Archive of ‘craft community’ category

book review :: patternmaking for a perfect fit

a while back Steffani Lincecum sent me her book “Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-Create and Redesign your Favorite Fashions”.  Steffani is a sewing instructor who has taught costume construction at the University of Wisconsin and has worked on shows like Will & Grace and 3rd Rock from the Sun in addition to crazy things like sewing wings for a trapeze artist in a Tom Petty video. she is the real deal. I was more than a little thrilled when she asked me to discuss her book on the blog.

the book covers two different methods for making patterns with the emphasis being on re-creating existing items.   both methods are what is called ‘rub-off’ methods…one with paper and the other using fabric. the book takes you through both techniques and show you how to create patterns for skirts, dresses, blouses and handbags.  every chapter relies on a ‘source garment’ meaning a single garment used to make an original pattern.  it then outlines the best method to use; walks you through sewing the simple design and then provides more advanced options.  for example, her skirt chapter starts with a basic pencil skirt then provides the information necessary to alter the pattern to a casual denim skirt; a wool tweed pencil skirt; a striped a-line skirt; a wrap skirt; a bias-cut cotton skirt; and even adding in pockets. so…essentially working from one simple skirt to any kind of skirt you could imagine.

she does the same thing for the chapters on dresses, blouses and handbags…it moves from basic to advanced.  if there is one word for this book it is THOROUGH and I mean that in a good way.  some patternmaking books skip over how to sew it all together once you have created a pattern and others don’t really provide what you need to make your own patterns.  this book is doing everything from ‘cradle to grave’ as the expression goes.  by that I mean it includes 1) a discussion on the basics of fabric construction and tips on tidy sewing (anyone who has suffered through my beginner sewing class knows how near and dear to my heart both of these things are!) 2) how to measure yourself properly and how to estimate the amount of fabric you will need 3) making a pattern and then altering the pattern and 4) sewing it all together for each and every alteration as well as the basic pattern.  it takes you from from beginning to end.  in all, I’m very excited about this book. I’m proud I own it and I’m excited to dive into it…probably in the new year.

that said….

  

it is a ‘diving in’ kind of book.  when I open up this book I get the sense that I have to COMMIT to this book if I’m going to get anything out of it.  I think there are a lot of books out there right now that are ‘project-based’.  you can pick up those book and browse through them…get inspired and bang something out.  they are fun and inspiring. if those books are twilight this book is anna karenina…and not because it’s stodgy or hard to read, it’s an easy read, Steffani has a very friendly and real voice…but it’s because it for real. for real, for real.  it’s a college education in paperback form.  there is a lot in this book and a lot to be gained from having the discipline to really work from this book.  I’m genuinely hoping that I can set aside time in 2012 to work my way through this book and pick up every gem of wisdom that Steffani lays down.  maybe I’ve been eating candy and it’s time for some broccoli?!

 

stay tuned.

little stitchers first craft fair

this Sunday marked my very first time selling at a craft fair.  (cue: applause!) it was so much fun.  I spent the entire time talking and standing until my heels and throat ached…and the fair was only 3 hours long. but, honestly, you could not shut me up. I was loving it (and a little bit nervous) so I just kept chattering.  the nervousness is partially a permanent fixture but also stemmed from a thought I had earlier in the week.  I will share with you this little insight into my crazy. it goes like this:

you know when you have a garage sale because you are moving really far away and you are selling stuff you actually really like? you pull it all together the week before and you are kind of sad to let it go.  you debate with yourself over a few things saying to yourself…oh, but I really like this! but, I can’t take it with me! I’ve got to purge!!  then, the day arrives and you set it all out on your lawn and all your stuff starts to look a little shabby and sad.

people come by and they pass it over with a quick, judgmental glance.  or worse, they drive slowly in front of your house; deem your previously-loved items unworthy; and then speed away.  suddenly, that stuff you actually liked begins to tarnish before your very eyes.  at the end of the day, you don’t even want to bring what remains back into your house.  you feel demoralized and low. you order takeout.

I got it into my head that it was going to go down like this at the craft fair.  the things I lovingly made working away in my studio were heading down this road of sadness.  I’d never done a sale before…I had no idea what people liked and my head just got spinning.  I had nothing to trust but my own aesthetic sense and alone in my basement studio there came some doubt…….nasty doubt.

but, guess what! it didn’t go down like this at all! it was the opposite. it was the road to happy! friends came to help out; people wanted to talk to me; to hear about classes; to touch and feel and love the things that I made! it was awesome.  little girls bought skirts and put them on immediately…then they did spins or insisted on wearing them to school the next day! baby bibs, crayon roll and bags are off in the world prepared for their very own adventure.  I met new, crafty, local friends like Jennifer and I left beaming.

{view of the table. woot. woot.}

    

I was so worried about how things would go that I had had my husband count buttons and put them in a jar then I held a contest to see who could come up with the closest guess. the prize was a drawstring bag.  the contest was a huge hit, particularly with the under-9-female crowd. I mean a HUGE hit, girls were begging me to tell them how many buttons and dancing around talking about buttons.  in the end, I realized that I was in no position to be the one to tell them they didn’t win so I emailed everyone later to announce a winner. cowardly, I know. I could not handle the fallout.  (by the way, congratulations Jenn and Rebecca!! enjoy the bags!)

the two girls behind the table in the picture are my friends, though.   they were excited about the buttons, too, but they were honestly back there to help.  in fact, one of them held my hand for a while and told me stories in a really animated, fake-adult voice. it was probably one of the day’s highlights.

my boys arrived late in the day, they were thrilled to be ‘at my work’ and ran around like maniacs. all in all, the day was a little bit of chaos and a lot of fun…just the way I like it.

   

p.s. many of you have asked and yes,  I will definitely be updated and adding to the etsy shop this week. stay tuned.

p.p.s. thanks again to everyone that came out to see me. you made me sooo happy.

shop update and upcoming craft fair

  

just popping in quickly to say that i’ve added a few bibs to the shop.

and calling all locals! i will be selling goods at an upcoming craft fair (my first!).  so come and join me on Sunday, December 4th, 1-4pm at the Irving Primary School’s cafeteria here in Highland Park.

hello there!

welcome to the long awaited (for me, at least) new site for a happy stitch.  i’ve been sewing and even blogging for a bit but this marks the beginning of making it a bigger,grander part of my everyday.  in January I left my paid job when my passion for that work was overshadowed by a strong desire to find more time for my family, my kids and my (what was then) hobby.  tentatively but steadily, i moved ahead with bringing my love of sewing center stage in my day.  i started teaching some classes, quietly opened an etsy shop and found myself hooked up with kevin trainor, who made this site possible.  i now have lots of time with my kids and sew the heck out the time away from them.  consider me outed—sewing geek extraordinaire.

{the right light and some fabric awaiting its fate made for a still moment in the studio}

thanks for stopping in, be sure to check back as i stumble, trip through sewing, selling and teaching!

kid clothes week challenge wrap-up

i have been so focused on preparing for classes and working on the website that i had kind of lost my sewing mojo. so sad, isn’t it? iI was even considering opting out of the Elsie Marley kids clothes challenge week , which i’ve done a few times before.

but at the last minute i went for it.  i decided to jump in the ring after the new book,  sewing for boys arrived at my door unexpectedly.  my mother confessed ‘she couldn’t resist’…she saw the book and knew i had to have it.  that was sweet, huh?

{here’s a close up of the beautiful welt pocket, of which i’m exceedingly proud.}

often during KCWC i’ve focused on making LOTS of things and this time the book inspired me to take a different approach. i set a goal of only making one thing….this cute little jacket up above.  for the little guy who so rarely gets something new.  the pattern is easy to understand and the book is straightforward but, you know…it’s a jacket so i didn’t want to rush and mess it up.  i took my time, tracing and cutting the pattern one day and cutting fabric the next.  no pressure to GET IT DONE just an easy, peasy enjoy-yourself kind of pace.  in the end, i did finish before the week was up and remembered the joy of making things. who could ask for more? even better, the jacket made elsie marley’s blog, which is a super gushy great feeling.

with my bit of extra time, i made both boys hats…that match. they are so cute (the hats and the boys) how could i stop myself?

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