More Mail Goodness

Let’s not talk about the dress for a bit, eh?

I wanted to show another really cool item that Grace from Bad Mom, Good Mom sent recently. Her timing was impeccable as she asked for my addy on my birfday. She sent me a copy of the Japanese language Pattern Magic (I) published by Bunka. If you don’t know, Bunka is a school and supply company in Japan. They also apparently take US students, if you speak Japanese.

It’s similar to the drafting in Mrs. Stylebook. I know this book has been around for a bit, but it was so completely over my head that I just didn’t bother even looking at a copy. Hmmm, same thing with Threads Magazine. I really should subscribe.

Now, I have a better grasp of the concepts. What I find amazing is how unbelievably creative the book is.

Why is this funny? Well, when I was growing up and Americans were just starting to buy Japanese cars, by dear dad would always say, “Americans are the innovators. Everyone else just  copies.”  Well, I beg to differ. There are some extremely creative types outside the US :)

The book does include directions for drafting your  sloper. It also includes a lovely 1/2 scale dress form for you to copy to practice with. I also imagine you could blow this up and have a workable sloper too.

Since this is how we’ve been doing it in school, I like this way first to work out the design elements.

I’m totally making this knit top. And tracking down Pattern Magic II.

Thanks Grace!

My love / hate relationship with Lucky magazine. Oh, and a review of their new book.

Creating Iconic Looks and Making Them Your Own The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style: Creating Iconic Looks and Making Them Your Own by Kim France

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was a charter subscriber to Lucky magazine. Purchased sight unseen based on a great magazine review in the Washington Post.

From the beginning I loved Lucky. They purposefully used real people and professional models rather than celebrities. I don’t get ‘celebrity style’ because most of them use stylists and I think that’s boring. I mean I like what they are wearing, but they didn’t do it. At least with real people you know they put it together and with models it’s obvious they didn’t dress themselves.

There were no actual articles in Lucky when it first started. Just products and prices with fun styling. I’ve never cared for the articles in women’s beauty magazines. I think they talk down to you and assume your interests lie in being awesome in bed or knowing what men think about you. For the first few years they even did a yearly feature on weddings. And they were so fun and interesting to look at. Not Martha Stewarty at all.

The first change I noticed was more copy. Then a dropping of the wedding and home features. Then celebs started making their way to the cover. And prices of products started creeping up. And the reverence for high-end designers went over the top for me. The final straw was when they started using celebrities that were on teeny-bopper shows. It kind of told me that I was no longer their demographic.

So, it was with great trepidation that I purchased the Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style. To be honest, I got the book because I was looking for a hook for my Spring / Summer wardrobe plan. I figured I could read the book and come up with a fun game plan.

The odds are high that I will re-gift the book after culling all the nuggets I can from it.

I’m not at a point where I need to ‘dress for my body’ nor am I trying to shave or add years to my look. I just wanted some ideas of honing in on my look. The book is total eye and fashion porn. It is wonderful in their basic description of clothes. They don’t bother telling you the designer, just a description of the piece and what makes it an element of the iconic look they are discussing. They then show you how to mix various elements of the iconic look.

Now, it’s rare that a person will fall in to one category. You’ll find bits from each iconic look that you like. I’m still not sure where I fall, but I’ll be going through it again to figure it out.

Overall, it’s a nice book. And, don’t get me wrong. I’ll still get the occasional Lucky at the airport. But, generally I just buy it for the Fall and Spring looks. Sigh. I still miss Budget Living and Blueprint :(

My Easter Basket

I am 100 percent in LOVE with how the Betty Shopper bag is coming along.

The exterior is complete and the lining and pockets need to be sewn up. It’ll be a couple of weeks though. I used a friend’s industrial to sew this on and I can only get over there on weekends. This upcoming weekend I’m taking a five hour French cooking class at the Viking Cooking School outside of Philadelphia with a friend. Hmmmmm, wonder if I can talk her in to a stop along Fabric Row. Just to look! I’m back on my fabric diet until June.

I don’t know that this bag needed the industrial, but, it sure made sewing through two layers of Peltex 71 (at Joanns in the interfacing section) needed for the bottom of the bag much easier. And it’s so fast. And, it does an automatic backstitch. And, it cuts the thread at the end of a stitch. Sigh.

The bag is ginormous. You need quite the berth to sew it.

I love that it’s keeping its shape standing up. Phyllis was right! It’s all about the right interfacing! I dunno what this is. I got it on a huge roll in LA.

I took Kathleen’s advice and pressed and pressed and pressed so that the seams were wide and flat. Should you take this on, find your tailor board or a sleeve board for all the nooks and crannies.

I did cut the pockets wrong :(. I need to get some plain (i.e. inexpensive) broadcloth or gingham to re-cut.

I’m also going to order some purse feet. This fabric is too pretty to let sit on the floor. This same Alexander Henry Print can be found at j creative online. I may get in to this bag thing. I found about five bags in my BWOF archive.

And this came in the mail. I love The book was less than $5. You can thank my roommate from LA, Leslie, for this. She showed me his stingy fabric cutting technique and I was sold.

Happy Easter for those who celebrate. This is by far my favorite holiday. Although, this time of year makes me remember how I used to get a week off for Passover at my last job. Those my friends, were the days.

Dorothy Moore’s Pattern Drafting Book

There was a lot of interest in the English/Japanese pattern drafting book. I’m not sure if it was because of the instructions or because it has actual patterns. I have two others I really like. One is Patternless Fashions which I talked about in May. That and Pattern Drafting, I think are the best for showing you how to read the Mrs. Stylebook patterns.

The other is Dorothy Moore’s Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking. I might have paid $5 including shipping and handling for my copy. I think this is the best of the lot for instructions on making your sloper and how to make variations in a pattern. It doesn’t seem to have as much in teaching you how to read the pattern schematics that you find in MSB.

There’s a great eBay guide on pattern drafting that refers to this book.
Linda at Patterns, Fabric and Thread — Oh My, wrote about it too.

Check out this newspaper article (click to enlarge) I found taped to the inside. It’s an interesting read if you want to hear about the then growing $2.3 billion home sewing industry back in the early 70s.

Table of contents:

While fashion diagrams are included these are very basic patterns with variations on a theme.

Like Pattern Drafting, it walks you through taking your measurements and developing a sloper or block.

Using this, it shows you how to add and subtract to create different looks.


I think this a good companion to Mrs. Stylebook. But, I like to think between the three I have the most complete picture.

Now, I just need to make something.

Japanese Pattern Drafting by Dressmaking

ETA: I’m sorry, but the second copy is no longer available. I’ll keep this post up though so you can find more information about the books.

Other recommended titles:

Dorothy Moore’s Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking (Originally Published as The Oriental Method of Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking)

Patternless Fashion by Diehl Lewis and May Loh. I wrote about this in May.

Earlier this year Tany posted about two Pattern Drafting books. I became mildy obsessed with tracking down copies as they were the Asian method and directions came in both English and Japanese.

I ordered three different copies with vague descriptions. There are three editions and I thought the sewing gods would be with me and send me the three different versions. Alas, they did not.

Today I received two copies of the same Pattern Drafting (no author but sometimes listed as Dressmaking), published by Kamakura-Shobo Publishing Co., Ltd in Tokyo, Japan. Publishing date is 1967.

The 204 page book includes step-by-step directions on drafting patterns for women, men and children. Over 200 different diagrams are included. If you are interested in Mrs. Stylebook or drafting your own patterns this is the book for you.

Table of Contents:

Not only does the book show you how to draft, it also gives you directions on fixing common fitting errors like sloped shoulders, etc. Also, there are construction tecnhiques like making a bound buttonhole, explanation of fabrics, how to make gathers, sewing darts, attaching an inner belt and working with prints — just to name a few.

Check out this review of the books on eBay and here on

ETA: I’m sorry, but the second copy is no longer available. I’ll keep this post up though so you can find more information about the books.

Book Review: Dritz Guide to Modern Sewing

I’m affectionately known as the ‘head bookworm’ of my bookclub (which is called the Slutty Kay Bookclub after a character from Little Children). I’m the one who always reads the books, solicits book ideas, sends out reminders, keeps people organized.

“Beach Book Book Club” is in just two weeks. That means we’re regressing to college, driving to the beach and cramming all 12 of us into a two bedroom condo. It’s called “Beach Book Bookclub” because instead of our tomes like Toni Morrison’s Sula we’re reading Bridget Jones’ Diary and Confessions of a Shopaholic type books — what I call beach reading.

So, I should be reading for that right? Nope. Yesterday, my $2, 1964 edition of The Dritz Guide to Modern Sewing from arrived. I was up until almost midnight reading this book.

Let me first say I kind of wish I was sewing in the 60s. This book references the “Pattern Column” in your local newspaper. HA! When’s the last time the newspapers here had a Pattern Column?

The book first reviews all of the “new” sewing tools out there like buttonholers, bound buttonholers, skirt markers, dress forms and tape measures. But, it also thoroughly reviews older items that we can forget about like your press mitt, tailors ham, button gage and collar point turner. I have got to get a point presser / pounding block combo.

After walking you through a sloper (the most detailed measuring I’ve ever seen), the book shows you how to draft two types of skirts. Closer to the end, they talk about altering a dress to keep it in style / season. The detailing provided on making a Chanel style jacket or boning a dress is extraordinary.

I think this book is *great* for beginners and for people who want to take on more detailed sewing. I’m going to read it again. But, not before I finish Laura Lippman’s What the Dead Know. I am head bookworm after all.