Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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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, February 6, 2016

Mom jeans

A while ago I tried on a pair of Gap "boyfriend jeans" as a lark at a consignment store and it turned out I loved them. True the waist was very low, no place where my real life boyfriend wears his jeans I can tell you, but after years now of narrow, skinny, stretch fabric pants, they just felt comfy, even with a belt to keep them on my hips.

Here is a picture taken in the wind outside the RV looking like something someone would wear outside an RV in the wind I know, but this is an educational blog not a style one (obviously) but I wanted to share the leg shape and for you to imagine how comfortable they are.

I really have no shame at all, in addition to no chic either some days:

For a while now, even though I have Jalie's much lauded Eleanor jeans on the table at home to cut out, I have been feeling myself getting sick of the whole tight bottom, long loose top to cover the tight bottom uniform.

I'm feeling ready for a change.

So with the experience of my campground boyfriend jeans behind me I was most interested to read in the Huffington Post this week that Mom jeans, or at least a version of these, is back. Since I have a mom body more than a skinny one, as illustrated, I found this a pretty interesting development.

What I would like now is a pattern for these so I can customize them to my older mom body, as in adding a few inches to the waist.

I can't find a pattern out there yet but I have high hopes for Stylearc who do have that crotch curve that fits me perfectly.

What would be great would be something like this, Mom but updated. Much like myself actually:

Now if they bring back curled up bangs and giant button earrings we will be all set.

Now tell me.

Who else out there is ready for Mom jeans?

Friday, February 5, 2016


I have lots of posts in my head, and garments to talk about, and in the middle of settling in here in St. Augustine, selling the old rv in storage here and unpacking it too, I have been trying to find the time.

Instead of doing long posts, that's not going to happen, I am just going to catch up with short ones in the meantime.

How's that for a practical plan?

First one is about memories.

Miss Daisy came from a puppy mill somewhere in the backwoods of South Carolina, that's all I know. 

She spent the first two years of her life there until the puppy mill was busted by the police and she was one of the dogs in such bad shape she was slated for euthanasia. The folks who rescued her, S.A.F.E. here in St. Augustine, have a mandate to rescue dogs who are in that position and would otherwise be put down. When her puppy mill was in the news and the ladies here got in their bus and went and collected her and some other puppy mill moms.

As you know a few months later we adopted Daisy from them.

Daisy has since gone on to be very healthy, spunky, and fun. She just isn't that dog anymore.

Then on the way down here we stopped the RV for a few days at a golf course in rural South Carolina.  We had a great time, such beautiful, beautiful country.

Daisy didn't see it the way we did.

She went out for her first walk and sniffed the air and sat down and started to think. For two days she wouldn't eat and wouldn't go outside the RV much. Who knows what the wind told her, or what went on in her head those days.

I wanted to say to her that those days are past and they won't be coming back again her in life again. But you can't explain that to a dog, or some people too I guess.

How do you say it is over?

And what about the memories that are over and you are not sure if you are good with that.

I have been struggling with this a bit in my own life at home, in my house.

In my case the memories are not like Daisy's, they are good ones.

I have one sister who is very pro on the whole decluttering organizing thing. Last summer she went through my sewing room and bagged a bunch of my random stuff and restored order ( I got a lot of it out of the bags after she left I admit that). She also went around my house and showed me how to arrange things so they looked better. It was very helpful.

One thing she said to me that really struck, was that I was a very sentimental person. I was very surprised by this. I don't see myself this way.

I think it was the pairs of everyone's baby shoes on my dresser and the elementary school picture fridge magnets of  children who are now in their 30s that might have given me away.

I am one of those mothers who keeps everything if it came from a kid. 


How can I put it away? 

I try. 

My daughter, with some idea that clear surfaces are a good thing, made me remove my 25 family pictures from the mantle and start a more organized picture wall along my long hallway. This is a good idea, even if it means part of my house is like one of those restaurants where the walls are covered with a million autographed pictures and there are clear plastic sheets over the tablecloths.

I am good with that.

Now when I leave the bathroom the first thing I see is the picture taken of my middle son on the day his sister had her first day at school and I exactly want to see that.

But really how do you do this, handle the memories in the middle of the present?

I know women and books on organizing that say keep just one thing representing everything else.

What does this mean?

Put away the mask my daughter made of a plaster cast of her own face in grade three?


I am not a hoarder. 

You can walk across my rooms without tripping. No one is going to ever find cats under a pile of magazines in my house. I throw away everything from every job when it is over. My shoes are completely turned over every few years.

But how exactly do you put away the evidence of the best years of your life, when you actually have only one life?

Not saying that the present and those grown kids are not exactly just they way you want them now, but sometimes, admit it, you can think to yourself and not tell anyone, you know this is good but really I was in the zone, my zone, when I was doing that.

But do I want to be like the woman in a book I just read, an old woman visited in a room stuffed with mementoes? Do I want to been seen like that?

Of course not.

But where do I put the Lego pirate owned by the boy who will always be a bit of a pirate at heart? Away in a box?

So tell me how you store your own memories?

How do you hold on to what you need to and let go of what you need to?

Daisy and I would sort of like to know.