Give Away and my Final Fashion Sewing For Everyone Post

Happy Leap Day Everybody!

This is my final post in my short series about the Adele P Margolis book; Fashion Sewing for Everyone.  I need to apologise first of all though as the images aren’t as clear as the previous two posts – my scanner has started to make some really hideous noises and refusing to work so I’ve had to photograph the pages I wanted to share with you instead.  This means that the text isn’t quite so clear and the images not so straight.  I hope you still enjoy them though?

As I mentioned last time, the vast majority of my post-its are in the tailoring section.  As I have come to expect, there’s a large amount of information on pressing as this is a hallmark of tailoring.

“On of the hallmarks of fine tailoring is the pressing.  One cannot thing of great tailoring without also thinking of those crisp edges, the flat seams and that subtly blocked-to-shape sculptured form.  As important as pressing is to dressmaking, in tailoring it is raised to a fine art.”

She also describes the ingredients for pressing: Heat, Moisture, Pressure and Protection.

She uses analogies for the heat settings – high heat for vegetable fibres (cotton, linen) as “You can boil vegetables”!  And a moderate heat for the animal fibres (silk, wool) as “Any gal can tell you that moderate heat is a beauty aid – setting your hair, getting a tan – but high heat can scorch hair and skin.”  Erm, I see the point but this is about the only instance (other than some of the illustrations) that date the book – we now understand much more about tanning and its effects.

There’s also a section on pressing aids:

She includes instructions on how to make each of them, and that “others can be made by your father, bother, husband or favourite beau”.  I’ll eventually be shelling out cold hard cash as I have no hope of persuading my husband to make a clapper or point press for me!

She also goes into details on pressing more delicate fabrics.  The section on velvet immediately made me think of Debi at My Happy Sewing Place and the Scarlet O’Hara velvet dress she made.

And finally, for Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness, who has recently undertaken a coat in fake fur for his cousin Cathy,there’s a whole chapter:

There is so much in this book I wish I could share.  As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve found it fascinating reading and it’s helped me out already.  There are tips on lining which I’ll use when finishing off my Minoru.  A chapter on sheers that I’ve already employed in my Taffy Jasmine (which has made no further progress as yet…  The whole sew-life-work-Mother balance is a whole other think!) as well as tons of information on hair canvas, collars, buttons and their placement, seam construction for unlined jackets that will come in useful for future projects!  But I don’t want to bore you all silly with it, or risk infringing copyright.

So as a solution, I’ve bought a second copy of the book!  I’ll happily give it away to one of you lovely readers, anywhere in the world!  All you need to do is:

  • Comment below and if you’d like, let me know your new favourite sewing resource.  Text or web, or some of you may even have a real-life person you can turn to who is always a fount of knowledge?  I’d love to hear about the resources you’ve discovered and that have proven really helpful!
  • By Midnight GMT on Wednesday 14 March 2012

Please make sure that you leave some way that I can contact you if you win so I can find out your shipping address!

Thank you for reading and Good Luck!

Some More Margolis

I thought I’d share some more scans from the Adele P Margolis book ‘Fashion Sewing for Everyone’.  The first set of scans are here.

I’ve read this book cover to cover now, and there are a lot of post-its sticking out of it.  There are so many useful bits of information in this book that it’s been really hard to narrow down what I want to share with you.  I definitely wanted to show you this though.

These are some fabric scraps in the section on pockets.  My copy comes from St Catherine’s College, Bootle.  I wonder what the outfit was like that was made with this fabric.  There’s red and green in the scraps as well as gold flecks!

So, to use Ms Margolis’ own words here’s the section that’s ‘Borrowed from the Boy’s’ or the slacks and shorts chapter (trousers if you’re a Brit like me!).

A lot of time is spent explaining how to fit trousers and there are some great diagrams but first up is this little excerpt:

“While the design of the pants [trousers] is your first consideration, the second concern is making the standard-size pattern fit you not-so-standard figure.  This is even more important in pants [trousers] than in a skirt.  You may salvage a skirt in the seam allowances but you get no second chance to change a crotch, say, once the pants [trousers] are cut.”

Well!  No second chance to change a crotch.  Is it just me or is that just a tiny bit (school play ground kinda way) funny?  I can’t argue with the whole paragraph at all, but take those seven words out of context…  Google search results will be interesting considering the number of times I’ve written the word ‘crotch’ in this post too!

Anyway.  I digress down childish avenues!

There are some really comprehensive instructions on the measurements that are needed to fit trousers correctly, including taking measurements when seated to determine the crotch depth.

Here’s the first scan on fitting trousers with some really clear diagrams (click on the images to make them larger) on the adjustments to be made for a large (top diagram) or flat (bottom diagram) derrier:

The importance of a muslin is stressed:

“So now you have altered your pattern in accordance with your personal measurements.  You think your fitting problems are over?  Alas!  One can’t depend on mathematics alone to give a good fit.  All arithmetic can give you is length and width and a general idea of the required shaping.  That’s not enough.
Becomingness, ease of movement, posture, direction of seam line, individualised shaping can only be truly tested in cloth.  Not the cloth of your pants.  That would be too risky a test since only minor changes can be made at that stage.  A trial muslin will save you a lot of grief.”

Advice is also given on how to sew up the test muslin to aid fitting:

“Baste the leg seams first.  Baste the crotch seam.  Clip the crotch seam allowance.  Baste the waistband in place.  It is hard to judge the fit of pants without suspending them from something.”

Here’s a scan showing the wrinkles that may be apparent when fitting and what to do about them:

Finally a little word of advice:

“Did you think that sewing means dashing off to your sewing machine as quickly as possible and stitching away madly?  Not so!  There are really not that many yards of machine stitching in an entire garment.  Stitching is but the tip of the iceberg.  It’s that submerged seven-eighths – the planning, the care, the precision – that is so vital to the beauty of the garment.  Sewing is literally not what it ‘seams’.”

I think I should print this out and put it on my wall above my machine.

I’d like to share a little more next week.  Probably on pressing and tailoring as that is where the majority of my post-its are!  I’ll narrow it down to just a few though rather than the 20+ that are sticking out of the book at this moment in time!  I also have a give away to go with the post for your own copy if you’d like to read more…