Friday, August 30, 2013

Reading is Sew Much Fun


Today is about testing, learning, and the building blocks for new skills.  For the past few weeks, I have been trying to up my knowledge with sewing and I have found so many new things.  I've also found more up to date ideas of sewing that I never knew.

When I was watching my mother sew as a little girl, I thought she was the fabric guru of the century and that she actually came up with the concept of making clothes.  I didn't know all the steps that it took for her to complete a project and as a child, what did I know?  In high school, home economics was just another class or an easy A.  I didn't take it too serious because my mother was always showing me things that the other girls didn't have a clue about.  This made my easy class so appealing and caused me to take the class in the 2 part session.

Well, needless to say, that like life, things change.  We are not instantly born knowing everything and as life changes so must everything else, including us (me).  Since I started back sewing last year, my childhood dream of being a fashion savvy diva who designs and makes her own clothing has kicked into full gear.  I've managed to clear out my whole closet, donate most of my clothes to charity, and go clothless since May of this year.  I am taking my sewing very serious and without fail, working on putting my closet back together with things "I Love".

I know that sounds a little crazy, but I have always wanted to have a closet full of clothes that I made.  I love the color yellow.  When I go to shop in the department stores I can always see something that I bought on someone else.  If I find something that I really like, most of the time there is going to be a size issue or a modesty issue.  Department stores tend to gear their sizing and clothes toward the smaller sized crowd or the younger generation.  It isn't often that I find the right size, style, and color all together in one item

Over the years, I've learned that sometimes people can buy clothes and wear the clothes, but there are instances when people buy clothes and the clothes wear them.  Meaning, just because something looks good on the rack or the "dummy", doesn't mean it will look good on you.  Certain styles are not meant for everyBODY and certain colors are not made for all people.  For instance, when I wear yellow I feel like a million dollars and I am genuinely happy all the way around.  If I wear blue,, that is how I am going to feel because I hate blue.  There are times when I do wear blue to appease others, but I am not the same when I do, so I tend to stay away from blue,,and yes, I have the good old faithful blue power suit in the closet.

Still, that says a lot about my journey into sewing and why I started back sewing.  The desire to have my own clothes in the closet and the skill to make it happen is what's driving me on a daily basis, plus the fact that my closet is very empty.  So, in order to fulfill my life long dream of ME clothes, I've taken the task on of reading and studying.  This past year has made me realize that I really needed to sharpen my skills with sewing.

As a beginner, a lot of the books written about sewing would have been so helpful, but hey,,,we're talking about a teenager,,,LOL. Even so, these books are priceless and they are helping me, now, to create the wardrobe that I could only imagine I'd have in my dreams   I embrace the opportunity to soak up any advice, wasted fabric, and many milled hours of sleepless thought trying to work through some of the projects.  My never ending fascination with reading brings me to a couple of books that I've just read through and I want to share them with you.
Fabrics A to Z by Dana Willard   and    The Pattern Making Primer by Jo Barnfield & Andrew Richards
Fabrics A to Z is all about fabric.  It shows examples of the different types of fabric.  It has a chart at the top of every page that tells you what a particular fabric could be used for ie, fashion, home dec., or crafts.  There is a chart that advises on fabric properties, care of that fabric, and how to work with that particular fabric.

There is even a guide for the different types of tools and notions that you might need or use.
The Pattern Making Primer is a must have for people like me.  My body doesn't seem to fit every pattern, so I have to adjust certain patterns more so than others.  This book is a total guide into making patterns and making clothes that fit you.  My last project was a test subject for this book and I am proud of the outcome.  I bought a pattern that was for my smaller body size last year, but I had not used the pattern until recently.  The sizing was from 8-14.  I guessed that my size was a 16, but my measurements were telling me that I was way off.  I ended up making my last dress in a size 20-18-18, but an 18 overall.  Meaning my bust was a size 20, my waist was an 18 and my hips were a size 18 (41-36-41 actually measurements).  If I had not read this book and put the methods to work, I would have had a fiasco on my hands, which is something that happened to me on a project for my oldest daughter just a couple of weeks ago.  It took a little extra time to do the steps, but I ended up with something that I could really be amazed with and wear in public with my head up high.  No walk of shame  I don't like being a size 16-18, but I love wearing clothes that fit beautifully.  So, I accept the measurements (while working out in my mind like I'm Jillian Michaels) and go from there.

Here are a few pages from The Pattern Making Primer.
Sizing chart
Drape method
I would love to share all that there is from both books, but I can't,,,not enough So the best that I can do is give a small review of both books and hope that they can help you as much as they've helped me.  

Both books are great.  The fabric book is a must have for when fabric knowledge.  With the different types of fabric on the market today, it's quite hard to decide which fabric to use and how to use it.  This book is an aid into deciding, fairly quickly, what to do with all different types of fabric.

The pattern primer is resourceful in pattern alterations.  Actually learning how to use your sewing tools is vital to a successful garment.  This book will help with altering your pattern before you cut which saves time.  The examples show a lot of different scenarios that pop up during sewing and simple quick fixes that  can sharpen your sewing instincts and skills.  
As you and I continue to grow our sewing skills on our sewing adventure, take some time to read, search the internet, or take some classes.  You'll find that in the end, you'll end up with more than you thought possibles.  I hope you enjoyed this book review. 

Until next time, LOLPOH, Dellia