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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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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pants etc.

O.K. note to self. 

Do not blog after you have just tried on five pairs of pants that don't fit. Nothing, repeat, nothing gets to me like having sewn multiples that don't fit. And don't write those blog posts late at night.


Today my daughter read my last post and said to me "Mom, what's up? You are always so cheerful, this doesn't sound like you at all."

"But I can't wear all those pants I just finished," I said.

As if this explains absolutely everything.

Which it should.

However I am happy to report that I have put all those pants away for another day (somewhere I can't see them) and actually went out and bought two pairs, on sale, that fit me just fine.

My morale has returned.

I need a holiday. 

I have been doing a job and a half for the last twelve months and figured I was managing just fine, but I am beginning to think it has depleted my resources more than I thought. You probably figured that out. I have that female taking on too much thing going on and I should have outgrown it by now. I have pretty much made up my mind to go part-time, no negotiation, in the next year.

Now I firmly believe the universe speaks back to you. And because I am incredibly deep I figure finding pants that fit just fine on sale, was a lesson to me.

I don't have to do everything and I don't have to sew everything. In fact why am I spending so much time sewing something I can buy?

So I'm thinking it is time for me to revisit my I don't have to do that list. 

A wise older woman I know once told me that she has a dinner party rule. She makes one course and does it well and buys the rest. She is a great, relaxed hostess. Real lesson there.

So I am going back to my sewing list, right now, updated this is what it looks like:

I sew:

Dresses ( I am going to sew nothing but dresses all summer I think) - I can't get buy them to fit or long enough and I like to make them.

Bras. The only ones I find comfortable are the ones I make.

Tops and shirts. Again my long body and few fitting issues like square shoulders make this a good use of my time and I can be creative.

What I don't really have to sew:

OK pants, except for a few TNT like the Lindas. I am not going to be making jeans in my lifetime.

Winter coats and jackets. I have made these a lot in the past but really they are pretty detailed and I can buy, if I shop well, exactly what I want.

So that's me being sensible.

Now what is your sew and not sew list? Or are there a few things you have crossed out in other areas of your life.

I am really interested to hear how you negotiate your balance.


Rebecca Clayton said...

First, don't ditch the pants right now--I am alarmed to think of them in the donation bin, where no one will really understand them. Surely they can simmer for a while in the back of the closet in case of holiday excesses.

When I was young I used to sew for the challenge and for exotic fashion statements. These days, I just want to have fun sewing, and that means simpler, quick garments that look nice when I put them on. That last part is challenge enough. If I get a pattern fitted to my satisfaction, I want to make it a dozen times in delicious fabrics.

I think your two lists make perfect sense.

Karin said...

I like the happy posts, I like the complaining posts. Basically, I like them all!
It is annoying to sew stuff that no longer fits. I've gained weight, and not much fits at the moment; so I feel ya!

Alison said...

I sew pretty much most everything I wear, though there are some things that are missing from my wardrobe since I have not yet figured out a successful TNT pattern.

What I purchase:
shoes (!!)
socks (need to wear compression hose)

What I sew:
knit tops

What I knit:

What I would like to sew:
woven fabric blouses
bras with underwires

Judith said...

Sometimes we all just have to reassess our sewing, and cross off what we don't have to do - I crossed sewing pants off my list long ago! Glad to hear/read you are back to the 'old-self' - can't wait to see all the dresses you are going to whip up for your coming summer months ... J

Judith said...

Sometimes we all just have to reassess our sewing, and cross off what we don't have to do - I crossed sewing pants off my list long ago! Glad to hear/read you are back to the 'old-self' - can't wait to see all the dresses you are going to whip up for your coming summer months ... J

Bunny said...

I have had to really reassess my sewing lately between taking care of hubby and working full time. The bottom line, for me, is that I need to sew for my sanity. It is my stress reliever and it doesn't really matter what I am sewing as long as it puts me in the zone. That being said, I have given a lot of thought lately to what I really, really need. White shirts, pants, some funky skirts would all fit in the wardrobe really well right now so I am concentrating on those basics. I do have a two weddings this summer so will deal with that soon as well. Can I be bothered sewing jeans? Haven't seen a reason to yet. Jeans I buy.

BeaJay said...

I feel your pain. It is good that you are able to pick yourself up and reassess your goals (and get some pants on sale).

May your next sewing project be a ragging success.

Vicki said...

Good for you! And you are right, we don't have to make everything. Now back to your pants - how about some tunics to wear over the them? Just like making dresses but shorter :) And any ill fitting will be hidden.

debbie said...

I sew everything I wear with the exception of coats/jackets and undergarments, BUT I don't work so I'm able to devote as much or as little time as I want sewing. If I could buy pants that fit I probably would but since I absolutely can't I make them. One well fitted TNT that's been drafted into four styles serves me well.

If your time is limited I see no reason you need to sew anything you can buy if it fits the way you want.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, so glad to see your second post. No, we can't do it all. Going into the third week with a nasty case of shingles has stopped me up short. Holiday has had to be cancelled. After I stopped moaning I've done lots of thinking along your lines.I think perhaps we should form a support group for those of us with the Wonder Woman Complex.I've been know to weaken in my resolve.

It has come as quite a surprise to my dear ones when I say that I can't or worse still that I don't want to. But they will get used to it. They may also need a support group.

Have a great time away. I am so envious.

Anonymous said...

Just getting back into sewing after a long hiatus and have been on a pants jag - 4 pair this month. I suspect I am not as exacting about fit as you (but I aspire to get there!).

Can't imagine making bras, jackets, coats....but I am starting to long for something other than pants....


Janine said...

I agree totally. As much as I adore sewing I do not want to sew everything . I have tried sewing a few pairs of pants but sadly bought ones are better so I am not going to beat myself up and keep on slavishly trying. I also buy my cardigans because sewn, hand knitted ones can not replicate the fine ones I love so and I need to look a bit professional in my job. However I love to sew my tops, shirts , skirts, dresses and casual jackets.

velosewer said...

I sew lots of stuff too but I find sewing for the family more fulfilling. And I still buy clothes because I don't want to just sew for the sake of sewing. You're right that you need a balance.

Scenic Route said...

Loved both of the last posts! We need to listen to our bodies--there should come a point in our lives, where we don't have to "just push through." Sewing grounds me in the midst of all the travel. I enjoy sewing for myself these days (sans fitting issues) and it's rewarding to sew what I want and that isn't in the stores--or at least the stores I can afford. But not pants: I buy them at Express. Their Editor pants are pretty much the only age-appropriate items in the store but they fit great, are well made and last a long time. confession: I just signed up for the Kenneth King Jean-ius class as I get so frustrated trying to replace favorite jeans that are no longer available. We shall see. thanks for being real :)

kbenco said...

I would be furious if I had just made 5 pairs of trousers and none fit. I hope your next sewing project is a wild success.
I would be throwing a tantrum if they did not fit because I had gained 10lbs, at least you can feel virtous and slim whilst you are grieving for that lost sewing time. I empathise.
I like the tunic idea. You make gorgeous tunics, and possibly they could redeem the trousers?

kbenco said...

You write so well, even in a fully justified 5 trouser low point. At least you have not gained 10lb, so you can feel virtuous and slim whilst you grieve for the lost sewing time. ;)
I like the tunic idea, those trousers probably look awesome from just above the knees to the feet.
I am nearly up to sewing everything, but this is because I view shopping for clothes as a moderately severe form of torture.
It is fortunate that shopping for fabric and patterns over the internet does not seem like torture at all.

Catherine Daze said...

I don't make t-shirts, underwear, or leggings. I can buy all of those in sizes that fit right now, although if the nineties fashion for short bodied t-shirts returns I'll be making my own! Can't stand having a gap at the waist.

Glad your mojo is returning. May it continue.

Louisa said...

Sorry your pants don't fit but you have an excellent excuse! If I were you, I would feel very happy about it. Probably wouldn't get rid of them just in case though.

I make pretty much everything I wear these days - except shoes! For me clothes shopping is sheer torture because it's all horrible in fit, fabric, colour and/or style. If by some miracle I find something I like that fits, I probably can't afford it. I could make several really nice pieces for the same price as a single one anyway. Fabric shopping is way more fun.

LinB said...

Don't wear many knit t-shirts, so neither buy or sew them. Buy rtw granny panties, and have found a good rtw bra that comes in many colors. Buy shoes very infrequently, and don't mind gently-worn thrifted shoes (but not used sandals, those are disgusting). Sometimes I can thrift decent trousers; but I like to sew trews. I buy jeans -- have sewn enough of my own to be willing to pay for rtw! Handknit my own socks, mittens, scarves, hats, cardigans. Have sewn coats and capes, but can buy better rtw ones. Like to sew handbags. Love to sew blouses and tops. Like to sew skirts, but hardly ever wear them; ditto dresses. Adore to draft and sew theatrical costumes, but don't currently have anyplace to do that for, so no reason to indulge myself.

Anonymous said...

Due to an awkwardly shaped body and lack of height (I call the shape an hourglass pear--slightly narrow shoulders, larger bust, tiny waist in relation to bust/hips, and hips considerably larger than bust), I tend to sew most of my work/dressy/formal garments. I prefer woven fabric over knits, for the most part. Primarily jackets/blazers, tops, slacks/trousers, occasional skirt, the very rare dress and formal garments as needed.

I do buy some knit tanks and tees for our hot summers that I can alter, then layer under unstructured jackets/blazers for work, then transition them to casual, and eventually grubbies. You know, the pilling, paint-stained stuff!

I've also found some knit slacks (leggings/jeggings are not my friends!) that I can purchase in average length (I'm short, but have long legs), then almost refashion the things and hem them about .5". Yeah. One-half inch. *sigh* They are primarily worn at home and as grubbies, although I will run to the store in them, in a pinch.

Pretty much everything else is purchased. I've found a line of lingerie that fits well--until they discontinue the styles that work for me! Nightwear may be purchased or made--it's a quick, easy make when I need the satisfaction of finishing something quickly! *LOL* I do like to design & sew handbags, but don't have the time.


Rose said...

There is a book "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty". I could retitle that, "When I Buy RTW, I Feel Guilty". I just deal with the guilt and do it anyway. Of course, I only buy RTW on sale (That eases the guilt somewhat.). I'm a mood sewer. I usually sew whatever feels good at the moment. I do have to force myself with the finishing. Why do I put off sewing on buttons so that the blouse will be finished? I'm sorry about your pants. Happy dress sewing!

a little sewing said...

Lately I have bought several pairs of pants from Lands End and several long-sleeved V-neck t-shirts from lands End. If I put on a scarf or one of my sewn jackets, I think I look fine.
Maybe I am deciding I don't have to be fashion forward, just appropriately garbed.