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Jul 1, 2015

More Sewing Books? More Sewing Books!



Happy July, everybody!  Am I the only one who can't believe it's already July?

Working on Susan's muslins, I realized that I lacked a truly comprehensive book on fit (I own an old edition of Fit For Real People and just couldn't get into the fitting-the-tissue-pattern-on-oneself thing.).  A few people recommended Sarah Veblen's The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting so I picked up a used copy you-know-where.



It looks like it's going to be an enormous help with my current and future projects, particularly those for women.  One of the things I like most about the Veblen book, having read most of it over the last two days, is the tone: she makes it clear that fitting is as much an art as a science, and there are lots of ways to achieve similar results (though some methods are unnecessarily time-consuming).  She also emphasizes that you may not get it quite right on the first, second, or even the third muslin, and that the more you practice fitting, the better you'll get.  This relieved some of the pressure I'd been putting on myself off.  Creating well-fitting slopers for Susan -- or for anyone -- may take more sessions that I'd anticipated.

One of the best tips I've picked up so far for Veblen's book is to draw horizontal balance lines on my muslins, which I can then use as visual guideposts to see if I'm distorting the balance of the garment as I'm fitting it (and then to compensate for that).  Balance lines aren't something mentioned in Dorothy Moore's Pattern drafing book (whose section on fitting is a little weak, frankly). 







A few more pics from Veblen's book:













Of course, reading about fitting is a bit like reading about sculpting: you can only learn so much without getting in there and giving it a try yourself.  But it's great to own what feels like a clearly written, encyclopedic guidebook.  Are you familiar with it?

I also picked up Connie Long's Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses, and Marcy Tilton's Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts, both from the Sewing Companion Library series.  I like both: they're straightforward and well laid-out, with lots of color photos.  I probably already have most of the same information in other sewing books I own, but I like when a book has a single focus and I know I'll find what I'm looking for in it.

So many used sewing books can be found online so cheaply, I generally give myself permission to sample anything that sounds promising.  There are a few titles -- not necessarily old ones -- that are priced sky-high (Bridal Couture, anyone?), but they're few and far between. 



In other news, yesterday I did the (almost) unthinkable: I purchased a vintage sewing machine on eBay.  It's a model I've been curious about for a long time and -- cross your fingers -- it should be a pleasure to sew with.  Which model, you ask?  I'll say only that it's Swiss.  More about it when it arrives (in one piece, I hope) next week.  I can't remember the last time I blogged about a sewing machine, can you?  I miss those posts!

And that's it.  Somehow it hasn't quite sunk in that summer is here even though I'm cavorting around in sandals and shorts these days.  I think I need a trip to Coney Island.

Have a great day, everybody!

18 comments:

  1. Wow - I had no idea Bridal Couture was worth that much. I bought my copy when it came out and while it is a good book, I certainly wouldn't spend that much for it. Perhaps I ought to take a better look at my library ;)

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  2. It'll be Brighton Beach for me. Maybe this weekend.

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  3. Those Easy Guide books are great. Too expensive to buy hard copy in UK so I bought eBook.

    The bridal couture book is so rediculously expensive, really a day with the Author and a roll of silk should be thrown in!

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  4. Wow. Susan is going to have a pretty amazing wardrobe when you're done. I have Sarah Veblen's book, though for the most part I prefer the pattern adjustments in FFRP (though not necessarily the tissue fitting part). If her method interests you, there is a Craftsy class by Lynda Maynard called Sew the Perfect Fit which is a fantastic example of how to fit using muslins and balance lines. She is so meticulous in getting those balance lines straight by slashing, spreading and pinning on the body until the fit is just right. It is really helpful to see it done on a video rather than just in pictures. I'd highly recommend it.

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    1. Peter, I second Siobhan on Lynda Maynard's Craftsy class. I've had private fitting sessions with the Tzarina the Tuchas herself. Lynda is the absolute Duchess of the Derriere when it comes to fitting pants. Her eye is unquestionable. I can't say enough positive things about Lynda (and her fab taste in shoes). So her Craftsy class would be really, really, really worth the time. Unless you and Susan wanna fly out to SF for a private lesson (Lynda Maynard has private students fly in from all over.) The City would love to see you!
      Rock on.
      Savage Coco

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  5. I bought both of my machines on eBay: a HV #1+ and a Bernina Activa 145. They arrived in good condition and have served me well for MANY years. Looking forward to hearing about your purchase!

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  6. Oh, goody! Another vintage sewing machine!

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  7. Peter, anytime I see gingham at a thrift, yard sale or on sale some where I get some and keep it on hand because its really handy for draping patterns and making a muslin. The woven type not the nock-off printed types. The grain line made by the squares/checkered pattern is great for keeping things in line. You can even use other types of woven checkered fabrics as long as the fabric is on grain.

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  8. I had marvelous luck buying a Bernina on eBay. Ooh! I wonder if yours is a Nova. I have my original from 1980. It's adorable and sews like a dream.

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  9. Speaking of drawing horizontal lines on the muslins. I was wondering if it would be useful to use a plaid fabric for muslins as a way to keep track of what was happening to the grain of the fabric with all the pinching and pulling and slicing.

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    1. a woven plaid - yes. A printed plaid is dicey, especially if you are buying cheap fabrics - far too many are printed on-grain in the center, and off-grain at the selvedges. Also, gingham plaid makes it much easier to estimate amounts to add/subtract, because all those little squares are the same size.

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  10. The complete photo guide to perfect fitting is a great book and a detailed resource. Peggy Sagers - Silhouette Patterns and pbs show "fit to stitch" you can watch her youtube videos on fitting as well. She shows you how to use darting to remove wrinkles etc. I have mentioned Sure Fit Designs with Glenda, she has some good videos on building a body blueprint - slopers, full bust adjustment, and how to work with your sloper and commercial patterns, or how to design your own. Peggy also covers some of this material as well. The use of woven gingham is also nice since the grain line is easy to follow, you can also use marking tape to help with the important horizontal and vertical lines. Once you have a great fitting sloper you will be able to make any kinds of clothing your client needs. Good luck Peter

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  11. I 'get' Veblen's writing, so it works for me. I think FFRP is a great book, it just doesn't click for me. God knows I own them all (thanks Powells Books in Portland). And the library helps as well.

    Using a woven plaid/gingham for a muslin is a great idea, but drawing lines on cheap sheets gets the job done just fine (and I have a lot more cheap sheets).

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  12. Yes, it's July. Fog time in East Bay, CA. Not bad considering the drought and fire danger!
    I have a Swiss made Bernina, and it's a tank! Works like a dream, but hard to get to the shop for cleaning and tuning up. Need a forklift!
    The first thing we learned in draping for fashion design was to put balance grain lines on the muslin before draping on the form. Absolutely essential!

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  13. I just got a little Bernina Minimatic on Ebay that sews like a dream. It's like anything else on Ebay...if you check out the vendor's background and feedback you can do okay with a purchase.

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  14. Does the Veblen book have a section on the full bust adjustment? I need a good fitting book, but it must have the FBA info.

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    1. Yes, it does, and very clearly illustrated.

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  15. Peter, why didn't you sew the bodice to the skirt?

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