Monday, January 25, 2010

WELCOME TO THE BLOGCHINE: update, sewing, book review

I'm home sick with a cold today and decided that it was a good time to catch up on the internet. I haven't had internet access at home since September (on purpose.) It's kind of funny/embarrassing how out of the loop this makes me feel. I mean, it just looks like y'all are having so much fun on Facebook without me!

These days I am mostly working on local art project stuff here in Bloomington like the Bloomington Handmade Market, the Art Hospital, getting involved at The Collaboration Room, and sewing like there's no tomorrow. I've been feeling more cranky than usual about Fine Art; the logical response seems to be to immerse myself more fully into Craft (and yeah, I'm aware that there may or may not be a distinction there.) I guess what I mean is: I'm sick of stuff that hangs on walls, I'm interested in making objects that are functional.

I actually grew up doing things like sorting buttons and cutting pattern pieces out for my mother, who is quite an accomplished seamstress on top of being annoying good at everything else she tries. Of course, because I have always been contrary, I never took advantage of the fact that I had this fantastic resource in my own home and immersed myself in every kind of art other than the ones my mother did. Now that I live a state away, naturally I have become my mother. Apple not falling far from the tree and so forth. I had a lot of catching up to do, so I got the Built by Wendy Sew U book.

I'm not going to lie; I bought it because it, you know, appeals to my demographic and stuff. I have lots of Singer sewing books, the indispensable Reader's Digest sewing book, and a really excellent 1967 bright orange Coats and Clark sewing book as well, but let's face it, sometimes it's nice, if creepy and disturbing, when things are marketed to you.

Wendy touches on the basics of machines, notions, organization, and fabric and then digs right in, moving from skirts to shirts to pants. Included with the book are three patterns for those items. She then gives you lots of tips as to how to customize the patterns, lengthening/shortening, adding trims, etc.

The book moves fast. Really fast. Which was perfect for me. But would probably not be good for a person that had never seen a sewing machine in her life. Having been raised in a household where sewing and tailoring was commonplace, I had lots of terminology and knowledge tucked away in the far recesses of my brain that helped me out, but I think if I were a total newbie I would have been pretty frustrated by this book.

That said, it does have a lot of really good tips for organizing your sewing space, thinking about what kinds of customization would work and what wouldn't, pocket placement, etc. I wouldn't call it "the only sewing book you'll ever need," but it's a pretty solid addition to one's library, especially if you want to get inspired to do little alterations but feel intimidated by the idea. This book combined with Singer Sewing Essentials (I actually have the old edition of this, but I'm sure the new one is just as useful) was a perfect combination -- what one book couldn't answer, the other could.

No pics or other interesting news for now. But on the sewing tip, you should check out Brenna's awesome Project Runway Playalong Project, because I am obsessed with it and it is great.

Happy new year!


  1. Aww.

    I'm excited you're sewing! And happy to see that someone else gets the same hives I do about art stuff. But watch out because you can get the same way with Craft.

    Then you end up like me, making endless pointless things in a cave, creating challenges to test your skill and banishing nearly all crafty/arty feeds from your RSS.

  2. >>Then you end up like me, making endless pointless things in a cave, creating challenges to test your skill and banishing nearly all crafty/arty feeds from your RSS.

    TOO LATE! I suspect this is why we e-get along.