Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

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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Friday, June 15, 2018

Something to share: the summer challenge from my sewing guild

I am lucky enough to belong to a really interesting and active local sewing guild. At our last meeting before the summer the challenge project for the  period until we meet again in the fall was released.

Every year the summer challenges have been very interesting. I always look forward to seeing what other sewers have produced, but this one really spoke to me.

Unlike challenges in the past, which have largely been about technique or design, this one was focused on wardrobing, and that's a topic constantly on my mind.

It also occurred to me that some of you would be interested in the ideas expressed by this challenge so I have decided to share it here.

Credit to the marvellous Leeanne White for dreaming this one up!



• To make three items between now and the Oct meeting that are a credit to your closet (or wardrobe).
• One of the three items can be hand-knitted

 Definitions of Credit (Merriam Webster)

• “something that adds to one’s reputation”
 It should be something that adds to the overall quality and functionality of your wardrobe.

• “recognition by name of a person’s contribution to a performance”
 It should make a significant contribution to the performance of your wardrobe.

• “recognition by a school that a student has fulfilled the requirements of a program”

 It should fulfil the following requirements:

1. Must fill a gap in your wardrobe. Just knowing that you have this item in your closet will give you joy.
2. Must be a hard-working addition to your wardrobe. You will reach for this item over and over again.
3. Must go with several of your existing garments and/or be suitable for many of your lifestyle requirements. They do not need to go with each other, although that would be a bonus.

We have all made things that hang in our closet without hardly ever being worn, even though they
may fit, and we truly love them, but ---

▪ they don’t go with anything we own,
▪ they don’t fit our lifestyle
▪ we just don’t feel good wearing them.

This is usually a result of making something because we love the fabric and/or pattern or there was a sale we couldn’t pass up, but we haven’t really stopped to consider how the item is going to function as part of our wardrobe.

This challenge will, hopefully, result in items that DO NOT fit into the above categories.

And those are the only criteria your makes must meet. The items that will fulfil the requirements of a closet credit will be different for everyone of us.

Pinterest and Instagram are great sources of inspiration and ideas.

So, come to the October 2018 meeting ready to show us your Closet Credits and tell us little bit about how your makes met the requirements for your wardrobe.

PS – completing three Closet Credits for the October meeting is ambitious, so if you manage to get one or two done you have still succeeded and we will want to see and here about them!!

And most important of all – HAVE FUN!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Basic hand sewing stitches #5: the tailor tack

Really, really simple and easy way to transfer markings from a sewing pattern to your fabric.

Yes I know, I know that there are a gazillion tools and pens etc. to help you do it - but really sometimes classic is better.

Here's why I think so:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Basic hand sewing stitches #4: the swing tack

I'm back with my basic stitches. This one is one of my favourites because it is a real problem solver - the swing, or French, tack.

I use this all the time to attach specific units together without creating right side pulls and dimples.

As usual these videos look like they were produced on the kitchen table, because, well they are.

The swing tack:

Flypaper thought post Jalie week version

  • Really enjoyed my week of Jalie reviews
  • Now of course I am seeing other of the new patterns
  • I am thinking more
  • The Bobbie T shirt, the Julia underwear, and maybe the Rose top
  • Woke up this morning ready to sew
  • Like really sew
  • Like really ready
  • What's the opposite of losing your mojo?
  • Anyone's Spanish that good?
  • BTW got to learn Spanish
  • Spending time near the Rio Grande next winter
  • Because we have never been there
  • So far I default to French with a Spanish accent
  • Pretty sure that's not going to work
  • Particularly since my French is highly incomplete
  • Going to need a better system than that
  • Going to make .20 versions of some of the patterns I reviewed too
  • My head is exploding
  • Getting no sense out of me for a while I can tell you
  • Daisy's back is much better
  • The acupuncture actually has really worked
  • Pretty much every dollar spent on a spring in her step is worth it to me
  • Her ear is flopped over the a and s on the keyboard
  • Got to choose my words carefully
  • Hardly do that when I talk
  • Thinking ahead
  • Going to be babysitting my daughter's 900 pound retriever this fall
  • For three weeks
  • Sort of like having Secretariat in the kitchen
  • Daisy and the spouse might relocate to the rv
  • Considering pop-up shop sewing classes
  • Every now and then saying I am here
  • Want to make ...?
  • Would do it for the conversation
  • Why do I think baby squirrels are adorable?
  • But their mouse cousins not so?
  • I have a binder for my cover hem
  • Generic as my machine doesn't have one
  • Supposed to tape it on somehow
  • Putting this off
  • Will cut into my sewing time
  • But educational experiences are worth it
  • I always say that after every disaster
  • What do you think of swim shorts?
  • Cutting up old bras for the bathing suit cups
  • The ones in the store remind me of coffee filters
  • Is that the look I want?
  • Doing another Youtube tonight on hand sewing
  • Got to get caught up
  • Ran across my old school yearbooks
  • Tracking down one of my daughter's she wanted
  • In mine I looked at all the pictures of the cool girls
  • Which did not include me
  • I was the one not with the flip hairdo and the wing eyeliner
  • Where are they now?
  • Are they still mean?
  • Or has life sorted that out?
  • I was the one with the clothing inventions
  • Hopefully now teenage "makers" feel cool
  • I want to tell them
  • Don't peak too early
  • Imagine if your best years were that old?
  • And your best moments were those that started under the dryer hood?
  • My nerdiest friend is now a famous veterinary researcher
  • OK it's in epilepsy in chickens
  • But how many other people can say they are an expert in that?
  • I made all my own clothes from age 12
  • What was my mother thinking?
  • Probably that I was out of her hair
  • So
  • This means I have been doing what I love since I was 12
  • How many people can say that?