July 16th, 2015

me: portrait

I need to take photos....

but it is hot and I am lazy. And busy. :lol:

Been playing with the Rocketeer - she is one nice, sturdy machine! I whipped up a cover for Kat (my dress form - she needed to be covered. The Studio has a double window facing the street, and you could see her. I padded her out to match me, but really don't feel comfortable with people seeing my old underwear, know what I mean? :lol: She's been wearing an old t-shirt, but I can't fit patterns on her while she's wearing that....) out of the mauve lycra - the machine never paused or skipped or quibbled. I knocked out 6 pieced potholder tops (I need to buy the heat-proof batting so I can quilt them up) - she never hesitated. And the straight stitches are STRAIGHT. I also whipped up a quick fabric bag, and used one of the decorative stitches around the top. This thing is great!

I'm waiting on some medical exam paper so I can trace my patterns off, then I'll start making real clothes. :gulp: I've done a LOT of reading lately (I have gotten some really nice books lately!), so I think I'm ready...just want to not cut up the original patterns.

Book Reviews: I have acquired a few vintage books lately. Some hit it out of the park, some..not so much.

Singer Sewing Book: Already discussed it, HIGHLY recommend you try to find a copy. Go for the older ones - 1949-ish or so. Some of it's dated (No, I don't put on lipstick - fresh or not! - before sitting down to sew. :lol:), but chock-full of good tips. If you can only get 1 book, hunt for this one.

The Complete Book of Sewing by C. Talbot: Also good, about the same age as the Singer. She focuses more on actual dress-making than the Singer book, which is good. Not as....friendly a tone as Singer, but very, very good. Nice to have in your collection!

Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book: H. recommended this one; at first glance I wasn't impressed. Published in 1961, and the first few pages were not as in-depth as the 1940's books are. Then I hit the pattern altering section - THIS is why you need this book. VERY in-depth, with clear line drawings and photos. If you can already sew, and don't really want a basic how-to book to clutter your shelf, then get this one for clothes-making.

The Complete Dressmaker by Peggie Hayden: Printed in England in 1976. I am...not that impressed with it. The section on altering patterns is not bad, but the BH&G book is better. Still, it has a few things that the other books don't....not sure it's worth it as a stand-alone, but I paid $0.99 for it, so not a waste (and $3.00 or so for shipping. :shrug:)

Flat Pattern Methods by Norma R. Hollen: First published in 1961; basically it tells you how to go from a basic pattern (from a commercial company) and customize it. It's not really *altering*, it's more using that pattern as a sloper then jumping off and designing your own styles. I am SO not ready for this book, but it's got so much info in it I'm not sorry I bought it. It looks like it was used in a correspondence or college course - it has exercises at the end of each section, and small basic patterns to work with. I can see pulling it out to work on later, when I get more comfortable with making *clothes*. (And I can see it working when I started drafting from the Lutterloh books I have.)

Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto: This is the most current of the books I just bought; it was published in 1998. Oh. My. Goodness! It's nothing but how to alter patterns to fit *you*. Chock full of photos and detailed explanations (although some of it's not detailed enough for *me*; for example, it says slash and add to increase the fullness here....how much? Eyeball it? I need a starting point, and this book doesn't do that - in fact, none of them do. :sigh:) - I think it's worth tracking down a copy if you plan on doing a lot of sewing from common patterns (from the big 5 - McCall's, Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick, Burda). They do NOT suggest using a muslin; instead they want you to fit the paper pattern to you (or your dress form) make the changes, then go directly to your fashion fabric. Um......maybe later, when I feel confident. Right now, I'll fit the pattern, cut a muslin, THEN cut for reals.

I have another Mary Brooks Picken book on the way (her 1920's era dressmaking book), but I think the books I have here are enough to get started with. (I'm a bookaholic.....LOVE books.) I think I'm ready to start actually *sewing clothes* now!

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