Happy new sewing year – christmas show and tell.

My London themed tailors ham and seam roll
My London themed tailors ham and seam roll

Happy new year everyone. Hope this year is filled with peace, happiness, health and prosperity for you all. And of course, much sewing success. Did anyone get anything exciting (in the sewing sense – although you can always share what else you got if you want too!) for christmas? I got two great books…here are my very brief thoughts on them.

The first is Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

I haven’t yet got past the first 3 chapters, but I would say this book is probably aimed at the intermediate/ more experienced sewer. It is packed to the gills with great sewing techniques, including how to adjust/ redraft patterns, and 10 of Gertie’s patterns are included along with the book. Even though I don’t think I would go all out for Gertie’s vintage style, I would say the patterns are classic enough to be adapted to suit even the most modern of tastes. It’s more about the techniques and I think this book encourages you to be more adventurous with your sewing and push your own capabilities a little more instead of just relying on patterns straight out of an envelope. Thumbs up from me.

The second book is Vogue Sewing: Revised and Updated.

Vogue Sewing: Revised and Updated
Vogue Sewing: Revised and Updated

Again, haven’t had a chance to really go through this mighty tome in detail, but at a glance it looks great: easy to follow, clear drawings and very comprehensive. I am sure I will refer to this one a lot in the future and learn heaps in the process. Just flicking through I can see there are tons of techniques I have yet to cover and I look forward to sinking my teeth in to some this year.

I am also going to mention that for my birthday I was presented with The Colette Sewing Handbook (aren’t my family considerate!) I would say this book is aimed at more beginner level sewers. Not only are 5 Colette patterns included (great for hourglass figures like myself), but the techniques are all photographed and explained so clearly. Now I just have to get round to making something…

Colette Sewing Handbook
Colette Sewing Handbook

So the books above were all presented to me…I may have got a little present for myself 🙂 Did anyone else buy anything from the Craftsy sale? I have had my eye on “Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress” (hosted by Gertie herself) for a while, so snapped up the course when it was on offer. I have to say that, at least initially, my elation turned to deep annoyance when I discovered that the pattern which is included with the lessons (supplied in PDF format for you to print off/ tape together at home) only runs to a size 12. Size 12?! I know one of my new years resolutions may be to loose some weight, but come on! I sent Craftsy a somewhat irate email, and received a polite response back, saying I could always get a refund if I was not 100% happy.

Well, between christmas and new year I watched all 15 lessons and I have to say it was worth every penny. It was such an eye opener in terms of constructing a great fitting, supportive strapless dress. And I don’t think it would be so difficult to re-size the pattern (another new technique to learn), but even if I didn’t do that, I have Vogue V1174 in my stash to practise my newly learned (at least in theory so far!) skills. I highly recommend if you are thinking of making a strapless dress this summer. Just think of all the pretty bridesmaid dresses you could whip up….well, it has inspired me to definitely try a strapless dress for myself and see if I can make one that fits and makes me feel good in it.

Finally, Gertie used a tailor’s ham an awful lot in her Craftsy demonstrations, and, whilst I had been considering asking for one for christmas, I found a super easy pattern for one (and a seam roll) over on Tilly and the Buttons blog. The instructions are very clear too. I made mine from a thick upholstery type cotton I had in my stash which features this quirky London map print on it, and stuffed it with some pine shavings I bought in my local pet shop. Made for pennies, hopefully they will last longer than my new years resolutions may…chocolate anyone?!

My London themed tailors ham and seam roll
My London themed tailors ham and seam roll

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By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at sewmanju@yahoo.co.uk

3 thoughts on “Happy new sewing year – christmas show and tell.

  1. I’m a little after the fact on my comment, but I do think your post is interesting! I’m a plus size beginning sewer, and one of the problems I have is that many patterns don’t come in my size. I bought a beginning sewing book with patterns in it, and none of them were larger than size L. (?? Quite a LOT of women these days are larger than size L or 12, so I do find this exasperating!) I find the mainstream plus size patterns too big in the shoulders. I know I need to learn to adapt and alter, but I’m only a beginner, and I can’t do that yet. But it’s good to know that the techniques are useful; good basic technique must always be a good thing! I do read Gertie’s blog and find it interesting. I am sure she is a good teacher.

    1. Hey Leigh ann. Don’t give up! Nothing comes without practice and experience is the most valuable tool of all. Have you seen this class by craftsy? http://www.craftsy.com/class/plus-size-pattern-fitting-and-design/133?ext=20130209_SS_Sewing_V2_text1&utm_source=Craftsy-Sewing&utm_medium=Saturday_Specials
      It’s specifically on plus size fitting. I have bought 2 craftsy classes (only watched one all the way through!) but I think the video tutorials are excellent and this one includes the very popular vogue peplum top. Why not try it? Would love to hear how you get on.

      1. Thank you for your reply, and for the link. I’m sorry it took me so long to respond, but I appreciate your comments!

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