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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?