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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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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's resolutions and Maddie top

Here we go with getting ready for the new year.

First the resolutions:

1. Sew more. 

2013 was a very busy year and I felt pulled in many directions by many forces. The result was I felt pulled away from myself a bit. I have been thinking this over.

Last night I was babysitting at my daughter's. The house was quiet and I was thinking about my life and all the roles I have played, all the different things I have done, all those experiences. Then I thought, as middle-aged adults do, of where I started and the person I was when I was a kid. 

I was always a kid with projects. Ask my mother. I more or less drove the street and the other mothers nuts with my schemes. My major theatrical projects with a cast of thousands, the time I set up a sweat shop in the garage making doll clothes until I was shut down by mothers who instituted labour and consumer protection laws.

Well I sat last night and looked at that dollhouse, as messy as it was, and as bright, and thought to myself I have travelled in a direct line from there to here.

My wish for you right now is that you can see your own direct line and aren't letting life move you off it.

How this all pertains to the resolution to sew more needs no explanation with this crowd here.

2. Be more experimental in my sewing. 

I am not a production person but an artisan. What do you think about that?

I am proud of myself for picking up this word and applying it to myself. 

This is a result of having spoken this morning with my son in Brooklyn who talked this evening about going out for artisanal cocktails. Having walked around Brooklyn a lot on my last trip I now understand what this means. Being a craftsperson implies a high level of practiced skill, but artisanal products I realize now means DIY and generally involves fooling around a bit. A craftsman makes a perfect martini. And artisanal cocktail involves things you might not think go together like maybe pickle juice and vodka and muddied chocolate basil (I am just making this one up but I do not put it past some artisan to be mixing this exact recipe up tonight for my son and his girlfriend).

I intend to work with more basic patterns and fool around with them a bit. Like an artisan.

3. Buy more interesting fabric, but only 10/10 stuff. 

I don't really need to explain this. I need this for items one and two.

4. Sew more StyleArc patterns, try more indies.

Listen StyleArc patterns fit me and are interesting and smart. Why I have wasted so much money on other stuff is beyond me.

So in summary here is the latest, a sort of 2014 warm-up. A pair of Barb pants and the Maddie top

I actually got this pattern only for the name, which is the name of my son's girlfriend and sometimes I really miss her. 

What is wonderful about this pull-on top is that it has a beautifully fitting neckline, nothing sloppy and the bands at the sleeves and bottoms are doubled so you have weight to help the top hang and the need for hemming is eliminated.

I made this out of some silk crepe and the bands out of some light weight pleather I had looking at me from the shelves.

I am super happy with this pattern (only took a few hours start to finish and I was in a rush as I wanted to wear it down to do some radio, which as my husband pointed out, doesn't make much sense) and will be using it for many more experiments. It absolutely wants to be a dress I can hear that from it.

No construction notes for the top, except if you are not putting in a back opening (you don't need it IMO) eliminate the seam.

I am wearing this top with the latest pair of Barb pants and I have one comment (in addition to adding a bit for the hips if are you not sure about the stretch of your stretch woven). I want to point out that the pattern calls for 2" elastic in the waist casing. I couldn't find any around here and so in previous pairs used 1 1/2" which I figured wouldn't make a difference.

It does. 

For this pair I overlapped my 1 1/2" with some 1" elastic and zig-zagged them together to make a sturdy 2". What a difference, these pants feel so much more secure on the body. I might be making a couple more pairs over the next few days, I am so happy with them, when I should be doing some cooking for the troops.

So here is the shot:

Happy New Year!


Angela said...

The shirt is striking, what an unusual fabric! I'm so glad to hear that you like Style Arc patterns, I've been thinking about putting in an order for awhile now, but delayed because of shipping costs. I think I'll go for it!

Karen in VA said...

I LOVE that outfit....very classy but also looks very comfy.

Jodie said...

Ah Barb - you can tell you are a teacher with the 10/10 fabric plans you have. I'd like to sew more too, but with the school year grabbing me back come Monday, I'm not sure how I'll do. I'm thinking I may work to cut a few things out so that I'm "good to go". Enjoy your time with your family and cooking for the troops - I've got to do some prep (including a coconut cream pie for my boys). Happy New Year and happy sewing. Thanks for sharing your journey - even if I can't find the time to sew (or the energy, which is the more likely) I love reading about your plans and projects.
OH - and I have sometimes found 2inch elastic at Fabricland and they will order it in for you especially if you'll buy a whole roll....

Tia Dia said...

Your top is stunning. What a gorgeous piece of fabric you've chosen to make it up with. Happy New Year to you, too, and happy 10/10 fabric hunting!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your reflections and comments Barbara. Your new outfit looks wonderful. I adore StyleARC patterns too - and luckily for me, I am also based in Melbourne! Best wishes for achieving all that you want to achieve during 2014.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

This is a cute outfit! Love how you've used the two fabrics. I'm looking forward to what you sew in 2014! Happy New Year!

Angela said...

Wow -- you look so stylish! I look forward to your 2014 makes:)

Towanda said...

You look great. Happy New Year

Jen in Sunny (?!) Melbourne said...

love the fabric you've used for the top. Where is it from, and do they still have any left?

Nursebennett said...

Fantastic ensemble! You look very chic. Beautiful fabrics and beautifully sewn. Looking forward to your 2014 creations. :)

twotoast said...

Lovely top, the fabric is stunning!

Sharon said...

Happy New Year and this outfit rocks!

Mary said...

Great outfit. Stylish and comfortable...a winning combination.

Unknown said...

That outfit is stunning! Happy New Year!!

Carole said...

How clever to combine the leather with your top, and thanks for the review. I also love Style Arc and rarely use any other line. Happy New Year to you and your family.

Jillybejoyful said...

LOVE this outfit on you - great job! :)

Anonymous said...

That is one smart looking outfit. I love Style Arc patterns. I must sew up more of them.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, well done on your outfit! And as per your more indie patterns resolution, have you seen the Sew Tessuti website - it's an Australian fabric store (Sydney & Melbourne) and they have released a series of free patterns that are downloadable - if you do that sort of thing? They are stylish and elegant and generally easily adapted to alll, so I thought you might be interested.

The Hojnackes said...

That top is FABULOUS!

sewingkm said...

I love, love this outfit!

gMarie said...

This is a fantastic outfit. You look amazing wearing it. Nice job. g