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

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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, January 22, 2021

Where's your style gone in the pandemic?

 There are many things I wonder about all of us when this thing is all over.

Will some folks discover they are introverts and become agoraphobics  when they are finally allowed to let loose on the streets?

Will people who started to work from home ever go back to the office?

Will we stop baking bread ourselves?

Will we continue to have Zoom meetings with our doctors?

Will we start wearing clothes again for any other reason than they are comfortable?

The last one interests me.

My own style has taken a bit of a turn around in this house.

My daughter and I went shoe shopping last week and I bought something that I wouldn't ever had looked at twice before- these super, super comfortable little boots for walking the dogs. Whenever I put them on (they are Beezies if you are interested) I make a big deal of how completely cozy and comfy they are. 

But not my style at all, you know how elegant I am, with all this fake fur, stitching, and silver heels. 

But things are different these days. All I care about right now is having my feet feel good. Actually all I care about right now is whatever I can do to make any part of me, inside or out, feel good.

What is the pandemic doing to me? Will I ever totter around in heels again? What is happening to me?

I am not the only one. 

I made my daughter, and now by request my son-in-law, multiple bamboo knit sweatshirts this winter. Here is an example of one on my daughter. We love this fabric because it feels so soft and caring on our bodies:

I am also pulling out random fabric from my shelves, of the weird category of "why did I ever buy this" and making sweatshirt type tops to go with my furry booties for dog walking.

Here is some extremely odd quilted knit that I made into a sort of a top with a zipper to the front and I collar I made up. My husband calls it my Star Trek shirt and suggests I add a logo.

I have styled this with my post dog walking hair un-interferred with by things like a hair brush, mirror or haircut, keeping my faith with my decision to show my real life on this blog, as is,

Now this has to end sometime. 

I was lucky enough to be gifted a big pile of old Burda magazines this week. Daisy and I have been going through them and I have enjoyed the complexity of the designs so much. They have awakened my desire to sew more challenging projects again once the great hibernation of 2020-2021 is over.

How about you?

How has Covid affected your style? Short and long term? 

This is on my mind.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Notes from my husband Leo on setting up a projector for projector file sewing

The biggest challenge with the projector set up is getting it fastened in the appropriate place. 

That issue starts with your choice of projector. The normal setup is a projector that sits on a table and projects on to a wall. That works great for watching Sesame Street but you want to project it to a horizontal surface and have the image large enough to cover the entire piece of fabric for sewing pattern projection:

A short throw projector projects a large image over a short distance but these can be hard to come by and are expensive.

By contrast a regular projector needs in the range of 78 to 86 inches to avoid to have to keep moving the image on the computer screen and moving the fabric to get all the pieces projected onto the fabric in an efficient way. 

Unless you have high ceilings the best and least costly option is to purchase a unit that is made to sit on a table (ours is a Bomaker) then devise or purchase a mounting bracket that will allow you to project from the ceiling to the floor - around 82”. I used a shelving wall support and fastened the projector to it and then fastened it all to the ceiling. Once it is fastened to the ceiling it needs to be plumbed in two directions to ensure accurate projection of all the lines.

First direction to check will be across the the front to the rear feet of the projector. You will need to develop a system of leveling if one is not a part of the mounting bracket. I, for instance, used the wooden part of a clothespin that is wedge shaped as my levelling aid. 

Wedge leveling system :

The other direction to level would be across the front of the projector where the lens is. 

Checking plumb front to rear

Checking plumb across the front. 

If the image is not projecting accurately after plumbing the projector there is an adjustment knob (keystone) adjacent to the focus knob that tilts the lens so as to project the image squarely at the surface. 

Next task is to check scale of the projection. 

There should be, as part of the pattern, a calibration square, that is a specific size. You will need to change the size of the PDF in Adobe to match a) the output of the projector b)the pattern scale and c) the distance from projector to surface onto which the image is projected to get the calibration square the correct size. 

For instance with a Jalie pattern, a Bomaker projector that is 82” from the surface scale needs to be set at 21.1% through the Adobe software to get the 2” square to project accurately. 

This achieved through trial and error. Once you have the square projecting accurately you need to check the size of the image as far away as possible from the center of the image to verify accuracy. 

If you cannot get the image to project accurately across the entire image with these steps you may have purchased a projector that cannot be used for this purpose. We initially made that error and returned the bargain priced one and bought the inexpensive “Bomaker “ that works flawlessly. 

There are a few other setups that are used. There is a setup where a projector sits on a table or shelf and projects to a table at 90 degrees and a setup with a mirror that projects in the same manner. I understand how these work but have not used or set one up.