Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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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, November 29, 2014

Lazi-boy top #1

A few years ago my husband went out and got himself a Lazi-boy chair. At the time I thought we didn't need another chair in this house and particularly one that was  such a cliche. 

You know how cool I am. It's well-known.

Of course the minute that man was out of the house away for work I was right in that old Lazi-boy, feet flipped up and enjoying myself a lot.

Eventually I bought one for myself, once it became apparent he wanted his back.

Yes that's right. 

We have his and hers Lazi-boys down in the family room in the basement. So much for cliches.

Listen I admit it, being comfortable is a real default and for good reason. If you were coming home after a day standing up teaching and generally being pulled in four hundred directions and just wanted to cruise the pattern sites and pretend you were going to actually sew all those things, where would you plant yourself?

As illustrated above or, in this:

I hope I am not insulting anyone's design sense or living room, but I kind of rest my case.

It has occurred to me that I do this with some of my clothes.

Go for the chic picture and forget how I will feel in it.

I need more Lazi-boy tops.

I know I would wear them a lot.

With that in mind I pulled out this pattern I have been meaning to sew for a long time:

I am a big fan of shawl collars, as I am of details that are from the culture of women's clothes, so I always liked this pattern.

I decided to add about 4" total to the width, and inch each side at the underarm, to make it more a tunic but still maintain the fit in the shoulders, and I added the same to the length.

I used a sort of loopy knit that is kind of a cross between a fleece and a terry and here it is:

There is no head in this picture because the photographer focused on the dog and not me and my face is a little blurry, not to mention the hair is vertical.

Here is the close-up of the collar:

Now if this doesn't say ready to recline, I don't know what does.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My very smart kid

My middle child and his colleague room mate have just launched a sports newsletter for people who don't follow sports. 

People like his mother, who sometimes want to be able to make some kind of conversation when they are surrounded by people who really follow this stuff.

Tomorrow morning they are sending out their Thanksgiving football recap.

The site is called the Casual Spectator and in their words this is what it is about:

Casual Spectator is a super-simple newsletter about major sporting events for people who don't really follow sports. Twice a week, we preview the biggest events in sports with the context you need to have fun watching and a better time discussing. 

If you are interested here is where you go to subscribe.

Holiday sewing

Don't get excited by the title. 

Things are pretty slack in Santa's workshop these days.

I decided a while ago to aim for any big project gifts, if I felt like it, for birthdays since those are spaced out and to be sort of random at Christmas. Many of us have passed through those phases of making a lot of gifts to spread around the resources but have eventually realized that the supplies add up and the time runs out.

This year I am dispatching the spouse to Florida for a few days in early December. 

It is against policy for him to do fun stuff without me, my policy, but he has been working very hard lately. Plus I went to New York and to be fair a few days of golf and sun would do that boy good since I suspect they are sending him to the North Pole again after Christmas, which if you remember is in the middle of winter, and the North Pole is place he can go to without me thanks.

So Florida for a few days seems like a good idea.

We have a post office address in St. Augustine and once the spouse announced he would do all my shopping for me at the outlets (this being the man who once gave his entire side of the family microwavable slippers from Canadian Tire bought at 15 minutes to closing on December 24th one year) I decided to do a lot of proactive online ordering to head that off.

He can golf and then bring home a full suitcase which will suit me fine.

Freed up from the responsibility of doing any serious gift making or buying, I am making some fool around small things that are sort of fun to do but are not consuming much time so that if folks say "what was mom thinking?' and throw it out when I am not looking I won't be hurt.

To give you an idea of how likely this might be, here are a couple of owl sleep masks that I crocheted, despite the fact I cannot yet, after a continuing gigantic investment of time, crochet.

At all.

In fact I wasted a whole Saturday afternoon trying to crochet some snowflakes, envisioning a garland for the mantle out of them. Unfortunately they did not look at all, not one bit, like snowflakes but they did look an awful lot like rolled up white athletic socks and a string of those over the fireplace would be too much even by my low standards.

Back to my owls. 

To give you an idea of the depth of my crochet expertise these were made from the exact same pattern but are totally different sizes. Thank goodness I can sew or I would begin to wonder about my head:

My friend Trudy, on the other hand, knows what she is doing. 

The Saturday before last she came over for a sew-a-thon and got well into the 36 cosmetic bags she is speed serging up. She is the serger ace and did all the center gathered panels with the gathering foot on her serger which impressed me a lot.

Here is a shot of her in action and one of her bags complete. Me I managed to put a collar in upside down but I did make lunch:

Off I go for dinner. 

Next post, when ever I can get free of work this week to do it, will be of my latest top in what I am calling my Lazi-Boy collection.

When you see the top you will know why.


My massage therapist said something really interesting today that I feel is sewing relevant.

"Some people are buried with their gifts."

These would not be cosmetic bags or owl masks I don't think, but gifts of the spirit, or talents. Use them as much as you can so they can all be given away in your lifetime she meant.

I ordered some more fabric after that.