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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Podcast : Wardrobe planning

And here we go:

Podcast two: wardrobe planning

On having been around a while

This is a birthday month for me and it has occurred to me that one of the things that happens is a person realizes how many stories she has in her head, and how many of those stories still influence her as she has watched the world rotate.

Obviously in no relevant order here are some of those things:

  • I had grandmother who says she had a cousin who was abducted by aliens in Alberta
  • Gone for two weeks 
  • You have to watch those empty roads late at night my grandmother said
  • Particularly in Alberta
  • I once made a bathing suit out broadcloth with a zipper in the bottoms. I was just following the pattern
  • Looked pretty baggy when wet I can tell you
  • I remember being a kid and going to the farm and the phone on the wall was on a party line
  • Different rings for different houses and if you were quiet you could keep up to date
  • A background where my mother said "you know Eldon's wife lost her leg to cancer
  • But she got in the wheelchair and she still got her canning done"
  • Of course she did
  • My mother is on Instagram now 
  • I am old enough to remember my dad saying no woman could be president
  • Come her period she would blow the world up
  • No one argued because he was a pharmacist and obviously had the inside medical scoop
  • Plus he had no idea of how much goes on after the menopause
  • Glad I have come this far

Monday, October 3, 2016

Stylerc's Margaret pants

Despite my current love affair with Jalie's pull-on pants I always keep my eye open for something new from Stylearc.

Stylarc has nailed my crotch curve and it is sooo nice to be able to make a pants pattern right out of the envelope.

So this last week when I discovered some grey Bengaline fabric on my shelves (alert finding fabric you can't even remember buying is not a sign of early onset anything, just a symptom of what "add to basket" can do to a fabric collection) I decided to try a new pattern for stretch woven.

Here is the lineart for the Margaret's:

 A nice simple pant with darts in the back to reduce the elastic bulk.

These are obviously as easy a sew as you can get. I made the 12 right off the printer.

Here is my version. Due to the stretchiness of the Bengaline these are really comfortable. I would note too that compared to other Stylearc pants the crotch is cut high and close to the body, much like a jeans fit, which actually helps the pants move well.

The bengaline is pretty stiff of course and that shows in the creases, but really for everyday pants, to be worn in this very kitchen as illustrated, I think they are great

The internet is the place where you put up pictures of your backside and consider this useful
So another pants pattern to add to the rotation, although definitely you would need a very stretchy woven (Stylearc recommends 20-30%) for this pattern, so you can get the slim fit without feeling captured.

I am not going to bother showing you all my pairs of wide legged Jalie pull-ons, not much different, but I am going to show you one pair again so you can see the contrast in leg widths between the two patterns, and different fabric types - the Jalie's are drafted for wovens and as a consequence there is are more gathers around the elastic and more drape.

IMO a girl needs more than one style of pants in her repertoire:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Well where is the world has Babs been?

 I know, I know.

The last few weeks got away from me.

We had back to school and some extra child minding requirements. I lucked into a windfall of 25 pounds of crab apples and you know I can't pass that up. That and the fermented cucumbers (yes you are able to can them at 15 minutes in a boiling water bath once the fermenting is complete), plus we had my son's in-laws here in Nova Scotia for a lovely visit and some golf around Cape Breton.

I am by far the worst golfer in the bunch (understatement of the 21st century) but am the sort of golfer who enjoys herself a lot just because it's outside and it's just a game right?

Not like I am putting in welt pockets or anything.

Here are some pictures of that trip and one of the golf courses:

When I got home I took some time to do some sewing, a pant suit, four pairs of the Jalie pull-on pants and a new pattern, Stylearc's Margaret stretch woven pants.

First the pant suit. 

I watch enough news to be thinking about these as a concept and when I saw some nice faux suede at the local Fabricville I decided to make my Jalie pants again, I just love that pattern, I am feeling loose pants these days after all those years of skinny pants and a not skinny body, and this pattern for a jacket:

The basic shape was fine but in one of those bone-headed attempts to make a pattern "easy" the front facing was eliminated and this jacket is lined right to the edge - pretty tricky to do this without the front flipping around.

I actually made this and wore it for a day and then went back in took out the sleeves and reinserted them by moving the shoulder seam in 1/2" for a better fit and moving the front seam at the opening below the collar further in 1/2" to move the lining back. I really wish I had used my common sense and drafted a facing for this jacket but hopefully now it is wearable - I go by the comfort factor - if it's not right enough I won't wear it and this one I know will.

It was one of those things that takes time and you hate giving it that time but not doing it will make you crazy every time you wear it.

I always say that the only real difference between a good sewer and a really fine sewer lies in the ability to go back and take out and fix mistakes.

Sometimes even I do this.

So here are the pictures, starting with the jacket and then the pantsuit:

Impromptu photo shoot when babysitting, pardon the lack of styling, I probably wouldn't wear polka dot socks with this outfit
Now the pantsuit. Not an impractical concept at all really.

I think you can see here why I redid the sleeves and changed the front show the lining was not as obvious

Who says I don't do action shots?

Back on track now, hopefully Daisy and I will be podcasting again before the week is out.