30 Mar 2012

Episode 115: Raising a glass

In this episode: A simple podcast for a quiet, post-funeral Friday. Frivolity will return next week. Or, even sooner if you raise a glass to Vera right now.

Sun Ray Stitching is actually called Ray Stitch and it’s located in Islington. (I can never remember the name properly. But it’s a very nice shop.)

Not just for beginning sewists, the Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated, and the Clover pants from Colette Patterns. The Lady Gray Coat I aspire to is here.

Two books that should be on every sewists shelf: Fast Fit, by Sandra Betzina and Pants for Real People, by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. Seriously. These women taught me everything I know about altering patterns to fit one’s shape. It’s not hard, it it makes the difference between wearing a finished garment, or not.

This week’s Audible Choices are Hunger Games sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. click the log below to sign up for your free book today.

I do the Facebooks. Also the g+ and, of course, I’m still doing the twitter. Come find me!

Music by Enter The Haggis, One Last Drink, from the cd Soapbox Heros.


  1. Wendelene wrote:

    Loved hearing you talk about the Singer. My mother had one of those, she updated back in the 70’s and instantly regretted it. I loved the buttonhole gadget, I remember playing with the dies when I was small. I recently was given a 60’s era Singer Slantomatic, and I’m loving learning how to sew on it. For some reason it’s just more fun on the old machine than on the nice modern Brother I picked up many years ago when I first decided that I needed to add sewing to my repertoire.

    Posted on 3.30.12 ·
  2. Aebell wrote:

    Condolences over the loss of Tonia’s mum. I just lost my dad unexpectedly after a sudden, rare illness. Still feels surreal.

    Posted on 3.30.12 ·
  3. Clara-yarna wrote:

    Raising my glass to Vera.

    Posted on 3.30.12 ·
  4. Ann wrote:

    My condolences to you and Tonia. But what a wonderful photo! I’ve been bellydancing for ten years (I’m in my mid-thirties now), and I certainly hope I’m still doing it when I’m in my eighties! Vera sounds like she lived well indeed.

    Posted on 3.30.12 ·
  5. Camille wrote:

    Raising the home-bottled beer to Vera. Love the picture, she certainly enjoyed the moment. I know about Feather-weight love…I’ve had mine for a long time and through many relationships with ex-girl friends that didn’t think it was worth taking when they left. Little did I know how much love could be packed into one little sewing machine. I made all of my 35 yo daughter’s school clothes (Remember “Jams”), her cloth dollies, and her prom dress on that machine. Hugs and prayers for you, Tonia and the rest of your beautiful family.

    Posted on 3.31.12 ·
  6. Sending sincere sympathies to Tonia and to you on Vera’s death. Grand photo — clearly one of the Indomitable British Women whose like is not oft seen these days. (I’m friends with an 81-year-old one living over here, and I am blessed.)

    Loved the story of the sewing machine, too. 🙂


    Posted on 3.31.12 ·
  7. SallyT wrote:

    I found this episode so touching. What a lovely way to remember a lovely lady. I have my mom’s Singer Featherweight–slightly older than Vera’s–and many of the memories you spoke of are near to my heart.

    Thanks so much for your beautiful podcasts.

    Posted on 4.1.12 ·
  8. Christine wrote:

    Thank you for a touching ‘cast. Rewound and raised a glass. To Vera. To the space that parents leave, to be filled in with memories that come fast at first, then slowly for the rest of our years. Quiet hug to Tonia.

    Posted on 4.1.12 ·
  9. Camille wrote:

    Brenda and Tonia, I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved listening to your paean to Vera’s Singer—I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to your MIL than to use the machine she cherished to sew a blouse for her daughter. <3

    Posted on 4.2.12 ·
  10. Kathy wrote:

    Brenda, if you can wear the Clover pants, you can wear a Lanesplitter skirt! Just sayin’.

    Posted on 4.2.12 ·
  11. Lynn wrote:

    My deepest condolences on the passing of Tonya’s mom. I love the photo of her! She looks like a wonderful woman!

    Posted on 4.3.12 ·
  12. Rachel wrote:

    When shopping for fabric in the US, you should stop at Treadle Yard Goods in St Paul, it’s just down the street from the Yarnery (okay, down a mile or so) where you’re teaching! It’s a shop dedicated to natural fiber apparel fabrics, and amazing.

    Posted on 4.3.12 ·
  13. Lydia wrote:

    How often the everyday items around us in our homes carry so many memories, thoughts and feelings in a quiet, gentle sort of way. I found your words about Tonia’s Mum and sewing for Tonia on the venerable Old Singer very moving. My very best wishes to you both……

    Posted on 4.3.12 ·
  14. moleymakes wrote:

    Deepest condolences to Tonia. I must admit, Tonia’s mum looks like she was a right hoot. I’m sure she’s shimmying her stuff up in heaven right now.

    My mum always swears by Singer. She worked as a seamstress for numerous years. I remember my grandma having an ancient treadle Singer when I was little. It was old even then, 40 years ago. She also had a hand one too. Don’t know what happened to them after she died, but they were all in perfect working order.

    Posted on 4.4.12 ·
  15. Vickie wrote:

    Tonia & Brenda, I am so sorry to hear about Tonia’s mom. {{{hugs}}}

    Posted on 4.4.12 ·
  16. Christy wrote:

    First, I’d like to offer my condolences. What a wonderful photo! Thanks so much for the sewing book recommendations. I’m having trouble finding ready made blouses I like and have been considering sewing my own. I even already have one of the books you suggested! Now to read it and sew. I also own a Featherweight, although mine was gifted to me and doesn’t have all the features you mentioned. I LOVE it for piecing quilts. And thanks so much for the music in the podcasts! You’ve introduced me to several songs I wouldn’t have come across otherwise and really love.

    Posted on 4.8.12 ·
  17. Anne wrote:

    I’ve just listened to the episode. My condolences to Tonia and you, losing someone is rough.

    I enjoyed hearing about your Singer. I have a White sewing machine that predates yours by about 10 years. It was my mother’s, and all it does is sew forward and backward, nothing fancy. It’s got a buttonhole attachment, too, which I’ve used a lot. It’s quite entertaining to watch the needle move through the buttonhole template plate, and the buttonholes are perfect.

    Finally, I thought the name Pati Palmer sounded familiar. Sure enough, I unearthed a book called “Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring,” by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch as I was sorting through stuff in my yarn room. It’s from 1977, and I think I must have taken a tailoring class from them around them. Definitely good info!

    Posted on 4.16.12 ·
  18. What a beautiful, spirited woman in this photo. She looks like a friend I would love to know. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted on 5.5.12 ·
  19. I’m raising my glass to Vera! My grandmother shared the name. On to the Featherweight. Here is the contact information for a gentleman in the UK who specializes in FW machines in case you have a problem:
    Graham Forsdyke
    Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry
    ISMACS London
    http://www.ismacs. net
    http://www.singer- featherweight. com
    Bert’s Vintage Repair Book Book:
    http://www.singer- featherweight. com/bert/ bert.html
    No affiliation, just a member of the yahoo group on Featherweights.

    Posted on 6.4.12 ·

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