Those who can’t sew…


Well, that’s part of the problem, anyway. I’d rather be sewing, but shopping is a quick fix.

So, in order from least guilty to most guilty:

Sewaholic Patterns:

Minoru Jacket & Renfrew top

Tasia is a sweetie at the best of times, and while I resisted all through the pre-sales of both these patterns, the deluge of awesome internet versions and her birthday sale totally put me over the edge. Plus, even though the shop was down when I tried to use it (overloaded by others drawn in by the sale), she replied to my plaintive email (delivered in obnoxious triplicate—OOPS! 😦 ) the very next day and was super-quick to put together an email invoice at the sale rate. And I had my patterns in only four days—hooray for in-Canada shipping! And supporting an independent small business, yadda yadda. So I am refusing to allow myself to feel guilty for this one.

Thrift store books

Circumstances conspired to have me at Value Village not one, not two, but three times this week, and different things appeared every time. I doubt you’re terribly interested in the shoes Tyo picked out for her Gr. 6 grad this spring, or the Pampered Chef stoneware, but two sewing books did throw themselves at me (I resisted another beginner-level one as I already have several of those and the only one you really need is Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing anyway 😉 )

Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy

Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina. I’ve heard good things about this one. And aside from a no-illustrations 70s paperback, I didn’t have any other books on different fabric types and how to work with them. So yeah, it was coming home. Although so much of what I sew with is bargain-store mystery (and even if it’s not, I’m abysmal at remembering what it is I’ve actually bought) I’m not sure how useful it’ll be. But it’s one of those resources you ought to have, right?

The page on denim.

I like the layout and illustrations—the front is a big alphabetical section on different fabric types and how to work with them, including laundering, needles, thread, sewing-machine feet, and seam-finishes. And it’s got the coil-binding so it lies flat open, which seems to be considered a bonus. I can’t say I’ve felt the need to have one of my reference books open on the table while sewing yet, but if I did, it would be great.

The techniques section

The back has quick overviews of the seam-finishes and other techniques referred to in the front. It’s a great idea and the drawings are lovely, although I’m not sure I’d be able to figure all the techniques out if I were a complete beginner.

Then there was this one:

Sewing Tops & T-Shirts by Marcy Tilton

The Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts, by Marcy Tilton (which I did a bang-up job photographing :P). I bought this more because I really like the other couple of books I have in this series than because I was sucked in by the cover or even content. But I do like how these books are set up—to help you take a basic pattern and adjust it and construct it just that bit above and beyond the basic standard instructions.

Cheater Full-Bust Adjustment

It has some interesting tips, including favouring stitching seams with a regular straight stitch (I’m guessing Marcy wears her knits looser than I often do) and the “cheater knit FBA” that I’ve read about online but never seen endorsed in an actual sewing book.

Thrift store fabric


I should’ve resisted, because the price, while low, was not great for the length available, which is less than half a metre. But It’s absolutely perfect to make a bunnyhug for Tyo. Except, of course, there wasn’t enough fleece, so I had to go back and hunt down an oversize men’s sweatshirt in black to fill in the other pieces. But I already have the pattern traced out (Jalie 2795), so assuming I get it sewn up with sufficient speed, I won’t feel too guilty for stash-building.

Expensive Book

Closet Monsters

And this would be the maximum-guilt item, because it didn’t come from the thrift store. Rather, we were at the book-store looking for a birthday present and I made the mistake of showing this book to Tyo. Tyo has a big black plastic bag of clothing sitting on her closet floor waiting to head to the thrift store, so she’s over the moon at the prospect of getting to turn it into monsters instead. And it’s a pretty cute book, with charming, wacky creatures. My only dislike is that there are no actual patterns—the book gives you detailed instructions for drawing out the pattern pieces (a lot of which are rectangles) on the clothes you’re de-constructing, but that’s not so helpful if you don’t have the exact same garment they’re deconstructing.

However, it shouldn’t be too hard to improvise—I’m just hoping Tyo can achieve some degree of independence on these projects, since my actual interest in making stuffed monsters is, um, fairly limited.

Ehm. So there it is, the whole shameful, consumeristic list. I did get a bit of pattern tracing done this week, so it’s conceivable that a finished item might make an appearance. I hope so. I’m getting tired of writing “look what I bought” posts, as I’m sure you’re getting bored of reading them.

And thanks, everyone, for your commiserating on my last post. Even if this one is basically an illustration of how I’m entirely my own problem. /sigh.



Filed under Sewing

29 responses to “Those who can’t sew…

  1. Nice haul. I have both of the VV Boutique books, and I like them both, but I must be the only person who doesn’t like books with spiral binding. They are noisy. Yes you read that right.

    I have resisted all of Tasia’s attempts to make me buy all her patterns, as I have determined I have enough, unless of course Vogue’s go on sale.

    • But wouldn’t you like your money to support the BC economy? (or something… 😉 )

      Yeah, given that haul you sent me last summer, I suspect you are more than set patternwise. 😉

  2. Oooh, you picked my favourite Sewaholic patterns! I adore that jacket pattern like you wouldn’t believe, and that top is going to be The T-Shirt pattern, I just know it. I’m so jealous of your patterns!

    I don’t think you did a bad job here, actually. Those are usable patterns (I hope!), and the books look interesting. You didn’t come back with a bunch of poorly-chosen patterns, like I ALWAYS seem to do. 😀 And I can’t wait to see how the bunnyhug turns out.

  3. I hear ya! I was off from work with a nasty cold a while back – and in that time I managed to buy several sewing books online, 5 pieces of fabric, several cheap but new-to-me vintage singer feet on eBay, and *ahem* I acquired (as a present from my darling Hubby) a new overlocker – my idle hands certainly know how to quickly empty the wallet quickly eek! 😦

  4. It just happens sometimes. We all buy things that we probably shouldn’t, though if those are the least useful things you’ve ever bought, you’re way ahead of me. 😉

  5. I have More Fabric Savvy (basically just a revised/updated version) and there have been times it’s come in handy – like when sewing ripstop, or something out of the norm for me. So probably a good buy.

    HA! I have the same taste in craft projects as TYO! This book has been in and out of my amazon basket for the last year and the reason I haven’t bought it is the lack of pattern pieces, as you noticed.

  6. I think you got two great new sewing books. I love the Easy Guide to Sewing Series from Threads and that book does have some great tidbits of information in it. I have both Fabric Savvy books by Sandra Betzina and have found them both quite helpful.

  7. sewforward

    The Fabric Savy Book and the T-Shirt book are great. I have both and refer to them quite often. The Monster Book? Can’t say I have ever seen that one, but it looks like it would be fun to make those monsters. I stopped going to the Goodwill Store/Salvation Army Store and the Friends of Library Store for just that reason: I was buying too much stuff! However . . . .maybe I could just sneak a peek in the door . . . . . .

  8. Totally understand your purchases. When we don’t have the time to sew, we need some way to get our “fix”. I’m there too, had out of town visitors over the long weekend and spent the week after recovering!

  9. I do the same thing….shop when I don’t have time to sew. Although, that often ends up with me coming home and sewing because I couldn’t find what I wanted in the store.

    I have that Fabric Savvy Book and I don’t use it nearly enough, but it is an awesome resource. The monster dolls look cute! I am currently trying to talk myself out of a fabric doll pattern, because I have no one around here who would appreciate a stuffed doll. Ok, except me — I still play with dolls. Just not that often.

  10. The title says it all….I know exactly how you feel. But you have scored some great resources and I predict you’ll get hooked on renfrews- I am!

  11. I love-love-love my Minoru! Best looking raincoat ever. And John Murphy is hilarious! I have his first book “Stupid Sock Creatures”. He doesn’t really include exact patterns because you’re supposed to adapt your own piece shapes from what you have available. Why should two monsters look alike anyhow?

    • I’m really digging a lot of the Minoru versions I’ve seen out there—the main guilt source is I’ve got way more jacket/coat patterns I want to make than I can probably justify owning. /sigh.

      The monster book does seem to be entertainingly written. 🙂

  12. You’ll feel better once you get a chance at some quality time in front of your machine…

    What is it with teenage girls and stuffed monsters? hehe. I’m sure she’ll have a lovely time with it.

  13. Yes but this is about sewing right? So, don’t fret!! Besides, all in the interests of your sanity which is so much more important. :O))

  14. The books I turn to tons are Reader’s Digest and More Fabric Savvy. I’ve always wondered what’s different about the two editions. Great reference, plus it lays flat 🙂

  15. Amy

    It seems like you have the best thrift store in the world! I can never find any sewing stuff here. Those look like great books.

  16. Pingback: The Closet Monster Lives! | Tanit-Isis Sews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s