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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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Thursday, October 27, 2016

On minimalist wardrobes


The best thing about this blog is your comments. Really what fascinating reading.

You make me think.

Thank you so much for that, for taking the time to share.

A few thoughts of my own now, seems less profound than what you have written here but here goes.

My house was built in 1958.

The bedrooms have closets that are a little more than one standard door wide, probably less than 3 feet across in each one. This surely reflects the number of clothes folks wore then.

Who had a walk-in closet in those days? How many families had three, four, five kids and one bathroom?

Imagine trying to talk minimalism then?

So this is about the times as much as about clothing collections.

After all you need a fair amount of stuff before you "edit".

I have just got back from New York where I did have to pack a minimalist wardrobe to get by with a case I could carry on,  in black and grey (which I hardly ever wear at all at home these days) so I looked a little less like I had an out of towner sign on my forehead - although I am sure I blew that one every time I opened my mouth and got all chatty with everyone I met.

It also occurred to me that all these minimalist wardrobe articles and adherents seem to be from New York. Thin racks of white shirts and black pants etc.

Well have you ever been in a Manhattan apartment? My son once shared one for a rent that would have paid for a mortgage with a pool and a four car garage around here that was so small he had to put his shoes on the dresser. Worth it of course because there was so much going on outside that apartment, but you can see where the minimalist thing might be pretty handy in apartments like that.

OK what do I think?

Well I get a uniform in that you don't have to think about getting dressed but what defines a uniform? 

We all have one I guess, our go to - for everyone it is different (that's a great next topic - what is your uniform?) For me it would be an apron on at home and poop bags in my pocket when I go out, knitting in my purse in case I have to wait anywhere, knit tops I don't have to iron.

Back to minimalism.

It seems to me that this works for folks who have minds on other things. Of course Obama is a wardrobe minimalist.

But what if you are a person whose mind, at least a good part of it, is on the business of your wardrobe? Mine is and what's in that closet (three now of the '50s kind) is more than a work in progress, more a record of my changing ambitions and ideas. I am always starting from scratch it seems, always trying to figure out a better way to get dressed every day (and for someone who has just confessed to poop bags being her most consistent accessory this is a remarkable indication of optimism and lack of self-perception). 

I can't imagine of multiples of any of the same thing. 

To make laundry easier? Maybe if you did it in the laundromat, but I don't mind going downstairs to the washing machine when I have to - it's next to my sewing room and there is always something interesting to do in there.

And colour.

I couldn't live in black, grey and white no matter how easy it would be to dress.

Who could do without coral in a summer dress?

A red jacket in the rain?

A green sweater on a grey day?

Or how about combos?

How nice wine goes with sky blue.

Or lime green next to navy.

What about great buttons?

You know the really amazing ones.

Why cull those out?

Why eat just toast when there is pie?

Why is it is so important to focus on only the best things and cherish them?

They are just things.

What you cherish are four-year-olds.

Quality things are easy enough to find.

Finding the quality people takes more work.

This week I took my friend for a walk.

They are calling it frontal lobe dementia.

Early onset.

I did the zipper up on his jacket. The jacket didn't matter, that he had candies in his pocket he put there for me did.

His dog walked at a pace with us. Slowly and stopping every few yards to make sure we were still OK.

I am thinking minimalism comes anyway sometimes,

In the meantime I think I will go with living brightly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What do you think of the minimalist/capsule wardrobe?

On my way out the door and so am going to be thinking about this but would love to hear your thoughts on this approach, seems to be a movement these days.

More from me later of course.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Complete random non sewing related photos

If you have absolutely nothing else going on this Sunday afternoon you might be interested in a completely random range of pictures from my week.

I am settled back home now, great trip to NYC, and a head full of thoughts on fitting. As to those who have inquired about using the FIT library you can do so but need to apply for research access. I was able to get that using my university affiliation, not sure what the general policy is. If you can visit that library I have to say it is great. I am currently on a fitting method research tear and the access to a wide range of materials was fantastic.

BTW am I the only one who thinks that the '70s-mid 80s were the golden age of sewing books? 

I am amazed at how many interesting and quite diverse approaches to fitting were developed during that period. As many of these books are still available via eBay or online resellers like Abe Books I am thinking of doing some reviews of my favourites. Good resources if you want to read original thinking and really get your teeth into topics.

I have been busy since I came back and the upcoming week looks even busier. I need to sew though but need some small projects. One thing I was thinking of doing was making some panties, something I haven't done for about 20 years, trying and comparing three patterns, Jalie, Kwik Sew and Jan Bones. What do you think of that?

I should be able to fit in that kind of sewing in between more worthy tasks.

Now onto the random photos as promised:

It is well-established I can't crochet but that didn't stop me from finishing this little unit, helped through to completion by my fascination with the US election coverage which also seems to be going in circles.

I had little Billy over for the weekend and he and I decided to try my new upholstery cleaning device. Since he and Miss Daisy are largely responsible for making this machine a necessity it seemed only fair they help me use it.

Canadian Thanksgiving was a little less than two weeks ago and my husband does the cooking. My mother gave him this jacket as a joke but he actually wears it for big meals and special effect.

I really have my eye on this longer, knit version of a moto jacket. I got some great zippers in New York now I have to just figure out the rest of it and what pattern I should start from.

Even though I don't really crochet very well I still haunt Ravelry for ideas. There is something going on in the minds of crocheters though. In case you can't recognize it the above is a crochet placenta. Of course. What every family needs.

Probably shouldn't put an ambiguous picture of food next but what you see above are some stuffed grape leaves made by the guy in the chef's jacket. What is interesting is he used the grape leaves from the vine that grows around my front window. He made about 500 of these. They freeze.

Now off to trace pantie patterns. Of course.