Sunday 28 August 2011

August Book Analysis - Fabric Guide: The Ultimate Fiber Resource

I'm very happy to be reviewing this book by Simplicity. I love it! I was very lucky to have been offered the chance to get a free copy for review and have had it for a couple of months now. This is the fabric guide I didn't have but wanted when I first started sewing. The illustrations and photos are gorgeous and super clear, the text informative and easy to understand and the layout is brilliant. And charts, oh my, what a joy! Also being on a ring binder, always adds points in my book.
The first chapter of the book tells us a little bit about fabric construction. What's a weft and a warp and differences between different weaves. The illustrations make these different weaves easy to understand.
The second chapter introduces us to fibers and explains, like I never read before, where does fiber come from and how it comes to be. For me it is one of the most fascinating chapters to read. Did you know it's possible to make fabric out of camel hair? What about from these cute rabbits? Always wanted to do a burn test on fabric and don't know how? It's in it.
Progressing very nicely on from fibers we have fabric types and here we can find a vast array of fabric types with fairly large and quite clear photos and a small description of its characteristics. One thing I particularly enjoy is that if the fabric has a different name in the UK it will say so(although I confess I'm not sure it does it for all).
Next on there's a fairly small chapter on fabric finishes and trademark fabric, such as Lycra or Teflon. For me, personally, it's the only chapter that doesn't arouse much interest.
Chapter 5 explains us all about linings, underlinings, interfacings and stabilizers. It is so easy to get confused with all these different materials and great to read such a easy to understand guide to them all. Charts (or whatever they are called) like the ones below make it a great reference resource. I'm sure I will be using it frequently.
 Next you get some valuable help and advice on how to work with fabrics, including grain, yardage conversion, cutting layouts and pre-shinking. It also lays out the most common and useful tools to use in sewing. With very nice photos!
Colour is very important so next there's some advice on how to combine colours, what works and what doesn't and the book presents a few colour storyboards. I love the blue one.
The next chapter also gets me quite excited. It's about fabric care. How to wash and remove stains and how to press. Lots of charts here making it very, very easy to find the information wanted when you need it.
The last chapter expands on different threads including how to match to fabric and to needles. Again all in easy to find charts.
This book is lovely and if you like fabric books you have to get this one.

I must say that even though I was sent this book for a review, all I wrote here is my most sincere opinion and I have not gained anything to say it.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Wool Flannel Quest: A London day trip and blogger meetup

I am planning on doing this lovely vintage pattern as part of my Autumn/ Winter Sewing plan. Wool is the obvious option and I'm considering wool flannel as the fabric choice.
I can't seem to find the aforementioned fabric online so decided on a day trip to London, more specifically to famous Berwick Street, where no doubt I might be able to find my fabric but will probably have to sell part of my body to buy it. It is quite exciting as I have never visited the finest cloths shops in central London.
Even more exciting is that after I tweeted for company the lovely Toria, who blogs at Girl meets Wolf, replied saying she was up for a London day trip. How exciting is that! If there's one think I like more than sewing it's meeting wonderful people from blogs I follow.
So we're meeting on the 3rd September (that's a week away on Saturday) and the overall plan is to hit central London fabric shops, including the Cloth House, Liberty, MacCulloch and Wallis, take lots of photos and find somewhere nice to eat. By the 3rd September I will have a little itinerary, just for fun!

If you have any other fabric shops areas and/or nice eating recommendations for central London, I would love to know and this is not an official, organised meetup but if you're free that day and fancy coming along, let me know!

Monday 22 August 2011

Tracing and cutting!

I have been doing a lot of tracing and cutting lately!
 This is my first time putting together a printed pattern. This is the one Gertie uses in Craftsy Sew Retro: Bombshell dress online class. I followed her instructions and found little trouble.
I have also cut the calico for the bodice pieces and they are now ready for the sewing machine. I used carbon paper which I always used somehow, but Gertie introduced me to using it to trace directly on fabric, instead of pinning. I quite liked that. When I pin pattern to fabric, and depending on fabric, they tend to shift. Tracing directly might be a better option.
The Bombshell dress is my only project that is not a Autumn/ Winter project. I just love Gertie as a teacher and have been itching to do this since it came out. No way could I wait till next Spring.
I am also venturing on my first Colette Patterns Beignet Skirt. I bought some navy cotton drill and orange lining specifically for this skirt when I was in hungary and I think it's a good choice pattern for Autumn. I traced all the pieces and have cut some calico from fronts and backs for a muslin.

I have two more projects I want to trace and cut muslins before I take anything to the sewing machine. And why you ask, all this bulk tracing and cutting? Well, my new cutting table (which I am madly in love with) is solid wood which is great to hide or fix little imperfections caused by pins, scissors, etc. But being new and being solid wood also means I have to treat it every 2 to 3 days for about two months. That means sanding it lightly and applying some wood oil on it. It then takes at least 24 hrs to dry. So my idea is to do lots of prep work on all my projects and then not worry about which days I can use the table and just get on with sewing. Does that make sense?

Sunday 14 August 2011

A Late Summer Sorbetto? Yes, please!

What better project to start me up again on sewing than the oh-so-easy and free Sorbetto Tank Top from Colette Patterns. I know many have already done it and blogged about it but the reality is that this top was never on my to sew list. It's cute and adorable but I have too many tank tops I never wear because a) there simply aren't that many continuous hots days in UK and 2) when there are some I'm at work and don't really like having my tattoos on display. However, this project seemed ideal as a first one in my new sewing room (not yet ready to share but already operational to sew).
Printing and assembling pattern was straightforward and sewing it was straightforward too. I'm closing the gap on this inspiration outfit by using this mustard yellow fabric with contrasting navy bias tape. It's the second time I'm using this fabric and I can't say I love it. It's polyester and it does feel nice to the skin but it's very drapey and slippery to cut and sew.
Colette Patterns instructions are a delight to follow and it was with much excitement that I read the announcement that Colette is releasing a sewing book in November. Woohoo, that will definitely go in my wish list!!

Friday 5 August 2011

Sewing Room-Inspiration

I might have been a tad optimistic when a few days ago I announced on twitter that regular blogging and sewing would resume in a few days. Well, blogging is here but sewing is still far off. All for a good reason.
In my new home I have a sewing room all for myself! I am determined to decorate it and furnish it appropriately before I start sewing. The job will include a new paint job, new sewing desk and highlight of highlights...a cutting table of a proper height. I am overly excited with this and itching to get all stuff ready. I promise I will show you before, during and after photos.
I'm planning on doing some paint work this weekend and will also quite soon order the tables, but it might be a couple of weeks till all is delivered and ready. In the meantime I'll leave you with some inspiration photos for my sewing room.
Click on images for source.


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