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

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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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Jalie's pull-on pants revisited

A while ago I made, and blogged about, Stylearc's Tessa pant and Jalie's Pull-on pant. 

I have pretty much figured that normal life has a real place for wider leg linen pants and that they function both as something comfortable to wear in hot weather, and something handy to have in trans seasons.

I also figured that elastic waisted pull-ons made sense in a pant that was already sort of pyjamas in disguise and I went looking for a pattern to make something like that.

Stylearc's Tessa promised to be that pant with a waist that was not too bunchy (that one thing you really don't want to have happen in a woven elastic waist) but it sort of was that kind of waist when I made them up. I can do enough billowing over the belly without actually sewing it in too if you get my drift. Also the leg shape was just wider than I was ready for yet after all these narrow legged pant years.

So I then tried Jalie's pull-on pant that has a nicer more manageable leg and less ease around the waist:

I made up a grey linen pair a few posts back and really liked them. However after the wear-all-day test I realized that not having much bulk around the waist meant not much comfort around the middle when I was sitting down, and linen Spanx are not for me.

So I went back and made another pair, this time cutting them in the size for my natural waist and tapering back to my hip size. First time out I optimistically thought that my larger than the pattern waist would be accommodated by the elastic stretch.

This new version did of course add in more gathers than version one, which I guess is a fashion minus, but it moved them definitely into the category of pants I want to wear. A plus.

I really feel that sewers underestimate the importance of just plain old on the body comfort in making real favourite clothes. I often do.

So here are the pictures, made in purple linen because I tried to dye some shocking pink linen navy which anyone knows means you end up with purple pants.

If you are wondering about my styling notes this is what I wore to Home Depot with the spouse this morning with a Vera Bradley bag my daughter got for $7.00 at a thrift store, and a necklace that has the initials of all my children and grandchildren on it.

I have included two shots with my T shirt tucked in so you can see just how gathered they are, but of course I would never wear them like this. These pictures are purely for educational purposes only.

Basically all these pictures look more or less the same but I have included them all because I couldn't decide which one showed the legs best.

Also as a sewer's only bonus I made the patch pocket facing and the waist casing (these can be sewn showing out or on the inside) out of some green linen I had because I have always thought green and purple go nicely together:

The details, with my grandmother's hands holding them

Finally I really like the patch pockets on these pants, they function like slanted inseam pockets but of course are so much faster to sew:

I love this pattern and now it is just about to turn to fall, I have a summer pant TNT. Naturally.

On the podcast front I have cleaned up the sidebar labels and cleverly realized it would be helpful if they were in alphabetical order. You can find Podcasts under P. There is only one now but I am planning a back to school version for later in the week.

I have also added a proper rss feed to the site, which as it stands will take you to a feed for all posts and podcasts.

I spent several hours trying to set up a podcast only feed in iTunes but the error messages were getting annoying and I was worried this was going to cut too far into my sewing time. Maybe later. In the meantime there are two ways through this site to access the podcasts and unless anyone has any other brilliant ideas that might be the way this stands for now.

Now back to the cutting table.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Technical updates

Hi folks. Hopefully now you can just click on the link in the post below and play the podcast (wasted a whole afternoon of good sewing time on this) and there is now a Podcasts link on the overcrowded sidebar.

Let me know if this works.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

First sewing on the edge podcast

Well here we go folks, live and uncut with all the bugs completely not worked out. Daisy and I are learning this as we go and right now I just want to know if you can hear this and whether or not you think this podcasting thing is a good idea for development or too weird.

I am afraid for this first one you will have to download if the new link doesn't work, but hopefully it will now. Let me know.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hold the phone, combining clipping and notching, hint #22 and #23

In the middle of my pickling I just had a thought.

Princess seams.

Princess seams are interesting as they typically around the bust area at least have both a curve out and a curve in part, a fit-in-bigger-part that curves out (usually the side front panel) and a fit in, stretch-it-out-part (usually the centre front panel).

These can be a pain, the side fronts can pucker and pleat, and the centre front seam allowance always seems too short.


Notch the side front curve out part (stay stitch for security first just inside the seam line) and clip the curve in front panel along the same section.

This will make it all work.

The seam allowances in the front panel will now stretch comfortable to fit the side panel curves, which you can pin in without bunching because all the extra get in the way fabric in the seam allowance has been notched out.

If you are a visual learner, hold on.

My next project is a jacket with princess seams I think and I will take pictures.

In the meantime I hope the above is clearer than mud.

Handy sewing hint of the day #23

My sister and her husband left at 6:00 a.m. this morning to drive home to Ottawa, leaving their nursing student daughter with me. I am so happy to have a student/kid back under my roof. My ideal zen state is to be in sewing room working away but to have the sound of other people in the house, same as Miss Daisy and Birdie when he stays over - they sniff around at opposite ends of the yard but every once and while look over to make sure the other one is still there.

Some of us are just pack animals, and if you are, you might as well admit it.

Today I will be doing a little cleaning up after a summer of company (my son's in-laws will be here in two weeks and I am looking forward to that a lot - lucked out there) and making pickles.

I am for the first time going to try fermented dills and pickling a bunch of Jalapeño peppers. It is a mystery why someone who doesn't like to spend more than 10 minutes on making dinner is happy spending hours pickling- probably some genetic remanent of my rural background.

I am also thinking of trying a sewing podcast to go along with my Fall of Sewing. If I did that anyone think they would listen?

Now back to the title of this post and a sort, but I hope useful, handy hint.

I have talked about trimming, grading and clipping, and what is left is notches.

Often instructions, particularly for more complex patterns, will tell you to notch. If you don't know the why, many sewers just clip when they read this, but notching is very different.

You cut notches, instead of clips, in any application where you have a convex (curving out) shape that will later be turned inside. 

Now as I continue to explain this you have to take into count that I haven't taken any geometry since Grade 10, being a beneficiary of the marvellous Quebec educational system in high school that allowed you to drop all maths and sciences early on as part of the French romantic languages tradition. This used to drive my pharmacist turned science teacher father nuts and I passed Grade 10 geometry only because he bribed me with promises of pickled herring (my favourite food then in the days before I discovered Creme Brûlée ) if I paid attention during our kitchen table tutoring sessions.

Which explains why I am so proud that I remembered what convex means.

Back to my explanation of notching.

When you have a curve that bends outwards, as you do in a curved collar shape, a curved cuff edge or  more often a round edge patch pocket, once you turn that shape to the right side you are going to have a lot of extra fabric (because the seam allowance is going to have more fabric in it then the shape it turns into) pack into that shape. This means bumps and lumps and weirdness that a iron can't eliminate.

Notching removes this extra fabric so when that patch pocket is turned right side for example, it will lie nice and flat.

Here is what it looks like:

Such an easy idea, isn't it?

And so effective.

Now back to scrubbing cucumbers.