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Conversational Threads

Lovely Company

GailAnn | Posted in General Discussion on

Dear Ladies:

I have very much enjoyed dropping in and out of this little community.  The last 5 or 6 weeks have been a real treat!  Such a vast storehouse of knowlege, encouragement, and support!  You are lovely companions, indeed.

So now I’m really curious.  Will you share with us?   WHERE in the world are you?  Maybe a short autobiography, if you don’t feel that is too personal.

I’ll go first. 

I live in Liberty, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.  I was born in Pittsburgh, PA., grew up in Dowagiac, Michigan, lived for about 3 years in Saudi Arabia, while husband was working there. 

I am 56, married for 36 years, mother of one daughter, aged 30.  I teach Sunday School to adult women, and do volunteer work in our church office.  I haven’t worked, at a real “for pay” job for about 7 years.   Before that I managed a real estate and land development office.   Before that I was a custom dressmaker and maker of 1870’s (era of the bustle) historical reproduction clothing for both men and women.   Before that I stayed home with our child.   Before that just I “hung out” and traveled with my husband, wherever he was working.  (It was “O.K.” to just do that, in the early 70’s.)          Before that …………well…….High School.

I’ve been sewing actively since I was about 16.  Earned my extra spending money in H.S., shortening hems as skirts grew shorter and ever shorter!!!!!


Edited 9/19/2007 10:48 pm ET by GailAnn


  1. Cherrypops | | #1


    Thanks for completing your profile..That is the easiest way!

    Since you've asked:

    I'm 36, married, mother of Thomas (most know by photos here). Live in Australia, on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

    Sewing since 2000. Started Machine Embroidery this year. I also cross stitch.



  2. lbbray | | #2

    I haven't posted as much as many others, but I sure have read a lot and learned a lot. I am that age between 54 and 56 (I have issues, I was 46 twice), married with two grown children and a perfect granddaughter (4 going on 10). Mississippi is my home now but I'm a native of Arkansas. (United States) My mother made all of our clothes including undies and nighties when we were young. She taught my sister and I the needle arts as soon as we could safely hold needle and thread. I started sewing when I first got married and Daddy wouldn't buy my clothes anymore. What a shock! I have been sewing ever since. Made the kid's clothes and now for the Precious Child. I am a paralegal but not working at the moment. More time to sew and read Threads & Gatherings. Sooner or later I'll have to go back to work. My husband and I bought a frame shop and are getting that set up. Now I will be able to afford to frame all my needlework. I always have at least two projects going. I keep one project in the motor home (like Mother did for traveling)and one to keep my fingers busy while I watch television.

  3. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #3

    Hi Gail.  I see from your profile that you're fairly new here.  Nice to meet you!  I "joined" the group about a year ago, but was a lurker for a while.

    OK.  A little about me...

    I live outside a small town just north of Raleigh, NC (USA).  Except for attending college in the mountains of NC, I have always lived within 25 miles of where I grew up.  Two years ago, my husband & I and our two cats moved from Raleigh and built a house on my family's farm, across the road from my parents.  My sister lives across the road too, in the house where my Dad grew up.  These are the only 3 houses on the road, which is named for my family.  When I was in my teens, I couldn't wait to get away and out into the "real world", but now I really enjoy the peace and quiet and the room to spread out.  But with all the development in the Raleigh/Triangle area more and more houses are being built around us, so it makes our little farm all the more special.

    I work in Raleigh as an office manager/accountant for a local homebuilder.  Luckily I only work 4 days a week, so every Friday is "craft day" as my husband calls it.  I try to work on sewing projects, but sometimes other errands get in the way of my fun.

    I've been sewing since I was about 6 years old, so that's a pretty long time (I turned 50 in June).  My sewing projects include clothes for me, home dec items, purses, gifts, quilts and machine embroidered items.  I also crochet, and have made several afghans for Project Linus, since we don't need any more afghans at home!

    This is a lovely community of talented people from all around the world.  It will be interesting to find out where everyone lives.

  4. rodezzy | | #4

    Hi:  Born in Chicago, IL - raised from the age of 10 - 18 in Three Rivers, MI, sewing since 15 yrs. old.  I have one son 35yrs. old.  Two grand daughters 15 and 9.  Currently living in Chicago and work for Morton Salt (When it rains it pours) Ofc. Coordinator 23 yrs.  Belong to Needles and Threads Quilting Guild, I write the newsletter.  Use to have a part time business in floral arranging and crafts at home for six years.  I've been doing crafts since forever.  Separated.  Age 55.

    Oh, and Gail, the name of the fabric shop is Rainbow Fabrics, All Kinds of Designer Fabrics, (312) 569-9979.

  5. JanF | | #5

    Hi janet here - nearly 57 yrs old, married with 2 daughters aged 28 and 25 from marriage - daughter aged 37 with grandchild of 15 (1st daughter adopted in 1970 - back in my life now but on her own terms - I'm sort of ok with that)hubby Pete.
    teacher in state secondary school in Mold, N. Wales
    teacher of textiles technology - but looking forward to retirement now!
    Sewing from about aged 6/7 can knit and crochet too - but for the life of me can't ever manage to do tatting!
    Spend my time sewing, thinking what I could sew, and dreaming of being a successful small business owner ...to do with sewing!
    Not all sad ....handbellringer, churchgoer,easy gardener, decorator whenever i get fed up with chosen colour scheme - which is quite often!
    Like cooking - but not boring everyday stuff at the end of the working day - do better when not at work!
    Working seriously on being able to answer the question - what do I want to do with my life? cos I couldn't give an answer to a therapist recently!! So very much into changing my negative to positive - yes I can do it!and if I can't - no sweat - world won't fall apart!You would never guess I've been seeing a therapist would u?

    1. GailAnn | | #6

      Tatting is a such a mystery, isn't it?  I can do all sorts of needlework with some degree of success, but tatting eludes me.  Gail

  6. jane4878 | | #7

    O.K.  I'm 45, born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario Canada.  My mom and both my older sisters are/were nurses.  I also have 2 older brothers.  My dad was a teacher.  I'm the baby--they're 10 to 18 years older than I am.  We moved to an acreage 10 miles outside of Cornwall, near the little towns of Williamstown and Martintown.

    I went to school in Cornwall and took biochemistry and physiology at the University of Toronto.  After that I went into medical laboratory technology and I've been a med lab technologist ever since.  I worked in Toronto and then went to Canmore, Alberta as additional staffing for the '88 Olympics and I've been in Alberta ever since.  I moved to northern Alberta and ended up marrying a local guy and spending 10 years up there.  I was laid off in '96 and moved to southern Alberta in '98.  I work fulltime now including weekends and on call, so I never seem to have any time for anything.

    I have 3 kids 15,13,7 and a poodle (1).  I did a bit of sewing in Grade 7 and 8 home ec, but I was lousy at it.  I bought a machine last year and I am just starting to learn.  I'm only really interested in apparel sewing.  I'm also taking piano lessons.  I'll have been married for 17 years this Saturday.  Would love to travel more.



  7. Crazy K | | #8

    Hi.....Lovely idea.  I am Kay and I live in the upper midwest....an eastern suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.  I am 60 years old, married and have 9 children (4 mine, 5 his,none ours).  This is a second marriage for us both.  We celebrate 20 years this December.  With those 9 kids come 22 grandchildren.  I worked various jobs during my adult life......last for someone else was Deputy Recorder for the county I lived in at the time.  DH was injured at work and had to leave his dairy inspector position.  We then bought a motel, then another and finally a third.  We did that for over 13 years and then sold out and retired.  During that time I sewed whenever I could but that's when I got the bug and started acquiring the more modern machines and all the fun little gizmos.  We've been in our present home for just over six years.  I have completely 'taken over' the basement and that is my 'studio'.  I have lots of room for my 'stuff' and even TV (for those sewing DVD's) and a radio (to listen to rock'n'roll music while I sew).  I started sewing as a youngster but never had a place that comes close to what I have now.  I'm thrilled and I can easily lose myself down there for hours at a time!  I have way too much fabric and a very nice 'collection' of sergers and sewing/embroidery machines.

    I sew garments....mostly for the grandkids but some for myself, some home dec., lots of gift things with embroidery, and I sew for charity......mainly receiving blankets and bibs for a couple different organizations and hats, scarves and blankets for the Salvation Army here in St. Paul.  I also sew garments for children when I hear of families that have lost everything to flood or fire. 

    There........I guess that about sums me up.  I enjoy reading about others........

    Happy Stitching!

    Crazy K

    1. solosmocker | | #9

      GReat idea, Gail Ann! Jane, I live so close to Cornwall, CA. I am right over the border and my closest neighbors are from Cornwall.I live in a town of 352 people called Dickinson Center, NY, quite close to the Canadian border. I am retired and DH is self employed. I did interior design and sales for many years. My sales experience encompassed ceramic tile, furniture, flooring, appliances, Custom window treatments, you name it. It all related to the home, however. I am currently retired but that will change shortly as DH and I regroup into a new endeavor. Sewing is my passion and I have been doing so since I was ten. The seeds of my passion were planted by my loving grandmother who "half" raised me. I was at her side on fabric buying trips, raiding the stash, and watching her make me beautiful clothes out of what seemed thin air. I have done all sorts of sewing over the years but garment sewing has always been my true love. I have done a lot of tailoring when my work required beautiful suits. I did lots of quilting when my children were little. I have done home dec all along and that always related to my work. I now concentrate on heirloom sewing and regular garment sewing for my grandchildren and also garment sewing for myself. I have recently discovered bag making and am truly hooked on that. English smocking is a big part of my sewing as well. I have been sewing for 46 years, always trying to attempt a new technique or skill till I got good at it. I try to enlist a new technique with everything I make. I love gardening, baking, and cooking as well. solo

      1. jane4878 | | #15


        I was thinking you were from the Cornwall area from other posts.  We used to cross the border to have supper in Massena etc.  It's a very pretty area.  When we lived on the acreage I could see the St. Lawrence River valley and the Adirondacks in the distance from my bedroom window.  I really miss the trees and the spectacular autumn colour.  I live on bald prairie now with unrelenting wind--had the siding blown off my house last Nov. :^(

        1. solosmocker | | #18

          I am Massena about once a week. This is sewing non-territory. I wish I could find just one person up here who sews. I just wanted to add a little more info. I was born in New Orleans and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. I spent a few years in Puerto Rico and attended a cloistered convent school. The nuns at that school were all from Spain and taught us hand heirloom sewing every day. It is a memory I truly treasure. After our stint in PR, my mom and dad and 7 other sibs moved to the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. I met my husband there and we have been married for 37 years. We spent 29 years living in New Hampshsire and two years ago move up here to very Northern NY.

          1. GailAnn | | #22

            Wow!  Such a rich and interesting life.  If you ever decide to write an autobiography, I'd love to read it.

            Did the sisters in your Cloister school teach you to make handmade underthings?  That question harkens back to the old Daphne DuMuray (spelling????) novel REBECCA, where all of Mrs. De Winters underthings were handmade by nuns.  Silly, I know, but something I've always wondered if it really happened, "Back in the day".

            Here in Missouri, I have friends who sew, but they are mostly interested in quilting or fast and easy sewing.  I am more interested in hand work.  I'd love to see some of your finer things.

            If you said, I missed it, how many children, grandchildren do you have?  Gail

          2. solosmocker | | #25

            My grandmother made all my undies as well as my moms bras and undies until she passed. I fondly remember our shopping trips to buy the batiste for our panties. The Spanish Carmelites taught us heirloom hand sewing, hemstitching, drawn thread work, etc. I so treasure those times with them. The only speaking they were allowed to do was when they taught us. They were unbelievably kind women. As far as writing a book, my mom would have been better at that. She was extremely bright, graduated from HS at 15, by 18 had a nationally syndicated radio program on opera, sang in the opera, etc, etc. I could go on, but she was an amazing women who was just as amazing at being the mom of 8 children, and to top it off, she was drop dead beautiful. I had a wonderful upbringing.GailAnn, I have two amazing daughters and 3 grandchildren with twins on the way in December.Edited 9/23/2007 9:18 pm ET by solosmocker

            Edited 9/23/2007 9:18 pm ET by solosmocker

          3. GailAnn | | #26

            So admire your grandmother.  Would love to be able to do that.  Was she self taught or did she learn as part of her schooling.  I Think nice undies just make the day go better.  I'm not really talking about Victoria's Secret, nothing 'trashy', just nice, nice things. 

            I have spend a fortune over the years looking for pretty, comfortable, supportive bras in a 38DDD.  Would LOVE to be able to make my own in silks.  I have tried, without success. 

            May have to just make some lovely silk slips and "let the pigeons loose".  At 56, not sure anyone would notice.  Gail

          4. user-217847 | | #27

            Hi GailAnn,

            check out http://www.boobytraps.com.au dead easy beautiful fabrics.


          5. GailAnn | | #28

            What a great website!  Thanks a bunch.  Gail

          6. solosmocker | | #33

            I am not sure how my grandmother came about all of her knowledge but I do know it was a passion with her. I can tell you that she was disowned by her family so her background was never mentioned. Her father was a Baptist minister and she married a Catholic and converted to Catholicism. In her day this was grounds for being disowned in the Deep South. Wish I knew more about her family. solo

          7. GailAnn | | #36

            I know, I knoooooooow.

            My husband's family is Southern Baptist.   I joined the church and was (what I consider to be) re-baptised after we married.  We raised our daughter in the Southern Baptist church.  I attend, teach, and serve, in the Southern Baptist Church.

            I'm just not a very GOOD Baptist.  I believe a child born into and raised by Christian parents should never know of a time when he/she did not experience the abiding love of Christ.  It's the concept of the MOMENT of salvation eludes me.

            This is not a secret.  My husband and daughter know.  My class knows.  My pastor knows.  I think they all feel sorry for me.  Good thing, we can all agree on the Grace of God.  Gail

          8. solosmocker | | #37


          9. 9245 | | #49

            A little off-subject, but have you thought about getting into genealogy as a way to learn about your Grandmother? There is so much info out there, much available on the internet, and many groups of great people willing to help. I started about two years ago, with some family photos, and a handwritten list of my Grandmother's about who was buried where!!

            I too come from a mixed religion background--my Mother was raised Catholic, and married a German Protestant--her family didn't attend the wedding!





          10. meg | | #59

            I know what you mean about a non-sewing area! I grew up in Baldwinsville, NY (born in western Massachusetts) and went to college in Vermont. Met and married my husband of almost 27 years, moved to Houston, TX for 11 years. Didn't like that area. We moved back to the north east (central Vermont) with our son, who is now at the college we went to. I love the area but it's a 45 minute drive to touch any fabric! I have a pretty good stash and sew clothes for myself and a few friends, and quilt. I love to attend the Vermont Quilt Festival.

  8. Teaf5 | | #10

    A nice idea, GailAnn! 

    From various questions on "mature fit," I guess I'm in with the right crowd; mid-fifties with a very patient husband and two college-aged children, I'm a fulltime educator with ample time off in the summer and a few moments every afternoon to catch up on the Threads forum.

    A native Northern California gal who became bilingual and lived in Mexico before returning to the Golden State, I learned to sew as soon as I could see eye-to-eye with a treadle sewing machine and have never stopped, though I've gone through many stages: garment sewing, theatrical costuming, home decor & furniture building, outdoor gear, sewing for the children, and endless alterations and repairs.

    I've learned a lot from this forum and like to contribute when one of the questions brings up something I learned from one of the countless (and sometimes bizarre) mistakes I've made somewhere along the line.  And I still love sewing!

  9. Tatsy | | #11


    I live in Bakersfield, California but grew up in Jordan, MN, graduated from Mankato State when it was still a college.  Met my husband there, got married while he was a Green Beret in Vietnam and had four sons, all grown now.  All but the oldest are married.  The second son has a two-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.  I sew for them about once a year because my daughter-in-law is in a loop of about seven young women who have stair-step children (about 2 or 3 months apart) and pass the clothes around among themselves.  One of the gals has the oldest and youngest child so she starts and ends the chain.

    Always wanted to be a novelist but ended up teaching junior high English so I could eat. Husband is a school administrator.  Most of our sons work in computers, the odd one out is a geologist.

    My mother was a Belgian war bride and I got a thoroughly European upbringing, learning to crochet when I was three, embroider when I was five, and knit at about seven.  Learned to sew in Home Ec. because I have five younger sisters and a brother and Mom was just too busy by then. I taught myself to tat at about thirty. The trick is to form the knot over a pencil--I think it's called a clove hitch--so you can see what you're doing, then practice with variegated crochet cotton so the two different colors let you tell if you've turned the knot.  Applying pressure to the wrong side of the knot locks it up; otherwise you can "untat" if you make a mistake.  There's a great book by Rhoda Auld (ca. 1973) that will teach anybody as thread-savvy as you ladies are.  Now I'm learning jewelry-making and making Chinese knots--great fun! I also own a wonderful Studio knitting machine which I will drag out from under the bed when I retire next year, and somewhere there is a set of lace-making (real lace! not tatting) bobbins which I put away when my youngest son learned to walk.

    Most of my sewing is garments for myself because I have some major fitting problems and refuse to wear uncomfortable, unsightly clothes.  I also sew gifts, tote bags to hold raffle items for our writers' club, and clothes for a niece and her two kids. I sew on the weekends and a little bit at night two or three nights a week.  It takes the kinks out of my brain and the crabbiness out of my disposition.

    I'm 60, but I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to 40 every day. 

    I teach remedial English and reading to 12- and 13-year-olds who are not special ed but have some kind of educational problem like second-language learners or kids with behavior or emotional problems.  When the work day is too hectic I stop and buy fabric or notions or jewelry findings on the way home.  When we have company, I lock the door to my sewing room so I don't have to hear what they think of the mess.  Life is good.


    1. GailAnn | | #13

      Dear Miss Beth:

      I have found all of the answers to be enlightening and very interesting.  Truly I feel as if I have joined a sisterhood of seamstresses.  What good company!

      Ohhhhhhhhhhh!!!  Belgian Bobbin Lace!  I was 19 the first time I ever saw that being made.  Such beautiful and graceful movements.  I've never even dared to try it, but I think it is the lovliest of laces.  Please post your progress.

      My Danish born grandmother taught me to knit.  So I knit 'continental style', fast, straightforward and efficient, but it does lack the beauty and grace of the "English style" of knitting and the throwing of the yarn.

      I so enjoy watching other people do needlework.  Often the movement of the hands is like Ballet to me.  Which is why I brought the whole thing up..see Belgian Bobbin Lace.   Gail

      1. user-217847 | | #14

        Hello  there, my name is Lee, but I have been wally wombat, from kindy thru high school, all the way thru nursing.  I am 55 forced into retirement due to a work place accident, an Australian, living in Newcastle which is on the east coast. I am married to Kevin he has 4 children from 2 other marriages and I have 1 daughter from a previous relationship, she is now 32 and gay hence no grandkids. Things did'nt turn out the way they should have, time is short and a waste of time wondering over what might have been, I  have 4 Alaskan MalamutesKokiak, Tillamook (Pumpkin for short), Teesha and Millie there twins all girls. I knit preferring intricate patterns to plain knitting have not done any for a while DD prefers heres to come from Scotland 3 neices think it's un_cool I have'nt been cold for 4 years so its a waste of time. I'm learning to quilt and having fun in the process. I am resolved to improve every aspect of my sewing and if I had'nt found this forum I never would have bothered. My neices now want me to sew all the trendy gear they cant afford (still in school) I've been conned into making a Formal Gown for end of senior high fortunately I have 18 months. All you ladies are an inspiration an I love you all.


        1. GailAnn | | #16

          Maybe things have turned out EXACTLY as they should have.  Gail

          Edited 9/21/2007 11:51 am ET by GailAnn

      2. Tatsy | | #19


        I haven't done bobbin lace in 30 years and had only learned to make a dishcloth before I had to quit and start running to soccer games.  My mom didn't like doing it--though she had the basics in convent school.  What I've learned I picked up from books, and it is a very, very slow process.  Maybe after I've retired I'll go to a seminar somewhere, but don't hold your breath for pix.  Beth

        1. celkalee | | #54

          Great idea, GailAnn! The conversational introductions make it seem more like the ladies getting together for Starbucks* and a Danish! My name is Cheryll (yes, two L's because my Mothers friend "stole" the name right before I was born and she had to do something!) Middle initial also and L, so picture all those L's on forms, letters, etc!!! I am 59, recently retired Nurse. My long career had me from the bedside to management and back to the bedside searching for a way to reach out. Loved it, hurt my old arthritic back in the process, but now have much more time to sew. Married to high school sweetheart for 37 years, two grown sons, one 35, one 29. Older son married 10 years, no grandchildren. But lots of "Grand-dogs!" I started sewing garments on my Grandmother's Treadle machine. I would steal my Mother's sheets off the clothes line, cut them up and top stitch with different colored threads! The sheets were all white at the time. This is how I define a "summer-white" wardrobe. Shortly my parents decided to purchase some fabric before I started cutting up the draperies,  like Scarlet O'Hara! I got away from clothes making for a while because I just did not have the time or patience. I am recently returning, always been a Threads subscriber and have remained inspired. I have popped into this forum in the past but only recently have had the time to read more than one or two subjects. I do sew home dec projects, took two Martha Pullen Schools and do some Heirloom, do some machine embroidery, but my passion is quilting. I always have several in progress.  I live in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa. and with a brief 4 years in Omaha, Neb. (DH in Airforce) have lived in this area all my life. We have traveled this country, England, France and Italy. Loved it all, but mostly like to come back home!

  10. fashionnut | | #12

    hey all of these bios are fascinating, hmmm, lets see I just turned 49 on the 7th of this month, I take care of mom and dad and I am attending grad school online. I went to school in Switzerland and lived in Finland and the UK for a short while I loved it and miss these countries the best Xmas I ever had was spent in Finland. Anyway I own two dogs a rescue English Setter named Lucy and a Cavalier KIng Charles named Bosley who is quite "the man" :-)) plus two rescued kitties, these are my kids mom and dad consider them the grandkids :-)) I love sewing and other needle arts even though I have not had the time to do much I really have to make the time...I bought a lot of fabric recently. I was in the U.S. Navy reserves attached to Bethesda Hospital. I live in New York on Long Island but I am looking to move, maybe Vermont I don't know not in any rush. I love Britcoms old movies and mysteries and anything by Andrew Greeley and Debbie Macomber (her knitting series) makes me want to open up a knitting/sewing store.I love chatting with you folks. next time I'll bring the Danish :-)). Cyndy Swan

  11. cycler1729 | | #17

    Hi Gail -

    I am 60 years old and I've always lived  in NYC.  I worked in theater as a manager and sometime costume designer (I designed and sewed a black patent leather bikini for Oh! Calcutta and all of the leather goods for the musical The Rothschilds). 

    I also worked for a music publisher later on as a researcher which brought me to what I do now which is selling music online.

    I am unmarried - I began to sew when I ws 20 and engaged to someone who was in the army so his married sister lent me her machine to keep me busy.  The wedding never happened but I did learn to sew and for that I am forever grateful.

    I'm not a detail-type sewer (I say that I'm a speed sewer).  I sew for the result and not the process although thanks to Threads there are some small embellishments that I've been working on.  I do envy all of you who do such gorgeous work your ability to put in the time and effort for your results.   


  12. Josefly | | #20

    Good idea, Gail. It's fun to learn something about everyone who's been willing to post here. I learn so much on this forum, and spend way too much time reading here, instead of actually sewing!I don't think my experiences are nearly as interesting as others', but feel a little guilty lurking on this thread without joining in. So...I grew up in Florida, attended UF, where I met my husband; we married right out of college and moved to Atlanta, where we've lived for 41 years now! (I chuckled at the poster who said she's 60, but feeling more like 40 every day. I can scarcely believe I've been married so long, let alone that I've lived so long...) I have two grown kids, both with lovely spouses, and I have the most amazing grandson!I worked as a computer programmer for a few years before I had children, but then became a stay-at-home wife and mom, and the only work I've done since, outside home, is volunteer stuff. Because I was one of only a few non-working mothers, I was almost always involved in some kind of volunteer work, especially involved in the many activities my kids participated in. By the time they were grown, I was sick of volunteering!I like to sew, read, bike, walk, and contra-dance. At age 48 I began running - and for ten years I ran the 10K Peachtree Road Race with my husband. I don't run anymore - knees are rebelling! We're about to leave for a tent-camping trip in Missouri and surrounding states - part of the country we've not seen much of before. So I'll miss hearing what's going on in the forum, but I'll get to see if these old bones can withstand sleeping on the ground, again!I look forward to reading much more in this thread.Joan

  13. moira | | #21

    This is really for GailAnn but also for everyone. I loved this post - I often click on 'Profile' to see where people are and if there's more information about them. But when it came to this question I found myself with a different response. I live in a small country where, no matter where you go, you meet someone who knows you or who knows someone you know. I love that as it creates a real sense of belonging, but this Thread made me realise that here in the forum, I'm just Moira, and I quite enjoy the anonymity of that. So I'm not going to give a location! But I am, like so many of you, 50, and as mad about sewing as ever. I've been sewing since my mum started me as a wee girl, but also carried it on as a subject through school and teacher training. I'm very happily married and have a son and three daughters who are all learning bits and pieces as they grow up. It's a joy to pass some of my gift on to them. And I'm thrilled to have discovered this forum of like minded sewers, to read so much that's of great interest to me and to have already picked up many useful tips.

  14. cynthia2 | | #23

    What a great idea, GailAnn.  I'm 51 and live in St. Louis, Missouri.  Home ec class in 8th grade was a disaster.  I couldn't sew or cook, but the teacher very kindly gave me a C and let me get on with 9th grade.  The problem was, that I loved sewing!  I wasn't very good at it but I loved the process.  I didn't sew again until I was 33.  At that point I decided to try again and found a wonderful teacher who patiently taught me to sew.  I still take classes whenever I can.  Tailoring is my favorite type of sewing - I love all the details like welt pockets and notched collars.  They require that I really concentrate and forget everything for a while.  As clothing styles have become more relaxed in recent years, I've gone more to a soft tailoring approach that's faster and still satisfying.  I work full-time as an executive publisher of medical journals and my job requires a lot of travel.  It's exhausting but the great part is that I get to find fabric stores all over the world.  I've been married for 29 years, have a 31-year old stepdaughter and two great grandsons (5 and 7).  Our chocolate lab, Bogart, is a pemanent part of my sewing room and always great company. 

    Thanks again for starting the thread.  I really love learning more about our friends here.  Cynthia

    1. User avater
      dayenu | | #24

      it's nice to get to know the others here and especially about their non sewing life.

      I am a NYer by birth but have lived in the NE, Alaska, ricky mountains and deep south. Now I am back in the west to stay. I have been married a very long time to my very best friend ( today is my xxth birthday) and i have been sewing since junior high. He can't sew at all but once i tried to show him and we had some serious hoots about  his incompetence. But I cant saw wood to save my life and he is a fine craftsman in addition to being an attorney.

      My professional life has been working with families and young children, first as a teacher,  a school psychologist and then as a counselor in private practice. I am semi retired now and am in the process of recreating myself as a fiber artist. for the last ten years I have been painting on silk- making mostly Judaica on comission- and now i am exploring felting and taking a weaving class in a few weeks. Most of my items now are non functional abstractions is color and shape and I must confessed to total bias. I actually like for work which is good because I can be my own worst critic.

      Most of my actual sewing is garment construction and home decor. I have spent many months covering all the windows in my new home and only have a few roman shades for the guest room to go.  Next are dining room chairs to be reupholstered and new table runners to match a cherry red dining room.

      Gardening and water sports are my other favorite activities. we canoe easy white water rivers and love to snorkle. I am slowly turning my backyard into a natural wodlands scene with pond, native plants and dry stream beds for walkways. It is amazing the amount of wildlife this part of the neighborhood is attracting. most every one else has flower beds and lawn and ours in quite the exception. everyday  brings a new joy  to the yard.

      I am also an avid reader. I enjoy the 19th century women writers and world literature especially magical realism among the japanese writers like Murakami. Currently I am reading vintage john le carre.

      Thanks for reading. It's nice to be in such good company.

      1. rodezzy | | #29

        Thanks for sharing a part of you with me and others.  Sounds like you have such a wonderful life. 

        Well, I will be chatting with you all for a while, because I know that probably after a while, my company will block from this site.  I keep procrastinating on getting a computer at home.  but........................Whatever, I'll get one eventually.

        So, good talking with you and hearing what others have been up to and how they live.

  15. dressed2atee | | #30

    Hi there, welcome!  I'm a newly re-married 46 yr old with a 26 & 24 year old daughters, a 22 yr old stepdaughter and a 15 yr old step son.  We have 8 & 3 yr old granddaughters! 

    I love sewing and have been doing so since I was about 10-12 yrs old.  I sew mostly garments but I'm really enjoying embroidery.  I have lots of clients especially when it's prom and wedding season.  I love making bridal gowns the most! 

    I hope to retire from the fed gov in 8 yrs and then I will sew sew sew to my heart's content.

    Besides sewing, my husband and I are very active in our church and community. 

    I love this forum and love to see the pics of everyone.  Everyone is soooo talented and it really inspires me!

    I'll be going to the Sewing Expo in Chantilly, VA this Thurs, Friday and Sat!  I'm really looking forward to being around all those sewers!

    Happy Sewing

  16. DONNAKAYE | | #31

    My current life:  I live in the heart of Cajun Country, right outside Lafayette, Louisiana.  (Note:  This is not Creole country, but Cajun country.)  We have lots of festivals with Cajun music (French) and Zydeco (sort of the jazz/blues/rock 'n' roll of traditional Cajun French music).  I have resided here since 1984.  Born in New Orleans, left in '84 to move to Lafayette to be nearer my older brother.  Met my husband in Lafayette.  Left Louisiana and moved to Illinois and got married there in 1992.  My husband retired late '92 and we moved back down to Louisiana in January '93.  I am a freelance court reporter by day and an obsessive-compulsive sew-er by night -- and weekend -- or whenever.  Have two dogs: Molly, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Bonnie, a red and white Border Collie.  We live on a 13-acre farm in the country where we raise cutting horses and farm Black Angus cattle (currently 28 head).  My favorite things to do: sew, read, read, sew, crochet, make draperies and home decor, play with dogs, go on nature walks, Bible study, go to the movies, visit friends, cookouts.  Working on another court reporting certification which I hope I can acquire within the next two years.  My goal: To get certification as a Certified Broadcast Captioner and provide closed-captioning for live TV.

    My past life:  Born and raised New Orleans, attended school there through high school.  Attended Tulane University-New Orleans as an English major, then transferred to University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I changed my major to piano pedagogy.  Spent two years in college there.  Went to work for attorneys at the age of 18 and worked as a paralegal until 2002.  (Attended college part-time while working.)  Then quit working for attorneys and did some landscaping for a while, then managed a religious book store, then fabricated custom draperies and home decor items such as coverlets, pillows, etc.; then became a certified court reporter in 2004.  Raised in the sewing world, learned at mother's knee.  She educated me throughout my life until her death in '96.  Still sewing whenever I can make the time.

    1. GailAnn | | #32

      Thank you, Miss Donna Kaye.  I appreciate your knowlege and the grace you've shown in sharing it with us all.

      In my opinion, experience, whatever, The Bishop Method is the very best sewing plan for any home seamstress.  I am greatful to your mother for infusing you with it.

      As a resident of Louisana, you will probably sympathize with my complaints about the heat and humidity here in Missouri.  Either that or perhaps you are used to it and it doesn't bother you. 

      Back to my Spring and Summer question..............................

      I can keep myself decently clothed for most occasions October through March, but April through September, I am just a MESS!  Even if I look around my neighborhood, even at church, I don't see that many ladies dressed in a ladylike manner in those miserable 8 months of the year!  My upper arms are 56 years old and have some miles on them!  I really want to do better next year.

      SO  --  Others have been very helpful!

      Silk slips - check!  Linen (d--n the winkles) - Check!  Two showers a day - check!  Dress shields -- Check?  I've got it.  No more prisoner of air-conditioning for me!

      Tell me, what Is there anything else for an old doll, like me to do?


      Edited 9/25/2007 10:52 am ET by GailAnn

      1. Tatsy | | #38

        Tulip sleeves.  They cover the bottom of the arm and overlap at the shoulder seam so that the underside of the arm is covered but air can still flow in through the gap on the upper arm.  The simplest way to get a pattern is to make two copies of a short sleeve for a blouse that you know fits. Pin one of the copies together along the underarm seam, slit the center of the copy vertically from the point where it attaches to the shoulder.  Lap this slit sleeve over the other copy on top of another sheet of paper and trace out a sleeve which has no underarm seam and the upper part of the sleevecap traced on each side of the sleeve pattern.  These twin sleeve caps are gently rounded along to the bottom of the sleeve.  The whole sleeve is hemmed before it is inserted (or lined if you wish.) You start pinning the sleeve from the underarm, overlap the sleeve caps and stitch in place. It's a really elegant looking sleeve, and as I said, the design breathes.

        1. GailAnn | | #39

          Thanks for the great idea!

          1. Tatsy | | #40

            Glad to help.

      2. stitchintime | | #48

        When you sit still, you may want to consider using an old fashioned foldable Oriental fan. Very lady like. I carry one in my purse during the hot weather and use it all the time.

    2. solosmocker | | #34

      DonnaKaye, thank you so much for mentioning that there is a difference between Cajun and Creole. I come from a New Orleans family, real Creole, but was raised in Lafayette. I am not a Cajun, but a Creole. But I love everything Cajun, particularly the joie de vivre. Laissez les bontemps roulez!!!solo

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #35

        I was born and raised in New Orleans -- Creole, not Cajun, as you said -- and now live in Lafayette.  Small world....d.

  17. rsolish | | #41

    i love this forum, you all inspire me!!
    i'm from Israel born here and lived here all my 28 years, my mother sews as does her mother as did her mother.
    i started sewing for my children (twins 7, 5, 3...) and then started sewing for myself - i't relaxes me,

    1. solosmocker | | #42

      If you have access to a library and can get a copy of Roberta Carr's Couture Sewing, she goes into great detail on drafting a tulip sleeve from a regular one. I think tulip sleeves are so flattering and feminine.

    2. user-217847 | | #43


      do excuse me when I ask "do you have 3 sets of twins"?


      1. rsolish | | #50

        it may feel like it! but no, the first are twins boy and girl and are 7 years old .

    3. GailAnn | | #44

      What is the fabric shopping situation in Isreal?  Do you have sewing friends? Please share a little more about yourself and your life.

      The last two places on my list of 'Things to do and Places to go before I die' are the Maritime Provinces of Canada and Isreal.


      1. cree9 | | #45

        I enjoyed reading all the assorted posting here and will add my own - live in New Hampshire, raised outside NYC, lived in London & Rome & Philadelphia before settling in NH, age 70 have been sewing since early childhood - I had a Madame Alexander doll and material for making her clothes as a Christmas present when I was about 9 - I learned to sew on a foot treadle machine and remember my mother crying when she was given a Singer (now prized by quilt makers) for Christmas - she wanted a machine that she could do all sorts of sewing with not a miniature - I made my own fancy clothes in high school from Vogue patterns. I have to say that I failed home economics in 3rd grade as I refused to make a sample book that had small buttonholes and the like - we discussed this for all one fall I said that we were making skirts and all that and I couldn't see why we needed a sample book finally teacher said that she would fail me if I didn't do sample book, I discussed this with my mom who intelligently said that it was my choice and no one would fuss if I decided not to do sample book and failed - I didn't and failed. I am still pig-headed and doing my own thing. I have been married twice - my joke is that it took me 2 drunks to get to a psychotic but by that time I had learned not to marry. I still sew - rather down and dirty - I make clothes for myself, covers for chairs, curtains, embroider with machine but my own patterns, quilt, and make assorted odds and ends, mostly without patterns I measure and sew - I also garden, paint - from walls to pictures in assorted media, read, enjoy my children and grandchildren and even my great grandchildren. A really scary thought - my mom is still alive but suffering from senile dementia and in a nursing care facility also going blind but I have in my possession pillow cases made by my great-grandmother that were embroidered by her when she was blind - my mom won't do that sort of sewing - I am sure that they won't let her have a needle and thread. I expect to live another 25 or so years - I have longevity genes and will continue to sew and do as many things as possible. My daughter has promised me that I won't go to a nursing home and I plan to be carried out of my elderly house (built in 1781 and falling down ever since) feet first and intend to be late to my own funeral (years of practice at being late). And I hope to live long enough to use up all the fabric that I own - I have 3 sewing machines a Pfaff, a serger and my newest a Baby Lock that cuts the threads for you - a feature that I wasn't all that enthusiastic about until I used it for a while. Enough of this - any questions please ask - I'll probably answer.

        1. GailAnn | | #46

          I'm really glad you answered.  It would be interesting to know about some of your favorite sewing projects throught the years.  Also your opinions on various styles and changes in fashion.  Gail

          1. cree9 | | #53

            I always have opinions - I used to sew clothes for my children, friends, children of friends, correcting others mistakes, what goes around comes around - I wear all my clothes past any sane time - I had things that I wore in high school and was still wearing them 25 years later. I have some shirts that were given to me second hand about 15 years ago and I am still wearing them. If you keep something long enough it will come back in fashion - I regret that I got rid of my low waisted bell bottom jeans - the ones that I used to have were far superior to the modern styles. My pet hate at the moment is totally inappropriate dresses that parents allow 4, 5, and 6th graders to wear - or can we allow children to be children at least until they get to be teen agers? I have dressed weddings - not the satin ball gown type and made men's shirts. I am currently making a quilt from fabric that I have had for some time and may even get this done before next summer - this will be machine quilted by local fabric store. One of my favorite things that I've made were thread pictures on back of purchased jackets - I use machine stitches and all sorts of threads and draw on the fabric. I still have several bags that were done this way and I framed the piece of corduroy that I did for my son many years ago - the jacket was worn and washed until it fell apart so I cut the machine embroidery section off and finally got it framed. This was before the hoops and stabilizers and all the fancy stuff that is available now so I will probably try something completely new taking advantage of newer machines. I had a Singer 401A and used it and loved it but I finally realized that I was spending so much time trying to thread the needle (even with bifocals) that I should get a machine that would thread the needle for me - so I now am using either a Pfaff or a Baby Lock both have threading features, and a serger that I have trouble threading. But I do all sorts of weird things with it and hope to take a class so that I can do more with it.

      2. rsolish | | #51

        Dear Gail
        as far as i can tell there are still plenty of fabric stores in Israel.
        the best is if you live in Tel Aviv where they have a street that has many many fabric stores in different qualities and price range. where I live in Netanya there are 3 very expensive fancy stores that i only look at from a distance. and one reasonable price store that doesn't have too big of a selection but has basics plus.
        i think the problem here is the sewing notion stores they don't have all of the fancy gadgets i get to read about in "Threads" and if they do it's very expensive -like so many other things here in Israel.Some more about myself: my 2 sisters and mother all live in Israel and sew, so they are my sewing friends aside from all you wonderful ladies.
        I started working last year at a office so I have a lot less time to sew then I'm used to (most of the children's clothes - loved trying to sew matching clothes for my twin boy and girl) and can't get to Tel Aviv for fabric shopping often so now I'm down to sewing for special occasions, and only here and there -but that doesn't mean I can't dream of all the things I want to sew!!this was long and I hope I didn't bore anyone.
        p.s. i'd love to meet you, Gail, when you get to Israel

        1. GailAnn | | #52

          What fun!  I'll look forward to it some wonderful day.  Gail

  18. starzoe | | #47

    What a great idea, learning about each other. I have been sewing since age six or so (on a treadle) and I can empathize with the poster who said she refused to make a sample book in HomeEc. Same here.I have lived in most of the provinces of Canada and the Yukon Territories. I have had a great variety of jobs, all of them interesting and some of them fascinating and unique and I am one of those people who can look back on their life (I'm 74) with satisfaction and pleasure. My two grand-daughters seem to have inherited my crafting and sewing skills which pleases me no end. My two sons live some distance away but we arrange to spend time together, the three of us, several times a year which is always a real treat. Some of you may remember Sophie Tucker and her song "I'm Living Alone and I Like it", well, that could be my motto....living near the ocean on and Island in Western Canada - how good can life get?

  19. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #55

    What a lovely idea and so thoughtful of you to start this thread! It is most impressive to read about all the wide experiences, travels, talents and generous spirits out there. I'd be honored to add a few lines of my own just to keep company with such a remarkable and interesting group of women. I grew up in San Diego, CA but fell in love with San Francisco at age 15 and moved there finally when I was 22. (Went to colleges all up and down the west coast first as a journalism major then as an art major and finally took a degree in fashion design from LA Trade Tech where I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers like Helen Joseph Armstrong and Suzanne Stern.) Although I spent a few years in the Pacific Northwest I returned to the Bay Area and currently live in Sonoma County wine country which Luther Burbank called "God's chosen spot". I most reverently concur! I started sewing about age 8 and remember sitting under Mom's and Gma's machine making the treadle "go". I began making all my own clothes as a teen and into my twenties sewing my kid's clothes. However, about that time I became involved in other artistic pursuits and thought sewing was a chore not a creative outlet and put away my machine for a number of years. I worked as an art jeweler for some 30 years but eventually began designing accessories (leather belts and handbags) which led me back to designing and manufacturing a line of plus size dressy sportswear. I worked in the Los Angeles fashion industry for awhile as a designer until the life style became too much to endure and returned to Northern California to pursue art once again. But I keep coming back to sewing since I am highly motivated to make clothes for my just under 5' plus size figure. I especially enjoy silk ribbon embroidery and other hand embellishments as well as silk painting. Of course I also love sculpture, watercolor, botanical drawing, and home decor. (If I can't afford to do my own home, I'd gladly help you spend your money decorating your home! Just can't resist the paint and hardware stores!) Still occasionally make fine jewelry pieces for myself and loved ones as well. Hardly ever miss a gem show. I currently teach patternmaking, fashion draping, fitting and various other related courses while working on development of a pattern line for sizes 10-32 petite to tall. I am married to my best friend (30 yrs) and have two children from a previous marriage, 40 and 41, who are talented artists....my daughter is also a jewelry designer (she decorated Shakira for the MTV music awards) and my son is an airbrush artist. Did I say I'd add a few words...tsk...I'll just stop now! My best to all of you talented ladies.

  20. jatman | | #56

    Hi GailAnn!  This has been an interesting thread.  Thank you for starting it.  I've often wished more people would fill out their profile so at a minimum I could tell what country or what part of a country they were writing from.  But the profile only tells part of the story.

    I'm originally from Michigan - Detroit area.  I've lived in Kentucky as well.  My husband has also taken an overseas assignment and I now live in Göteborg, Sweden.  I love it here.  I'm taking a break from work over here but I was a CPA.  I have tried to learn what I can about sewing while I'm on this break since I never had time to do anything creative while I was working.  I still have trouble with fitting which I've found to be terribly frustrating, especially since ready-to-wear fits me (how can they get it right but I can't?).  Still I love to be creative (not a good thing for a CPA to be!) and would like to figure out a way to turn my love of fabrics into a career.  I have learned a lot from the people on this forum but I seem to learn more from doing (and messing it up) than I do from reading about it so I will take some classes when I get back to the US.

    I don't know how your international assignment was because every country has it's pros and cons but I can honestly say that living in another country has broadened my horizons in more ways than I ever thought possible.  I have loved (almost) every minute of being here and would highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity.

    So, how strange was it moving to Saudi Arabia?  I've often thought that living in a country where I could not write the alphabet would be somewhat daunting.  I bet that first trip to the grocery store was really something, wasn't it? 



    1. GailAnn | | #57

      Sweden would be a great assignment!  My grandparents were from Denmark and Sweden.  Grew up with adults speaking Danish.  Wish I had paid more attention!

      I loved the early years of our marriage!  I didn't work.  We traveled most of the time.  I loved meeting the different people and seeing new and different sights.  At 23 and 24 years old, sometimes I felt like I was living in a movie.  Everything was strange and new and exciting.  The tastes, the sounds, the smells, all enticing and wonderful! 

      Our longest assignment was in Saudi Arabia.  That was 30 years ago.  No T.V., no radio, no telephone, no safe water to drink except bottled.  We had a water distiller which would make 3 gallons of safe water in 8 hours IF we had the electricity to run it.

      My first trip to the grocery store...........well...........I'll tell you.........I'm a big girl, usually 180 at least, often, I tip the scales over 200 pounds.  It's normal for me.  When I left Saudi Arabia, after nearly 3 years, I was 5 months pregnant and weighed 108.  I looked like a little boy.


      1. jatman | | #58

        Wow!  That is almost scary, isn't it?  There is a lot to be gained from being in another culture but sometimes depending on your taste and degree of being adventurous the food isn't always a benefit!


  21. SAAM | | #60

    What a wonderful thread this is. It's so nice to learn more about everyone. I am forty-eight years old. I was born in Sydney and moved to the U.S. when I was seven. I spent most of my growing-up years in Annapolis, Maryland. I now live in Baltimore, Maryland. I met my husband when we were both in the fourth grade and we have three beautiful daughters, aged 25, 22, and 15. I've spent some years living in Bennington, Vermont, Los Angeles, California, Seattle, Washington, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, my heart has always yearned to go back to Australia. Now, my husband and I are planning to sell our house and move there within this next year.I have degrees in English and Publication Design from Temple University and University of Baltimore. While I was in school, I worked in fabric stores in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Now, I publish a small magazine featuring fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction three times a year. I do freelance writing and editing, and I am working on a novel. I have also home-schooled my youngest daughter.I have been sewing since I was six, first making sachets by hand for my mother's drawers, then making dolls clothes from fabric scraps my grandmother got from a friend who worked in New York City's garment district. When my mother bought a sewing machine, I learned how to use it, and I've been sewing ever since. I've made everything from wedding dresses to men's suits. I made most of my clothes all through high school. Lately, I've mostly been sewing for my girls. My youngest seems the most interested in learning how to sew. She recently finished her first blazer. My latest project, an evening gown for myself, has run into some snags, so I'm taking some time to think out what seem to be a problem in the design of the pattern.

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