleeves went in very easily.

Of course the pockets were meant to be lower but I got the idea in my head that with such a short jacket  they would look cooler up higher.

This jacket is made in a patterned denim and what you can't see here is that the facings are really generous, the pockets' topstiching catches them, and the back neck facing is really deep and large , almost like a back stay which I feel gives the back of the jacket a more tailored structure.

If I didn't presently have a grandchild asleep in the room where the jacket is now, I would take more pictures of these facings to show you.

Listen I am really happy with such a simple pattern that can produce fairly slick results.

I have been frustrated a lot lately with my busy life.

It currently isn't giving me all the sewing time I need - no more course overloads next year. However I can see that one thing I have achieved is a series of TNT patterns that I will use over and over again with confidence.

The Linda pant
The Sasha blouse and the Annie blouse ( these three from Style Arc)
Pamela's Perfect T
The Magic Shirt (also from Pamela's patterns)
Butterick 5760 cardigan

and now this jacket

This makes me even wonder if I should attempt SWAP this year, it will depend on the rules and I have my eye on Stitches Guild to see if they are released soon.

Who knows?

Friday, October 26, 2012

On my mind and my work table this morning

I have had an interesting week.

The markings done until the next deluge. Both the students and I survived. Some of my students I suspect are brighter than I am, some I suspect put less work into their submissions than I put into marking them.

Which is just about right.

I also talked to a a very nice political reporter this week who wished me happy birthday.

"How do you know about that?" I wanted to know.

"Read it on your blog" he said.

So much for not having my worlds collide. 

But then I thought, so what. People are multi-dimensional and that would include me.

So Dave you are going to find a lot of this pretty boring and I don't drop political hints here. At least nothing local. But thanks for reading.

But on that note I went by invitation to a political event last night. This served to remind me why I am no longer in that business. Thank goodness there were a few students in the room. Folks move on and I have.

While I was out, my husband worked on dinner and installing a new kitchen door. He said he knew he had taken multi-tasking to new levels when he realized he was hammering with an oven mitt on and turning the ribs with a crowbar.

If you know my husband you know that this is exactly what happened.

The ribs were great BTW and I love the new door. I was glad to be home.

I have many things on my to-do list this weekend and I am not going to do any of them.

I need some sewing time- time to bring my spirit back to the mother ship.

A few days ago my daughter and I went to a quilt store to get things she needed. I don't quilt but I am good at taking three year olds to the bathroom and keeping them out of the notions.

But of course I had to buy something, so I picked up this pattern on a whim:

It is your basic simple shape. I have been thinking one of those in the arsenal would not be a bad idea for elaborate fabric that doesn't need a lot of seaming, or for Channel drop-outs like myself.

I hope to finish a sort of wearable hopefully muslin today out of some random denim and some cotton that I am going to have to use for facings and hem finishing because I am that short of denim.

Here it is on the mannequin shot at an angle so I wouldn't fall over all the machines I have on the floor since I am in a reorganization phase:

There is a center back seam for shaping and a very good dart in this pattern and the sleeves are pretty good. All in all, since I was expecting a fairly crude shape from something with so few pattern pieces, this is a nice jacket, even if this version is a little short.

I see potential here and will definitely finish this today.

My sewing room clean up is part of my list writing for my fabric scouting trip to NYC is a few weeks. I have realized that I am going to have issues with bringing fabric back and I have to figure this out. I won't be going by car this trip which is the best option for bringing back fabric, and I am on sort of a don't lift really heavy things restriction since the big fix up. So throwing 50 pounds of fabric on the carousal isn't going to cut it.

And you know how helpful they are at the airlines these days.

I am thinking of not taking any clothes, just my Visa and my passport and an empty suitcase, and wondering if I shop somewhere if they would ship it back for me?

Might have to investigate that.

Now off to the sewing room.

Talk later.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Making yourself happy

Today is my birthday.

It's shaping up to be a pretty nice day. 

Dinner cooked by my husband, cake from my daughter, and everybody coming over here which is what I really want. I also got an exercise bike, a non-rickety one, which was something I really had my eye on too for a while.

I have been talking to the family.

On one of my calls one of my sisters she told me how her whole family did zero, nada, nothing, for her own recent birthday. That was two weeks ago and I can tell she still feels bad about it, and she really is one of those wives and mothers who does everything for everybody.

I told her if birthdays matter to you make sure you get everyone organized to celebrate it.

Took me a while to figure this out.

The thing is when you get married you might connect with someone who comes from a different approach to these things than you do. 

In my own family all events, everything actually, was A Big Deal. Not in my brother-in-law's family and not in my husband's family either.

So rather than being miserable on a day no one remembered, I start early and make it clear that if it makes sense or not to my significant other having something happen on my birthday is a good thing.

Listen, I said, a card for these events is nice. A meal is better, and a something of any price range is much appreciated. Just to make sure this hasn't gone down too far on the to-do list I have asked a couple of times this week "well how are the birthday plans going?"

At the risk of being totally sexist I have to tell you that marriage and sons have taught me that most males just want to be told what to do rather than being the recipient of a lot of post-event sighing or The Look. 

Of course it is perfectly reasonable to say that if you have to ask for it, it doesn't matter. If you were dealing in a world of women that would be true. 

But since we're not I would counter that with, if it matters to you why not ask for it?

You can't always count on The Look or for the dinner plates hitting the table loudly being translated appropriately.

Women always do this.

I have read in the organizational literature that many women on the way up in their careers think if they work longer, harder, above and beyond enough, Someone Will Notice and eventually they will get their reward.

In fact the evidence is that the world, workplaces in particular, are not meritocracies and in fact no one probably will notice. More likely they will just get used to the idea of being in a one way relationship where the benefits flow only one way.

How many of us have seen some over-worked woman passed over for a promotion in favour of someone who did only what was required but did so publicly?

Sometime smart outdoes fair.

I was also struck this week by a quote from Gloria Allred of all people. 

She said a woman should decide what she wanted in a spouse and then be that person herself.

Sure would take the pressure off.

So if the person who makes sure you have a great birthday is yourself that's OK.

One year older and that little bit smarter.