It doesn't count as stashing when you're supporting independent pattern companies and your local independent yarn/quilting shop... RIGHT?
Since all my projects -- my wide-legged trousers (now cut in fashion fabric), Z's corduroy overalls (pattern traced) and striped sweater (past the armpits now!), my Franken-Colette-dress (pattern alterations in progess), my wardrobe domination -- were proceeding along just fine this week (albeit at a SNAIL's pace since Z is on a no-sleep strike)... I decided to throw a wrench in the works and completely fail at my "no stashing" New Year's resolution.
But ladies and gentlemen, I couldn't help it!
I mean, is it my fault that Z's FAVORITE playground is just a few (well... ten) blocks from Brooklyn General? And is it my fault that they sell Oliver + S and Colette patterns and vintage buttons and super-cute Japanese cottons? Image of the patterns and buttons is above--here's a poor-quality fluorescent-lit inaccurate photo of the beautiful soft Kokka Trefle floral I bought to make the Family Reunion Dress for Z:
And is it my fault that the internet sells sewing-related books that can be purchased by me with my debit card? I told you all before how much I loved Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby, but now that Z has outgrown those patterns I told myself I just HAD to get the toddler version...
Which was a big disappointment. Sewing for Baby is full of versatile timeless baby classics--rompers, dresses, bloomers, shorts, sleepers, pants, onesies, T-shirts, etc--and all kinds of wonderful advice on how to play with those patterns (add puff sleeves, trims, ribbing, hoods, snaps, etc.). Here's the basic pattern overview, with the Polka Dot Seal of Sewing Approval:
Sewing for Toddlers on the other hand... well, it's basically a bunch of oversized 80s drop-shouldered color-blocked T-shirt and sweatshirt variations. The instructions and tips are excellent as in all Kwik-Sew books, but I just can't see myself making anything based on those master patterns for Z, with the possible exception of the hooded raglan sweatshirt.
Even the dress pattern is just instructions for a lengthened T-shirt:
Overall, it's the toddler equivalent of the Kwik-Sew Sweatshirts Unlimited book. So I had no choice but to wash away the disappointment with this:
Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear and Babywear by Winifred Aldrich (found via this helpful children's pattern book roundup)--a black & white pattern drafting textbook with clear instructions and line drawings on how to draft flat (simplified and somewhat loose-fitting) and form (more fitted) pattern blocks for children from birth to 14 years. It is AWESOME and has basic blocks and variations for knits, wovens, bodices, pants, outerwear, you name it. A sample spread:
Seriously, it's really hard to find cute basic toddler patterns (Oliver + S being the exception). The big 4 pattern companies have very limited selection--mostly just fancy dresses. Ottobre Design magazine is awesome and inspiring, but I have a very specific idea in mind of some of the fun things I'd like to make for Z, and they're not all represented in the six or so issues I have. Plus I think I'll feel like a superstar designing and drafting some of her clothes from scratch, no? I should be able to do it in Adobe Illustrator easily enough.
And while we're talking books, here are some of the other books that jumped off various bookshelves in the Garment District into my arms back in 2010, right before my blogging/sewing hiatus... I'm excited to try them out now!
I bought Grading Techniques for Fashion Design to get some tips for grading my vintage patterns, and Draping for Fashion Design because I am deluded--I don't even have a proper dress form to drape on (more on that later).
Making Beautiful Bras and Making Beautiful Swimwear I ordered from author Lee Ann Burgess in Australia, along with the accompanying DVD at the same time as I ordered a Pin-Up Girls bra pattern and a host of supplies from Bra-Makers Supply. I had had some encouraging success making soft nursing bras and wanted to get to the underwire level of serious bra-chitecture.
Which reminds me--is it my fault the new issue of Threads had an article on bra-making and insisted on coming home with me while I was buying petersham, elastic, zippers, buttons and other notions at Pacific Trimming during my lunch break?
Almost finally, another drafting book acquisition from 2010 at some Garment District shop or other:
Patternmaking for Fashion Design, a huge and quite comprehensive pattern drafting textbook for women, men, children and teens (but not for toddlers or babies). This thing is huge and full of detailed instructions, illustrations, ideas and exercises to make every possible type of garment... but I will warn you that some of it is quite offensive from a body-image perspective--particularly the section on figure analysis, which pits the "ideal," "perfect," and "pleasing" model-type figures against the rest of us in a pretty ridiculous and judgmental way--Fit for Real People or Fantastic Fit for Everybody this is not!:
Maybe I'll just tear those pages out? It is coil-bound...
Don't you just love reading sewing books and imagining all the amazing things you'll do with all those ideas? It's half the fun of sewing itself without any of the actual work. And I do think it really helps inspire me and help me better understand garment design and construction, though it's no substitute for actually MAKING things.
And yes, I have a book problem. My husband and I have over 4,000 books in our little apartment--several walls are just floor-to-ceiling shelves with books stacked two or three deep.
Finally, is it my fault that TEN Simplicity patterns jumped into my online shopping cart during the SewingPatterns.com 99 cents Simplicity sale? They haven't actually arrived yet so I'll share my
shame assessment later.
So... what sewing books have you been digging lately? (Besides the Colette book that we ALL seem to have now!)