Thursday, February 24, 2011

Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit

Things are beginning to pick up again in the workroom, but still nothing much to share. I started working on a spring/summer dress from the 2/11 BWOF in a blue and white cotton stripe with eyelets, but then it snowed and I kind of got demoralized about sewing a sleeveless dress when my sprouting garlic is in the back yard shivering under 3 inches of fresh snow.

So instead, I'm on the couch, under a fuzzy blanket with a cat or three, reading. And if I can't sew, you know what I'm reading about.

I got this book a while back and wanted to share it with you all. I haven't tried out the techniques yet in reality, but I've gone over them in my head and on the page, and I'm really looking forward to trying to copy one of my vintage garments using the methods described in Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit, which is subtitled Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-Create and Redesign your Favorite Fashions, by Steffani Lincecum.

The first section, Basics, explains 2 different methods for achieving the rub-off (on paper and fabric), goes into tools and equipment needed, how to estimate yardage, the importance of measurements and explaining some basic and not-so-basic sewing techniques. The illustrations (both drawings and photographs) are really clear and show as much as the author tells in her explanatory paragraphs.

The rest of the book is dedicated to patterning skirts, blouses, dresses and handbags, using in each chapter a "source" garment which is then copied and remade with full illustrations of the process (I've included the blouse section here, as it had the least pages and was easiest to photograph). She also goes into drafting the pattern from the rub-off, adding seam allowances, making adjustments and making variations on each garment.

The author explains clearly how to achieve variations once a well-fitting pattern is achieved, and while I wish she had tackled more complicated patterns (pants, anyone?) this is a well-written, clearly illustrated book that I feel will really give me a push to finally replicate some of my beloved vintage pieces that either don't fit or are falling to pieces in the closet, waiting for me to remake them.

One of the reasons they've been sitting around for so long is that I haven't wanted to take them apart, and using the methods in this book, I won't have to. Recreating vintage clothes seems more like a cold-weather project, but I don't think Mother Nature is quite done with us yet, so there may be time to give these techniques a try before the yen for summer clothes kicks in fully and I give up on complicated projects until I have undistracted time for them.

Even though the weather's keeping me back right now, there's as much gardening going on in my head as there is sewing. I'm trying to work out a redesign for the back garden that will keep the bulk of my ornamentals while letting me shoehorn in a bunch more edibles. Thankfully I lost a good number of younger perennials last summer (a few years ago, I'd still be in mourning for them this long after; my, how things change), so there's some space to be had, and the evil thorny raspberry's days are numbered. When you take up that much real estate, you'd better damn well produce, and Spike is 4 years old and gave me about a half cup of berries last year, and probably twice that to the birds.

Ah, spring, when my mind turns to asparagus and slaughtering unproductive plantlife. Sewing is really much less violent. Even when it makes me bleed.


Karen in VA said...

The book looks interesting...will have to add it to my amazon wish list....
I've also been planning my garden..since I live in a highrise and garden on my balcony, I normally only grow tomatoes, peppers and herbs, but I can grow enough to feed me all through the summer!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about this book! It is something that I really think will be very helpful to me.

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Ahh, thanks for the review :)!
I also have this book (unread at the moment) + another book (called Patterns from Finished Clothes: Re-Creating the Clothes You Love) I keep meaning to read & use them to re-created loads of lovely pieces in my wardrobe that a) are now too small (boo!) b) fit weirdly (too high busts etc.)... then I can clear out my wardrobe of stuff that I've been "hanging onto" and dedicate it to stuff that fits :) (yay!)