About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Sunday, January 5, 2014

In process sewing

In a sort of semi acknowledgment of my sewing resolutions I have spent part of this weekend playing around with pants patterns.

I had the bright idea that I would make three Stylearc patterns - the Barb, Elle and Yoga - and take shots of them all on my own realistic body so you can see the difference the different draft makes on the same person.

I figured it would be educational, for like me.

Well semi progress.

I have made the Barb in a stretch cord (an acknowledgment of the current climate) because I was dubious about how they would look in a heavier, more utility fabric.

I made the Elles, which had been previously expressed as a wadder, in some real stretchy french terry cotton lycra stuff.

I made the Yoga pants in something I figured was stretchy enough and was not. I could have provided you with an illuminating illustration of how they turned out in fabric like that but that would have involved a one legged shot and a good clear view of the other half of me in some nice sensible striped cotton sewing underwear - but since I am having a hard enough time myself coming to terms with that image-  I would rather not put you through it.

So my trio is so far incomplete but I have gone as far as cutting out another Yoga in some fine but highly stretchy knit and we will see how that goes.

This is putting me behind schedule since my photographer will be out of town until Wednesday but I should get it all done that night and up.

In other news Pam at Off the Cuff has posted a wonderful tutorial for adding cool collars to knit tops.

These are perfect, perfect additions to the two Kristen dresses I have on the runway and I am so pleased that I saw this before I had started sewing them. 

Aren't these just great?

To follow up on the weather I have been knitting a lot in the evenings. I did a sweater for the hubby in the summer but really, despite all the nice things my sister-in-law said, it really was too wide at the hips and sort of too short and riding up at the back. You know these things when the wearer keeps pulling it down in the fitting.

It is a beautiful alpaca and I know he would wear it now so I unravelled it to the armpits and have reknit it adding some short rows at the back and decreases from the underarm to the bottom.

Since I have absolutely no idea what I am doing I am not sure if this is an improvement or not but it has been educational.

Pictures when the ribbing is done.

I like to knit but find it fairly boring unless I am watching something on TV.
I should say the screen really because I find most TV terrible. 

We just watch one or two news shows and the spouse watches golf sometimes when there is a home reno project promised but that's it. 

Why do cable companies make it impossible to just order that - we have tons of other channels we never, ever watch yet we are stuck with them as part of our "package."

For some reason this makes me crazy because it seems like such a waste. Give this stuff to someone who wants to watch "Storage Wars" or other reality TV shows about nasty people, or who wants to watch cars rebuilt or people cry at cooking competitions and just let me keep my news.

OK Downton Abbey starts again tonight I forgot that. OK PBS and news.

Netflix is good however. I like the series because you can adjust how much you watch to how tired you are.

Here is what I have been watching, while I wait for House of Cards to come around again. (BTW I loved that series having worked with politicians. My husband bailed on me though, he got tired of hearing "That is soooo true. That is exactly what happens." He says no one in the engineering/construction industry ever acts like that and they all were nuts).

In the meantime I have watched Lillyhammer which is majorly quirky with Steve Van Zandt doing some tremendous over acting but some great Norwegian actors (a lot of the movie is in Norwegian) but I liked it for shots of the Norwegian interiors and the clothes. You know when you see an Ottobre woman pattern and you think, well that's a bit odd. They wore those clothes in this series with winter boots and it all fit. Interesting.

I also enjoyed the Bletchley Circle which was about smart women forced back to dull lives on the home front after the war, lots of knitted jumpers.

There are other series I have enjoyed but these are the most recent.

What do you watch when you sew or knit?

What would you recommend?


BeaJay said...

My you have been busy. I eagerly await the pics of the pants.

I usually either just watch what is on foxtel (cable) at the time or Greys Anatomy or West Wing

annie said...

Inspector Lewis. Non-stop. Love looking at Laurence Fox and his slouch.

annie said...

Waiting for your pants reviews. I suspect we share some body traits though my rise is probably longer than yours.

LornaJay said...

I no longer watch TV at all. I prefer to get my news in audio format - it seems to come with a lot more detail and a lot less hype, possibly because they don't choose a story based on how good the pictures are! BBCNewsHour has a daily hour-long program available as a podcast (I get it via twitter) which I wish I had time to listen to more often!

Hubby has netflix, but I find I can't sit still long enough to watch it on the laptop.

Anonymous said...

Last weekend I put Seabiscuit in my dvd player while I tried to sew up a Burda t-shirt, bad idea. I forgot that I cry almost through the whole movie. Every time. Such a sap I am. ~Teri

TE said...

Hi there! We are big fans of BBC shows watched on Netflix in the US. Bletchley Circle was great! You will also like "The Hour" (set in mid 1950s greater London) and probably "Land Girls" (set in early 1940s rural England).

I'm sympathetic about the pants. Sometime last year I started making my own pattern based on a simple McCalls pant and modifying for fit and style. I'm on Version 9, and nearly ready to cut them out of "real" fabric.

I do the "it's so true" regarding political shows, too. DH groans.


karen d said...

I discovered Call the Midwife on Net Flicks and LOVED it! Great stories and characters - a Brit series set right after WWII.

Carole said...

"Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" is set in Australia during the 1920's. Great sets and great costumes. Downton Abbey with fun!

Sox said...

Thank you for the link to the sweater collars. I am hoping to use one soon.

We also watch Netflix. Right now, 'Call the Midwife' is on. Also enjoyed; 'Doc Martin' and 'Foyle's War' 'Kingdon' and 'Bletchy' Circle'. BBC shows are great!

I'm looking forward to more of your flypaper thoughts.I am also really enjoying them/

Nancy D said...

If you're enjoying the American version of House of Cards, you might get a kick out of the BBC version. It's a few years old now. Michael Kitchen plays Prince Charles, and the evil Prime Minister is deliciously slimy

nobody said...

I really enjoyed "Ballykissangel", which is centered around life in a small Irish village including the pup. The ensemble cast is wonderful, and it's fun to watch.

Karen in VA said...

I'm currently watching Bomb Girls while knitting...Loved Bletchley Circle. Call the Midwife is also excellent as is the book...

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I like drama/crime procedural shows. CSI Miami, Law & Order and Law & Order SVU. I also watch my ER DVDs and Closer ones. I do my best sewing to them because I don't have to watch just listen.

Julie Culshaw said...

British box sets. You can get them at Video Difference in Bedford or on Quinpool Rd. Our most recent is Silk, a great series about the inside life of lawyers in England.

There are so many series, and they are almost all great. Foyles' War is wonderful, Doc Martin for laughs, Lewis, Dangerous - especially if you like police and mysteries. Without the gory scenes of dead bodies.

Anonymous said...

Barb, loved your outfit in your last post.
I too would like to be able to pick and choose and put together my own package for tv viewing.We should start a protest. I loved the BBC House of Cards and was afraid the American version wouldn't measure up. It did! Lots of great suggestion for shows in the above posts. Foyle's War, Call the Midwife and The Bomb Girls get my vote. You might like Luther with Idris Alba. Dark and quirky. I loved it. Also liked the earlier episodes of New Tricks with the original actors. Knitting, sewing and some good tv might just get us through this winter we're having.

Sarah Liz said...

Tops look great _ everyone seems to love Style Arc patterns. Can't wait to see the Barb pants - and to see how they are made in corduroy.