Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A giveaway and Random Threads #8

Based on the comments from my last post I think a lot of you are going to give Lekala patterns a try. They have a few other tops that are interesting and based on how the last one fit I wil be ordering more. Plus a top is such a speedy thing to make, and usually provides something I can wear immediately unlike a dress which might need an occasion. And not least, I can order more fabrics from my favorite website, Girl Charlee.

A Giveaway

Hey, guess what? I had a blog anniversary way back in February and I didn't even notice. But it has been 4 + years since I joined the sewing blog world and it has brought me all kinds of new friends, ideas and even opportunities. Thank you all so much for reading. To celebrate the belated milestone I have a couple of giveaways, one for US readers and one for international.
First for the US readers, I found this book at a sale a while back and came across it yesterday. Hopefully someone will need to make a party dress and this will be just the thing, (Lost of weddings coming up right? and as a guest you want to look smashing!) It even has the pattern included.

the party dress book cover
The Party Dress book cover
book example page
an interesting treatment using bias strips

And a slightly smaller (in size and postage) for my international readers is this book, Sewing with Sergers. Another rummage sale find and I always recommend any book by Patti Palmer (of Palmer and Pletsch fitting books) This little book is a great reference for using your serger or learning all about it.  You may recall from my previous comments I am not a serger sewer. Is that a phrase? Really I almost never use it to sew. Only to finish seams and edges, and then rather sparingly. But obviously plenty of you have the hang of construction with your serger or perhaps want to - so this book will help.

Serger paperback book

If you want me to draw your name for one of these books, please leave a comment and tell me your thoughs on Fast or Slow sewing. Do you race to finish projects or savor every stitch? Which garment gets the speedy treatment and what gets the slow and steady? Does it even matter? My ideas on this might suprise you and I will give you my take on the topic soon.  Be sure to mention in your comment if you are in the US or another country. 


This must be my week for web shopping, I have ordered so many pairs of shoes in various styles and sizes, most are going back (as I always intended) but I did find a couple of gems in the bunch. Web shoe shopping is one of the greatest inventions ever. OK I exaggerate but you can test them around the house, try on with different dresses, show your friends, get the sisterly opinions (always brutally honest, right?) Plus the magic words "free shipping and returns" (my favorite site is as they have slightly better prices than Zappos and then constantly email extra discounts once you start ordering). 

In other shopping news I ordered a gravity feed iron from Wawak, which arrived and is still in the box. Slight impulse purchase and now if I use it I will have to find a place to hang the water tank. Also Swedish tracing paper which I have never used before. I can see that it could be useful for making very permanent pattern pieces but otherwise ? plain old tracing paper works fine for me.

Girl Charlee, to paraphrase the poet Elizabeth Barret Browning, How I love thee, let me count the fabrics. (and don't we know that she probably sewed her own clothes) I could order so many things from them but there is only so much sewing time so I restrained myself and got these two fabrics plus one other which will be sewn up as a gift.  And yes, that red/white one is a repeat but this time I might make a dress. 

girl charlee fabrics rwb

Craftsy Posts

I have had two posts on Craftsy recently so if you are interested in my take and some tips on sewing princess seams or sewing sleeves in jackets here are the links below these images.

Craftsy post princess seams
Sewing Princess Seams
Craftsy post jacket sleeves
Sewing Sleeves in Jackets

Yep, I said I would start a summer blazer and that project is almost to the top of my list. Lots of other stuff that I had to do these last couple of weeks but I will get to that in June...which is here already!

I look forward to hearing your comments on whether you sew fast or slow. Is it the journey or the destination? ack that sounds very corny but you get the idea.

This time of year the garden is at its best, every thing is lush and blooming, the super summer heat waves have not set in yet and the colors are gorgeous.

Happy sewing, Beth

This penstemon is putting out all kinds of blooms this year, the color is luscious and moves with every breeze.

penstemon 2014


  1. I live in Australia, and have never moved beyond finishing off the seams by serger. I recently purchased a new one, and have very little idea how to utilise it more, and do more stretch sewing. Would love to go in the draw for your book.
    Fast or slow? On reflection, I think I lean towards slow, as I enjoy the process and consider sewing a form of relaxation. Any time I am put under pressure to finish something in a hurry (usually for somebody else) I don't enjoy it one little bit!

  2. What a generous giveaway. I am definitely a slow sewer. Most projects I have on my cutting table for ages. I hate tracing patterns and cutting out but I love the actual sewing part of construction. Unless I have a short deadline, I like to take my time over the process these days. I find that I take more care and produce better garments. Plus, I don't have much time to sew so things can get strung out over several weekends. (UK).

  3. I've been sewing long time but I'm quite novice in sergeing, just purchased my first serger and eager to learn. So far I can say I love it. I like to sew knits and a serger makes it much easier. Have to say I'm rather fast sewer but some garments need more time and attention, depends on fabric and purpose.

  4. Love your rambles...I am definitely a slow sewer, and I love the journey. Enjoy pondering the pattern, laying out and measuring the pattern, messing around with it, modifying it, sewing, fitting, ripping out!, on and on. All of it is interesting and satisfying for me. And I don't necessarily end up wearing something I've made, often donate a garment. But I make something because it is challenging or pretty or different. Guess I'm hooked - I love to sew!

  5. Hi, like you I do both types of sewing. I am 2 months into making my first coat using some couture techniques and enjoying the process. But I also have made several quick makes for a holiday during that time. I especially love knit tops and though I have a serger I only use it to finish off seams, I don't trust it yet to sew a secure seam lol. I love to sew, but it is a solo occupation and I retreat to my sewing room to do it, but if I have to be social I get out my knitting. That way I can satisfy my need to make, but suit the situation. My husband is recovering from major knee surgery so I am doing way more knitting at the moment as he gets quite lonely stuck at home whilst I'm out at work

  6. What a great post! And happy belated anniversary. Love, love, love the color of the pentsemon -- it's my absolute favorite shade of pink. Also, great Girl Charlee picks. I've been eyeing the same exact fabrics (plus some others, their selection is dangerously appealing), and look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    As for slow or fast sewing ... well, unfortunately for me, everything is slow sewing. I am much bigger than commercial patterns (even plus sized ones), so every make starts off with pattern analysis and grading, or I have to draft the pattern from my measurements. I the sewers who can cut a size and sew it! On the plus side, I enjoy the technical parts of sewing, and feel the knowledge is valuable. :)

    1. Err, I *envy* the sewers .... don'tcha hate it when a word goes missing? :)

  7. I would LOVE those books, especially the party dress. I have an almost 16 yo girl, 5' 10", and it is hard to find clothing to fit her well. The last dress was so expensive (in fairness to me - the decision for her to attend was so last minute that there was way to construct a dress within the laws of known physics!) and I would love to be able to make an original dress just for her.

    Fast or slow? Hmmm... I have gone back and forth, but lean towards slower. Almost every time I allow myself to start speeding up, I end up with a wadder. Doesn't take long to learn that slowing down literally pays for itself - not nearly as many wadders (AKA wasted money and time) when I slow down. Also, I learn more. Perhaps as I become more experienced I'll be able to speed up and still produce quality products.

  8. I love my gravity feed. Bought it from Wawak years ago. I use an IV pole. Makes it super-portable.

  9. Congrats on 4 years! And thanks for thinking of us readers! That dress book looks lovely, thanks for hosting the giveaway.

    As for fast and slow sewing, I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I have a tendency to want instant gratification, but when I force myself to work slowly I usually get more pleasure at if both the product and the process, like recently with my Cambie Dress. I hoping to make a coat this fall and that will have to be very slow! I've recently discovered Girl Carlee and am excited to try some if their beautiful knits for fast sewing!

  10. Congratulations! Those books look delightful. I love the satisfaction of barrelling through a project -- my mum used to call me a speed demon. But lately, with more complicated projects, I'm finding the value in the care and patience of a slow process.

    For me, it comes down to what I'm hoping to get out of the project. When I made a full-size quilt as a physical memory of the last few months I spent in my house, the value of the project was in the time and place (and getting it done before I moved), not the quality of the product. "Done is better than perfect" was my motto in those months. Now, working on garments that I hope to wear for a long time and learning skills that I hope to master, I'm learning the value of slow sewing. (I realize quilting is an entirely different process than "sewing"/garment construction and the two have totally different online communities, but it's hard to separate the two in my mind.)

  11. Congratulations on 4 years! I love the Party Dress book. I am mostly a fast seer. My hubby and I travel a lot as missionaries so my sewing time is short. Also, I usually have way too many things in my mind to sew. I would love to savor a dress at least once! :)

  12. Happy 4 years!!! Thanks for sharing these lovely books! I'm in the US :)

    Fast or slow, it depends on the project, most of the time I think I go kinda slow but here and there I need to have a super fast project to get back into my sewing groove.

  13. Congratulations :) Just yesterday I decided to make a scalloped hem top and today one blogger had posted a tutorial on it. Just yesterday i was browsing through this book and today there is a giveaway, Just pinching myself LOL.
    Back to your question.I like fast sewing for simple projects like tanks. For a project with details (even sleeves) and fabrics like sheer I like it slow. I write down every small step and check off as I sew. I enjoy sewing this way. Hence I take a lot of time for every garment piece I make. Of course unless there is a deadline like pattern testing where I tend to be faster:) I have US shippable address. Please count me in for the giveaway. Thanks

  14. I would love the party dress book. I love shopping on Wawak also.

  15. I, too,am a new gravity feed iron owner...I blame that sale! My husband ordered an IV pole for the water tank and so far it's only tipped over once. Mine needs a counterbalance. But all in all, the IV pole is a good solution for me.

    I don't need the party dress book, so no need to enter me...but it's very generous of you to offer, and congratulations on 4 years! I love to follow your beautiful projects.

  16. Slow sewing for me. I savor getting each step just so, and it pleases me no end when it comes out well. Then I know all these hidden gems will combine to make a pleasing garment. I don't mind if a garment takes a long time because each of the steps is a kind of calming therapy to accomplish, and patience creates perfection. (Well, most of the time, anyway!)

    Congratulations on your four years of blogging. You have so inspired me. I would love to be in the serger book contest, as I have a lot of learning to do in that area.

    Creative Hormone Rush

  17. I've gotten faster in my sewing over the years, but still consider myself a slow (methodical) sewer. I've found that when I rushed or didn't take care in the sewing/pressing/finishing, the finished garment reflected that. Then you've wasted all that material, effort and time.
    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and congrats on reaching 4 years!!

  18. I have gradually become a slow sewer unless I'm sewing something I'm not enjoying like a garment for someone else .(I don't really like sewing for other people.) I love to take my time especially when making a coat or jacket. ITs just so worth while to take extra care to produce something which looks proffessional, I think.

  19. I am a racer at heart, I have to seriously discipline myself to reduce the pace... total impatience to get to the end and wear the garment, only to almost put the finishing touches on and find my eyes wandering over to the next project!!! And then it all begins again.x

  20. Beth, Congratulations on your anniversary! I total love your blog and hope that you will continue to share your sewing adventure. Sometimes I'm a fast sewer and other times I'm slow. It depends on the project: who it's for, what it's for, and the skill level required to complete it. Simple knit t-shirt type tops, I may sew several at the same time. But a lined princess seam jacket require some special attention especially if I add bound button holes or welt pockets. And if I sewing for a client, it is definitely more like a journey rather than a destination. I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks for asking,

  21. I suppose I'm generally a moderate speed sewist. I don't mind an involved project but I don't necessarily take time to savor. However, after 2 involved dresses in a row I'm ready for something speedy. (I'm in the US)

  22. Happy belated anniversary! And congrats on maintaining a very interesting and informative site.

  23. Happy anniversary!
    I'm a fast sewer when it comes to smile knit tops or leggings, however when I'm making a lined jacket I take my time. I love instant gratification, but I'm a perfectionist and sewing definitely taught me patience.
    I'm in the UK.

  24. I definitely sew slowly. I have 4 young children, so sewing is a wonderful creative pursuit that I try to enjoy when I have the time. I have been quilting for a few years now and have wanted to start garment sewing. So far I have only made some pajamas for my children and some scrub pants for my sister-in-law, but each project has taught me so much. I have loved visiting your blog because I learn so much from each of your posts. Thank you for being so generous with all of your knowledge! (I live in the US)

  25. Congratulations on 4 years, I really appreciate the time and effort you put in to your blog.

    I've also been thinking about fast/slow sewing recently, I'm definitely not a fast sewer and I don't make many garments a year but those that I do make I try to make the best I possibly can. Sewing is my hobby, I do it because I love the process. I love the planning, selecting fabrics and then the process of turning my vision into reality. Anyway, I have to be a slow sewer otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford my hobby.

    I also only use my serger for seam finishing and not construction, I would really like to improve my serger skills though. I live in Greece and I'd love to win the 'Sewing with Sergers' book.

  26. I'm definitely a of the slow type. It's more the journey, otherwise I'd have given up sewing, what with all the wadders produces over the years. But if at the end of the journey , the garment is wearable, it's a great bonus! :)