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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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Flypaper thoughts

  • On the sewing table are three shirts for the boys
  • Nothing unpredictable there
  • Front, back and collar. And sleeves
  • Will post when they are done
  • The loud road work has moved past our house and Miss Daisy is well settled
  • She plays with toys now and has one furry "baby" she frantically runs around hiding
  • I wonder where her real babies ended up
  • Speaking of babies
  • My daughter is discovering once again they are all different
  • Mothers learn that over and over
  • Asked the little girls what they wanted for lunch
  • Miss Heidi at two said "hot dogs
  • Miss Scarlett at four said "do you have any brussel sprouts?"
  • My point exactly
  • To break up pre-collar band angst I am engaged in some private projects
  • The best ones make no sense
  • Am collecting all the pocket patterns from my various pattern and putting them in one large envelope
  • Labelling it "pockets" just to be confusing
  • Decided to institute pockets in most garments
  • For years I just didn't put them in because sewing them slowed me down
  • Ready to be slowed down
  • Also cell phones and poop purses make them a necessity
  • All dog walkers will get this
  • Have also decided to do final versions on heavy paper of my TNTs with alterations made
  • Reading Add 3/8", add 1/2", add 3/4" is confusing even me
  • Need to consolidate my TNT suite
  • One little corner of my life organized
  • Had a mouse in the sewing room
  • Nice little nest made in my "to do mending pile"
  • Could have been there undisturbed for 15 years without me knowing
  • You don't need to build a better mouse trap
  • Just put peanut butter in it
  • Considering spending the fall making dresses
  • Easiest dressing and goes with rubber boots
  • Off to figure out what to do with four bunches of kale
  • Made kale chips last weekend
  • Everyone said they were great and left them in the bowl
  • Tasted like paper towels
  • Who can blame then
  • Wonder if Butterick falls will be interesting
  • Would be nice if they were

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pictures, shorts, sweaters and squirrels

First of thank you for the comments. 

A picture and objective eyes are helpful. I have avoided belts for previously stated reasons but I can see your point. Time to revise the assumptions maybe.

I have a lot of school work to do today (thinking of a how to handle professors post this week in the last of my getting ready for university series) but have some random material to share.

My sons, the varying degrees of hipsters, have discovered weird quilting cotton prints, and with it, their mom the sewer.

I now have four shirts on order  I hope to get started on once the paying job stuff is out of the way.

One guy chose this fabric and wanted some old school drawstring shorts. I can do old school quite well since that is who and what I am. I used this pattern dispensing with the elastic waist and fake tie (I mean really McCalls we are grown-ups here) and made a real drawstring with an elastic piece in the middle for a little bit of spring:

There is a fly zipper in there somewhere and the waistband/casing is continuous at the top if that makes sense. I had a lot of fun sewing this happy fabric.

I also submitted a baby sweater to my daughter, she loved it but she isn't a knitter, even though it is apparent neither am I.

I used a pattern I found on a blog which I realize had a few things I shouldn't have done, like the decreases were knit two togethers in the middle of the sleeves which really showed - although all the other mistakes are entirely my own.

I figure my knitting is at the stage my sewing was when I was about 14.

I am going to need some coaching.

First question is how do you weave in your ends so they don't come poking out later? I would really like to figure this one out.

Finally I have decided to really reduce my extra curricular activities. For example I had a good run with some Burdastyle courses but have bowed out of that, and have a few other things I want to ease out of.

The truth is I need more time for sewing and this means less teaching or writing about sewing.

Except for this blog.

For some reason, and they certainly aren't economic, the blog is more interesting and more fun than some other projects and I want to do more here.

I also want to have time in my life to clear the decks for conversations with people like Miss Scarlett.

Here is a sample from this week:

On all the things little Billy hasn't even experienced yet (obviously a long list, took us a while to compile):

Scarlett: "But it makes me said that there are some things he will never see."

Me (somewhat alarmed by the turn of this conversation) : "Like what?"

 Scarlett: "Like seeing me do cartwheels. I can't do cartwheels."

When washing my hair and pretending to be a hairdresser (this is a favourite thing she does- I like it because I get to hang my head over the bathtub and rest):

Scarlett: "Well Mrs. what kind of hair style would you like? How about a squirrel hair do? I know a lot about squirrels. I saw one once and I have a book on squirrel hair styles at home. (all of this is a fake English accent). I will make it go up and then make it flat. How does that sound?"

And finally the best for last. Miss Daisy had a brief escape earlier in the week and disappeared behind some bushes while I was out. My frantic, and tearful, husband (don't judge a book by its cover, tough guys can be pretty sentimental) called and asked me to rush home and coax her out. He was afraid she would make a break for it.

I was bringing the girls home from swimming lessons in the car and said to them "girls we have an emergency."

Scarlett: "Heidi this is great, you always wanted an emergency." (Heidi is two and agreed with this).


Scarlett: "Babsie should I pray Daisy stays where she is until we get there?"

Me: "Good idea."

Scarlett: "Who is God I forget? Grandma Monica told me."

Me: theological discussion before the light turned.

Scarlett: "Listen God I need you to do something for me. You can do this. You made the first man and the first woman so you can do this for us. This is easier. Tell Daisy to stay in the bushes until Babsie gets there."


Scarlett: "Maybe you better get Norval Brown (my late father) to help you."

A person has to be available for conversations like that.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The non-colour blocked Charlotte dress

Well folks here we are. 

A short post as we have just got in from the movies and I have dishes in the sink before I go to bed.

This is the dress that took me a week to hem, the previously described Charlotte dress from Stylearc that was supposed to be colour blocked but wasn't. 

If you remember I didn't do the taping of all the pieces together right and ended up with a front 2" wider than the back (hint to you, if you try to do this line up your front with the front neck facing and you will catch this mistake before you cut).

I ended up making a little box pleat at the neckline to take this in and this probably was a good thing as the fit in the upper bust was fitted enough that I should have done a FBA anyway so this turned out to be a handy mistake.

Once I got the colour run out of this rayon I really liked it.

If there ever was a fabric that could speak for itself it is this one.  I wanted the simplest pattern possible so that could happen.

I tried it both with and without a belt - I don't really like belted things on me, since there really isn't any real waist to cinch and I think belts make me look dumpy. 

I have the kind of belly fat that they write health articles about on the CNN webpage, you know the kind of fat you absolutely are not ever supposed to have - or else - although if someone can tell me how you are supposed to get to post-menopause, have  three big babies, and employ Nutella-on-crackers-eaten-at-the-kitchen counter as the only mindfulness meditation/emergency stress relieving exercise that really works - and not develop a nice little parcel of belly fat I would really like to hear it. I mean enough already, is a person supposed to have done and do all this and get this far without evidence? A map with no roads on it? How can we be expected to have bodies that are smooth when life isn't?

Back to the dress.

I also think this fabric speaks best just hanging there as is - just like it caught my eye on the bolt.

So here it is.

Belted and unbelted. In either case a nice breezy dress for hot days out.

What do you think?

And of course gratis dog picture: