Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In the Queue Wednesday

Entering numbers into a spreadsheet isn't the only "fun" task associated with the "How Much Fabric?" tables. A project that's currently sitting on our dining room table waiting for me, is to assemble the card sets onto the key rings. And by "waiting for me", I mean glaring accusingly at me every time I try to sneak past... ;)

It's the kind of task to do during mindless TV watching. I'm not sure exactly when these will all get done, but don't worry, I'll get to them. They're in the queue...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend Project: An Inauspicious Start

O, here Will I set up my everlasting rest
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars.
from Romeo & Juliet
by William Shakespeare
(or possibly not)

I'm afraid my first set of Christmas gift kitchen towels is off to an inauspicious start... You know the proverb, "Measure twice, cut once?" Well, I did that. I carefully measured twice to make sure that I had a guide thread that was exactly 3 yards long.

Just one tiny problem - the instructions called for 4 yards. And I didn't realize it until I had cut one third of my warp threads to the length of my guide thread. Sigh... :(

I'm working on a waffle weave towel kit, with the color scheme called "Country Classic." Here you can see the full palette on the warping board:

And here's a chain ready for transportation to the loom:

Finally, approximately one-third of the warp threaded through the reed:

The middle third is all green, and then the other side of the towel has the same pattern of stripes that you see here. Getting this project warped is going to be a challenge. Let's just hope that my worst mistake is behind me on this one! ;)

In sewing news, I did hand stitch the facing around the waist band on my (very) pink skirt. I still have to secure the lace more permanently - but hope to be able to wear it to work one day this week. I hope everyone had a great weekend! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Confession

Today we have a guest question from Cindy, of Learn2SewFlorida. Apparently, some of her new students get discouraged when they have to use a seam ripper on a project. She thinks that their expectations might be a little bit unrealistic, but would like to hear from all of you - how often do you have to use your seam ripper? Does it come out for all of your projects? most of them? some of them? How often are you able to complete a garment without using a seam ripper a single time? (Maybe you could add in how long you've been sewing, as I know that some of you are very experienced!)

I'm certainly willing to confess that I use my seam ripper at least once on almost every project, and I've been sewing for about 7 years.

Now, it's not that my sewing hasn't gotten any better in all that time. I have gotten a lot better!

The thing is, my standards have also gotten a lot tougher! So, I rarely make the huge mistakes that I used to have to rip out 7 years ago, but now I am much more likely to want to re-do a step that, 7 years ago, I would have thought was perfect. :)

How about you? What would you tell Cindy's students?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Talk Back Thursday

Ripley's powerloader in "Aliens" -

just about the only tool not mentioned for the sewing room! ;)

Thank you so much to CarlaF, Cindy, Mamafitz, Towanda, Gaylen, M.Soto, Jen, Elaina, Becky, MeredithP, and Summerset for "talking back" last week! I asked what are the basic tools that should be in a sewing room, and got LOTS of excellent answers!

Between those 11 commenters, over 50 items were listed as candidate sewing room tools! In order to make sense of it all, I’ve attempted to group those items into logical clusters. As usual, within each category I will list the items in order from most mentioned to least mentioned, and give the number of people who called out each item in parentheses.

The Room Itself / Furniture
- Cutting table (5)
- Good desk / cabinet for your machine(s) (3)
- Plenty of storage space and/or storage containers (3)
- Good lighting/lamps (3)
- Dress form (3)
- Method to display fabric (Elaina mentioned using the cardboard inserts from fabric bolts from fabric stores) (2)
- Good chair (1)
- Smooth floor (1)
- Hanging board for rulers, scissors, etc. (1)
- Cork board (1)

Machines & Machine Accessories
- Sewing machine (8)
- Accessory feet for your machine (7)
- Serger (7)
- Extra machine needles (2)
- Extra bobbins (2)
- Coverstitch machine (2)
- Buttonhole attachment (1)
- Bobbin winder (1)
- Computer (1)
- Industrial sewing machine (1)
- Magnetic seam guide (1)

- Good iron (9)
- Ironing board and/or ironing mat (8)
- Pressing cloths (esp. silk organza) (4)
- Ham (4)
- Sleeve board (3)
- Point presser and/or clapper (2)
- Steam press (1)
- Dry press for interfacing (1)
- Seam stick (1)
- Manila folder to press open seams (1)

- Good scissors (9)
- Seam ripper (7)
- Cutting mat (6)
- Snips (5)
- Rotary cutter (5)

- Measuring (or seam) gauge (7)
- Measuring tape (6)
- Straight edge ruler (5)
- Yardstick (1)
- Curved ruler (1)
- Set of dressmaker’s rulers (1)

- Marking tools (chalk, paper & wheel, water soluble pens, etc.) (7)
- Embroidery thread for tailor’s marks (1)

Pins and Needles
- Pins and pin cushion (7)
- Hand needles (4)
- Magnet for finding needles on the floor (1)

- Awl /bodkin (2)
- Tracing paper (1)
- Point & tube turners (1)
- Clothes pins (1)
- Coat hangers (1)
- Hammer (for eyelets, snaps, etc.) (1)
- Plastic drop cloth (can be used for muslins, pattern drafting, etc.) (1)
- Bamboo skewers (I’m not sure what these are for – maybe to get people to tell you their actual measurements?) (1)

Possibly Most Important “Tool”:
- Patience!

Ultimate Dream Sewing Room:
- An unlimited budget!

Is this a great list, or what? :) There was a lot of agreement on the basics, some tools I've never heard of, and some really ingenious ideas!

Possibly the most agreed upon point was to make sure that your scissors and your iron are good quality - apparently these are not things to skimp on!

You may want to read the comments for yourself, as people elaborated more than I have been able to in this summary.

Oh, and I still want a powerloader - maybe I can tell my husband I need it for the garden...? ;)

Thanks again everyone! Have I mentioned recently that you guys rock? :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In the Queue Wednesday

Who has started thinking about Christmas presents? Raise your hand! :)

So, the first of the "kits" that I ordered (from Halcyon Yarn) for weaving kitchen towels as Christmas presents arrived earlier this week. I put quotation marks around the word kit because the materials came in a somewhat more raw form than I had anticipated...

As you can see, each "kit" contains a single piece of paper (supposedly the "instructions") and several cones of yarn. This is amazingly similar to what I receive when, instead of ordering a "kit", I decide to make something from scratch and purchase several cones of yarn.

In hindsight, I'm not 100% sure what I expected, but at the very least, don't you think it should have contained a gnome to jump out and warp my loom for me?

I did spend about 15 minutes studying the piece of paper, and I believe that I have isolated the relevant subsections and determined approximately which stage of the weaving process each is referring to... ;)

So, I'm off on a business trip this week, but I'd better get going on this pretty quickly, because I've committed to weaving Christmas kitchen towels (2 each) for approximately 18 people! Yikes! ;)

I don't know when, but don't worry - I'll get to this project! It's in the queue...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekend Project: Reunited!

Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.
-- Tyron Edwards

I have had a wonderful reunion with my sewing room! It had been so long, we barely recognized each other - and yet, within moments, it was like our separation had never happened. ;)

And what brought us together again? The pattern and fabric that I showed you last Wednesday:

It's a pretty straightforward pattern, but there are a few tidbits to pass on. First, the layout. As you can see in this scanned image, the main skirt piece is, in fact, a large rectangle. In addition, you need the equivalent of 4 times the pattern piece of fabric. The pattern layout wants you to create a duplicate pattern piece and line it up with the original.

I've seen this before and I think it's kind of a pain. Once I saw an alternative way to fold the fabric and I use this a lot now. I fold the two cut edges inward to meet in the middle. This gives me two folded edges - double the length of the folded edge that you typically get:

Thus, I was able to cut the piece out twice, each time on a fold. And I didn't have to create a copy of the pattern piece with tracing paper and tape the two pieces together. Neat, huh?

And here are a couple of other notes on the pattern:

1. I found it interesting that the skirt piece that you cut out is the same size, regardless of what size skirt you are making. The panel is adjusted larger or smaller by the size of the pleats that you put in.

2. That leads to the next bit - this skirt is both pleated AND then gathered! Gathering through pleats can be a bit of a challenge - you are trying to gather 3 layers simultaneously. This one definitely called for 3 rows of basting stitches to gather!

3. I was surprised to see that the instructions called for the lower band to be interfaced. I debated skipping it, but finally decided to follow the instructions. I'm glad I did. I think it makes the band stand out as a separate piece in a nice way.

I did try something different with the zipper - in part inspired by many of you! I decided to try to put it in by hand. Now, here's fair warning: I didn't read up on it - I just made something up on my own. If you know how to do it correctly, you may want to stop reading here, as this next bit could be distressing. ;)

I went ahead and basted the seam shut. Then I pressed the seam open and flat. I basted a guide row of stitches along each side of the center and then separated the two sides. Then I hand stitched the zipper in - one side at a time - stitching along the guide line.

So, it didn't come out perfectly, but I did like the control that I had over the placement! And it didn't really take that long. (As many of you said!) I think I'll try this again. :)

So, enough words, how about some pictures? ;)

It felt so good to be sewing again! I still have to hand stitch the facing down, and attach the lace permanently (right now it's just hand basted through the center). I had to stop because I hurt my right index finger climbing yesterday, and it turns out that your right index fingers plays an important role in hand stitching - who knew? ;)

I hope everyone is having (or had) a great sewing weekend!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Confession

Last week I compared a sewing room to a kitchen pantry, and asked what supplies you stock up on. You told me that your equivalents to salt, pepper and olive oil are interfacing, elastic and thread.

This week, let's move from the kitchen to the garage - what are the basic tools that every sewing room should have? What are your equivalents to hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and drills?

If you had a friend who just finished her first sewing class and wanted to set up her own sewing room, what are the basic tools that you would tell her to get?

And don't forget your dream sewing room - what special tool(s) will you buy when you win the lottery? ;)

Photo credit: barto

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to
Carla F, Goodworks1, Cindy, Faye Lewis, Mamafitz, SunnyQ, Lois K, Elaina and Summerset for talking back to my confesison last week! I asked what basic supplies people keep stocked up in their sewing rooms.

Okay, seriously? Apparently I need to go shopping! ;)

Here is a list of the sewing room staples that were mentioned, ordered from most to least commonly called out, with the number of people who keep each item stocked up provided in parentheses:

- Elastic, assorted types and widths (7)
- Interfacing, assorted thicknesses (7)
- Thread, assorted colors (6)
- Zippers, assorted colors & sizes (6)
- Sewing machine needles (5)
- Hand needles (3)
- Hem tape (3)
- Muslin (3)
- Bias tape (2)
- Silk organza (2)
- Hooks & eyes / vintage hooks (2)
- Buttons (1)
- Canvas for purses (1)
- Lace & assorted trims (1)
- Lining (1)
- Snaps (1)
- Starch (1)
- Tracing paper (1)

Elaina also mentioned some really interesting tools, but I'm going to hold those back for next week.

Originally I had reported that the only thing I stock is interfacing, but reading your lists made me realize that this is not true. I also stock up on sewing machine needles, tracing paper and buttons (I buy those little packets of cheap plastic buttons in a color theme for all the Hawaiian shirts that I make for my husband!). And I stock up on magnetic purse clasps (not that I make that many purses, but none of my local stores carry them, so I need a supply on hand) and all of the supplies that I use to make chalk bags – Velcro, cord (for drawstrings), cord stops, felt and canvas for the 2 inner layers and strapping.

I was really impressed by all the organized people who have a system for stocking up on things like zippers, elastic, lining, bias tape, etc. - they know what colors, sizes, widths, etc. they use most often. For example, CarlaF keeps both regular and invisible zippers, in 9" and 22" lengths, and in black, grey, brown, navy and white on hand. Goodworks1 has an alternative solution - she always buys the longest possible zippers and cuts them down to whatever size she needs.

There were some good reasons for stocking up mentioned - the biggest two being (1) taking advantage of sales and (2) not having to interrupt an ongoing project to run to the store to pick up a notion.

On the other hand, Lois K provided an excellent reason for NOT stocking up - to have an excuse to go to the fabric store, oh and maybe spend just a few minutes checking out the new patterns and fabrics while you are there... ;)

I'm thinking of this as a two-part series - tomorrow I'll ask about basic tools for any sewing room. We can put this list of staples together with a list of tools and have our own recipe for the perfect sewing room!

Thanks again, everyone! As usual, you all rock! :)

Photo credit: exfordy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the Queue Wednesday

Brace yourself - I have an honest-to-goodness sewing project in the queue today! ;)

Recently, several gift certificates to Joann's have fallen into my hands for no particular reason (and certainly nothing to do with my age increasing!) and one of them has been used to purchase all the necessary material for this skirt:

I fell in love with this beautiful pink cotton print fabric:

And I have some lace that I bought at the Original Sewing and Quilty Expo more than 5 years ago that I think will make the perfect trim! This project is at the top of my list, so watch for pictures soon!

I can't promise exactly when, but don't worry, I'll get to it! It's in the queue... :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The "How Much Fabric?" Series: Tops

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.

--Vance Hayner

Ever since I created the first “How Much Fabric?” table, I thought how nice it would be to have it printed on a small, sturdy plastic card that I could carry around in my purse. The more tables I made, the more I refined my ideas (like adding the Safety Margin table) and the more positive feedback I got here on my blog, the more I was convinced that I had something really useful here.

So, here is my surprise and the secret that has been keeping me busy all summer: I finally stopped staring up the steps! I teamed up with 3 friends and together we embarked on the “venture”.
  • Christine and I beefed up all of the tables with even more patterns (over 2,000 in total now!) and used statistical tests to make sure that the averages were stable.
  • Beth (aka MissBlackPepper of Etsy) designed beautiful cards that contained the tables and are illustrated with sketches representing examples of minimum, maximum and average clothes in each category.
  • While a printer was manufacturing the cards, Susan designed and built a web site,
gwyn hug, where YOU can buy YOUR own set. :)
What do the cards look like? Well, here is a photograph of a complete set of cards:

And here is an example of the Tops card (front and back):

The details: The cards are the same size (including thickness) as credit cards. A card set has 6 cards – a title card and then one card each for (a) dresses, (b) skirts, (c) tops, (d) jackets and (e) pants. There are 2 different versions available – one with American measurements (sizes 6 – 22; inches and yards) and one with metric measurements (sizes 32 – 48; centimeters and meters). A set costs $14.95 (USD) plus postage (USPS). Florida residents also need to add 6% sales tax.  Or, you can get the eBook version for your smart phone or tablet, for just $7.00!  

Here's more about how to use them:

I am going to leave the earlier versions of the tables up on my blog. Of course, the cards are better. ;) The tables on the cards are based on many more patterns, so they are more accurate and reliable. Also, each card has a safety margin table (unlike the first two tables on my blog). The cards are sturdy and compact, convenient to carry in a purse, and they have Beth’s beautiful sketches to help you visualize what the numbers represent in terms of outfits. But, I figured you might want to refer to the blog while you are waiting for your card set to arrive in the mail! ;)


And now, without further ado, the “How Much Fabric?” Series: Tops Table!

A beautiful color catches your eye... You reach out and touch - the texture is to die for! You MUST have that fabric! But, how much should you buy? Obviously, the ideal situation is if you have the perfect pattern in your hand - it will tell you exactly how much you need. But sometimes life isn't perfect and gorgeous fabric comes into our lives before we have a pattern picked out. ;)

Well, if you think the fabric will make the perfect top, maybe this table will help. Just like with my previous skirts, pants, jacket and dress tables, I collected top patterns and entered the required fabric amounts into a spreadsheet, broken down by fabric width and top size, and calculated the following table of minimun, maximum and average fabric requirements.

Approximately 250 patterns went into this table (note that the table on the Tops card includes numbers from over 500 patterns). Which companies? Oh, the usual suspects: Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, Burda, Neue Mode, New Look, Hot Patterns, Kwik Sew and some BWOF magazines.

Of course, even with a table like this, you still need to have a rough idea of the type of top you might make, and you still need to estimate the amount of fabric to buy. I like the table because I feel like using it helps me start my estimating from a solid foundation.

Remember that an "average" is a number that approximates the middle value - that means that there are a lot of patterns just above it, as well as a lot of patterns just under it. So if you think you are going to make an “average” top, you should buy a little bit more than the average number listed in the table above. But how much should you add? This “Safety Margin” table should help you decide, based on how large of a safety margin YOU personally prefer! :)

To help make the values in the table more concrete, here are some images representing the patterns requesting the minimum, maximum and average amounts of fabric.

Not surprisingly, the pattern requiring the minimum amount of fabric is a tank top:
Here are 2 examples of patterns that called for the average amount of fabric (in most sizes): The first is more tailored and the second more casual, but note that the sleeves on the first are not full-length.

Finally, here are 2 patterns illustrating tops that you can make with the maximum values of 45 inch wide fabric (first picture - view D) and of 60 inch wide fabric (second picture - both views).

This ends the "How Much Fabric?" series that I will be publishing on my blog. If you like these tables, I hope you'll pick up a card set from our web store, gwyn hug - and maybe a couple as Christmas stocking stuffers for your sewing friends! (It's never too early...) In any event, I could never have completed this series without your encouragement and support! Thank you! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Confession

Several of my cookbooks have a special section called something like "The Well Stocked Pantry" that lists the supposed "basics" that everyone should always have on hand. I got to thinking about sewing rooms the other day, and wondered if there is an analog?

Pretty much the only thing that I keep stocked in my sewing room is interfacing. I buy that in bulk. I buy all of the rest of my supplies as specific projects call for them.

How about you? Do you keep your sewing room stocked with any supplies? Is there anything that you consider a basic staple in your sewing room? Or do you buy supplies on a "just-in-time" basis, as each project calls for them? (Note: I'll ask about basic tools next week.)

So, tomorrow is the big day! Don't forget to stop by! I'm going to post my Tops Table (in the "How Much Fabric?" series) and reveal my surprise! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to Lee, CarlaF, Goodworks1, Cole's Corner, Mamafitz, Summerset, Cindy, Gwen, Claire S, Joannely, Webfrau, Faye Lewis, Elaina and Sarah for "talking back" to my confession last week. I confessed that I never put hooks and eyes into my garments.

People were very evenly split on this issue.

For example, 5 people reported never or rarely putting them in, 4 people reported putting them in sometimes (depending on the garment) and 4 people reported usually or always putting them in.

Similarly, regarding the hand stitching aspect, 5 people reported not enjoying hand stitching and 5 people reported not minding or even liking doing the hand stitching (and other little finishing details on a garment).

It doesn’t get more evenly divided than that! ;)

On the “no, thanks” side of the house, a few people took the position that it is possible, and possibly even desirable, to install your zipper or buttons right to the top of the outfit, such that a hook and eye aren’t necessary.

However, two specific situations were mentioned when a hook and eye could be a godsend – Cindy brought up strapless dresses. If the zipper breaks, the hook and eye will be the only thing standing between you and a Janet Jackson moment!

Joannely mentioned wedding dresses, and how connecting a hook and eye at the top can be a huge help when you are trying to pull up the zipper on a heavy (and tight!) gown!

Finally, a few people talked about taking the hook and eye to what I think of as a couture level. Mamafitz and Elaina mentioned that they don’t use the metal eyes – they make thread eyes by hand. (And I’m sure they are not the only ones among the commenters.) Joannely and Webfrau brought up how beautiful and special it is when the hooks are covered with thread. Both Webfrau and Sarah are reminded of their connection to earlier generations of seamstresses by these special hand stitches.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond! These confessions of mine would be pretty dull if you didn’t “talk back” to me! ;)

Don’t forget to come by this weekend – I’m going to post my final table for the “How Much Fabric?” series (Tops), and I’ve got an announcement to make!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Winner

Thank you to everyone who signed up for my 300th post give-away! A random drawing produced the winner: Aminat! Congratulations!

All I need is your email address, so that I can have the gift certificate emailed to you. Please send me an email to:

I hope everyone will try again, when I have another Kiva gift certificate give-away for my 400th post! :)

And I hope everyone will stop by this weekend to see my "How Much Fabric?" Tops Table and read about my surprise!

Photo credit: L. Marie

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterback

If all the cars in the United States were placed end-to-end it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.
--Doug Larson

Happy Labor Day! Over the long weekend, I was able to finish my grandmother's scarf. I am so happy with it! An experienced weaver could easily tell that I am a beginner, but I think that my Grandmother will love it! See what you think:

I'm very excited about this coming weekend. I will be posting the Tops Table in my "How Much Fabric?" series (finally!) AND revealing the project that kept me so occupied this summer - I can't wait to share it with everyone! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the holiday and have a good week! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Reason to Shop!

Peace is not made at the Council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men. (And women.)
-- Herbert Hoover
(with a little bit of help from me!)

I'm sorry for the short notice, but I just found out about a wonderful opportunity to reach across the ocean and help a sister seamstress, while making your own grassroots contribution to world peace. An Army soldier stationed in Iraq - son of a quilter, husband of a quilter, and father to a future quilter - noticed how difficult it is for Iraqi women to get sewing supplies. So he conceived of a project to help put sewing supplies into their hands.

It is called "Iraqi Bundles of Love" (or IBOL) and he calls himself IBOL Guy. You can read all about his project on his blog, here. Basically, he is asking for volunteers to send him packages of (neatly bundled up) sewing supplies - raid your stash, hit the fabric stores, whatever - and he will oversee their distribution in Iraq. (Use the special USPS flat rate boxes for members of the military overseas - the postage is fixed, regardless of weight.)

He won't be handing each box out personally - he will put batches in the hands of other U.S. military units, Iraqi Security Forces, local police, etc. If you are interested in participating, leave a comment on his blog and he'll email you the address.

The catch - boxes must be in the mail by NEXT TUESDAY (September 8th). I know, I know... Like I said, I'm sorry for the short notice - I just found out about it myself.

The email that I got from IBOL Guy said that the Iraqis love green, but don't go in for cutesy cartoon character prints. So, I picked these 2 homespun plaids (thinking that they would make nice shirts for men or boys):

And this "Indian Summer" polyester (thinking of a woman's skirt, maybe?):

Sammy, sweet and considerate as usual, was eager to help me pack the box:

I topped off my bundle with a zipper, some buttons and two spools of thread, all in the same color scheme:

Here it is - all ready to ship!

If you get a chance, take advantage of the Labor Day sales and make up your own Iraqi Bundle of Love! It'll never be easier to do something personal (rather than just sending money - not that that's a bad thing) to help another seamstress. Besides, what a great excuse to go shopping! ;)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Confession

This one is a bit embarrassing... I never put hooks & eyes into any of my garments. In part it's because I don't enjoy the tiny little hand stitching required (and am not good at it - but that's just due to lack of practice). But, in part, it's because I don't actually like them in my RTW clothes - they just annoy me.

But I know I should use them - they are one of those finishing touches that moves a garment from slapdash to professional quality, right?

So, how about you? Do you faithfully put them in your garments? If so, is it more of a chore for you, or do you enjoy the process of adding those final touches?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to Sew-Ann, Ivalyn, Donna, Uta, Summerset, Mary, Gwen, Elaina, Becky and Sarah for talking back to my confession last Friday!

As usual, I received comments representing a variety of positions across the continuum of possibilities. A handful of people echoed variations of my position – they don’t worry much about current trends and think that the stuff on the runways is often too “out there.” They sew what they like, what is comfortable and what works for their bodies, their lifestyles and their existing wardrobes.

There were also a number of comments that represented a more moderate position. Many of you do find inspiration in fashion magazines and blogs, high end catalogs and web sites. Some commenters said that they do try to keep their wardrobes at least somewhat current (or at least, as Gwen said, not be too outdated!). And a couple of people pointed out that, even if you don’t like an entire high fashion look, you can often take away a detail here or there and incorporate it into your own work in a fresh and interesting way.

I think that Uta made a very interesting point along these lines. She reminded me that fashion repeats itself (kind of like history!) and that the same basic styles are often reincarnated in different “new” trends. What this means to her is that she can often find something within a current trend that allows her to remain true to her own particular taste.

Finally, a couple of commenters do truly stay on top of the industry. Summerset, for example, has identified some designers and design houses that consistently reflect her personal style, and she follows their work. Similarly, Elaina spends at least some of her time inhabiting the fashion world – she knows some designers personally and reads industry publications, rather than the mainstream fashion magazines on the newsstands.

Two websites were recommended. Summerset recommended Carolyn's blog, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, if you would like to see a sewer take runway fashion and make it her own. Sarah keeps up with the fashion industry by reading Tom and Lorenzo, of Project Rungay.

My favorite line came from Elaina, who said, “Style is much different from fashion” – and this leads to the theme that was common across all of the different responses. People who sew know themselves and know their styles – whether they look for those styles to be reflected in the fashion industry or not. ;)

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond! Your comments always get me thinking!

Photo credit: Mac Babs - Bárbara Bessa

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

300th (-1) Post Giveaway!

Tomorrow's "Talk Back Thursday" will actually be my 300th post, but I'm going to do the give-away in today's (299th) post. Surely no one will mind too much! ;)

I've decided to make it official - I will mark each multiple of 100 posts with a give-away of a $50 gift certificate to Kiva, a nonprofit organization that allows people to chip in small amounts of money to fund loans for people with small businesses in third world countries.

Personally, I have contributed towards 4 Kiva loans. All were to women who work as seamstresses or tailors. My first two loans have been repaid in full.

Here is Adjo Adimah from Togo:
And Berha Aurora Rios Chota from Peru:

25% of my third loan, to Mariza Gonzalez (Paraguay), has been repaid so far:

My 4th loan, to Firuza Samadova (Tajikistan), is newly let, and there have not been any repayments yet:

The way the give-away works is that the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Kiva and will be able to review the loan requests and select the one to which she (or he) wishes to contribute. Once the loan is repaid, the winner may apply the funds towards another loan, OR remove the funds from the Kiva system and buy something special for her (or his) sewing. It will be completely up to you! :)

If you would like to be considered, just leave a comment. I'll leave the comments open for a week, and do a random drawing and announce the winner next Wednesday. Good luck! :)