patterns

What sewing books should I buy?

We all know the internet is a great place to find information but sometimes I like to have actual books around to reference and bookmark (with actual bookmarks) and reference again and again.  I like a good, solid book that provides steady information and usually goes through a much stricter editing process than a random blogger or YouTuber (myself included).  And, for some reason, it’s always much easier to just open up a book and find the section than it is to constantly toggle between tabs in a browser (for me at least).

In no particular order, I give you the books on my shelf that I pull out and look at most often.

 

This Vogue Sewing book should be on every seamstress’ shelf.  This is packed full of a wealth of knowledge for all sewing levels.  Almost any question you have about the sewing process has an answer in this book.  I love the illustrations and clear instructions and the way they break down areas of sewing into their chapters.  It makes is super easy to follow and replicate in your own work.

 

David Page Coffin made me laugh more than a few times to be comfortable to admit in this book, Shirtmaking:  Developing Skills for Fine Sewing.  Chocked full of all the details you would need if you ever want to make a shirt of your own.  I definitely had many, many pages dogeared when I was developing our upcoming shirt patterns just to make sure I was doing it “by the book.”

 

If you want to start to dabble in making your own patterns, I highly suggest Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong.  It’s a straight up textbook so it will go into more detail than your run of the mill sewing book but it is very clear and concise and has wonderful illustrations.

 

Want to up your sewing game?  Grab a copy of Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer.  Her writing style is easy to read and provides clear instructions about how things are constructed.  The newest edition (which I have) has step by step instructions and is very easily followed.

 

Okay, so you have all your patterns and you can sew them up and all the finishing details are spot on but the fit just isn’t where it needs to be.  What do you do?  You grab a copy of Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina and fit that gorgeous garment to your specific curves and angles and posture.  The first half of the book runs through common fit issues and the second half of the book gives you step by step instructions on how to adjust those problems.

 

Those are the general sewing books I pull off my shelf most often.  I’m most definitely a “book” person and would totally grab a book to leave open on my sewing table than pull up a website but also really like to have my written instructions in front of me and a video playing too.

*I do have some affiliate links in this post to allow me to continue to write and bring y’all more tutorials and patterns!

Call for Testers: The Stedelijk Shirt

I just love a classic dress shirt on little boys.  And girls.  I used to be super intimidated by them and all their little bits and pieces that needed to be assembled just so.  But they’re really fun and easy to sew once you get over that mental hurdle.  And I’ve created a pattern specifically with a wee bit of wiggle room and special instructions for beginners or those who haven’t tackled a dress shirt before.  All the details of high end dress shirts are packed into this miniature version.

Options include a formal “tucked in” length or a more casual “untucked” length, formal or casual pleats, optional contrast button placket, pocket, and suggestions for fabric placement and ways you can use contrast fabrics.


Sized 18mo-12y

Sewing Level:  Advanced Beginner due to the button holes and smaller collar stand.

Fabrics used:  Broadcloth, twill, poplin (formal), chambray, quilting cotton, flannel (casual).

Testing begins Friday October 20 and concludes Monday October 30.  Boys and girls are welcome to model The Stedelijk Shirt; instructions are given to reverse the button placket.

 

Riley Blake’s Flit and Bloom {Blog Tour}

I had the most awesome opportunity to try out Riley Blake’s newest line.  Squee!  It’s called Flit and Bloom and the name is perfectly fitting for the sweet hummingbird inspired fabric.  Designed by the über talented Patty Young (you probably know her from her Modkid sewing patterns).
I had a specific dress in mind but when the fabric arrived in the mail, I knew it was destined to be a Fjell Dress.  The main fabric is directional so the gathered skirt was perfect for keeping all those little hummingbirds upright.  I wanted to experiment with a different panel for the bodice and the Bloom Henna Blossom was amazing.  In fact, I had a little bit of remorse over asking for more of the main hummingbird print and less of the henna blossom because the graphic nature of that print is just so up my alley.  We’re definitely digging the soft grays and light touches of greens and teals in that particular print.  I had a bit of the coordinating Scalloped Dot that makes the perfect hem facing.  I adore hem facings because you can hide a really cute accent fabric there.

 

And while I was featuring yet another dress for Girly, I decided that Boy-o needed some more mom-made shirts.  I’ve been working on a dress shirt pattern for kids because Boy-o wants some shirts like Dad and that’s so hard to find.  Boy’s clothes are so athletic-y right now.  He has an orchestra concert later this fall and needs dress clothes so this was the perfect opportunity to play around with some fun details in a mini dress-shirt that can be hidden when he needs to wear a suit for the concert.

 

Our new house is located in a beautiful valley near the bottom of the Rockies which makes for some amazing locations to take photos but the mountains create some isolation.  We’re an hour away from the nearest chain fabric store and I totally underestimated the amount of buttons this project took and didn’t have enough to finish off the cuffs.  And DH and I share a car so no quick trip to the fabric store (and the Target in that town).  OOPS!  At least I knew I wanted to roll his sleeves to show off the inside of the cuff with the Bloom Geo Blossom as the accent fabric.  I used the same fabric on the inside of the collar stand, inside of the collar itself and the inner button band.  Men’s (and boy’s) dress shirts are very straight forward, with only small details that make it stand out.  I can see this accent fabric with a light gray chambrey for a more casual look.  Maybe I’ll make another one…  😉  I’m working on this pattern right now with a “tucked in” length and an “untucked” length.  I’m told this is very important (by DH).

 

Be sure to hop over to the tour kick off post and enter the giveaway!  Thank you to Riley Blake for sending me some yummy fabric to play around with and congratulations to Patty Young for designing her 20th line of fabric!  I can’t wait to see what everyone else on the tour makes!

CLOSED: The Zonneschijn Dress

The Zonneschijn Dress is a hip, mod, shift dress that has major attitude!  Sleeveless with a slight boatneck, the rays emanating from the center front provide the detail.  Works best in heavier wovens (twill, canvas, etc) and solid colors.  Try it with 2 colors up to the whole rainbow radiating from that center point!  Invisible zipper closure in the back makes sure that your little one shines instead of the zipper.

Sized 2-16.  Testing will begin Friday September 15th and will end Monday September 25th.

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