Book Report + Giveaway: Fabric For Fashion… The Swatch Book!!!!!

Friends, I’m a fabric addict. So it should come as no surprise to you that I’m in love with this book! It’s the brand-new second edition of Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book! I had my eye on the first edition, but it’s been out of print for some time, so I was really excited to receive this from Laurence King.

The book is packed with information about different types of fibers, and it’s all very clear and well-organized. The book is divided into sections about animal fibers, plant fibers, and man-made fibers, and is subdivided into smaller groups within each section. It’s easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for.

But the stars of the show are the swatches! There are 125 swatches, an almost shocking amount! I’m not sure I could’ve named 25 different types of fabric, let alone 125, before picking up this book! But I really appreciate that they sampled so many variations of fabric because it’s the variations on similar fabrics that are really hard to tell apart, right? It’s really easy to tell cotton twill from silk charmeuse when they’re both in front of you, but can you tell the difference between silk habotai and silk crepe de chine? Cotton satin and cotton sateen? Lawn and organdie? You can with the help of this book!

I really appreciate that the book gives good information on which fabrics are more ecologically sustainable (hemp, ramie, and jute are three examples… none of which are easy to find in my neck of the woods!) and which ones need lots of processing. I also really like that the qualities and best uses for different fabrics are listed (so you can decide whether to use silk, viscose, acetate, or polyester satin for your garment, depending on whether you need your garment to resist wrinkles, be very colorfast, wash well, or mold to the body).

The swatches are, for the most part, undyed (read: beige). I was hoping for a rainbow of colors and prints, but the authors were probably right- you want to notice the qualities of the fabric, not the colors and prints! But dudes, I still love the swatches. I’m a touchy-feely person and when it comes to fabric, even more so! You can read pages and pages about a fabric’s qualities, but nothing is quite so telling as touching a swatch!

I really, really like this book and wish that everyone could grab a copy. However. The big drawback is the cost- $95 USD retail price (although you can preorder it from Amazon for $63). Yikes! I understand why it costs so much – it can’t be cheap to produce and assemble – but still, it’s expensive. Better put it in your letter to Santa and cross your fingers that you’re on the nice list, not the naughty one! Or request it for your local library- it’s a great resource!

Good news: I can give away a copy to a US reader (I’m sorry, international friends… I’ve got another giveaway coming up that you’ll be able to enter)! Please use the Google form below to enter. I’ll draw a winner on Sunday, November 9th.

One last item of business- I forgot to announce it earlier, but the winner of the Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress giveaway is Sarah Moum! Yay!

What have you guys been up to lately? Picked up any good sewing books lately?

Review + Giveaway: Fashionary Sketchbook + Tape Measure!

Hi, guys! I have a fun giveaway for you today, hooray!  Vikki from Fashionary contacted me to see if I would like to do a review and giveaway of the Fashionary Sketchbook, and you know I don’t like to turn down an opportunity to give away stuff on this blog!*  Vikki asked if I wanted to give away the classic women’s sketchbook, or the “Tiger Mania”. Um…

MEOW!

Please don’t laugh at my terrible sketches… or my stubby baby fingers… or my disgusting iron burn…

If you haven’t seen it before, the Fashionary Sketchbook is really cool. It was designed to make fashion sketching easier and quicker by printing the pages with faint outlines of models. You can trace/draw/paint over the outlines as you feel inspired! This is great for me- although I’ve always been into fine art, I’ve always been terrible at drawing, so this book helps my little sewing idea sketches look better. Also, I tend to doodle ideas on scraps of paper whenever inspiration strikes, but then I have weird loose papers stuffed into notebooks. This is a much more organized approach! I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a long time, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to test one!

The Fashionary also has a dictionary of fashion terms, tons of little drawings of different design details, and even a chart that tells you what the care symbols on RTW garment labels means! Those have always mystified me… so I choose to believe that they all say “Wash in one giant load on hot, dry everything together, and leave in the laundry basket for at least a week before folding”.

Vikki also sent me their tape measure to review. It’s a tape measure marked on one side with standard measurements for a woman’s size 38, and on the other for a men’s 48. It’s meant to aid you when you’re patternmaking or draping without a live model or a mannequin handy. This would be nice for a fashion student, but probably not very useful for most home sewers.  It’s interesting to look at, though, and might be fun for those of you who are into patternmaking.

I’m not really into sewing with a plan (well, I make plans, but they generally derail), but I’m enjoying jotting down garment ideas in my Fashionary. It feels more flexible than lists of garments, and it’s nice when you see something that you like and want to get it on paper before you forget it (I’m recently obsessed with a crisp striped shirt I saw on a chic elderly Manhattanite… it looked AWESOME and I wanted one just like it the moment I saw it).  So I’m looking forward to using this to collect my sewing ideas in one place.

I’m basically just typing in the word “crotch” here so I can disappoint a few perverts… or maybe hook them on the joy of sewing?

OK, if you wanna win your own TIGER MANIA (OMG, I LOVE IT!) Fashionary, let me know in a comment below! I’ll close the comments at noon EST on Friday 6/6 and pick a winner at random soon after. I’m happy to ship internationally, but I’ll probably send it the slowest/cheapest way. OK, do you use any kind of sketchbook? Do you like to plan your sewing in advance? How do you organize your ideas?

*NOTE: Actually, I do turn down giveaway offers. I love being able to give away free stuff to you guys, but I also want to make sure that they’re responsible products and things that my readers would be interested in (sometimes I get approached by sketchy RTW clothing companies or people with books that have nothing to do with garment sewing… that’s just not what we’re about over here).

Ginger Made: Nettie Bodysuit x2 + Giveaway!

Readers, I’ve gone down the bodysuit rabbit hole. In my defense, it’s not entirely my fault. When a favorite blogger/seamstress (Heather) makes a hot new pattern inspired by another favorite blogger/seamstress (Wanett), I’m basically hooked. Add to that the fact that everyone who’s made one looks super-duper mega-sexy, and, well, I couldn’t help myself.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Just in case you haven’t seen the pattern yet, this here is the Nettie bodysuit.  For my first version, I chose the scoop neck/medium scoop back/short sleeves combo, and used a soft, stretchy cotton-lycra blend from Mood Fabrics NYC. This fabric was crazy easy to sew, and feels amazing on. I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern, but sewed up a straight size 8 and it totally works.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Action shot!

I sewed this entirely on my sewing machine, using a narrow zigzag stitch (1.5mm wide x 2.5 mm long) for seams and a slightly wider zigzag (2.5mm wide x 2.5mm long) for topstitching. Yes, I have a serger, but sometimes serged seams feel kind of scratchy to me, and I definitely didn’t want something this close-fitted to be itchy. So if you want to try this but don’t have a serger, don’t be afraid! Dive right in!

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I tried to use a scrap of silk as the crotch lining, but I just couldn’t get it ironed into a nice, clean rectangle, so I scrapped that and used some grosgrain ribbon that I had lying around that happened to be the right width. This is probably a little stiffer than desired, but it works and the snaps are concealed nicely.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I never, never, NEVER wear anything this fitted (honestly, I just don’t wear fitted knits… negative ease WHAT?!), but I feel really comfortable in this.  When I slipped this on and added the skirt (it’s from American Apparel and I’d had it in my wardrobe for YEARS, but haven’t worn it much because I just don’t have anything that looks right with it) I suddenly felt so, so chic. I immediately thought of Sophia Loren and started swanning around like a crazy person, much to Man Friend’s chagrin. I don’t know why, but the scoop neck and back just make me feel so feminine and pretty, in a weird dress-up way (WHICH I’M TOTALLY FINE WITH).

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

So, I fell in love and immediately wanted another Nettie in my life.  This is where things went off the rails a bit.  I made a trek to Spandex House, lose my mind completely, and bought an armload of very questionable prints. I mean, I think I did pretty good considering that I didn’t come back with any jewel/bullet/glacier/pot leaf/French fries/guns AND roses/skeletons on surfboards prints when I had the option for all of those.  I stand by my choices and love them all, but I’ve officially entered Man Repellant territory.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I chose my favorite print of the bunch (you can find it here if you’re desperate for the same print) to dive into and sewed up another version, this time swapping out the long sleeves for three-quarter length. This is a four-way stretch nylon-spandex blend, so it definitely feels less like normal clothes and more like weird sportswear (I keep rubbing my belly when I wear this because I feel like I’m petting a marine mammal or something).  It definitely feels tighter and less breathable.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

I sewed up this puppy on the regular sewing machine, making sure to use a stretch needle (rather than a ballpoint). I used a scrap of cotton in a coordinating color for the lining, which worked really well.  It was a super quick sew and again I didn’t need to make any adjustments.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Something to think about when you’re sewing up something like a bodysuit is the stretch of the fabric. This is probably pretty obvious for most people, but if you’re new to sewing with knits, you may not realize how much fabric choice affects the fit.  I sewed both of these in the same size and modeled them on the same day, but the printed one feels much tighter than the other because of the varying amounts of stretch in the fabric. If you’re on the fence about if your fabric is stretchy enough, definitely refer to Heather’s post about fabric here. You don’t want to waste time sewing something you feel sausaged into!

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

One thing I’m not happy about with this bodysuit is the styling. I planned to wear this with my grey Moss mini skirt, but I forgot how low the skirt sits on my hips. It looked completely silly with it! I’m really not loving this with my tight jeans, but I’m not sure how else to wear it! Should I make a skirt similar to my AA skirt (worn with the blue bodysuit)? Or wear it with wide-leg jeans, definitely running the risk of looking SUPER 90′s? Sallie’s bodysuit/jeans pairing looks super sexy, but it’s just not working on me.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

A word of warning: as I alluded to before, this sort of garment elicits STRONG feelings from the menfolk in my life. I got the worst review ever from Man Friend:

“It’s a monstrous garment. It’s not your fault. No one should want to wear it… unless you’re about to ride the pommel horse in the 1996 Atlanta games”.

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Monstrous? You meant fabulous, right?

Which, PSHAW, everyone knows that only dudes use the pommel horse, so, I mean, who’s obviously wrong here?  Of course, it’s no secret that Man Friend Criticism (MFC) just empowers me to go as far as I can in the direction of the loud, tacky, and generally ridiculous, so bring it on, mister!  #CLOTHESBEFOREBROS

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

In other news, today is my third blogiversary! I never thought three years ago when I wrote my first post that anyone would be interested in reading my blog, and I definitely didn’t know how passionate I would become about sewing! Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog, to everyone who blogs, and to all of y’all who just generally make the internet a happier, sweeter, and more well-dressed place! You guys are the best!

Also, as I was typing this up today, I noticed that this will be my 200th post! Dang, I talk a lot! So, I think a giveaway’s in order, huh?  Leave a comment below if you’d like to win your own copy of the Nettie bodysuit! Because I’m nosy, tell me what fabric you would use for your Nettie!  I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, so I’ll close the comments at 12PM EST on Friday 5/16. Yay!

So tell me- bodysuits, yay or nay? And wild prints- yes? No? Maybe? How would you style a bodysuit?

Nettie bodysuit | Ginger Makes

Sew Grateful Week Giveaway Winner

I’m kind of sad that Sew Grateful Week is over! It’s such a fun week! I really enjoyed everyone’s posts and thoughts on gratitude. But before I leave it behind, there’s one more thing to take care of… announcing the winner of my Coco giveaway!

Excluding duplicate comments or replies from me, there were 167 entries.  Our random winner was…

…#11, dressingtherole!

Hmmm, blue nubby sweater knit sounds awfully nice!  But there was one other entrant whose comment touched my heart and several other readers’, too:

I’m so sorry to read about Linda’s niece’s illness, but I’m really touched by her generosity and I hope that a new dress cheers her up a bit.  I hope that you guys can keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

 

Sew Grateful Week 2014: Giveaway!

I love Sew Grateful Week! It’s an annual event organized by Debi of My Happy Sewing Place to give us a chance to give back to the lovely folks that make the sewing world the sweetest corner of the internet.  I’m ever so grateful for all the support, inspiration, and humor that you guys share so generously, so it’s nice to have an “official” time to show my thanks!

image from Tilly and the Buttons

This year my giveaway was a no-brainer… something brand-new, easy, and fun, Tilly‘s new Coco pattern!  I just made my first version and will definitely be making more!

I’m giving away a PDF version, so it can go to anyone anywhere! If you’d like a chance to win, just leave a comment below. I’m nosy, so I’d love to hear which version you’d like to make and what kind of fabric you’d use, if you feel like sharing!  I’ll close the giveaway Friday, February 28th at 11:59PM EST so the winner can get their copy on Saturday!  Yay!

Patternmaking for Menswear Giveaway Winner!

Hi, guys!  I’m a little slow posting this, but I hope you’ll forgive me when I offer you this token by way of apology:

To be perfectly clear, this little fella is included in the book so you can photocopy him and sketch garment ideas to your heart’s content and DEFINITELY not so you can make paper dolls of your favorite boy toys and dress them in every outfit you’ve ever wanted to put them in!  So don’t even THINK about making paper dolls with little tushies!

I was so pumped up to see how many selfless seamstresses want to make garments for the men in their lives!  I was even more pumped up to see comments from male sewists (bro-ists, if you will) who are looking for more options for their own wardrobes.  Sew on, bros and kind ladies!  I wish I could give a copy of the book to everyone!

Alright, after duplicate comments and comments from folks who weren’t entering, I counted 76 entries, so without further ado, the winner is:

#23…

… saro!  Why, you clever minx– you’re sneaking a little selfish sewing into this party!  No judgment here– the pea coat sounds scrumptious!  Send me an email with your address and we’ll get this shipped out!

Alright, guys, don’t be sore losers– here’s a little consolation prize for you, from the pages of Patternmaking for Menswear:

Man candy that delicious just CAN’T be nutritious, can it?  Don’t say I never gave you anything!  ;)

Giveaway Winner: Fashion A-Z

Hi, guys!  I know you’ve been ANXIOUSLY awaiting the announcement of the winner for my Fashion A-Z giveaway, so here goes!

The winner is…

#71….

…Angela of Bonne Chance!  If you haven’t seen her lovely blog before, hop on over!  She’s currently making bridesmaid dresses for her wedding using Christine Haynes’ Derby Dress pattern– cute, non?

Now, for all your perverts curious kitties out there who wanted to know more about the origin of jockstraps, read on!

The term may be derived either from the slang use of the word “jock”, meaning [dude appendage], or a shortening of the term “jockey strap”, a similar garment worn by bicycle jockeys (riders) in the US from the mid 1870s, initially while navigating the cobbled (and therefore bumpy) streets of Boston.

So there you have it!

Thanks again to Laurence King for letting me give away a book!  Hope you enjoy it, Angela!

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