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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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Sunday, December 1, 2013


We are heading into The Busy Month and I have many thoughts and projects rattling around in my brain.

Christmas is going to occur in several stages and probably one off location this year and getting ready for that is, next to my end of term marking, top of the list.

My youngest son and girlfriend are off to New Zealand for six months December 11, so there is a Christmas replication dinner going on next weekend here, and I have to get my sewing/knitting done in advance of that for them. And it is likely my son in NYC won't have the time to take the usual week off to come home this year (all good because I know he is welcome at his girlfriend's parents' if that happens - got to make sure all family is covered by family somewhere) and I have to get their gifts sent off soon too.

Mixed in with all of this is sort of a reset thing going on with me prompted by the large recent birthday (60) and the realization that somehow a few things in my life have simultaneously passed their expiry date.

One of these things is rethinking my professional life and for lack of a better way to say it, what my professional life has done to me.

I can express this best through sewing.

All of you who work or have worked in corporate or, in my case government/politics too, will know what I mean by The Look. The dark clothes, subdued look that just goes with the territory. It is the same territory occupied by meetings, standing committees, strategic plans, follow-up emails, and being careful to establish your own competencies within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. You know those 30 seconds you could have spent finding out how nice the other person was instead.

Well somehow my lifetime allocation for all of that has been used up. My lines, so carefully drawn for so many years between who I am and who I am at work, have started to blur and that is just fine with me. All of a sudden.

This does not mean I don't love my work, I really love teaching, but increasingly the core business of students is all I really care about, and I care about it a lot. It matters to me how these kids turn out, that I can give them skills and ideas to help them in wherever they are going, but mission statement design - not so much.

Sorry about that.

So the energy of the classroom is inspiring my work clothes rethink and that right now means the completely black and grey wardrobe is on its way out.

I figure if I don't get it under control the mass market will turn me into one of those middle-aged women who ends up dressed like this at fun events:

I have no idea what Guy LaRoche was thinking, but really what kind of a life does this express?

Now the problem in not doing the look after all these years, is it is a bit unnerving and I have to figure out how to do it.

For instance I can't imagine what I was thinking when this piece climbed onto the cutting table at Mood last week. Not sure where I think I am going to wear something like this, although it would probably be suitable for a funeral in Florida. I mean I have to watch myself lest I end up, at top speed, like a semi-retired colleague who turned up at a meeting in purple shoes, socks, pants, top, jacket and purse.

This sort of thing could easily happen if there aren't still some kind of braking systems in play. 

Be prepared to spit out your coffee:

And I need a second opinion on the orange double knit I mentioned before. Do you think I can get away with this in a plain dress? Maybe with a grey sweater over it? It really is more a coral I decided, and definitely something that appealed when I must have been seriously vitamin C deprived.

Probably time to get The Light (the one I got one February at the huge pile at the local drugstore) out:

Or at least I need to get myself some more sewing time.

Yesterday I was able to get some time to do that. I am imposing my growing randomness on the family. For instance I went to New York with napkins I had made with retro vinyl record print on them, because my son had told me they had bought a "mid-century modern" turntable. Not sure what they thought of the napkins but I can guarantee you they didn't already have any and my son, well-trained to notice these things, gave my full marks for my miters.

On that theme yesterday I started sewing a flannel shirt for my youngest son who has been spending at lot of time working on his cabin. I figured this print was perfect:

And on that theme again,  he is Mr. Sustainable Living, I am also knitting him socks out of my left over heavy Swedish sock wool, randomly. Here is the first one:

Of course the second sock isn't going to look at all like this one and hopefully he will see that as a good thing.

I figure I may keep going like this until the family tells me to stop, or I catch sight of myself in head-to-toe purple.

Whatever comes first.