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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Friday, March 31, 2017

How does it feel?

I came back from my last beach walk this afternoon with the thought that we pay a lot of attention to how we look in clothes and style, but we underplay how we feel in them. This is the exact opposite of how we start out - kids care so much about how clothes touch the body. And you know we are still the same inside.

I believe that.

Exhibit A is what I have on today. A pair of light high thread count shorts from shortened Peta pants from Stylearc, and the Renfrew T shirt from Sewaholic with the sides pivoted out to make it looser at the bottom with my own cross over V neckline. The T shirt fabric is light modal from Joann's.It is pretty weightless.

Not glamorous but I am camping, and I was at the beach. I love wearing this outfit, because of how it feels on my body. Like it is not there at all:

I think this brings up a larger issue, something we neglect when we make clothing decisions. Are you a light person or a snuggly person? A hygge person who likes fall and wrapping up with tea and a good book, or an outside and feel the breeze person, like me? I mean I sew outside.

It seems to me that the elements you belong in should be factored into your clothes too.

Of course this is also in my mind because I am heading north tomorrow, out of my element but back to my peeps. I miss them and they need me.

So off I go, like a bird flying north again, but I will miss this, what I see from my door on wheels on the inland waterway, with the beach to my back:

 What is your element, how does it affect what you wear?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring Vogues, oh my

I must admit one of my great pleasures some mornings is getting a notice in my inbox that new patterns are up. I love a new pattern.

Yesterday it was Vogue.

I was a bit stunned by this season's collection to be honest.

Increasingly I am only interested in patterns and clothes that I can see  worn in real life. After all a real life is all what we all have and most of us don't have an infinite amount of sewing time. Seems to me to be a pretty clear calculation there.

On this basis I have been increasingly impressed by recent releases from Stylearc, been making some of those looser dresses lately and loving them:

I have also been excited by Jalie's new patterns. Jalies grow on you. I have found  their patterns so often turn into ones you make again and again. Here are some of those I see with that potential in the newest collection:

I mean both the Stylearc and Jalie patterns are stuff you would actually put on.

I wish I could say the same about the new Vogues. I would have thought the business model would include clothes that a lot of people would want to sew and want to wear.

On that basis, in no particular order, are some that caught my eye this week:

O.K. let's start positive. This dress does have potential for an event. It keeps the attention at the top of the body, which is a good thing, and means you don't jam yourself into Spanx for the wedding. I am not knocked out by this dress but it would be wearable and if you could find some drapey fabric would be nice, although finding nice draped fabric is not that easy.

Now this one is a bit of a contradiction in terms (notice too how you can see the model's navel? Wonder what the lining is?) Back to contradiction. The bodice of this dress is designed to show boobs but you can only wear it if you don't have boobs (model with navel doesn't even quite fill this out but is covered which makes my point) and she also seems to get away without side boob problems with that armhole too. This unit would involve a lot of sewing time for something you  would definitely not wear on a repeat basis, only once when you are going to the Academy Awards but not sure if those folks are entirely all sewers.

Now this one is beyond, just beyond. I am not at all consoled by the fact that military breastplate is detachable. How many dumb features can you fit into one dress? Apparently a lot. I wonder if they will sell one copy of this pattern.

Look at the model's face in this one. She feels the same way I do about this knee heavy outfit. She's not taking this one home. Like wearing the duvet.

This is a back to the future number. I distinctly wonder if the next trend is the '70s? Seems to look like it. Quite sure my sister and I made dresses like this years ago and quite sure we tacked that neckline closed halfway up.

O.K. I have already made this bathing suit, when I was about 13. Out of broadcloth with buttons for the top and a zipper in the bottom. In the dark ages swimwear fabric was not available. I can tell you from intense experience then that these bathing suits are a bitch to fit and definitely made only for sunbathing not for swimming. The problem of course is that we aren't supposed to sunbath anymore (any other idiot ever spend time holding a home-made tinfoil sun reflector up to her face to get a tan? Those trips to the dermatologist these days are a riot now aren't they?) and that if you go into the water in something like this it is the equivalent to falling overboard in your clothes (something I have done myself on more than one occasion while trying to learn to sail). Everything gets saggy and heavy and sort of falls down. Not all vintage garments are worth reviving. What's next? Girdles?

Seems to me that on a regular basis the pattern companies try to convince us that mega width pants are O.K. Really? Where would you wear this outfit and not feel like a dork? If you were 7 feet tall and wearing 5 inch heels and just stood there maybe, possibly, but the rest of us would look like Frigidaires.

This seems to me to be more wearable. The wide top is balanced by pants that are slimmer in the hip.

Another back to the future number. If it was 1972 and you were bringing a jellied salad or an onion soup mix dip to a backyard pool party this might work, check your calendar.

Right now the Indie patterns are looking pretty good to me. 

What do you think?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Flypaper thoughts last week here edition

  • If sewing in an r.v. were an Olympic event
  • There would be a gold medal for Canada
  • Older man stopped by and watched me serge on the picnic table
  • My mother died when I was young but I remember her sewing for all us kids, he said
  • Seeing you there brought her back
  • I like doing something that makes older men remember their mothers
  • Told the husband that when the draft goes out he is taking me for a mojito
  • Not much for drinks but like ones that taste like something else
  • Do you know what not once in my life have I ever gone into a bar by myself?
  • As likely to do that as apply lipstick in public
  • Some things date me
  • Taken time to adapt to these things
  • Jackets and coats that are shorter than what's under them
  • Bra straps that show under racerback tanks or dresses
  • Shoes and purses that don't match
  • Why bare veinly legs are better than having nylons over them
  • Calling panty hose nylons
  • Some things don't date me
  • Don't date most women
  • When was the last time you heard a woman say she was a meat and potatoes kind of person?
  • I think fashion and children keep us flexible
  • Think of all the styles we have talked ourselves into
  • Cold shouldered tops this year
  • Thong underwear
  • Coats with only one button at the top
  • Midcalf skirts
  • Hope I haven't offended anyone here
  • Shoes we can't walk in
  • All this sewing has reminded me how energizing it is to go all in on what you are working on
  • I enjoy working hard
  • Forget telling myself that the dusting and hand made pasta are things that I would do if I had more time
  • I would have the time if I really wanted to do them
  • Would just rather sew
  • Golf game much improved
  • Husband double checking my score
  • No date stamp on learning
  • Remember that
  • Have an idea for a new project
  • Response to my friend who flags the "10 minute recipe"
  • List of things sewers can cook so they don't waste sewing time
  • Criteria is that it can be made in 10 minutes
  • Doesn't poison you
  • And has some category of healthy
  • So fish sticks and frozen French fries are not eligible
  • Besides I can already do that
  • You in?