Not Martha

The Colette Sewing Handbook

Colette Sewing Handbook

I got a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick and I think I swooned a little. I’ve been a fan of Colette Patterns and her tutorials for a long time. The book contains five principles (a thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric, and a fine finish) and five patterns (a scalloped-hem skirt, flutter-sleeve blouse, sweetheart neck sheath dress, asymmetrical flounce dress, and a lined dress with gathered sleeves). Each section of the book takes you through creating each garment, teaching you techniques as you work.

Colette Sewing Handbook

The book has my favorite spiral binding so it will stay open while you work, as well as a set of patterns in the back.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing needle and thread types

The book takes you through the basics, showing tools and techniques very clearly explaining the benefits and uses for each kind.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing how to lay out a pattern on a table top

Each section of the book uses one of the patterns in the back and acts as a complete lesson in sewing a garment from start to finish. This is how I learn, I need a real project to work all the way through, so I adored how this book was arranged. You build your knowledge with each project.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing draping on a form

She gives very basic and practical tips so you don’t have to struggle. Every step is clearly displayed and explained.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing a model wearing a flutter sleeve top

And of course all the items in the book are things you definitely want to wear. Easy enough to take on, with just enough clean detail to be super cool. Just look at this top, gorgeous. If you want to learn to sew your own clothes and need a set of lessons to start you off this book is perfect.

· comments [15] · 11-28-2011 · categories:books · sewing ·

giveaway: Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Modern Log Cabin Quilting book cover

I’m so pleased to be showing you Susan Beal’s latest book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, and offering a sweet giveaway today. You can read why Susan loves log cabin quilting and view projects from the book made by others at the Flickr group.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting how-to pages

This book introduces you to log cabin quilts, gives you all the information you need to sew your own, including tools and techniques, and offers a range of projects.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting bright furrows quilt

This is the Bright Furrows quilt, I like the cheerful colors. There are a whole range of quilts using both huge blocks and lots of small ones. There are a number of special quilt projects including a t-shirt quilt to save those worn out shirts that hold memories, an Anniversary quilt and the cozy Winter Woolens quilt.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting northwest modern quilt

Above is the Northwest Modern quilt, I like how it’s random. There is also a whole section on household items like tea towls, aprons, pillow cases and a pincushion.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting red cross handbag

I like the Red Cross bag which uses both corduroy and cotton fabrics. There are a nuber of bags, including a super simple drawstring bag, a zipper pouch, and a market tote. (A way to use up your fabric stash and make gifts at the same time!)

Modern Log Cabin Quilting charming camera case

This Charming Camera Case is easy (and uses some stealth velcro).

I’m thoroughly charmed by the quilts and projects in this book, they are fresh and inspiring. So I’m very happy to have both a copy of the book and a fabric kit to give away. If you’d like to enter please leave a comment with this post, and if you’d like please do take the time to share any quilting projects (or disasters) you’ve undertaken. I’ll go first: I’ve never quilted anything! Clearly I will have to change that very soon. You have until noon Pacific time on Thursday, April 7th to enter. The usual fine print applies. Good luck! The winner as chosen by the Random Number Generator is #45, Emily. Congrats! And thanks to everybody for entering!

· comments [469] · 04-4-2011 · categories:books · craft · sewing ·

Five Yards

Five Yards Etsy shop from Moop

I’ve admired Moop handbags for a while now, and I’ve been jealous of the fantastic fabric that she buys to make her bags. She is moving her family and business to Pittsburgh and is selling off some of her fabric in an Etsy shop called Five Yards. This is something to jump on if you are looking for excellent mid or heavy weight fabrics, there is even some organic orange duck.

She’s also having a seconds sale over at Supermarket, and I agree with everything she says here about handmade items and sales.

· comments [3] · 04-30-2009 · categories:craft · sewing ·

Modern Seamster

Modern Seamster is a new quarterly magazine that “fills the needs for a smarter, fresher, and more innovative sewing magazine” and brings together domestic sewing and fashion design. The first issue is available to download for free as a PDF. I’m enamored. The first issue is filled with familiar things from Seattle, an interview with the Seattle Craft Mafia and story about R.E. Load Baggage, and San Francisco, a tour of Britex Fabrics (including a picture of the only employee who was kind to me there, looking sharp as ever on the ladder). The magazine is well balanced with articles about high design, music culture, an advice column and sewing practice. So far it’s love. via Pink of Perfection.

· comments [7] · 03-11-2009 · categories:craft · sewing ·

links: crafts

really beautiful scrap bag at M. Patrizio Illustrations

So you want to study Knitwear? at Making Things

The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals

Know Your Weaves II at True Up

reusable sandwich wrap at The Small Object

Free Gift Box Templates at Bleu Arts

Help Create a Worldwide Map of Local Fabric Stores at True Up

The Thrifty Knitter has pictures of just shorn alpaca, they’re adorably skinny

How to Make Japanese Papercraft Boxes at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Where I Buy Decorative Paper

at Craftzine:

crocheters on the quest to interview Joss Whedon

BurdaStyle Launches How To Series

yoga mat strappy sandals made by Sami Sue

How To Make a Vintage Fabric Basket with Grommets at Perpetual Plum

How To Make A Post Office Bag at Elsie Marley

How To Cut Rags for Knitting at Coco Knits

How To Make a Pinch Pouch at The Small Object

· comments [4] · 09-2-2008 · categories:craft · sewing ·

giveaway: Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones

The kind people at Chronicle Books have offered two copies of Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. It’s a fantastic book, filled with clothing, toys and accessories for baby and for you. (There is a bag I’d like to make for myself.) The book is very sturdy with a pocket to hold the patterns, clear illustrated instructions and a spiral binding so it will stay open on it’s own. Projects are marked on a scale of easy to difficult, but everything is equally charming.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones please leave a comment with this entry. The winners have been notified, thanks to everybody for entering! The usual fine print applies. I’ll let the Random Number Generator choose the winners at 12 noon PST on Monday, September 1st.

Good luck!

· comments [866] · 08-28-2008 · categories:books · craft · sewing ·

Zigzaggers, a site for sewing machine reviews

Oops, I feel terrible about this, in my guest post over at Shelterrific on buying a sewing machine I completely forgot to include a link to a site called Zipzaggers where people send in reviews the older machines they have. She recently started a parallel site for new machines as well, New Zigzaggers. Krista wrote to let me know about this site a while ago and I’ve been meaning to find a reason to talk about it, I’m so sorry it slipped my mind. My thanks to Shelterrific and the commenter who called me on this one.

If you own a sewing machine, Zigzaggers would love to know what you think about it. The first question of the interview is “Love it, hate it, or something in between?”, and I find knowing that somebody doesn’t neccessarily love it is very helpful indeed.

· comments [1] · 08-18-2008 · categories:craft · sewing ·

how to buy a sewing machine

I have a guest post over at Shelterrific today on buying a sewing machine. This is always a question I dread, I know just enough to give a bit of advice but not enough to feel like I’m not potentially steering somebody towards spending a lot of money on something they don’t like, or worse, won’t use very often. So, here’s to hoping it helps a little.

· comments [6] · 08-14-2008 · categories:craft · sewing · shopping ·

links: craft

Congratulations to Alicia! She (and we) finally get to see the cover of her book!

Spoonflower, in beta, allows you to upload your designs and have them printed on fabric. This is very, very exciting. You can sign up to get an invitation. Via Readymade.

cardiganizing the raglan pullover at Flint Knits. This is for the Wicked sweater from Zephyr Style. I think I want to make one of these.

sewing room ergonomics at Lemon Tree Tales, via

looking for a good scarf pattern at Ask Metafilter. I think that if you choose the yarn carefully the one drop scarf that is suggested in that thread is fabulous.

the Lars hat at Streets and YOs. As she mentions, I wish the Panda yarn didn’t look worn so quickly.

· comments [4] · 07-8-2008 · categories:craft · sewing ·

links: craft

How can I get a custom sweater pattern developed? at Ask Metafilter

how to make a repeat pattern, at Design*Sponge

Denyse Schmidt’s “County Fair” in cavas weight, oh good! at Craftzine

The Eight Dollar Dress, a faux-smocked dress at Burda Style, via Craftzine

refashioning a pullover sweater into a cardigan, via Craftzine

Curbly’s ten minute grommet workshop, via Craftzine

Are there any trendy, fashion-forward fabric and sewing-pattern shops online? at Ask Metafilter

better bind off, at The Purl Bee

· comments [0] · 06-17-2008 · categories:craft · sewing ·

books I wish I had more time for

Lotta Prints, I heart the Jansdotter you know.

Sew U Home Stretch, stretch sewing is something I know very little about. Read a review over at Angry Chicken for more about it.

Waiter Rant, I’ve been reading the Waiter Rant site forever, I’m so thrilled to see his book appear.

The Beauty Brains, another book from a site I’ve been a reading for a long time. I love the straight talk about products and real recommendations vs. hype.

Things I Learned About My Dad (In Therapy), put together by Dooce and including chapters by Defective Yeti and Mighty Girl? Yes, please.

· comments [5] · 05-15-2008 · categories:books · craft · sewing ·

links: craft

Candy Blog Photo Studio, nice set up you got there!

Busywork points us to this video tutorial for pockets at Simple Sparrow

How to Knit in the Woods coming soon, oh! I know a knitter who is on the Appalacian Trail right now.

DIY: How to Cut Glass Bottles for Use in Other Projects at Unplugged

Protecting Your Creative Work at The Boss of You blog

How Marimekko fabrics are made, at the Marimekko blog

True Up, new(ish) site, all about fabric

The Lauren Jacket from Weaverknits. I already bought this pattern, love it.

Mannequin Madness, from now until May 25th, is offering 20% off any of their products to Project RunGay readers.

I dig the wave scarf, at Grumperina

The Knitting School has launched. It’s here in Seattle and offers a bunch of machine knitting classes. Little known fact: I have a Brother Chunky machine with ribber and a bunch of accessories.

finding sewing contractors at Sommer Designs

Via Craftzine:

sewing bag tutorial at Mackville Road

hand braided scarf at ah-yi

sewing machine monster tee! by CubistLiterature at Etsy

catnip eyeballs by hannapt at Etsy

cute japanese coin purse at The Purl Bee, I have a few of these frames, must try this

· comments [2] · 05-15-2008 · categories:craft · seattle · sewing ·

links: crafts

Tubular cast on without the waste at Fluffbuff

San Francisco fabric stores at Fuzzy Galore

make a sympathy doll at Craftzine

Tutorial – How to use Purse Twist Turn Locks at U-handblog

Golden Compass Hat at Froggie Meanie

Can my sewing machine be fixed? as Ask Metafilter – the answers offer a lot of fix it yourself encouragement

Velvet & hot irons… at Ask Metafilter, oh, dear, I know this pain

Techniques with Theresa: Cabling without a cable needle (second half) at Knitty

Will properly sized TECRE button/mirror parts work on a Badge-a-Minit hand press? at Ask Metafilter. Turns out: no.

Narrow Hemming Foot at The Secret Pocket, I could never get the hang of mine, time to try again

Reminder to self: PBS is showing The Complete Jane Austen starting January 13th, lots of good knitting television.

pretty crepe flower tutorial at Two Straight Lines

Too late for Christmas, or simply very early?:

How to Make a Christmas Tree Pop up Card at Wikihow, very simple and yet dramatic

Christmas tree in a box at Popgadget

· comments [15] · 01-10-2008 · categories:craft · knitting · sewing ·

links: crafts

How to make stickers at Etsy Labs.

Pretty, Ex Libris made firefly jars.

Incredible amount of information from Angry Chicken on making toys for your children, or yourself, and where to find safe toys.

Cool, an Ikea turntable ironing board.

New kind of faux leather from Joseph Noble, oh please let this hit fabric stores somehow. Via AT:NY.

Zakka Zakka is a new online shop offering Japanese fabrics by the fat quarter. Also check out the little tins of herb starters.

via Craft:

DIY Harry Potter wands.

Seaming knits.

How to sew a collapsible bucket.

No-sew jersey scarf tutorial, I love American Apparel jersey scarves, but the fabric they use to make them isn’t quite as soft as it used to be.

How to sew square bag bottoms.

· comments [10] · 09-4-2007 · categories:craft · knitting · sewing ·

links: craft

Angry Chicken FAQ, including what machines she uses, even a serger.

Sac a faire includes ten different bag patterns, at Swiss Miss.

Among all the slightly pointless cozies out there I think this one for apples is the cutest. At Shelterrific.

How to make a cake or cupcake stand, via Craft.

Credit card sized magnetic flower box, via Craft.

The care and feeding of your sewing machine, via Action Hero.

Working with white fabric at Poise.

Henry Road fabric remnants (!) at Ahn-minh.

About knitting charts, via Craft.

How to make a duct tape dress form, via Craft.

How cool! Knitgrrl (Shannon Okey) has opened (with partners) a store called Stitch Cleveland! very close to where I grew up. I would have have loved having a shop like that nearby. Also, check out her live call in radio show for knitters called The Knitgrrl Show. Via Craft.

· comments [3] · 06-20-2007 · categories:craft · sewing ·