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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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Sunday, January 20, 2013

New tops, winter and fallow years

First things first.

I have completed my sixth top for the six top-four bottoms-one jacket SWAP challenge. I am pretty pleased with myself as I have done these six tops this month more or less when I should have been doing other things.

Operating like this takes discipline.

This one is my only knit of the bunch and is the Ada knit top from StyleArc.

For a start it really is a boxy T-shirt, just like they said and just like the knits that are now appearing in the stores. Sort of the kind of look that reminds me of my dad and not a way I have dressed in a while, but I will get used to it.

When I have this whole wardrobe done and the pictures taken you can decide for yourselves if I am looking like I am wearing my dad's shirt or not.

It is a really useful top. 

Apart from being suitable for work around the house a la dad, it has these really nifty side pockets that would be useful for picking things up as you go - you know those pennies that are about to be discontinued and pins that you are glad you got before someone, who hopefully isn't pulling it out of a foot, holds it up and says "guess what I found on the floor" not understanding that pins on the floor are to be expected, part of the territory really, when you are living the sewing life.

I think I am going to start talking like that. Living the sewing life. As if that explains something to someone other than myself. Makes things clear to me.

Anyway it's a pretty good top and very wearable and not all the time do you want to be wearing something that is snappy but not that comfortable.

Some days are not snappy days and this would be part of a good outfit for days like that.

I have had a busy two weeks getting my students organized and getting to know the ones I haven't taught before. (FYI if your child's name is Tara would you mind not spelling that Terrah - took me 10 minutes to sound that out).

I think it should be a pretty good term. Good kids, interesting topics.

And I do appreciate your best wishes for my impending trip to Florida. I am embarrassed to say however that I will be leaving the week of April 8 even though I am counting now - you would probably have to be here in Nova Scotia in January to completely understand why.

It will be fair to say I will be ready come April to drive south and do that marvellous thing where every day you drive the trees get bigger and then there are little leaves and then big leaves and then cherry blossoms in DC and then Florida (we go to St. Augustine) and it's palm trees and time to go to Winn Dixie for mangos to start canning.

Now it is these thoughts, and the time I have spent looking at the shelves and shelves of disorganized fabric in my sewing room, that has me naturally thinking of Jerusalem.

A couple of years ago owing to some administrative mistake I ended up on a work trip to Israel and that in turn landed me in the market in Jerusalem.

Extremely cool.

Anyway when I was talking to our highly educated guide about how fantastic the produce was he told me that the farmers observe the biblical practice of leaving the fields fallow every seven years for one year (remember the seven good years and seven lean years part).

This means that for one year every seven they don't plant and in fact have to live off and sell what they already have.

Just think this through.

It made me wonder how many areas of my life could I live off of if I had to for one year.

What if I didn't buy one pattern or any fabric for a year and knew no matter what that I had 12 months until I could? What if I knew I was having a year like this every seven years?

You know I could do it. Of course I could do it. But I am not sure if I have enough nerve to even try.

How about you?


debbie said...

Love the pockets on the side and the fabric. I think I may steal the pocket idea.

Could I go a year without purchasing fabric or patterns? Patterns yes, fabric absolutely positively no!

Andrea said...

I like the fabric for your top, and I do hope you'll model this one for us soon.

Interesting question. I am sure I could abstain from buying fabric and patterns for a year if it were necessary. However, I have no desire to abstain. I'm thankful I have a fabric budget!

April in Florida is a beautiful time to visit.

gwensews said...

Nice top. I had to look carefully to even find a seam. I could certainly go a year without patterns and fabric and still have plenty to sew, but who wants to do that? I would be depressed.

Sewfast said...

Interesting thought...a fallow year in the sewing life...although I could live off te fat of the stash, I don't think I want to...gotta have something to leave the kids...

Karin said...

It's a good basic Tshirt, and the side pockets do give it a hint of "snappy!"
April! That's a long wait. By then it will be Spring in Nova Scotia and hot as heck in Florida!
The seven year idea is an interesting one. It would be quite a stash buster. Maybe fun in it's own challenging sort of way. Don't think I would be disciplined enough to see it through though.

Alison said...

I do like your shirt, and agree that sometimes something wearable and comfy is just the thing...

As far as going for a year without buying fabric or patterns, I am doing that now. I rarely ever buy patterns anyway, and my intention is to go through 2013 without buying fabric, only what notions and interfacing are needful for my sewing...

Claire S. said...

Love the fabric - will you model the tee ?

Too bad you gotta make it through the Maritime winter before the Florida trip. A January/February winter break would be fabulous :-) and that's coming from Montreal where, this morning, they're saying we've got a -32 wind chill !

Rebecca Clayton said...

My purchasing power has fluctuated extremely over the years, so I've accumulated stash some years and gone without shopping at all other times.

(Conclusion: Having money to shop is better.)

The great thing about sewing is that you can work either way. When cash is tight, you call it "decluttering." You can sew what you have, you can use scraps for small garments (like underwear), you can make patchwork quilts, handbags, and other amusing objects, and you can re-purpose your old (but not worn-out) clothes.

Anonymous said...

I think that I would be sorely tempted to overbuy in the sixth year to alleviate anxiety over the coming lean year.

Lois K

Diana said...

I admit honestly. I couldn't do it. But I did take a pledge the first of Oct. to not buy clothing of any kind including underwear ans socks,for a full year and so far so good. But no fabric? no patterns? No way.

velosewer said...

I know I'm weak so I couldn't go without patterns, fabric or shopping for that matter. What r you gunna do?

Judi Pinkham said...

I sure should go a year without buying fabric or patterns. "Shop" in my own stash, but easier said than done.