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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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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Jalie's Jeanne knit pyjamas in the smallest size

I grew up in rural Manitoba. We moved to Montreal when I was 15 so my youngest sister could go to the Montreal Oral School for the Deaf (she signs now) and my life changed considerably after that. 

I have lived in Canada, the US, and Australia. However I have been in Nova Scotia now for nearly 40 years and consider myself to be a true Nova Scotian. Somethings and some places are more yours by disposition than birth.

That said my Manitoba roots, my mom and one sister still live there, are deep.

I could write a whole post on how that peculiar Canadian prairie mentality has affected my life. One of the things that really sticks with me is the whole don't waste concept. When you grow up on the farm like my relatives did, or lived through the Depression in a farming culture, you really don't like to not use everything. It was too far to go to get anything even if you could afford it. I have a strong memory of my grandmother losing it when she saw me unwind some old thread from a bobbin and throw it away. What a waste of those few yards of thread.

During this pandemic stay at home time I have been grateful for my collection of sewing supplies, and all the things I put aside just in case. I have been living off all of that for months now.

One of the things I have appreciated most is my collection of Jalie patterns. Because they come in over 20 sizes I have been able to play around with them making things up in different sizes for myself like the pull on pants in the last post, or make thing for family using patterns I already have.

One of those patterns has been the Jeanne knit pyjamas. I made a nice version for myself a while ago. This month made some with the same pattern in the smallest size for my youngest granddaughter in California.

They are in a monkey print, because, well, she is our monkey. I had to improvise a bit because I didn't have ribbing left in white. I used cotton lycra which means the neck band bows a bit, but I am pleased with them.

She's really a doll isn't she?


Friday, June 12, 2020

A sewing uniform

I have been sewing and sewing lately on various projects and I realized I have definite sewing outfits. Two days this week it has been some old standby Jalie patterns.

The first is these purple linen pants (I call them my Berkeley pants because I wear them when I visit my kids who live there in California so I fit in with all the ageing hippies) 3243 in a size bigger than I usually wear for extra ease. These are perfect for sitting a long time and intermittent running to the iron board, to let in the dog, or to make teas. Not particularly elegant but so comfortable.




I wear them with my favourite top V neck 2682 in cotton spandex knit. I like the print and not everything goes with purple pants. You might want to remember that.

I also have these same 3243s in a smaller size and cropped in grey with the 3890 top. I found that this rayon interlock in the spotted top stretched and stretched so I ended up overlapping the neckline and adding a button. Next version I sized down.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Flypaper thoughts: June in Nova Scotia edition


  • Of the things I am grateful most for this pandemic season
  • At the top of the list has to be the neighbourhood animals
  • The two orange cats who run our street
  • I think they have a schedule
  • They take turns circling the houses
  • Coming to the back doors and staring into the kitchen
  • Confusing Daisy
  • The white cat with three legs who doesn't move aside for anyone
  • And Bailey
  • The young Golden
  • My dippy 89 year old neighbour bought for his wife after her twin spaniels died
  • Nice thought but not if you need a walker
  • So the neighbourhood is bring Bailey up
  • A most walked dog anyway
  • And the new puppy next door
  • The cheerful conventions being held on that lawn
  • Social distanced appreciation of that much joy
  • Six people cheering when he pees outside
  • Such a good boy
  • I am also doing a lot of Greek cooking
  • A lot
  • Have planted the backyard with more herbs
  • Going through a lot of mint, oregano, and dill
  • I think plants like people move towards the light
  • Need this kind of time to appreciate that
  • Also appreciate my neighbour behind me
  • She runs and she gardens
  • All day she gardens 
  • After she runs
  • She raised three successful boys
  • While her husband worked 30 years of double shifts
  • She didn't garden, or run, until that job was done
  • I look out my kitchen window and enjoy the view 
  • And her enjoyment
  • All her hard work gives me flowers to share
  • I have to get silver polish
  • I am letting the kids have tea out of my grandmother's teapot and in her teacups
  • This must be what she was saving them for in her china cabinet
  • Dusted and behind glass
  • Now on my back deck
  • I am assuming they still carry silver polish at the grocery store
  • Haven't checked that since 1972
  • My mother was big on polishing the silver
  • When company was coming you had to either do that or clean the bathrooms
  • I am old enough now to have had a father who used to say he didn't need a dishwasher because he had five
  • Four daughters and a wife
  • So happy to know that my kids would never believe he said things like that
  • Don't remember him doing the silver either
  • These weeks it seems to me to be a time that we clean out our cultural attics
  • Just because you don't use something now doesn't mean it isn't being stored
  • There should be a curbside pickup day for wrong assumptions
  • And old crap you used to hear
  • Yesterday the car stopped at the drugstore and I went in and took a box of semipermanent off the shelf
  • The kids thought it was a great idea
  • And after I was redder the oldest cut my hair on the deck
  • She's 10 and knows what she is doing
  • I was interested to hear all her opinions and views on hair cutting
  • You learn a lot on the head of an American girl doll
  • If you have been stressing about what to put on my eventual tombstone
  • Can I suggest
  • Anything for a laugh?
  • I should add
  • That the same father typed out my honours thesis on a tiny Royal typewriter
  • With a return and ribbon
  • Down in the basement late at night after work
  • Undoubtedly there was no curbside pickup in his day
  • Times were changing
  • Even then