Tag Archives: books

Review: 110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook

29 Nov

Hi everyone! Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you live in non-Thanksgiving land. So sorry for your loss). Mine was most excellent as I managed to eat a giant meal TWICE in once day. Before I settle into a food coma, though, let’s talk about this cute little book that I recently received!

110 Creations Book

110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook is literally, exactly what the title describes. It’s a spiral bound notebook specifically designed for us sewists – with places for notes, line drawings, etc – and there’s room for, well, 110 creations! Wanna have a look with me?

When Beth originally emailed me asking if I’d like to review a copy of the book, I’d barely finished reading her email before I had started my own reply with something along the lines of “OMGOMG OMG PLS YES GAHHHHH!!!” See, this type of book is exactly what I’ve been looking for, notebook-wise, for a few months now. Somewhere to write all my plans, notes, and LINE DRAWINGS. Sticking that shit on the wall is good and fine, but carrying it around is like a little whipped topping on the sweet cherry pie of organized sewing.

I know, I just told y’all I got this book for free, and I totally did. However, this review is totally honest, even though I am absolutely gushing. I’m not afraid to rip something apart if I think it sucks and is a waste of money. Fortunately for everyone, this shit rules.

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

When Beth sent me the book, she filled out the first few pages based on my F/W 2013 sewing plans. I love that she even wrote my name in the beginning, it’s like a real library addition now :) Of course, a few things have changed since I wrote up that post – like, I chose a new pattern for my coat, I used a different fabric for the Lola dress and the Zinnia skirt, but those can easily be changed out in the book. I mean, what’s a notebook without a bunch of scribbles and edits and doodles, am I right? :)

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

Here you can see a blank page, and a “sample” page of how to go about filling out all the blanks. There are spaces to write all the info you need – from Project Title (if you’re more creative than I am and give you projects names that contain more than just the color+pattern, ha!), to pattern/fabric/notions, to planning notes, alterations, finishes, hems, and even a place to write notes for next time. Not to mention, there’s a little croquis so you can even draw out the garment and attach a swatch of fabric for more organization. How many times have you planned a project, but forget to execute some vital part while you were actually making it up? I always leave off something – a special hem finish, some type of decorative accent, an alteration, something. With everything clearly laid out in one place, you can easily keep track of everything that’s going in and out of your project space.

110 Creations Book

Oh, there are also a few blank pages in the back, croquis-less, so you can plan menswear, children’s clothing, bags, etc.

110 Creations Book

There’s ALSO a Pattern Catalogue, so you can keep track of what you already own (if you’re a hot mess like me with hundreds of patterns and no real system for avoiding duplicates… oops)…

110 Creations Book

… a wish list…

110 Creations Book

… and even a place to keep track of when you last changed the needle in your sewing machine!

Seriously! She has thought of EVERYTHING!

110 Creations Book

I’ve had a lot of fun writing out my project plans in this book! Here you can see my coat plans, all in one place! I love all the little spaces to write notes – it’s like filling out the most fun survey ever (surely you guys agree with me that filling out surveys is stupid fun, ha). I can also see myself tweaking this to include plans for knitwear as well. Mostly because I looove planning. Ugh, it’s just so good.

The only thing I would change about this book is to make the croquis a little lighter, so the lines of the garment show better when they’re drawn on. If the croquis was sketched in grey, instead of black, it would be perfect.

If you want to see more of this book, you can read more about it here. Also, if you’re staring down that croquis and thinking, “Yep, my body does not look ANYTHING like that!”, just know that Beth also offers books with customized figure drawings.

110 Creations Book

So here’s the fun part – Beth is offering a 10% discount on this book, as well as free shipping! The offer is good through Monday 12/2. This would be an excellent holiday gift for any crafter on your list – I totally would ask for a copy if I didn’t already have one (or maybe I’ll just end up with two. Why not!).

You can buy your copy here for $13.49 (marked down from $14.99, and again, free shipping!). There is also an ADORABLE smaller size (6″x9″ ee!), although it’s not 10% off since it’s a pretty new release.

So what do you think? Are you the type A who salivates at the thought of having ALL THE PLANS, ALL IN THE SAME PLACE? Is this book just appealing so hard to you right now?

One last thing before I peace out for the weekend – I noticed that a LOT of places are running some pretty epic Black Friday specials right now, so if you’ve got your Shopping Hat on and are looking for a few discounts to sweeten the deal, check these out -
Papercut Patterns is running 15% off ALL patterns (through Monday 12/2)
Mood Fabrics has 20% off all fabrics through end of today (through Friday 11/29)
A Fashionable Stitch has 25% off the entire shop, use the code THANKS2013 (through Saturday 11/30)
Grainline Studio is offering 20% off the entire shop, use the code GIVETHANKS20 (through Monday 12/2)
Colette Patterns has 20% off the entire pattern shop (through Friday 11/29)
Victory Patterns is 30% off all paper and PDF patterns, use the code happyanny (through Friday 11/29)
Disparate Disciplines has a fun Black Friday sale – get a free $5 gift certificate for every $10+ gift certificate you buy (through Friday 11/29; after that it’s $5 for every $20+ gift certificate you buy through Monday 12/2). She just released a new Mitten pattern that is SUPER adorable – and 15% off, to boot!
Sleuth Patterns is 30% off your entire order, use the code BLKFRIDAY (through Saturday 12/7)
Christinie Haynes is 20% everything in the shop (plus she is donating 10% of every sale to the LA Regional Food Bank! Awh yeah!), use the code thanksgiving (through Monday 12/2)
She’ll Make You Flip has 20% off your entire order, use the code LLADYBIRD20 (through 12/31) (Ok, this isn’t a Black Friday deal – just a sponsor deal! – but I thought I would mention it anyway$)

Wow, that list got way longer than I meant it to! Happy shopping, I guess, ha! Let me know if I missed any good sales – I know there’s a lot out there today!

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Review+Giveaway: Draping/The Complete Course

2 Oct

A few weeks ago, I came home to a mysterious (and heavy!) package waiting for me from Laurence King. “Hm, I don’t remember ordering anything from LK recently,” I said to Landon as I tore the shit out of that package.


“Oh. Oh!
(psst! click the pictures to enlarge)


Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kiisel is more than just an instructional book for producing draped patterns – it is a massively intense course – complete with over a thousand color photographs and an accompanying DVD to supplement the various lessons – to guide you through the process of draping. From the necessary tools (and before you ask – yes, you need a dressform to use this book the intended way), to preparing your muslin, to draping lessons for specific patterns and fabrics, this book covers everything. Seriously, everything.


Dresses, bustiers, pants, blouses, skirts, knits, coats, gowns, bias – you name it, this book is gonna teach you how to do it, and it’s going to give you a famous pattern to rip off in the process (Glinda’s pink gown from The Wizard of Oz? Check. Something slinky and bias worn by Jean Harlow? Check. Crazy tuxedo jacket designed by Dolce & Gabbana? Check!).


While I haven’t had a chance to start the draping projects in the book yet (and believe me, I am chomping at the bit to dive headfirst into this!), I have really enjoyed just reading it cover to cover like it’s a romance novel. Each section starts off with a bit of history (which I love love love! Sorry, I’m a nerd :)), exercises with variations, and finishes with a big draping project. The included DVD offers additional hands-on support for those of us who need a little more guidance beyond pictures.

Here are a few sample videos. Ooh, I want one of those wrist pincushions.


Now here’s the fun part! Laurence King has very generously offered a second copy of the book up for giveaway! Yay! Who is gonna win and drape away with me??


If you would like to enter to win your very own copy of Draping: The Complete Course, simply leave a comment below and let me know what dream garment you’d love to learn how to drape. This giveaway is open for US RESIDENTS ONLY (sorry!! The book is just really heavy. I’ll have something that includes everyone later this month; stick around for that ;)) and I will close the comments next Wednesday, October 9th 2013 at 6:00PM CST.


If a giveaway just isn’t your bag, you can also order the book on Amazon. It’s currently almost 40% off the $75 list price.

Good luck!

Review+Giveaway: Sweet Dress Book

12 Aug

Laurence King really has cornered the market on these cute little sewing books, haven’t they?

Sweet Dress Book

Their newest offering, Sweet Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, is just as saccharine as the title suggests. Beautifully photographed (guys, there is a FLUFFY CAT in like half the pictures omgomg) and illustrated, the book includes 6 patterns and enough variations to make a total of 23 different outfits.

Sweet Dress Book

Each pattern incorporates a different technique – french sleeve, no darts, straight-cut, pants and playsuits, raglan sleeve, and with darts – and has three variations to make a full range of clothing. This being a Japanese pattern book, the instructions are laid out differently than standard sewing patterns – there is a list of steps and a numbered illustration (or two, or three!) to show how everything goes together. I don’t think the patterns in this book are nearly as complicated as the ones in Drape Drape – a confident beginner should be able to navigate their way through these.

Sweet Dress Book

While the patterns in the book aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, style-wise, it’s still really fun to flip through for inspiration. The model is freakin gorgeous and I love the way the letters are illustrated to look like ribbons. Sweet, right? Oh, and the book also includes a recipe for cupcakes. If anything, I will definitely be testing that one out… for science.

Sweet Dress Book

Before you go nuts with the credit card, I should mention this book isn’t available to the public just yet. It will hit the market on 8/20!

Laurence King has generously offered an extra copy for one of you lucky peeps, so let’s have a giveaway! If you’d like to enter to win your very own Sweet Dress Book, simply leave a comment on this post and let me know your favorite sweet. This giveaway is open worldwide and I will close the comments next Monday, 8/19, at 9 AM CST.

Good luck!


Giveaway: Fashion A-Z

26 Jun


A couple weeks ago, the folks at Laurence King sent me this cute little book, Fashion A-Z: An Illustrated Dictionary, to check out.


When I say cute little book, I’m not exaggerating – it’s a mini book, not much taller than the length of my hand (and I have small hands!). The cutest dictionary I’ve ever seen, at any rate!

Fasion A-Z Blad Spreads-7

While one can easily find this information on Google in this day and age, there’s something so satisfying about flipping through a book to find your answer. And this lil guy is PACKED full of answers – in addition to definitions for stuff like Dolman Sleeves and Gussets, there are definitions for historical clothing (Medici collar, anyone?), some knitting terms (ever wonder what people are talking about when they discuss Stockinette?) and fabric definitions. “Man Bag” is included, for god’s sake!

Fasion A-Z Blad Spreads-8

And the illustrations are so sweet! You can click on the images in this post to make them bigger.

Fasion A-Z Blad Spreads-9

The fabric definitions are the most fun to look up! Do you ever lurk the fabric suggestions on vintage patterns and wonder wtf they are talking about – Sharkskin? Marocain? Dimity? Ottoman? WHAT IS THIS WITCHERY? It’s *all* in here, y’all! Pretty impressive!

Next time a vintage pattern throws a weird, outdated term at me, I’ll be armed and ready!

Fasion A-Z Blad Spreads-4

Want a copy for your very own? Leave a comment on this post – and yes, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE! I’ll close the giveaway Monday, 7/1 and draw a random winner then.


Theodore wishes you the best of luck! :3

Review: Drape Drape (plus a giveaway!)

11 Feb

Drape Drape
I’ve heard a lot of buzz in the online world about these Japanese pattern books- they appear to have quite the cult following. I’ve always been curious to see what exactly they entail (and I also just really love following the pack, ok), so when the publisher contacted me and asked if I’d like a copy of Drape Drape by Hisako Sato to check out, there was no hesitation on my end between when I received the email and when I replied and said YESSS YES YES. New patterns to try! Yes!!

These books were originally published in Japanese (no duh, Lauren), but they were recently translated into English. The translation struggles a little on some points – right side is referred to as “upside,” interfacing is “interlining,” – but overall, it’s pretty easy to understand. The book starts out with general information on the pattern sizing, an explanation on the various drapes and tucks used in the book, and a small chapter on sewing knit fabrics using a standard sewing machine. Drape Drape is actually a pattern book – there are a few pattern sheets with nested pattern pieces (such as what you see with Burdastyle) in the back of the book- 17 patterns in all. It is not, as some might be led to believe, an instruction book on how to drape.

That being said, the pictures in the book are very beautiful – showcasing these gorgeous fluid, drapey designs. The kind of stuff that Vogue wishes their photoshoots would end up looking like:

Drape Drape
Drape Drape
Drape Drape
Drape Drape
Drape Drape

I personally love the line drawings. Like, I want to chop them out of the book and hang them on my wall.
Drape Drape
Drape Drape
Drape Drape
Even Hammer Pants look good as a line drawing.
Drape Drape
~easy breezy~
Drape Drape
Drape Drape
This last one STOLE MY HEART. I was bound and determined to make it up – using a slinky, drapey black rayon knit. Nevermind not having anywhere to wear it – I was gonna make it, and no one was gonna stop me.

But hold up a minute, because have you seen how these pattern instructions work?
Drape Drape

Drape Drape
If this looks easy, it is because it is the easiest pattern in the book. The V-neck dress is quite a bit more involved, with interfacing and a zipper. I spent about 2 weeks staring at the instructions and pulling hair out of my head in an attempt to understaaaaaaand, but the instructions were just too sparse for my comfort and those mountain and valley folds got the best of me. Not that I think it was a necessarily hard pattern to complete – I just need hand-holding when it comes to things like this. Lots and lots of hand-holding. I’m actually like that in pretty much every aspect of my life, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

I’m not saying this to scare you – I don’t think this book is too difficult for the average sewer to comprehend. It just doesn’t work for me and the way my brain functions (plus: tracing nested pattern pieces, NOPE.). Rather than have it sit unused on my shelf, I’d much prefer to give it to someone who can use it :) So if you’ve been curious about these pattern books – here’s your chance! One caveat – this is my copy of the book, and I did mark up one of the pattern sheets (the skirt piece for the v-neck dress has been outlined in blue Sharpie. Yes, I write in my books. Sorry.). The book is in otherwise perfect condition – including the dust jacket – and the pattern sheets are still usable despite the markings.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment (with an email address where I can reach you if you win, please) and tell me your favorite sewing book. This giveaway is open worldwide – if you can receive mail, you can enter the giveaway – and I’ll close the pool a week from today, Monday 2/18/13. Good luck!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

boot fur cuffs & pom poms!

30 Dec

happy holidays (whichever you prefer, i’m not picky!) to everyone! i’ve been MIA for the past week or so, and about to disappear again for another week due to this:
my poor bb sewing machine + serger awaiting the sewing machine doctor!

nothing is wrong with them… they just need their yearly check-up (same as you’d do for your pet, or your car, or uhh yourself). turnaround time is about a week, so i took the opportunity to drop them off today since i will be spending my new year’s weekend in new orleans :)
but i miss them already!

in other happy fun-times news, i did get a new camera for christmas! so i can start taking pictures again, although this camera is much different than my previous one so it is taking some getting used to. my pictures are pretty sucky right now, hopefully i’ll figure it out sooner than later!

oh, and i got new sewing books!
kwik sew method for sewing lingerie

singer sewing for special occasions

my brother & sister-in-law bought me a couple sewing books for christmas – tailoring and boutique apparel. i couldn’t get a good picture of them, but here is the art of sewing flickr set. aren’t they gorgeous? there is a great cape pattern in the apparel book that i am dying to try!

i also made some little fur cuffs & pom poms for my boots over the weekend :)
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