Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Because It's Free Doesn't Mean It's Good

Many well-meaning organizations, big name organizations in fact, are sending out free downloads to all kinds of things. One of them is sewing techniques. And while there are many ways to sew, many oft touted techniques are unhelpful, time consuming and don't give the best results.

So while the best things in life may be free, unhelpful free downloads can cost you plenty--time, experience and fabric.

In my opinion there are two proper ways to sew: couture and ready-to-wear. Couture is beautiful custom work that delivers a superior garment. The ready-to-wear approach delivers professional looking garments quickly. The third way, is the homemade way. And most of the techniques you see in the "how to sew" books, free downloads and many mass produced pattern instructions guarantee this unsatisfactory sewing experience.

Fabric stores, online and offline are desperately trying to attract young sewers. And they are doing so with dumbed down classes focusing on recycled t-shirts and 25 page books in neon colours, lots of white space and instant gratification. Is that the way to hook them in? How do you then keep them interested?

If learning the correct way is faster and gives better results, then I think it is worth the investment. I started sewing when I was very young. I read books and attended classes and had a lot of unhappy sewing experiences. However, I loved it so much that when it worked out well, it kept me going. By chance only I heard about industrial sewing techniques from my local sewing shop. I took a day class and was impressed. I investigated further and discovered The Islander Sewing Systems method. I booked myself for a four day certification course in Michigan. It was and continues to be the best investment in sewing that I have ever made. My sewing has improved dramatically in the last six years. I wish I had taken it 30 years ago.

If you want to sew smarter, faster and with professional results, I highly recommend you find out more about The Islander Sewing System and give it a try.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vintage Sewing - Tubular Cording

I was at the Aberfoyle Antique Market yesterday. It was a glorious fall day, sunny and not too hot. I was looking for vintage sewing items and came across this Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book. It was published in 1954 and is a little careworn. At $2 it is an absolute bargain as it will provide me with hours of enjoyment as I ponder over the techniques and tools used in an era that holds a great deal of nostalgia for me.

In a world where change is so rapid, it is somehow comforting to know that some things are constant. For instance, the book states: "Tubular cording is seldom found on any but expensive garments in ready-to-wear." The technique for making tubular cording is the same then as it is now, although there are some cool tools on the market now that can make it easier. With tubular cording you can create custom frogs, Chinese buttons, spaghetti straps, button loops, fagoting, braid, edging, ties and bows. Purchasing pre-made cording, braids, frogs, etc. is an option but when you use your own fabric and your own creativity something much more satisfying and magical happens.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just for Us Originals - Wearable Art Show Starts Today!

Bonnie Glass
I am heading out this morning to the Just for Us Originals wearable art show. A talented group of artisans of wearable art will be displaying their creations for sale at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. and admission is free. Fabulous garments, finely tooled jewellery, and hand crafted leather purses are just some of the amazing items you will see. And one-of-a-kind is not a trite adjective when it comes to the wares of these artisans.

Bonnie Glass, a renowned fibre artist, is the energetic force behind the creation of the Just for Us Originals show. She has a gorgeous studio in Glen Williams where she works on her creations and teaches her techniques garnered from years of experimentation and experience.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

American Sewing Expo Opens Tomorrow!!!!

Suburban Collection Showplace
 The largest independent sewing expo in the U.S. Click here for information. It is held September 23-25, 2011 in Novi, Michigan. Just four hours from the GTA (Ontario).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Winter 2011/2012 Fashion Trends by Connie Crawford

Connie Crawford
Connie Crawford is a well known fashion designer with her own pattern line featured through Butterick and her own company, Fashion Patterns by Coni. She specializes in pattern drafting and fit; and is an amazingly talented speaker. I was fortunate enough to attend Connie's presentation in Las Vegas earlier this year on the trends for Fall and Winter 2011/2012. It is so important for someone like myself who has thousands of products to choose from for customers.

Connie has just posted Fabric & Design Inspiration, a synopsis of her presentation, on her website. It summarizes the highlights of her talk and explains what you can expect to see in the stores, at the upcoming Creativ Festival, and on my website in the coming weeks and months.

Although trends often drive what is available to purchase, I also believe there are lots of opportunities to use fabric and colour to personalize your sewing and wardrobe. So take from it what you like, try something different and new, and most of all enjoy the process!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

American Sewing Expo - It's only 11 days away!

This is the largest independent sewing expo in the United States. And it's less than a five hour drive from the GTA (Ontario).

If you go be sure to visit the Haberman's booth. They have so much fantastic fashion fabric!

I love the fact that you can register for all your classes and admission tickets right online! It's so easy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Free Shipping - Canada and Mainland USA

For the month of September only, we are offering free shipping for online orders. We ship to addresses in Canada and mainland USA. Look for our selection of great hand dyed batik crinkle rayon at the lowest ever price of $16.99 per metre. Great for cruisewear and hot weather! Visit

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Website Live!

Yesterday I took my new website live. This has been a project of monumental proportions. And an immense learning process. There were definitely my share of challenges, but like Dorothy, I had to discover the right solution for myself.

There are lots of products on the website but thousands more to add. It all takes time but it I know it will be all worthwhile when the job is done.

I hope you visit and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Soho Coat - Shortened

Soho Coat Shortened
The Sewing Workshop pattern collection has unique and interesting garment patterns and I have used them since I first discovered them at the Creativ Festival over a decade ago.

The Soho Coat sewing pattern comes as a full length coat pattern and I have sewn that version three times now. But unless it is particularly cold out I find that I get much more use out of my shorter jackets. They are easier to wear with pants for walking and they are easier to wear for getting into and out of the car.

So I shortened the pattern by nine inches and made it up in this gorgeous poly-cotton pewter and black ginkgo jacquard. The print is reversible which is great for this coat because the wrong side shows in the hood area.

The diagonal lines of the cross over front, A-line silhouette and the curved hem make this coat stylish and flattering on many figure types.

You can read my full review of this pattern on Pattern Review.