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

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Clothesmaking mavens
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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, July 18, 2015

Another shirt

I have just sent off another shirt to my son in Brooklyn.

I am preparing a how to sew faster class for Burdastyle and it really occurs to me that the main thing is to make a pattern you have sewn before.

It is like when you go somewhere first time in the car, it takes so long to get there and so much faster to come back.

These shirts are taking me so much less time than the first versions, and every time I do one I come up with another efficiency.

The fabric is from Cotton and Steele ordered from Hawthorne Threads.

Next up, and project for the weekend is a formal dress from my sister who is visiting.

She has already cut it out, according to the size she wears in RTW.

I think you have a fairly good idea how this weekend is looking.

Off I go.

Friday, July 17, 2015

What do you think about signs?

My husband, who is a very down to earth type of guy, has moments when he runs across what he feels are signs.

This all started with a bag of rags he picked up in a car place when out of town in rural Nova Scotia. 

For some reason my spouse was cleaning the car and  picked up one of those random bags they sell for those things.

Anyway the first rag he pulled out was from a T shirt with a Knoxville Tennessee logo on it. Now Knoxville is a long way from Yarmouth County Nova Scotia and was neither a place he had ever visited, or ever thought of.

Well the point of this story is that very shortly afterwards he got a call to go and work on a project based out of Knoxville that kept him travelling back and forth from there for a few years - and was one of his career highpoints. He loved Tennessee and so do I. It was just so lucky that we made that connection.

Well anyway Babs, is there a place you are going to here?


I have been extremely busy lately with teaching, family, family visits and sewing for that family. And at the end of August I am shifting from full time to part time and trying to get my head around that and working out new priorities.

About the same time a former colleague approached me about doing some work in Fiji (I have been there before) for a UN organization and that commitment and where it might lead, really had me doing some soul searching.

I know this sounds very glamorous but if you have ever done this kind of stuff it still is work and that far away you work pretty intensely, never much down time, and a lot of prep work so when you go do it you don't waste anyone's time.

Of course I was tempted.

However the time frame was putting me pretty close to the wedding and the thought of pulling this together, the sewing I have to do, wrapping up the marking for my summer courses, was pretty intense.

To make a long story short I decided to give it a pass, and more importantly, recommend a younger women who really needs this kind of a career break. Simply I decided someone else needed this boost. To quote superstitious husband who can still exhibit common sense "For you it would be work, for her it would be an adventure." 

This one statement did it for me.

The question is how do I spend my time in this next stage? 

For me I decided that rather than moving into consulting and new opportunities I really want to sew, encourage other people, and help out who I can help out. 

That is more satisfying to me than anything that sounds impressive, if I am articulating this well.

I just guess I am getting to the end of my serious quota. 

Since figuring this out these things have happened:

  • I reconnected with Burdastyle and am running a week long "power session" with them with another one to run in a few weeks.
  • I made my 14 year old niece a formal dress to wear to my son's wedding that, at that most awkward stage in life, makes her feel happy and glamorous (pictures to follow).
  • I am signed up to teach two courses at the hip sewing lounge/shop place around here this fall
  • I walked into the sewing machine dealer when taking my serger in for a service and was asked if I would run a shirt class in October
  • I have worked out a teaching schedule for a limited number of classes I will do at the university on a part-time basis only
And this morning, and this is the sign part, I got up early to finish some hand sewing on my niece's dress and there was an unexpected posting on my Facebook (I am completely inactive on FB).

It was from a student I taught a while ago, a mother of four who went back to school at 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer on the last day of her last class - and who has recovered and thrived. Out of the blue she wrote that my mentorship has meant a lot to her and that everyday she asks herself on the job what would Barb do. (I actually find this a bit unnerving as every day Barb made it up as she went along). After my student's post there was a comment left by someone who worked with me years and years ago who wrote "I wonder how many of us would say that".

Timing is of course everything and a wink that this was the right time for this reorientation is pretty nice.