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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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Monday, June 9, 2014

A sewing blogger's big question

The big question is this. 

What does a sewing blogger do if she hasn't been sewing?

I have done a bit while we have been here and but been too busy to post pictures. 

If a sewing blogger isn't sewing what is she to do?

Feel guilty?

I hope not.

We are headed home on Wednesday morning. 

We have had a great time here. (We always say great-vacation-except-for-the-part-where-your-mom-broke-her-hip-and-had-to-fly-home-by-air-ambulance out of respect) and it has been busy.

First there was that week where my dear MIL was in the hospital till she flew home. Then the week when my step-daughter was here with her baby. I tried to do as much baby sitting as I could so she and her dad could golf and do those things that none of us get a chance to do with our adult children when they leave home.

My gain. This baby is an absolutely delightful six month old. We had a lot of fun together. I am pretty sure my own kids were not this pleasant at that age, but this round I am not the tired one.

I have also been teaching while I am here by distance and made the mistake of booking two classes. This has meant about 33 assignments a week to mark. Good interesting stuff and I enjoy it, but between two beach walks a day with Miss Daisy, and a round of golf a day it has kept me away from my sewing machine.

This has not meant I have not been thinking about sewing.

For instance.

I will be stopping full time work the end of next August, 2015. After that I will be teaching courses I like either by distance or at the most two half days a week in the classroom, for a few more years.

So I am seeing the end of my working wardrobe requirements on the horizon. 

I realize if I wanted to I could actually work out the rest of my career with what I already have in my closet.

I am completely not going to do that of course, but to be honest I can sew from my stash for the career duration and be fine. There is no need to be buying any more gabardine for this girl.

Since I have been sewing, planning, and fabric shopping for work clothes for 35 years at least this is a real shock. It will take me a while to get my head around that and to retool my needs to more casual clothes. This is in itself pretty exciting. I will actually be sewing and wearing, increasingly, over the next few years, only what I want to. Makes me feel like a kid again.

I have also realized I am going to have to work further on the TNT development.

I have a confession to make. For the first season ever I have bought only one pattern from the Big Four. The stuff is so dreary and I have seen it all before. I figure BMV is spreading itself way to thin, there isn't enough differentiation to keep three companies going without recycling a lot of the same ideas and it shows.

And what is it with all these retro full skirted 50s dresses?

I mean they are cute and everything but are you seeing those around? Maybe on a Saturday in Soho but anywhere else? This stuff was originally designed to be worn with crinolines and girdles that nobody wants to wear day-to-day anymore.

And don't forget when these little numbers were in fashion it was also the age of the "housedress" which means as soon as they could the girls got out of those outfits into something more comfortable.

And I have to ask too, what has happened to Sandra Betzina? I have always thought she was better at construction than design but when she saw these shots she must have had a fit.

Remember that this is being worn on some model who undoubtedly had celery for lunch and has 34" hips and see how this makes her look:

 I mean what gives?

This is the kind of dress you wear if you have just had to give up the farm. Or have black velvet pillows with yellow velvet roses on the horsehair sofa.

I mean this dress could be sold to add thirty years and forty pounds to any body. This is a costume designer's dress not a sewer's dress.

So when I get home and back in my well equipped sewing room I am going to pull out the TNTs and figure out exactly what I want to wear and figure out how to make it, since I am going to have to be doing this on my own for a bit, until patterns start looking wearable to me again.

Before I go here is a shot of Miss Daisy, my happy girl, before she goes off for a haircut. This little dog is doing so well. She has put it all together in her head and somewhere along the line decided that her job is to follow me around and watch everything I do, without fail, almost like someone was giving her a paycheck every two weeks to do it. She has got quite cuddly and every day there is another little bit new that comes out. Only freak out so far was when my husband rattled around the rack for the roasting pan and we realized of course that looks and sounds just like a cage.

The thing about not being free is that once you are, animal or person, it is a one way street. You don't,  you can't go back. No way at all.

I have learned a lot from this dog too. There is no way of knowing how or why some folks survive. I look at her, with all the poor souls I saw come out of those puppy mill situations and I wonder what it was that kept her going and kept her spirit intact. This may sound nuts but this dog has faith:

Finally, finally we are outfitting the RV a bit so things will be ready when we come down again. I got it in my head that this is such a totally retro thing to do that I should retrofit it retro - back to simpler times.

Fortunately St. Augustine has outstanding consignment shops and here is my cutlery. A full set for $4.00

Pretty nifty, eh?


Kathie said...

oh, once again you made me hoot with laughter... the Sandra Betzina dress comments... So, when you're not sewing, just "talk" to us... we love it all!

Carole said...

Ah, retirement! What joy. May I suggest that you take up ballroom dancing. You will immediately see how useful those full-skirted dresses can be on a dance floor.

The Sewing CPA said...

Celery for lunch! You are too funny. Happy retirement!

Alexandra V. said...

The Betzina dress is on what passes for a plus-size model (which is to say, plus /for/ a model). Look at her arms. So, more like 40" hips than 34". Not that that knowledge really improves the dress.

Mary said...

The great thing about rescued dogs is that sometimes they rescue us.

Just keep sharing your thoughts; whether you write about sewing is immaterial to the enjoyment you provide us.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I think the challenge of the Big 4 is that they have to reach a vast audience where indie pattern makers reach a smaller specific while those 50's dresses don't work for you...some vintage sewist out there is cheering.

For the SB dress you know someone photographing it couldn't find a real plus size model so they made do with the size 12 plus size model and looky what you get!

Finally on patterns - I KNOW you own enough patterns that if nothing satisfies you this go round...wait and use something you already have for the next round because something there will catch your fancy.

I too can't wait for retirement. I'm going to wear wild vivid prints, tie dye and purple and red together! hahahaha!

Nana said...

Dream about retirement from now on. I made the jump April 1 of this year and had dreamed for about a year. Love everyday of it, have not been bored yet. Just getting back to the sewing for myself now and a little quilt piecing. Good luck on the retrofit.....looks like that would be fun.

Sherry said...

Love reading your blog whether or not you are sewing. And I totally agree with your comments about the full skirted dresses from the 50's. There are so many more interesting and flattering things to sew.

mrsmole said...

I'm with you on the Sandra Betzina dress...can you spell D-U-M-P-Y ?
Who wants to look that bad? No matter what color combo you use your eyes will be drawn to hips and tits...

Prudence said...

Wow, thanks for the smiles! Sorry your vacation was so eventful! Love the picture of Daisy, thank goodness she's safe and secure with you and your family. If only more people knew the cruelty of puppy mills, perhaps they would become obsolete sooner than later.

annie said...

Sandra must have been reading the chapter where Scarlet makes her dress from the velvet drapes! Your doggie looks so happy. You are both fortunate!

Unknown said...

You had me laughing out loud, then with tears in my eyes when you told about Daisy doing what she thinks is her job of following you around. Because you went on vacation and were in the right place at the right time, she is going to her new forever home in Nova Scotia!!!

Dawn said...

I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for taking time to write.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I missed the broken hip part! Poor MIL!

Looking forward to your "wear what I want sewing", more dog updates and of course just your wonderful individual "voice".


Tillie's Mom said...

If you come thru Ohio on your way north stop for coffee. We see a lot of RVs with Canadian plates flying up I75 this time of year.

Fashionista said...

Your Miss Daisy is lovely. We rescued our Scruffy from the Lost Dogs Home and he is the dearest thing (even if there is a LOT of baggage!).

I have a pattern collection that spans close to 50 years up to the early 2000s (courtesy of my mother and grandmothers). I haven't bought a Big 4 pattern since then as I find it all so very repetitive. I have acquired a few indie patterns in recent years but once again I generally have something that I can pattern hack anyway. But I like to support the indie pattern makers :)

freshcityfarm said...

You nearly always make me laugh...this one was especially hysterical. Woke up my guy w bed jiggling. Miss daisy is sure a little cutie. So glad she's there bringing delight to you all. Keep writing...I need the humor!!!

Anonymous said...

Keep writing whether it's sewing, family or Miss Daisy, I love to hear it all.
Ria from Melb.Australia

Laceflower said...

So happy Miss Daisy's happy which makes you happy. Safe travels home. Can you just whisk Daisy across the border without quarantine? I worry!

Donna W said...

Sweet little dog. Happy that she has found a good home with you. It is a big adjustment to go from sewing for work then retirement. I retired about a year ago and at first I kept buying sewing skirts, dresses and jackets. Finally realized that I don't wear that type of clothes much anymore. Retirement is good though.