Efficient and/or Effective

We always want to work smarter, not harder. But we need to make sure that we really are as smart as we think we are. When I planned to make this skirt with a gray border I decided it would be most efficient to sew the border panel to each of the front and back skirt panels before sewing them together. However that made it just a bit complicated attaching front to back because I had one extra thing to worry about matching. Not terribly effective of me. When I made the next skirt with a border (Minions) I assembled the skirt and then added the border; much better.


The same principle is true in cooking, planning the path for running errands, and many other endeavors in one’s daily life. I have worked for an hour on a spreadsheet only to realize that I have just been copying the same error over and over because I didn’t check carefully enough at first. Major head-desk event.

Lesson Learned: Before starting, think through the whole project so you can (hopefully) realize steps that need to go in their proper order.

Skirt for sale on Etsy


Shaking off the cobwebs

Ten years ago my first godchild was born. In preparation for that event I made him a baptismal gown; a linen slip and a silk gown with silk lace and ribbon. I chose to hand sew the whole thing so that every stitch would be a prayer for him and any future children who might wear the gown. They weren’t perfect but I was quite pleased.

baby (2)
Baby Sister in same gown

 It had been a couple of years since I had sewn anything at all. Before that I had spent over twenty years making SCA costumes and even a tourney tent. I have always been good at sewing and simple dressmaking but I never learned tailoring. I was rarely concerned about fine details, just grind out the needed items

After a ten year gap, about two months ago I wanted a comfortable, casual skirt that I could lounge around in but I couldn’t find anything I liked. Then it occurred to me that I could make one and I didn’t even need a pattern. I bought the length of the skirt twice plus a little more: I got twice the width of the fabric around to pleat onto the waist and enough for a waistband. There was even enough left to make one in-seam pocket. The pocket was a bit small and not in quite the right spot, but it holds my phone so I’m happy enough.

I took my time and tried a technique I had wanted to try; I constructed it using Elizabethan seams. While sewing, a couple of times my thread got twisted and I remembered my old German sewing teacher and the idea of this blog was born.

Lesson Learned: If you don’t know how something works, get help. I bought a skirt pattern after just so I would have a template for the size and location of pockets on the next skirt. I also needed the written instruction’s details about construction details. I’ve been very happy with results since.

Relearning old lessons

My first sewing/embroidery teacher after my mother was the German mother of one of my scout troop mates. At least once a lesson she would cluck her tongue reproachfully at one of us and say, “Long thread, lazy girl”.

I used to sew a great deal but have not done any for well over ten years. As I relearn the details of sewing, the lesson of long thread, lazy girl keep presenting themselves. I’ll share as I go.