Sunday, June 30, 2019

Spring Book Reports: Mending, Drafting, Dressmaking, Outdoor Gear

I would like to begin this edition of Book Reports by acknowledging that I am never going to publish a book. This blog is good enough for me.
I actually have friends who have published books, gone on book tours, had to hire their own editors for their books and book their own tours.
It's harder than it looks, and I appreciate that.

But that isn't stopping me from being a pain in the ass about these books.

Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method by Sara Alm

She's all over Bluprint (formerly Craftsy). I have not taken any of her classes. She is well regarded.
Which is why this fell flat for me.

Her straight edge skills and manicure are on fire.
The course of study in this book, nope.

There's just not enough to go on in this book. Partly it's the editing: text and photos don't line up all the time.

Partly there's some magical thinking
Yes, you will have to click on these to read them. I'm sorry. You can just skip to the punchline below.

If your raised waistline is smaller than your waist -- Think about this for a minute.
I'll get a cup of coffee and a short bourbon. I'll be right back*.

The golden rule of publishing anything: Editors cost money for a reason. They are worth their wait weight in gold.

My main issue with this book : we're so caught up in drafting, we aren't seeing what we're drafting towards.

Why can't we see an example of this turns into? How about a drawing? The text goes on to suggest adding a flounce to the flounce. Why?  That could be fun, it could also be a nightmare. Also, grainlines? If you mention it, you should show it.

At no point in this book does the flat pattern piece get turned into it's 3D counterpart on a dress form. You see those samples on the cover?
That's it. We don't refer to them specifically. Use your imagination.

I have other issues, but they are similar to this.

Look, I get it, this is a complicated course of study. I assume Sara Alm knows her stuff. 
This is not enough book. I would have started with one thing and worked it all the way through to the piece on the dress form. Just one. 


Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh

Mending is hot. Visible mending is super hot.
#visiblemending and #remademay on Instagram are busy little hashtags 
If you are picking this book up, I will bet my lunch money that this is the chapter you are looking for:

This is why it's worth reading this book. Reinforcing denim is tricky and Rodabaugh has a nice set of photos on how to do this. How nice? You go look at it. She's considering use, wear, how to deal with stress points (patching for knees is a different case than patching a hole on the thigh or the hem)

I would recommend this as an Ebook.  This section is thirteen pages out of 200 plus. The precis of the book is about reducing waste. This book is very shiny but do you really want a pretty book about reducing waste and being thrifty? Maybe you do: it's darn pretty. Pun unintentional.

The upcycle part isn't very exciting. Nothing as novel as the sashiko meets denim on your knees (which I cannot recommend enough: she's thought it all the way through).

And just to be clear, it's spelled  Eileen Fisher.


So you want a good review?
This was nice

Dressmaking: The Indispensable Guide by Jules Fallon

I believe you can judge a book by its index. If you can find it, you'll use it.


Darts, page 72

Page 72. Allllright! This is what I wish Alm's book had. You can move those darts all over the place. She shows you how. Page 73 should have been in Alm's book.

I also believe that no matter how many sewing books I've read, I learn something new in a basic sewing book because reading is fundamental.

 Sleeve center should be just behind the shoulder line? I did not know that. It makes so much sense (which way do my arms move? Well, mine go forward mostly).

Sew and Repair Your Outdoor Gear by Louise Lindgren

This was really good as well. Sadly out of print, but available at reasonable prices. I got this one at Half Price Books for...half price.
It's a pretty good basic sewing book, if you have one of those people who need a project to get them to start sewing. Camping gear is a gateway drug to sewing.

She's so casual about 'turning the tent right side out'. That's a whole afternoon activity right there. Cats love it.

I didn't know this either (the spools having different twist directions). This is gold.

This is a mistake I have made. And it explains a smell in the gear storage area.
There's some good advice on heat sealing fabrics, but the best advice given in this book is to use a wood burning tool to cut your fabrics. In a well ventilated area.


*If you have a waist, which frankly I don't, it's often the narrowest part of your torso. Or we like to think so in western culture. If the area above your waist is narrower than your waist, I would ask you to remeasure and reassess where your waistline is. It's up to you. I don't have one anymore, and I'm not here to judge. Sometimes language gets away from us, and the structure of a paragraph makes us take directions that in hindsight....make no sense. Editors are angels from a better place.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Usual Stack of Sewing

Not every sewing project gets done front to back at one time.

My sister's pants did
I bought this tag from Drygoods at SewExpo. I saved them for my sister for this very project (which has been waiting for months).

I blew through this project so fast, I didn't have time to take photos of cutting them out. But what's to look at? Black pants, two pattern pieces, side seam pockets, made them before, so no fitting. Laying out the fabric to get it ongrain took the most time of any of the steps. The linen/rayon was heavy enough that adding seam binding (the home made kind) to the side seams makes sense (pretty guts, stressed seam reinforcement). The center/crotch seams have been serged and may get bound in time (I can see that serger thread coming away from the seam eventually). I made a couple of yards of very stripey shirting fabric into this bias tape so Oh Yes,  I Have More.
Much much more.

Other projects get whittled away at.
Helps if they are the same thread color.
Especially the ones that have a lot of seam ripping prep.

I lightened this photo, which I wish I could have done to see what I was doing with the seam ripping. Needed new elastic, and I went in through the top seam.
Seams actually. Everything had been sewn twice or more.
One problem with athletic clothing alterations is that there's about a billion seams in there to remove the thread from. Often when you get all that thread out, there's a seam that's full of holes and 1/4" wide; not much to work with when you finally get there.  But I love these, they fit, they were thrifted and I was willing to sit and pick ten rows of stitching out while I listened to my favorite pop culture podcast about blood types, fried chicken skin, and Chuggington. 

Senpai Buddies. NSFW.

They did get finished though. Wore em the next day. Worked fine.

Was coerced into finding room to put something away in the storage room.
Found lots of paper goods that are ruined by mold.
Had the entire set of lobby cards. The entire set was ruined.

After some tears, back to work on waistband expansion ideas.
 Putting in a button tab in a narrow seam in the waistband. I can reverse this if it doesn't work.

Putting a tab on the semi-side, creating a pleat over the front welt pocket. Need to move button over more. I grow during the day.
There will be more on this project as it progresses.

It's a busy time at work, so I'm not getting as much sewing in. Boss, I'm working! I'm not posting from work!
I swear!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's over; Pacific Fabrics Northgate is closed

I saw this sign back in May and my heart broke in two.
And then the tributes went up in the front window

 And then it started to go away

And so it was.
There was cake. Of course there was cake.

And Bob's infamous cookies

Of course I had a piece of cake.
I had two.

Trying to put a happy spin on a really sad occaision and stacking my photos of the store in here:

Umbrella kits. Because who doesn't want to make their own?

My favorite aisle

My second favorite aisle

Themed sales and local products

The seasonal collections for good causes

That time someone drove through the front window doors

Or the times the power went out.
Or the building flooded. That happened often.

Or, seven years ago when I didn't get the job there.
That made me go on this crazy 'choose your own adventure' ride. Which is why I'm writing this with a level of sadness and gratitude.

This was my local fabric store. This is where all those things came from. This was my showroom for clients, this is where I took my first paying client to buy fabric for her wedding dress. Also, my secret club, my sanity stop while the kids were in preschool, my after work impulse buy to correct my poor attitude, my everything store.

I love you all so much. I will see some of you again
Thank God for Leah. She's going to the SoDo store.
I've known her long enough to put her photo here. She should be the patron saint of ErnieKDesigns.  
Ah hell, she is.