More Google Reader followup
I have included some buttons along the right-hand side to subscribe to Line of Selvage through various blog readers. I had included The Old Reader based on some reader feedback, but it seems The Old Reader is getting too many users and doesn’t want all the attention. So, since they don’t want people to use their service, I’ve pulled the link.
Sewing for Men and Boys
One thing I forgot to mention in my first “odds and ends” post is that my copy of “Sewing for Men and Boys” arrived from Alibris.
This book was enthusiastically recommended by other PatternReview members in the feedback from the recent “Member in Focus” article on PR, which graciously featured me as the guest.
I haven’t had a chance to read the book in depth. It’s soft-bound, and stapled down the spine like a thick magazine. It seems like the bulk of the book covers sewing techniques specific to menswear – collars, cuffs, etc.
There’s also some info on both traditional tailoring and speed-tailoring – producing a tailored jacket with fusible interfacing and machine stitching rather than padding and hand-stitching. The book also does have some info on fitting, but on very first glance I was sort of hoping for more.
Finally, the book has some truly scary examples of ’70s fashion. Would it be too much to admit I’m sort of toying with the idea of doing a ’70s revival garment?
Pant Construction Techniques with Sandra Betzina
I recently finished watching Craftsy’s class “Pant Construction Techniques” featuring Sandra Betzina. You can read my review at the PatternReview website. Suffice it to say I didn’t like Sandra Betzina as a teacher and don’t recommend the class.
Since I feel freer to discuss this review on my own blog, I’ve noticed this review has generated a bit of controversy in the comments section. Some people agree with me that while Betzina certainly has the credentials to teach this class, her presentation isn’t as clear as it should be. Others loved the class and preferred her instruction to the pattern directions while making their pants.
I’ve seen two other Craftsy classes with great instructors that communicated clearly, spoke complete sentences, stayed on topic and connected their thoughts to form a complete narrative of the topic being discussed. I’ve also watched other video instruction, such as Nancy Zieman’s TV show and David Coffin’s DVDs, which are up to the same standards. And so I expected the same from Betzina, especially given her reputation.
The other Craftsy classes methodically worked their way through the project, each lesson building upon the last with a clear progression towards completion, as if they were actually putting together a project from scratch. Betzina’s presentation really was a demonstration of techniques, and I didn’t get that same sense of progression from fabric to finished result.
Also, because I come from an engineering background, I strive for a sense of precision in my sewing. I know not everyone is that way, and Betzina outright says she’s not one of those OCD perfectionists. It’s great that she’s upfront about her sewing style, but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable to watch.
Finally, I felt somewhat uncomfortable posting a negative review like the one I did. I considered editing it down, but ultimately left it the way I wrote it. Even though that review reflects my true feelings and assessment of the class, sometimes I feel forums like PR expect everyone to take a positive outlook on everything, even when criticism might be unpleasant but helpful. I feel a little bit like I’ve pointed at the dead elephant in the middle of the room by saying something negative about a highly regarded and well-respected name in the sewing community.
I suppose in the end I’m happy to see it has sparked a discussion, and if people disagree with my review I really hope they will write a review of their own. I’d love to know more about what they see in the class and in Sandra Betzina.
My Mother’s Sewing Machine
In the PatternReview “Member in Focus” article, I said the following:
When my mother passed away in 2000, I inquired about the fate of her ’70s-era Singer Touch-and-Sew (it ended up going to one of my sisters).
I never expected my sister Diane (the one who’s sewing notions I played around with) to see the article, and post about that machine in the comments:
Hey, Mom’s sewing machine is basically kaput. Unfortunately it was in storage for a while before I got it and the extreme weather conditions basically rusted the entire chassis. Add the fact that there is no instruction book and 95% of the cams are gone and even the shop I took it to to get it restored wasn’t able to get it running. I still have it, can’t bring myself to toss it. It’s in my back bedroom with the stash that I have from my quilting. I use my Bernina now days but I am kinda all sewed out.
Probably good that I got a new machine to get started with sewing, then! It’s nice to know it lives on then, even if only as a souvenir.
Hopefully I’ll be able to post about new sewing projects soon.