Sunday, July 05, 2015

A Book List for Fashion Sewers

With the arrival of the internet years ago so many opportunities have opened up for all of us. The biggest one is the ability to learn on line no matter your finances and your physical abilities. I know I would like to go to college and study sewing with instructors that can tell me what I'm doing wrong. Especially in those situations where I know intellectually how to do something, but my fingers can't accomplish it.

I do read a lot and so have learned many skills in sewing that have far surpassed my retched Home Ec class of many years ago. So today I decided what opportunities are available on line. I hadn't gone very far before I found a list of resources on pretty much everything to do with fashion and garment sewing. I was happy to see that I had many of the books on one section of the list. While clicking the links on the list takes you to Amazon where you can buy the book, you can also note the information and either look for the books at yard and library book sales, or ask to borrow them from your library or interlibrary loan. Here is the Book list url: . You can also look at the entire website that is called the University of Fashion. I do not endorse this school or say it is not a place to go. I only found it by way of an internet search and know nothing further about it. However their resource list is impressive!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Shirtmaking Workbook by David Page Coffin

When I first signed up for the Amazon Vine Review Program I was hoping I would have a chance at more books like this one; one I wanted and yet didn't have the budget for yet. So I was very excited to be offered this book. While I have read it already, this book will take many hours of study and even more hours on line to fully appreciate all that the author has pulled together for us. this is my first book and internet and it is terrific. It isn't just a couple of wimpy links, but lots and lots of links with great information.

Here is the review that I wrote for Amazon:

The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources by David Page Coffin ISBN 9781589238268, Published by Creative Publishing International 2015, Soft Cover, 176 pages, full color illustrations.
After reading Mr. Coffin’s first book on shirtmaking years ago, I have been looking for another book from him for a long time. He writes with a clear style so that you can understand what he is talking about. He understands the needs of a home sewist as he was that himself. After many years of waiting, he has come out with a new book, The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern,Design, and Construction Resources. This book has all that and more. More than just a book it is a huge resource to on line places to learn more, get supplies, find inspiration, and visit his blog for help and more learning. While you can learn from this book without a computer, a computer just helps expand the reaches of the book at least a hundredfold.
At first I was scared when I heard that Coffin had published another book on shirtmaking. I was worried that it would just be an expanded and edited revision of his last book. Not so at all and actually if you have both books you will have what you need to make shirts on your own and to design the special touches you want but can’t find a sewing pattern with that actual technique. He emphasizes that they are not just books for men and their shirts, but both men and women’s shirts so that they will be the best made shirts you could ever hope to sew and have.
This book has an enormous amount of color photo illustrations of different types of collars and stands as well as lapels. It also has many full color photos of different types of shirts and has them categorized to help you learn the special techniques that each type of shirt requires. It includes interviews with famous sewists; links to their websites as well as links to the many different resources mentioned in the book including more than 100 downloads for collars, cuffs and plackets. All in all a Masters’ degree program in learning how to make shirts. If I could give more than 5 stars I would.
I would suggest that anyone interested in this book to acquire the first Shirtmaking book first as it will help your understand how to sew the shirts you will want to construct. While it does go into some changes for the shirts that you are making, it doesn't go into the detail that this new book does. If you need a pattern for a shirt to start you off, we have plenty of them at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts. Here are a few of them: For men's shirts you can go to this link. For Misses shirt patterns, you can go to this link. And for Women's Plus Sizes you can go to this link.  Here are some sample shirt patterns that we have at our store and there is plenty more where they came from! Sorry I don't know how to make them clickable.



Saturday, June 06, 2015

Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Sewing

I just posted a review of this book: Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Sewing on my blog Moonwishes Reads and Reviews  that you might want to read concerning this book. I saw no point in copying it over to here. This is the first real sewing book for children that I have run into, but I found it to be disappointing. However, if you are willing to overlook some of its flaws and work with your child to help them learn the skills in the book, then it might be worthwhile for you to purchase or see if you library has a copy.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last chance for Embroidery Library's Free May Designs!

Today is your last chance to 'buy' your Free May 2015 machine embroidery designs from Embroidery Library. This month there was three of them. One set was Suzani Butterfly with Flowers and also a Suzani butterfly on it's own. There is also a fun vintage sewing machine with birds and flowers.  Lots of places that these designs can be used.

While you are there picking up your May designs, you can grab the June designs already as well. There is a basket of lovely red roses in two sizes, and a Spice it up sampler also in two sizes. It is certainly worth your while to go get these designs.

What if you don't have an embroidery machine yet but are planning eventually to get one? Get those designs now anyhow so that when the day comes that you have an embroidery machine you won't be dependent on just the designs that come with your machine. I have been downloading free designs for years and I probably have maybe 4-5 thousand ones. I even download designs that are larger than my machine can cope with, but I want to have them just in case. In the meantime study up on brands you are interested in. I do recommend Janome machines, and no they don't pay me to say that! I've been using their brand of machines for close to 35 years at this point and they never disappoint. You can either buy a stand alone embroidery machine or choose from several different machines at different price points that are combination sewing and embroidery machines. While I do recommend that you support your local dealer, if you are so unfortunate to have a dealer that is a 'pill' or they are so far away, you may want to consider buying on line.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pressing Quilt Block Seams

For years I have read in every book and magazine along with discussions with other quilters, that when pressing seams in a quilt block to press BOTH seam allowances off to the darker side or to one side that will help keep all the seams aligned correctly for sewing all the blocks together. So I pick up a magazine yesterday (sorry can't remember the name off hand) and while I was looking through it, they had an entire page devoted to pressing the seams in quilt blocks open and why, including preventing two seams from getting off kilter when you sew over both of them where you might go from two layers of fabric to six within one stitch length. They had a lot of good reasons for pressing them open and pooh-poohed the idea of it leaving the seams with too much thread tension to hold up. As a garment sewer first before being a quilter, I know that I'm still wearing skirts regularly that I made up to 20 years ago with nary a popped seam. So how can the seam pop out so easily on a quilt when they don’t on garments which actually would get rougher use and lots of trips through the washer?

Anyhow I was looking for ideas on whether any of you have tried and/or routinely press your seams open instead of off to the side. It 'seams' it would help those of you that have trouble with intersections on your 7700 not get thrown off so easily.

Have the books and references been wrong for all these years? As part of my quest to be the best I can be with quilting, I have been trying hard to follow the rules, but is the this a rule that needs to be updated and broken?

Here are some great quilt magazines that I have enjoyed over the years. The one that I found the information about pressing quilt blocks was in the premier issue of a magazine on using pre-cuts. I don't buy precuts, I make my own. At the end of every project, with the leftover small pieces of fabric, I cut out 2 1/2" strips, 2 1/2" squares, 4 1/2" squares and 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles. If I still have odd shapes left over I will cut them into something that is a fairly common size, such as if I have enough to make a 3 1/2" square, that is what I will cut it into instead trimming off an inch of fabric on both sides and thus wasting part of it. If I wanted to, I could also make 5" and 10" charm and cake squares and fat  quarters, but instead if I have that large of piece of fabric leftover, I fold it up and put it back in my stash. But I've been thinking about rethinking that process. Stince I started working on hexagons for quilting, I am also always looking out for  leftover fabric shapes that I can use for different size hexies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Doll Faces machine Embroidery Design and Rag Doll Pattern

One of the things I like the best about Embroidery Library, besides all their great FREE designs that they give us, is their constant innovation. Today's email from them features Doll faces and a rag doll body design in several sizes and instructions for making the rag doll. Here is an example of just one of the MANY faces you can use.

You can find this doll face here: Doll Face . You can buy them in 4 different sizes ranging of this face from 2.51" X 1.79" up to 5.87" X 4.18". Obviously you can choose what eye color that you like as well. With the many variations in the doll's faces, whether awake, asleep or winking, as well as different mouth, eye and nose formations 36 different faces were showcased today x four sizes gives you a choice of 144 doll faces, some of which are suitable for the face of a Raggedy Ann and Andy type doll. Not enough faces for what you are doing? Go to the Doll Faces Department and take your pick from 30 pages of doll faces!

Over my years of sewing and machine embroidery, I have run across the occasional doll face that you were generally stuck with one size and one face, so this is fantastic for doll making, especially for rag dolls that a smaller child will use as there are no small parts like button eyes to fall off. With being able to embroider the face, a grandma or other type of holiday elf, can churn out a lot of unique rag dolls for presents in no time at all.

Not only did they show us some new doll faces today, today's email focused on ideas for children's clothing, such as this unicorn that comes as a split design for use on opposite sides of a zippered jacket or sweater. One of the designs was a dinosaur that they split on either side of a Kangaroo pocket so that you see the head coming out and the tail going into the pocket. There are even instructions on how to make this effect. These designs also come in whole animals in all embroidery or applique and feature a lot of different animals. The unicorn design you can see here with a link to the instructions on that page.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Who are these Fairy Tale characters?

Can someone help me out. I'm trying to list this girls costume pattern, Simplicity 0666 or 8514 Size 2-6. I recognize the one character, but her name escapes me and I have no clue who the other one is although she looks a lot like my niece Kim when she was little! As soon as I know who they are, I will get the listing up and thank you!