Book Review: Fitting and Pattern Alteration (A Multi-Method Approach)

Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Elizabeth L. Liechty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘A swayed back will be evident by the forward tilt of the pelvis; a prominent abdomen and protruding buttocks. … Other probable figure variations include shortened upper back length in between waist and hip, and an increased length of the buttocks to crotch’ — pg. 38

So, I read this standing in Christina’s computer room when visiting her in Seattle and was sold immediately. Right there in front of me for the first time, in one place, was a description of the. very. pattern. alteration. I needed to make. Remember my final project dress and how I shortened the back by about three inches out of the back? Every pants that dipped at the back waist because my crotch line wasn’t long enough? It’s because of my swayback! I put an alert on and the book was mine for under $20 in less than one month.

I am figure 3-8 and getting the shoulders of figure 3-7!

All I can tell you is that this is the most thorough book on fitting I have ever come across. I like that they acknowledge there is more than one way to solve a problem and give you at least three different methods to do so.

In addition to the multi-method approach, they show an alteration on several garments. So, if you have a swayback, they show you on pants, they show you on a blouse and they show you on a skirt the ways to fix it.  I also like that there is a discussion on what your body is doing to make the garment hang or fall the way that you don’t want.

*All* my pants do this

Oh, and I also so clearly have large thighs on the inside. Kind of excited about trying this alteration!

Excellent resource. It’s possibly too complicated for those who haven’t tried simpler adjustments first.

Book Review and Fabric Giveaway: Material Obsession (Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots)

Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I first found this book on Kathleen’s “Little Hunting Creek’ blog. Then I saw it written up in the Spring 2009 Stitch magazine. With two ringing endorsements, I made the purchase. And, considering I rarely buy sewing books full price and haven’t bought a quilting book in aeons, that’s saying a lot.

What a pleasure this book was to both read and thumb through! I primarily sew clothing, but I have always loved quilts. This book, in my mind, marries them both. The quilts are arranged from easiest to hardest and use the most extraordinary contemporary fabrics. Using these fun fabrics, the quilts don’t look like what your grandmother would make or what you see in most homes. Instead, you have dresden plates with graphic prints and applique with modern figures. I would recommend this book to someone with much experience or very little. The book will serve you well as your skill set grows.

In addition to great patterns, they have an always useful ‘how to’ at the back. So, it also makes a great reference book for the shelves.

I ordered my copy from Little Hunting Creek. Between her great customer service and being just one state over, I was curled up in bed reading this one less than 48 hours after hitting ‘send payment’.

I’m sure you’re now super inspired to give quilting a whirl, right? If so, check out this fabric giveway on FabricWorm’s blog. She’s opened her first retail store and is celebrating the one year anniversary of the online shop.  She’s giving away three fabric prizes!

  • 1st Prize: 1/2 Yard Set of Patty Young’s Mezzanine Collection (15 prints total, 2 of the prints have not arrived yet)
  • 2nd Prize: A Collection of Holiday Fat Quarters, including Michael Miller’s Funky Christmas and the New Alexander Henry Christmas prints (17 Fat Quarters in all)
  • 3rd Place: A large selection of Heather Ross Mendocino Scraps, (4 Yards by weight)

So, go to her blog to enter to win. Make sure you t ell her I sent you🙂 And, with the money you saved in the win, you can order this book!

Book Review: Bringing Home the Birkin

I picked the following book for bookclub. We usually only read ‘serious’ books. But, each summer we pick a beach book. I thought this was a good summer read. Especially for those who like fashion and celebrity (umm, me). It comes out in paperback this July.
Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag by Michael Tonello

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
$25,000 for a bag? Not so crazy in the circle that author Tonello travels in. How can Hermes claim to only make 100 bags a year and put people on a waiting list? The author was able to buy five at a time and spent years traveling the world lookng for new Hermes stores to buy from. All his wares ended up on eBay or sold otherwise online. What is ingenious is how Hermes built their name and the mystique surrounding them by totally faking exclusivity. The BEST chapter IMHO is when one of his bags is taken hostage. The rest of the book felt like filler to that point.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to read something easy and light. And, this was read start to finish on a Friday evening after work. It is *not* high lit, but would be great for a marketing class.

I was impressed with the ingenuity of the author and the thrill he gained from working the system. But, to read how ravenous others were for a handbag boggled my mind.

The writing was *ok*. I did feel like the publishers asked him to throw in more about his romance and backstory to flesh out the book. I was also uncomfortable with him talking about his parent’s wealth, seemed to have little to do with the story.

I think if you’re not interested in fashion and retail, this book will annoy you. If you are interested, you will be amused.

View all my reviews.

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😦