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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, December 14, 2013

Answer and question

This is a big catch-up post.

I have been on overdrive getting my marking done and my end-of-term marks in and I have been heavily involved in getting my Christmas stuff made/sent away.

My youngest and his girlfriend stayed with me until they left for four months in New Zealand Wednesday (gee my boys have nice girlfriends) but of course they left before I could get a shot of the shirt I made him (he flew out in it, a good sign) or the hat and scarf I knit her. And yesterday I mailed out three packages for my son and his girlfriend in Brooklyn. He will be spending the holidays with her family in Maryland, much closer, as he is negotiating what is hopefully going to be a new job, and it really wasn't a good time to leave the country for a week.

I made them a few things and of course I can't show them to you on the off chance they read my blog. Got to maintain the element of surprise. And since those two in New York have far more good taste than I do I am quite certain they will be truly surprised when they see what I have made for their apartment.

So having cleared that part of the decks what I have ahead of me now is work on the Barbie dollhouse for the little girls and, once I finish something for a guy my husband works with (this man does leatherwork and is making a purse for his mom and needs someone to sew a lining with a zipper - he doesn't do fabric), I am, get this, going to be able to start sewing for myself.

I am more or less desperate to get back to garment sewing. I have two most beautiful pieces of double knit from Mood that I want to make two more Kristen dresses from and it is burning me up. 

Just having the fabric in my house has made me happy. Recently I bought the bullet and actually threw out some fabric I got from another vendor because the one piece I had made from that lot pilled after two washes. I decided there was no point in investing time on the rest of it, a rayon single knit, in different colours.

The more I sew the more good fabric means to me.

I am also going to be making my fourth pair of Barb pants, which brings me to Patti's question about that pattern.

Listen Patti I love it. The leg is slimmer (see a picture a few posts back) than the Lindas but not too skinny. Enough to look modern but not uncomfortable. The key to these pants is a fabric with decent stretch crosswise as the hip is fairly close. After the second pair I added a little to that area and found them more comfortable -it will depend on how much your fabric gives - so you might want to sew pair one with a wider seam allowance to adjust to fit.

All that said this is now my favourite pants pattern. Stylish and a snap to sew, IMO another Style Arc winner.

So that's the answer.

Now a question.

Last night I was at a retirement party for a wonderful colleague and ran into one of my favourite students. This girl is smart, industrious, beautiful, and so talented. And of course being a thinking person at the start of her career she struggles with self-confidence, wondering what direction is the right one for her, trying to figure out when to be brave and when to play it safe.

I looked at her, from the other end of a career, and thought to myself of all the mediocre folks I have seen, with about a quarter going for them what this kid has, who have done very well in their careers because they just believed in themselves so much (OK mostly they have been men, no surprise). 

I wanted to tell her to relax, enjoy herself, just do good work, and something I tried to explain about protecting your core. 

You know what I mean? 

Work is just work and you have to learn to keep yourself separate so professional judgments and set-backs don't get taken to heart. To be able to work really hard and do your best but not take it personally. To have anchors in your life (for me this has been family and my sewing - no matter what happened at the office I could always come home and put in one hell of a zipper).

So my question to you all this morning is what would you say to twenty something young woman to give her the perspective on work and life that a person has in a well-developed career that really would be more useful at the beginning?

What do you wish someone had said to you? What would, as they say, you say to yourself at that age?

These are interesting questions. Look forward to your thoughts. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Quick thought

I am in the middle of making the first of this season's Christmas dinners but had one thought to share, something I read today that seems sewing relevant:

Only do what only you can do.

Translate that to sewing.

I will be posting a few shots of recent projects once the recipients have opened the presents tonight that is if it all fits.