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

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

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.

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!


Projects from the Book


Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book

Projects from the Book


Projects from the Book


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)

Fashion Illustration for Non-Illustrators (or Help Me, I Can’t Draw)

Fashion Illustration is an important part of the process in designing your own fashions and garments or even working out how to sew a pattern.  Problem is, not everybody can draw and yes, I know, I’ve taken beginner drawing classes before and they all say “everybody can draw” and that’s very true.  However, the human body including draped and folded fabric are really not the easiest subjects to begin with if you are just starting out.

I was reading a post by Tulle and Tweed, which discussed the importance of being able to sketch your fashion and sewing projects and ideas and I agree wholeheartedly.  It ignites the creative process, allows you to solidify and expand on anything you have dreamed up, or can even help to solve a problem you’ve had with putting things together.  But, I noticed from the comments that many people were afraid to attempt illustrating since they were not artists and felt they could not draw.  Present company included in this sentiment.

I’d love to be able to just quickly sketch out an idea and have it look realistic and fabulous, but, let’s face it, a wee bit of practice and instruction may be necessary for the non-artist.  I just purchased a book that has been very helpful in this regard.  It is “The Manga Artist’s Workbook” by Christopher Hart.

Drawing the Figure

Drawing the Figure

It is an instruction book, sketchbook and tracing book all in one.  And it is small enough to pack into any size bag to tote along with you, so you always have it should inspiration strike.  It is really a guide on how to draw Manga characters, but the basic techniques are the same for fashion illustration and figures.

Instructions on How to Draw Figure Head

Instructions on How to Draw Figure Head

There are sections for how to draw the head, face and hair and sections on how to draw the body in various positions and stances, including proportion and angles.

Clothing on Figure in Various Positions

Clothing on Figure

These figures are called croquis in fashion illustration.  The end of the book shows clothed characters and how to illustrate garments on your figure.

Included are blank graphed pages so that you can try your hand at what you’ve just learned, using the squares of the graph paper to help you plot out the image.  As well, Tracing paper is overlain on some pages so that you can trace the image or even use the page as a guide and draw clothing or accessories over the image.

Tracing Paper Overlay

Tracing Paper Overlay

I also customized my copy of the book.  I added copies of figures and poses and clothing from other sources on some of the blank graphed pages in order to copy these for practice and use them as a starting point for ideas.  The following illustrations were taken from The Encyclopedia of Fashion Illustration Techniques by Carol A. Nunnelly and added to the sketchbook. 

Customized Page with Added Photos of Croquis in Fashions

Customized Page with Added Clothed Croquis Drawings

Customized Page with Added Croquis in Fashions

Customized Page with Added Clothed Croquis Drawings

In addition to this, I added some tracing paper overlays to pages that did not have any, so that I could either trace the image or add my clothing ideas over top of the image.

I am much more confident now in trying my hand at fashion illustration and figure drawing with the help of this book.  I can still use it like a sketchbook to illustrate ideas but I also have all these guidelines, instructions and tools included, so that I don’t feel too intimidated to go ahead and begin drawing, sketching and illustrating.

Customized Page with Added Photos of Croquis and Added Tracing Paper Overlay

Customized Page with Added Croquis Pictures and Added Tracing Paper Overlay