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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, October 31, 2015

Linden sweatshirt, new sewers and new sewing spaces

In November I am doing a two night workshop on the Linden sweatshirt and on sewing knits. Almost certainly the students will be new sewers or sewers who have not sewn knit fabrics before.

The Linden is a simple pattern for a raglan sleeved relaxed fit sweatshirt - like I have made over the years a thousand times before.

I say this because it requires a bit of a rewind of my head to realize that such a classic pattern has new life as an "Indie" and fairly pricey pattern.

Like its sister knit tops the Renfrew or Frazer sweatshirt from Sewaholic  the bands at the sleeves and bottom, which in all cases are more one-to-one than the gathered in bands of traditional sweatshirts, get around the issue of hemming in knits for new sewers. As a result these patterns tend to produce garments that work first time out.

The raglan sleeves are also nice. 

Not sure if we all remember it but a raglan is the easiest top to put on. That's why it my favourite when sewing for small children, seniors, or those with mobility issues. 

I also feel the raglan seams really suit the sloped shoulders many women have and are natural for adjusting the computer body - you know bent shoulders that mean a pull across the back and a narrow chest - just add more to the back/sleeve seam and take in the front/sleeve seam.

It is always easiest to adjust a pattern that has seams exactly where you need to make the adjustment.

The neckband on the Linden is the standard ring stretched to fit. 

I must say though that this band, although it looks very nice done, is fairly narrow and with 1/4" seam allowances, as are used throughout this shirt, may have the potential to be tricky for a new sewer struggling to get the hang of holding onto one layer of knit while stretching it, and being careful not to stretch the bottom layer.

In class I think I might suggest students cut the band wider.

The cult like status of many indie patterns among new sewers is interesting. In so many cases there are scads of similar patterns available for so much less cash from established pattern companies. So why do new sewers go for the indies first? I am sure there are some heads shaking in corporate offices wondering the same thing.

Here are my thoughts.

First off so much of sewing is about community and connection. It is also, for a generation of new sewers who did not grow up in homes with a sewing machine in the back of every hall closet, about education just as much as about instruction. Education and instruction are different.

The Linden comes not with an instruction sheet but with a nice little book that explains every little thing in great detail in a really human and conversational tone. 

Patterns like this - small business products generated by a designer/blogger/real person who writes about themselves and is totally relatable - are invitations into a shared culture as much as they are about making a garment.

I am aware that this too is part of my job in my workshop - we are going to have two 3 hour sessions to make this top -  my dialogue about sewing and my sewing habits and my sewing stories are what the students seem to enjoy most.

So the indie pattern movement isn't about making something to wear as much as is about finding the creative person inside and joining the community of sewing. Classes like mine, taught in a beautiful small sewing shop/studio/lounge, are part of the same impetus.

And of course the Linden is a pretty well drafted pattern too.

This old hat sewer will be making more of these in future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sewing with Miss Scarlett

Pillow making after school today, she turned six last month:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fay feedback

Thanks for the comments on my Fay pants. Yes there is a little too much fabric on front, probably caused by the extra bit I added at the top of each seam to accommodate a larger than specified waist. Also a bit of drag too because I had these on over the suspension tights, but that is part of that work in progress.

I want to make another pair now exactly as per pattern for comparison. But first I have to get some work done on a Sewaholic Granville shirt and Grainline's Linden sweatshirt.

On a completely different note I have another niece here and she has been comparing various relationship advices from all of us, a family of infinite opinions.

So what makes a good husband/ partner? So far my daughter says you have to be a team, my son that it should feel easy, and me I said if you want a husband you need to marry a husband, which actually disqualifies many prospects.

What would the one piece of life partner advice you would give a young woman theses days?