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

Clothesmaking mavens

Clothesmaking mavens
Listen to me on the clothes making mavens podcasts

About me

My photo
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



Follow me on Instagram

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, November 1, 2013

Flypaper thoughts Friday edition

  • When your husband says, "you should sew this weekend" you have to wonder.
  • Little bossy lately?
  • Too long a story about the meeting at work?
  • A clever man's rephrasing of slow down kiddo.
  • I'll take it.
  • Working on sleeves this weekend for my last Burdastyle seminar of the year 
  • Interesting conversation with an old sewing buddy
  • He said "I don't so much want to wear it as figure out how to make it"
  • Some of that in us all
  • New glasses again, now a pink, clear, purple and blue
  • I love accessories and these count
  • Those discount boys send things out fast
  • Did ten bags of leaves this week
  • About 10%
  • I love trees
  • Had a room built on the side of the house at an angle to go around a tree
  • The only one I can climb
  • Or could
  • Folks sit in the living room and say "Is it me or is your hallway crooked?"
  • I tell them about the tree
  • What I don't say is that the Chinese say if you cut down a tree someone dies
  • That's what someone told my mother
  • I am taking no chances
  • What do you think of the new Vogues?
  • I am speechless
  • Used it all up at the meeting
  • They got a case of the depressions down at BMV?
  • Even for Hallowe'en it wasn't funny
  • May do a review just for sport
  • That Stylearc is looking better by the minute
  • I got hit with the domestics last weekend and made four pans of lasagne for the freezer
  • How long does that stuff keep in the freezer?
  • Ate it all week and now don't want to see it again for another decade
  • Come by and I will give you some
  • I will meet you on the curb
  • Went trick or treating with the girls and family last night
  • At one house the man asked if he could borrow my witch's hat to wear to work
  • He is a church organist
  • Not sure what denomination
  • Left it with him
  • Played dentist with the girls when I sat them today
  • Miss Scarlett looked at my molars and said "when I grow up I am going to get a gold tooth too."
  • We both like to accessorize
  • Never too young to start
  • "At the front"
  • Maybe wrong about that

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Babs, Barb and Barbie

It was a full week. 

Two days ago I put my almost 86 year old mother on the plane to go home back to Winnipeg. Protesting all the way that she doesn't need a cane but that it is the "open Sesame" of service and excellent if you want to queue jump.

My mother really is something. You would have to go a long way to find anyone, of any age, who is as cheerful or who operates as much on shear positive willpower. 

It did hit me at the airport, when I said goodbye, that I have lived my adult life away from her, although we have talked most days on the phone, and that by now there is a lot of time and distance that separates us, so much activity.

But as I watched her turn the corner through security I thought, "you are still my mommy." 

In the day-to-day of so many days now the intensity of that gets buried but it's still there, just as it always was, just like it was when I opened the back door and came home, then everyday.

I got in my car that late afternoon and turned on the radio and there was a song by one of those atonal contemporary singers where there is no tune at all and the chorus was "Hang on. Your children love you more than you know."

I had said goodbye to a son and his dear girlfriend a few days before, so I could look at it both ways.

Like I always do when I feel emotional I decided to focus on a project. You have to make yourself feel better with doing family when you miss family.

My daughter has asked me to make the little girls a bookcase dollhouse for Christmas. Barbie scale because they have lots of Barbies (some even with all body parts) and that makes it easier to play, not to display.

Let me tell you the world of Pinterest and Barbie collectors is quite the world - these folks are in deep. I looked for ideas and was quickly overwhelmed.

Now I am not a perfecto crafter,  don't be looking for a Pinterest board from me on this, so I have quickly decided to work within my limitations.

One of the things I have done is collect a surprisingly large collection of miniature wooden furniture from the knick-knack shelves of the thrift stores (now that's one weird  culture too knick-knacking), scale chest of drawers and wardrobes that are jewel boxes in disguise, rocking chairs and little tables. I have searched non-toxic paint and am going to be doing those up to match yet to be determined decor.

I have also made myself a regular on ebay, and unimpressed with the cheapo plastic furniture sold right now, have a vintage Barbie fridge coming in from Quebec, a sink from Calgary, and a stove from California being shipped to my son in Brooklyn.

The bathroom however has been a challenge.

At one point I was lurking around the house at 1:00 a.m. and came that close, that close, to cannibalizing part of the Cuisine-art for Barbie toilet parts until I pulled myself back from the ledge and came up with this, still to be glued in place and the hole in the seat cut out (once I can figure out how to do that).

This picture will give you an idea where my head is at these days:

Now that's Barbie.

Equally dramatic I finally sewed myself a pair of the Barb pants from StyleArc.

I have sort of been wimping out on this one. The pattern was named after me and I have had it for five months but didn't make it, quite honestly, because where would I go if a pants pattern named after me didn't fit or look good?

I mean what would be the plan B?

The thing is though I am, eventually, a brave person (see illustration above) so I did make a pair in some black stretch woven from Emmaonesock, black being my new muslin, without any alterations at all.

Here is a blurry picture, taken by my harassed photographer who was refinishing the dining room floor and making home made ice cream at the time, the same time.

They are IMO a perfect fit and exactly what I was looking for. A bit snug across the hips but as those who wear stretch wovens know, that loosens up in the first 30 minutes. Not sure too if I shouldn't go back and shorten them a bit too - will have to think about the shoes.

The next versions will be in different colours and easier to see:

So more on these pants later. I love them and will be making many other versions.

So that's Barb.

Next was the Hallowe'en costumes. The little girls were hopeless at standing still for measurements so in the end I lay them down on the fabric and traced around them.

Then they had to go and get pillows because the floor was too hard.

Here is Scarlett being skeptical about being a witch:

And here are the pair of them ready to be traced. The little one, Heidi, is going to be a bumble bee because she makes good buzzing noises, here she is wearing her beanie with the pipe cleaner antennae you can't see:

I made her black leggings ( we have a black turtleneck) and this bumble bee top (the witch costume took off on the broom):

And finally since this seems to be family picture day I have to share my husband's Thanksgiving "double-breasted turkey".

Leaves more for hot turkey sandwiches the next day.

Now off to lie down on the floor and draft my own witch's dress.