Friday, February 26, 2016

From the Sewing Room: The Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book

I owe my sewing interest to my grandmothers and my mom. I lived a childhood surrounded by hand-made clothes, fabrics, and the ever-popular pins stuck in the carpet. (Guess how we found them?) Sewing was a fact of life. It's just what moms did, and I really didn't appreciate how amazing that life was until I started college and got back into sewing. So many bloggers I follow talk about having to figure it out for themselves when I already have a pretty solid foundation to build on. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert and I have a lot to learn, but I also know that I have two ladies to call on if I get stuck!

The hubs and I were visiting my parents last weekend when a book in my mom's sewing room caught my eye. It looked like an antique, and I started flipping through it just for laughs, to see what sort of archaic fashions it suggested. Little did I know that I was holding a gold mine in my hands! Behold, the Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book!

Originally published in 1961, this is the 1970 release that belonged to my late Mema. I honestly was not expecting much from it, but, wow!

I wish I had a sewing room like that! All the vintage! 
This is Shifty Suzy, your guide through 70s sewing. 
I'm a bibliophile to start with, and I love reading through sewing books to learn different approaches and techniques for clothing construction. As a basic handbook, I haven't seen one more thorough or that does such a good job of explaining, and it really surprised me that the terminology and skills addressed here are pretty much the same as the ones on the blogs I read this afternoon! I guess that shouldn't have surprised me, but it did.

The first part of the book goes into measurements, alterations, fabric, and assembling, and the second half discusses the different wardrobe categories and what to expect from them.

The section on alterations is amazing! I have seen most of these explained umpteen times in multiple forms, but something about the way they were explained in this book, it clicked! Can't wait to try them out!
When the book discusses alterations, the reasons for these alterations are called "figure faults".
Figure faults? Really?  

It ever goes into how to cut your fabric based on the print!

This page is from the section on Sportswear, and I just love it because it shows you all of the different looks you can create from a basic shift dress pattern! I always get a little nervous at the idea of straying away from the pattern, so it's always nice to have someone holding your hand. 

It also has a treasure trove of fun 70s fashion advice! 

Get me a pillbox hat, stat!
Luckily for me, my dear mother let me bring it home with me, and I can't wait to dive into it! It will be a treasured resource in my sewing library. My mom and grandmother will still be my go-to, but I now have a little piece of my late Mema to help guide me on my sewing journey too!  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Valentine's Day Sewing: Colette Seamwork's Lisbon & Almada

After a few months of lurking, I finally took the plunge and signed up for a monthly subscription to Seamwork, Colette Patterns' monthly e-magazine. The magazine itself is beautiful: page after page of exquisite photography and in-depth articles on needles and threads of sewing (see what I did there??), but with your subscription you also get two relatively quick-sew pdf patterns exclusive to Seamwork.

This month is the intimates issue, a topic which is a popular trend in sewing right now and one that intrigues me. (I mean, sewing your own bra? How cool is that??) The monthly patterns are for the Lisbon slip and the Almada robe, and after looking through all of the beautiful illustrations, I'm thinking, why not? Let's give this intimates thing a try!

My original plan was to make the Almada in a drape-y cozy double-gauze that makes you want to wrap it around you and curl up with a cup of tea and a good book, like the model version. However, when I started looking at fabric, what caught my but a floral-splattered stretch satin for the Almada and a black crepe de chine for the Lisbon! Now I'm thinking, Holy crap, I'm nuts! These silky things and I don't get along. We've been down this road before, and it ended in disaster and tears and a trash can! But, thinking I might be a little older, wiser, and better armed this time around, I went for it.

Oh, I went for it!

The Lisbon:

Black crepe de chine (I think?) slip, trimmed with elastic lace and finished with French seams. (So tidy!)

The Almada:

Floral-splattered stretch satin kimono-style robe, finished with French seams and bias tape.
Bottom line is that I am THRILLED with how these turned out! They both feel so luxurious to lounge around in, and I want the robe to multiply. Many times. The slip too, but the robe is just heavenly!

I'm really happy with my fabric choices because the silkiness really is what gives both pieces that luxurious feeling! Dealing with the fabric wasn't that terrible. I've definitely learned from my previous mistakes, and while it wasn't super-easy to work with (especially for cutting), taking the time to figure out and use the correct techniques for cutting and construction really make a difference.

I'm also proud of the insides of these pieces, which is a new focus of mine. Historically, as long as the outside looked good, I didn't really care what my seams look like! But with maturity comes wisdom, right? Maybe. Anyway, I'm trying to be much more conscious of making the insides look as good as the outsides. French seams definitely put both of these pieces into that category!

So I've taken the first step on my intimates adventure! What's next? Hmm. a bra, maybe? :)

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quilting Adventures, Part 2

Part 2 is....the finished product! Yes, I actually sewed it together, quilted it, and bound it! All by myself! It's all warm and snuggly and laying on our couch, ready for those cruel Florida winters... (Hey, it does actually get cold-ish here!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quilting Adventures, Part 1

Back from a bit of a hiatus. We've moved states and school started, so it's taken a bit to get settled in. I know a lot of sewing bloggers are thinking, "Yay! School has started! I can sew again!" and I'm over here thinking, "NOO! School has started! There goes my sewing time!" Luckily there's always the summer!

Anyay, I made a quilt! I did! I did! Well, to be fair, I finished a quilt. I've started a few, but this is one of two that I've officially finished. My nephew owns the first one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reverse Applique Naptime Blankets

Before you start asking, no, I don't have any children (unless small furry ones count...I think they somewhat do. Especially when they wake you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and sing the song of their people at your bedroom door at 6am...)

However, these cute little blankets come together so quickly that, based on my knowledge of average naptimes (I do have two young nephews), you could whip up a few in no time! If you're pressed for time, you could even skip the reverse applique and still have a cute little blanket. And they're so much fun to make! Once you learn reverse applique, there's no going back--no special machine required!