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Sewing with less stress Front
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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, November 24, 2012

Back in business

I more or less deplaned from New York and went right into class and marking.

I am happy to report that the heavy lifting marking wise is now done. 

More than happy.

I have a week of classes and then have decided to go and see my family and mom in Winnipeg before Christmas. 

I want to see my niece and nephew's Christmas concert, to see another niece in a swim meet and maybe help my mom a bit with pre-Christmas stuff. We are also going out to the small town I lived in as a child where we will be having dinner with my best friend from Grade 8. She looked me up last summer and we picked up where we left off.

What does it say about two women who are still the same as they were in Grade 8?

She has spent her working life as a parole officer, and I have spent mine living in different places and doing a variety of things. It appears not to have changed either of us.

This is either a good or bad thing and I am not sure it really matters.

I have a lot to do before I go and this weekend I am catching up on family sewing.

900 baby wipes to sew for my daughter's up coming Christmas fair where her business has a booth.

I also want to start some dresses for my mother. It makes sense that I have them nearly done to take for a fitting.

My Vogue order hasn't arrived but I have found this pattern that I think she will like:

It's a new pattern from Petite Plus and I am pretty interested to make it. For those of you who are not familiar with this pattern line they are drafted for a fuller bust and tummy and narrow shoulders in mostly plus or getting there sizes. And of course petite sizes, I forgot about that. 

This more or less describes my 5'2" mother.

It is really hard for this figure type and particularly older ladies to find patterns. I hope we can get a TNT for her here. Although it says "wrap" there is also a non-wrapping option and that's what we will be using. I have two nice pieces of ponte that will work.

I have had a look carefully at the patterns and note that some of these might even fit me. I am about 8" past a petite but many of the figure characteristics apply and of course nothing is as easy as lengthening. 

My plan is to make this for my mother and put it on myself and to try to imagine it longer. I will let you know how that goes.

There are a few things about the website for this company that are note-worthy. 

First there is a page called Pattern Extenders that has free downloadable patterns for details like collars, how to adjust a pattern for maternity wear etc. There is also this free pattern for a basic shift that might be a way to test the drafting to see if it works for your individual pattern adjustment issues:

There is also a really excellent Custom Fit page with sensible advice for common fit adjustments like large arms, bust adjustments, and shoulder fitting, which is key.

Finally I should point out that there is a current Independent Pattern contest running for those of you who sew with these patterns:

The rules and application form are here.

Tomorrow I am going to share the startling discover about collars I made at the F.I.T. Ivy League exhibition, but right now I have a sewing room calling.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to be a middle-aged traveling woman

I have so many things to write about, some sewing related and some not, but I have returned to my normal life and that this weeks involves all that end of term marking I always complain about.

So I have decided to do short posts until I eventually unload the debris from my mind into yours.

Tonight here are my thoughts on travel these days, particularly if you are doing it solo:

  • Air travel ain't what it used to be. They are going to ask you to take off your shoes. So you don't fall over in the line-up on both sides of the X ray booth, wear something that slips on and off easily. Practice this at home in a closet or somewhere cramped until you get the hang of it.
  • You are going to spend a lot of time rooting around in that big carryon-carryall desperately hoping that your boarding pass/passport/customs forms were not part of the junk you emptied out in the garbage can in the ladies room several terminals back. Have one designated zippered bag for this stuff. Make it red so you can see it in the bottom of your giant carryon bag. If you have an embroidery machine you can even put something evident on it like "things that I will have a heart attack if I lose" on it.
  • If you are taking your bamboo needles with you to knit socks, take five not four needles. In case one rolls under the seat in front of you or in case it gets sat on in 14D, which is your seat number and not a combination of your cup size and the dress size you once were.
  • Keep a pen in your red important inside-the-purse bag. They are going to ask you to fill out customs forms that say you are not traveling with $10,000 cash on you (how is that possible you went to Mood with Carolyn?) and not importing firearms or sheep manure samples or raffia furniture and no one will lend you a pen to do it - in particular the flight attendants who have pens in their hands.
  • Do not wear clothes to travel that you wouldn't wear at home just because they are no-iron, roll up small, and have 200 pockets. You don't want to look like you haven't been out of the house before. This rule of course does not apply if you are going to NYC and what you wear at home has rhinestones on the back pockets or is a Mumu that glows in the dark. In this case you wear exactly what you would never wear at home, and make it in black.
  • A toothbrush. These are easy to leave at home next to the sink along with your passport. The going rate for toothbrushes with mobile bristles is $19 at most international airports.
Next entry is how it is easy to be relaxed and confident in New York even if you are the sort of woman who doesn't even like to drive over the bridge at home in a windy day.