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Monday, 28 October 2013

Learning to teach someone to learn how to sew. AKA My girl Kiren is a badd b!+c#

About a year ago, Kiren was hired into the development department that I was working in at the time. She's pretty awesome and was super interested in sewing so we hit it off.

We've been meeting up on the semi-regular to make her a dress and a couple weeks ago, we finally finished!


Here's Kiren looking like the baddest bitch in the room in her new dress.

Helping someone through their first sewing project was a real learning experience for me.

Have you passed on your sewing knowledge to a newbie? What have you learned from it?

I'm almost entirely self-taught from the internet, so I thought that if I was there to guide her, that Kiren could skip a whole bunch of steps in the learning process. Like little projects that just get you used to sewing, and simpler techniques that make your project quick and satisfying.

Boy did I learn my lesson! I think I didn't give Kiren enough room to build her skills herself. I've just started sewing with another friend and I've steered her towards this project. And it's easy for someone whose never sewn before to be a little too ambitious in their first project. It's really hard to just jump into making garments if you've never used a sewing machine before!

Tell me about how you learned to sew! Did you have someone teaching you? What were some of the most important things you've learned over the years about helping others learn to sew?


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Treat from my fairy godmother

My friend Susan is kind of like my crafting fairy godmother. Before I had a sewing machine of my own, she very generously let me use hers to make little crafts. Since I started sewing, every now and then she gives me something amazing (thanks to her, I own pinking shears!)

The other day I got an unexpected package in the mail. As if that wasn't fun enough, look what was inside!


How amazing are these? The Makeover Guide is copyright 1942 and the Dressmaking Guide was first copyrighted in 1936!

The Dressmaking Guide:
This has tonnes of detailed information. From how to set up your sewing room to step by step instructions for a bound buttonhole.


It's also chock full of the loveliest line drawings.


The Makeover Guide:

This one is pretty fascinating. It's really from a different time. In the opening paragraph they mention "holes in a 'teen age girl's blouse, or sweater, caused by gadget pins." Huh?

The design of both of these books is gorgeous. Look at this typeface!



And the above mentioned "Modern" neckwear:


Although the book starts off with your basic how-to-darn-a-sock instructions, it becomes pretty sophisticated pretty quickly, describing how to combine two old, worn dresses to make a new, chic one. Or how to add contrasting yokes and hems to keep up with the growing girl. Or how to turn a worn out men's suit into a ladies' skirt suit!




Look at the caption! "very little effort" my ass! Clearly, this was made for a generation of women with some pretty impressive sewing skills! 

I am pretty taken by the recon of this fur coat.


Have you ever attempted anything as daring as reconstructing a fur coat? How about re-purposing a man's suit for yourself? Or darning a sock? 

This book made me feel lazy and wasteful! But it got me thinking. I would love to make better use of the clothes I wear, but clearly, my sewing skills are not up to snuff.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Curtain Call

Where have I been for the last month, you might ask? Actually, probably not, though. More likely, you haven't even noticed that I haven't posted for weeks.

But I'll tell you anyway! I've been making curtains! I had to move all the furniture out of my living room. More than once. I'm so glad that's behind me.

Have you ever made curtains? I don't usually make home furnishings but I have some accent pillows in my future, too. What's the biggest project you've ever made?

Protip: it's nearly impossible to photograph curtains well with all that backlighting. Ugh.

I used this pleating tape that has cords in it that you pull tight to make the pleats. It's all premeasured! It made it easier in some ways and harder in others (like making sure that the seam falls between the pleats, and also that the flat edges on both curtains mirror each other.).

I love this fabric but it was a bit of a nightmare to work with. the pattern is actually sewn-on cording and the grainline was pretty wonky and I had to fudge a few things. I hate having to fudge things!


These curtains were one heck of a project but they sure are sexy! And we've finally been able to retire the bed sheet that was hanging in our window for the last year (and a half). In this last picture, in the top left corner you can kind of see the light fixture that made. Yeah. And I painted my walls a dark, dramatic grey. My bedroom is going to be so sexy.

Back to the actual curtains. I mostly used this tutorial and some videos from this Youtube channel. I didn't really find a lot of resources out there, though.

I can't believe they're finally done! I'm really excited to get back to sewing clothes!