Thursday, March 13, 2014

Garment Construction Guides

Do you ever refer to sewing books that show you how the order of construction for garments like coats and dresses? Several sewing blogs which I follow have featured a new sewing book, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction, over the last week or so.

It looks like a pretty good sewing guide, offering to lead the reader through how to best sew a variety of garments. Super helpful when you're faced with the usual cryptic BurdaStyle magazine instructions, or non-existent Marfy pattern ones. There are a few blogs doing a blog tour for the book, with a giveaways, apparently- details are on the author's blog.

I took a look at it, but so far have decided to pass- mostly because I already own several books that cover this exact topic. I have Gertie's book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing:: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques, which has the advantage of not just being a wonderful garment construction reference, but having patterns to go with it. (Um, not that I've yet made any of the patterns up. But I have plans!) Gertie's book has really great illustrated step-by-step directions are very clear, so I've turned to it a number of times. I also own the aptly named Illustrated Guide to Garment Construction, subtitled the "Complete Course on Making Clothing for Fit and Fashion" -and it is pretty darn complete. The illustrations are mostly hand drawn, instead of photographs, but I think that allows them to be clearer at getting across what you need to do in each step. It's broken out into various garment types, such as dress shirts or pants, and the techniques you need to construct the garment are in each section. I've mostly used it as a quick reference when, for instance, I can't remember how I last dealt a coat hem that has a facing and a turned up hem.

Another great reference by the same author is the Tailoring book by the same author. Also has nicely drawn illustrations, but it's focused on just 4 garments: a men's tailored jacket and pants, and a woman's tailored jacket and pants. Again, I refer to it some times, although honestly it's not my favorite tailoring book of all time (and I haven't yet ever made a fully hand tailored jacket or coat- although again I have plans to do so someday!).

One of my favorite references is pretty old, but also not very expensive. I think my copy was about $3.00 or so -New Vogue Sewing Book from the 1960s. It has directions on making a skirt and jacket at the back of it, and an incredible wealth of techniques for pockets, collars, sleeves, etc.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blueberry smoothie

When going through my fabric collection over winter break I found some old Dena Tea Garden cotton prints I'd forgotten about, and made up one of them into a new pillow for our bed.

The navy and white reminded me of my favorite smoothie recipe, which I've been having for lunch a lot recently since it's so thick and awesome. I hesitate to call this a "recipe" - more of a serving suggestion, I think.

Blueberry avocado smoothie

  • Half an avocado
  • About a cup of frozen blueberries
  • About a cup of coconut water (you can certainly use regular water as well; I've also done this with cold green tea)

That's it. Blend, enjoy. I made this a lot with bananas instead of avocado, but I've decided that the avocado is my favorite because it comes out a little thicker. Also note that I don't really like sweet smoothies- the blueberries are enough sugar for my tastes. But you could definitely add in honey if you like a sweeter smoothie flavor.

As you may have seen, Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics has declared March 22 to be "cut into that fabric day!" for those of us who have fabrics we are scared to actually use. I've got many fabrics that fall into this category, so I'm currently thinking about which one I'll sacrifice to the cause.

International Cut Into That Fabric Day