First conquest in NYC

And I hadn’t even check into the hotel yet! We arrived too early for check-in, so waited at Bryant Park. I stopped by Kinokuniya Japanese book store, where I picked up Ryuichiro Shimazaki’s men’s coats book.

I’ve been tempted ever since Peter of Male Pattern Boldness gave us a peak inside. The pea coat he made from the included pattern looked fabulous & oh so professional. But as it’s men’s coats, and I only really do selfish sewing, I stalled.

Then earlier this year, after seeing my me-made trench, my brother joked about getting me to make him a Burberry Wannabe. So I checked out this book in store to see if it’ll help. The detail shots and the photo styling sold it to me. That and the fact that nothing else in the store was calling my name. (Could be jet-laggedness. Or could be that my taste changed. Or maybe Japanese fashion changed. Or all of the above.)

All I have to do next is to learn to read Japanese and figure out how to do transatlantic fittings. Or so I thought.

Well, it turned out I needn’t have worried my pretty little head. My brother was smart enough to know that he could be waiting a long time to get a trench out of me. So he went ahead and save up for the real McCoy. It was just as well since he’s obviously a Burberry snob, and probably wouldn’t have been gratified by my run of the mill trench without all the neat details that goes into a real Burberry. I manage to get some photos of these details. Some of them are actually shown in the book as well.

Burberry Men’s Trench Details!

Shimazaki’s men’s coats book Pattern No.1 details

Shimazaki-Mens-Coat-book-pattern-1-detailsFascinating innit! Not sure I’d bother with all of them details myself. But the sewing geek in me just can’t resist peaking.

The Burberry trench itself does look quite good on my brother. I’ve read elsewhere some complaints / concerns about them being a bit too big and baggy. But this one has a smart slim fit. Maybe those complaints apply to trenches from the yore years when baggy was in. As for personalized fit, the only alteration the store could offer was sleeve length. That’s where being able to sew a wannabe might come in handy. There is only so much that RTW could cater for. We’ll see. Maybe someday this book will come in handy. If not for my brother, maybe for MR – if I could ever convince him to dress up outside work!

Fabric lust & updates

First of all, welcome onboard all you recent subscribers. Sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately. After that epic fitted sleeve experiment & documentation, the Photographer In Me decided she’s done enough for the year, leaving me with no pretty pictures to complete write-ups of my recent projects.

So while I try to coax her away from those holiday cocktails, here’s a wacky fabric find to entertain you…

Found at B&J Fabrics online:

digital print scuba knit (neoprene?)
with matching silk charmeuse & matching silk chiffon!

Now I’ve seen a few matching printed silk charmeuse & chiffon at B&J before. But scuba knit!?!? Well you’d have to be a much more creative designer than me to make it work! OK, just because you can have matching everything doesn’t mean you should. But I have seen it worked. And I do like me a bit of edgy high-low, sporty-refined mix. If these weren’t so expensive I’d challenge Oonaballoona, the mighty queen of pattern hacking to have a go at these psychedelic fabrics.

And how did I come across these fab fabrics? Well, I was planning for my…

Upcoming NYC trip! Happy Face!

No trip to NYC can be complete without some sewing purchases of course. But I’m trying to be more organized this time. In the past I’d come home with bulging suitcase of scrumptious fabrics. Yet when I actually get down to sew I’d be missing bits and pieces I need. And there are just some things that are really hard (or really expensive) to get here in London, the supposed Fashion Capital of the World (if the London newspapers are to be believed). Like charmeuse (for lining or coordinating top). Or reversible zipper. Or coordinating ribbing for sweater knits.

Sadly MPB Day is long over and there doesn’t seem to be any other NYC sewing meet-up in early October But if any of you Tri-State based sewists are free, I’d love to meet up and check out your latest project(s)! Contact me via my online form if you’re free to meet up in NYC in early Oct.

And Sad Face time… Vogue / McCall / Butterick boycott

I was also going to pick up some Vogue / McCall / Butterick patterns bought during recent online sales. But here I hit a snag. Seems like one of my orders has gone missing and I might be left out of pocket. Sad Face.

I had to update the shipping address while placing the order. But for some reason the order still end up being shipped to an old address. I think maybe there’s a problem with how their online ordering system is set up. I updated the address in the “Manage My Addresses” section, then chose what I thought was the updated address during checkout. Maybe it takes a a while for the new address to be saved. So when I tried to use the address immediately the shopping cart received the old address instead.

And of course I didn’t check the confirmation email carefully because nothing had ever gone wrong before with my V/M/B orders. So I didn’t think anything was going to go wrong this time.

Customer service said they couldn’t help but would I like to place and PAY for a replacement order. Erm, what do you think? No thanks. I’m really put off buying from V/M/B website again. Which is a shame since they seem to have finally gotten more responsive in the online sewing community. My worst fear would be if they start putting out amazing patterns while I’m still on my stomp-my-little-feet V/M/B boycott.

Fingers crossed that the mis-delivered package will eventually find its way back to V/M/B and I’ll at least get a refund. But I’m not holding my breath since package tracking shows it had already been signed for by the building management. Inflexible / seemingly uncaring customer service sucks.

 

Sewing for Tweens?

OK, so what’s up with sewing for Tweens? How come there’s hardly any sewing patterns for Tweens & Teens?

I haven’t got kids of my own. But my niece has just turned 11. And as I have been such a neglectful aunty in so many other ways I thought it’s about time I make her something. But it’s such a nightmare! Not least because she lives in Ohio. Is it possible to sew long distance? Especially for fast growing kids? Or should I give up before I even start?

While I visited recently, I took her shopping at Jo-Ann‘s. She was so indecisive. Her parents have been buying all her clothing so far. Judging from the few times I tagged along, it seems like the stuff that she likes get vetoed. Poor girl – I think it affected her interest in clothing and/or her confidence in choosing clothing.

Anyway, here are the patterns I picked with some input from her…

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But she much prefers the adult patterns, like this one from Project Runway collections.

I thought this one might look too old on her. I tried looking for teen fashion magazines to get a bearing on what’s fashionable but still age appropriate. Not much luck.

Choosing fabrics was just as difficult. We ended up with these:

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The black floral netting she chose. She wanted a transparent jacket in this. I’m not so sure it’d be age appropriate. I’m thinking maybe an underlined top or dress using one of the McCall patterns we bought.

She also chose the sparkly foil faux suede – oh how kids love their sparkly stuff! Maybe the Burda jacket pattern would work well for this with a red or bright contrasting lining.

The faux suede cut lace I chose. I thought this might look cute with a bright underlining as a dress, top, and/or skirt.

What do you think?

Do you have daughters of similar age whom you sew for? Where do you find patterns for them? Any other advice on sewing for Tweens much appreciated!

I think these will have to be my next few sewing projects. I’m afraid that if I wait her measurements would change and nothing will fit! }:-)

Sewing Bits & Bobs

While in NYC I also stock up on some useful supplies. Some because they’re hard to find in London. Others because I’m curious or the price is right.

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  1. Extra large sheet of wax carbon paper. I’ve tried the usual carbon paper sold to home sewers but kept going back to a couple I picked up from Steinlauf & Stoller over 2 decades ago. The home sewer version were just too small and don’t last as long or mark as clearly.OK, sometimes these waxy version don’t disappear completely. But honestly, I’m only sewing for myself and it’s not like people I know offline is going to come lift up my hem and examine the inside of my garment! And believe me I’m naughty – I mark the stitching lines with this rather than the cutting line. My reasoning being I rather have more accurate stitching which affects what people can see – the fit & shape of garment – than fuss over what most people won’t see – like the leftover markings.Anyway, this time around I couldn’t see any on display in Steinlauf & Stoller. So I picked these up in a few other shops (Sil Thread, Pacific Trimming, NY Elegant Fabrics, Fashion Design Books). Most were $5.50 per sheet.  The bookstore near FIT has it at $3.75, but I haven’t checked if it’s exactly the same quality as the others.
  2. Clover Chaco Liner & Clover Hera Marker from Sil Thread. Because I’m constantly looking for a better marking tool. The Hera Marker is a curious looking thing. I got it more for transferring fabric painting design than standard marking. I was using an plastic needle for sewing hand knits for a recent project and it did my hand in – blister and all. BTW Sil Thread have quite a few more tools from Clover and other East Asian brands that I haven’t seen elsewhere in NYC.
  3. Gridded plastic rulers. I have a few of these already and I can’t live without them. So useful for pattern alteration & adding seam allowance – if you use inches instead of cm. I can’t handle metric – mm is just too fussy for me. I don’t cut & sew accurately enough for such fiddly accuracy to make any difference. 1/16″ – 1/8″ is as accurate as I can handle. OK if you’re following pattern drafting instructions the decimal system of metric may come in handy for calculation. I just use a calculator. I can convert 1/8″ unit to decimal by heart now so it’s no big deal for me.These are thinner and more bendy the acrylic ones used by quilters. I find it easier to see the marking more accurately. The thick acrylic ones were casting confusing shadows. You can get these in many different places, including art stores like Pearl Paint.
  4. Seam Greats, Stitch Witchery, Stay Tape. Mentioned by a few bloggers, so I’m curious. Let’s see if they get used or just gather dust along with other gadgets I’ve collected over the decades!
  5. 2013-sewing-bits-2Metal Zippers from Sil Thread for the biker jackets + matching skirts that I’ve planned for these newly acquired fabrics.
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    These slide so easily but only come in two lengths. But Sil Thread will cut them to size for a small fee ($1 per cut + $1 per additional pull).

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  1. Lace from Daytona Trimmings. This was one of only two purchases on the day of the Meet Up! I’m not a big fan of lace – because it’s hard to find ones that I don’t think look streetwalkerish! But this one ticked the box for me. Not sure what I’ll use it for yet. It’s obviously not considered cheap. The guy cutting it was like “It’s $5.99/yd OK? Are you sure you really want 3 yards?” Hell yeah. Cheaper than an one-way London Underground cash ticket. And it’s not like I can get more easily whenever I need to.
  2. bag-repairFaux (?) Suede Trim from one of the numerous trim stores…Most of the stuff in the store look a bit cheap (she says snobbishly). But this will be my best chance of repairing a cheap (!) but well-loved and well-used leather handbag. I’ve been searching for a replacement trim for years!
  3. 2013-us-store1-4
    Various Ribbons & Trims from Tinsel Trading Co. I love the feel of this store even though it’s not cheap, especially when it comes to the the vintage trims. There are some lovely bits for the scrapbook crafters too.
    2013-us-store1-5
    gold-trim-inspirationTwo of the gold trims I got are vintage. I love the antique gold. I’m thinking of using these to trim jacket like in one of my inspiration photo.

Finally, some obligatory pattern purchases:

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These were ordered during the last online sale and sent to my brother’s. I usually find only 1 or 2 that really interest me. But being a cheap skate, I always try to get max value for my shipping dollars. Which means padding out my order with other half-hearted purchases. I really should just stop buying yet another bog standard pencil skirt or drapy dress pattern and start making things. I must have only used 5% of my pattern collection at best.

So that’s it for my own sewing pleasure. Tomorrow: the sacrifices I made for others! The Selfish Seamstress would have been shaking her head!

Show us Your Stash….. Pia

Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Mercury – Handmade Fashion both egged me on to reveal my stash. Having thoroughly enjoyed peeping into their stashes, how can I refuse. So here goes.

1. How long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?

I started sewing probably in Junior High School. That’s like almost 3 decades ago! But there were some big gaps in my sewing history – if not in stashing.

As for size of my stash, now here are some scary stats: Current count – 264 pieces of fabrics, 753 yards (including linings, excluding interfacings).

2. Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?

Most are in my bedroom now.
My sewing room isn’t big enough for stashing & sewing.

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One trunk has escaped into the living room.

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A few boxes remain in the sewing room with a few more pieces hanging in the closet. New arrivals hang about anywhere while awaiting processing.

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As you can see I box up most of my fabric. That’s because I have a moth problem.

I started out with opaque boxes and swatch cards to keep track of the fabrics.

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But given how easy it is to forget what I have – out of sight out of mind & all, I’ve started swapping to clear plastic boxes.

I do try to group similar types of fabrics together, sometimes even similar colors when I have multiples – easily done when you don’t remember what you already have when you go fabric shopping yet again!

3. What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?

floral printOldest might be this lovely silky floral print I inherited from my Mom. It’s gorgeous. But there is only 1-3/8 yards of this 38″ fabric. So I’ve been quite indecisive about what to make with it.

Of the fabrics I bought myself, I have absolutely no idea! I don’t think I have any left from Junior High, but I’m pretty sure there are a few from High School.

stash-fabric-hl-1 Like this seersucker, which I tried to dye a long time ago and end up with a slightly hippie tie-dye effect. Like most fabrics I buy, I didn’t have a specific plan for it. I get many ideas along the way, but again commitment phobia kicks in time and again.

4. What’s your favorite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?

OMG – you can’t make me choose! I love them all! Well, almost all. Each one is full of possibilities…until you sew it up!

5. Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?

They first incubate and collect dust while I find them a hiding place. As you can see my main stashing area is bursting at the seams. It takes a while to find a home for new-comers.

I do try to wash them ASAP. But…I hate doing laundry, so you can imagine how long my good intention last. Especially the fancy silk and wools (and any specialty fiber). P.I.M.A.

So I’ve resorted to a spreadsheet to keep track of what I have and what’s ready to rock-n-roll.

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6. How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

LUST. Period. Especially off-line. NYC fabric stores are especially lethal for me. I can pawn my Other Half’s apartment to spend it all in them damn stores.

OK, there might be a few pieces bought to copy some lovelies from clippings. But once they’re in the stash I start having other ideas.

7. Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?

Almost all of them? If I must choose, then maybe these silkies.

stash-fabric-hl-2 stash-fabric-hl-4 stash-fabric-hl-3a stash-fabric-hl-3b

I mean, that says it all. Heavenly. Expensive. Limited quantity. Slippery.

Will my design, fitting & sewing skills ever do them justice? Note how I’ve even bought a pair of shoes just to match one of these fabrics. I guess those shoes will never be worn either.

8. Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?

My other main addiction is clippings. And it’s a good thing I ditch the rest of the magazines. Otherwise they’d never fit into this neat little photo:

stash-clippings

Patterns again look rather contained, partly due to clipping and increasingly more magazines than traditional Big 4 patterns. Oh, and some digital ones. But I only discovered the magazines not so long ago, so I’m sure this pile will grow over time.

stash-patterns

So far so tame. But lurking in every corners are actually mini-stashes of all sorts. None enough by themselves to warrant notice. But add them all up and you got the Other Half complaining you’re taking up the whole apartment!

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Salvaged bits for making bags and hats. I gave up on the ideas of making my own shoes.

stash-misc-3

Jewelry making stuff

stash-misc-2

Chinese knots paraphernalia.

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Couture flourish finishing school – aka embroidery kits & bobs.

stash-misc-1

Knitting for Dummies.

Let’s not forget UFOs & RTW awaiting upcycling (2+ boxes in my main stash area).

Or the scraps that my Plastic Daughters have laid claim to – having had their big heads filled with fanciful ideas from doll mooks (magazine-books) I foolishly bought them. Even retired lace undies & stockings with runs have not escaped their greedy little hands.

stash-misc-5astash-misc-5b

9. Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?

I dare not. That’d be tempting Fate. Especially as the Other Half had already suggested going to NYC for holiday this year. That’s any resolution busted already.

I just need to keep my head down, tackle one project at a time. And get a handful of TNT patterns sorted. Yeap, I think TNTs will be my stash-busting super-heroines!

What about you? Are you going to…

Show Us Your Stash

Here are the questions if you want to follow the same Q&A format:

  1. How long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?
  2. Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?
  3. What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?
  4. What’s your favourite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?
  5. Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?
  6. How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?
  7. Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?
  8. Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?
  9. Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?

Swap Your StashAnd if you’re seriously busting your stash this year, don’t forget to check out Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Mercury – Handmade Fashion‘s February Stash Swapping Party

In the meanwhile, more guilty pleasures for all you fellow Peeping Toms! ;-)

La mia Boutique Nov 2012

For a while now I’ve been keeping an eye on Italian sewing pattern magazine La mia Boutique. I’ve learnt about it from Fehr Trade, who generously shared pictures from her numerous international sewing pattern magazine subscriptions. Unfortunately some of the other ones that she blogs about like Spanish Patrones or Brazilian Manequim are impossible to find in London. Actually, the only place I’ve seen La mia Boutique is in Selfridges department store on Oxford Street, London (in the Ground floor magazine section, Italian / international magazines shelves). You would have think London being so close to Europe and such a cosmopolitan and international city, that it would be easy. But no such luck. Anyway, one (besides the ubiquitous Burda) is better than none.

So La mia Boutique. The occasional issues I’ve seen weren’t really my cup of tea. But the other day I came across the November 2012 issue and it was right up my alley. So I’m now proud owner of one issue :-)

In case your taste differs and you want to know if it’s worth getting this issue, here are pictures of all of the patterns.

Classy yet Interesting…

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_02

The jacket was what caught my eyes. It’s got some funky details, but the end result is a very wearable classy 60ish silhouette. Looks expensive. I like!

And the dress, so simple yet elegant, made even more desirable by the gorgeous print.

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_01

I’m less crazy about these two. The sleeveless one on the left might work if you pick the right fabric with a bit of drape. Otherwise the length and volume would make it too bulky and unflattering. (See Paunnet’s review of this issue for another less flattering photo of this top.)

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_06

I like this coat too. I know, it doesn’t look like anything special. But this silhouette is actually the closest to my Top Shop Spring coat that I need to replace. So Yes! Result!

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_08

This shapely yellow coat with detachable fur collar looks quite interesting too. But I’m not sure the skimpy fur collar quite work. I think the recent Burda version (2012-08-103) would work better.

The dress again is another one with interesting details but a classy silhouette.

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_07

Ditto with this dress. Paunnet was lamenting the fact that the fabric choice doesn’t show off the interesting details. You can certainly highlight them with contrasting fabrics. But actually, I quite like the subtly of this execution. Different strokes right? Hence the importance of showing all so you can judge for yourself! :-)

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_09

The tech drawings (see below) for this jacket and the one just above are again quite interesting. But the results don’t do much for me. The one above is weirder – I probably wouldn’t ever make that one. But this one look classy enough that I may eventually make one a fabric that showcase the details better.

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_14

These are less interesting details-wise. But with the right fabric and styling choices, they’d make nice basics.

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_13A few more that aren’t as interesting for me. But maybe they’ll be right up your alley.

LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_04
LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_03LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_05

And for you Curvy Lovelies…

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LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_12LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_10

And not forgetting the Little Ones…

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LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_15LaMiaBoutique_2012-11_16

Tech Drawings for those who
don’t trust leggy models…

And if it doesn’t come in exactly your size …

…There’s grading instruction / tips in the introduction section of the pattern instructions.

…which Google Translate turns into this…

Development of sizes

A method to increase or decrease the size of the pattern chosen

  1. Return on sheets of paper the various pieces of the pattern in the size closest to your own.
  2. To obtain its size by a model size immediately above or below, follow the variations suggested in the diagrams of this page.
  3. The figures below show the transition from one size to another with the relative displacement in centimeters. In our diagrams the solid line indicates the size detected by the pattern, the short dashed the smaller size, the hatch on the next size up.
  4. For other sizes, vary the displacement measurements indicated in diagrams of a single measurement for each size, but are advised to avoid overpasses to two sizes as not to alter the model line.
  5. If you really want to develop some sizes of difference, before cutting the fabric, you should wrap the head in a slight sliver of tailors and try it exactly. [Huh???]
  6. To shorten a model: Drill a horizontal fold on the tissue, to the extent necessary, to about half of the bodice and skirt.
    To extend a model: Cut the tissue in the same position explained above and place a piece of tissue paper, the required length (see page 38).
  7. For the grading of the rectangles follow the instructions given in the text (see Model).

The actual instruction for the patterns are brief like in Burda Style magazines. But there is an intro section with illustrated summary of some common sewing techniques / steps. Unfortunately it’s all in Italian of course. So probably best for sewers with a bit of experience who can decipher patterns and sew without detailed instruction. Otherwise there’ll be a lot of typing into Google Translate and a lot of Huh? and laughs!

LA Shopping Spree…Part 2

Next up on my shopping list are books. London used to have a bookshop aimed at fashion students with hard to find text books etc. But it seem to have closed down. Last time I was in LA, I come across one such book store in the Fashion District. So this time I decided to stock up on unusual finds to keep me busy on that sleepless flight back home.

An Eye-Opening Education

First up is the Fashion Book Store in California Market Center building on E 9th St between S Main St & S Los Angeles St. Here I took the plunge and got a couple of specialist books. They cost an arm and a couple of legs. But I figured that I can’t get the same info easily elsewhere. Plus they’ll last me a lifetime (or what’s left of it anyway). Besides, someone took the trouble to collect, collate, and share all these insights (rather than regurgitate what others have already written loads about). And they deserved to earn some money for their effort.

The Bra-Maker Manual, vol 1 & 2

By Beverly Johnson. It’s not just a book about sewing bras. It actually has lots of discussion and pattern diagrams for different types of bras. Some shows the different grainlines required for different pieces. There are also info on pattern alterations for different bra fitting problems. Very interesting.

Designing and Patternmaking For Stretch Fabrics

By Keith Richardson. This one is very timely for me. I’ve been compulsively shopping a bunch of stretch knits at Tia Knight’s Tissu online fabric store, and trying to devise a basic knit pattern block.

This book has just what I need: Instructions for creating slopers for different types of stretch fabrics. It also has a stretch terms and jargon buster, and simple flat pattern design instructions for stretch garments.

It even has the answer to a question that has been bugging me for ages: What does bias on knit do? The answer: Not a whole lot. It says “bias garments are never created with knit fabrics. Knit bias does not have any of the stretch and drape characteristics that woven bias would impart to garments.”

v1282-layoutWhich begs the question: Why does the cutting instruction for V1282 top recommends a bias layout. For 2-way stretch fabrics no less!!!???

Speaking of 2-way vs 4-way stretch – another question that has been bugging me for a while – this book again has the answer: 4-way stretch is essentially 2-way stretch with spandex added to help with recovery. Stretch outward sideways and up & down without spandex = ‘2-way stretch’. Without the spandex this eventually sags or stretch out of shape. With  spandex added to aid recovery, it becomes ‘4-way stretch’. Presumably the additional ‘2-way’ refer to the fabric ‘stretching’ back into shape – ie inward sideways and up & down.

(I just checked the Amazon reviews for this book. I was surprised to see the low score. This seems to be because of numerous typos in the book. But considering the scarcity of pattern drafting books for knits, I still think the book is worth it. As Kathleen Fasanella aka the Fashion Incubator says in her review of the book: “no book is perfect”. I will just keep an eye out for those typos.)

I almost got “Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers” as well. But I decided it was too similar to other sewing technique books. And I already have too many of those and not enough room to store them. Besides, the tips for working with difficult fabrics don’t cover the type of temperamental fabrics I’m currently wrestling with – stretch fabrics.


I also visited Kinokuniya the Japanese book store in Weller Court, Little Tokyo. Surprisingly it also has a good selection of fashion and sewing books. I was a bit tempted by the Pattern Magic & Drape Drape series and others like them. But my days of weird boxy Japanese garment aesthetics is really behind me. There was a time decades ago when I was a big fan of COMME des GARÇONS. But now I’m making the most of what figure I still have. Maybe one day I’ll get back into hiding the body again! For now I got this:

Fundamentals of Garment Design

By Bunka Fashion College in Japan. This is the first in a series of textbooks. Thankfully they have all been translated into English. I only got this one because the other focus on specific types of garments like dresses and jackets, and again, they’re a bit too boxy for my liking.

Unlike western fashion textbooks, this intro book covers a wider range of topics. The bits I find particularly interesting are the overview of how anatomy, different body proportions, and movements affect garment design; measurements insights; Bunka-style sloper instruction; and examples of sloper fitting adjustments shown on Asian women, some with combinations of fitting issues.

Then there’s the answer to my other pestering question: What happens to that back shoulder dart in designs without a dart in that area? It seems like the dart is pivoted to the armhole and/or neckline as eased volume (presumably held in check by sleeves and collars). But it’s never pivoted to the waist dart. So that’s this sloper axed then!

B-variaions-2

There’s also a curious mention of a “Half Bias Tape”. The photo illustration shows a tape with grainline that doesn’t look like true bias grainline. But there’s no mention of “Bias Tape” at all!!!??? It’s described as having “moderated stretch and to some degree controls stretching. Front edges, shoulders, necklines, etc.” So I’m assuming it’s used instead of true bias tape. But why?


Last but not least are a series of Fabric Dictionary & Swatch Books I ordered directly from Rain City Publishing:

bk-fabrics-cotton-covbk-fabrics-cottonbk-fabrics-silk-covbk-fabrics-silkbk-fabrics-wool-covbk-fabrics-wool

Thanks La Karibane for suggesting this series. It’s great to have nice fabric samples illustrating the different types of fabrics. Descriptions alone are no good as most are so generic as to be pointless for identifying fabrics.


And that was it…Or was it?

Well, not quite. There are always those bits and pieces that are  invisible in the results, but absolutely essential in the making. Like…

patternsA bunch of Vogue, McCall, Butterick patterns bought during the recent online sale.

interfacingA bunch of highly recommended interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply of Pam’s Off-The-Cuff sewing blog.

threadsFrom Wawak, formerly Atlantic Thread Supply, more MaxiLock overlocker threads than I have storage space for.

Plus a small velvet pressing board at the cheapest price I can find. Everywhere else I looked it’s over $100. It’s pictured here with my sleeve board for size comparison.

zippersI also got a bunch of zippers to catch up with the wilder color fabrics I started collecting. These are from Mood Fabrics and B. Black & Sons. Zip Up Zippers has a wider selection of zippers and notions.
But it was too chaotic to find what I want and I can’t just help myself. I don’t like getting a sales person involved unless I’m desperate. I always feel too much pressure to buy.

rulersFinally, there are these C-thru rulers which I got from Golden Cutting & Sewing Supplies. You can also get them at art stores like Pearl Paint. I’ve tried lots of different rulers, but always come back to these. They’re thin, so don’t cast shadows that make it hard to align the ruler edge with lines. I’m a imperial measure girl, and I like the handy 1/8” grid which make pattern work easy.

Unfortunately the # 1 item on my wishlist was nowhere to be found in LA. It’s loose sheets of large 26” x 19.5” dressmaker’s carbon paper that I used to get from Steinlauf & Stoller in NYC. (It’s not listed on their site, but I swear they carry it. Or used to anyway.) All I can find in Downtown LA were pre-packaged small sheets. I guess I will just have to stick to Burda Carbon Paper for now. Or plan a trip to NYC soon!


As you can imagine, it was a bit of a struggle fitting all these into my luggage. In the end it was like 13 lb overweight. And at $200 surcharge you bet I was frantically transferring stuff into my carry-on’s at the airport check-in desk.

Now I better get back down my rabbit hole and churn out some more garments, so I don’t feel so guilty for spending a small fortune and taking over so much space in our tinsy winsy London apartment!