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GIVEAWAY: Casual Sweet Clothes

29 Aug

I’m still not quite back into my normal routine as of now (YET – the good news is, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Yay!), so today I wanna take it easy with some eye-candy of the Laurence King variety :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

This is Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sashara, a new Japanese pattern book from – you guessed it – Laurence King. This arrived as a nice little surprise at my door recently (which, speaking of LK and surprise book, I don’t know how they manage it but they have their send-Lauren-a-surprise-book-so-it-arrives-when-she’s-having-a-bad-day shit down to a SCIENCE. It’s almost creepy how much they are on my vibe brainwaves, haha), and I really enjoyed looking at the pictures so I thought y’all would too!

I generally don’t care for most of the patterns in these sorts of books – they are cute, but not always really my style – but I see a lot of things in this particular book that I would actually like wearing! The styling is especially great – it’s still pretty sweet, but it’s not so sweet that you’re giving it the side-eye and wondering who the hell would wear that shit out in public.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

FORREAL THO. What is it about this photo? Is it the styling? Is it that the shirt is actually pretty freaking fabulous? Is it the hat (I could never pull off a hat like that)? Is it the babely model herself? I don’t know, but I want everything about that outfit on my body right now (minus the model because, guys, I already have a boyfriend ok).

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Not sure if I would wear the jacket, but it’s ADORABLE. I love the camel wool with the black bow contrast! And on the opposite page – such a pretty tank top! I have a vintage RTW dress from Mexico that’s in a similar style, and I’ve worn it so much it’s basically deteriorating. I’d love to make another one to replace it.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

If those last 2 photos were still sweet enough to give you a toothache, just know that there are some good solid basics in this book as well – like this tiered pencil skirt.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

One thing that I love about these types of books is that they offer a lot of inspiration in ways other than just the pattern itself. This dress pattern in particular isn’t necessarily something I would wear – but I *would* wear that cool lace inset in the sleeves! The book gives great instructions for adding this design element, and it would be so easy to modify an existing pattern to allow for a little lace love :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

I REALLYYYY love this blouse. Look at the cute little bows on the shoulders! Ahhh!!

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Also – this coat. See what I mean about the styling? It’s still pretty sweet (like, girl is wearing a tutu), but that coat would not look out of place in my closet.

Fun fact: this is the same pattern as the second photo (camel wool swing coat with the black bow). Just a couple small design changes – pocket, hood – plus the fabric choice make it a completely different garment! That’s another thing I love about these types of books – even if you don’t like the patterns offered, it’s pretty cool to see how the designer took the same pattern and reworked certain parts to make a completely different garment.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

My very VERY favorite part of these books are the instructions! Yesss! I LOVE the diagrams – those alone are basically artwork to me. I’m so tempted to rip them out and stick them directly on the wall, but I’m one of those people who is mortified to see books get torn apart haha.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

There are a couple small drawbacks to the patterns in this book- the sizing and the seam allowance (or, lack thereof). As with most Japanese sewing books (well, at least in my experience), the sizing is pretty limited – the largest size allows for a 36″ bust. That being said, the clothing is all very simple and relatively loose-fitting (and the finished measurements are printed for each pattern), so it wouldn’t be too hard to increase the size a little bit – or you could even find a similar shaped pattern and made adjustments (such as adding the shoulder ties to that tshirt). Or you could just use the book as inspiration, because there’s plenty of it in there! Ha! The patterns are all nested and crazy overlapped (so you gotta trace ‘em if you wanna make ‘em), and there are no seam allowances included, just fyi! Fortunately, the patterns don’t have a lot of pieces either, so there’s that!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Ok, giveaway time! :D Laurence King has generously offered a copy of this book to one lucky reader! Yess!! If you’d like to enter to win your very own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, just leave a comment on this entry and let me know where YOU like to go for eye-candy inspiration (I love eye-candy, need more in my life!). This giveaway is US ONLY and I will close the entries a week from today, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 2014 at 8:00 AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

If you are itching for your own copy RIGHT NOW, no worries, I got a discount code for ya! Use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get Casual Sweet Clothes for a whopping 35% off! This code is good through 10/1/14, so you have time after the giveaway ends if you want to make sure you didn’t win first ;) Whoop whoop! Don’t say I never did anything for ya ;)

Good luck, guys! I promise I’ll try to be back to a more regular posting schedule next week :) Also, international readers – I’ll make it up next month! Haven’t forgotten about you ♥

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OAL: The Winners!

4 Aug

Hey everyone! Sorry, one more OAL post :)

I had SO much fun co-hosting the OAL this year with Andi, and I love that we had so many participants (66 posted completed outfits on the Ravelry thread!). I can’t even tell you how much I loved following along with everyone’s progress, and seeing what cool outfits came out of it! I really love the variety of sewing and knitting patterns that showed up in the OAL (some having already moved over to my to-make queue ;)). Such a fun time and I’m really glad I got to host! Thanks to everyone who participated! Y’all are the best! ♥

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Andi & I wanted to sweeten the deal with an opportunity for prizes, so let’s get to that! Our official sponsor for the OAL is Indie Stitches, who generously donated prizes for each of the winners. Those who win get a free pattern of these choosing from Indie Stitches, plus a free knitting pattern of their choosing from the Untangling Knots shop. For the drawing, we compiled a list of all the posts on the OAL Finished Outfits thread that were submitted before the deadline on 7/31 and included a full outfit. The names were put on a numbered spreadsheet, which we used random.org to pull the winning numbers. So, without further ado – our 4 OAL winners~~

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Karen’s Helen bed jacket & PJ’s
Damn, that’s such a good idea – why didn’t I think of that? Classy pjs and a bed jacket for lounging, instead of my ratty workout shorts and an even rattier quilt.

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Roisin’s Myrna cardigan & Vogue 8998
ROISIN! I swear I did not choose her name on purpose; this was purely luck of the draw. I love her little pink Myrna and the fabric for that dress is such a perfect match!

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Kristi’s Myrna & Simplicity 1803//McCall 6696
Such a pretty and classic combination! You can’t see too well in these photos, but go look at her Ravelry page – the top of the dress bodice is outlined in pink piping, which looks fabulous! And the inside is just gorgeous :)

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Martinalici’s Featherweight cardigan & Washi dress
Love this – especially that hand-embroidered collar! Also, that Featherweight Cardigan is going in my queue asap :)

Woohoo! Congratulations, ladies! Keep an eye out for an email from me :)

For those who didn’t win, I still have a lil’ somethin’ for ya – a discount code! Use the code OAL2014 for 15% off your purchase at Indie Stitches shop. This code is valid for 48 hours, so through 7AM August 6 (whew! Is it August already?).

Thanks again to everyone who played along, I hope you had as much fun as we did! To see all the finished outfits in all their glory, check out the OAL Finished Outfits Ravelry thread, the Official Unofficial Flickr Group and the hashtag #oal2014 :)

Review: Fashionary Sketchbook (+ a giveaway!)

25 Jun

Fun LT Fact: Back in high school, before I fell hard in love with sewing, I was a wannabe artist. Painting, sketching, doodling – I loved it all. I was moderately good at it (not enough to, like, make a career out of it or anything, ha!), and I churned out dozens of sketches and paintings (mostly oil and acrylic). Once I switched over to sewing, my love affair with art started to die down. This is why I love fashion sketching so much – it really appeals to the other artistic side of me, the one that likes to use paintbrushes and fancy drawing pencils.

One caveat to my art: I’m a fantastic copier, but I cannot draw or paint from memory. Can’t do it! So all my paintings were direct copies of whatever I was looking at (be it a photo from a magazine, or a real painting in my art book, or whatever).

Fashionary Sketchbook

So, this Fashionary Sketchbook really appeals to me, as it allows me to draw and doodle clothing to my little heart’s desire, without actually having to come up with drawings on my own accord (aka, copy that shit, dude!).

Fashionary Sketchbook

This little unassuming red book was sent to me by the folks at Fashionary to review. I’ve been carrying it around for about a month, and I gotta say – it’s pretty freaking cool! The small size (I’m using the red sketcbook, fyi) is small enough to carry around in my purse, but it’s big enough so I’m not drawing little 2″ figures. I love that there’s elastic to keep the book closed when you’re not using it, and a bookmark is attached to the binding so you can quickly find your place.

Fashionary Sketchbook

Oh, and the first 20% of the book is full of line drawing for various clothing and accessories! Remember what I said about being a copier? YEP, this shit is RIGHT up my alley!

Fashionary Sketchbook
Fashionary Sketchbook
There are so many little details in this book, I don’t even know where to begin. Lots of line drawings to copy for your figure sketches – and even the outline of pattern pieces at the top of the clothing pages.

Fashionary Sketchbook
Tables of measurements for anything you might need while designing.

Fashionary Sketchbook
Fabric patterns!

Fashionary Sketchbook
Care labeling instructions decoded, because why the fuck not?
(Note: I should probably learn these. I just wash everything on cold, is that terrible?)

Fashionary Sketchbook
Different poses, if you dare!

Fashionary Sketchbook
The last 80% of the book is for sketching. A first glance, it appears to be blank pages-

Fashionary Sketchbook
But if you look closely, you can see a faint outline of the figure, 3 per page. This is my favorite part of the book; the outline is visible enough so you can use it if you have problems with drawing proportions (well, we are talking ~fashion~ proportions here), but it’s faint enough to where you could ignore the template and doodle whatever the hell you want right over it.

Guys, I have fallen in LOVE with this book. I’m so sorry if this is like the gushiest review ever – yes, I got a free book out of it, but I’d buy this shit regardless. It’s so handy and well thought out, and it appeals to me on so many levels.

Want to see what I’ve been doodling? Don’t judge my mediocre drawing skills, now!

Fashionary Sketchbook
Fashionary Sketchbook
Fashionary Sketchbook
Fashionary Sketchbook

My only complaint is that I wish the paper was a little thicker so I could outline my pencil with ink – I started to, with my first drawing, but it bled through the back. Ugh. I reckon if the paper was any thicker, the book might have to have less pages, so I’m sure that’s why it is what it is. Alternately, I could probably try using an ink pen that didn’t bleed through so much, like a ballpoint. I was using a Sharpie in this case, ha.

As a side note, this book has inspired me to start painting again, so I signed up for a Watercolor Painting class this past month! It’s been really fun – I love learning new things as an adult – and hopefully I’ll have some cool ~fashun~ watercolors to show y’all in the future :) Lord knows I spent enough on the paints :P I better get my money’s worth out of them!

Fashionary Tape
In my package, I also received this bonus little Fashion Tape Measure! While this is not something I will personally use for it’s intended, er, use (I don’t draft patterns, and I probably won’t ever start. Sorrrrrryyyyy!), I can’t hate on a good tape measure. Those things always come in handy :)

Fashionary Tape
Fashionary Tape
What makes this tape measure unique is that it is marked at key measurements for two standard sizes (men and women’s). The women’s standard US size 6 is marked on the white side in centimeters.

Fashionary Tape
The men’s US 38 is marked on the black side, in inches.

I can absolutely see how someone who designs and drafts patterns could find this useful! It’s pretty cool. Personally, though, I’ll just be using it for plain tape measure purposes. I love sewing gadgets haha :)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Hey, ok, so now let’s have a giveaway! The folks at Fashionary were generous enough to offer up a free Red Fashionary Sketchbook for one lucky reader to win (and you can match me, yay!). To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me if you have any artistic talents beyond sewing. I’m curious! :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the entries one week from today, WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2014 8AM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Good luck!

Review: The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits (+ a giveaway!)

5 May

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Y’all know how much I love sewing knits (just to reiterate: I LOVE that shit!). While knits tend to get a bad rap for being “tricky” to sew, I find them to be quite easy to fit and manipulate – not to mention, knits are worn more than any other fabric in my closet (and I’m sure most of y’all are the same way!). They’re just so comfy and easy to wear, you know?

Despite my never-ending campaigning to get people on board the Knits Boat, some of y’all are still a little scared to take the plunge. Whether you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a fabric, or if you think your standard machine can’t handle sewing on knits (spoiler: it totally can), or the techniques just seem completely foreign to your woven-trained brain – there is always room for more guidance.

Which is why I’m so excited for Colette’s newest book release – The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. Written by Alyson Clair (a patternmaker with years of experience working in the knitwear industry) and then put together Colette-style with clear photographs and easy to understand descriptions, this book is a fantastic resource for tackling knits – taking you from the different types of fabrics, to what needles and threads to use, to the difference between sergers and coverstitch machines (and how to use them – from threading to tension to troubleshooting!), to how to sew knits on a regular ol’ sewing machine (for those of y’all who don’t have a serger ;)), to fitting, to different finishes. Whew!

Although I definitely have some experience with sewing knits, I can always use more tips and ideas for branching out and discovering new techniques. This book is pretty fabulous in the sense that it’s both helpful for knit newbies *and* those of us who have a few years under our belts – I even learned a thing or two in the first chapter. The chapter Stitching and Finishing totally blew my mind, though.

Want to take a little sneaky peek? Of course you do! (psst, you can click the photos to enlarge them :))

serger roadmap

When I said there was a full section on your serger (as well as the coverstitch and standard machine), I was not kidding! There are several pages dedicated to showing you the different parts of each machine, and what they do.

threading serger

There’s also a section on threading- for both the serger and coverstitch (ohhh, someday I will have a coverstitch ♥)! Yay! So much easier to read than those little manual diagrams, yeah? :)

serging a corner

Here’s a neat little tip on how to serge an inner corner.

elastic types

Like I said, though… the finishing section is my favorite part.

decorative elastic

Inserting decorative elastic – gah, I wish I’d had this resource when I was experimenting with making my own underwear a couple of months ago. I found the elastic really difficult to sew in, which is why I stopped after one pair :) Turns out I was sewing it in the hard way, doh!

lace neckline

Stretch lace – isn’t this so pretty? I’d love to try this with the new Moneta pattern.

buying fabric

There’s also an entire section devoted to knit fabrics – how they’re made, what the different types are, what needles to use, what to look for while shopping.

Pretty cool, huh? I’m so glad I picked up this book – I’ve learned a lot just from flipping through the pages, and I can’t wait to try some of these new techniques with my next knit project.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
If you’ve made it all the way to the end- yay! Prize time! Sarai has generously offered a copy of the book to one lucky reader – it could be you! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d love to sew up in a knit – a dress? A swimsuit? Boring white tshirts? What’s your knit end goal? I’m curious :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments a week from today, Monday, 12 May 2014 at 7:00AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

For those of you who simply can’t wait and must have this book NOW, you can order The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits from Amazon or directly from the Colette website.

Good luck!

A Weekend in NYC

20 Mar

After a whirlwind of a weekend in NYC (landing in on Friday evening and rolling out Monday afternoon – whew!), I’m happy to report that I’m back home in one piece. Minus the piece of my broken heart that I left with Clare. Sob! But maybe I should back up a little…

Fair warning: this is a word-heavy, stolen-picture-heavy post. Feel free to scroll by – or at least to the bottom, to check out who won the giveaway! Sorry if this sounds super rushed – we cancelled our internet (in search of a new provider) and I’m trying to publish before it turns off! ~living on the edge~ and all that.

It’s been exactly over a year since the last time I visited NYC and I think it was just in time – I’ve used up nearly all my fabric, time to buy moreeee!! For this round, I shacked up with Clare in the tiniest little studio apartment I’ve ever seen, in East Village across the street from Big Gay Ice Cream (and before you ask – we didn’t get any gay ice cream. It was WAY too cold!). Neither of us had been before, but we both fell in love with the area, especially all the punk stores that made us feel old and nostalgic (not to mention kind of hilarious at how the styles NEVER EVER change. Seriously! Brands and styles that I wore 10+ years ago… that were already old as hell, even back then. Oh, punk. So punk.). The apartment was fabulous, except when our “neighbor” decided to throw a several-hour long party on one night that ended up with me laying awake, listening to some chick blather on about convection ovens until the wee hours of the morning. But, don’t worry – we woke up bright and early the following morning, and made sure to turn the TV (you know, the one that was attached directly to his wall) up nice and loud for a couple of hours :)

Our first meet-up happened right after I landed and made my way from the airport to our pad, dropped my stuff off, and dipped right back out. We had planned to get tacos & margaritas with a handful of ladies, and per usual, I made sure we were a good hour late (what? Don’t look at me like that – navigating the subway with a giant suitcase during rush hour is hard). I sat at the end of the table with Jennifer & Betsy, and an endless supply of margaritas ;) (although I hear there was some talk of fat quarter challenges at the opposite end – I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversastion, ha!).

post-dinner group

A few of our party had already peaced out by the time Carolyn convinced a rando to take this photo, but here’s a portion of the group! Look at my creepy skeleton hands, HA!

Most everyone went home afterwards, but the real badasses of the group (me, Jennifer, Lucinda & Fleur) stuck it out for another round of drinks at some fancy winebar with a creepy bathroom. Which was WAY more awesome than it sounds, ha! I love meeting up with big groups, but I also like these little smaller sets because it gives me more of a chance to actually talk to people one-on-one and have a proper conversation.

Saturday morning, Clare & I headed out to Devra’s for a pre-meetup brunch. We were only a couple miles away, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous morning and walk (and only made it about half an hour late ;)). Brunch was, per usual, fucking amazing – and although someone forgot the coffee (cough cough), Devra did make sure that we ate off paper plates this go ’round, so no dishes were broken this year :)

INSTAFRANZ  @oonaballoona @wwndw
Me with Marcy & Lisette

me!
Oh, yeah, my hair is blue now! :)

Marcy & Trice
Marcy & Trice

Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer
Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer

Amity, Nette & Kelli
Amity, Wanette & Kelli

Kelli & Peter
Peter & Kelli (in case you were wondering… her hair really looks that good in real life. Clare & I were amazed and a little jealous).

After brunch, we walked down toward the Garment District – only about a half hour late! No biggie! Ha! GUYS, I swear… I actually am pretty prompt and on-time for the most part. I HATE waiting on late people, so I try not to ever be that person. However, something about NY just makes me late for every freaking thing I try to do. Thankfully, the group didn’t get started without us – everyone was waiting patiently in the lobby at Mood Fabrics, and we were able to ride the elevators up together in a couple trips.

Should have taken this before half the meet-up left haha. Oh well! Successful day!!  (ps ladies pls tag yourselves )

This is only a portion of the crew! Didn’t think to get a group shot before we released the hounds into Mood, boo, so about half the people left before this picture was taken. Of course, I also didn’t realize that Mood closes at 4 on Saturdays… and since we all arrived after 1, that didn’t leave much time to get around the rest of the Garment District! We barreled through Mood and wreaked some serious havok on the lines in that store – I think at one point it stretched all the way to the back by the bathroom! Although I spent most of my chatting up new friends via meet-up, freaking out over the gorgeous silk button hole twist that Madalynne brought for everyone (who brings that sort of stuff to pass out at a meet-up? Maddie, that’s who!), and kicking it with my favorite Mood Dude, George. Seriously, y’all. George is awesome.

We managed to make a quick pit stop at Pacific Trimming before they closed, grabbed a bite at Ben’s Diner across the street, and posed with our favorite tailor on the street corner.

Just being adorable with @clareyszabo

The rest of the weekend, Clare and I trolled around the city with whoever we could convince to join us – Amity, Trice, Devra & Sonja. We ended up going to the Garment District three days in a row – yes, there are totally shops open on Sunday, woohoo! – where I was finally able to meet my self-imposed fabric quota. Also, we totally tourist’d it up at places like FAO Schwarz (for the live toy soldiers), Tiffany’s (for the sparklies) & Saks 5th Ave (for lurking inside the designer duds – oh yes we did).

stole these from Clareeeee

@clareyszabo and I hanging with our new BFF #toysoldiermark

stole these from Clareeeee
This may be my favorite picture from the weekend. We dipped into Chic Fabrics and made BFFz with the owner, Sam. BFFz as in we are now planning a pool party at his house on Long Island, and Clare started snapping selfies that I tried to photobomb. Sam was awesome. Almost as awesome as the fabric I bought from his store :P

One thing I would have LOVED to do while I was around, had I been given a little more time (and perhaps the weather been a bit more cooperative), was to check out the tours at Seek. I reeeeeally wanted to do the NY Garment District Tour (or, hell, all their public tours sound pretty amazing. I’m dying to try that Fifth Ave department store history tour!), but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip, due to weather and time restraints. I’ve had a few people ask for suggestions on places to visit in NY (from a tourist’s perspective), so that would definitely be the first thing at the top of my list to check out (psst! Want a discount? Use the code LLADY!). Next time I go, I am DEFINITELY getting signed up for at least one tour!

Another thing I was sad to miss was checking out Workroom Social – especially after a full night of getting my gab on with Jennifer! Again, I do want to plan a trip back in the summer, so hopefully we can make it happen!

I reckon y’all wanna see what I came home with though, huh?

fabric haul
Here’s the whole lot of fabric! I was pretty good this time around and spent a lot less than I did last year (also, hoping this can convince me to come back later this summer to restock, YES). Mostly cottons and knits, although there are a couple of pieces of silk in there.

Most everything came from Mood Fabrics, with a few exceptions-
– the chambray, plaid, and china silk came from Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th St # 11, New York, NY 10018) (our beloved Sam! GO SEE HIM and buy up allll the china silk like I did!)
– the grey/black/rust stripes and aqua with black polka dots came from Metro Textiles (Carolyn has a recent review on this place. It is really awesome to dig through, the prices are great, and I LOVED Kashi. Love love loved him. Go find him and tell him I sent you! I would have loved to spend a million hours in that store, pawing through fabrics, but we were on quite a time constraint by the time we managed to get in there.)
– the navy/white wide stripes and navy/white polka dots came from… I think Fabrics for Less? I honestly don’t remember, because I didn’t fall in love with anyone there, ha!

trims!
I also bought a few trims from Pacific Trimming. Rib knit – one with GOLD SPARKLY STRIPES, and one white stripes – and my first Riri zipper! That shit cost me $15, by the way. It better be as epic as everyone talks about.

OMG
Also from Pacific Trimming, this amazing American Flag elastic. I… what?

Speaking of Carolyn, she was kind enough to let Clare & I stash our giant stacks of luggage (I had one of those suitcases that was big enough for me to fit inside, plus an overstuffed duffel bag. All full of fabric, haha!) in her office on our last day, so we could pop back to the Garment District and get a quick Guinness before I had to leave for the airport. Carolyn mentions on her blog that she works in corporate, and she is NOT kidding – that office was corporate and swanky as hell! They had to take photos of us to even let us in, and then she gave us a tour and I don’t think we closed our mouths the entire time. And, of course, Carolyn was impeccably dressed – in handmade. Also, I just adore Carolyn. She’s like my mama bird of the sewing world ♥

One last celebration with my babez @clareyszabo

All in all, I had an amazing time. Clare was a wonderful traveling partner who felt the same way I did about every decision we encountered – whether or not we needed more coffee (always), if we felt up to walking instead of taking the subway (hell yeah we did!) and if the Garment District warranted just oneeeeee more trip before we left (what do you think?). She even brought me presents all the way from London – soo many teas, and a gorgeous African print wax fabric that I’m kind of afraid to cut into (see it in the haul photo? Bottom right!). I really did feel like I was leaving a tiny piece of my heart back there when I had to finally go home. Which just means I better haul my ass over to London, STAT!

As far as meet-ups, I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in soo many in the short time I was there (and bummed that a couple that we planned weren’t able to pan out). Everyone says this, all the time, but it’s really awesome getting to meet up with people who share the same interests as you and are happy to hear you drone on about your fitting adjustments and offer advice. Also: having met up with lots of bloggers across all channels, I gotta say – sewists are the nicest ones in the bunch, across the board! In these meet-ups, I never feel like I’m competing for a chance to talk (you know those people who you can tell are just waiting for a dip in the conversation so they can butt in and take over? Yep. Not a sewist trait, at least not with the ones I’ve met!) or carrying on about something that’s really obvious no one gives a shit about. Everyone is polite, encouraging, and happy to let you try on their jacket if you are interested in the pattern (ask Clare about that bomber jacket. I about stole it right off of her, ha!). Ohh, and we all tip well :) If you’re thinking about joining a meet-up in your area – DO IT. So much fun, so many new friends and new blogs to follow! The best part is when you can pick out who is wearing what pattern – I think there were, what, 4 Minorus at our meet-up? Too bad I left mine at home!

Oh yeah, I went there ❤️
So, anyway… New York, I ♥ U. I’ll be back, yes indeed.

One more thing – the book+pattern giveaway! Um, WOW you guys – I cannot believe the enormous response that blew my email up all week. Y’all must really love you some sewing textbooks, that’s all I have to say about that!

But, like all good things – this has got to come to an end, so let’s pull up a winner. Ding ding, who’s the lucky number?

winner1

winner2

That would be Sam L! Woohoo, congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get you your book & pattern :) I think you’ll find this book very helpful for learning all the techniques that come with making pants :)

Thanks to everyone who entered! I really really wish I had a copy of this book to give to ALL of y’all – but unfortunately, I only got one :(. If you are interested, you can purchase the book here on Amazon. As a side note (and perhaps this is better suited for a discussion post, maybe?), I noticed that an overwhelming majority of commenters seemed to be really terrified of sewing button holes and zippers. I’m going to let you in on a my top tip for learning new things: just try it! Who cares if your first attempt ends up to be total crap (err… maybe try on a scrap first, so it can truly be nbd, ha!)? That’s why we hide things at the bottom of the trash can :) Almost everything I’ve learned – seriously, everything – came from studying sewing books and tireless googling. Practicing is really the only way you can get better at something, and you need a healthy dose of fearlessness to realize that it’s really not so bad once you get going. You got this!!

Whew, that was long! Ok, I’m outta here! Have a great week of the week, everyone! :)

Giveaway: The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction

13 Mar

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Hey everyone! Remember Christine Haynes, maker of the Emery dress pattern? Well, Christine has recently released her second book, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction, and I’m excited to be the next stop on the blog tour!

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When Christine originally asked me if I wanted to preview the book and take part in the tour, I didn’t even finish reading her email before I started typing my ‘YES YES YESSSSS’ response right back to her (good thing I did finish reading before I actually sent it, though- because at first, I thought she was saying she was planning a physical book tour and would end up in Nashville! Doh! Christine, you should still come to Nashville, tho :)). I really love sewing books, almost to a fault – I have a few dozen on my bookshelf, and only that few because I tend to cull them pretty aggressively so they don’t end up taking over my sewing room. Even though I’m not a beginner, I especially love the books geared toward beginners – I love all the photos and how-tos, and I still find myself learning new things from time to time!

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The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction is a book that is definitely geared toward beginners – if you need hand holding, this is the book for you. I’m actually pretty amazed at all the information Christine managed to cram in this deceptively small looking book – from choosing the correct thread and needle, to pretreating fabric, to deciphering the envelope of a sewing pattern, to those amazing step-by-step photo guides for a whole array of techniques. The general consensus on this book seems to be that everyone wishes they had it when they started sewing – and I absolutely agree! Just the zipper section alone would have sent angels singing to my sewing room if I’d had this shit back when I was first trying to understand how to operate my sewing machine. I think the best way to learn it hands-on with a good tutor, but that’s not always an option for everyone. Having this book would be the next best thing – it’s like having a tutor in your sewing room 24/7, but in print! Ha!

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I think this was the tutorial that excited me the most about this book. Yes, it’s geared toward beginners, but then she throws things like this in the mix. A full color, photo tutorial on sewing a front fly zipper! And it’s a good one, too! See – a beginner could TOTALLY tackle this technique with Christine by their side.

(psst! You can click the photos to enlarge!)

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I also love this how-to on shortening a zipper- isn’t it sooo much more clear than the sad little insert that comes with your Coats and Clark zip? Especially since, yes, you can totally shorten a zip by machine. I think I did mine by hand for the first, oh, 7 years of my sewing career – and trying to find a needle with matching thread in the heat of the moment? Forget about it! Half my stuff from back then has self-made zipper stops in some obnoxious mismatched shade of whatever I happened to find in the nearest pincushion. Again, I would have LOVED to have this book at my side when trying to figure this stuff out.

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This is probably my favorite part of the book – scattered throughout are photos of garments with numbers denoting what technique was used for each part, and where to find it in the book. Isn’t that genius? Plus, all the patterns Christine used (both finished garments and for the photo tutorials) are from indie designers. No Big 4 to be found anywhere in this bad boy, yeeeah!

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GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Ok, that was fun, but let’s get to the REALLY fun part! Christine has generously offered up a signed copy of The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction, plus an extra Emery pattern for one lucky winner! Yay! To enter, all you gotta do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what technique you’d like to master. That’s it! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments one week from today, THURSDAY MARCH 20, 2014 AT 8:00 AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Don’t forget to check out the full blog tour here on Christine’s blog – lots of awesome ladies involved, lots of cool giveaways going on!

Good luck! I’ll be off the blog and prowling NYC this weekend with my best blog gal, Clare. Expect lots of photo spam on Twitter and Instagram… and possibly an extra little surprise in that winning package ;)

Giveaway: Knitting Patterns from Andi Satterlund

13 Jan

I’ve got a really fun giveaway for y’all today! Assuming you like knitting… if not, what’s holding you back?? :)

As you all know probably know by now, Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots is my not-even-trying-to-make-this-a-secret Knitting Girl Crush. I don’t want to call myself obsessive, per se, but every single one of her knittng patterns has a solid spot in my queue, and I’ve personally knit and finished (and worn!) half a dozen of her patterns for myself. I can’t help it – her designs are beautiful, flattering, fit my body shape exactly, and there is always some new construction trick to learn.

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Aiken Pullover

My very favorite part about Andi’s patterns is how they are constructed. Every knitter has his or her own personal preference for knitting – some like knitting each piece and seaming them together, some prefer to knit things entirely in the round with no seaming. I fall in the latter camp – it’s so fun to watch the shape emerge as you complete the pattern, plus, you can pull it on to tweak the fit as you knit. Not to mention once you’re done, you’re done! No seaming necessary :) All of Andi’s patterns are knit this way – one piece, in the round (top-down or bottom-up depending on the particular pattern in question). Sleeves are set in with short rows and button bands are picked up and knit directly along the edge. Like I said – NO SEAMING. Miracles all up in this bitch!

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Chuck cabled pullover

Another thing I really love about her patterns is the sizing. This is really a personal preference – my body just happens to fit exxxactly into that XS size. I love it! However, if you don’t have the same sort of hourglass figure that the patterns are written for (and there’s a full schematic on the back of each pattern with a zillion finished measurements, so as long as you gauge swatch matches up you can be pretty sure exactly what you’re in store for), they are pretty easy to tweak thanks to the in-the-round construction. Not to mention, the bust measurements range from 29″-50″+, so you’re much more likely to find a size that fits you :)

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Hetty Lace Cardigan

Not into knitting sweaters quite yet (well, what’s stopping you? ;))? Andi also has a nice selection of non-sweater knits – cowls, hats, and fingerless gloves. Most of the accessories patterns include some colorwork – such as the Stray beret in leopard print which I’m dying to knit, or the super fun Bernadine Cowl which has ball of yarn knitted into the design – but there are also even simpler accessories, such as Salt and Bea. Again – what’s stopping you from knitting a sweater, though? :)

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Geralindine Pullover and Ethel Beret

Feeling inspired yet? Look at all the makes I’ve whipped up using Andi’s patterns-
Agathamy mustard Agathaon Ravelry
Agatha(again!) – my Blagathaon Ravelry
Miettemy navy Mietteon Ravelry
Chuckmy red Chuckon Ravelry
Marionmy red Marionon Ravelry
From A to Zmy L is for Laurenon Ravelry

Yikes, that’s a lot of links! Hopefully that gets the creative juices flowing, though :)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED


All right, here’s the fun part – Andi has generously offered to give away a small prize pack of 3 of her patterns, chosen by one lucky winner! Yay! To enter, all you need to do is check out her Ravelry store and tell me in the comments what 3 individual patterns you would choose if that winner is you (sorry, y’all, the Wrapped in Wool package is not included in this giveaway. But you could totally pick 3 of those individual patterns if that’s your jam ;)). That’s it! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments one week from today, January 20, 2014 at 8PM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

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If you’ve yet to knit your first sweater and feel terrified at the prospect, perhaps I can tempt you with the gorgeous Agatha? It was my first sweater, too! ;)

Good luck!

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