All posts filed under: Miscellenia

Three weeks in the Sandwich Islands

I’ve been dropping hints about an upcoming holiday in Hawai’i, and now it’s here! Tomorrow morning I leave the cold of Wellington and head for sunny, sub-tropical, sublime, Hawai’i. I’m so excited to be going home – to see my parents, and their farm, and all the beloved haunts of my childhood (OK, now I sound like Anne Shirley). It’s a bit of a bittersweet trip though.  Because of work, Mr D isn’t able to come too. And this will be my first trip home without a sister home as well.  One of my sisters will come for one weekend, but it’s not the same.  We may fight and argue at times, but my sisters are my best friends, and best playmates.  Everything is more fun with them around, and this time they won’t be. Trips home are also a reminder that I’m growing older, and my parents are too.  Sometimes I hate change. But some things will always be the same.  The farm is a perfectly imperfect slice of paradise.  Mangoes are never less …

How do you describe your sewing level?

I’ve been thinking about how we define ourselves as sewers/seamstresses/seamsters, partly as a personal thing, and partly as a teacher. I started considering this when I signed up for Sewing Pattern Review.  They ask your skill level – beginner, intermediate, advanced, couture. What on earth should I put?  I make garments that many seamtresses would never dream of without batting an eye, and my fabric knowledge is considerable, but when it comes to some modern techniques, I don’t have much experience. Now that I’m teaching I’m working on a way for students to categorize their skill level for classes. We start out with Absolute Beginners, but the next class they take is Intermediate, which many of the students find amusing and flattering.  They say “surely I’m not an intermediate sewer!”.  Sure, they’ve never tackled a pattern or made a garment, but student come out of my Absolute Beginners class knowing how to set a zips, construct a basic garment, sew a number of stitches precisely, and how to choose fabrics (which I firmly believe is …

The death of big sleeves

While no-one has mentioned the large sleeves of yesterday’s Rate the Dress as a problem yet, large sleeves have been almost universally unpopular among my readership.  With that in mind, I thought you might find this fashion column from 1900 amusing: Anne Shirley would mourn.  Young Emily would love the use of words though! And, for your edification, some tea gowns with suitably brobdingnagian sleeves from a few years earlier: