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

Clothesmaking mavens

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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Friday, May 27, 2016

Thread theory, info and birthdays

I have a real nice husband. 

He pretty much spends all his time taking care of this family. He cries more easily than I do, at TV commercials with small children in them, and when he looks at Miss Daisy. His cooking, to quote one of the kids, is so good its its own food group. He thinks he can fix anything and will break it trying. I have seen him do innumerable eccentric things but never once be uncharitable or mean spirited about anyone. He has no dress sense. He will leave the house with four items of clothing all with a different team name on them, from places and states he has visited. He will put on brown socks with grey pants. He cooks dinner for me every night and makes me coffee before I get out of bed in the morning. He fixed his slippers with duct tape. He once asked me if I thought he could make a hot tub by cutting the old oil tank in half. He painted most of the youngest son's B and B after a week of 12 hour days and a 5 hour drive home. He is under the impression I am a real catch. 

Tomorrow is his birthday and when I asked him what he wanted to do he said have dinner with me at home. He then brought home 20 pounds of lobster that he is cooking in the bathtub as I write this in a plastic pail with the Sous Vide and his app. 

He is making his own birthday dinner. 

When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said nothing, he has everything he needs.

I have decided to make him some pants, some Jutlands from Thread Theory. If I can get a pattern to fit him he can avoid the stores and he will like that.

Here is the pattern:

Least I can do. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Flypaper thoughts illustrated edition

I know it has been a while since I posted any flypaper thoughts, having detoured this blog with useful information for some reason, but the old flypaper seems to be the best way of bringing you up to date on why I have been on a blog posting lapse. 

SO here we go again:

  • Youngest son, the one who is the Cheapest Human Being on Earth, put together the resources to buy a B and B.
  • Turns out these are family businesses.
  • Even I got asked to paint.
  • What were we thinking wearing Dusty Rose for an entire decade in the 80s?
  • Do you know how many coats of paint it takes to cover over Dusty Rose?
  • That stuff is iridescent and also will haunt your dreams
  • Next morning it always starts showing through
  • You will be pleased to know we hired ethical mouse hunters
  • Actually I was ready to join the NRA but the husband has a softer heart
  • Involved some kind of powder in the attic to confuse them and one way mouse doors so they could escape the premises but not get back in
  • I kid you not
  • Installer had huge ear plugs and giant ear lobes and tiny buck teeth and told me to "think like a mouse"
  • Even though I still wanted to join the NRA I tried
  • Think he found it easier
  • Turned out not to be a scam
  • First night after the confusion treatment I could hear them running around in the walls
  • In circles
  • A few turned toes up in the middle of the floor next morning
  • Stress I figure
  • They must have been confused, I sure was
  • Confusion is not as cheap as it was when I was doing it
  • View from hill down on son's B and B, his building is the one with the Dusty Rose glow:

  • After I was fired as a painter we went to Cheticamp where my husband is doing a National Park job
  • Because he is up in the mountains we are not staying there because the coyotes have been dangerous and Daisy is rabbit like
  • This one has a GPS on it that my husband said appeared to be making him (the coyote) annoyed:

  • You really can't blame him, I mean couldn't they have come up with something smaller
  • Not all wildlife is that aggressive
  • Here are some moose on site
  • Only thing really dangerous about moose is they are heavy and can fall over on your car
  • In Newfoundland this is a real worry and there are moose whistles on cars
  • A ton of moose is not joke on a Kia
  • Long thin legs and heavy bodies
  • Who else can identify ?

  • Owing to the coyote but not moose situation we are staying in town
  • Cheticamp is an Acadian village at the top of Cape Breton with a good lobster and crab fishery
  • It is also the world centre of hair foils and not a place you go to the co-op in without your lipstick
  • People are so nice, stop to see if you need a ride anywhere since you are walking
  • Does the rest of the world know there are places like this that are normal?
  • Or look like this:

More on projects later but right now,

Bonne nuit.

While you were sewing, a little fitting information

I have to condense numerous mental posts into this one.

I need to talk about fit, about what I have been up to, and what I am going to do next. 

But first of all let me thank you for all your wonderful comments about the new sewers in your lives. Of course this makes me just wish I had a hundred books to give away. I will be making the draw tomorrow, my husband is keen on some random number generator thing and the publisher will contact the winner for shipping details.

Now to fitting.

Of course I knew this when I brought up this can of worms subject  but there are so many fitting issues it is hard to work through them all. So I have had this idea that if you email me directly with a specific problem at the email address to the right top of this page I will see if my two cents can be of any help. Some of you have already done this and it seems the best way to deal with specific problems.

And of course as the Handy Hints unfold I will talk about general issues again as they come up.

I do too want to pass on the two fitting books I find most interesting of the many on my shelves.

The first one, best for zeroing in on general issues like basic length and width adjustments is Nancy Zeiman's classic on Pivot and Slide. if you routinely try to add a few inches to your pattern sides and end up with sleeves that are too big too or width where you don't need it I would recommend you read this book. The Pivot and slide method allows you to add width for example without distorting necklines and armholes and is a good basic approach once you have got your head around working from a smaller initial pattern. This is what it looks like:

I really think you have to be careful with a lot of fitting tutorials. So many of them tell you to slash and spread and cut and move but they don't tell you how much or where exactly that cutting is supposed to happen. Nancy is so much more precise and one of the really nice things about her method is that it leaves your original pattern intact.

Now suppose you have got the pivot and slide thing working for you, it's not hard at all, what do you do about the very specific issues that a person can't really slide past like a neck that juts forward (I call it computer neck) round shoulders or stuff like your belly or your butt that seem to move that pattern around on your body.

In that case, and again this is strictly IMO, you can't beat this vintage classic by the Singer reference library:

What I like about this book is that there are pictures of folks in clothes that are doing the same thing yours are on you. Without any real sewing knowledge at all you can look at the pictures and say "hey that's me" and next to it is a picture of a pattern piece with the adjustment all worked out on it.

There are of course many other good books out there (if you have favourite please tell us in the comments) but these are the ones I keep going back to.