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Hi All

Just wanted to share a pic of my new sewing book

Pattern Making book

Pattern Making book

Its Patternmaking for a perfect fit by Steffani Lincecum. I took her Patter Drafting from Ready to Wear class on Craftsy (once I worked out how to turn the HD off) and loved the class. She mentioned her book during the first episode and as our connection to the internet is flakey I decided to order the book. The class online covered using your favourite item of clothing and creating a paper pattern from it.

I have a shirt which I love and wear lots but fashions change so fast that there isn’t anything quite like it around and getting something to fit is so tricky I would love to make a copy of this shirt. Its got to be almost 20 years old so no chance of getting a replacement. In the book Steff covers making patterns from; a skirt, a dress, a blouse and a handbag. I’d like to copy some trousers but the online class assured me that once you have your head around the technique the same principles apply to any garment.

I attempted to copy a t-shirt which, I thought would be a simple place to start but I’ve managed to get the shoulder pieces different widths for front and back so I’ll have a good read of the book to see where I’ve gone wrong. I used the jigsaw together type of play mat that I bought for blocking knitting stuff on to pin the shirt too and pin through to the paper, found a spiky tracing wheel in my late Mother’s sewing box. The concept went well, just need more practice.

The book also makes mention of how to approximate how much fabric your pattern will need and some assembly tips too. I’ll do a full review once I’ve had chance to have a proper read. In the mean time if you want a copy for yourself the ISBN number is; 978-0-8230-2666-1

Still trying to work out how to pad the dressform I bagged on Ebay last winter. She’s got as far as a bra on her padded to size but I’m struggling how to get the rest of her to size no wonder I can’t buy clothes that fit eh! I’d love to drape on her but being an adjustable one the gaps are a problem. Being 5′ 3″ the top section is going to be ok with the form closed, some padding in the bra sorts out the bust. There is quite a gap in the lower section so I’m considering closing the form and mummifying her to the lower proportions. It would be nice if Crafsty did a class on how to transfer your body measurements to a dress form and how to pad one, it sure explains why there are so many forms on the auction sites, sounds like others get overwhelmed and just sell them on too.

What are you sewing at the moment? If you have a well loved item that you would love to recreate check out

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Welcome Back

A strange question perhaps, but what were you reading at aged 8? My fave author was Roald Dahl, so Danny the Champion of the World and the like was my favorite book. The reason you ask, is that the book I received at 8 for Christmas was ‘McCall’s Sewing in Colour’. Home dressmaking, tailoring, mending, soft furnishings!

My First sewing book!

My First sewing book!

As a fairly in-depth technical text-book its a stretch for an average 8-year-old but add in dyslexia (OK we didn’t know that was why I was struggling but small text was always a big issue) So this book other than the obligatory ‘Oh that’s wonderful, thank you’ ( See I was well brought up with good manners) but have to say this book never had more than a quick glance.

Now my Mum was excellent at sewing, and her sister too, so there was some pressure for me to ‘like it’ as well. Anyone with kids will know that is a sure-fire way to send you kids running for the hills and this is what happened to me. Mum tried to show me how to sew and I had a dabble on a hand turned wheel of an elderly Singer machine where I made a few dolly clothes but wasn’t that keen. This brief attempt was enough to cause this book so I steered well clear after that.

Recently though I have returned to sewing and now my hands are too shot for hand sewing (forgive the pun) I have a sewing machine and after pottering with bags for a while decided to try skirts. Remembering this book was in the loft, yes I kept it, even though I couldn’t read it, since my Mum & Aunt were so keen it seemed rude to their memories (They have both passed away now) to ditch it. So I dug out this book to see if with the coloured overlays I could make any sence of it.

Blimey! You sure can see a change in how books of this kind are presented. Today this would almost be considered a serious textbook! Lots of serous text a few line drawings and not so many colour photos. Very 1960’s. Think Star Trek original series and you will imagine the eye-popping colours, bold colour choices for bedrooms n bathrooms!! Terry toweling shower curtains in paisley anyone?

How about you, what were you reading at 8 years old, and what was your first sewing book like?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Sew What! Skirts

Sew What! Skirts

Sew What! Skirts

  • Title: Sew What! Skirts
  • Author: Francesca Denhartog & Corole Ann Camp
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-58017-625-5

My Reason for Buying

I bought this book because being short skirts from shops are often far too long on me. When I first got my machine I wanted to create styles that I liked from MY choice of fabric as when I went shopping it was either I liked a style or a fabric but rarely found just what I was after and had such trouble getting things to fit that I though making my own might solve these problems. I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

  • Chapter 1; How to use this book
  • Chapter 2; Basic skills
  • Chapter 3; Which Waistline
  • Chapter 4; The Classic A Line
  • Chapter 5; Wrap It!
  • Chapter 6; Circles and squares
  • Chapter 7; Play It Straight with Flair
  • Chapter 8; Layer it
  • Chapter 9; How Many Tiers

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Suitable for a total newbie
  • Many options for mixing up the various elements for more options on a set of classic styles
  • Classic timeless styles for all occassions
  • Shows you round basic sewing skills, so if this is your first and only sewing book you could still create the designs in there
  • From very simple to more complex designs so as your skills grow more designs are achievable
  • Wire bound so book lies flat on your table as you work from it, but has spine cover so it doesn’t wreck books either side of it on your shelf
  • You need minimal supplies to create the designs in the book
  • Shows you how to create patterns from your own body measurements, so if you are a little un, big un or a long tall sally you will still create a skirt that will fit you.
  • Much simpler to follow than a purchased pattern
  • Encouraging conversational style of writing. Really inspiring a good confidence booster for new sewers.

Cons

  • Just a niggle, the only stumbling block I had with this book was finding large enough paper to draft patterns onto. I have now resolved this and will explain more later in the post.

Value for Money

Excellent! There are 16 styles of skirt in this book, more if you include how many tweaks you could make once you have the idea. The average commercial tissue pattern starts at about £6 so at £12.99 this book is fantastic value for money.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally, this is one of my favorite books.

Summing up

When I bought this book I had recently bought a sewing machine and was keen to make things, anything in fact. I looked at commercial patterns and not only was I totally confused by all the new terms they used but the quality of the tissue used seemed very poor for the price charged. Also just like shop bought clothing, patterns are at fixed sizes, if you are inbetween sizes it means a lot of altering which when you are totally new is very intimidating and put me off.

With this book its such a chatty style you feel very empowered and can’t wait to get sewing. Not constrained by what a commercial designer wants the length or flare of the skirt to be, with this you are the designer, you choose. Like they say in school its a good idea to read at least the first three chapters before you do anything. Its those chapters which explain how you will construct your skirt and lay out options. The skirts in the book build in complexity the later they are in the book but once you have made the first few you get the idea and the more difficult ones suddenly don’t look so hard.

It took me a couple of years to start and actually have a go at making a skirt from this book for one reason only, I struggled to find suitable paper to draw the pattern onto. After joining a sewing forum I discovered the name of such paper and suppliers which I’ll add at the end of the review as being an American book the suppliers listed in the book are all from USA so shipping would be extreme.

Now I’ve found paper to draw on and drafted a pattern on two I’ve had a lot of fun designing styles. I love the flexibility of the ideas shown in the book, if you are a ‘What if?’ kind of person you will love this book, if you are someone who wants to add their own twist to things you will love this book, if you are someone who falls in love with fabric but is boggled by commercial patterns you will love this book.

Sew What Skirts, holds your hand while showing you around fabric, so you know which way up and round you want to lay it to cut out (commercial patterns all expect prior knowledge that we don’t all have!). The book shows you options for different fastenings, you don’t have to do zips if you don’t want to, but they are explained so you have the option.

With this book, some paper and some fabric you design, draft and make your own in a weekend, much quicker if you are more experience sewer. Skirts are easy with this book, so if you can’t find what you like in the high street, have access to some fabric you do like and a sewing machine, grab some BIG paper and get sewing, you’ll be amazed at what you, yes you can achieve. This is a must have book, if you want to try but are too afraid just now.

Links

So now you have read the review you might like to get hold of the book for yourself, its on Amazon and here I’ll also explain where to get the all important paper you need to create your own bespoke patterns.

Paper

Ok the one thing that I struggled with, with this book was finding paper large enough to draw a pattern onto. Not wanting a jig saw of sellotaped pieces, after joining a sewing forum I discovered what you need is called ‘Pattern Paper’ DOH I know it sounds obvious but you need something to start an online search with right?!

Options

Blank newsprint.

This is pretty large but UN printed so no risk of getting you or you fabric covered in ink. Available from house moving suppliers and very in expensive for a huge thick pack about A2 ISH in size. You are likely to need to join sheets of this together but it is widely available.

In the actual pattern paper category you find the following

  • Blank Pattern paper, just what the title suggests. Rolls are available in different widths and on large rolls about 150-200 meters long
  • Dot and Cross Pattern Paper: One side is plain, the other has dots and crosses at approximately 1″ intervals. (I went for this but use the plain side as someone said the printing isn’t always that square and I found that to be the case.)
  • Swedish Tissue Paper; This is the posh stuff. you can draw your pattern onto it but also sew through it so if you want to partially construct your skirt on the paper you are drawing it on to to adjust the fit, this is an option. Its quite expensive and after a mention on The Great British Sewing Bee by Tilly its a swine to get hold of.

Suppliers of the above paper. Auction sites I got mine through Ebay, the advantage is if you are deciding between different paper types you can get 5 – 10 m lengths to try at around £10 longer term if you find one you like, take the hit and buy a roll, its expensive at first around £60 but will last YEARS.

To buy from the UK good places to try are

A little off topic to get into this on this thread, but it was the only thing I struggled with, when trying to make skirts from Sew What skirts book.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following:

The Sewing Machine Book

The Sewing Machine Book

Title: The Sewing Machine Book

Author: Alison Smith

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

ISBN: 978 1 4053 3555 3 (Hardbacked version)

Price: £25.00 (Hardback) (Correct at time of writing 2010)

Being new to sewing I am looking for a simple to follow book that has lots of clear instructions for me, but expecting no prior knowledge that I do not have. I’d had a brief leaf through this book in Hobby Craft and was very pleased to find a copy in my local library.

Contents

The book is broken up into three main sections, with sub sections that go into greater detail;

Tools

  • Sewing Equipment
  • Fabrics
  • Patterns

Techniques

  • Stitch essentials
  • Darts, tucks, pleats and gathers
  • Facings and necklines
  • Collars
  • Waistlines, belts and tie-backs
  • Sleeves and sleeve finishes
  • Pockets
  • Hems and edges
  • Fasteners
  • Linings and interfacings
  • Professional techniques
  • Mending

Projects

  • Directory of fashion and soft furnishings
  • Glossary
  • Index, acknowledgements, and Useful websites

Pros

I love the layout style of this book, it makes it very easy to find the things you are looking for. There are visual step by steps to back up the written descriptions and the detail the book goes into is perfect. If you are trying to follow a pattern and don’t understand a term or need more details on how to achieve a particular finish the book shows you how. I found the visual reference to different kinds of fabric VERY helpful, especially as it also lists thread and needle type next to each one :) Superb!!!

Cons

Haven’t got any, I have a hardback from the library and my only advise to anyone purchasing this book is to go for the hardback rather than the soft cover as it is such a good reference book, it’s likely to get a lot of use and the hard back will be better wearing in the longer term.

Value for Money

Excellent!!!! This book is like a dictionary for sewing, if you have a question, look it up in here and it’s probably got the answer. The hard back may be a considered purchase but for the content included its well worth it. It’s quite a sizable book and needs the hardback to make it robust.

Would I buy It?

YES definitely!!!! This is on my wish list at Amazon and I really intend to buy this, when funds allow. I’ve spent weeks on the internet searching for tutorials and information on basic sewing terms, this book would have saved me so much time! Sometimes books are easier than the internet after all ;) Long live the book :) :) :)

Summing Up

This book is perfect for the beginner to sewing either hand sewing or machine, the layout means you can go directly to a given section very quickly and easily. The sections are even colour coded to make searching simple. A really good reference book for all things sewing. If you have just bought a new sewing machine and feel a bit bewildered by everything then get this book. The world of sewing is much less intimidating with this book on your shelf, if you get stuck or come across a new term, this book will tell you all about it. I think this book would be the perfect gift for someone wanting to advance from basic sewing to more adventurous projects too. If you want to try dress making, or soft furnishings there are sections for that too.

Links

The Sewing Book. Here is the book on Amazon, currently under £15 for the hardback version ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following

Home Made Vintage

Title: Cabbages & Roses Home-Made Vintage

Author: Christina Strutt

ISBN: 1 904991 43 2 (Hardback)

Publisher:Cici Books

Price: £16.99

Having been looking at this book on Amazon, I was delighted to find this book at the local library. It has had mixed reviews based upon weather the reader does or doesn’t like the fabric styles used.

Contents

  • Living Room
  • Bedroom and bathroom
  • Clothes and accessories
  • Gifts
  • Instructions
  • Templates
  • Stockists

Pros

This book is a visual delight, very much a Sunday supplement style of pictures. Delightful rooms, rustic furniture made feminine with soft furnishing. I don’t think it would be unfair to say if you like Laura Ashley and Anna Griffin style of crafting and soft furnishings then you will like this book. It is full of the kind of projects that would make great gifts and housewarming presents for people.

I like the layout of the book, it starts by showing finished items in their surroundings as you would use them in the home, later on there are the instructions on how to create each piece and at the back of the book the more detailed templates. This books works as a coffee table book to just look through to cheer you up on a winter’s day as it does for project ideas.

Cons

I haven’t really got any. It’s the kind of style that you either love or hate. If you like the cover picture you will like the projects ;)

Value for Money

Pretty good. Plenty of inspiring pictures and project ideas. I’d maybe look out for a paperback version to see if its cheaper,but try Amazon for better prices.

Would I buy it?

Maybe, not sure. I do like some of the projects and its great for inspiration, but not sure how many of the projects I’d actually make. I’m on the fence really.

Summing Up

If you like the cover pictures you will like it, it’s a great book and the inspiration value is high. If you aren’t sure, see if you can get it from a library too, you could easily transform the projects by using different kinds of fabrics. It’s well worth a look.

Links

Home Made Vintage Paperback version on Amazon under £8

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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