Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

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

Clothesmaking mavens

Clothesmaking mavens
Listen to me on the clothes making mavens podcasts

About me

My photo
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



Follow me on Instagram

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas countdown

Hi folks,

First of all I want to thank you for the supportive comments.

I mean it about a book. I want to write a sort of self-help book for sewers and I am going to do it. I have eight months of full-time work left and that will be my percolating time.

Stay tuned.

I also want to say I need some time to grab to answer the interesting comments that have been left for me, but it is nuts, with Christmas stuff and work things going on.

So what I have to share tonight are flypaper thoughts:

  • One week to go
  • The secret is to lower expectations
  • For yourself first and other people second
  • All the good things in a family and a life can't be expected to come together on one day of the year
  • I have multiple decades of personal experience backing this one up
  • They must sell a ton of super bulky yarn the week before Christmas
  • My son-in-law had not serious but highly uncomfortable surgery yesterday
  • The kids have colds
  • The son arrives late the night before Christmas with the fiancee
  • Things shaping up as normal
  • Just fuse a small piece of knit interfacing where they tell you to stay stitch at the clip
  • Who need to pick those stay stitches out at midnight?
  • Do you think a Sirarcha and honey cookie will be too weird?
  • Who would even ask that?
  • Will report tomorrow
  • Fluffy slippers are excellent
  • One year I had four minutes between the time the last one went to sleep and the first one got up
  • Am most disturbed that the early spring patterns are all for waisted full skirted dresses
  • Waists move around in fashion but where yours should be is the worst place
  • Miss Heidi has taken this lump of coal thing to heart
  • Walking around in stubby legs muttering "that time I screamed at my family I was a baby. I am going to be good now I am a big girl"
  • Makes me feel bad that I told her about Melvin Clark
  • The kid I actually know who once got a lump of coal
  • Parents pulled those stunts in the old days
  • It appears grandparents pull them now
  • She is already stressed enough for three
  • And not just because of the sneaky looking Elf on the Shelf
  • Like about racoons
  • I told her about the time I found a racoon hand under the cushion on the couch
  • Must have fallen off someone in the backyard
  • Birdie brought it in for a present
  • I live in Nova Scotia after all
  • One more story and I am going to be put on grandmother probation
  • She would rather stand than sit on the couch
  • Much like her father
  • These things happen
  • Why would my husband think I wanted a car that can talk to me?
  • I get into the car for peace and quiet
  • We have traded back
  • If kids can't spill juice in it then it's not for me
  • My neighbourhood is famous for Christmas lights
  • We have tour buses drive slowly all night
  • Makes you run downstairs to throw the switch on while wearing your fuzzy slippers
  • The last thing we were famous for was the Bird House gang
  • Bunch of gangsters were going into yards at night and switching around the bird houses
  • Giving the senior men fits
  • Only their wives laughed
  • It's a tough neighbourhood
  • Do they still sell red and green Rice Krispies?
  • In case the Sirarcha cookies bomb
  • As if that's going to happen

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Archer shirt

Yes I know I was a sort of sign upper for the Archer shirt sew-along and finished that shirt about a month ago, but haven't got around to posting anything on it yet.

Here is a simple hanger shot:

The fabric was a voile cotton with almost a suede finish which will explain some of the odd colour shading.

This is a very good pattern.

Well-drafted, which means it slots together well, and a great fit for a comfortable shirt. Good smart directions too.

My only comment is that it uses the traditional blouse continuous lap placket which is something I hate doing. Far too many fabric layers in a short space and as a result they never, IMO, lie flat (I have turned the sleeve around for the photo so you can see what I mean.)

Far better to use a nice neat, and if you want a more feminine version a smaller, proper shirt placket like the one I put in a Negroni shirt for my nephew last night:

I know there are versions of this being put on the Archers over at the sew-along. However again I think that doing it in two pieces is unnecessary - a one pattern piece version, as you find in the Negroni, is just so much easier and always turns out perfectly. The trick is of course to trace the stitching box on typing paper and pin it directly over the placket piece on the shirt sleeve and just stitch through the line on the paper with a small stitch (you can tear the paper away easily afterwards) to get around what looks like complicated marking on the pattern piece.

I know I should be doing some tutorials, but it really is getting a little nuts around here pre-Christmas time. Hopefully I will get a chance to catch up.

I have been reading a lot of indie pattern instruction sheets lately and I am also thinking I really need to write a sewing book.

Soooo many of these patterns (some of them designed by folks who are now publishing their own basic sewing books) are just telling sewers to do things the hardest way possible and with that the largest margin for error.

Over and over again I want to say "there is an easier way to do this, there really is, with better results". 

It seems to me that some of these talented young designers are looking up techniques in standard sewing texts. Fair enough but they are missing out on the knowledge of a whole generation of sewers, brilliant women who were under-employed as housewives and went on to write amazing books (often self-published and I have them) full of smart and nifty ways around sewing problems, and to teach and broadcast in some places really interesting classes where they taught their methods.

The problem was that this work was often not well captured and the new generation of sewers can't access it.

But I can. 

I read those books, I took those classes, I taught those classes. 

I knew those women. I was the part of the last generation they passed on a way of thinking about sewing to.

Someone has to get this information out there.

I really am seeing too many gapping knit necklines ( 3/4 ratio for self fabric, 2/3 for ribbing, pin-and-mark-in quarters) too many V necklines done in the way that has a 99% chance of ending in a little bump rather than a way that has a 99% chance of success first off.

So I need to write a book and have to figure out how to get that done.

Now off to packing that shirt off for Winnipeg.