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, January 17, 2015

Sew day

Today was my once a month sewing day with my friend Trudy. 

These days are like gold to me. We sew and talk and eat and ignore all other obligations.

I will be posting some pictures and detail tomorrow but tonight I want to share with you my new favourite Style Arc pattern the Lucinda knit pant.

Suffice it to say that I whipped up one pair in the morning and we agreed they were so wearable and comfortable, Lazy-boy pants in fact, that after lunch we did a quick field trip down to Fabricville so I could get more fabric to cut out another three pairs.

I am very busy right now, largely with work, and trying a new pants pattern right out the envelope and having it fit perfectly (we decided that if there were any flaws it might be in the body inside the pants and not the pattern itself) just was so great.

Now if Stylearc would just put the Evie up on Etsy I would be set.

So tomorrow I will corral my photographer and get some pictures up, after that its back to the sewing room to make more before the week hits. Here is the drawing of the pattern but brace yourself for my version which are not quite as loose, despite the fact the body underneath is, but about as comfy as a toddler's jammies, and we all know toddlers get to wear all the cool clothes.

More later.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another Lazy-boy shirt

You know this series is not about high fashion. In Style isn't presenting fleecey tops to wear when you do the laundry or sit at the serger on a cold morning as "on trend." This isn't the kind of outfit you wear and write "go me."

These are the kinds of tops you wear when you wake up and say "how many days to Florida" or "did you drink the rest of the coffee?"

And getting a top like this right requires some skill. 

Some additions to length and width for example. My worry with leggings are not that I am mutton dressed as lamb so much as looking like one of those college going away duffle bags where you have to have someone else help you hold it together so you can zip it up.

First the final product. Then the destructions so you can make one just like this for yourself.  Maybe this is a new uniform, something we can all wear when we clock off the shift of modern life. Me I'm styling mine with fake fur slippers.

Moving on and here we go:

Here is how we got here.

First off I used this Burda pattern for a T shirt and lengthened it to cover the parts that develop when you eat like an eighteen year old boy and you're not. 

Then I cut out the back and fronts as suggested on the fold, but only so far as around the neckline, across the shoulder and around the armhole.

I stopped cutting at the point the armhole joined the side seam, put in a pin where the lower armhole and side seam joined, removed all the pins everywhere else in the pattern, and pivoted the pattern out to make it as wide as I wanted (I think I added 1" to each side seam as measured at the bottom).

This is the brilliant Pivot and Slide method of pattern alteration that is my default particularly for adding simple length and width. I love this method for that because, unlike just measuring out extras and drawing your own lines, it maintains the original design lines of the garment. 

For instance one of my beefs with how they grade up patterns for plus sizes is that they increase everywhere - making the armhole bigger when there is width added to the sides for instance, which can give you baggy, bra showing armholes when all you really want is more to cover your middle.

The pivot and slide approach keeps the original armhole while giving you that extra across the body.

If you haven't tried this before, and if you are confused by my instructions (and who wouldn't be, I think I have confused even myself) you might want to look at this excellent little intro by the marvellous Nancy Zeiman:

Or you can see it all in more detail in Nancy's book:

Or for even more detail in this the original book on the method in which a very young and achingly beautiful Nancy is featured as a model:

The other detail on my own top is that I applied the cowl neck pattern from the Renfrew top to the Burda pattern, it fit perfectly without any adjustment. Of course I didn't check that out before I sat down at the serger, ever the optimist.

This cowl is amazing, very shaped so it hugs the neck and folds over nicely, no plain old rectangle. My only issue is that the construction directions are not as easy as they could be. Not as directed I sew two cylinders (seam the short end) and put them together, right sides together and just zipped around the top in a circle to join. And I do not top stitch the neckline seam down. This cowl stays put without that and when your cowl had gone in really nice why risk blowing everything on top-stitching?

At least that's how I look at it.