Saturday, May 3, 2014

Liebster and a little roundup

Back from Japan, and we had such a good time.

While we were gone, Nancy D, of Sewing in Surf City, very kindly nominated me for a Liebster award.

Thank you, Nancy! I grew up outside of Salinas, California, not too far from Nancys town of Santa Cruz, which my friends and I sometimes used to visit for a fun countercultural experience back in the day.

Nancy set a few questions for her nominees:

Do you have a current challenge you are hoping to master to improve your sewing?

Fitting. The method I use now, if it can be called that, is to make a muslin and then haphazardly tweak here and there, without really knowing what Im doing, until the fit seems acceptable. I know there are systematic and effective ways of accomplishing good fit, but I have not yet managed to tap into any of these. My library includes Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty and Pottberg, Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman, and other fitting books, and I have considered getting Kenneth Kings DVD set on fitting. But somehow I get lost amidst what seems like a lot of confusing or even contradictory information. What I think I need to do is choose a class or book and commit to working through it. Id love to hear what has worked for other people.

What is your motivation for sewing?

I love the doing part of sewing. Sometimes I get hung up in the planning stage (overthinking my pattern and fabric choices) and sometimes I dont quite reach the wearing stage (many of the garments Ive made hang in the closet—Im happy to see them there but I dont pull them out and put them on). But I always enjoy the craft of sewing itself: handling the fabric, cutting, stitching, pressing, handsewing . . .

What do you like to sew best?

Mostly tops, skirts, and dresses. I enjoy making patterns that include a little something different—maybe an unusual shape or construction technique.

Do you have a favorite pattern company?

I have had some good successes with patterns from Burda magazine. Vogue patterns work well for me, too, provided I take their large amount of ease into account. I especially like some of Vogues designer patterns for their interesting and unusual construction and techniques (Ralph Rucci!). I've made a couple of patterns from the Japanese pattern book Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa, and I look forward to trying more.

Do you have a favorite sewing trick that you think everyone should know?

Well, this is more of a general approach than a trick, and I suspect that everyone else already knows this, but it took me a while to discover. I used to think that getting better at sewing would mean I'd sew more quickly and with less effort, but its just the opposite. For example, hemming is usually a multi-step process now: put in two rows of machine basting, fold and press along those rows of basting, baste a third time to hold in place, topstitch or hem by hand, remove all basting. It takes longer than what I used to do—press folds in, stitch—but the result is so much better.

Me-Made-May 2014 is on! I only have two days worth on the Flickr page (my pledge was to wear something Ive made five days a week, and we just started on Thursday), but Im still going to do a mini roundup and evaluation.

Top, Vogue 8535: More wearable than I thought. I just finally posted a pattern review of this.

Dress, Burda special issue from 2000: The fit is not bad, but the length is off. I could shorten it, but there are five topstitched overlapped vents around the bottom hem and it would be a lot of work, for a dress that I probably still wouldnt wear much. (The theme this day was cocktail hour.)

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