Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
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About me

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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, 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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My last week in the sort of thawing North

This morning my husband said to me "well I guess you have given up on that blog."

Being totally self-controlled and mature I didn't say much, or at least not what I was thinking.

That might have been great idea to start drywalling, sanding (translate this into a fine layer of dust on everything, the dog, your mascara in the cupboard in the bathroom, the cheese grater in the drawer) and painting the whole house two weeks before we go away.

I am not a fool. 

When a person has been nagging for so long to get something done that she has gone out the other side and actually given up on that whole sighing thing, list making and long speeches about how finishing things is as important as starting (because obviously the only reason the home improvement projects stall is because no one has explained, in great detail, the finishing part) she knows to try to not say that one more thing.

Except to the world wide web.

Which brings me to my pants crisis.

I have been having throat problems all winter, particularly after those days when my first class starts at 8:30 a.m. and the last one ends at 7:00 p.m. Fast forward to the ENT who said I had a throat typical of someone who sings loudly all day and eats late at night.

Well, actually he said I had the same throat as Ozzie Osborne, who he has treated.

I can't make this up. First I am a Keith Richards look alike and now I have the insides of Ozzie Osborne. 

This would get a lesser woman down. What happened to only getting better as I get older like Oprah and Jane Fonda? Guess they're not from around here.

And I actually am lesser.

Following throat friendly instructions, which are now held onto my fridge by magnets of places I wish I was now, complete with stick figures and headlines like "so what is silent reflux anyway?" except it is not silent enough in my case (I actually had a better time with my wonderful GP who just looked at me and said, stop talking Barbara), I have eaten small meals instead of big ones and done nothing by mouth in the 3 hours before bed. No cocoa with the knitting, no ice cream with the husband and Piers Morgan, no Raisin Bran and a library book.

This has been a terrible idea as I have suddenly just lost 10 pounds and as a result my SWAP pants don't fit! All the gabardine, all those invisible zippers, all that pressing and fitting.

Out the window. 

I have of course lost the weight in all the impossible to take in easily places and the way I look in these pants now reminds me of the get-up my late father-in-law would wear when he was off to check on his combo chicken coop greenhouse (not his best idea those were sort of pre-cooked chickens). Old dress pants, pre-heart smart.

I think you can get my drift.

So in addition to having a rocker's throat, drywall dust on my toothbrush, 500 assignments to mark , a house to pack up for two months in Florida, I have had to deal with sewer's angst.

I have decided to let it go and deal with it all when I get back in June. Unless I return from sunnier parts a stronger person this probably means I am going to drive those pants down to the Canadian Tire parking lot at 11:00 at night and drop them into the Diabetes Society clothing collection bin, where the metal drawer clangs shut and you can't stick your arm down into it to pull things back, if you were to experience donator's regret.

Not that anyone I know has ever tried to do that at night in a parking lot, not even knelling on the hood of the car for a better reach.

So that's my update.

I have a sewing machine and a serger packed up ready to go and won't be sewing much in the week left before we leave. That should give me a good clean week to get my job responsibilities stabilized until I am back online teaching the end of April, and should give me a good week to move pieces of fabric in and out of the project to-do box I have allocated myself for the trip.

So far I am spending about two hours a day changing my mind about what I think I will want to sew when I am away. I can't imagine why my marking is behind.

I also have to clean this place up. We have a surfer on a bicycle who is going to be staying here to watch the house when we are away and I have my standards.

I will check in during the next few days, count on it.