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Promenade Patterns
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Hi Everybody,

Just to let you know I will be lecturing on Men’s Shirts at the National Convention in Springfield MA. If you are going to be at the convention check your book for the scheduled times. I would enjoy talking to you about your sewing ideas and suggestions.

May your bobbin always be full, Karen

IMG 3668 2


Diana made this skirt and added a purchased blouse. Isn’t it great? Wouldn’t you be proud to wear it? The belt is stunning, classy and exactly right. The trim on the bottom edge outlines the ruffle.  

Miss Mannerly says, “When someone complements you on your clothing the proper response is a demure ‘Thank-you’ followed by a slightly smug ‘I made it myself’."

 As one of my very wise friends said - sew the easy stuff, buy the hard stuff. When I make an ensemble, I always sew the skirt first. It becomes my inspiration to get the blouse done.  The top is always harder for me.


Paralyzing Perfectionism

                 An inability to start something
      for fear the results will be less than perfect.


Many women have come up to me and told me that they don’t sew because they know that the project won’t be perfect. They demand perfection in something that they create while they are standing there in a factory made garment that has several flaws in it. This attitude is debilitating and self-destroying. Life is tough enough without being your own harshest critic. Why be that mean and nasty to yourself?


Artist and crafters the world over have a tradition of adding a flaw to their project. This is to show that they are human and therefor not perfect. The Navajo leave a small hole in their rugs as a tribute to Spider Woman who taught them how to weave. The creation of cloth and its transformation into useful items is a tradition that goes back to the beginning of history. Fabric and sewing touch all parts of our lives.


Each garment or project is a learning curve.   You will say to your self , “I will never make that mistake again.” That is because you are gong to make entirely different mistakes in the future. If a project doesn’t come out exactly as you planned - change the plan. I have never made a garment that was ‘perfect’. I am a human being working with fabric and thread, something always goes ‘wrong’. I have appliquéd a flower over a hole in a blouse and changed the color of a collar because I miss cut the original one. A top that came out too small was the perfect gift for a friend.


There are no mistakes - just creative opportunities.


Pick a project and just do it. Start with something easy to get your confidence up and when you complete that one go on to something more challenging. Enjoy the journey not just the destination. The feel of fabric and the hum of the machine should make you relaxed and comfortable. When you make something, even a pot holder, it is an accomplishment. You didn’t learn to dance in one lesson, you can’t learn to sew in one day.


Professional workers in a factory can set in a sleeve that looks perfect in a few seconds. That is because they set in more sleeves before lunch than you will do in a year. Mistakes are also made by professionals, inspectors at a factory will reject flawed stitching. That is where ‘factory seconds’ come from. If you know how to look, you will find many flaws in garments at even the finest stores.


You can’t compare a unique creation with a mass produced T-shirt. When wearing something I have made, I know that no-one else has one like it. When shopping for a garment you have a limited selection of colors, fabrics, sizes and styles. Take it or leave it. I have control over every aspect of my garment. Many people think that they can buy a blouse for less than it costs me to make one. They are not looking at the whole picture. My custom made blouse will last longer, look better, be more comfortable and give me a feeling of accomplishment that can never be obtained from a store bought garment.


If you don’t point out the mistakes in your creation most people won’t see them. Your friends are more interested in your company and enjoying the occasion than they are in your clothes. The type of busybodies who criticize other peoples sewing are not your friends. I have frequently told people that if you want to hide the flaws in your sewing it is very easy, all you have to do is dance faster.


On the next trip to the fabric store be sure to get a couple of brand new, nice sharp seam rippers.You know you are going to need them. Get rid of all of the old dull ones that are cluttering up your sewing stuff. Dull seam rippers will pull and break the threads instead of cutting them cleanly. I have three different styles of seam rippers, so I have the right tool to take out any stitching. The bobbin thread is usually easier to pull than the top thread. Increase your stitch length to 3.5 mm or 10 spi. Not only will the sewing go faster, but it will be easier to take out.

As ye sew, so shall ye rip !