Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sharing a breath

I will get to those instructions, or find them in a book, soon. I really have to keep soldiering on with the marking though, students and administrators are waiting, before I can take time out to do that.

There is however one fast story I want to share.

Back in the early summer when we adopted Miss Daisy, many pounds and vet treatments ago, she was a small terrified wreck. The first day she came home with us she lay on the floor shaking like a seizure.

I didn't have a clue what to do.

So I decided to think of the safest she had ever felt and wondered if that was with her mother when she was a puppy. So, no other ideas in my head, I lay down on the floor with her, pressed my body all along hers and did strong slow breathing. The kind they tell you to do to help with the pain in labour - it didn't really work then, but I figured I was dealing with some kind of pain I didn't understand and it was all I had to reach for.

After a while she calmed down.

Last night we had a thunderstorm. 

Unlike the first time she was in a storm with us, when we lost her for hours since she was in the back of a closet where her little black self was invisible, she wanted up on the bed and she crawled up to the pillow between us. 

She lay there, pressed to the wall and I could not believe how she was shaking, how a little body could have those many tremors in it. 

So I just did what I did before. 

I put my hand on her back and my face next to hers and I just breathed,  slow and deep, like a person who isn't afraid of anything would breathe just before they went to sleep. Just like a mother who knows something about the thunder you don't and just knows it will be OK.

After a while I could feel her breathing matching mine and she feel asleep. Even while the wind continued to blow.

This has me thinking of Mr. Billy the baby.

Billy sticks to my daughter's body like a mussel to a rock - we joke he is four months old and has agoraphobia, all he wants is to be plastered to her at home in his own house.

I wondered this morning if maybe all he is doing, quietly in a way we are not noticing, is matching his breath to hers before he lets go.

I wonder.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lazi-boy top #2

It should be pointed out at this stage I am not a lazi-girl (84 more papers to mark but who's counting) but I really want to be.

In the meantime I am sewing aspirational tops during break times.

The latest was this one from Burdastyle, one of those digital patterns you tape all those pages together. Here is the picture of how it looks on someone who is not me and actually never was me:

They made their's in a sort of fake fur but I decided against that in case the folks around here thought it was a Halloween costume.

Besides I had some of that purple loopy knit like I used in the first Lazi-boy top and a purple scarf with wiener dogs on it which I don't get a call to wear as often as you might think.

Here are the pictures. 

They show this is a really big top, even on me and suitable for wearing with leggings or any time you might want to disguise your actual true body shape, as I often do, or if you are unexpectedly carrying triplets. One of these is a better shot of the top, the other one is included because for once I don't have a dopey look on my face or am inspecting fleas on the ceiling:

This is an excellent top for schlepping around, marking papers, or cutting out Lazi-boy top #3.

Now some technical notes.

Probably because they actually thought someone would make this top, and not as a Halloween costume, in fake fur the neckline is finished with bias tape turned under and stitched.

Even before I started following these instructions (or as my friend Sue likes to call them the destructions) I knew this woven binding, even in a bias, on a knit is a bad idea.

I figured it would distort the knit and bow out the V neckline and for once I was right.

I still tried it out though. 

You never know. Sometimes in the rare instances in which I actually follow the instructions (like when I can find them and haven't thrown them out with the back neck facings) I learn something new, which since I am in education is probably an experience I should support.

Back to the neckline.

Once I had established in the bathroom mirror that this did stick out and look horrible I just cut the binding right away from that neckline. A lot faster than unpicking a knit. Borrow this idea if you want.

I then installed my super easy cross over V for idiots that always works out and requires no thought.

Here is how you do it:

1. Cut a long piece of knit twice as wide as you want it finished ( you will be folding the band in half lengthwise) and much longer than the measurement around the neckline ( you can cut off the extra later- apply the band with a good few inches extra hanging around at the bottom of the V)

2. Starting at the point of the V stitch up one side of the V, without stretching the band, stretch slightly around the back of the neck so it will cup a bit, and back down in the direction  the point of the V on the other side - Stopping a few inches before the point of the V on the second side.

3. Lay the whole unit out on a table right sides out and tuck the end of the side of the band that was stitched from the point of the V into the gap left unstitched on the other side. Arrange it around so it looks alright from the right side. Pin it in position.

4. Go back to the wrong side and finish stitching that bit of seam on the second side you left unsewn through all layers of band that are there. 

5. Cut off any extra band length.

Now I want you to know that I tried to take pictures of this but it came out as one dark purple blog and despite the fact I am fully aware that instructions without pictures are useless - I can and should do instructions later.

It is a great method.

Perfectly fool proof and about 1000% easier than all other methods I see described anywhere else I look on the www.

If I get enough requests I will do a proper tutorial like a decent blogger.

But right now I have too much brain numbness after the many assignments I have already marked today.

You know when all you can think of to write at the bottom of a paper is "You mean this is it? You're kidding right? " it is time to call it a day.

For educational purposes.