Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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Clothesmaking mavens
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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, August 31, 2013

Burdastyle webinar

I have a couple of projects I have been working on, including a radio show on elections, but the one I am really interested in are a couple of one hour live webinars for Burdastyle.

The first one will be on September 19th and will be on how to make your garments more professional looking. I will be doing one on knits in October and one in November on sleeves.

The details for the first session are here

I am so pleased to be doing this for a whole lot of reasons:

  • I have sewn for a very long time. I have made a lot of mistakes, figured out how to do a better job, taken classes, read, talked sewing, and practiced. A lot. I have sewn long enough to know how much the patterns don't tell you, and I also know most new sewers are more or less teaching themselves as they work through the pattern instructions. I want to share some of what took me so long to learn with sewers just getting going - because I want their projects to turn out so they will feel as good about sewing as I do.
  • This is an online course, a live webinar, although my understanding is the material will also be available as a recording. In my day job I do a fair bit of teaching that way. I am pretty pleased to have my worlds collide like this, and for once to be working with material that is dear to my heart not just my head. Imagine how you would feel if you went to work and they called a meeting and said "OK let's forget about the agenda and just listen to (insert your name here) talk about interfacing instead." Pretty cool thought isn't it?
  • The folks at Burdastyle have been a delight to work with, clean, organized, and best of all, they are letting me do my own thing. All the characteristics of a good relationship.
  • The webinars are cheap. $19 is reasonable and this makes the course accessible to the kinds of sewer I am most interested in talking with.
The only downside of course is limiting the content in my head - there is a lot of "man I have to tell them that too" going on around the old laptop at the moment, but I am trying to control myself.

Oh and yes they sent me this, makes sense:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The camera never lies subtitle: how to waste time for non-beginners

I am wrapping up this week having waved goodbye to my son from New York, and gearing up for a weekend with the little girls doing a multi-night sleepover while their parents get a well earned break and some fun time at a wedding in another part of the province.

I am of course crazy about my son who lives so happily in New York and will be heading down there for a visit end of November I think. My daughter and son-in-law will be there earlier so we are going to space ourselves out a bit. Us folks from Nova Scotia operate on the assumption that anyone who moves away must be just dying without the relatives so we try to make sure they are never alone- as much as seat sales allow.

This trip my son didn't have his girlfriend with him, she is in the middle of big and interesting work projects, either that or lying in a dark room somewhere with a cold cloth on her head recovering from the last round of visitations, and I really did miss having her here too.

Don't get me wrong, I raised this guy and did a real good job, but he is a guy and there is a limit really to what you can do.

I'll give you and example.

They have just moved into an apartment in Brooklyn and I want to do a housewarming thing. Of course I want to make it. In my worldview a person doesn't need a mother to do what you can buy at a store. So when I was home I asked him, "I really want to make you something for your apartment, what would you like?"

His response was, "well I am not sure we want to clutter the place up."

This is not an answer. Not a reasonable person answer, so I really wish his girlfriend had been with him. She gets it. I can talk about projects or all the stuff that is moving around inside my head and she knows what I mean. 

I don't need a translator.

I really like her. I think I will just email her instead now, go direct.

As I wrote last post I have been up to my eyeballs, with family stuff, with students (I taught summer school) and now with coordinating a new program we have got going.

Just so you know when you take over someone's job and they are sooo delighted and rush over all the files and thank you publicly in all the meetings, well that may not be a good sign and there might be a lot of pages in those files with the page twos missing so to speak.

All that said I have done an enormous amount of stress relieving project planning (we are going minimalist this fall owing to the time crunch not the runways) have almost finished a StyleArc dress (can't find the battery recharging part so the photos are probably going to be taken by an almost four year old with an iPad this weekend, take that into consideration when you see them), and have been engaging in some excellent time wasting.

First off I read this piece in the NYTimes before terrorists took the site down this week (this really happened) on how lipstick was toxic which I knew anyway but up until this week didn't care about.

I decided however that I might as well care so I invested in a cool bunch of mini samples of mineral makeup from this outfit

Since the samples arrived I have been doing major fooling around in the bathroom where I apply one of the samples on my unmade up nearly 60 year old face and then take an iPad picture of it, (that's when I realized the recharger had gone AWOL), find my glasses and take a look.

It is really interesting to me how things I wouldn't normally wear look so different in the bathroom mirror than they do in an actual picture. Much like when you make something which you think is splendid until you take a blog shot and realized it makes you look dumpy.

Same phenomenon.

This is really pretty fun and both Mr. Rascal and I are very entertained by this process, which owing to the number of samples I ordered is going to be going on for a few more days (the little girls are going to love this).

Here is what this high level process looks like, which you might find interesting if you don't see nearly 60 year old women's faces without makeup except one part with her natural hair colour and natural baggy eyes often enough:

Au natural except for some purple mineral eyeshadow and some lipstick made of organic something or other.

Googly eye glasses with some dark powder type eyeliner added, no mascara nothing else. BTW I also have a pink smaller pair of glasses but I have to say the big nerdy glasses are good for seeing, which if you are talking eyeglasses has some relevance.

This is a pretty fun way to waste some time and my one revelation is that this stuff actual seems to stick to your face pretty good which surprises me, since it is all essentially loose powder.

In addition I have also worked on the smallest of sewing projects. My youngest son has lots of theories about most things and one of those is that the tiniest bit of light keeps people awake.

His solution is to go sleep in a forest or something but I like my running water and power plugs, but it is true sometimes I don't sleep - a pattern that started waiting to hear that teenage kid open the door and rolling over to see what the time was on the digital clock, before they moved to New York and the forest. The pattern of broken sleep of course continued with The Change and things like fair isle vest knitting,  nailing down the sub sections of the meaning of life, and wondering if this year I should be a dress person or a skirt person.

Long and short of it I made these little numbers, one for summer and one for winter, although with there being more light in the summer I think I have to season reverse them. And yes that is lingerie elastic you see:

The thing is.

These eyeshade really work. I haven't slept this well in years. Seriously. They even worked to help me get back to sleep when the phone rang at 3:00 a.m. and it was a student, you know the one who had called me at home that afternoon to ask for an emergency extension because she had strep throat and had a fever of 103.

"Opps," she said, yelling over the sounds of the bar. "I must have pocket dialed you."

Yep my sleep mask worked great and I went to bed with a smile on my face knowing whose paper I would be marking first Monday morning.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What's with the end of summer?

As bizarre as it is, apparently it is now the end of summer.

I am taking this hard despite the fact I got a jump start on summer by going to Florida for two months starting in April.

Summer is my season.

Even so this one is a bit of a blur. We started with that horrible week when we drove home in from down south in emergency mode to join my poor daughter for about seven days in and out of hospital with the staff unable to "call" if the baby's heartbeat was still there or not. A full week. I did the rounds after that returning the maternity clothes.

We got through that. 

Because this was also the summer Miss Scarlett learned to swim. And the summer my niece came and learned to knit hats and cook.

It was also the summer my step-daughter had her own scare and went on bedrest.

Most of the local fort manning has been done solo.

My husband got called away to work on a project out of town in July and that will be ongoing until maybe Christmas. At least he is home on the weekends.

I miss him anyway. I like people in the house. I think I was about 35 before I was in a room alone and I sleep better when there are doors being opened and closed (if you have teenage sons that would be microwave doors). But that stops after a while.

The thing about my husband is that he is pretty eccentric. He hasn't found a problem a three inch nail or duct tape can't fix, and he has a limited future as a home decorator or image consultant. In fact we just had two mantlepiece things he had made arrive this morning and they are different styles - for the same room. He can't hear the noises I can hear in the car and can tell me from a chair in the living room that it is just because the wires are wet, whatever that means, and which in Nova Scotia on the ocean is a pretty broad analysis. He once installed an electrical outlet in the ceiling because he ran out of wire and didn't think plugging the lamp cord up to the ceiling is weird. "It works doesn't it?" he said.

He is also shy with new people and is no master of cocktail party small talk. He figures Yes and No and analyzing the possible recipes of everything on the tray should just about cover it.

But the thing is he is the nicest man in the world and he listens. More than anyone I ever met, more than any other man for sure, he knows how to deliver those magic words:

"Tell me all about it." 

Words that are as powerful to the female psyche as that other fabulous line: 

"No I don't think you're crazy."

A person misses a man like that.

So it has been a busy summer and not a lot of sewing got done, apart from some utility stuff (more on that later) and a lot of knitting. Knitting late at night in bed work with Netflix on the iPad and Mr. Rascal trying to take over the pillows.

I can't show you what I have been making however as it's all for presents for Christmas, so I figure the next step is to ban the family from blog reading.

I think I am due to sew again soon.

Since summer is over I need to think about back-to-school clothes for this person at the front of the classroom.

Always a bright side.