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

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Clothesmaking mavens
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About me

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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, February 15, 2014

Flypaper thoughts

  • The spouse is now at the North Pole
  • Promised the girls if he sees Santa he will take a picture
  • Unless Santa is too shy
  • Didn't want to take a scarf
  • You sure know who grew up in Manitoba and who didn't around here
  • The scarf is to breathe through so you don't freeze your lungs
  • Everyone knows that
  • My sister wouldn't wear hers one year
  • Noticed white patches on her cheeks
  • Frozen solid
  • Girls in grade eight were always getting taken to the hospital because their nylons froze into the skin of their legs
  • Prairie girls everywhere will know one of these girls
  • They smoked young too
  • I need more TNT top patterns
  • I put the scarf in the bag
  • Same morning Mr. R went in for emergency bladder surgery
  • Couple of stones to match the rocks in his head
  • A fox terrier may win best in the show but that doesn't mean you can take him to water and make him drink
  • Putting a smidge of tuna at the bottom of the bowl to get him to drink down to it
  • Vet gave me a 10 mm. syringe and said use this to force him to drink three cups a day
  • Worked out that means 75 syringes I have to get past those black gums every day
  • Works out to a syringe every 5 minutes hours I am awake
  • That's when I came up with the tuna idea
  • Really want to sew a T shirt
  • Spent the last 12 hours in the ER with my daughter
  • Did you know you can have gallbladder attacks when you are pregnant?
  • Well now you know
  • One of the doctors couldn't take in the fact she has had five pregnancies, two of them misses
  • Really?
  • Really?
  • I couldn't take in such a bonehead graduated medical school
  • Sit down mom 
  • All good now and I took her out for breakfast and forced her to eat an egg white omelette
  • When I got home the house was dark and cold and the power was off
  • I went to bed Valentine's day with a guy with a cone on his head wrapped in my polar fleece housecoat
  • To be clear it was the dog in the housecoat
  • Life is full of surprises
  • The lights went on at 3:00
  • I was planning on cracking those remaining 39 papers this weekend
  • Think I am going to thread up the serger instead
  • You know exactly why

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't dis the lounger

Thanks for all the great comments. 

Word from my community and my own eyes when I looked at those shots myself have sent the brown skirt into the garbage can and the grey one down for a 2" hem shortening job.

I think my earlier box pleated skirt in a knit is best for winter professional wear, and I will use the Susan skirt again in something brighter/lighter for spring and summer.

My plan is to be in New York next Thursday through Sunday and who knows what me and my credit card will turn up. 

Now on to current sewing.

My friend Mary and I from the sewing guild have a secret.

We both are secret admirers of the lounger. 

You know that garment more associated with stiff bouffants, days of the week pill boxes (I actually remember I have one of those I use for trips), the thermostat on high, and beige broadloam, than fashion forward chicks like us.

That said there is something to be said for an outfit specifically geared to watching Downton Abbey after a person's bath while she knits socks. 


And really who cares what I wear to watch Downton Abbey. Certainly not Lady Mary.

So here it is, as previewed in my neckline fix post.

Bet you wish you had one:

My husband heads off for two months up north Thursday. I decided a racy picture would be a nice thing to send away with him. In Nova Scotia this qualifies as a racy picture.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two skirt reviews and evidence of why I am ditching the black

I have continued with my comfortable skirt sewing experiments and in the process, using up my drab stash.

I have just decided the black and grey I worked in for decades isn't me.

When I see photos of myself dressed like this, as you will too here, I wonder what I was thinking - except from following every bit of fashion advice I ever read which was to have a good classic wardrobe of basics in classic colours.

I mean really.

I may be basic but I sure am not classic and that should have been my first clue.

Now moving on to what you are really interested in and that would be two pattern reviews.

The theme of this one is cut counts.

Here are the two patterns:

The Susan skirt from Stylearc:

This is basically a knit circle skirt sort of but with a back yoke and a shaped front panel to distribute the fullness at the hem but keep it closer to the body at the hips and waist. 

The cut of the front panel means that the side panels fall along the "straight grain," although knit doesn't have a grain you know what I mean, the lengthwise direction. This cut keeps the sides hanging straight down with a flare a the bottom and prevents the pointy look you get when an A line or wide bottomed skirt is cut like an A.

Does any of this make sense? Or only to me?

My point is that the cut is clever and the extra seams make a difference.

Here is that skirt on me in some sombre straight from the Gulag colours you are only going to see on me when I am doing the wearable muslin thing.

Imagine this skirt in coral like the picture and we would both be happier:

Probably I should have tucked the top in and worn a belt, and probably not the shoes I bought on the Golan Heights (for real) but at the time these pictures were taken I was nursing a finger that had been sliced open washing the slicing attachment from the Cusinart which just goes to show that a person is safer, not to mention happier, spending her time sewing rather than doing dishes.

I have my hand up to prevent blood loss, although do you know peroxide is wonderful for removing blood stains?

Next skirt.

This one is the julep skirt from SkinnyBitchCurvyChick:

The fabric is a knit with sort of a fake leather thing going on, bought when Carolyn and I were on a rampage in the garment district last year.

Now this pattern is simple with a front and back basically cut like large A shapes with the back part sloped down to one of those draggy hems I don't really like.

In fairness to the pattern maker I did take a lot of this back stuff off - just didn't do it for me as a work skirt for the winter and besides the inside of the fabric would have shown - and as a result it is uneven and looks more like a incompetently sewn skirt than a skirt that is supposed to be uneven at the bottom - operator error.

What you will notice, and I did as the hem circumferences are similar, is how the flare in this skirt is so centralized and less well-distributed. Basically down the front with the sides sort of pointing out.

I really am happier with the first skirt.

The lesson here, and one I knew but keep forgetting, is that the more pattern pieces often the better the fit and the design.

Now that's that. Onto something brighter.