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October 2009

swatch me

design book

In my studio, I enjoy the company of many 3" x 3" fabric swatches - sometimes contained in a wooden box, sometimes peppered around the table, the floor, or the walls like a wannabe quilt.

Swatches are essential if you sew a lot but find it difficult to leave the house to actually visit a fabric store. Baby? Mega-chain fabric store? Twenty minute drive? Meh. I rarely find what I'm dreaming about, anyway. 

I do, however, find that NearSea Naturals and Gorgeous Fabrics never disappoint. NearSea has an incredible selection of soft knits, and Gorgeous Fabrics really blows me away with their selections of Italian shirting cottons and suiting wools. Plus, you can order swatches from them before you commit to buy a yard or more of fabric. Sometimes you can get a sense of the color of a fabric on the computer screen, but you never have a clue about how it feels. And man, if you're going to spend the time to make yourself a pair of pants out of something, you want that something to feel good!


Oh, yes ... I'm up to something involving all of those swatches (besides making things for book #2)! Have you seen Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified? Being a self-taught pattern designer, I thought the book, with its course format, friendly language, and youthful style, would be the perfect professional development tool, given that the patternmaking books I already have in my stash are wordy and replete with outdated, frumpy styles. What I've taught myself thus far I've pieced together from various super-dry texts, but I have yet to tackle pants and more complicated design elements.

basic button-down shirt

But I'm ready to take the full-on plunge - and this is going to be a much-needed swim. There are twenty clothing projects in the book, each of which teaches you a new pattern-making technique, beginning from a simple A-line skirt and moving into more complicated pant styles.

And who is it that wears the same ripped sweatshirt and one pair of jeans day in and day out? Me! Who needs some clothes that really fit her post-baby body? Me! While I'm back to my pre-baby weight, these measurements of mine are just different. Lower bustline? Mmm hmm. Changed waistline? You betcha. And you know what? They just don't make clothes that fit the Mama Body to a T.

But I can.

Would you like to join me?

Design Fridays. Here. Starting this week ... a bit of creative design, a bit of sewing techniques and tips, and a whole new wardrobe at the end of it!

scissors design book

sponsor giveaway :: ec wear

I'm happy to have Marija of EC Wear as a sponsor - for those of you unfamiliar with Elimination Communication, you can read about our experience with it here. EC Wear specializes in WAHM-made clothing such as leg warmers, split-crotch pants, and tiny undies perfect for families with EC-ing infants or toddlers who are on their journey to potty independence. Read on to learn more about EC Wear and enter a comment to win a pair of Huggalugs arm/leg warmers that fit from infancy through childhood. Leg warmers are a must for EC-ing families, but any child will appreciate the extra warmth now that Autumn's chill is on its way!


From Marija: I started EC Wear when Jordan was six months old and I was very frustrated by the lack of availability of clothing that were both easy to use and not made in sweatshops.  I found specialty EC products on line but most were custom-made by busy Work-at-Home-Moms and required a long wait or were frequently out of stock.  I started by cutting up the clothing that I had, serging onesies into t-shirts and splitting pants.  I then had my mother, a talented seamstress, start making cute split pants.  I wanted to make it easier for more parents to get excited about EC by making a wide range of products available.  With my background as a labor rights activist and union organizer, I also wanted to create a resource for parents to find easy-to-use products manufactured under fair working conditions. So I started an online store and have been slowly building up a collection of fair-trade or WAHM products that facilitate elimination communication.  It is a work-in-progress-- I work part-time from home, as I am also focusing my attention on my son, who just turned two.  EC Wear now carries over 100 styles of legwarmers, a variety of training pants and underwear starting at newborn sizes, cloth diapers, and the biggest online selection of split pants. 


Thanks, Marija - leave a comment to win a pair of legwarmers (your choice of style!)


Congratulations to Emmalina, who won a pair of Huggalugs! Thank you, Marija and Jordan from EC Wear! Comments are now closed.

new patterns now available!

It's official - the new patterns are up for sale over at my website! Orders placed now will ship on October 10.

Schoolhouse Tunic pattern

The Schoolhouse Tunic comes in Women's sizes 2-20 and can be made into a shirt, tunic or dress. I wear mine all of the time because it's so easy to nurse in!

Woodlands Shirt pattern

The Woodland's Shirt is a unisex pattern for sizes 2T-10. I'm really in love with this shirt - the button detail, the optional embroidered pocket for placing tiny treasures, and the simple way it goes together.

Flora Tunic and Twirly Skirt pattern

The Flora Tunic & Twirly Skirt in sizes 2T - 10. The tunic is simple and elegant in its shape with a pleat in the front, and the skirt is the twirliest they get!

All of the patterns are suitable for sewists who have just a bit of experience under their belts - that is, if you've sewn one or two things before, you should be able to tackle any of these projects!

Happy sewing!