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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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Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Here we go as requested:

Here we go. Slightly more wine coloured in real life than this shows on my monitor.  How about $45 for all 5 yards plus postage. 45 inches wide.


Funny story.

My husband read my post yesterday and said he actually liked that dress, it was the other blue dress he didn't.

So I really appreciated all your comments and you are right, I will be raising the neckline and changing in the side seams a bit next version. I think it has potential and I am going to be looking at other wrap dress patterns as suggested too. A wrap dress is just too multi-purpose, dress up and dress down, not to be figured out.

Since you're asking here is the other blue dress my spouse was not nuts about, despite having seen me wear it before without comment. Navy pique cotton and in this picture a little wrinkled from sitting:

And here is the detail of the back zipper, set below the neck a few inches in the seam for a neat neckline finish, since the dress can go over my head when I put it on due to the wide neckline:

And here is a shot of the facing, one piece which I love about this pattern:

Finally on the out of control wedding fabric buying front I have found a solution to my dupioni issue involving how to do merlot when you are working with a fancy lace layer for the top that has that slight bright pink thing going on.

Got a real nice sort of dark, dark pink swatch from Mood and that works so I am redefining Merlot to sort of a Beaujolais, maybe even a screw top, almost a Zinfandel in a dark room, almost to a box wine - the kind that you take out the silver bag out of the cardboard and squeeze out one last little bit into a coffee cup so the kids (who are now full adults) won't know mom is drinking while she is doing the dishes after Thanksgiving. (All those who were raised in the responsible Canadian Prairies will not need to have this explained.)

Which now leaves me with, among other things, 5 yards of dark red, sort of merlot, Dupioni with a slight black under sheen when you bend it (you know how dupioni works). 

Make me an offer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Slip on Suzie

To explain myself here is the Slip on Suzie faux wrap dress I made from this StyleArc pattern:

I am always a bit wary about wrap dresses. In my experience they tend to unwrap if you live in a windy place like I do most of the time, or fall open at the Christmas concert when you sit down which is not an optimal grandmother look IMO.

This dress has a closed skirt at the bottom, no wrap, and goes together in an hour if you don't spend three hours trying to figure out how to overlap the various pieces to get the wrap.

I bound the neckline rather than turn and stitch because I am chicken and like to use my hands to head off disaster.

I had read several pattern reviews that said this dress was too low (probably is here too) so I made it in a size smaller than I usually wear to get the fit on my bony shoulders and added to the width from there down. It is my general policy to alway fit the smallest area first and add - always more successful than trying to take something in when the core fabric has already been cut away.

Here are two shots taken on the old RV site and not accessorized at all. If I were a better blogger it would be, but I am sort of waiting on my lunch and getting ready to go golfing.

This really does need a necklace and maybe a belt. The spouse, who rarely offers fashion comments unless you count "what am I supposed to say?," tells me this is not my best look which probably means too bare at the neck and too wide in the middle, which actually describes me so this is not really a surprise.

Here is another shot, that verifies the need for a belt or maybe a another look at Stylearc's other wrap dresses that have more shape, and might give me some.

The truth is I kinda just like this dress myself. I see this design as a real basic, great for travelling, good for accessorizing if you weren't in your flip flops in an RV park, and timeless in that you can keep wearing it until your daughter says "mom you always wear that dress."

My photographer thinks maybe I need blog reader feedback since his didn't impress me and in the meantime I am thinking of this two alternate patterns in the quest for a classic wrap for this not too classic sewer:

What do you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Multi-tasking update

Yes I know I have been a lousy blogger. 

Truth is the last year has been exceptionally busy and I have taken what they call some me time since my last class of the term ended at the beginning of the month.

When I go home life picks up the pace again, and I figured if I felt I needed this break I did.

Of course my idea of a break has been to do something different rather than nothing at all. 

My days involve golf with my husband, a long beach walk, maybe a bike ride and about four Daisy walks. I have also been doing illustrated below, note the multi-tasking - canning some mango chutney (I am working on my own recipe) and crochet.

I actually find crochet more fun than knitting but maybe that's because it's faster and because I am learning something new. Pretty much I can sew anything I decide to do and can figure out most knitting but that's not the same as trying to understand something different, which I find energizing.

Here is what all this looks like in an RV:

I think it is safe to say I am turning into one of those women who just get nuttier as they get older, and apparently at top speed.

You know I also do some political commentary on the radio, this week it has been talking about the budget. I am always glad listeners can't see who is speaking, or what else is going on around them. One of the great virtues of radio.

On the sewing front I am ramping up for the wedding sewing and spending a small fortune ordering in the wrong fabric. I will be able to open my own special occasion store when all this is through. It all started with a sales lady at G Street who convinced me that beaded lace with a sort of shocking pink undertone (which attracted me like a moth to the flame even though I am committed to an outfit in merlot) would look great over the right colour of wine dupioni. Sort of an add some sparkle idea.

The thing is the right shade of dupioni (which either I am spelling wrong or spell check doesn't sew) is pretty hard to come by if you are doing your shopping from an RV with some help from the nice man at UPS. Plan B is if the latest shipment from Mood isn't it I am going down to Winn Dixie and buying some wine coloured dye when I certainly will become the only woman dyeing beaded lace this week in the park.

On a more encouraging note, and I haven't checked the horoscope yet, it appears the stars have aligned and Vogue actually spit up the exact pattern I need for the girlfriend's dress, the light purple one posted a while ago. Here it is:

I was considering doing my regular uncharitable review of the new releases (see picture at the beginning of this post, I certainly am well-qualified as a fashion maven, right up there with my qualifications as radio personality), focussing on those that appear to be made out of napkins from some hotel dinner dance event, but I have decided to give them a break this time around since they have saved my life with this one.

Thank you Vogue.