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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My husband's northern blog

My husband started this blog largely for the entertainment of the extended family when he is away. He inspects big jobs and most of those are remote.

Funny just after I posted my last one he sent me an email that he had put up a blog post about polar bears. Since they are not a day-to-day thing for most people, I thought those who might find this interesting might find this post interesting.

Needless to say the husband is himself a bit of a character.

Flypaper thoughts, night before garbage day edition

  • There are so many things women keep to themselves
  • And from each other
  • Labour is a big one
  • How hard it is after a new baby
  • When it is your first
  • How you can be planning your Christmas list when your husband thinks he has your full attention
  • That there is a moment after the kids have gone when you realize
  • No, this house won't be hearing that kind of laughter again
  • That you actually think you look better than you let on
  • That you eyeball most things
  • That you don't change your needle all that often
  • That you eat all the chocolate chips in the cupboard a lot more often than you make cookies
  • That age first shows the hardest under your armpits
  • That you better learn to live alone at some stage
  • My mother-in-law in moving into senior's apartments
  • Turns out granite counter tops are poor company
  • The new place has a clothesline
  • And there were ladies sitting in a common room talking
  • Makes me so glad I can sew
  • House work could not be my purpose
  • Floors indicate this is very true
  • And that sewing folks like to talk
  • My husband is back in the North Pole again
  • This time actually right near it
  • Right up next to Greenland
  • He has to carry a bear alarm
  • The polar bears are hungry
  • And apparently pretty sneaky too
  • They wait around the corners
  • Even the North Pole has corners
  • I wasn't born to have dinner alone
  • But am fine afterwards down in the sewing room
  • Maybe I should eat there
  • But far from the silk
  • Four flower girl dresses are taking shape
  • Then 75 jars of blueberry jam for the bride to give
  • Little plaid tops on the jars
  • Should keep me out of trouble
  • Or get me into it
  • Pleased she asked
  • Got to help the next house be set up for laughter

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why it is so good to sew


My sister Nancy and my 14 year old niece Sophia have been staying with me for two weeks. 

They have both being losing their minds trying to find something to wear to the wedding in September so one of the things I have done over the last three days is make them both dresses.

They both chose their own fabric (OK Nancy twice because RTW and sewing patterns are not the same size ...) and I did the measurements, alterations, and sewing.

What I did in terms of alterations was very simple but it is instructive on how hard it is to get RTW to fit a normal real body.

Here we go.

Sophia brought down a chiffon in her favourite colours purple, blue and navy. 

She is 14 and petite. However she is a competitive breast stroke swimmer and has very developed swimmer's shoulders. She is also a modest kid and has no interest in looking sleazy which seems to be the trend for young teens. The wedding is fairly formal but she felt being a short person she would be swamped in something long so we decided to do high low.

The alterations were size 14 for her shoulders, shortening the torso by 2", the skirt by 4", taking in the waist 1" and curving the centre back seam to accommodate her shoulder development.

Sophia is pleased with the result and definitely we could not have been able to find anything to fit her: like this dress does:

The braces were removed two days ago. She is so happy about that.

This is the back of a competitive backstroker

Side view so you can see the high low
Sophia's mom, my sister Nancy, has a small boned frame and she buys a size six. That was the size she cut out in her original pattern when I wasn't looking.

The fact is that Nancy has a size 6 shoulder and a 14+ hip. If you sew you get the picture.

This necessitated a trip to the fabric store that no one minded at all. In the end we decided we liked the new fabric better anyway.

Here is her dress done with the additions made to the width where she needed it. Another situation where it would have been impossible to buy anything to fit and we think she looks terrific:

And finally a mother and daughter shot, with Nancy holding up Sophia's hair to show her back (actually in case you are wondering the back right does fit, figure she was standing crooked and self-conscious for the pictures - being 14 is not the best age for posing):

So that was my sewing last weekend. 

This weekend I made a silk skirt for my daughter to wear one of the pre-wedding events and if I get my school work done early enough it is off to start on the flower girl dresses.

Wish me luck.