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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, September 12, 2014

A dad's shirt: the Nergroni

One of the classes I will be teaching at Patch Halifax  is the Negroni shirt. 

I finished it before I finally figured out it was named for a cocktail which just shows you I need to get out more, or drink more.

It is a slim fitting, modern shirt without a collar on a stand (I figure to make it a bit easier) but a proper placket on the cuff and some interesting alternate pocket styles you can get for free here to download (I used one of those with a slanted flap for my shirt).

This pattern has sort of a cult following and I must say the pieces are wonderfully drafted - everything fits together like perfect puzzle pieces.

How often do you see that?

The instructions are also very good but since this may be a first shirt for many sewers there could have been some more explicit pressing instructions, like how to turn and press a collar for example.

What I really found interesting were the cool directions on how to bag a lined yoke when you are using a convertible collar and facings, like you have with this shirt, and not the regular collar on a band and the front bands you would have on the usual men's shirt. Worth the price of the pattern to get that one figured out. I am not a fan of back neck facings in blouses and many patterns I have seen to date (I just finished a pattern by Palmer and Pletsch like this) that have a convertible collar and a yoke involves a lot of messy hand sewing.

I am pretty pleased with the result, although the pattern matching at centre front was not up to par - the challenges of a diagonal print and limited yardage did that objective in.

I can't decide if this shirt is so ugly it is cool, or just ugly.

It did seem to me that the print was something my dad would of worn in the '50s and since it was that kind of style I decided it worked.

Ignoring the fact my dad didn't really have very good taste. Nice man but sort of was drawn to orange polyester plaids if you get my drift. I always meant to sew him a proper shirt.

He would have worn this one.

On that note here is my Negroni:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A quick dog report

I was going to write tonight with a proper pattern review but it is late and I have to get up early for class.

Instead I will give you a Daisy report.

I have started to dream about her teeth.

This is why.

When I took her to the vet this summer he told us she would need a number of teeth out as a result of her poor care and diet history. Her age was estimated, based on the condition of her teeth, at at least five and the vet wasn't sure how many teeth he could save.

The end of August she went in dental surgery.

To make a long story short after a good cleaning the vet decided to give her a rest from the anesthetic and see her again in October. Then he said he would see exactly what extractions she would need, apparently once the puppy mill crap was off her teeth were not quite as bad as he thought and he upgraded her age to a "young dog."

He told me that if I were very diligent with brushing her teeth a couple of time a day we might actually save many of them and maybe (slim chance) all of them. 

We will see next month.

Now you would get this but I am a committed do-it-yourselfer. 
These are not words I took lightly. In addition to twice daily brushing of those tiny teeth he also suggested I syringe her gum line with water. (Husband suggested he rig up the Water Pic but I nixed that idea).

So twice a day I lie on the kitchen floor like a manic, which in fact I am or was or am now much worse, with a tiny tooth brush, a tube of chicken flavoured toothpaste and something of my own invention I have added in, which is a pair of exfoliating gloves on my hands (that I bought for work on my legs but never got around to) which I use to get at the really back teeth and inside surfaces.

The water syringe idea is a none starter since she sort of chokes on it. The tooth brushing she tolerates, or at least tolerates me, despite the fact I have zero technique unless you count trying to hold a pair of slippery black lips open and stabbing aimlessly at her teeth, or where I think her teeth would be if I could see them.

It is all pretty inept and hopeless but I am devoted to this job. 

Her dental and medical care, and just being in the house for a few months now, has changed things.

The thing is since she had her teeth cleaned up and the bacterial infection fixed she has become a totally new dog.

She is wild. 

She runs up and down the hall and throws toys around. She lunges at me in my sewing chair and runs away with my back neck facings and steals socks. She knocks her bowl around when its time to be fed and barks at loud noises and does flying squirrel imitations off the front steps.

She has gone from a flat and broken soul at the back of a cage in a last chance shelter to a complete nuisance.

She has become a real dog.

Against all odds.

A lesson for all of us.