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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 29, 2019

Flypaper thought what have I been up to editon


  • Well I am glad I cleared up where fashion is headed 
  • You heard it from me
  • The new fashions are going to be new
  • I have been pondering this wide leg pants thing and looking at the picture of myself
  • It has occurred to me that wide leg pants more or less make all legs look shorter and heavier
  • After I had this thought I tried to think of women I knew who wanted to have legs that looked shorter and heavier
  • Still trying to think of anyone
  • Someone 
  • In addition to being on the leading edge of the fashion prediction business
  • I have been in 1932
  • Also 1948
  • And 1956
  • And 1961
  • These are the dates of some of the sewing machine manuals and accessory feet I have become very involved with
  • Doing a class in Tulsa and thinking of putting together a little booklet
  • Well do I have news for you
  • Progress has not be linear in our world
  • There are so many things some of these bizarre attachments do that new machines can't do anymore
  • Not even the ones that are the size of a large beer cooler
  • A vintage narrow hem foot is a piece of cake
  • Get a raw edge near it and it sucks it up
  • You can close your eyes and put your foot down
  • Next thing you know there's a perfect 1/8" rolled hem with the stitches a hair away from the edge
  • Absolutely no operator skill required
  • And you should see the adjustable hemmer
  • Or the tucker that actually creases the fabric for the next tuck for you while it stitches
  • You can't program that
  • So right now instead of my assignments being marked or my floors being washed
  • This place is draped with garlands of ruffles
  • Lots of time well wasted going on around here
  • Winter was invented for detours like this
  • In my spare time I am also taking a Mediterranean diet course
  • An about this kind of food as opposed to diet
  • I am opposed to diets so this works
  • The teacher cooks us eggplant and we discuss chia seeds
  • Which aren't at all Mediterranean
  • But neither is the teacher
  • She's from Dietetics
  • Love the class
  • The young man with the beard who wants to know where to use hemp powder
  • And the woman who keeps asking where are the sausage recipes?
  • And the runner who is worried about balancing his enzymes
  • While the teacher points out that the 35% of your recommended daily salt intake on the label
  • In the fine print says per 1/8 teaspoon
  • Probably as close as the Mediterranean is going to get to Nova Scotia this year
  • And pretty entertaining
  • Learning new things is good
  • Even when the new things are old
  • What am I going to do with all these ruffles?
  • And eggplant?
  • Will decide in the spring

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear you about the sewing machine feet. I have a treadle sewing machine with a ruffled foot and the Tucker foot that does them all the same and same width apart. I also use the blind hem foot on my 45 year old Bernina. I also have a handcrank singer machine from late 1880s which has a fantastic straight stitch and came with lots of extra feet which I don't have. One day I will see if the treadle feet fit the handcrank machine. Kaye

Sewcat said...

I agree about the vintage feet. My mother's old White had Greist feet with the funny nut to put them on. And when that machine finally gave up the ghost (thanks to my making ALL my clothes in High school and college) I tried to figure a way to use them on my new machine that was a gift for my college graduation. Long and short, I purchase 2 vintage machines (a Kenmore from ~1940 in a table) and a Singer 99 "portable" (which was interesting to watch me try to haul it home on the commuter rail) so I could use these neat tools.

Up to a point I understand why some don't exist anymore. BUt things like the hemmer feet are terrific once you learn to use them. No pressing and sewing, just stick it in. My modern machines came with narrow hem feet but nothing wider than 0.25" and I wonder why. I would absolutely have spent the money to get some of these tools for my current machines rather than spending the money on vintage machines and accessories.

On another note, I just listened to your comments on the Clothes Making Mavens. PLEASE collect all the hints that we learned from our mothers and aunts and grandmothers. Publish them somewhere. Because all that knowledge and the hints are lost to the new generation. I have saved every Threads magazine back to #12 and collect "antique" sewing books. They are a wealth of knowledge. My daughter will benefit from the hints because she has me and my extensive library but most new sewers do not have the resources. and I am sure that with a call to your Blog readers you will get more hints that are worth having.

Now to something that might be inflammatory. From the same podcast you talked about indie patterns. I was taken by your list of good pattern publishers. But it would also be useful to know those pattern companies that do not make a quality product. The indie patterns cannot be gotten for $1.99 at Joanns and it is infuriating to purchase one and find it is a "dud". And by "calling them out" maybe they will step up their game.

Judith Newman said...

I knew there was a reason I was hanging on to my mother's old Singer Featherweight machine! There are all those old feeling an a beat up box inside the case. I will have to remember that when I need to create a ruffle for something!

Galica said...

Apparently peak weaving occurred in 1911, when a German mill developed a loom that could match the tension in the warp and weft.

It was blown up during WW1. No-one has done it since. So, our civilisation peaked, and declined, for cloth, some hundred years ago. It makes me wonder what other peaks have passed unrecorded.

Pattyskypants said...

Unrelated: reading your book and enjoying it.

Barbara said...

Kathy I am doing two things, not just the vintage feet but also a talk on the Sunday morning on what vintage sewers can teach modern sewists, as well as a book signing in the evening Saturday.