Friday, April 04, 2014

My Sewing Life and Cloth - A New Book by Cassandra Ellis + A Giveaway

What many people don't know about my textile and art background is that it all started with sewing. I learned to embroider from my grandmother and mother when I was about ten years old. I learned to sew on my mom's sewing machine when I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade. Robin, the neighbor who lived across the street and was 4 years older than me, taught me to sew. My mom was smart (and busy w/ 4 kids) and so she asked Robin to help me learn instead of inducing the stress of mother/daughter dynamics into the sewing lessons. Very smart Mom, don't you think? and I idolized Robin so it was a win-win. 

I quickly became addicted to looking at fabric. I had been around people who sewed all my life. These were the days when you could save money by making clothes and Mom would frequently whip up a slew of clothes for all us. Gram was an awesome stitcher, quilter and needlewoman and held a sewing circle at her house every week with her German friends. I guess I was naturally inclined to become entranced with needles, thread and textiles. I discovered the art of choosing the right fabric for a project - mostly by reading the back of sewing patterns and learning what different fabrics were called by spending hours in Abe's Fabric Store in downtown Dover. I loved to match sewing thread to fabric choosing the exact right shade. I spent hours browsing through the large patterns books from Butterick, McCall's, Simplicity, and Vogue. All through my teens, I made most of my own clothing. I had an amazing high school sewing teacher named Mrs. Airola. She had learned to sew in Paris and knew all the tricks of the couture trade. Every day I looked forward to the class period when I would race in to the sewing room and get going on project. Mrs. Airola challenged us - we learned the best techniques including all kinds of seaming, bound buttonholes, welt pockets, tailoring, and many more couture techniques. I loved to sew so much that I decided to study clothing and textile design in college. 

I was so fortunate in my formative years to be blessed with these amazing teachers and parents who helped support my sewing habit. I got so into it that I started sewing for neighbors and making stuffed toys to sell. I raised the $423 by sewing to buy myself a Bernina 831 sewing machine in the 1970's which I still use today. What a great machine it has been. The number of hours it has been sewn on has got to be in the thousands and thousands.

I don't sew as much as I once did but my machine is always out and ready to go. Now I do other kinds of work with textiles but my sewing machine is often part of it - for steeking handknits and finishing edges of fabrics pre-embroidery and for mending. I make all my own linen shirts that I wear on my teaching gigs - they are basic and I re-use the pattern again and again because I have altered it to fit me. 

I never think much about my sewing - it is just something I do and something I don't blog about or talk much about. I don't know much about the current sewing world - I just do what I need to do. I find it quite remarkable that there is such an increase in the interest in sewing and I am really happy that once again, sewing is on the radar of the public. Someone told me the other day that sewing is where knitting was 10 years ago. We'll see. I do know that there are some really great sewing blogs out there and some amazing fabrics - especially for quilters. The patterns and colors available are truly stunning. They almost make me want to make a quilt! And the books that are now available! Wow. Back in my sewing day they did not exist. My only book was the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing which I still own. Everything else I learned from following sewing patterns and from my teachers.


This is a rather long introduction for today's book review and giveaway. I wanted to share my sewing story as a preface to a new book that I just received from STC/Melanie Falick Books. It is called Cloth and is written by Cassandra Ellis. This book is truly beautiful. The photos are by the incredibly talented Catherine Gratwicke and you can find her website here. It is beautiful enough to get someone who knows nothing about sewing to learn to sew. Cassandra lives in London and describes herself as a "designer, maker, writer and thinker" on her website. The book has a very British look to it which I adore. It is what they call a "pick-up" in the publishing trade and has been Americanized by the editors at STC. You can visit Cassandra's website here.

Cloth is a what I would consider a book for beginning sewers (Note - I use that term "sewers" - I despise the new term "sewist". Seriously, who thought that one up?) It is broken into chapters including an Introduction to cloth and sewing tools and then by fibers - Cotton, Linen, Wool, Silk, and Hide (Leathers). Each chapter begins with an intro to the fiber and 5 to 8 projects follow. 


In the back of the book, there is a pocket with the sewing patterns for each of the projects. The projects are rather easy to make so if you are a long-time sewer - buy this book for the photos and fabric porn, not the projects. If you are a beginner, this book is a great introduction to sewing. I will say, it does not have many illustrations in it so if you are a beginner, you would also need to purchase a basic sewing book about seaming, or do some googling or youtubing to watch instructional videos. 

If you are looking to purchase a gift for a friend who you think should learn to sew, this book could be it. It belongs on a coffee table at a creative home. Here are some of my favorite projects from Cloth:

These linen slippers (I would call them scuffs) are quite beautiful:



Here is a project with very little sewing made out of leather. I am tempted to purchase some leather and make these.



I am a big fan of waxed cotton and fell in love with these simple zipped bags. (Have you seen Betz White's tutorial on waxed cotton? It is here and good.)


I love this simple cotton tote. Mostly I love the gorgeous leather handles - what a pretty idea.


This idea has been around for hundreds of years but isn't it beautiful? A braided cotton rug. I love that enameled stove! 


This is my favorite project from Cloth - a wool tweed zippered tote again with the gorgeous leather handles.


Because I am an experienced sewer, most of these projects are not very challenging but then sometimes, that is just what I am looking for - a quick project to whip up for a gift or to use myself. I think it is time I get out my fabric stash which has been languishing in the attic and start sewing again!

For me, the best part of Cloth is the Resource List and the large listing of Books and Magazines, Museums and Galleries around the world, Stores and Markets, and interesting Organizations and People. I really have to spend some time looking up the different websites and getting myself excited about sewing again!



Sew ....... here is what I have for one lucky winner today - a copy of the new book Cloth by Cassandra Ellis donated by STC/Melanie Falick Books. Here's how you enter....

Answer the following question in the comments......
Tell me something, anything...... about what, how, if, if not ...... you sew. I love to hear what crafts you do and talents you all have.

US Addresses only. And please AS ALWAYS leave an easy way to get a hold of you - Rav ID, Blogger ID, Blog Name, or email. No easy way to contact you and I skip to the next person in line after Julia picks a random number (some people use a Random Number Generator - I use my daughter!).

Good luck everyone - Contest closes Wednesday, April 9th at 11:59 p.m.

Contest is over - the winner is Pattie who said:
Easy sewing projects are great! I have made small quilts for grandkids and hemming my handwoven overshot towels mostly. I would love to find a pattern for a girls dress that incorporates a pocket and button hole for an insulin pump for my granddaughter. If anyone knows of a pattern, please let me know. That's what I'd like to sew next; a dress for Maddy so she won't have to wear two piece outfits all the time.
oldgoatwoman: Ravelry


81 comments:

Fibercrafter said...

I have sewn a bit of everything...from troll clothes to a custom bbq cover, recovered a sofa (help from a library book), re-stitched my grandfather's leather satchel. The book looks wonderful!Fibercrafter on Rav

Blonde said...

When the children were small, I used to sew quite a lot.
I would love to get back to it, right after I send my sewing machine to be repaired... ;-)

Vicki Knitorious said...

I've always sewn in spurts and when needed -- curtains, maternity clothes, kids' play clothes, mending. Recently, I began hand sewing and I cannot get enough! I've done far more sewing than knitting this year and have even been looking into pattern drafting... intrigued by the whole thing as I've never been before. This looks like a wonderful book! Thank you for the opportunity, and good luck to all!

Lynda said...

This looks like such a beautiful book, Kristen. My sewing history is similar to yours, having sewn much of my wardrobe in high school and into my 20's and 30's. Then more for children and costumes for school plays. These days most of my sewing is for grandchildren as more of my free time is used for knitting but sewing still calls to me and this book is very inspiring. Thanks for bringing it to our attention and offering a copy!
(lejaros@gmail.com)

Unknown said...

I learned to sew from my mother who made a point of teaching her daughters herself, as her high school home ec class had been a total waste of time as far as she was concerned. Apparently, the sum total of that experience had been a rather sad collection of cheesy aprons which she took great delight in burning upon a bonfire at the first opportunity after graduation! PamWoolbright@gmail.com

Anonymous said...


My mom sewed most of my clothes when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, but to save her sanity she enrolled me in 4H to learn to sew. I sewed a few basic items in high school and college, but found I didn't really like it. But my mom recently moved to a retirement community and I now have her sewing machine and am determined to start sewing again. This book looks like it would be a wonderful re-introduction to sewing. Everything looks so practical. Thanks for the opportunity to receive a copy.
Melissa M
tinissa@epix.net

Anonymous said...

I have sewn off and on over the years; kid's clothes,
totes and Christmas gifts. I mainly spin now and knit, but I would love to weave with my handspun and make a pillow or something. This book has lovely inspirational photos! Thank-you for the giveaway!
woolleygoodness on Rav

Dixie said...

I learned to sew from my grandmother at 12 and have never stopped. At over 6 feet tall, I'm grateful to have my sewing skills. Currently, I make funky clothing for myself, and handbags to sell. I dabble a lot with paint and cloth, and enjoy adding hand stitching to my garments. My blog is withneedleandbrush.blogspot.com. Email is whistlingdixie@comcast.net
Dixie

Blonde said...

By the way, the "enamel stove" in the picture is a 4 oven Aga.
I have a red 2 oven and I love it!!! :-)

Teresa said...

I sewed when I was a teenager and my mom, like yours, sewed a lot of our families clothing to save money. I hadn't sewn anything in 35 years when my own two teenage daughters joined the theatre group in their high school. The costume shop was run by a woman who volunteered and she put me to work sewing very simple things at first and then more complicated things. My oldest daughter and I are now learning to sew together. I have been making mostly knitting bags because I love knitting and bags. My daughter has made a couple of bags but they don't really interest her as much because she doesn't knit. She is still looking for things that interest her . . .

D Louise said...

I learned to sew, embroider, and crochet as a child. From junior high on through my professional life as a teacher, I made most all my own clothes,mostly from Vogue Designer patterns. These days, sewing...not so much... I discovered Alabama Chanin's designs this year and am finding that these handsewn projects have reawakened my interest in sewing in general.

I learned to knit as a high school student, and that makes up much of my crafting these days.

Anonymous said...

I am teaching myself to sew with books,internet, craftsy, etc. I have a vintage singer 201. This book looks wonderful!
Carol
Cpmigda@aol com

Wanda said...

I really don't want the book but I very much want to make a comment. My history is so much like yours! I even hate the term 'sewist'! The world has moved on, it seems, and fabrics for garments are awfully scarce. When I was younger, any trip to a fabric store pressed my creativity button and I'd be full of plans. I'm so sorry that our textile production moved offshore. That made a change that affected the entire area I live in, which was the home of Cannon Mills. Now it's a ghost town. Sewing made me happy in a way that other textile work just can't replace. Good luck to all of you who want this book - it does look good for those looking to increase their skills.

llhymes said...

I learned to sew from a neighbor, she sewed everything, from slipcovers to curtains to clothing. I also learned from Home Economics class and F. H. A. (Future Homemakers of America). While I don't sew often these days, I would like to get back into it.

Anonymous said...

I first learned to sew when I was 9 from my mother who was a home economics teacher and a great seamstress. I made a small tote bag out of felt with various shapes sewn on to practice corners and curves. I believe I still have it! I continue to enjoy sewing, making quilts and drawstring bags, but make great passion right now is knitting!
Looks like a great book-thanks!
Lee (mamagiff on ravelry)

Rebekah said...

A good portion of my sewing time is spent sewing clothes for myself and my sisters. I'm over six feet so finding clothes that fit me is no easy feat and that is one of things that makes sewing so important in my life.

steph said...

i own a sewing machine, but unfortunately, it doesn't make me a sewer. :( I try occasionally, but so far it's primarily used to make quick little bags for all my knitting projects!!! I'd love to know more. and be better.

woolythyme1 on rav

Lisa said...

My sewing history mostly surrounds costuming, holloween and several award winning Mardi Gras costumes for my son. Today crafting is mostly knitting and sewing of necessary items, curtains and such.

Anonymous said...

I got a sewing machine as a young bride. I had never used one before and it sat and sat until my then husband pulled it out and bought some green and white flannel fabric and a pattern and proceeded to sew himself a nightshirt! Well that smarted a bit until I realized that if he could teach himself how to do it then I could.
Most of my sewing projects have been for home decorations- curtains, pillows, roman shades. These days I would love to make myself things that I just cant seem to find in the clothing stores anymore, and maybe that beautiful zippered tote!
dianeheath@gmail.com

Robin C said...

I sew very little best of work but like to say I am a quilter and knitter. Knitting is much easier to do but I want to learn to sew clothing, specifically pants. Nothing fits when shopping. I just got a serger and plan to master it. By the way, I love your roosters. They are awesome.

Teresa said...

I learned to sew on feed sacks in grade school and then refined my skills in home ec class in high school. A new outfit ment a trip to the fabric store so I could make it myself. A comment from my mother a few years ago to my husband reminded me how much of my wardrobe I created in my high school and college years. With pride in her voice mom said if I wanted something new I would get fabric, a pattern and make it myself. I especially liked the "make it myself" part. I rarely make garments anymore but love to sew for my home and the homes of my children. My machine is always out and ready to use.

knitpurlrip said...

Hello Kristin,
My Mom, her sister and their mother were skilled and talented sewers, along with needlework and knitting. My Mom taught me to knit at a young age beginning with long tIl cast on. Home EC in middle school taught me the basics, but getting the tissue patterns pinned to the fabric was my undoing. Am too much of a perfectionist and I used every single pin.
Sewing is something I did more by hand than by machine with my girl friends during high school. We mended our jeans, sewed patches a la "Keep on Truckin" to our jeans and stitched designs on the seams when we were not tie dying and batiking countless t-shirts. As a bag lady who still loves the illusion of control and organization via well crafted leather goods with multiple zippered compartments, I fondly remember buying scraps of leather, cutting a rectangle of orange and white cotton gingham, sewing the puzzle pieces of leather to the fabric, making a long shoulder strap and having a one of a kind, tote bag. These days my needle craft is thread bending via knitting. Next will be learning the Lucette.

On Ravelry - knitpurlrip

Mrs. C said...

I sew ,piece, quilt, crochet and print/embellish fabric... I mostly sew bags, totes, purses...i'm kind of obsessed with them :)

susan said...

I started sewing the summer after 4th grade when I took a class at the Singer Sewing Store in Rutland, Vermont. At the end of the class my father bought me a Singer Featherweight, which I still have almost 60 years later! I still sew clothing, quilt and now enjoy sewing for my grandchildren. Looks like a spectacular book!

Annabanana said...

I learned to sew as a kid. I now sew quilts, table linens, pajama pants and tons of other things.

Leslie said...

My mother was a great seamstress. She made winter coats, dresses, pants, you name it, she made it. She taught herself french seaming, bound buttonholes, blind hemming... In fact she made my sister's formal peau d'soi wedding gown with all those little button loops and my unbleached linen wedding dress. I learned from her but sadly haven't done much sewing in the past 30 or so years. I don't even know if the Brother I have still works. I do need to get back to it; I need throw pillows and ottoman covers. Someday...

Nancy said...

I recycle fabric I love into aprons, little purses, rugs...I sew, crochet, knit, weave, and generally love the textile arts.

Sandy said...

Both my mother and grandmother sewed. I had no interest in sewing until I moved across the country and knew no one! One of the stores closest to me was a quilt store and I admired all the quilts. They had classes, so I took one, more in desperation to meet people and own a quilt. That I had to sew it was a means to an end! 17 years later I am still quilting, but I'd like to learn how to sew garments. Garment sewing is another thing entirely from quilting.

I'd love to win the book!

Cami said...

I like to sew things that don't require a lot of fitting. I've done clothing for kids, pajama pants, costumes, home dec, quilts. I love to sew!

Thanks for a great give away!

Kat Farmer/van Hookens said...

I sew allsorts of stuff, patchwork and rag dolls are probably my fave, though I have made several wedding dresses and sets of bridesmaids dresses in me time. I don't live in US, but do enjoy your blogging :-D

Yowela@hotmail.com said...

My mother taught me to sew when I was young. I also remember watching my grandma sew on her Singer machine with the foot pedal. I made Barbie doll clothes for my younger sister who gave them to the neighbors child when she outgrew dolls. I wish I had them now for my grand kids! I made many of my daughters clothes when they were young as well as my own. I do much more knitting than sewing now, but still open up the machine every now and then. I have a stack of fabrics to machine embroider for backpacs for children in Kenya as my next sewing project.

Lisa said...

Kristin, your sewing history catapulted me to my own memory lane ... first sewing lesson at age 5 with my aunt - we were making a little layette for the new baby that was on its way ... junior high home ec sewing classes at the Coffin School on Nantucket - that first A-line skirt in wool! ... and then financing my first European adventure (at 16) by selling a stack of French cheesemaker shirts in unbleached muslin - remember the Folkwear Patterns?! ... This book looks lovely, and full of inviting projects. The photography alone ... swoon! (Ravelry ID: Nellablue)

adodds said...

I learned to sew after the birth of my 1st daughter. We had moved to Texas and I was in love with all the smocked dresses. I found the embroidery lovely but then needed to sew the dresses. It was challenging. I bought a used sewing machine and taught myself. Through the years I have made children's clothes, lots of doll clothes, mending and quilting. It has all been fun.
Skibum on Rav

adodds said...

I learned to sew after the birth of my 1st daughter. We had moved to Texas and I was in love with all the smocked dresses. I found the embroidery lovely but then needed to sew the dresses. It was challenging. I bought a used sewing machine and taught myself. Through the years I have made children's clothes, lots of doll clothes, mending and quilting. It has all been fun.
Skibum on Rav

Patti said...

Easy sewing projects are great! I have made small quilts for grandkids and hemming my handwoven overshot towels mostly. I would love to find a pattern for a girls dress that incorporates a pocket and button hole for an insulin pump for my granddaughter. If anyone knows of a pattern, please let me know. That's what I'd like to sew next; a dress for Maddy so she won't have to wear two piece outfits all the time.
oldgoatwoman: Ravelry

Leigh Wheeler said...

I love sewing - all kinds - home dec, quilting, clothes, bags. It's all fun. (and so is the knitting, beading, spinning and and and...)

I think it's funny you don't like the term "sewist". While I agree it does seem sortof made up, I find I much prefer it to "sewer" which to me reads as the place where the toilet flush goes. And for the record I thought that before I worked for the City water department, but working there didn't help. I haven't got anything better though. I'm no tailor and not really fond of "seamstress" as that isn't inclusive to the guys. A language conundrum for sure.

Goldie Stetten said...

Well hello Kristen and Julia! I started sewing in middle school out of necessity. Graduating from a catholic school with uniforms left me with now wardrobe to start public school. Ao, I used my mother's, she only taught me how to thread the machine. I was the oldest of 5 , she had no time. At age eighteen in 1969,I received a basic singer, it has no zigzag, just forward and backward. In 45 years I have made clothes, pillows, drapes and assorted crafts on it. I as a teenager would study Seventeen Magazine, then the pattern books, then go downtown Detroit to JL Hudson's and the entire eighth floor was fabric, heaven!

carolm said...

I learned most of my hand arts from my Swiss grandmother. Knitting, sewing embroidery as a child of 9+ years old. Her family owned a lacemaking factory in Switzerland. Wish she was around now with me in adulthood to share even more.
Continuing to this day creating.

tjf said...

I have always had an interest in the making of just about anything. As a child I would hand-sew pillows for my dolls but no one ever really taught me too much. Today I sew projects like bags and totes - or smallish things I can give as gifts. I've made a few quilts and a couple of pj pants. I'm not confident in my ability to sew clothes but my 11 year old daughter is! Guess I should follow her. :) The book looks beautiful!

Tricia (tfankell6@gmail.com)

Tracie said...

I just finished a sewing project with my church. Our Lenten Mission Project was collecting toiletries for women who use the local emergency shelter. Since they leave with just the clothes on their back, a few members who sew thought it would be nice if they received their toiletries in a hand-sewn bag - not just a ziplock or grocery sack. Many members donated beautiful fabrics and we made 57 bags and filled them all (with extra toiletries for our food barn) and our confirmation class presented them to the director of the shelter. Not the most complicated things I ever sewed, but definitely the most meaningful.

rav id: tracienix

Gayle Graverson said...

Have been sewing since high school. then made my own clothes, got married and made lothes for my children. now sewing for my grandchildren. Gayle. graverson356@gmail.com

Chris said...

I have sewed since I was about 10--for many years. I used to make all my clothes in high school. I learned to tailor from my home ec teacher mother, have made curtains, pillows, bags, doll clothes, clothes for my daughter. Now mostly I make art quilts but also anything I need, made of fabric, in my home. I couldn't live without my sewing machine. I am also an avid reader and pick up ideas whatever I read. It's my birthday! Maybe I'll win the book. Thanks,

Diane Ellis said...

My husband bought me a sewing machine. I have made a few tote bags but not much more. My 11 year old daughter uses it more. She is now taking a sewing class every week. I love to introduce her to different crafts. Thank you for the giveaway.
ravid: dianeellis2012

lindag1947 said...

I do like to sew. Just finished a costume for for our local Tulip Time in holland, Michigan. She is in third and is in a group that dance called Kinderdance . They perform during the festival in May. The pattern was not the best to follow but it did turn out okay.

lindagerig@sbcglobal.net

Sarah said...

Sewing is like breathing to me -- I just do it. I don't remember ever NOT knowing how -- my mother taught me, and by the time I was 5 I was making tube dresses for my barbie dolls. Thank you for the giveaway! sarah@forrussia.org

Val said...

I love all things fiber and my primary interest currently is art quilting. I also love yarn and mostly knit but am gaining interest in crochet as well. This book looks fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

beth said...

I learned to sew as a kid in 4 H. It's what I love to do now. I love choosing fabrics for projects and coming up with designs for our refugee sewing class, which I teach. What a wonderful book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I am about your age I think and learned to sew in Bluebirds in second grade. Have done all sorts of sewing through the years. I too, made most of my clothes in high school except the required daily uniform of bluejeans. Still do a lot of quilting. Make what is needed like a gun rest for my son for siting in his rifles, a dogbed for the pups, to mending the clothes to wear them out rather than buy new. Glad to hear that sewing is in vogue again. Need to start teaching it in school again.
Peggy Rav Id peggyspins

Linne said...

My Mum started me on hand-stitching by age 2; then at 9 I learned embroidery, knitting and crocheting. Did a bit of sewing in Home Ec but it wasn't as helpful for me. Mum taught me more with her Singer treadle machine. When I was expecting my first son, I hand-stitched his long dresses (back before the 'sleepers' took over) and receiving blankets. I'm tall, with long arms and legs and clothes from stores never fit right. In my 20s I began making my own long skirts and dresses, all by hand (I was living without electricity). Then I bought my own treadle machine, but still did most of my sewing by hand; I still love hand-stitching. I even made a full length Irish cloak, fully lined, top-stitched and all! I hate the new made-up words and 'sewist' sounds so ugly I simply refuls. I don't like 'sewer', either as to me that's the other end of the toilet line. I use 'seamstress' a lovely word with lots of tradition. I've never met a man who loves to hand-stitch, so I'm not worried about being inclusive. I call men who sew 'tailors'. :-) I hate to see all the words about women being thrown out as somehow 'inferior'. It seems that these days we are to use 'real human' words (e.g., actor instead of actress) when we speak about women. If we really want to be inclusive, we can use 'woman' and 'women', as they contain 'man' and 'men' :-) But that's another rant . . .

I still love to sew and last year hand-stitched some quilt pieces using Jelly Roll fabrics; no cutting that way. I have a couple of wee dresses for grand-daughters on the go, too, and a couple of long dresses and at least one skirt for myself. First I have to finish the Fair Isle style huge cardi that just needs sleeves and button bands.

I'm from Canada, so not eligible for the draw, but will look for that book in our library. It looks very interesting.
~ Linne

Sheila said...

I used to sew a lot. As a teenager I made a lot of my own clothes. I haven't sewn much in recent years and would really like to get back into it. Maybe this book would be the kick I need to actually do it.

Elaine said...

When the children were small I sewed most of there clothing but now I spin, knit and weave.

Elaine said...

Sorry, I forgot contact i.d.
eblim01@yahoo.com

aggie325 said...

I too, grew up with a mother who sewed expertly, along with lots of other crafts. Sadly, I didn't spend enough time around Mom and her sewing machine. I would LOVE this book because I've been thinking I need to stretch my mind and learn a new hobby.
diann325@gmail.com

Shing Hsieh said...

These days I mostly use the sewing machine for hemming, patching our clothes but my Mom, older sister and I use to make all of our own clothes. It was so much cheaper when I was younger though you can still find great deals on fabric. I've been nostalgic about sewing lately and this may be the jump start I need to get back in!
shing.hsieh@comcast.net, Shing on Rav

Anonymous said...

I remember learning to sew at my local Chicago Park District in a class. We used my mom's Singer that is still running today. It's a model from the 1950's that she received as a gift in high school. Quilters now hunt them down!
Mary Kate Witry
pwitry@rcn.com

Anonymous said...

I began sewing when I was 7 years old. We won't go into how long ago that was but suffice it to say that I am now sewing for my first grandbaby. I make clothing, quilts, things for the home, and gifts. I love to sew and would be thrilled to win this book!
jlo58@live.com
Jeannette Olton

Patt Ward said...

I started out very young hand sewing doll clothes from discarded towels and wash cloths. My mom did not sew, but she embroidered. I got s sewing box with floss, needles, pillow cases, and iron on pattern for my 10th birthday and mom taught me to embroider. I then learned the basic knit stitch from s girl about 8 years old in Germany. It was something I was able to do right away. No problems with coordination. She moved and another neighbor, also German, helped me out further. Once we moved away, I was on my own. I am pretty much self taught and have been knitting for over 40 years. When I was in JR High, I learned to sew in Home-Ec. I was pretty good at it and my Dad bought me a sewing machine and paid me 50 cents an hour to sew clothes for my little sisters. I sewed and knitted clothes for their dolls as well. I knit more than sew, but I am known at work for being able to repair snags and repair denim. I have a pair of jeans to hem for my boss right now as well as repairing a coworkers well loved crocheted afghan. If I was picked for this wonderful book, I have granddaughters in mind to gift and help work through. auntiddaknits@yahoo.com

Trinity said...

I am just getting into sewing garments after a lifelong, intermittent sewing life of making simple curtains, pillowcases and zippered bags. The push into sewing garments is due in part to all of the inspiring patterns and fabric on the market, in part to a desire to be as handmade/DIY as possible and in part due to a health need to wear clothes that are made out of natural fibers. As I am sure you know, the best way to get exactly what you want is to make it yourself! This book looks wonderful! Thanks for hosting a giveaway! (I'm on Ravelry as TrinKnitty)

Cate said...

A friend recently posted a photograph of me, her, and another friend from our freshman year in college and mentioned that all three of us were wearing dresses we'd made and all three of us had sewing machines in our dorm rooms. Mine was the first portable electric Singer that I had bought at a yard sale for $25. I now have a much more modern machine and love it, but use it so much more rarely than I used that old one. Now I dive into quilting every once in a while or repair things (lots of hemming pants), but hope to retire in another 5 years and sew more again. Knitting is just so much more portable!
ctashton at colby dot edu

Joanne said...

I have sewn nearly all my boys' wool soakers (for cloth diapers) out of felted sweaters! This really got me to explore and be brave--it is more complicated than all the endless curtain hemming I have done in the past...

I live in Canada but my folks live in the USA so I have a US address--sort of! (My username on Rav is my name : joanneseiff

Amy said...

What a wonderful story about your sewing childhood and how it stays with you! I mostly knit, and crochet a little, but my daughter sews, and we have sewed one quilt together--with the help of a lovely lady in our local knitting/quilting store who told me that if I bought a sewing machine from her, she wouldn't charge me for lessons. Finishing the quilt took two seasons, but it's wonderful and I am hoping to make many more! My email: schwartzwq@aol.com.

Pammie said...

My mother taught me to sew and it started when I was very young - maybe 4 or five years old; she made my dresses and clothes for herself - back then it was the economical thing to do. I remember making my Barbie doll clothes using the kits with tiny zippers and buttons. I've sewn over the years for my children, who are now grown with their own families. Most recently my projects have been baby quilts for my grandchildren. I love your story. I cannot imagine a home without a sewing machine, and love my Bernina purchased some 30 years ago by my husband for Christmas. Thank you for the chance to win the book.

Tamson Ely said...

I started sewing doll clothes for my own dolls, then my own clothes, and children's clothes for nieces and nephews, items for my own sons, more dolls, and endless curtains and, pillow covers over the years for different places I have lived--and for my parents and siblings.
My mother used to make braided rugs and I learned how to make some very small ones for chairs--would love to make one for my kitchen.
Such fun to remember old sewing projects and envision future ones!

Natalie F said...

I am new to sewing. I like doing pillowcase dresses and hooded towels. I am going to start pillows next.
natalie.k711(at)gmail(dot)com

deidre said...

Hi! I love the projects that you reviewed in this book. I tried my hand at machine sewing as a teenager and managed to make a tank top that was wearable. A few years back I worked at a furniture factory and put together parts to be upholstered. WAY different. This past year I put together a quilt for my daughter and ended up doing it factory style, all that pinning drove me crazy. Thanks for the chance to win. lostinkansas on Ravelry

HOA Mgr Lady said...

I have made a couple of Quilts and I used to sew lots in Highschool and beyond. I have probably 5 or 6 machines and... when I saw the metal singer sewing machine I used in HS on ebay I had to buy them! Also have a Featherlight. These days I just barely get through each day as a busy business owner BUT i still buy fabric and in fact recetly bought some dark purple corduroy to make a skirt. But I have BIG plans for retirement at age 70 in 61 MONTHS!
Ruth
Rcederstro@aol.com

Anonymous said...

My mother taught me how to sew when I was small. I remember her explaining how to lay out a pattern to use as little of the fabric as possible and I recall many a time when I would carefully rip out seems that she had just made. Even good sewers make mistakes! Home ec classes were very frustrating because the sewing machines terrible - like trying to row a boat in a straight line with very mismatched oars. I would take projects home, rip the seems open, and sew them at home. I still use the sewing machine I bought at the Iowa State Fair the year I got married. Got a good deal on an older model because it did not have a owner manual. Not fancy but still going strong. The book looks wonderful. I bet my daughters would find it inspirational. gnlmutti@gmail.com

Bonnie said...

I learned how to sew last year after becoming a grandma for the first time. I wanted to be able to sew Easter dresses, Halloween costumes, tutu's, etc... Then I realized I was really enjoying myself and now I want to learn how to make EVERYTHING! :)

Bonnie
bonnielandis@hotmail.com

MelissaH said...

I sew as little as possible. I really need to get over my sewing aversion, but I'm not sure how!

jennifer.auroradesign said...

I was raised by a crafty mother and enabled by my aunt and god mother. I remember learning to use the sewing machine in kindergarten (thankful it was a knee control because I couldn't reach the floor), knitting, crochet, macrame, weaving, braiding, you name it! I wove extensively in college and as a young adult. As a new parent I picked up knitting needles again because it was small and transportable. I've dabbled in spinning. And last week I bought two large pieces of linen to work on some summer clothes! I love it all.

Anonymous said...

I'm a knitter mostly and do a bit of crochet. I help my mother, aunt & cousins quilt when they need to get something done. I sort of learned how to sew when I was a kid, but never well and have always been pretty intimidated by it. I have had a simple Brother machine since high school that sadly stays mostly in its box. I would love to take it out and make some of these! It looks wonderful. My birthday is next month, so maybe if I don't win, I can ask for it then! Thanks Kristin. I love reading your blog!
Brenda
bacooper8@yahoo.com

Ridgely said...

I began sewing in 8th grade, made many of my own cloths and my daughter's clothes and now have moved onto quilting. I love to sew and have an ongoing love affair with textiles of all kinds!

Marcia said...

Long ago I made several pairs of pants -- basic elastic waist with pockets. Now I mostly hem pants. Also I strip-piece quilt top for comforters -- all pretty basic stuff. I learned the basics in a Home Ec class. Wish the schools were still doing home ec -- saves a person lots of $$ over the years to know a few basics.

Brenda said...

I love to sew knitting bags. I work in my LYS, and we sell bags, but I like to make my own so they are unique. I'm also working on a big quilt right now---the top has over 2,000 pieces. The blocks are pretty easy, but there are just so many small pieces.

Whitney Pritchard said...

I am trying to sew Game of Thrones Themed Bridesmaids dresses... since i've never sewn a dress before... and so far no one has asked for a dress for which there is an existing commercial pattern... this is turning into quite the project Lol.

superwhit2003@gmail.com

Dawn said...

I've been sewing since I was four years old. I started on doll clothes, then onto my own wardrobe. I made my wedding dress, then some maternity shirts, then baby quilts. Now I'm making purses.

Sandy C said...

I love to sew and bought a very nice sewing machine a couple years ago. Sad to say, I have started spinning fiber and it has taken over my life. I have knitted for many years and now I can make my own yarn. Back to sewing soon as I have a pile of things I want to make.

Heather L. said...

Oh this book looks good! Yes, I sew! I love hand sewing best of all and I earn my "pin money" by sewing wool flowers from shrunken sweaters. Right now I'm sewing up a fast quilt along the lines of something Jane Brocket might do. That is on the machine. I am passionate about passing on the love of sewing and needle arts to the next generation....

Anonymous said...

~ Thanks Kristin for a terrific book review ! ~
I learned hand sewing & embroidery at a young age and have continued to enjoy embroidery immensely. I created felt clothes for my troll for years, so I laughed at the 1st post by Fibercrafter sewing for her trolls too. :) Machine sewing I'm not very successful at. However, I've named a Singer that I was traded knitting lessons for, Tina, so I'm trying to make friends with Tina. The fabrics are so beautiful, I'm not giving up. I loVe learning from artsy, beautiful books, so CLOTH is on my wish list. Recently I've been making embroidered pincushions as gifts. I loVe "drawing with embroidery thread." I'm teaching a 4.5 yr. old girl beginning freestyle embroidery, I enjoy teaching littles the creative Handworks and passing on the skills to another generation.
Best,
Shell ~
YarnSoup@yahoo.com

p.s. Kristin, I'm knitting the robins from your SUNFLOWER book this week ! Perfect Springtime knitting ~

grammynan said...

Can I sew? yes, but not very well. Do I sew? no because I don't do it very well. However I must say that I am retiring soon and I bought a pattern and some lovely turquoise material to make my granddaughter a summer dress and i am so excited. The book looks LOVELY!

Leanne said...

I don't sew often but just spent time with a friend last weekend at a "sewcial" where we all made a quilted casserole carrier. It was so much fun and I still can't believe I finished it in one evening. RAV ID leannegoddard