Category Archives: Books

Every Threads Magazine Article on Pants Fitting

As part of my ongoing project to learn pants fitting, I’ve been searching for more learning resources. I went to the San Francisco Public Library and found three books on fitting:

  • Pants for Real People, the Palmer/Pletsch book on pants fitting.
  • Vogue Fitting, a book from the ’80s with a chapter on pants fitting.
  • Fabulous Fit, a modern book featuring the seam method of pattern alteration.

I’ve also been spending some time with my copy of the Threads Magazine DVD Archive looking for articles on pants fitting. The Threads DVD Archive has to be one of the best sewing instructional purchases I’ve made; there’s literally hundreds of articles in there I find fascinating. It was difficult for me to look through the archive because I kept running into the temptation to go off on a tangent looking at some other interesting article.

What’s more, the magazine issues are all standard PDF files, without copy protection, so it’s straightforward to copy them onto a tablet or similar device for ease of reading.  Thank you Threads magazine for trusting your readers.

My copy of the archive goes through the end of 2012, up to issue 164. To find the articles, I used the online, searchable index at the Threads website, but their search interface is quite poor (both online and the version that comes with the disc). So I had to do a lot of legwork on my own to filter through these articles. Continue reading


Some special deals

Sorry for the absence here – I haven’t given up my summer wardrobe project, though (predictably) summer is now almost at an end!  The first of the shirts came off the assembly line last weekend and I wore them, along with my shorts, this past week. Photos will be up here shortly.

Site Administrivia

I’ve recently run into some problems with this blog – Google has started informing me of a high error rate while indexing this site, and my hosting provider is telling me that the site is consuming too much of their resources and will suspend my account if the situation continues.

This site runs on WordPress, and though I deal with website development on a professional basis, I have close to zero interest in care and feeding of websites like this one when I’m outside work. I’d rather be sewing new projects than tweaking blogs like this one, and a big reason I chose WordPress is that it has push-button solutions for almost everything. Continue reading

Book Review: “How To Make Sewing Patterns”, by Donald H. McCunn


Update 2016-08-28: The author, Don McCunn, has let me know there’s a new link to the author’s updates page; I’ve updated the link below to reflect that.  Also, there is a second edition of the book now available, and the author provides a list of what is new in the second edition.

Update 2016-11-06: Please see my review for the second edition.

I discovered this book after posting to the “Men Who Sew” forum at Frustrated by modern men’s patterns that fit like parachutes and tents, I asked for good books about pattern fitting aimed at men.

Previously, I had checked out Fit for Real People (FFRP) from the library. This book is frequently mentioned as the “gold standard” on fitting by many sewists, but I found it didn’t speak to me at all. 85 pages into the book, I realized FFRP hadn’t presented one thing that was useful to me, as a man of fairly average build who wanted to alter patterns to fit.

While many fit issues and principles are the same between men and women, FFRP was very far away from me on the fit continuum – mostly aimed at issues faced by plus-size, often busty women. That’s good and important. But it was too much effort to try to put that discussion through a mental filter to glean the ideas and principles that are meaningful to me, while trying to digest the material at the same time.

And so I was looking for a book that treats men on an equal basis with women. How to Make Sewing Patterns was one of the recommendations. Continue reading


Book Review: “The Best of Sewing with Nancy” by Nancy Zieman

best_of_sewing_with_nancyThe Best of Sewing With Nancy is almost like a continuation of Nancy Zieman’s book, 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew I reviewed recently. It follows the same format of illustrated, step-by-step instructions for completing a variety of sewing tasks. I got my copy from Alibris for $1, along with 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew.

This book rounds up the most popular topics from the first decade or so of the Sewing with Nancy series on PBS. Each chapter reads like a small book on its topic, and covers content presented in several episodes of the TV series. With some expansion, each chapter could indeed have been a standalone book. Continue reading


Book Review: “10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew” by Nancy Zieman

102030_minNancy Zieman is the Julia Child of sewing – her public television program, Sewing with Nancy, has been on the air for 30 years. This book was published in the early 90s. Typical for a Nancy Zieman book, it is technique-oriented and is jammed full of sewing hints and tips, together with clear line-drawn technical illustrations and photographs of the finished results.

The theme in 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew is to help you use your sewing time more effectively in two ways: 1) improve the way you organize your projects and 2) streamline some common sewing techniques. Nancy leads you through the process of planning sewing projects and breaking them down into “units of work” that can each be completed in 10, 20, or 30 minutes. She also shows you how to do as much work as possible in advance, and how to juggle multiple projects at once. Then, when you have some time free in your schedule, you can pick the unit of work from an open project that best fits the time available and your mood. Continue reading