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I am a mother, a new 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 I write a monthly humour/sewing column for the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+emodi&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abarbara+emodi

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Friday, January 9, 2015

If you really loved me there would be welt pockets

I am sure I am not the only sewer who went through this before the holidays, probably months before.

You have family and some of them are far away. 

You want to give them something special, something of yourself, something they can't get at a store. You hope for those "my mom made it" connections. You want them to see in something from your hands your feelings for them.

I saw a Pinterest saying a while ago.

It said "I wouldn't miss you if you were here."

Boom, right to the heart that one.

Now those are words you can't say out loud. 

Not to a child who is living their own good life in the place where they should be. If you said it you wouldn't feel any better and they would feel much worse.

So you keep those thoughts to yourself or you tell them to another mother so you don't have to explain a thing. Someone reading this right now knows exactly what I mean.

And you decide to make them something instead.

But because you have so much to express, you want a project to match. To a sewer that means real good fabric and something that requires real work. 

On this basis I decided before Christmas I wanted to make everyone shirts. My job intervened however and I only got one made, which made me feel terrible in case it looked like shirt boy was more loved than napkin girl or heaven forbid more than the girl who got tops ordered online.

The thing is when the wrapping paper settled Christmas morning, it turned out everyone was pretty happy, maybe the online top recipient the most.

But we did discuss sewing over the course of the day. Two of my children, my son's girlfriend who is a hobby herbalist, and my son in NYC had requests: 


  • I would love an apron to wear when I work with plants. Would it be too hard to have pockets on it?
  • Mom I really need a bag for dirty clothes when I travel. I don't know if you can do this - but a sort of square bag with a drawstring you can pull on top. He even sent me dimensions.
A bag and an apron.

This made me feel so bad - that's it? - till I figured it out.

If you don't sew, what matters most to you is something you can't buy exactly the way you want it yourself, not the complexity of the project.


Like that time I made my mother those elastic waist A-line skirts out of quilting cotton and all the ladies at church wanted to know where she got them.

So maybe I learned something.  For years I have given made-by-me gifts with the comment "Hope it fits, it nearly killed me to make it." Not completely cool or in the spirit really.



When sewing to give you have to look at what the recipient can't do themselves, rather than through sewer's eyes.

What do you think?




Thursday, January 8, 2015

I'm back and flypaper thoughts

It's been a little nuts lately.  I have projects to show and instructions and useful things. However the last week has me more in a flypaper frame of mind. So here goes:


  • There is something in the water around here.
  • Town's been over-run with sexist facebook pages, sex-texting scandals at some of the universities
  • I have been doing media commentary all month and it's wearing me out
  • Why they call me I don't know
  • All I say is where are their mothers and their poor mothers
  • Not talking on the guy I actually worked with
  • Would someone take the phones away from these knuckleheads
  • Their poor mothers
  • Made a great Lazy-boy top by melding a Burda tunic and the spectacular Renfrew Cowl
  • Pretty pleased with myself
  • Was going to do a cross-over V instruction 
  • Then decided both the V neckline and scoop neckline on the Renfrew need a different approach so they turn out better
  • Will get to that asap
  • Confiscate those phones
  • Did I tell you I am making four flower girl dresses for the big wedding?
  • So happy not to be fitting bodices
  • Excited about this project, very cute kids
  • My dear nice normal husband has been sick
  • Bad flare up of psoriatic arthritis
  • Decided that tough guy needs to try some complimentary medicine
  • He drew the line at Tai Chi without even looking
  • He said bread making was good therapy
  • I already have downloaded a few patterns one size up
  • So far I am doing great with the Yoga for Arthritis dvd
  • Not sure if me telling him what I am doing while I am doing it is all that healing
  • I mean for him
  • He liked the osteopath though
  • He thinks golf might help
  • My husband not the osteopath
  • Sewaholic just released a competitor to the Archer shirt
  • The Granville
  • Apparently named after my late father-in-law
  • The one who invented a 900 pound cast iron clam digging shovel he made himself
  • Wonder if the patent is still pending
  • This new shirt has darts and shape
  • For pears
  • Might be good for my daughter
  • I am more a parsnip shape myself
  • The original Granville also invented a jam-making pot lid
  • Did a promotional video where I was a jam-making Vanna White
  • There were little paper footsteps taped to the kitchen floor so I knew where to stand
  • And a script
  • Patent also pending
  • This is a man who once tried to fix a software problem on his computer with a screwdriver
  • Miss that guy
  • Covered the garage door with a house-paint giant rose
  • My mother-in-law's name is Rose
  • He was 80 when he did that
  • I married his son
  • Good men are still around
  • They carry flip phones