Tuesday, May 21, 2013
My very favourite books though are old, you could call them vintage if you wanted to be fashionable, but really they are just old.
The Readers Digest Book of Sewing
Oh how I love this book. Every sewer should have one. This book has everything, every technique you will ever need in detail with lovely clear diagrams. I urge anyone wanting to take up sewing to buy this book. Older copies come up on Ebay frequently and are inexpensive, but you can get up to date copies too. Really, just buy it. I still refer to this book despite having been sewing most of my life.
Complete Dressmaking in Pictures.
I picked up this book at a Brownie jumble sale for 50p about 10 years ago. I think it dates from the 1940's, but I can't find a publishing date.
Firstly I have to say I love this book because it smells old, and it's well worn, you can tell someone has used it again and again.
Despite being called "Complete Dressmaking", I think most modern sewers would find a great deal missing. An awful lot of prior knowledge is assumed, and the patterns in the back require a certain amount of pattern drafting know how.
I do love to flick through it though, and keep meaning to make up some of the patterns, it's on my to do list!
The Batsford Book of Sewing.
This is one of the books I had for A level needlework at school. I believe Ann Batsford was briefly a teacher at my school (before my time), and I think she had a tv series sometime in the early 70's.
This book is alphabetical starting with Alterations and finishing with zips. Lots of lovely clear diagrams, a handy book for a quick look up of something.
Flipping through this book makes me smile as it reminds me of A Level homework. we'd often be given homework along the lines of "Design a dress you might wear to an afternoon tea party, describe the fabrics you might use giving reasons for your choices, draw the pattern pieces, and layout then describe your order of work." I loved this kind of homework.
Fabrics for Needlework
Another book from back when I was doing A Level at school. This book is really very dated in that many modern fabrics are of course not included, but all the basics are there, and described right from properties of the fibre, through construction of the fabric . I actually do use this book a lot, mostly for burn tests, I like doing burn tests, and they are jolly useful when buying fabric from various places where they are not always clearly labelled.
Now this really is a little gem. I can sit and read this book like a novel. This paticular copy is dated 1946, but you can see from the photos that it was clearly written at least a decade earlier.
This book covers all needlecraft, embroidery, dressmaking, knitting and crochet, patchwork, home upholstery etc.
There are very few photos, and this book assumes a great deal of prior needleworking knowledge.
In the introduction to the "Home Dressmaking " chapter, the author talks about dressmaking becoming so much easier after 1914.
"So, you see, home dressmaking is no longer a skilled art for exceptionally clever needlewomen,but a pleasant job that even the most inexperienced can take up with success. In these days it is no exaggeration to say that if you can sew (and who can't?) you can dressmake also."
I love that a flat iron and iron stand is listed in the essential equipment, an electric iron is listed in optional equipment.The author also mentions folding ironing tables as an optional extra, I'm guessing ironing boards were a fairly new invention when she was writing?
She goes on to say:
"Most women,even if they have never done any dressmaking so far, know the ordinary plain sewing stitches. They are learnt at school and used so constantly for ordinary sewing jobs that they are never forgotten. For this reason such everyday stitches as hemming,overcasting, and whipping are not included in this book..."
I really do love this book. When I read it I feel connected to so many before me who were taught to sew and enjoyed their craft. Simply it makes me very happy!
I'd love to know what your favourite books are, leave me a comment and let me know.
Monday, May 20, 2013
I made this up in a lovely printed cotton I bought in Leons Chorlton last weekend.
I'm pretty happy with it. Honestly I should have made more of an effort and adjusted the front to accomodate my bust better, but there is a reason this blog is named "Lazy Seamstress". I thought I might get away with it, and I spose I have but only just...the buttons and buttonholes are right on the edge of the placket, silly lazy me. I never learn, this kind of mistake will really bother me, unyet I knew it would probably be an issue even before I started cutting out.
On the whole though, a lovely pattern, nice to sew up, and a lovely flattering easy summer dress.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I think I might have mentioned several times now that spring has been very late here, she is finally starting to shyly show her face though, and laundry has been dried outside...yay!
I love the smell of fresh laundry just in from the washing line. I remember as a small child stretching out in bed after a hard day of playing and a warm bath, breathing in that gorgeous fresh summer smell of line dried bed linen, just heavenly!
I make a fresh peg bag every year, this years is made with this pretty cotton I bought at Sewing for Pleasure in March, it's the same cotton I used to re cover my little piano stool.
You can make your own peg bag by following my free tutorial. Click the link here, or over there in my side bar with all of my other freebies.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Late with this again, the bank holiday has really thrown me off my usual routine.
My four photos for last week include this one of my beautiful Sidney. He's such a gentle sweet and lovely boy. A true introvert, he doesn't say much, but when he does he gets right to the heart of the matter. I was snapping photos of him lying in the sun at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Monday, and he wouldn't smile until I asked him to tell me about his most favourite thing in the world...Lego, that made him smile.
After a very slow start, it seems Spring is finally here, some days like today it still doesn't seem sure it's here for good, but I've cast off my winter boots now, and they are staying off! I've even managed five minutes here and there sat in the garden with a bit of crochet.
The blossom is finally blossoming. This tree is in a little park on our walk to the library, it lifted my heart last week to finally see it in full bloom. India picked a blossom flower from the ground for a buttonhole.
Monday, May 06, 2013
I wanted to make myself a dress in this gorgeous floral print polyester I'd bought at this years Sewing for Pleasure.
I managed to cut this out during the week with minimal help from Ernest (!), and stitched it up on Saturday...trying to sew with Ernest pressing buttons on the sewing machine or crawling under my desk to add some extra pressure to the foot was tricky, so I took lots of breaks.
I was really annoyed with myself, because actually I cut out a size too small. I still haven't yet got used to the size I am now, post breastfeeding and weight loss, that combined with just not reading the size chart properly, and I got in a silly muddle.
A bit of jiggling about and scant seam allowances here and there, plus lots of trying on and I've just about got away with it.
Skimping on seam allowances though is not to be recommended, it throws out the whole design, and sewing a zip into a tiny 5mm seam allowance is really not to be recommended at all!
Ideally I'd have re cut the bodice pieces and had fewer gathers in the skirt pieces, but I'd run out of fabric and had to make do.
I'm still cross with myself, but i can cheer myself up with the fact that my hair matches the dress..at least for a while anyway.
I wore my dress today to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and even got a compliment from the lady in the gift shop, which was lovely.
Here I am being all 1950's housewife at our picnic. (Woody made the quiche of course.)
I really do love this dress, despite the mistakes and the fact that it's a tad tight. I think I'll probably use this pattern again, it's really easy, and a lovely flattering style. Next time I'll just cut out the right size!