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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, August 29, 2015

Flypaper thoughts late Saturday night edition

  • My dress for the wedding is a day or two away from finished
  • Took everyone's advice and think it is going to be OK
  • Hard to sew though when you are saying "shit, shit I better not blow this"
  • Every seam
  • Forgot what hyper careful sewing felt like
  • And I mean hyper
  • Makes a real difference but could only do this every once in a while
  • Oh my nerves
  • As they say around here
  • Got shoes with giant bows on them
  • Different colour
  • My daughter is on match-matchy alert around me
  • But my people, we were brought up to match
  • She doesn't get that
  • Causes me pain not to wear the jewelry sets
  • But she can spot those from across the street much less from across the room
  • I am not sure if Miss Daisy is recovering fast enough
  • Check-up Monday
  • How do you put someone on light duties whose only duties are walking around and sniffing the floor?
  • Have a dog sitter organized but are still on standby to see if we need that operation
  • Wedding in three weeks
  • Oh my nerves
  • Miss Scarlett is learning to sew at nearly six
  • If you are born to do it you can start early
  • By instinct she knew to turn under the raw edge on the hem
  • Burnt her fingers on the iron
  • We are not telling her mother
  • Part of the initiation
  • Went silent when we were out
  • "Babsie I can see hems everywhere"
  • Waited my whole life to hear something like that
  • When you make a dress in silk dupioni you realize when you are done
  • That first time you sit down you will make it all wrinkles
  • Nice to sew though
  • Presses well
  • Why can't dogs talk?
  • Maybe because they are too busy listening

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Advice appreciated

Just to let you know I took the good advice and added two back darts, brought in the back shoulder, rotating that seam forward by 1/2" and took in the centre back seam at the top by about 3/4" curving it back by the time we got to my shoulder blades.

So much better and the front fits better now too, reminding me again how improving the fit in one area helps another.

So folks I am going to try to get the good stuff cut tomorrow and start the steady but sure sewing part.

So helpful to have had other eyes on this project, thank you.

Beginning the mother of the groom dress

First off it might be useful if you remember who you are dealing with here.

Do not expect to be seeing a dress you yourself might actually wear to your son's wedding, or something you would find in the MOG section at a store, or many iterations of careful muslins and series of multiple adjustments.

I want to make a cheerful dress that I feel comfortable in and then forget about it. 

I have a dog to think about, a granddaughter who wants to learn to sew, and the crab apples on my tree in the front are getting ripe.

Let's face it, mother of the groom is not the main event. 

I figure that I have already done my bit by providing a decent groom and one who will be an excellent husband or his sister and I are going to kill him.

Also I really like the mother of the bride and we are in a mutually supportive situation going into this, so I don't feel any pressure there at all.

That said I do want the guests of they are thinking about my dress at all to think "I can't believe she made that herself" as opposed to "do you see what she is wearing? I hear she made it herself."

So I am putting some effort into this, which includes making a "muslin" to test out the pattern (Marfy does not come with instructions or pictures - which is OK because I never use instructions anyway, even when it is obvious I should).

So what we have here today is mark one of the muslin, made up yesterday.

I pinned the pattern, which comes without seam allowances to some scrap fabric (if you thought I was going to go out and actually spend money on proper muslin then you obviously didn't grow up in rural Manitoba where a person's grandmother used to wrap up and save quarters of left over pancakes). 

I traced around the pattern with a ballpoint pen and added an inch to the structural seams to play around with, half and inch where there was a standard attachment like the collar, and did not add anything for these purposes at the armholes so I could see what it would look like finished:

Now before I show you the muslin here again is the design drawing from the website for this pattern. Having done some sewing on this unit now I can report that when you look at this taken into consideration that the person in the drawing has about 40 years and 50 pounds less going on than I do:

She also did not appear to have gone to her daughter's friend who is starting out as a hairdresser and seems to have an approach to hair cutting that produces a result not unlike letting a rodent chew your head, in spots. 

The real purpose of time of course is to let your hair grow back.

But that is another story and another blog post.

What you don't see from the pattern picture, but you see when you unfold the pattern pieces, is that that diagonal bit is actually a separate piece you sew in, in the picture outlined with ribbon, and the collar ends with this sort of tab that is supposed to be held in place with a brooch.

I have some dupioni and some lace. My plan was to do the insert and the collar in the lace, the collar insert underneath in the silk, but to have the hanging free end of the collar in lace only. The rest of it in dupioni one of my favourite fabrics.

The idea of a matching brooch is beyond me so we will think about that one later.

Here are the fabrics:

Now, delaying this as long as possible, here I am in the first cut, sewn as per pattern, no alterations yet.

I am happy with the bodice, think the collar is cool, but definitely that hanging down piece needs to be in something light.

I have to add enough length to cover my knees so I look dignified and need to smooth out the side seams which always come with a curve at the hip this banana shaped body does not need.

The insert which looks pretty aggressive here in my left over contrast from a skirt I made my mom, is a bit wide and does not have the dramatic swoop the picture has, maybe having a significant difference between waist and hip makes a difference.

The back of this dress does not have back darts and as a result my rear looks like what it is, which is prominent. I have to think about adding darts or just more room at the back. Best not to over fit that part and articulate it maybe.

And I have to curve the back seam so reflect my body.

Feel free to leave comments, including, you must be crazy.

My husband actually said he liked it, although he has been known to tell me that something looks great from the other room behind a closed door.

And on we go.