A Plethora of New Sewing Skills with Gertie and Twinkle (& a Freebie)

Twinkle Sews and Gertie's Sewing Books OutfitSewing BooksI have completed my makes from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch and Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia.  For both of these projects, it was my first time utilizing a variety of sewing techniques, seven to be exact!

New Skills/Techniques

  1. Invisible Zipper
  2. Skirt Yoke
  3. Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  4. Lining a Skirt with an Inverted Box Kick Pleat
  5. Side Lapped Zipper
  6. Hand Picking a Zipper
  7. Hand Stitched Invisible Hem

So, for January’s Monthly Stitch: New Year = New Skill 2014_01_badgechallenge, we are all trying our hand at new (to us) techniques.New SKills Outfit10

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Skirt

I used the Masculin et Feminin pattern from the Twinkle Sews book for my skirt, which I made from a lovely stretch silk fabric that I received from Kristin at Sew Classic.  Thanks Kristin!

Since the fabric was a stretch woven, I opted to also line it with a stretch woven.

Skirt Lining

Skirt Lining

The skirt hem was bound with fold-over elastic before hemming.  This was my first time putting a yoke on a skirt as well as inserting an invisible zip.  Having the zip extend below the yoke meant I had to make sure the fabric change points were exact.

Invisible Zip and Yoke

Invisible Zip and Yoke

This was also the first time I’ve used an inverted box kick pleat.  For the skirt, it was not too difficult, although tricky to remember which way to fold and iron.

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

Inverted Box Kick Pleat

However, when it came to inserting the lining, this is where we entered a bit of a grey area.  The pattern pieces for the lining were different from the skirt and the instructions did not seem to correspond to these pieces.  She wants you to “stay stitch a V of reinforcing stitches the length of the kick pleat as indicated on the pattern piece [it wasn't].  Carefully cut a slit in the lining to the point of the V.” This somehow did not make sense to me since there were 2 back lining pieces that you sewed a back centre seam.  So, why would you cut a slit?  And where?  And then what on the skirt are you sewing these two sides to, since this is a closed inverted box pleat and not an open vent.  There were no pics of the completed lining in the book. I had help from a volunteer sewing instructor and she did not understand these instructions either.  If anybody has made this skirt, please do share how you did this!

I ended up altering the back lining pattern pieces to be mirror opposites of the skirt back pieces and sewing an inverted box kick pleat in the lining.  I then sewed the line of topstitching that lies horizontal to the top of the pleat to include all the layers of fabric of the lining and skirt, to hold the lining in place.New SKills Outfit Back2The book divides the projects according to difficulty and this skirt was classified as a ‘beginner’ project.  I’m not sure I agree with that as there were many aspects (yoke, lining, inverted box kick pleat, invisible zip, waistband, lace overlay, working with slippery satin fabric) that are not necessarily beginner skills.

Another noteworthy aspect of this book is that there are:  no construction pictures; no technical drawings of any kind; no diagrams, just text.  This does make it more challenging to follow along if you are a beginner or a visual learner.New Skills Outfit8The book includes a cd with all  the patterns included in pdf form.  One thing to watch out for:  sizing.  To find your size, according to the author, you need to measure your hips and then add 2″ for seam allowance and then 1″ to 2″ for ease.  (For tops, you measure your bust, add 2″ for SA, then add 3″ to 5″ for ease.)  Now the thing is, I did not realize nor do either of these measurement add-ons before cutting my skirt!  I found my measurements on the measurement chart and printed out that exact size.  The skirt fits me rather well, and, while it’s true I made the skirt from a two-way stretch woven with a small to moderate stretch and the pattern called for a non stretch, I still think the skirt would have been really huge if I had added on an extra 3″ to 4″!!??

I plan on making one of the tops next, but I don’t think I am going to add the extra 5″ to 7″ (for tops) as specified in the book. This seems really extreme, especially since the skirt fits without my adding any SA or ease.

The book, however, does have some simply beautiful garments in it.  They are all very creative and interesting, constructed from a variety of different fabrics and styled nicely, as well.  This is what immediately appealed to me when I bought the book.

Some exciting news:  Threads magazine has one of the dress patterns from the Twinkle Sews book available for free!

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

Click here for the free pattern of this dress.

So, if you don’t have the book and are interested in sampling it, here is the link to download the free dress pattern and instructions.

A Portrait of Gretchen’s Blouse

The top I chose to make from Gertie’s book was the Portrait Blouse.  The pattern was fairly easy to put together and included some nice touches, such as hand sewn invisible hems

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

Hand Sewn Invisible Hem

for the sleeves and bottom as well as a hand picked side lapped zipper.  It is sewn with a wool / cashmere blend, or at least that is what I was told by the vendor at a sewing expo where I purchased it in the ends bin for $5.00.

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

Hand Sewn Invisible Sleeve Hem and Bound Seams

The instructions for the side lapped zipper did seem a bit lacking, as I could not completely understand how to insert it just using them alone, so researched online to find tutorials.  I noted that each tutorial was a bit different in their approach.  Does anybody have a favourite tutorial or way of inserting a lapped zip?  Please do share it!

Side Lapped Zip

Side Lapped Zip

The zip was ‘hand picked’ or hand sewn using what is really a very tiny back stitch.  I also hand sewed the hems, using a slip stitch.  I really enjoyed the hand sewing aspect; time moved nice and slowly and precision was so much easier to achieve than by machine and the stitching did, indeed look invisible afterwards.

Hand Picked Zip

Hand Picked Zip

Gertie’s book includes drawings for each step within the instructions, as well as a one or two sentence synopsis of the written instructions.  It includes paper patterns for all the garments.

The book also provides a plethora of information regarding pattern alterations, sewing techniques and, because this book is a take on the 1952, Vogue New Book For Better Sewing, it gives you a lot of insight into vintage patterns.

I thought that this top would be ‘untuckable’ due to the zipper at the hem, but actually it tucks in fine and the zip is not bothersome!

Tuck in your shirt!  And, stand up straight!

Tuck in your shirt! And, stand up straight!

Road Testing With the Sewcialists / Spoolettes

I also ‘road tested’ the skirt at a recent Sewcialists / Spoolettes meet-up.

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

The Twinkle Sews Skirt in Action

Spoolette Meetup

Yours Truly, Gillian, Clare, Sara and Andrea. Hi there, Sewing Sisters!!  Cheers Clare! ‘clink’

small spooletteSewcialists

This was not the first time I’d seen these fantastic lovelies in person and each time it gets better and better.  I can’t wait till the next outing.  Who knew that my new-found hobby/past-time would bring me such joy, not only in solitude, when sewing, but socially as well, through social media, the blogs and, the best part, in real life!!

And, look how happy we all are! :)

I leave you with Wonder Woman…

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!

Da na na na na na na Wonder Woman!!

Army Fatigue Jacket Made Cozy, Cozy, Cozy.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Army Fatigue Coat Front Zipped and OpenThis month’s challenge for The Monthly Stitch was to sew something from a sewing book.  I have SO many sewing books, where to start?  Actually, I began with Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, and am at work on a project from it as well as a review.  Next, I also have the sewing book, Twinkle Sews and began work on a project from there, in addition to a review of the book.Army Fatigue Jacket Hands in Pockets

Sew Stylish Magazine Front and Back

Sew Stylish Magazine, Fall 2013

But then, the latest issue of Sew Stylish came out (Fall, 2013) and right on the back cover was a photo of an army fatigue jacket with the pattern and instructions included in the magazine.  So, since it is officially snowing here and I happened to be VERY cold at the time of purchase, I immediately went to work making the jacket out of a cozy wool blend, that feels soft, like a sweater blanket.

Army Fatigue Jacket Front and BackI opted not to add the inner drawstring channel and cord, since I thought it looked crisper and more tailored without it.Army Fatigue Jacket Front collar down"Model Pose"....or something....Work with me

“Model Pose”….or something….Work with me

I wanted to bind all the edges in the fuchsia pink, but this type of fabric has thick woolen threads weaved into it in order to create the flecks of colour and it raveled as the long threads separated from the raw edges almost immediately. Jacket Fabric and Separating ZipperSewing on the bias tape then resulted in many failed attempts as the threads pulled from the edges of the fabric, taking the bias tape with them.

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

But, I did manage to attach the bias binding to the edges that mattered, ie, the facing and hem, areas that you would see easily if the jacket were unzipped.  The remaining raw edges were over-locked.

Bam!  Fuchsia binding.

Bam! Fuchsia bias binding

The jacket has a long two-way separating zipper, (i.e., it can unzip from the bottom and the top) and deeeeeeeep patch pockets.

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Some notes on enlarging pattern pieces:  First, number both the sides and top and bottom of the grid on each pattern piece.  Next, photocopy each pattern piece separately, then trim around the outside of the piece.

Fatigue Jacket Pattern PiecesThis way, when you go to enlarge the pieces and need to tape the multiple pages together, you can easily match the corresponding numbers on the top and sides of the grid.  You can also opt to copy the pieces either bigger or smaller than the intended size.  I photocopied mine so that each square was 6/8″ instead of the intended 1″ square, in order to shrink the overall size of the pattern.

Snow.  Wheeee!!!!

Snow. Wheeee!!!!

Snow WheeeeAre free magazine sewing patterns recommended?  It depends on what you are attempting to make.  Simple items, where little can go wrong are likely better than something with more complicated pieces.  Also, I don’t think the same amount of editing, thought and care goes into the instructions and pattern drafting for the free magazine patterns as there would be for independent or larger pattern company patterns, and therefore errors can definitely result.  For this jacket, one of the diagrams was wrong, causing me to insert the zipper backwards.  (I had to re-do the whole thing and it’s a 32″ zip!)  I also made my cape out of a free magazine pattern and found that the instructions to enlarge it were wrong.  I would recommend that you not be a complete beginner and have some sewing experience before you use one of the free magazine patterns.  That way, you can tell beforehand if/when there is an error and correct it.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Hello Kitty!  In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Hello Kitty! In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Stay tuned for Blogpost Part 2, which I will post next week, where I will have, hopefully, completed the two projects from Gertie’s and Twinkle’s sewing books.  Edit:  Both completed and blogged here!

Kitty Photobombed

Sweater-Kitty Photo-bombed

Sewing With Heart

Sew RedRecently, I was contacted by Jimmy Beans Wool, to explore the book Sew Red by Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool.  I was enthusiastic about the prospect as it is a sewing and quilting book dedicated to raising awareness of Women’s Heart Health.  Approximately 5% of the proceeds from Sew Red will be donated to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) in support of The Heart Truth.

“Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year, accounting for a third of all deaths in women.” (Women’s Heart Foundation).

The Hearth Truth

heart health graph

Leading Causes of Death for American Women
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/about/index.htm

The book includes sewing project contributions from 27 different designers, fabric designers, sewists and fashion designers, including Amy Butler, Brett Bara, Ty Pennington, Tula Pink, Nancy Zieman (from Sewing with Nancy) and Suede (from Project Runway).

sew red toc

Sew Red Table of Contents Page

The table of contents excited me (and I mean, really, who gets excited over a table of contents??) because it listed a picture of every complete project.

Sweet Sixteen Skirt

Kay Whitt’s Sweet Sixteen Skirt

The book includes a little blurb about the contributing author and instructions, diagrams, patterns and photographs of a sewing or quilting project they have created.  Most of the projects have you draft your own pattern, such as Kay Whitt’s Sweet Sixteen Skirt, named for the 16 panels sewn around the skirt.   Step-by-step instructions are included along with numerous diagrams to help you with your self-drafting endeavours.

Amy Butler Drawstring Dress

Amy Butler’s Drawstring Dress

Patterns are also included with the book for some of the projects, such as Amy Butler’s cute and flirty Drawstring Dress.

anna cohen petal dress

Anna Cohen’s Petal Dress

A pattern and instructions for a gorgeous evening Petal Dress, aptly named for the undulating ‘petals’ that make up the entire skirt of the dress, by Anna Cohen is also included.

For Project Runway fans, the full Simplicity Suede Says Pattern for Suede’s Kimono Sleeve Tunic is also included in sizes XS to XL.

Simplicity Suede Says Kimono Sleeve Tunic

Simplicity Suede Says Kimono Sleeve Tunic

This one is in my sewing queue!

Quilters will also be excited with the patterns included for the beautiful pieced quilts as well as the quilted applique motifs.

Marcia Harmening Queen of Hearts Quilt

Marcia Harmening Queen of Hearts Quilt http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/details/sewRed/

Quilted pillows, bags and pouches are also featured.

There are also contributions from folks who have created their own fabric lines, such as Ty Pennington.  Remember him from Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?  He has designed a fabric line for Westminster Fibers called Impressions, “inspired by the resilience he witnessed in our [USA] nation’s…communities when filming his shows.” (Sew Red, p.74).  He includes instructions for a practical yet stylish backpack.

One fun thing about the book is that every single project was sewn in red coloured themed fabric.  No matter the pattern or style, all the beautiful fabrics featured were dominantly red, which nicely reinforced the reason for the book, heart health.

For more book reviews, go to the Book Review section, here.

Update:  This book review/preview has been featured in Stitching the Night Away Craft Daily, issue: April 21, 2013.

Equinox Giveaway Winner! And, Your Favourite Season.

Update – April 15:  Christine Haynes, the author of the book, tweeted today to thank me for hosting this giveaway of her book!  She was excited about it and I added her tweet into the comments section.

We had a total of 70 entrants for the Equinox Celebration Sewing Book Giveaway!  The book is Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes,ChicSimpleSewing and is divided up into sewing projects designed for the four different seasons.

The entrants were from all across the globe and were asked to tell us their favourite season.  It was so exciting to find out where everybody was from and why they chose their season.  I compiled the information into a chart.  CHART!!  (The science and math geeks just perked up :)).  Some people chose all the seasons as their favourite.  D’oh!  Way to skew a chart! LOL.

Favourite Seasons Pie ChartSpring was the clear winner with autumn/fall and summer (the dry season in the tropics) practically tying for second and third place and winter (the wet/monsoon season in the tropics) coming in a distant fourth.

The following are a few of the simply beautiful and poetic quotes for each season, written by YOU!  The comments really allow everyone to see why you love your favourite season and made me appreciate seasons that may not be my favourites, by being able to see them through your eyes.  I was right there with you!  I thank you for that.  Your thoughts were truly lovely, you poets you!  A book or song should really be written; read on to see what I mean. (Can you find your comment?)

WINTER – Wet / Monsoon SeasonWinter Scene 2

The storms are so wild and huge and you feel so small in a good way.  The monsoon, it’s hard to comprehend.  There is just so much water in the world, all raining down on you at once!

I love the look and the sound of snow.

I love when you’re all warm and cozy next to a fire with a nice hot cuppa and u can hear pitta patter on the window.Winter_wallpaper 2In the tropics, the monsoon is in full swing. Nothing like falling asleep to the rain on your roof and the sounds of distant thunder!

I like the beautiful view after a snow storm, when everything is blanketed in pure white.

SUMMER – Dry Season

summer_sunflowers 2It feels like the climax to my year…. I adore the long evenings and early morning sunshine, I can walk the dog and have had my breath of fresh air by 6am… wonderful stuff!!

If I had to pick, I’d go for the last days of summer, with the plentiful fruit, the somewhat tired heat, the foreboding of darker days.

It’s warm and sunny and if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it peaks in mid-July.  We cycle and swim outdoors, we go mad because winter will begin again in November.

I love hot and humid weather, iced tea, pools and ocean time.summer_landscape 2

I get to sleep in as much as I’d like and my children are all home with me. What could be better?

I love sitting in the garden sewing. We live beside a river, so a glass of wine outside as the sun goes down is just lovely.

The rains stop for a while and we get to have sunshine.

Lucky for me I live in the desert, constant summer!

It means BBQs, hikes, camping and swims.

AUTUMN / FALL

I think, it’s the most beautiful time of year, full of colour and charmFall 2.

I love that it’s still warm but the colours are changing.  It often brings the best of the weather.  It also feels ‘new’ to me; a hangover of the new school year starting, I guess!

I love the trees shedding their leaves not to mention the beautiful warm colours that are associated with autumn- orange, chocolate, tan, coral, khaki, cream and cinnamon.

I love the change, the drama, the unpredictable weather.

I love Autumn, the crisp air and the changing colours of the leaves. The chilly mornings where fog lies low in valleys and the smell of woodfires is on the breeze.

My favourite season is early autumn, where it is still warm but not too hot, and late flowers are still blooming but the air is already getting an earthly smell. It just gives me a happy warm feeling.

Cool nights for snuggling.autumn 2

Perfect weather for watching the amazing sunsets over the ocean!

The smell of autumn leaves is delicious.

Autumn always feels like a big relief that the heat is over.

The hot winds of the desert blow through the basin. The air is clear and the heat is sharp and by this time the garden is bursting with color and fragrance.

 SPRING

I love the freshness.. the new growth… planting a garden… daffodils…Spring Kitty

I’m big on light layering and I love to see the new growth appear.

I love that it’s hot and sunny, and seeing all of the flowers blooming after a dreary winter.

Cherry blossoms in the spring. That is what I’m waiting for.

I love spring because it’s fresh, new, and hope for what’s to come!

The days are getting longer, and everything is still green from the winter rain.

The grass starts to turn green, the leaves begin to bud, flowers start to bloom. Bliss.spring - baby animals 2Spring is so full of new beginnings for so many things. There’s always new baby birds flying around and all the plants come to life and are blossoming everywhere, I just love it.Everything is bright and beautiful and it leads to summer.

Cool crisp mornings and evenings and the newness of Spring with leaves emerging on trees & flowers blossoming everywhere.

I love spring, when all that has been sleeping in winter comes back to life. Warm days and cool nights that usher in refreshed fields of color and the wonderful perfume that springs from it.spring flowers 2

Days are getting longer, but it’s not too hot yet.

I love Spring the most because the newly appearing rays of sunlight after a long winter make me happy and make me feel alive.

After a cold, wet & snowy winter, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the trees are turning green and the birds begin to sing. The temperature is not too hot & not too cold and it is so nice to be able to go out and get my garden started. I love the colors of spring as well, the yellow daffodils, the red tulips and purple pansy. I love to get inspiration for my sewing from the flowers.  You can see many colors in one flower.

The transition from cold grey wet days into slightly less cold, occasionally blue wet days here in Manchester is always welcome.

And, something to be said for the beauty of ALL seasons:

There’s something grand about the circle of life, and the different feelings the change of seasons evoke that I enjoy more than “just” a single season.

I love every season, especially when they are beginning.  The blooming flowers in spring, the warm summer nights, putting on the first cozy sweater in fall and I love a good snow fall.  By the time the seasons are changing, I’m ready for the new one.

In NZ, colours are so much greener all year round, so these wonderful changes are a little more muted.

Missjoiedevivre from A Charm of Magpies, also shared an interesting seasonal factoid for us:

“Here in New Zealand, we mark the turning of the seasons on the first of the month, not the equinox/solstice. So it has been autumn since March the first!”

I had no idea!!  Does anybody know why?  Please, do share.

Because this Giveaway induced a very contemplative, calming and thoughtful vibe, Kitty thought that he would take his initial draw officiating ceremony idea, down a notch and also relate it to the seasons.  (However, do not fret, Kitty fans, I have just won the Wellington Pattern Pyramid from Laura over at miymdiary, so for the winner of that draw, Kitty is going to put his original plan into action and let loose his boisterous side).

The Draw

spring buds 3

Inspecting Spring Flower Buds

I listed numbers from 1 to 70 on tiny bits of paper, that looked like hopeful spring flower buds.Spring flower buds  Kitty inspects the flower bud numbers, and they are then placed at the beginning of the Kitty Tunnel, which depicts the hot yellow sun, clear blue sky and calm blue water of a gorgeous summer day.  names in tube, blow dryer set up 2

A blow dryer was then set up and aimed at the flower bud numbers.  The blow dryer was turned on and Kitty delighted in watching as the flower buds create a lovely winter storm and swirled around frantically and hypnotically inside the windy tunnel.

Tunnel Eye View

Tunnel Eye View

Kitty then bravely enters the eye of the hurricane.  Oh, our gallant and fuzzy beast.  Will he persevere over natures elements?

Kitty stands strong, never taking his eyes off the prize.

He grabs fruitlessly in the air, on the ground, in the tunnel; so many paws, so much paper, such wind.

Winter Storm

Winter Storm

Kitty Tasting Names

Kitty tasting the paper numbers

Kitty Inspects Names 2Kitty leaves no sense underutilized and even tastes the spring flower buds, to ascertain which paper holds the possibility of being the winning entrant.  Kitty then exits the tunnel, patiently watching his targets fly out of the tunnel and flutter delicately to the ground.  Like gentle autumn leaves, departing their spring and summer homes on the trees, they fall softly to the ground. Kitty Emerging from Tube to Capture Winning Name of Fallen Autumn Leaves

Kitty waits for the bewitching autumn leaves to land while contemplating his next move. Whcih Name Will Kitty Select He inspects the items, never quite pinpointing just one, moving effortlessly between all the spring buds/fallen leaves, until…..his eye sees what it wants.

Kitty does it!! He hones in on, and dutifully captures a solitary flower bud/autumn leaf!  He gets his paws on the winner!!!Kitty Captures the Winning Flower Bud Name

The paper is unfurled like a beautiful tulip in Spring,

Name Unfurled Like a Spring Tulipand……

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

A Spring Tulip

Ah, Sweet Smells of Tulips

Ah, the Sweet Smell of a Lovely Spring Tulip

…the winner is…..Entrant Number has Been RevealedNumber 33!!  Which corresponds to……Elise Lin from What the Dormouse Sews, whose favourite season happens to be:  Autumn.

Elise LinCongratulations Elise!! Kitty and I are both so happy for you.  Please email me with your specs so that I can mail/post you, your brand new sewing book!

-Thank you to everybody for stopping by the blog and entering the giveaway, and for your engaging commentary on nature’s finest hours.- 

I will leave you with Nick Drake, metaphoring on the seasons with the hauntingly beautiful, The Time of No Reply.  You’ll thank me (after you’ve finished rocking back and forth in the fetal position, while weeping gently.)  You’re welcome. (click on the song title to view it, you won’t regret it).

Kitty retiring to his tunnel tube with the winning number to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kitty retiring to his tunnel, with the winning number, to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness…….and Tuna.

photo and comment credits:  Giveaway entrants favourite season comments, quoted in this blogpost, have been edited, by me, for grammar and spelling as well as for brevity and are the sole property of the authors.  The original comments and their corresponding authors can be found on the Giveaway sign-up post, here, in the comments section.

Photograph of the four seasons courtesy of:  winter, summer, autumn, spring Photograph of Kitty in Spring courtesy of Halo Pets.

A Giveaway to Celebrate the Vernal-Autumnal Equinox!

Well, today is that glorious time of year.  The Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (first day of spring)

Spring has Sprung in Spain

Spring has Sprung in Spain

Autumn in Australia

Autumn in Australia

and the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (first day of autumn).  Both are excellent seasons and an exquisite end to the grey, cold snow and the sticky, humid heat.

An equinox happens twice a year and is the day where the terminator (twilight zone) is at 90 degrees to the Earth’s equator and the length of day and night is precisely equal!  Ooooh, the wonderful math and symmetry involved.  I get goosebumps!

To help celebrate this momentous occasion, I am giving away the sewing book Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes.ChicSimpleSewing

This book includes paper patterns, instructions and photos for 20 fashion projects that range in difficulty from 1 to 5.  There is a rating system applied to each garment so that you know what you are getting yourself into, before you begin sewing.

The first section of the book explains some sewing techniques ranging from patch pockets to applying bias tape and the rest of the book presents a variety of garments for you to sew with the full patterns included in sizes small, medium and large (measurements included).  The fun part of this book is that it is divided up into seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter with associated clothes and patterns for each season.  I thought this fit perfectly into the Seasonal Celebration we are having!

I have made several items from this book including the A-line skirt, fabric belt and belt loops, The Trench and The Date Dress (which I made into nightgowns).  I also have The Retro Shift Dress lined up in the queue to sew for this summer.

The Retro Shift Dress

The Retro Shift Dress

For most of these projects, I altered and embellished the pattern and sewing to add a bit more polish and finishing.  That’s one of the good aspects I found about this book: that it is aimed at the experienced beginner, but as you begin to climb up the levels of difficulty, or if you are already an advanced sewer, you can alter, embellish and add to the patterns and the sewing style to make your own, more tailored creations.

Also, this book is now out of print.  Christine Haynes just blogged about this recently, so you will no longer be able to order or purchase this book anywhere!

chic-simple-sewing-2

Projects from the Book

chic-simple-sewing-3

Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book

chic-simple-sewing-5

Projects from the Book

tulips

Beautiful Spring Tulips

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting everybody know what is your favourite season and why.  You can enter from anywhere in the world, no matter what season it is for you currently.  :)

The giveaway will close on Sunday April 7, 2013, so please be sure to have your comments in by then.  Kitty, of course, will be officiating the draw to pick the winner.  Drop by again for the, sure to be exciting, entrant selection!

Update:  See the official draw ceremony and the winning entrant here!

Good luck to everybody!  And please ensure there is some way of contacting you, if you do win.

Feel free to ‘like’ Gjeometry on Facebook and follow this blog so we can all keep in touch!

(Autumn in Australia pic courtesy of Reef and Outback Rail Tours, Projects from the Book pics courtesy of Christine Haynes blog)

And the Winner of Pattern Pyramid and Sew Grateful Giveaway Is……

Oooooh, excitement has been palpable, here at Pattern Pyramid central.  As most of you know, this original idea was started by Karen at Did you Make That? and has been kept going by other wonderful sewing bloggers around the world starting their own Pyramid!  Here is the information about this Pattern Pyramid that I was lucky enough to win and to it, I also added a Sew Grateful Giveaway gift, consisting of a book titled “I Made It Myself“.

So, we began with printing out all the entrants, like so:Pattern Pyramid EntrantsThen, Kitty donned his track suit, and began warming up for the official officiating ceremony.Kitty in TracksuitKitty likes to pace himself and start out slow.Kitty Beginning Warm-UpKitty Beginning Warm-Up 2  Okay, VERY slow, but he did not want to get ahead of himself.  Before you know it, since Kitty is quite an impressive athlete, his warm-up turns into a frenzy of herculean feats.  So much so, that it is often difficult to capture his powerful and agile qualities on film.  Kitty tends to leap right out of camera view!!Kitty Warming Up

Kitty Jumping Right out of Camera View!!

Kitty Warming Up 2Afterwards, when kitty was all limber, the entrants names were attached to the official Olympic Kitty Torch, like so:  Names Attached to Kitty ToyKitty took his job very seriously, staked out the Torch carefully looking for his best port of entry.Kitty Staking out TorchKitty Staking out Torch 2Kitty Staking out Torch 3

Kitty approached from different vantage points, meticulously stalking the Torch, trying to mentally out-wit it.  Approaching From Differnt AnglesBegging the question, “Will Kitty actually pounce on Torch, thereby selecting a winning name???”  Kitty “tests” the Torch, sizing up his opponent’s strength and skill.  Testing the Torch Just when you thought it was all only a mind game, Kitty GOES FOR IT!!Kitty Goes For It 2  Kitty Goes For ItAMAZING!!!  Will these feats of unbelievable artistic athleticism result in a name being revealed??? Or will we have to do this all over again??  A tense yet exciting moment!  Let’s wait and see….A Name Comes DownAnd, a name comes down!!!!  Torn valiantly from the Olympic Torch by our very own brave Kitty.  Well done Sir!!!  Kitty investigates the winning name.Kitty Investigates the NameAnd the winner is Kaitui Kiwi!!!!The Winning NameCongratulations to Kaitui Kiwi from The Curious Kiwi.  We are all so Happy for you!!  And Pattern Pyramid gets to travel, yet again, to the area of the land down under, all the way to Wellington, New Zealand!  It is getting out its sunscreen now.  Kitty is Very Happy For You

Kitty is Very Happy For You!!

Kitty is Very Happy For You!!

I will contact you, Kaitui Kiwi for your snail mail and then send off the Pattern Pyramid and the “I Made it Myself” book to you.

Pattern Pyramid COMBINED with Sew Grateful Week Giveaway!

Oooooooh!  Yes, indeed.  Pattern Pyramid arrived yesterday from the lovely and talented Amanda at Symon Sez, so exciting!  This pattern pyramid was originally started by the charismatic bundle of joy, Anne at Pretty Grievances.  It has been quite the world traveller, visiting various continents and countries, enjoying cocktails, romps on the beach, did some shopping and even bought some cute souvenirs for the little pyramids, at home.pyramidsThe Pyramid began with Velosewer, as the first winner.  It then went on to The Material Lady and next to Mrs. Mole at Fit for a Queen.  After this, Pattern Pyramid enjoyed it’s journey to Tulle and Tweed and straight on to my predecessor, the previously mentioned Symon Sez.  Fabulous!

Now, I also wanted to participate in Sew Grateful Weekhosted by My Happy Sewing Place, where bloggers can take the time to thank their readership and other bloggers for their ideas, comments, inspiration, humour, support, shares, insanity, mild profanity and many other things you can think of that put a smile on your face and make you feel loved.  So, with both events looming and with the addition of recently hosting a Pay It Forward event on my blog just 5 days ago, I realized I can’t do it all!!! I’m not a machine!!!!  :).

So, I decided to combine the two events and I am going to add a gift for Sew Grateful Week to the Pattern Pyramid for the next winner to keep.  I racked my brain to try to discover ‘what does an experienced sewist that has everything, need?’  I came up with the answer “I don’t know”.  Yes, a long, hard contemplative second that was.

So, I thought since many experienced sewers have so much, and they are constantly trying to just work through their stashes,  and also because I am a new sewer, I wanted to give a shout out to other newbies and try to light the fire of sewing and crafting inspiration!  So, I chose a book called:  I Made it Myself.  9781407553641_439_480  It is the absolute perfect gift for a brand new sewer.  Some of you must have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, younger siblings, neighbours, that you would like to inspire to learn to sew and create.  This book includes: a sewing kit, a variety of projects to complete, tonnes of pictures, instructions, a fabric and stitches glossary and templates to use to create a variety of fashion and accessory items.  (FYI, on the back it says, suitable for ages 7+ years, and I can see it working all the way up to a teenager, or even older!  Hey, we’re all kids at heart).

Ok, now on to the Pattern Pyramid Specs.  This is how it arrived, all tan and rested, a lovely globe spanning holiday it’s having, for sure.

Top Row:  Small Sizes, Middle Row:  Medium to X-Large Sizes, Bottom Row: Plus Sizes

Top Row: Small Sizes, Middle Row: Medium to X-Large Sizes, Bottom Row: Plus Sizes

Kitty went in to thoroughly peruse Pattern Pyramid. Kitty Peruses Pattern Pyramid 2 He investigated, he took his time, but finally, he selected the winning Pattern.  Note:  Kitty’s tail points directly at the winning pattern selection.  Clever Kitty!Kitty Chooses a Pattern

Pattern to Take Out

Pattern Removed to Keep

To the left is the pattern that I removed to keep for myself.  I will sew and eventually blog this item.  Stay tuned for that fun!

And below, is the pattern I chose to add back into the Pyramid.  It is a top and pants set, and the top has princess seams up the front and back, it is lined and has a front button closure.

Pattern Replaced Back into Pyramid

Pattern Replaced Back into Pyramid

The pattern was purchased before I had ever sewn anything.  I got it home, THEN checked the size….not even close.  So, hopefully somebody who is this size will be able to enjoy it.  Here is a more detailed breakdown of what is in the Pyramid:

Small Size Patterns:  clothing 8-12;  bra 32 A,B,C,D

Small Size Patterns: clothing US 8 – 12 (Eur.34-38); bra 32 A to D (Eur.70 B to E)

Medium to X-Large Patterns

Medium to X-Large Patterns: US 14 to 22 (Eur. 40 to 48)

Plus Size Patterns: XXL to 6X; 18 to 28 (Eur. 44 to 54)

Plus Size Patterns: XXL to 6X; US 18 to 28 (Eur. 44 to 54)

New Pattern Pyramid

New Pattern Pyramid

A quick synopsis of the RULES of Pattern Pyramid for those who are not familiar:

  1. Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by Sunday February 17, 2013.
  2. You must have an active blog.
  3. A winner will be randomly selected and contacted.  I will then post (mail) the pyramid to you, plus the Sew Grateful Week gift (I Made It Myself book).  Oh, how will Kitty top the last giveaway draw officiating tactics???  He is confident he can.  Don’t worry.
  4. The winner will then select a pattern to keep, add a pattern of their own back into the Pyramid and host their own giveaway. They will randomly select another winner and post (mail) the remaining patterns to that person, and etc.

Yippee!!  Good luck everybody!!  And Thank You to everyone for stopping by my blog to say hi!  I AM sew grateful.  :)  Feel free to follow my blog and/or my facebook page, as well, if you don’t already.  And let me know where I can follow yours!