Archive for September, 2013

I made pants!

September 25, 2013

I wanted try my hand at pants, CC was a willing guinea pig, Joann’s had some linen-cotton blend on sale, Vogue had a pattern sale, and voila!










welt pockets!

Here’s my review for PatternReview:

My friend loooves wide-legged pants and I wanted to make her a pair. So when I saw this pattern and found some linen/cotton fabric on sale, it had to be!

Pattern Description:
Vogue 1059 Flared pants with yoke. View A plus the front pockets from View B.
Pattern Sizing:
I made these for a friend whose measurements are waist 28 and hip 40. Going by the chart that should’ve been a size 16 but I took a wild guess and cut a size 10. It fit almost perfectly–or at any rate the way she wanted it to fit. The waist needed a little adjusting; I had to take it in a smidge at the center back and let it out a little at the side seams.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes! Better!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. This was my first time making a fly or welt pockets. Somewhat mystifying but I followed along and they came out well.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This was the right pattern with the right fabric for my friend’s figure and taste.
Fabric Used:
Linen cotton blend.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made View A but added the front pockets from View B. The pocket openings ended up really small so if I did that again I would rethink my strategy. I also made the fly a couple inches longer. As it’s drafted it’s not much more than two inches long which looks really stupid to me, especially since the notions list has a 7 inch zipper. (Why do all pants patterns call for 7 inch zippers and then have you cut it down to 4? Why not just have you buy a 4 inch zipper?) I also strengthened the waist with a bit of twill tape at the seam.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes! Since we know this pattern fits my friend, we’re already planning on more pairs. I recommend it to anyone who likes that style.


Book Review: Fashion Sewing For Everyone

September 7, 2013

Fashion Sewing For Everyone
Adele P. Margolis
New York: Doubleday, 1974

When my local studio let me borrow this book, I was pretty excited. It had the hard cover, heft, and line drawings of my mom’s Joy of Cooking (1975). Maybe it would have the same usefulness and charm. Or of The Joy of Sex (1972). Well…sorta but not quite.

Practical usefulness:
Almost every sewing technique a home sewer might need is in here. How to stitch a corner, insert a zipper, restore the grain of a fabric, make a shoulder pad, manipulate darts, lay out a pattern, and much much more. A quarter of the book is devoted to fairly advanced tailoring techniques. That section is a great resource. And if this book doesn’t cover what you’re looking for, the author helpfully (shamelessly) directs you to her other books, “Design Your Own Dress Patterns” and “How to Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter”.

However. Even though the info you need is in here, you might not be able to find it. I could not figure out the organizational scheme of this book. It neither advances from basic to skilled, nor divides into logical reference categories. It jumps right into darts, zippers, facings, and ruffles (!) before talking about seams and hems. Seam finishes are explained in the chapter on hems but french seams are in the chapter on sheer fabrics and flat-fell seams in the chapter on lining tailored garments. Also, this book is awfully wordy and the illustrations aren’t that helpful. I doubt everyone can follow instructions like this.

Historical interest:
1974 is in that less interesting zone between the really vintage and the contemporary. I was two years old. Watergate happened. And ABBA. You could, apparently, find hair canvas at your local fabric store. Most home sewing machines could only do a straight stitch. No sergers in sight. But women can wear pants and “boys can borrow from us our fancy fabrics and our frills.” (p. 184) Fusible interfacings and synthetic fabrics are all the rage. If only the book included a pattern for an ABBA jumpsuit…

The best parts of this book are Margolis’ encouraging attitude and disregard for hard and fast rules, even as she explains the traditional methods. “Anything goes—if it works!”

Margolis seems to have been a grand lady and Massachusetts local. For a charming obituary see

Rolling in Cloth

Where you can see what is coming out of my sewing room

The Perfect Nose

Sewing, illustration and design.

Sown Brooklyn

Making shit and talking shit. Since 1979

The Stitchery

A Personal Journal


Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane