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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, July 30, 2016

Flypaper thoughts from the chesterfield

  • A chesterfield is what they call a couch in Canada
  • Or a settee in Australia
  • It's where I'm at
  • Day two of three days of taking care of three kids six and under
  • While their parents are at a wedding 
  • The part about this I forgot was how much you put into them
  • More than you feel you've got
  • At least by 4:15 in the afternoon
  • Or 6:00 a.m. in the morning
  • So much more, but it's there
  • It always is
  • Makes me realize how much got poured into my own three
  • In afternoons long forgotten
  • That's why you never quite get over it
  • Why old ladies stop young mothers in the street and say
  • Enjoy this, it is the best time of your life
  • They grow up so fast
  • And young mothers can't quite believe them
  • A noble prize for the company that can invent a modern stroller that does not require a degree in engineering to open
  • "Push the button Babs, push the button"
  • Not that button
  • It does nothing
  • I know two grandmothers who bought their own strollers just to have one they could open
  • I am one of them
  • Another prize for someone who can figure out a way of putting three car seats in a van that doesn't require a resume from the Cirque du Soleil 
  • Do you know there are bottles that have removable bottoms?
  • Best screw those on before you fill them
  • Get that ready at night
  • Although not doing that really entertains the troops
  • Make sure the cat is out of the room before you close the door
  • Slides that have curves are slower
  • How is it that the kid who had such a messy room
  • Has a house you have to tidy before she comes home?
  • Filling up the blow up pool with cups instead of the hose works
  • It can take you nearly to 4:15
  • Why would anyone take a bowl of water to bed?
  • If you move the pillow to the bottom of the bed you are not on the wet part
  • You are short
  • You are four
  • It will be OK
  • We will fix that tomorrow before Mommy comes home
  • Right after we find Billy's shoe
  • And the bandaids
  • It will be OK
  • Yes I will tell you the story about the time Babs found a severed racoon hand on the chesterfield
  • Under a cushion
  • More stories tomorrow
  • Do you want the one about the boy who ate the pencil or about the time Babs put all Buddy's jewellery in the hole in the tree?
  • When she was two
  • Yes you can have a sleepover at my house
  • All of you
  • Maybe not next weekend
  • OK?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back in business and with Jalie

Those who read this from Nova Scotia won't need this explained.

Summer around here is visitors' time and that is what I have been doing. I won't go over the line-up but let's say I have enough time between guests to do one load of sheets in the washer and dryer. The slogan on the license plates is "Canada's Ocean Playground" and that is apparently true.

Being a conversationalist (that's a nice way of putting it) I love, love company and running my own version of visitor tours that are heavy on getting lost and ad libbing interesting stories about places I never thought we would be in.

However vacation season cuts into my blogging.

The next couple will be catch-up. My current visitor is one of my nieces and at 15 she is quite happy I think for a few moments of peace while I blog.

One thing I have been working on is some reliable version of linen type summer pants. Long loose pants are useful to have in the summer as a alternative to bug bites, that gummy wetsuit that is sunscreen and exposing one support stocking that you hope folks think is a wooden leg or something just as interesting.

A while ago I made Stylearc's Tessa pant which is the narrowest leg of their wide leg pants but I felt pretty swamped in them despite the promo that they were not too wide and not too slim.

As an experimenter I have then tried Jalie's Pull-on pants and shorts. I have to detour here a bit to say that I get all the Indie pattern emails, and although I find many nice patterns that way, I am getting a bit jaded with the elastic waist pants and plain T shirts billed as Iconic, Essential, and Ultimate, as I have said before.

I mean the wheel is already out there and has been for some time.

Nice to see a pull-on pair of pants called that, particularly if they have Jalie's superb drafting.

Back to topic.

These pants are wider in the leg but quite slim in the hips. The waist and angled side patch pockets are faced and of course you can have the facings on the inside or outside depending on how fancy you are feeling at that moment.

To give you a sense of how different these are from the Tessa's here is a Jalie pattern piece laid over the Tessa pants that I decided to recut:

Quite a difference isn't there?

I made this first pair as is, as I always do to see what alterations this particular pattern needs and was pretty pleased with them. Next version will have one inch added to the top waist because I am liking the feel of a secure waist these days and I am adding  1/2" to the facing so I can put a 1" elastic in the casing rather than the 5/8" I think the pattern calls for. The pants are certainly wearable as they are but having straight up and down hips I have a vague feeling when I wear them that suspenders would be a good idea.

I am also going to add a little sitting down room to accommodate what I sit down on. 

My current favourite method for doing that is this one which adds across the back side without increasing the fabric at the top of the back leg much or messing with the top of the crotch seam or side seam.

This Russian Pinterest graphic explains how it works:

Finally here are some on me shots in two photo shoots. The first ones were done in my backyard today by my husband, gives you a good idea of leg width and also how little bulk there is at the waist and hips. I will be reviewing the top soon too. Pardon the windy day hair, just look at the pants:

You can see through this thin T shirt where the waist line hits and why I am going to be adding a bit.

Yup there is a wrinkle but these are linen pants and I have already been running around in them
The wide leg shows in the back here at the top of my leg but given that they are wide linen pants I am OK with that,.
A little more fabric across my rear would improve the hang.

This is not the first photo shoot of these pants. Earlier in the week I spent the day with the kids at the place we swim and at the end of that day had my niece take some pictures while we ate ice cream.

My niece was careful and gave instructions, Front, Side Back and we didn't realize until I looked at the shots that the girls thought those orders applied to them too.

Not the best garment shots (particularly when I unflatteringly decided to show my stomach so you could see where the waist line sat) but good for a laugh and that, in my books, is everything: