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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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

It seems to me we all like making resolutions because most of us have some degree of hauntedness about things we should be doing but aren't.

Social media and technology has made this ridiculous. It used to be that all you had to deal with was the relatives saying stand up straight.

Now Bloglovin' and Pinterest are crammed with charts on a better you that say #1 Get up earlier! #2 Work smarter! #3 Work faster!

And of course in the off time you are supposed to practice mindfulness and Self Care.

There are apps to make sure you drink enough water and get enough sleep.

Well listen.

Here's what I think. 

If you are overwhelmed.

Two things to do:


Recognize the beauty of boundaries. Women need to do this.

The way I see it what we owe other people most is this:

  • Listen
  • Recognize that if someone is cranky there are probably other things going on you don't know about. Give them that benefit of the doubt
  • Take care of as much of your own shit as you can 
  • If you need something ask clearly and be OK with the response (women in particular waste lives hoping people notice and will provide, mostly they just need clear asks)
  • Listen

Note not on this list is fixing everything, or worrying yourself sick for their sake. I remember always the advice a woman in a playground gave me about children years ago.

Don't do for them what they can do for themselves.

The flip side of this of course is that when someone can't do for themselves you can then be fully available.

If you want to eat better:

Do more of your own cooking.

The main reason people don't eat well is time. 

Figure out what you can make fast yourself and you will eat better. Avocado or tomatoes on toast is just fine if that's what you want. Make yourself a soup with vegetables in it and make salads with leftover cooked vegetables. Have this in the fridge.

By the time you figure out how to negotiate that new diet plan there will be something else on the agenda. (Note everything on Facebook is "backed by science". Also note there is more than one scientist).

If you want to exercise more:

If exercise is a should not a want for you, here's what I think.

Again two things.


Go outside more. Most people when they are outside don't just stand there. We are not counting lying at the beach.

If you are outside you will walk, pull weeds, shovel snow, talk to the neighbours.


Do more around the house.

This is my observation.

All those fit old ladies are really busy. You see them mowing their own lawns. Spring cleaning. They hustle and they bustle. From the minute they get up until the minute they go to bed.

A distant relative by marriage just died.

She was one of those tiny busy old Greek ladies, she cooked, cleaned, gardened full time nearly to the end of her life. 

She died a few weeks ago at 105.

Without paying any attention to her breathe or her core.

Finally, since I appear to be kicking off 2019 in a know it all mood.

See the funny side in everything. Particularly yourself.

Believe me it's there.

Happy New Year


Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 my sewing year in review

Whoa, it's nearly New Year's Eve again already.

I spent the day down in my sewing workroom (I have decided to call my sewing space, now nearly an entire lower floor of my house my workroom - because I am hoping it sounds more like a place where I am not going to be interrupted and because, let's face it, sewing is the real work of my life) cutting stuff out and thinking about my sewing year.

Like some years this one had a few unexpected turns and this affected my sewing.

This was the year when I really got into sewing for other people, my immediate family, in a big way. 

Looking back I understand things I did now better than I did at the time.

Being a person who is alive I had some challenges/adaptations to work through this year.

My two sons were both living in the US and I felt the distance. My dear DIL became pregnant and there were more than a few days when I wished I could just drive over and see her and I couldn't. My daughter was hit quite suddenly with a neurological condition that changed her life. 

So this year I was a person who sat in her house and thought well what am I going to do about all of this?

Well what I did was decide to sew for them.

I made my daughter soft and comfortable clothes, my boys shirts, my daughter-in-law maternity clothes and the exciting new baby nightgowns, sleepers, car seat covers and pretty much every thing else I could think of. I made the grandchildren here bathing suits in the summer, Halloween costumes in the fall, and Christmas outfits this month.

In my own crazy way I sort of tried to keep my family connected and together with pretty much the only tool I had which was my sewing machine. I mothered the best I could with seams. Because I really had to find a way to keep mothering this year.

Of course this kind of sewing didn't serve the blog or my communication all that well. I couldn't post surprises and it wasn't always possible to get pictures taken so I really sewed far more this year than you saw here.

But I have a lot of faith in my blog readers and I sort of felt you understood.

My connection to the sewing community really strengthened this year and that was one of the best parts of 2018. My funny and interesting friends at the local sewing guild, those of you who left comments here on the blog and on Instagram, and even folks who read my book and took time to write and tell me their own stories all meant a lot.

I also was able to get to know new members of the sewing community better. I managed to keep my one resolution to sew more Indie patterns and that really opened up a new world to me. The young digital designers, the mom entrepreneurs in particular, really inspired me. Some of my favourite patterns of the year came from small designers and I intend to sew more from these sources.

So what am I going to sew in 2019?

I am going to be open to whatever flies in through the open window but right now here are my thoughts:

  • I will continue to sew a lot for my family. I really got to know everyone's preferences better this year and sort of understand what their different wardrobes look like - I want to build on that, sort of collaboratively. I really enjoyed making people I love, clothes they love.
  • I am probably going to continue to find ways to reach out with my random handy hints on sewing and share more of that - if I have made a mistake and fixed it or found a less stress way of doing something I like to communicate that. Not sure what that looks like though, more blogging, some tech sheets, Youtube, I will have to figure that out.
  • I am going to work on my own style. My own wardrobe didn't really develop much this year and I feel a need to do some taking care of myself that way right now. Sort of confused because some of the current trends and things I see other folks make I like, don't always work for me. Seems like a good year to define my own style more. Putting a lot of new things in the closet seem overdue too.
Not that's enough about me.

What I want to hear now are your plans.

What do you want to sew this coming year?

Where do you want your sewing to take you in the new 12 months?

Maybe even not what you actually should do, but what do you want to do, what are your sewing wishes for 2019?

That's it.

Let's make sewing wishes.