I am a sucker for two things: a handmade Valentine’s Day and a pretty table setting. So, when I got a copy of the book See Kate Sew * for review from Fons & Porter and was immediately smitten with the adorable, pocketed placemat and little wallets, I decided that our family needed a little “All You Need is Love” table setting for our Valentine’s breakfast. Ok, I’m a sucker for three things. I also LOVE breakfast. But, that is beside the current point.
It is no secret that I love Sanae Ishida. Her elegant style, thoughtful prose and intense awareness are a constant source of inspiration for me. She is the kind of blogger that I visit in order to “draw from the well”, so to speak. So it is not an understatement to say that I am quite literally thrilled to be a part of the book launch tour for her new book Sewing Happiness*. (P.S. feel free to scroll to the bottom for giveaway information, there is no shame in that game!)
[Photo by Michelle Porter]
This book is more than a collection of projects. It’s the story of Sanae’s path back to health after a debilitating disease and work exhaustion and the role that sewing played in re-finding her balance and happiness. She honestly stitched her way back to health. The book is an open, honest, raw and vulnerable conversation about how making things can heal us. (more…)
Guys! I tried my hand at paper-piecing and made a punk rock giraffe pillow! The pattern is from the new book The Paper-Pieced Home by Penny Lawson (more below on the giveaway!) and I’m up next on the blog tour.
Paper-piecing is one of those mysterious quilting things that people discuss with great fervor but it’s hard to understand what all the fuss is about until you give it a try. I have paper-pieced once before when working on this unforgettable quilt but I was excited to give it another shot. I’m happy with the results, I like this bright, funky pillow. (more…)
Have you ever had that thing happen when you pick up a book and you know immediately it is the book you are meant to be reading? You know you will follow every rule that book lays down and you will follow it to the letter. You are going to devour this book. You find yourself bringing up the book in totally unrelated conversations with friends and saying, “You should read this book. It’s amazing.” I’m there right now and the book is Make it Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When it Ain’t Pretty by Kim Werker.
You should read it. It’s amazing! For real, though. Read it.
It speaks to creative ventures such as sewing and crochet, but the whole framework for thinking about creativity keeps coming to mind when I talk to friends who write for a living or run organizations or problem-solve with toddlers. Anyone who has convinced a toddler to brush their teeth or wrangled words into exactly what their heart was trying to say understands everything involves creativity. At the root of so many human endeavors is creativity and this book is here as a guide through the messy, uncomfortable, untidy spectacular mess of it all.
Also, it has helped me draw up a specific definition for the term badass but more on that later. First, the book. (more…)
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.
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?!