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!

Fashion Sewing For Everyone by Adele P Margolis

When Sunni’s information saved my fitting of the Jasmine blouse I was grateful for the information she had so willingly shared.  As the knowledge and technique were based on  a book by Adele P Margolis (1909 – 2009) I thought I’d see what else she’d written.

This led me to Fashion Sewing for Everyone.  Like Liz in her review of How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter the book its self is just really pleasant and easy to read.  It’s as if you have a really knowledgeable Aunt, Grandmother or friend talking to you and sharing their knowledge.  The writing style is so engaging.  I’m reading this much like I’d read a novel but all the time I am LEARNING!

Not only is my knowledge being increased, so is my confidence.  I’ve read about 3/4 of the 421 (excluding index) book and I really wanted to share some of it with you:

Here’s a scan of the foreword

The phrase that really stood out to me (and is used on the back of the dust jacket too, so the publisher must have thought it was good!) is this:

This is a book for everyone who loves to sew.  Not just plain sewing, mind you, but fashion sewing.  There’s a difference!  It’s the difference between chore and excitement, between have-to and want-to, between the routine and the creative.”

Never was a truer word spoken?  When I think about it whilst we are all sharing information, knowledge, techniques, patterns none of it is based on pure practicality.  We all sew because we choose to, because it excites us.

It may have begun as a means to an end, to get clothes in the style we like, that fit our aesthetic, that reflect our personal fashion.  Somewhere along the way though the process becomes as important as the finished product, the learning so that we can step it up a notch.  The fit that means that makes the clothes a joy to wear, the lining that stops the pencil skirt bunching up round our hips.  The pretty lace at the hem.  The insane pop of colour in a ‘sensible’ coat.  The fact that we know it will last because its been constructed properly, finished properly (well, at least to the best of our abilities!).

We sew because we want to and because it is creative.

Then there are the little confidence boosts along the way:

“The comforting thing about clothing construction is that there is nothing sacred.  There is just no one way to do anything.
No one way to design.  Make rules and along comes some design genius who defies them all.
No one way to sew.  New techniques follow new styles, new needs, new technology, new fabrics.”

“Following are some techniques that have stood the test of time.  New ones are constantly developing.  If you can invent some of your own – go ahead.  Anything goes if it works!”

Sometimes its good to be reminded that just because something is the ‘accepted’ way, doesn’t mean its the only way.  The first example of this that popped into my head is seam finishes!  In couture they may not be finished at all depending on the construction, or it will be over cast by hand.  Ready to wear is overlocking pretty much all the way.  Me, I know I’ve used no finish, pinking, over locking, turn and stitch, bound, french seams…  None are wrong, none are the only way in a given situation!

There is also some good advice, some of which is of the ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’ variety, well at least for me anyway:

Planning; I’m OK at that I think and certainly I can see how the unit construction method is followed in pattern instructions.  However it was the paragraph under the heading “Some General Advice Before You Begin” that was the biggest light bulb moment…

Don’t worry in advance.  That way lies failure.  Concern yourself with step 20 in the sewing sequence when you’ve finished step 19 – certainly not before you’ve even begun step 1.  You’ll be defeated before you’ve begun if you’re tense and anxious about the final steps.  Besides, you’ll be agreeably surprised to find how logical and simple the operation really is when you come to it in proper time.”

I am having some real light bulb moments as a result of reading it; some are technical ‘so that’s how you do it’ kind of moments and others are more knowledge based.  I finally understand fully what the stand, fall, roll line and break on a collar are and even how to fit one!  I hope to share some other bits of the book with you over the coming week or so, plus some little pieces of evidence that shows that another sewist has used Ms Margolis’ instructions…

3 Decades, 3 Prizes!

Sorry, this giveaway is now closed!

In ten days time, it’ll be my birthday.  My 30th birthday.  So to celebrate this milestone I thought I would do a giveaway, one for each decade – so I’ve got three prizes up for grabs!  I’m really pleased with the little packages that I’ve put together and really hope that you will like them too.

Prize Number 1

My first un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Teal!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of teal rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is your choice of Sewaholic pattern!

Prize Number 2

My second un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Navy!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of dark navy rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is your choice of A Fashionable Stitch belt kit and an eyelet setting tool to give your kit the perfect finish!

Prize Number 3

My final un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Purple!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of plum rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is a copy of the new Colette Sewing Handbook!

I hope you like these little bundles as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together!  I can’t thank Tasia of Sewaholic and Sunni of a Fashionable Stitch enough for helping me put this all together!

So, to win an un-birthday present, here’s what you need to do:

Leave a comment here, telling me which present you’d like; 1, 2 or 3 (or teal, navy or plum!)

For an extra entry blog about the giveaway, tweet or Facebook it

For a possible third entry, if you’d like, you can become a follower!  If you follow me already, please mention it in your comment telling me whether it’s via email, wordpress or RSS!

I will gladly post these internationally, so everyone can enter!  The draw will close at 19:40 / 7:40pm GMT on the 24 November 2011.  Why that time – according to my Mother, it was the time I was born!  And the date, well, it’s my birthday!

The Colette Sewing Handbook and

There is so much buzz in the sewing community about Sarai’s imminent debut in the world of books.  Loads of us have pre-ordered and here in the UK its no different.  Then last night those that had used got this email:


We regret to report that the release of the following item has been cancelled:

 Sarai Mitnick “The Colette Sewing Handbook: 5 Fundamentals for a Great Sewing Experience”

Our supplier has informed us that this item is no longer available.  This item has now been cancelled from your order #000-0000000-0000000 and we can confirm that you have not been charged for it.

Please accept our apologies for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

You may visit the product detail page(s) above to see if these item(s) are available from other sellers.

To view the current status and the costs associated with your order, please visit Your Account (


Customer Service Department

My first reaction to that was WTF?!  Particularly as Sarai had blogged about it being on the shelves a bit earlier so I was expecting an email saying that the order had shipped, not been cancelled!

Anyway, Sarai is looking into what is going on but in the mean time if you’re in the UK get over to and you can pre-order it there.  International shipping is free too!

So, sorry Amazon.  You’ve just lost a load of customers over this.  Fingers crossed that the Book Depository doesn’t have the same problem…

Another email from Amazon, advising that the book is now available to pre-order again!  Sheesh, what is going on with them?!

Oh. WOW!

Image from Casey's Blog

OK, the start of my week was pretty Meh.  I’ve been back to the hospital to see the consultant about the Prolactinoma and it’s as rubbish as ever and the drugs are here to stay for a considerable while longer.  Then at lunch time I had two visits from companies we’re in dispute with regarding damage to our kitchen floor (that was laid in June) which was caused when our washing machine (that was less than 4 months old) broke and was subsequntly repaired.  To put it mildy I felt pretty down in the dumps yesterday, verging on sorry for myself and pretty close to tearful.

And then I got an email.  From Casey.  Yep, THAT Casey.  Of Casey’s Elegant Musings.  Just to say that I’d won the Dritz Bound Buttonhole tool from the giveaway she held on her blog.

This was a beautiful ray of sunshine in a very very grey day.

And today, in my feeder, this has popped up from Colette!  I love Colette patterns anyway (must start to sew some of the ones lurking in my stash…) and this is due out in November, so it’s on the birthday list…  You can pre-order from Amazon (US and UK), but I’m resisting at the moment as I’m really hoping that with some very unsubtle hinting I’ll be presented with a copy of my very own…

I’m still toying with the idea of the Rooibos Sew Along, but it will have to be a catch up rather than keeping pace.  I STILL haven’t started my Lonsdale!