Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, August 6, 2016

Flypaper thoughts nice weather edition

  • Sometimes the places that are the dreariest in the winter are the most beautiful in the summer
  • Profound message there
  • Someone profound should think about it
  • Floating in a huge outdoor salt water pool under a bright sun
  • Catching four-year-old Miss Heidi as she roars down the twisting slide yelling "Brave Girls"
  • Not worried about that one
  • I keep testing pants patterns
  • So nice to give myself time to do this
  • Am not teaching in the fall and am doing nothing but sewing
  • My gift to me
  • And going to New York for supplies too
  • I have so many people I take care of but I have to work my way through them now to see my son in New York
  • I miss that guy so much you have no idea
  • No idea
  • I miss his wife too, she is special
  • Actually how lucky am I?
  • Speaking of missing
  • One of the assignments was not handed in last night
  • Got an email
  • Forgot about your class and am off to a bachelor party weekend for my buddy
  • Does Monday work for you?
  • I mean if I wasn't alive what would I do for laughs?
  • Life gets easier once you realize you don't have to iron linen
  • I know a doctor who doesn't even own an iron
  • Took me a while to get my head around that
  • Her kids have never touched one
  • I used to babysit for a lady who ironed her husband's underwear
  • She also used to drink vodka and oranges in the afternoon
  • Those were the broadloom days
  • Don't you hope the camera always lies?
  • This week I taught the niece who is staying with me how to knit
  • I watched my hands and her hands
  • Made me think of how many generations had done exactly this
  • The chain got broken on ironing though I think
  • She is a natural
  • Made a hat in a day and used double pointed needles
  • Hates school
  • Which is for text based and not visual learners
  • Hang on kid the road ahead is for the teach yourselfers and do-it-yourselfers
  • The successes of the bachelor party students is short lived
  • Take that one from me

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jalie's Dolman tops

I have had this pattern for a while and finally decided to test drive it.

I often think some of the most reliable pattern companies out there get overlooked because their basics don't have the hype.

Jalie for example has excellent drafting with a close to RTW fit and of course the incredible 20+ size range - truly family friendly patterns. 

They are also a company that tends to just let the quality of the patterns speak for themselves and they are short on the fancy word presentation. That said, those who try these patterns tend to end up making multiples and it is no accident that some of these patterns, like the bootleg jeans, have become sewers' classics.

Another quality company that often gets overlooked is KWIK SEW.

I also say that Kwik Sew has the best instructions and the worst illustrations/photos in the market, so often the covers just look dated to me. However no one does a better job of explaining how a garment should be constructed with contemporary methods among all the bigger pattern companies than they do. I always recommend their patterns for knits as lessons in an envelope for new sewers.

I of course myself often overlook these patterns and am on a campaign right now to sew up more of the patterns in my sometime pile this summer.

Back to Jalie's dolman.

Unlike many dolman patterns this one does not have a full cut-on sleeve but rather is a short sleeved dolman T shirt with the option to add on a longer sleeve section for a 3/4 sleeve if you want it.

This top also has a fairly subtle high low hem (I am so tired of the extreme versions of this style which I still think can look kind of messy) that is flattering as it breaks up that dreaded strong hip high horizontal line.

I made several versions of this top and tried a variety of neckline treatments, some as suggested by the pattern, and some out of my head and experience.

Here we go, with the usual high quality photos you have come to expect from me. I suspect that the bloggers with the wonderful photos designate more than 30 seconds for photo shoots. Maybe one day. Right now this summer I always have someone waiting for me to do something else.

Wearable muslin version from some cheap knit. This gives you an idea of how semi fitted this T shirt is, and how the longer sleeves fit into the shorter top. This time out I tried a twin needle hem, something I haven't done in a while, and is too wavy. I also tried  the fold under binding Jalie suggests. On my skinny shoulders I thought the necklline was too low so what you see later in other longer sleeve versions is the front neckline raised one inch.

Turned under and top-stitched, again with the twin needle as per the pattern. Again lots of folks have success with this but I feel this particular knit was too stretchy for it to work well. Doing this always makes me nervous, probably works better on a less bony chest.

The same fabric, neckline raised and the neck bound, better for me.

OK happy now. Raised neckline, nicer fabric (love this from Elliot Bermann) and threw out the instructions and did a simple ring of self fabric, like a ribbing application, cut 3/4 the size of the opening, stitched on and flipped up, no binding, no topstitching and IMO the neatest way to finish a neckline on a stretchy knit. Also the easiest. I went back to the cover hem for the hems too.

Side view, see how slight the high low is? Just enough to flatter but not enough to date. Jalie pull-on pants, previously reviewed.
 So now I have a future TNT T shirt that works for my particular body. Worth figuring this one out.