Wednesday, April 15, 2015

KCW & Sewing Books, Magazines and Patterns

Over the past couple years I have accumulated quite the collection of sewing books, magazines and paper patterns. I really enjoyed pouring over each one of them as they have entered the house as well as when I am looking for inspiration. Sadly, I have not really used most of them. Despite all of the money I have spent on these I seem to gravitate to the free patterns and tutorials that other blogger's have so generously shared. Maybe its the personal feel of a tutorial, like your being taught by a friend. Or the fact that they are real people who just want to keep it simple.

Regardless, motivation with a dash a guilt has me feeling like I need to challenge myself to 1. make at least one of these patterns a month and 2. do it with only the supplies I already have on hand and 3. for heavens sake make something for my boys! I say this to you with hopes of having some accountability.

For now I am going to focus on the books and magazines since they are the most neglected. They also offer more possibilities for my boys. 
I have made one item out of Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. The Basic Pocket Pants for Samuel a couple years ago which can be found here. There are several non clothing patterns that I would love to do for my kids. The art satchel and the dress-up bucket are high on that list. I like the knit PJ's (Crossover Tee & Sleeping Johns) for all my kiddos which I believe will be the next thing I make from this book.

I have never made anything out of my copy of The Pattern Book for Boys by Shelly Figueroa. This book receive really mixed reviews on amazon. I bought it regardless thinking that a good number of the negative reviews could be from individuals with poor sewing skills or just couldn't adapt to the method of instruction. I'm not saying I could do better but figured "What the hay, give it a try," it's not like there are a ton of sewing patterns out there for boys to choose from. Looking over the pictures there are definitely things that are not our style but there are a bunch that I love, like the two-in-one jacket and the little heartbreaker pants. 

My most recent acquisition is Stitch, Wear, Play by Mariko Nakamura which I just stumbled on amazon a couple weeks ago while looking for another pattern book for boy (which are in short supply I might add). There were no ratings and reviews so I searched for other bloggers who have used this book and I couldn't find any. I really like the snippets of images I could find and the size range so I took a leap and bought it. At first glance I really like this book. It has a nice balance of boy's and girls clothes. The styles seem timeless but modern. It's broken down by season which I especially like. I am feeling a bit challenged by the fabric suggestions (or lack of multiple fabric type suggestions), a good number only list linen which it not my preferred fabric for everyday kids clothes. The first thing I would like to make out of here is the girls Suntop and Shorts & the Boy's Shorts. 


I have seen a lot of projects completed from the Happy Homemade (2) Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada and always love the results. The fact that it is a Japanese sewing book that has been translated in to English makes it a good place to introduce myself to the Japanese sewing world. So many people have raved about this book that I can't believe I haven't touched this yet. The knee length shorts are top on my list for Samuel. 

I really wanted the Japanese Lesson Book by Vogue Sya and now all it does is mock me. I am so intimidated by it. It has a ton of awesome basic patterns. When I look at working on one of these patterns I convinced myself that I need to invest to much time trying to translate the instruction and I am instantly defeated. What I need do is exactly what I do with English written patterns and let my previous experience with similar items guide me through the assembly. (I'm too impatient to read instructions) This is probably a dangerous approach but at least the book will finally be used. There is a pair of shorts that would work great for the boys that doesn't seem too challenging and is probably be a good place to start.
While at a local half price book shop a couple years ago I came across a couple used but never touched sewing books for really cheap so I couldn't resist purchasing them. Who knows if I will ever use them but they are entertaining and educational if nothing else.
The first is Sew Cute Couture by Gail Doane which looks more dated than it really is. It was published in 2009. This book is really about heirloom sewing and contains mostly smocking and embroidery embellishments along with dress and jacket patterns. The sizes range from 6 months - 12 years depending on the pattern. According to what I found on the internet Gail is well know heirloom sewer and a fantastic instructor. This book receive great reviews on Amazon. I don't know if I will ever do any major embroidery embellishment but I would like to try my hand at smocking someday so this could be useful. There are some really cute jackets and a wrap skirt I can see making for Hannah in a few years. For now maybe I can plan on making Hannah a jacket for over her Christmas dress this year, minus the embellishments.
The second is Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens by Helen Davies published in 2007. It too looks dated and maybe it is a little but the closer I look at it has the potential with slight alterations to the pattern can be modernized. This book takes classic smocking and applies it to every day clothes which I find very interesting. The pattern sizes range from 12 month - 14 years depending on the pattern. This book also received great reviews on Amazon. Most of the projects include complete clothing patterns. Some are smocking add-ons to ready-made-clothing. There is a complete project where the smocking is only on the pocket which might be a good place for me to start. These cute smocked pockets would look great on a little dress or Hannah.

One of the first sewing books I purchased is called Making Childrens Clothes by Emma Hardy published in 2009. I did it on a whim right after having my first baby when I had my first thoughts of sewing for kids. I really wish I had done my research on this book prior. This received mixed reviews on Amazon and the ones that panned this book are very intelligent. I have picked this book up from time-to-time thinking that I will make something (prepared that I will probably need to alter patterns) and see for myself but never follow through for some reason or another. This is book is very girl heavy and and has only one item directed at boys that interests me, the boy's shorts. I just need to bit the bullet and see for myself if this book has any value. 
I purchased Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay looking for valuable  information on selling homemade goods which it does. It also has a ton of great sewing projects. None of them are clothes for kids but a few are non clothing kids items like a bib & burp cloth and a really cute lunch bag. I have read this book cover to cover and highly recommend it for any sewer not just those who sell or want to sell. The projects alone make this a great book. I only feel comfortable saying this without sewing anything out of it since the author makes and sells these items herself and could probably sew these in her sleep. They are tried and true. Samuel starts full time school next school year and needs that lunch bag and this one would be perfect for him.

Another Non clothing book I obtained on the cheap is A Quilting Life by Sherri McConnell. This book got great reviews on Amazon and has a variety of quilting projects that a beginner through intermediate can do. I have been saying for a while now that I need to make Hannah a quilt for her bed and just not gotten to it. I think the scale of that project has me overwhelmed. This book has pillow patterns that I think I should start with first. I'll just plan on making it to match the quilt that will be made someday.

Sew Charming by Cath Derksema and Kristen Junor is mainly about hand printing fabric and has several sewing projects. A couple of them are clothing items but most are general home projects. I bought this book simply for inspirations it has fantastic style and vibrant colors. I may never sew anything from this book but it has me interested in attempting fabric printing some day. 
Last but definitely not least my Ottobre magazines. I ordered a subscription in 2013 and when I hadn't made anything from the ones that I had I didn't renew.  It was a tough decision. I loved seeing that package show up from across the seas but I knew it was a bad reason to spend that much money and never actually use them. These are my favorite things to look at for inspiration. There is always a fantastic balance between boys and girls clothing and the sizing ranges from newborn to preteen depending on the pattern. I don't know exactly why I have never used them other then the rumors I have heard about how challenging the patterns can be. I think I just need to start with something basic like leggings or PJ pants to get my feet wet. 

Kids Clothes Week is April 20th - 26th so I will need to put my sewing list together this week. I hope that these books will be put to good use next week (finally : )
As always, I am really looking forward to kids clothes week. I'm not feeling overly inspired by the "Wild Things" theme. I'll have to search around for some inspiration. May be one of my books has something.  

I love my little collection of tangible sewing media. Up to this point it has been a pretty superficial love though. I hope that when I really dive into them that they don't let me down and I can turn this little infatuation in to a long lasting relationship.

Do you have a favorite sewing book or magazine? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping bu the nest!
Darla