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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, September 7, 2013


Busy week, simple sewing.

I started the fall term this week and that is always exciting for me. 

I am a social person and kids are so funny so I am always glad to get back into the classroom. I always tell them, just around the time I note that glazed-over look, that I always know that there is one person in each of my classes who thinks the material is terrific.

And that is me.

I love seeing the new students, particularly the first years, who come in all dressed up with whatever dressed up is at home- clubwear for some, studied blue hair and don't care for others, and I watch them relax and find themselves and their style through the year.

And of course the same is true of me.

With a time challenged year ahead, and with samples and things I am making in my after hours time the Burdastyle webinars, my own sewing has become very streamlined.

I am doing a lot of skirt alterations (now that's a fun job, just love to waste creative time putting in a zipper again) to account for the fact that I lost about 20 pounds over the spring and summer watching what and how I eat to deal with a sore throat the doctor told me was reflux, and turned out to be just dairy. Along that way I must have also stopped eating like a stevedore and stopped eating before bed so that weight has stayed off. (Opps another explanation just popped into my head - in the same period of time my husband has been away during the week and he is the much more elaborate cook).

For whatever reason the weight has been off long enough  to require me to take in some clothes I like.

A person can't just do must-do sewing of course without losing it, something I try not to do often, so I have been sneaking in some for me sewing.

In my case that has meant dresses.

So I was delighted to see in this morning's NYTimes that I am on track with the sophisticates in the big city - something that doesn't happen as often as you might think.

Here is Bill Cunningham on Simple is best, dress dressing:

On that theme, despite the fact is it back to school not fashion week around here, I made this dress, the Kristen from Stylearc:

Now obviously there are a lot of similar basic knit dresses around (this one has an invisible zipper in the back - went it quite well because I stablized the seam allowance with fusible knit interfacing) but Stylearc always has a nice fit in the neck and shoulders, and since that's where a dress hangs that's important.

I made this as a sort of trial garment for this pattern and to have a backdrop for some silk scarves that were new to me during some vintage store shopping with various younger relatives over the summer. 

So this is a basic (my husband even looked at it and said "that's a basic" which just shows you it is that obvious).

So it needs something but sometimes you have something that needs a dress that needs something, if you follow.

So here are the shots:

One of the scarves and with the pink glasses I got because I was tired of hearing my daughter complain about my new googly glasses.

Outside in the wind with a necklace that doesn't go with anything else.

My favourite scarf because it has lions and the jungle on it, and it's pretty hard to beat that.

So all in all a good teaching dress, suitable for tired first thing Monday morning classes when there will be a lot of walking around the classroom going on. I am going to start thinking now of course of how I can make variations of this one.

After the next alteration session.

Proper Burdastyle webinar link

I have contacted Burdastyle about the class time issue and this is the correct link that tells you all that. Sorry about that.