Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Miss This Opportunity to Give Your 2 Cents!

A lot of us have been pretty unhappy with Burda Style of late, especially their plus sized offerings.   I've certainly bitched about them all too frequently.  Now you can let them know exactly what you want.  They actually want to know!  Of course, this is the New York based Burda Style office and how much pull they have with the mother company is any ones guess.  But, still, don't miss this opportunity to voice your opinion. I certainly didn't.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How Reliable Are the Experts, Really?

Why is it that people who criticize you  almost always post as anonymous? After my post on Mood I got this comment: "Hi, I am couture trained and find it interesting that you contradict others advise when you are predominantly self taught."
I can only speak for what works for me when I sew and couture trained or not I've been sewing for a lot of years which brings to bear a lot of experience. BTW, the training I have had was a year  of couture sewing lessons. Most of us who write sewing blogs are pretty opinionated and we  sew for pleasure and are not professionals.  but, that doesn't mean we have to agree with everything the so called experts say on a subject.  There are lots of ways to do  something in sewing and in my mind no one right way, only the way that works for you.  
When I was taking Kenneth King's fitting clinic I got to ask lots of sewing questions.  One of them was about, as he was fitting a princess seamed dress, Roberta Carr's book on couture sewing.  She asserted that the side panel, or weaker side was the side to have on top when sewing a princess seam.  This was contrary to everything I'd heard or read.  The side panel should be down against the feed dogs to ease in extra fabric often drafted into that seam.  The other was that the stronger or more stable side should be the side on top.  He paused a moment and said, he thought that Carr had often only absorbed part of what she had been taught, and no he didn't agree with her.  He was also rather disdainful of another highly regarded couture expert.  She doesn't sew was his comment.  
There have been a lot of books published on sewing lately and as with anything else, some are good and some just not worth your time or money.  Experts also contradict each other all the time.  Read some fitting books, like the one I just reviewed and then listen to Peggey Sagers and they have very different approaches to fitting.  I feel quite justified in having an opinion on a technique that contradicts some expert if it doesn't work for me, and I feel free say loud and clear.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fitting, an Endless Journey

It often seems like that, doesn't it?  Learning to fit is a journey and along the way I've collected what seems to be every fitting book on the market and I still have issues figuring out  how to solve some of my fitting problems.  Enter a new fitting book, The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen.  It already has a large number of favorable reviews over on  however, one of the reviews complains about it's lack of specific answers to her fitting problems.  But, to me that is the uniqueness of this book. There is no table of contents of fitting flaws, rather Veblen treats fitting in a much more organic fashion.  Every action we take to fit cloth affects the rest of the garment.  She teaches us to see the whole garment. To this end she introduces the HBL, or horizontal balance line.  It is drawn in perpendicular to the center front or the grain line.  It is always parallel to the floor.  This is not a new concept to me, but not something I've used.  But, after reading through her book, it's something I intend to start using.   I have found that fitting can be very hit or miss because there is often no frame of reference outside of the change being made.  Veblen's asserts that the HBL gives that reference and makes fitting that much easier.

This is a book that uses muslins for fitting.  More than one in fact.  Fitting is work and a process of training the eye first to see and recognize the problem. second, how to alter the cloth to get a good fit and third how to transfer the changes to your pattern.  To facilitate that Veblen gives us lots of wonderful, large format photographs that do a great job of showing  problems and how to fix them.  The text is well written and easy to understand.  She explains how she alters a muslin but more importantly, she explains why. Understanding  why should make it easier to learn how to fit anything or anybody. I am hoping that  her method will finally let  me work out some nagging problems I've had in my fitting.  Sleeves in particular come to mind and she covers this in detail.

 I really like that she doesn't approach fitting as a list, because inevitably that list is lacking in the one thing I need, which is probably why I have so many fitting books.