Category Archives: Reviews

Review: “How To Make Sewing Patterns”, Second Edition

Don McCunn’s book How To Make Sewing Patterns came to me when I first started investigating fitting.  It was recommended in response to my question on PatternReview’s discussion forums, asking for a treatment of the subject that catered to men’s as well as women’s physiques.

covers

Covers: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the right.

I feel fortunate to have learned pattern making from this book first, because it provides a conceptual basis to flat pattern work.  It explains how seams and darts, pleats and gathers can actually shape fabric to fit a three-dimensional body. I reviewed the first edition for this blog.

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Make My Hoodie, Part 1

Though I like the challenge of working on intricate shirt projects, I also love to make more casual wear, especially hoodies.

For the fall, I’ve started a hoodie making project with several goals in mind. The first, of course is to make hoodies. The second is to try out MakeMyPattern.com, a free online service that drafts patterns for you based on your measurements, and provides them as a print/cut/tape PDF download.

And the third is to develop a hoodie pattern I can use in a course to teach beginning sewists. The Sips N’ Sews studio offers a bootcamp course to complete newbies.  It teaches basic machine operation, measurements, fabric, and patterns. The students leave the class ready to work on their first project. I think a hoodie can be an ideal first project for a new sewist. And the MakeMyPattern.com hoodie is ideal in several respects:

  • It is free, so students don’t have to spend extra money on a commercial pattern.
  • It is drafted to the student’s measurements, so this makes an end-run around finding the proper size for a commercial pattern.
  • It is a pullover, rather than a zip-front, so there are no zippers for a newbie sewist to cope with.
  • It has raglan sleeves, so attaching sleeves means sewing six nearly straight-line seams.
  • Sweatshirt fleece is a relatively stable knit fabric, so it won’t pose too many difficulties to a beginning student.

The only difficult parts are attaching the hood to the neckline, and attaching cuffs and waistband which are made from rib knit. Constructing the hood does requires sewing around curves, but this is not as challenging as attaching a sleeve to an armscye and there is no easing involved. Continue reading

A New Sewing Studio in San Francisco

As I suspected from the outset, my Holiday Shirt is not going to be ready in time for the holidays, for sure.  I don’t even have the wearable muslin done yet.

I have been through about three muslins now, and I’m learning more about the art of fitting a bodice piece to myself.  But I haven’t even gotten to fitting the sleeves yet.

I plan to write a detailed post about my fitting experience soon.  In the meantime, I have several developments to discuss.

Sips N Sews

A sewing studio has recently opened in San Francisco.  This weekend, I dropped by to visit as part of a SF Bay Area Sewists event.

Called Sips N Sews, it bills itself as a “personal sewing studio”.  Membership is sold on a monthly basis and gets you access to a brightly lit, well-equipped workspace well-stocked with machines and sewing notions.

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The Road to Pants, Part 2

In this article, I’m covering my experience using Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster software to digitize my pants pattern and to create detail pieces such as a new waistband.

I originally thought this series of articles on digital pattern drafting would run for two parts, but it will be at least three – especially since much of this article is a capsule review of Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster software.

About Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger Software has been in business for over 20 years developing their fashion design software.  Their main product is PatternMaster, and its professional cousin Cameo.  Cameo has a four-digit price tag, so I’m working with PatternMaster – their product for home sewers. Continue reading

Review: “Pants Construction Techniques: In The Details” by David Page Coffin

I like to think of David Page Coffin as the “Alton Brown of Sewing”. The two have a lot in common, including attention to detail, commitment to a high-quality result, and the relentless search for best tools and techniques to achieve that result.

Being a big fan of Coffin’s books including Shirtmaking and Making Trousers, I was always hoping that he might offer a Craftsy course to better present his techniques. So I was really pleased to see his new course Pants Construction Techniques: In The Details appear on Craftsy.

pants_construction_crop Continue reading

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