Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Friday, February 21, 2014

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Step dancing in Nova Scotia

You will be delighted to know that I am not doing badly getting fluids into Mr. R.

I know this because I woke up this morning and realized that some time in the night he had peed on my bed.

I am trying to get the house in shape before my friend comes over when I am away, and this was a set back. 

I am of course washing all the sheets and mattress pads in hot water and disinfectant but the king sized duvet was a challenge.

I called around everywhere to try to find someone who could wash this for me today but no one could do it. No one. Not even Shiny Tiny Bubbles and you know how good they are.

So I figured I had to do it myself. The problem is  I know from past experience that a wet duvet weighs about 900 pounds and after I was let out after The Big Fix-up they said lift nothing over 20 pounds or you will see us again.

I have no intention of doing that.

Fortunately I have recently completed the Canadian Home Fitness test which involved stepping on and off the coffee table and taking my heart rate on an iPad app. (only knocked over the cable box twice, they are pretty sturdy) and I know I have good lower body strength if not much else. Like common sense.

So with this on my side I filled up the bath and washed it and then took off all my clothes and walked up and down the wet duvet, sometimes on my knees because they are bigger than my feet, and thought.

As I stomped I wondered if I should add the wine regions of France to my bucket list.

I thought that with this as a workout I could skip the exercise bike today.

I thought about how fun it was, and how you can usually figure things out for yourself.

I thought about the Olympics.

I wondered what the events are in the Masters.

I wondered what the closest thing to duvet stomping is.

After that it was still wet and then I figured this was more or less a giant sweater.

So I got out every towel I own and rolled up parts of it and got more water out.

I figured the heavier the towels were the lighter the duvet was.

Then I eased it piece by piece into a laundry basket and pushed it with my feet to the dryer, even down the stairs.

I jammed it in the dryer, with my head and my hands, and managed to close the door.

In about five hours it will be dry if the dryer holds out.

I was kind of thinking I could use a new dryer.

This was a busy morning.

I feel like a shower, but I don't have any towels.

Tomorrow I hit NYC. I think I need a break. Or they will.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tops and trips

Thank you for all the helpful comments. I will be following up on pattern suggestions.

I made a muslin of the Sunny last night, hoping to follow failure with success.


Maybe it's just me but it sort of looked like a sleeping bag with two spaghetti arms sticking out of it.

I realize that this look, which I have run into with some of the latest Stylearcs, is fashionable, the loose body and the skinny arms.

If this is what you are starting with anyway it doesn't exactly bring out the positive.

Moving on.

I don't know how much sewing I will get done in the next few days. I leave for NYC Wednesday afternoon and have a truck load of marking to do plus get the house and Mr. R ready for my friend who is going to be house/dog sitting while I am gone.

I am looking forward to spending time with my son and his girlfriend but you know I am not crazy about the plane part. It seems flights get cancelled a lot these days once you get to the airport, you have to cram in line with your shoes off, and they reduce the leg room by 3" every trip. You feel like baggage.

My preferred way to travel is on a road trip with my spouse who usually picks me up at school when we go to Florida with the car all packed and my coffee in the holder - but next to that I would like the train.

If I could drive the 15 minutes to the train station here and get off in Central Station I would be happy, but of course that isn't possible. And who has the time anymore?

When I was a very small girl my dad drove my grandparents to BC and we took the train home through the Rockies to Manitoba.

I remember it being incredibly glamorous. There were very nice people who folded down your sheets for you and brought you treats because you were a kid, and observation car where the grown ups played cards, and dinner with silverware on the table and flowers. The drinks had cherries.

When I was in university in Montreal I had a friend whose dad was the chef for the president of the railway. We went down to Gare Central down, down many layers of tracks and he sat us in the president's car and made us lunch. I could not believe he could actually cook in a rolling kitchen smaller than my small bathroom. I couldn't believe all the work that got done in such small spaces. My grandfather on my mother's side and all his brothers worked for the railway and I realized they had spent their lives doing that. Swaying along as they walked between cars all over Canada. One cousin actually died between cars from a heart attack. My grandfather died running along the platform for the train.

He was never late, said my mother. She has his watch. Well maybe just that one time.

And I sort of believe when you travel you should experience the space, not fly over it. Distances are real, something you should see and feel and not necessarily something you cancel out with ear buds and a curved pillow around your neck.

When you travel these days all the matters is the destination. Not sure that is always the best way to travel.

In life either.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stylearc sleeves 2

I have measured the Sunny top to give you some more information. There is already a comment on Patternreview about the sleeves being too tight there.

In a size 10 the sleeves at the bicep measure 10". Same as the Pia. My actual bent arm at the bicep is 12". Now in a light stretchy knit this would still be OK but your fabric would still have to have at least 75% stretch I figure - exactly like the swatch in fact.

Many T shirt knits, particularly those with cotton don't have this.

I really like the shape of the Sunny but when I have more time than I have tonight I will be adding at least a couple of inches to that sleeve. Maybe that will ruin the design but I know from today's experience that I am just not going to be comfortable in a tight sleeve.

I would be interested to hear more about other experiences.

I am hot on the trail of a few TNT knit tops, at least one that can be tunic length with high day-to-day wearability.

Any suggestions?

Stylearc sleeves

Just a quick note before I go back to marking. My Stylearc Pleated Pia top was a wadder.

I don't like wadders.

I have scrawny arms so it was disappointing to have to throw it out because the sleeves turned out to be negative ease, and just impossible to talk myself into thinking they would be OK. Too bad because it was cool fabric.

As usual there was a lot of operator error here because I went back to the swatch and it was more or less a slinky knit, not my old cotton lycra knit and I guess, like the Stylearc pants, an understanding of stretchability is really important.

FYI I compared the sleeve circumference to the Renfrew, which I haven't made, and the sleeve was a full 2 1/2" narrower.

So if you are smarter than I was you might want to double check the Stylearc sleeve measurements before you cut.

Wish I had.