Category Archives: books

What’s underneath?

To follow-up from the last time, I want to share with everyone the rest of my birthday presents. I got such good treats this year.

I was completely surprised about the jar of buttons, such a surprising fun gift. My quilter friend, got me some nice Ginger Embroidery Scissors and a pack of Microtex needles (not shown).   The scissors are already getting good use.  Susan from Knitters Delight got me an Amazon gift card, which lead to the purchase of a book I have been dying to get my hands on since, I decided that I wanted to start my own companies (yes plural). I’ve had my eyes on Kathleen Fasanella’s The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Products Manufacturing for a while now. I have not really cracked into this book yet but I really look forward to reading it. Finally, my friend Jen got me The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online by Kari Chaplin and Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Schaffer.

I have start reading The Handmade Marketplace and I wished I had time right now to truly dive into the book.  It looks to be a really go resource/reference book. Sadly, I can’t say that I am impressed with Couture Sewing Techniques. Nothing stands out for me in this book, maybe once I sit down and read through it, I’ll find something I love. Does anyone else have this book? Thoughts?

Last month, I treated myself to several major purchases. A new dressform AND the Fabulous Fit. The Fabulous Fit is kind of awesome. It comes with foam padding that you put on your dressform to create a custom shape. I need some extra padding (or slim down) to get my perfect fit, but I am very close, by like an inch or two here and there. I need to make the full bust an inch bigger, the derriere longer and flatter at the bottom and then a bit more stomach. She kind of looks hot as is, right? Curvy and all. lol

On my dressform, you can see a sneak peek of the Renfrew I am working on. I attached the cowl neck yesterday and now I need to take the seam ripper to it. I serger it on and it came out a disaster  which killed my sewing mojo for the rest of the Sunday.

Tho, my sewing mojo was leaning towards fading before I even started on the Renfrew. I started my day by sewing this puppies up.

(if the picture is smaller, does that make them look smaller?)

This weekend I spent time making my first pair of underwear. The weekend before last, I attended a demo on how to make slips and panties.  So I was inspired to make my first pair, then after the class I ran to Yardage town to buy some nylon tricot. There was two colors in the nylon tricot. Red and Blue and the red happened to be sheer. I actually like sheer underwear, so it works out for me. The pattern I am using is from Cloth Habit, it’s her Rosy Ladyshorts. The pattern is simple, you only have to cut out two pattern pieces. I love the fit on the nylon tricot version.

I made a knit version to check the size, without finishing the edging because I didn’t want to use the lingerie elastic I had on hand. The knit version feels a little loose but that might be because there is no elastic in the waist and legs. My only complaint about the pattern is I wish the leg was cut a little deeper in the front.

I do plan to make some more underwear: bras, “ladyshorts” and slips. My first bra is already on my sewing table. I am in the process of doing a 1/8 topstitch on the upper cup. I need to mark the 1/8 line on the cup so I can keep up with how nice the stitching is coming out. I definitely was not going to touch the bra after my Renfrew mishap.

So what did I do when my sewing mojo burnt out? I pulled out my knitting needles. Let me tell you, it’s been years and the proof of it is how many times I had to start over. Knitting is a perfect excuse to make holiday presents.

What do you do when your sewing mojo is burnt?

Sewing Trip

This weekend, I went up to LA for the Colette Patterns Party & Book Signing at Sew LA. That was the first time I every been to Sew LA. What a great place.

I am kind of upset with myself for leaving my good camera at my friend’s house instead of taking it with me to the event. So I don’t have a lot of pictures to share.

I got to meet the lovely Sarai Mitnick, the founder of Colette Patterns and the author of Colette Sewing Handbook. If you don’t own it, you should. It’s a great addition to my sewing book collection. Sarai is beautiful and super sweet woman. I got a little fan girl while chatting with her.

If I had to pick only one person in the sewing blogosphere to meet in real life, Oona from Oonaballoona would be that one person. And I got to meet her. Oona is amazing, I am sure you all know it. Gorgeous, funny and a really down to earth person. I was surprised that she was my height, I imagined that she would be so much taller than myself. But, I always say, ‘Awesome things come in short packaging”… I could not figure out how I wanted to smile in this picture, which is the real reason why I had that mustache covering my mouth.

I also got to meet Mena from Sew Weekly, who is just a timeless beauty. Sadly, I called her by the wrong and I felt embarrassed after that. I’ve been following her blog for a while so I should have known her name. Doesn’t it look like my eyes are closed here? They are not.

When I walked into Sew LA, I was greeted by Christine Hayes. Her name was very familiar to me. When I got back home I realized I came across her site about a month ago. She is an independent pattern designer that I wanted to keep an eye on. I will definitely keep my eyes open for when she release her pattern line, after seeing her in the Peony Dress that she made. I hope pictures turn up online soon of her in this dress, since I did not photograph her. 😦 Christine was a lovely hostess.

I also met some other people but I did not catch their names. There were a lot of friendly people there.

While there I purchase the Cinnamon by Colette Patterns and a remnant of fabric. Luckily, they were all sold out on the Crepe Dress, which I fell in love with after seeing it on display at Sew LA. All I need is to buy a dress pattern that I’ll never wear.

Well back to reality for me, which is me trying to figure out what is going on in tailoring class.

My own Croquis

After seeing them pop up all over the blogsphere and it being part of the Sew Colette Sew Along, I made my own croquis. I had my photograph taken in class since we were already tracing our figure, our face and fitting a gingham shell. Turns out I am a pear-shape with a round face. I wore a camisole and some tights, which was kind of uncomfortable for me. I can be so modest at times, it is really funny.

I started using Lladybird’s method to make the croquis in Photoshop (she used Gimp). However, the actually tracing I used the Pen tool to create a path and then stroked the path (does that sound a little dirty?). I think the pen tool is a lot easier and quicker, especially if you don’t have a tablet to trace your outline. Here is a good tutorial on using the Pen tool in Photoshop.

How brave do you have to be to post your croquis online? Mines was a little bit of a slap in the face for me. I was ready to do some serious magazine style editing. I was not really shocked, because I know my curvy. but I was a little surprised that I am thicker than I thought. The camera adds ten pounds right? I guess it explains why I am not really a fan of tight clothing. Why I love flared jeans. Why I really hate being in front of the camera

My knits teacher gave us some handouts that tells us what looks best with our body shape. I’ll try to create a wardrobe that will be most flattering for my body. I will also breaking some of those rules because 1) I love layers and 2) I love military fashion styles and double-breasted rocks my socks. It will be very interesting to dress my croquis up. Wouldn’t it be fun to make new designs on my croquis? I am going to make some print outs and draw on top of my croquis. Which reminds me, I really need to get some binders.

Oh, I purchase 2 more sewing related books. They are for my tailoring class. The first book is Tailored Fashion Design by Pamela Powell

And the second book is Fitting & Pattern Alteration: Multi-Method Approach by Elizabeth G. Liechy, Della N. Pottberg and Judith A. Rasband.

I have no opinion about the two book at the moment. I purchased them for tailoring class. I started reading Tailored Fashion Design last night. It seems like it would be an interesting book. This book came with two jacket blocks, one for female the other for male. The Fitting book should be useful since it has industry methods and I am thinking of eventually taking my sewing to the professional stage. It would be nice to make money doing something I enjoy that also still has room for challenges.

Is anyone else going up to the Colette Pattern Book Party & Signing? Right now, I am a yes at the moment. Hopefully I didn’t agree to anything else that weekend.

Well off to another busy weekend. A nap might have to come first tho. Followed by drinking. 😉


For X-mas, I was happy to receive a copy of Pants for Real People by Patti Palmer and Marta Alto. It will go nicely with my copy of Fit for Real People. Since I plan to make a several pairs of pants, including jeans, this book should help me on my adventure of making them. I probably will buy ‘Jackets for Real People’ next month (to have a full set) since I have all these jackets and coats to tackle this year.  Speaking about jackets and coats….

Right around new years, I was on etsy and came across Jamie Christina Designs. I just fell in love with her Abbey Coat Pattern. I had just purchase Simplicity 2508 to make a winter coat. I really want a winter coat for next winter. So far this winter I have been wearing a  knit jacket that started piling within a week of me wearing it. Recently all the buttons have fallen off. It’s an easy fix but I am not really motivated to fix buttons on a jacket I don’t really like since its all covered in piling. The jacket I am wearing currently is more so a spring jacket, that I wear a hoodie underneath. So I am really looking forward to having a proper winter coat for next winter.

I received the Abbey Coat Pattern last night. The pattern is in a ziplock bag. The pattern instructions are in a full-color booklet. Very cute. I kind of wish there was another place to store the pattern pieces, but honestly the ziplock bag it just fine. I don’t plan to cut into the pattern until after the my tailoring class. You should check out some of Jamie Christina’s other patterns, they are really lovely looking.

Oh yeah, speaking of tailoring class. I found out what pattern we will be using for the class. Burda 8300 for the Women’s jacket and Burda 8186 for the Men’s jacket. UGH. Not my taste at all. So, I will be doing Burda 8186 in class and make it for my favorite guy.  There is no point in me making the women’s jacket when I would never wear it. I did promise my friend that I would make him something, so I get to fulfill that promise.

This past Friday, I finished making my first baby set. You can see more photos at my Flickr site. I got the idea to make the baby set from Blueprint Crafts. The soon-to-be-parents loved their baby set. I told them once they find out what gender the baby is, I will make little baby and infant clothes for them.  I came across so many cute baby patterns on Etsy. I think it would be fun to make little people clothes.

When I get home tonight I have to rip out all the sewing I did. The shoulder seams on the Tikva Trench needs to line up, which means I need to do some easing. I also need to fix the collar on the muslin that I  am working on the for the Minoru Jacket. My bottom gather row is exposed. Since I am hoping to make a wearable muslin I want it to be will constructed.

Finally, I am hoping to join along in the Sew Colette Sew-Along through out the year. Sarah from Rhinestones & Telephones and Erin from Miss Crayola Creepy are behind the Sew Colette Sew-Along. They will sew one garment a month in the order that they appear in the Colette Sewing Handbook. You should check it out and join.

January just feels overwhelming with sewing projects. Anyone else feels that way?

Books coming soon

There are new sewing books just out and soon to come out, that I have my eyes on.

The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook – I recently purchase this book. I am so excited for it. I really support BurdaStyle. I love their patterns and the community. I can not wait to look through the pages of this book. It should be delivered to me at work on Tuesdays. *claps hands in glee*

Colette Patterns have a new book out, The Colette Sewing Handbook. I really like follow Colette Pattern blog and their patterns look very cute. I am not going to purchase this book yet. I would really love to look through it first before making a decision. Or, I might at least hold off until I have purchase one of their patterns. I have a few in mind; Lady Grey, Sencha, Clover and several of the dresses.

You should check these books out very soon. 😉

Good News

I am very excited about not having to grade for my Tikva Trench coat, there is a bunch of room in the bust and a little bit in the hips. I will probably need to add some more room in the hip area.  The pattern is all pieced together and I can start tracing the biggest size on to tracing paper So, YAY!!

In class yesterday, I got a new book for free. It’s called Making Vintage Accessories by Emma Brennan. There are some really cute patterns in this book. My sewing library just keeps growing. If you want to see the list of sewing related books that I own, click here.

More Books

Yesterday I went to the bookstore to buy a cover for the Nook I just recently purchased. So far I love it, however I do wish I had a Nookcolor. I don’t feel to bad about not getting it, since currently none of the sewing books I want are available at  BnN nook bookstore. They are some on Kobo, which happens to be installed on my iPhone.

Anyway, I found the Nook cover that I wanted and I knew I should have walked straight to the check-out counter, but Noooo. I had to walk over the Art/Craft section. I ended up buying Naoki Watanabe’s Contemporary Fashion Illustration Techniques book.

I was trying to decided between this book and Nina Chakrabarti’s My Wonderful World of Fashion: A Book for Drawing, Creating & Dreaming.

I decided on Naoki Watanabe’s book in the end, mainly because I don’t know how soon I would use Nina’s book. I still plan on getting this book. I think it will be a great way to get my creative juices going. There are so many books I want to buy regarding sewing and fashion. I might have to just convert all my literary books to digital files or just get another bookshelf devoted to Sewing and Fashion.

Soon, I will post a section dedicated to my sewing and fashion books. I might at some commentary to each book. Hang tight.

Is there anyone else addicted to buy sewing/fashion books?

Books and Things

This month, I’ve been book shopping crazy. I love buying craft and sewing books, great references to have on hand when you get stuck on a project.  They are also great for inspiration. I have 4 new books and I am excited to dig through them.

In the mail today, I received a book called ‘Nancy’s Favorite 101 Notions,’ it is by Nancy Zieman. I won it from a BurdaStyle Contest back in either January or February. It’s a cute book, I hope to find some new notions. It would also be nice to know what some things are used for that I have come across at the fabric store. Like a Wood Wedge Iron.

This weekend, I went to Borders and I left with two fashion related books for myself. They are not really about sewing but more geared toward fashion design.

The first book I purchase is ‘200 Projects To Get You Into Fashion Design’ by Tracy Fitzgerald and Adrian Grandon. I have not  gotten a chance to look through this book fully, but the first couple of projects are super basic. Workout 1: Choosing a Sketchbook. As a former Fine Art Student, I have a bunch of Sketchbooks around the apartment. The questions for me is, should I use a new one or should I just use one of my old sketchbooks? If I do get a new one, what size should I get? I might just use an old sketchbook, so there is less things to consider. I do want to buy a book for just fabric samples. Okay back on topic! The book looks like it will be a fun book. Of course I will post the projects I complete up on the blog.

The second book that I purchase is ‘Essential Fashion Illustration’ by Maite Lafuente. I got through the whole book over the weekend. It is mostly  illustrations and some text. I just need to sit down and practice some of the illustrations in the books. I think I want to start off with experimenting with watercolors. Using watercolors for Fashion Illustration looks really nice. I want to try to stir away from using pencils, I need to be more free with my drawings. I would also love to do some marker illustrations.  I really should master using markers as a medium.

The book is also very useful on how to draw the human form and poses.

Okay finally, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a book called Pattern Magic 2. I don’t own the first Pattern Magic book, but I like the designs of the second one better. After scanning over the book and talking to some classmates. I think I should purchase the first book as well. Looking at the first project, I am already confused. The problem might also just be in the translation.

I still would love to try out something from this book.

So far on the poll front regarding what garment I should knock off.

3 votes for the Panic Dress

1 vote for panic top + Neutron pants

1 vote for the Rocket top

1 vote for Juno Singlet + Mutiny pants

I am leaning towards the Rocket top. I think I would look great on my figure. We’ll see.