Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Open Thread

Hey, here's a new idea. I'm exhausted, but I still want to hear from you. Why don't we experiment with an open thread? Topics could possibly include, but are not limited to:
  • Seen any good movies? We finally watched The King's Speech last weekend. It was delightful! Of course, anything with my boyfriend Colin Firth in it is delightful. Feel free to discuss Colin Firth as much as you'd like.
  • What are you sewing this weekend? I'll be finishing the satin sheath dress to go in my book. It's in the most amazing watermelon color. With a matching bolero, which is already completed. Yes, I added the bolero back into the book. I couldn't let it go! I think the design of it is actually quite cute, and it complements a dress rather than competing with it.
  • Hey, do any of you not sew, or are looking to start? I'd like to do some posts for beginners, but want to feel out the demand. I'm talking VERY beginner, as in maybe you're not sure how to thread a machine. What do you all think?
  • Reading anything good? I'm going to The Strand tomorrow (I'm meeting with my illustrator to look at art for inspiration!) and I feel in the mood to splurge on a new book. Probably something fashion history oriented.
  • Any sewing projects you want feedback on? Let's help each other out!
Okay, dive in!

168 comments:

  1. I've been sewing McCall's 6350. And using your yellow dress techniques. The bodice is almost done, I want to wear it on Thursday.

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  2. Oh, I LOVED the king’s speech. Colin Firth is so good in it, you really really feel for him. Also – yum.
    This weekend I’m working on a full-skirted halterneck dress in a beautiful wine/red-rose-on-a-cream-ground print cotton. It’s only the second thing I will have completed in my life and I think I overdid it with the large bust adjustment, AND I think that the back is too low to wear a bra under it, so I don’t think it’s going to be a huge success. But I’m super-excited to have made something that actually looks like a garment. I’m scared about putting in the zipper though. But your blog is really what inspired me to try again to learn how to sew and gave me the courage to think that I could learn to make things that actually fit me well (since I have a non-standard figure, and pretty much can’t but things that fit anywhere, this would be a nice skill to have) so posts aimed at beginners would be fabulous.

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  3. Colin Firth was indeed quite wonderful in 'The King's Speech' (my husband and i watched it a couple weekends ago with his mother). This weekend i am sewing/ painting(?) a necktie for my niece, a nursing cover for a friend's baby shower, and finishing the tea cozy i started for us last weekend. I am always amazed how projects for other people get done and projects for me sit half completed till i 'have time.' Reminds me of the old saying, "the cobbler's son has no shoes."

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  4. I am taking a break from sewing and blogging this weekend. We are going up to Boston and enjoying some family time. I did not answer one single question, but hey. You said you wanted to hear from us! I totally understand exhausted! I finished the prom dress, and that felt so great.

    And as long as I am rambling, I hope there are total beginners out there who'd enjoy very basic posts. I am all about bringing more seamstresses on board! I think you are very good at presenting material without dumbing it down.

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  5. I like this open thread idea! I could ramble endlessly about Colin Firth, and am not a beginner sewist per say (I’ve been sewing for a couple of years) but I would consider myself a beginner in the clothes sewing department as most of my creations have turned out to be small disasters. To this end, I'm participating in Sunni's Ginger skirt sewalong, so I'll be sewing my muslin this weekend - yippee! I really enjoy your blog and often stop by for inspiration and instruction, so huge thanks! Happy weekend to you!

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  6. Splash
    That is me diving in!
    My boyfriend is away for the weekend which means I can sew All Weekend!
    I'll be making the Vogue 8480 jacket. I'm super excited to get started.

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  7. I am one of those people who doesn't sew and still love everything about your blog. I know how to thread a machine (I even have one). But that - and sewing more ore less straight seams - is about it. I would love to learn to sew but I'm kind of a perfectionist. Therefore the thought of starting to sew is quite intimidating to me. I feel like there is soo much you can do wrong... To cut a long story short: I would love to read some beginner posts from you! And I'm pretty sure it would finally get me to start sewing.

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  8. Mmmm....Colin Firth. Yes, let's talk about him. But I dunno if the military uniform is doing it for me.

    Right now I am sewing an enormous white-on-white king-size quilt for my bed. I'm so determined to get it finished that I've been neglecting garment sewing in the meantime. But I can't wait to get in there and make some quick and dirty summer skirts.

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  9. I've been in love with Colin Firth for 16 years! Soooooo cute!

    I love everything you write Gertie - your blog is ahmayzing!!!! I have a stupid law school assignment to write this weekend, but I want to make new pyjamas (it's getting cold here in the southern hemisphere!!).

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  10. I just watched The Kings Speech this past week too! :) So good. Definitely going to add it to my dvd collection (just got it from Netflix this time 'round). Plus, like you said, it's Colin Firth after all. haha!

    Right now I'm just working on a few small projects: finishing up a little half-circle skirt I started late last evening on a lark and fitting/cutting out a playsuit. Nothin' special, but stuff I need. Oh yes, and finally putting the waistline elastic in some a swimsuit bottom I started last month... ;) Just hope to get lots of sewing time in this weekend and start catching up on my spring to-sew list!

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  11. OK – we’ve covered Colin Firth (though I have to admit that Geoffrey Rush did it more for me in this particular film); let’s move on to Helena Bonham Carter’s costumes, please. I think they were masterful, since I have seen photos of the Dutchess of York before, during and after being Queen Elizabeth. Love the hats in the film, but again, she loved great hats and wore them forever. I studied in London for a week with one of her milliners, Rose Cory – one of the Queen Mum’s hats that she created for her was in the V&A Stephen Jones Hat exhibit from a couple of years ago. Lavender with lace – just gorgeous, but a very typical hat with the brim upturned on one side and toward the front.
    As for what I’m sewing this weekend – I’ll be sewing for my grandson this weekend. I think he needs some overalls for this fall and winter and I have a bunch of pieces of plaid and checked fabric that I think would look great for that. Other than that, if it stops raining at all, I’ll be doing some work out in the garden – we have some weeks that over the past 10 days of rain have turned into something I’m going to use a machete to take down if I don’t get them dug up very soon.

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  12. My mother is taking me shopping tomorrow to buy a new sewing machine! I've been using her old one, which has done me fine, but I do too much on it - it's meant for dressmaking, not bag-making and definitely not quilting. So I have my list of 'must haves' and I'm going in search of my perfect match that will hopefully last as long as her machine has. So not much sewing this weekend, but plenty of time on the train to crochet :)

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  13. Hi Gertie!
    Although I'm not new to sewing, I love the idea of a series of posts for beginners. I have a few friends who want to get started sewing and I'd love to be able to send them to your blog! (We have made pincushions together so far). Keep up the fabulous blogging!

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  14. I have a 'man bag' made from leather to sort out this weekend - so the sewing is on hold!

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  15. Hi!

    I am something like novice-intermediate... I have a good relationship with my machine, I definitely know how to thread it, and I've sewn curtains, altered jeans, sewn small bags & pouches, and even put in zippers. I've just recently (and I commented about this somewhere) started sewing my own fancy underpants and that's going pretty well.

    BUT I consider myself in the category/ies above because I'm just not familiar with best practices, and I'm super intimidated by patterns. I wasn't really taught to sew by anyone, so these things elude me a bit and even when looking for how-tos I quickly feel in over my head.

    I get that taking a class would be a smart and valuable thing to do, but who knows when I'll feel that's in the budget! So yes, beginner-type posts, from someone who writes as clearly as you, would be fantastic.

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  16. Colin Firth can't possibly be your boyfriend, because he is mine. Have you seen 'A Single man?' I highly recommend it. Colin Firth, with Tom Ford's aesthetic, soo good. I was drooling over the architecture and design (story was good too).

    and sewing? i'm finally tackling macaron.

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  17. I confess, I do not know how to sew! Well, I have done a few pillow cases but that’s about it. I love your blog. :) I just usually skip the posts that are too much sewing related. However, I would be thrilled to learn how to sew. Or at least the basics so that maybe, just maybe I would eventually be able to sew e.g. a very simple dress for myself. A beginner’s guide to sewing would be very much appreciated!

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  18. Oh, beginners sewing sounds amazing! I've just made a laundry bag and want to start sewing clothes, but I don't have the confidence. I don't want to end up with a wadder! I don't just want to be able to do it, I want to be able to do it well, so any advice from you would be a great help.

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  19. I just finished Simplicity 2178 (Cynthia Rowley's one-ish shouldered dress) in blue linen last night. Score. I just need to steam it out as the cat decided to sleep on top of it while it was left on the ironing board overnight.

    I also just finished "My Life in France" by Julia Childs and it was great. It makes you want to travel and eat.

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  20. I'm sewing a swimsuit this weekend! I ordered Stretch & Sew 1362 last week and got all of my fabric and notions from Hancock already. I can't wait to get started!

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  21. I am finishing up a dress tonight, I don't know how to do the sleeves so my friend has to show me how. I have an old fashioned jumper (it's not your normal jumper) pattern that I cut out, and my friend needs to help me get started on it tonight also. Praise the Lord for good friends! LOL

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  22. I had a very rough week, both personally and medically, but I got an anonymous package yesterday with super cute OWL SCISSORS, from SublimeStitching.com so I think I'm going to spend the weekend on a couple little embroidery projects before I cut out my next dress!

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  23. I would like to imagine that Gertie is leading this open thread from a circular desk provided for her by the Parks Department.
    I have to work at a vintage furniture sale this weekend, and hopefully will wear my Macaron tomorrow, if I have the energy to hand pick the zipper tonight. There's also a cool neighborhood event called Art-a-Whirl going on with lots of bands playing and stuff.

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  24. I'm sewing a Dolce and Gabbana inspired bustier top dress from Burda 1/11 (it's just a top, but I'm adding a pencil skirt). It's out of this very Ikat looking print that is actually from Guatemala. It's going to look like one of those very questionable Vogue "Kiera among the Massai" fashion shoots I think, but I"m excited.

    No beginner posts!

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  25. I just finished a 50's style shirtdress--green and rust print with rust piping--cobbled together out of 3 different patterns. Pretty cool! Right now I'm about to plunge into the draping of a 1910-era evening dress that I'm making up as I go along. It's my day off and I'm making the most of it!

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  26. i'm trying to figure out how to sew an oilcloth gardening apron for my mom's birthday this weekend. how do you sew oilcloth when it wants to stick to the presser foot? i ordered it from fabric.com and it is so pretty and heavy, unlike the awful, thin 'oilcloth' they sell at joann's.

    on an unrelated note, i just discovered lace zippers and fell in L-O-V-E! check them out, i can't wait to use one as a design feature on a dress like vivat veritas did:

    http://www.vivatveritas.com/2010/06/already-used-it-couldnt-wait/

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  27. Oh man, yes, beginner right over here. I'm dying to find a way out of the 'your chest is a size larger than your frame, you have a distinctive stomach, nothing fits and you are a bad person' dilemma and there's even a sewing machine upstairs but...honestly, it makes me nervous. I'm considering that I could start with hand sewing -things would go wrong, but not as fast- but I still can't figure out where to start. Beginners posts would be AWESOME.

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  28. Hello Gertie,
    I am a relativly new sewer. For the most part I have taught myself to sew. Some thing s come out good, others (most all) come out not so good. I am in love with your blog so any help, tutorials, tips for those of us out here who want to be great would appriciate it.

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  29. I'd love to see some beginner topics! I'm not a beginner, but I could sure use a refresher on my basic technique. It's been a very long time since I learned all my basics, and since I mostly do alterations and repairs (not from-scratch garment construction), some things have certainly slipped.

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  30. I'm working on Simplicity 2724 which has been in my backlog from september/october of last year, eesh! I'm hoping that when it's done I will have a chance to draft up a franken-dress for myself (skirt from a vintage pattern, self-drafted french dart strapless bodice). At the moment, I'm hung up on how to get the bodice to stay up (boning?) and what fabric to use (I want the body of Shantung but not the price - cotton sateen perhaps?).

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  31. I am sewing shower a curtain and window curtains presently. The Shower is done and the design and execution process for the window is presently occupying my imagination. Slippery fabric is slippery, but techniques learned online are helping immensely. Been doing lots of home dec. this spring, not inspired to sew for myself lately.

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  32. I would love some posts for the "very beginner". Anything I've learned has been online, including the very first steps such as threading a machine. I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog for any instruction on sewing and have learned a lot already from you! I look forward to any posts on techniques/projects for beginners. Thanks Gerdie!

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  33. This weekend, my husband is going away. I plan to take over the lounge, and cover everything with piles of fabric and trimmings. I plan to finish off a grey work dress in time to wear it to an important meeting, finish a top that's a present for my mum, make a muslin of a new top, and generally enjoy myself.

    I also liked the King's Speech. I thought Helena Bonham Carter was brilliant. The perfect blend of supportive wife, and English reserve. Impeccably polite, but determined to get her way. Loved it, and loved her costumes as well.

    I think you'd be great at writing guides for beginners, but please not too many. One of the reasons I love your blog so much is that it challenges me to do more complicated finishes. I hope you'll have time to continue with those.

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  34. Just stated reading a giant non-fiction book - 'The Thirties: An Intimate History'. So far, so good - I do like the 30's.

    And to continue on a theme, unintentionally really, I'm sewing a 30's slip pattern that I found on Etsy. Or rather shopping for fabric and carefully copying the original pattern before it goes safely back into its envelope, I may get to the actual sewing on Sunday.

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  35. Oh yes, Colin Firth, Colin Firth (because he's been neglected for the last few comments)... and he can sing! And play guitar! I re-watched Mamma Mia recently and although I love it all, I'd watch it just to see him singing and playing guitar on a yacht. Hmm. Never thought I could fancy someone called Colin though.

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  36. I would love a beginner's series, as I am a newish sewer. I've sewn for the home and my kids, and various other small projects. I am just diving in to sewing for myself - something I've been wanting to do for a while now - with the Ginger Sew-Along.

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  37. Hi Gertie! I can sew a straight line, but anything more than that and I'm lost. But I'm so inspired by all your projects. I'd love some tutorials for newbies!

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  38. i'm working on a maxi dress right now... simplicity 9164, except i'm swapping out the skirt for one of those tiered/ruffled hippie skirts (don't remember the pattern number!). i'm using off-white eyelet & cream tiny ruffle trim. i already underlined the bodice & midriff, now i'm just trying to figure out how i want to finish the seams. serge? pink? french? not sure yet!

    i probably won't get any sewing done this weekend, though, because tomorrow is my 26th birthday :) haha and the same day that jesus is supposedly coming back. whatever, i'm throwing a party!

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  39. I would love some posts for beginners! I do not even know how to thread a machine, but I follow a ton of vintage sewing blogs in the hopes that it will inspire me to overcome my fear of sewing (my roommate owns a machine). I would love to be able to knit myself a vintage dress that I love instead of having to search through thrift stores hoping to find a dress that fits and is the perfect color and is actually in my budget.

    Also, I saw Hanna a few weeks ago, and it was great! I am not someone who likes action movies, but it was really visually striking, and who doesn't love Cate Blanchett?

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  40. No sewing this weekend, but I just got Claire Sheaffer's Couture Sewing Techniques, so I'll be reading that with relish. I used to have Susan Khlaje's Bridal Couture, which I lent very reluctantly to a friend who a. lost it and b. demonstrated no contrition whatsoever and c. didn't even offer to replace it. He's not allowed to borrow anything I own ever again.

    Bunny--I don't know if this would work for oilcloth, but I read (somewhere) that when you sew some kinds of lame or sequin or pailette fabric (sitcky/slippery/weird to sew), you can place waxed paper between the presser foot and the fabric and it just slides on through. Maybe that's worth testing.

    Mmmm....Colin Firth.

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  41. I'm not sewing much of anything at the moment as I am currently scraping "wedding residue" from my apartment. 2 months prior to the event, I pretty much gave up on doing anything productively domestic and now I have a backlog of cleaning.

    When I do start the bernina up once more, I have 2 shopping bags full of vintage patterns to chose from, thanks to one of my delightful attendants and his mother!

    I'm hoping a weekend of TCM will get me inspired to blast through the apartment mire so that I can start being creative!

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  42. Bunny, here is the link to the post and blog I was thinking of--not sequins exactly, but a difficult fabric.

    http://thesewingdivas.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/oh-the-things-youll-sew/

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  43. I think an open thread about Colin Firth is a wonderful idea :) I think beginner's posts are an excellent idea too, i have been sewing for a year now but there are lots of things i have trouble with so it would be great to go back to basics to improve skills.

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  44. Oh Colin--your dimples get me every time. *sigh*

    Since you asked, I am going to throw my sewing problem out there for help. I made the Jenny pencil skirt and everything turned out quite lovely. Then I washed the skirt (on gentle, hang dry, and the cotton sateen fabric had been prewashed/dried) and the waistband got all wonky. There is bubbling on the front of the waistband (like the interfacing is unhappy) and the area on each side of the zipper has big, wrinkly bubbles and the fabric is a bit twisted. The bubbling on the front pressed out for the most part, but I can't get the back to behave. I cut the waistband on the straight grain, not the bias. It laid quite flat before the wash. What did I do wrong? Is there a fix? What can I do to prevent this in the future? I quite like this skirt and want to fix it! Thank you to anyone with suggestions!!

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  45. I loved Colin Firth and miss Bonham Carter in that movie!
    This weekend I'm supposed to be working on my bachelor thesis but I think I'll try to work on my latest sewing project as well. I'm so excited about it! It's actually not just a sewing project, it also involves general crafting skills. I'm making a pair of wings for a fantasy fair costume that consists of feathers made out of fabric. Here's a little preview: http://imageshack.us/m/62/9359/dsc01373rn.jpg
    It's soooo much work though, so many feather to sew... I frequently wonder what I've gotten myself into..

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  46. I'm all about knitting and probably cleaning this weekend. I'm saving up any sewing for Memorial Day weekend...I'm psyched, I think I'm going to stitch up a bunch of stretch lace tops at Vogue Fabrics the Saturday and Sunday before the holiday.

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  47. I am just starting to sew again (after sewing a little as a teenager) and both my daughters aged 21 and 12 are just starting to sew. I think we could all use some help on a beginner level.

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  48. Aren't there enough beginning tutorials out there? We love your vintage + sewing focus, so please keep up the good work!
    Colin & the movie: Went to see that oddly named film knowing nothing about it--best chance I ever took!

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  49. I'm working on my second ever unprinted pattern--a sailor dress that I redrafted the collar on so that it's not a sailor dress anymore. Mail order 351. Can't tell you what brand it is, because, frankly, I don't know. But it screams to be a two-tone dress. So I'm doing the center in pink fabric with brown polka dots and the outside in brown fabric with pink polka dots. The collar will be plain brown with pink rick rack and the cuffs plain pink with brown rick rack. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to make the sash, and it's to be short sleeved. I redrafted the missing cuff piece (thank goodness the directions were with it along with cutting layouts!) I'm doing covered buttons with the brown with pink polka dots, and I'm also still debating if I should try my hand at bound buttonholes....

    I just finished Hollywood 934, which was my first ever unprinted pattern. Made view 3 out of balloon fabric with lavender accents to match Little Bits' birthday bows. Also made bloomers to match using Hollywood 1111. Had to insert elastic in the back waistband and the leg bands because it would have fallen down otherwise...

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  50. We're going away for a long weekend with the boy. Is it wrong that I'm going to miss my machine?! I did a major fabric shop yesterday so have everything I need for a number of patterns, including cinnamon as I need something to sleep in that isn't my hubby's old t-shirt!
    I'm also pondering the merits of an overlocker...

    As for Colin Firth. I've been in love since I saw him in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and he swam in the lake. Sigh.

    I've taught myself to sew, but love anything educational as I always find out things I didn't know I didn't know, if that makes sense? Anything that's going to help improve my technique and finishes is a good thing, and anything that makes it more accessible to anyone who wants a go is brilliant!

    You have such an accessible writing style, I could see any posts you do of this nature being heavily referred to and used.

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  51. Amen and amen on Colin Firth!

    I am a beginning sewist. I took a class recently that was a complete waste of time. I made a pair of pajama pants. Big whoop. My goal is to sew my own 50s style poofy dresses. I am a modern size 14 and it is very difficult to find vintage in my size. So, I figured I would make my own. But, I've a long road ahead of me. I ADORE the things you make and aspire to make the same kinds of things one day.

    Any beginner help you could provide would be SO great! What about doing a beginner sew-a-long? I'd love to make a dress with your help! Thanks Gertie!

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  52. I would love some rock-bottom beginner posts!

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  53. I don't sew, but I've been wanting to learn for years. My mom used to make all of my dresses and such when I was a youngster and I just think it would be a useful skill to have. I love your blog!

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  54. Oh! I'm also in the market for a serger. Lower end, I'm afraid as my budget is $500 and I'd rather come in closer to $300 than $500. Never had one before--I've been french seaming to finish clothes for years. Any suggestions for a good, solid, serger that won't break the bank?

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  55. Love Colin, LOVE Helena, Love 'period' costumes... what's not to love about that film. 9 thumbs up! :)
    I'm having a sewing free weekend as I'm packing up my sewing studio to move into my very own shop (eeeekkkk!) as soon as I get in and settled though, I intend to spend some time making a dress for me for a change. I've been working on a pattern for a while for a client that I just love so I'll be re-sizing it and making it up in something fabulous. The dress is quite 40's/50's with a pretty full, below the knee length skirt. The bodice is very fitted (with an inbuilt corset so I promise to photo the heck out of it) It has a nice wide, scooped neckline and 3/4 length raglan sleeves with a lovely little bound vent detail at the cuff. I can't wait!

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  56. This is a long weekend for me, way up in "finally getting some sunshine" Toronto, ON, Canada! I found seven wonderful vintage patterns at a thrift store this week and I want to trace them. In particular, McCall's 9678 http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/McCall%27s_9678

    I'm seeing me in View B in royal blue velvet! I'm seeing my daughter married in View A but don't tell her; she's only 16!

    Oh and I can't believe I still haven't seen The King's Speech. I borrowed some videos from the library for my kid's....maybe this would be the perfect weekend for a date with Mr. Firth! Gertie, your blog is the best read of the day. I enjoy all your writing. Thanks!

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  57. Love the open thread idea!

    My dear mother loaned me her BabyLock Sophia, so I'm using it to embroider a waistcoat. Got one side done, but the 2nd will have to wait bec. my hubbi & I are going to Napa Valley for the weekend (yay, much needed break :-). I'm really enjoying using her machine. Mine is a boring basic old White machine that does nothing but straight stitches.

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  58. Yes! Right here! I am a beginner too! I have taken a lot of quilting classes and mastered the art of quilting first. So of course I thought sewing apparel would be easier, but it's not! I have so many questions and really struggle with following directions! I admit it. :0(

    My problem is I am a "bigger" girl, and as so many of the vintage patterns online are for smaller woman. My #1 question would be; Is there a science/method on how to enlarge a pattern? From everything I have read it seems eaiser to buy a larger pattern and take it in. But what if that's not an option? I would love to see a blog/sew along on how to achieve this. (Unless I have missed a blog that teaches this?)

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  59. I would LOVE a sewing beginner's post or two! I just don't know where to start :/

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  60. I'm a self-taught beginning sewer. I know how to thread the machine, but I don't know what all the machine functions are for. I've attempted buttons and holes a couple of times, but didn't have the greatest results. I also don't have a serger and cannot figure out how to make the interlocking stitch on my machine to work! So, yes, I think a beginner's guide to sewing would be great!

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  61. Total beginner right here too....I inherited my mother's giant beast of a sewing machine from the 60s, took it in for a tune up and am ready to start! This weekend my first project (after a little lesson from mom on how to thread the machine) is cloth napkins...gotta start somewhere! My goal eventually is to move on to clothing. I love vintage and vintage style clothing/patterns and would love to see some posts for the beginner. Your blog is very inspiring...I love seeing what you are working on. Thanks! Oh, and Colin Firth was great in King's Speech as well as A Single Man...Love Julianne Moore's style in that movie...

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  62. I would love a beginner's post! I read your blog everyday because in the fantasy version of me, that I WILL be one day, I sew. I bought a machine, but it's still in the box. I have no idea how to start!

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  63. I absolutly adore your blog, so creative and inspiring!! I've only been sewing about a year and a half and I LOVE it! I do not however love those stupid facings. Are there any tricks or alternatives to those flimsy, frustrating, useless facings (and I don't like lining everything either, it gets sweaty). I'd like to retain that clean finish a facing provides and avoid top stitching but thats a perfect world scenario.

    The other question I have is how to figure out the finished dimensions of your garment if none are provided. I have a very boyish figure and am always taking in the bust and hips but somehow it always seems off even though I have take very accurate body measurements and measure the pattern pieces. There is something I must be missing. Most pattern sizings seem to be completely fictitious! Why would a fitted bodice need six inches of ease?! It then becomes a sack and not fitted...... frustrating!

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  64. Well I am a bloody beginner. I have started 5 month ago and I am always happy when I find good 'how to's.
    At the moment I try to tackle the dress Butterick 5209. It's not that easy to fit those retro patterns if you're lacking boobs!

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  65. Hi Gertie!

    I just found your blog about two weeks ago and I've been hooked ever since. I try to read through each new post you put up but the thing is- I do not know a single thing about sewing. As in- NOTHING! But I still love reading everything you write about it.

    Anyway, this post is just perfect timing. My mom has started sewing lately and I've been watching her and reading your blog and I'm so jealous! I would love to see some beginner posts if you're so inclined. If not, I'm still happy reading whatever you post.

    Thanks!
    Ariana

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  66. Hi Gertie!

    I do not sew, though I have been meaning to start for a long time. As a child I did a lot of hand-sewing (over, under, over, under-- nothing fancy) to supplement my doll's wardrobe... but I have not really done anything recently.

    Well, I have used a sewing machine for one project, but I had to have someone else string it for me at the time.

    So, yeah, beginner's tutorials? I would love those.

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  67. Thanks for your blog. I a "beginning to sew again" person, Having studied dressmaking and tailoring in college, making a million halloween costumes, curtains, and baby things I had not really done much for years. Last year I mended as many things as I made costumes, and made more Barbie clothes. This year, and hopefully this week though I will start the process of making Vogue 1239, which is a dress by Chado Ralph Rucci. It will be difficult making it with my fingers crossed, but it may be necessary. Thanks again for a great blog and I must say, wonderful links too. BER

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  68. Gertie -
    My 21 year old daughter and I are so inspired by your blog! I am self taught, sewed for the home, hubby, and kids when they were little. DD just bought her first sewing machine and we would love to learn to make our own dresses.

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  69. I agree with Jen O! There are plenty of helpful, particularly beginner oriented sewing blogs, books, AND DVDs out there.In fact, it is kinda annoying that there doesn't seem to be anything more than that. Perfect example: full bust adjustments. There's tons of information about a full bust adjustments. But help for a small bust?? Not so much love there. I super love you corset/corslet idea! Alot of the stuff I wear is strapless (or has some dramatic detail that doesn't allow for a bra) and would love to figure out how to build-in support and structure. Advancing in any skill is truly a matter of diligent practice, trial and error and a ton of muslins. Gertie, you do a wonderful job at pushing yourself and us to try new things that we otherwise would not do. So please, please lets keep advancing!

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  70. I haven't seen The King's Speech yet, but it is up on my list to watch.

    I'm sewing my two nieces flower girl dresses for my wedding (25 days away!!) this weekend. I'm making them each an Oliver + S school photo dress out of silk taffeta. LOVE that pattern. :)

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  71. Books: If you can, try to find a copy of Fashion: The Century of the Designer, 1900-1999 by Charlotte Seeling. It's a gorgeous coffee table book that not only examines the designers well known in each decade but it also contains pieces on the general look, cosmetics, and specific fads worn during each. There is even a day-in-the-life of a 1960s-era model.

    I checked it out at the library but I would love to own a copy. If anybody has it, the Strand, FIT, or Parsons should have it.

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  72. My sewing this weekend includes finishing up three monkey costumes, and final fittings on 75 members of a youth ballet company doing Coppelia in two weeks. Last weekend I shipped off 3 tutus to a different youth ballet company in MA. I love costuming, but I would also love to have the luxury of time to sew for me. I live vicariously through your fashion sewing. Thanks for your lovely blog

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  73. I'm not currently sewing. I have my grandmother's machine (which should be fine but I plan to have serviced. I want to get back into it - I took home ec in high school (long story there), but beyond occasional hand sewing - nothing since. D: I'd be interested to see where you go with your idea.

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  74. Isabel's DaughterMay 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Gertie,

    Although vintage is not my thing, I enjoy your blog tremendously. I think a beginner's series would be so helpful. My first advice to beginners would be to find (if possible) a dealer for your machine. Ask if they will give you owners lessons. Make friends with them and try to learn as much as you can about your machine. Make sure you are using the correct bobbins and change your needle frequently.

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  75. I LOVE Colin Firth, it was his "lake scene" that I credit for my love of Pride and Prejudice. ;-) The Kings Speech was wonderful, it's out on DVD now so I might just have to treat myself.

    Farah - I might have to try "A Single Man" based on your review. My sister didn't rate it, so I've shied away until now.

    Sewing..... I have fabric for a skirt and a dress so I might make a start on one of those this weekend. The dress will be Amy Butlers Lotus dress, the skirt will most likely be based on a purchased one in my wardrobe.

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  76. I'm sewing an Oliver + S Sketchbook shirt. It's in a bright, florescent green that didn't look as florescent in the store. In fact, in the dark corners of my room it's a great color. Note to self about that store: It's dark, carry things over to a window. I'm charging ahead despite the color because I figure it'll be easier to keep track of a kid if he's dressed in florescent :\ It will be my second sewing project in five years.

    I finally saw King Speech just recently. It is an entirely praise-worthy movie. Loved it.

    Collin Firth. Gotta like him. He was the perfect Mr. Darcy.

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  77. *sigh* Sewing books..... All of the corselet and structural details you've been featuring have made me think of a gorgeous corset book that I had to leave behind at a second hand store because the guy wanted $60 for it.... :( and stupid me, I've forgotten the title of it.

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  78. I would love some beginner posts!! I really want to build up my skills.

    Also, has anyone else seen Bridesmaids? I thought it was pretty funny but just relating back some of the recent conversations here about plus size actresses...I thought the movie used Melissa McCarthey's character as a punch line because of her weight wayyy to much. It really bothered me. I think it's the easy way out to have the funny or crazy or evil character be denoted so by their physical appearance (cinderella's ugly stepsisters etc...) This is one if the reason's I like the movie Wedding Crashers so much. The writing and acting did all the work to make Isla Fisher's character crazy rather then using physical appearance as a crutch.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling...happy sewing!

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  79. Mmmm, Colin Firth... during last weekend's sewing project I indulged in some classic Bridget Jones...

    Anyway, this weekend's biggest goal is to gut and reorganize my sewing room, which is buried under the detritus of four productions and several rush projects. (Plus want to get some fabric, patterns, and miscellany off to a yard sale!).

    If I'm conscious after all that, I am drafting a men's suit jacket commission and working on a yellow eyelet sundress :)

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  80. This weekend I'm hoping to finish a dress that I've started about a week ago. I'm altering and fusing some patterns to make it. So, will see how it will turn out. :-)
    Colin Firth is gorgeous as the King or Mr Darcy (there is a wet shirt scene with him in Pride and Prejudice).
    I'm sorry that you're exhausted, but I would like to grab this opportunity to take up your offer (posts for beginners).
    I have a problem with making buttonholes. I mean attaching the foot and adjusting tension, etc. I've read the booklet supplied with my machine but it is really general and there is still something I'm doing wrong. So, I ended up making the holes by hand.
    Also, I have a Brothers xl3600. It looks awesome, yet I'm only using a couple of stitches out of so many. I've read the little manual but frankly I think it is written for people who already know these things. It would be great if you could explain things about the machine, e.g. stitches, tension, etc.
    Thanks for this offer, Gertie, your blog is truly awesome and an inspiration to me.

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  81. I'm still working on my jeans from Peter's jeans sew-a-long at Male Pattern Boldness. I'm very happy that I'm doing a good job but I just hope they fit. My first pair ended up being way too large. Not a bad thing, to be sure, but a bummer nonetheless because I wanted to wear them and couldn't.

    I loved The King's Speech, too. My husband and I just saw it last week.

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  82. This weekend I'm sewing a test garment for a pattern I'm drafting. I sewed up the muslin last week but muslin is always so unflattering that I decided to sew it up in a less precious material to finalize everything. I'm almost finished except for the hemming which will be hand-rolled. Luckily, I bought a third hand while at the fabric store yesterday.

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  83. The King's Speech is AMAZING, everyone in it is SPOT on. As the British would say. I'm currently working on yet another incarnation of BurdaStyle's jj blouse, it was a free pattern and I'm gearing up for me-made-june by trying to make some more basic items to add to my too-print-filled wardrobe. I've been reading The Help, which is amazing. I recently read The Moor's Last Sigh, and I do so love Salman Rushdie, so I can't recommend him enough.

    I think I would love some beginners posts, I think that would be awesome, even though I've been sewing for a year I could really benefit from some review/things I still haven't learned! Ans by the way, I'm so thrilled about the bolero, I can't tell you, I've been looking everywhere for a bolero pattern and I can't wait to buy your book and get one! Yay!

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  84. I am a TOTAL beginner, apart from one sewing lesson at a sewing studio here in Vancouver. I'd love posts for beginner sewers!

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  85. I'm planning to hit up Club TSS tomorrow and continue working on a muslin for Macaron.
    Also, I've been meaning to watch The King's Speech. I'll have to add it to my Netflix queue before I forget!

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  86. Please do beginner posts. I am a beginner (just spent an afternoon teaching myself how to thread the machine and sew a basic stitch) and am feeling a little overwhelmed. I looking for easy projects and inspiration. I Love the look and feel of your blog and would love to see something for beginners.

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  87. Hello! Loved the King's Speech. I think about sewing a lot- but so far mostly hoard fabric only.
    I am on my way to NYC- and plan at least one day in the Fabric District....and a visit to the AMcQ exhibit at the Met- that will be the highlight.

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  88. Hello, everyone! I'm doing Sunni's Beginner Ginger Sewalong, too, so I'll be gearing up for that this weekend. I'm also working up the nerve to try Sencha on my own (so yes, I'm a complete beginner!)!

    I just saw Bridesmaids, and like Suriah, I found the jokes around Melissa McCarthy's size/appetite offputting. But putting that aside, I actually liked the movie. I thought it really captured how difficult female relationships can be to make and maintain.

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  89. I'm not a big movie watcher, but did love Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. I'll definitely have to catch The King's Speech now that you've all given it such rave reviews.

    No sewing here this weekend. I've my son's homeschool portfolio to complete, details from a recent conference to attend to, and a grant to write. Actually, I think there won't be any sewing here for a month or so...big sad face here.

    I'd love to see some beginner tutorials. I'm still firmly in the beginner camp and mostly self taught, so I'd love to see how you do things. I participated in the Crepe sewalong and learned so much from you.

    To Joan, who was wondering about sizing up patterns: I haven't done much of this myself, but have a couple of ideas for you to check out. One is Barbara Deckerts book, Sewing for Plus Sizes. She gives a fair amount of info on sizing up patterns as well as some tips for sewing for larger sizes. Also, check out Carolyn's blog Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. Carolyn is a very creative sewer and gives lots of tips for altering patterns to fit. Good luck in your journey!

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  90. I still have to see that movie... not just because it looks wonderful, but I *heart* Colin Firth =)

    I've been working on a long strapless dress using the bodice for BurdaStyle 109 (4/11) and lengthening the skirt from Simplicity 2404. Just have to finish the hem! I used a white seersucker cotton; can't wait to wear it to a summer cocktail party =) My next dress will be a sleeveless cocktail dress with a scalloped collar (using the tutorial from Casey's Elegant Musings), and that'll also be a composite - the bodice for Simplicity 2404 + a basic gathered skirt. Not sure if I'll go for a circle skirt or not, we'll see. It'll be in chartreuse linen.

    Just wanted to say that reading your blog is SUCH an inspiration, and every other Daily Dress (but particularly the poppy red Mouret!!) makes me want to rush out to my favorite fabric store and buy another bolt. Can't wait for your book!

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  91. What I WANT to do is sew Simplicity 2614 http://www.simplicity.com/p-1569-misses-sportswear.aspx (my fourth one), but what I really NEED to do is finish the shirt I started for my husband in (hanging head in shame) October.

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  92. Hi Gertie! Wow! So many comments. You can tell we all want to chat with you. I'm sewing Vogue 1038--in fact, should be working on it right now. It's an OP Donna Karan skirt, very long. I'm making it in a med-heavy pinstripe blue/gray linen (for work, good for crawling around on the floor with kindergartners). My book rec for you is something I found used last summer and can't get enough of: Decades of Fashion by Harriet Worsley. It's a small (literally--it's 6 1/2x 6 1/2 inches, but thick) book of images from the Getty of fashion trends organized by decade. Fascinating, and wonderful pics, with great analytical captions. I read about 10 pages every night before I fall asleep.

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  93. I'm a beginner - my most involved thing to date was the crepe sew-along, but tomorrow I'm doing a course on drafting skirts, and then next week tops - so excited!!

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  94. Gertie, I understand exhaustion--I am currently working on my daughters wedding dress (wedding in June) and my husband is coming home from teaching in the wilds of Alaska. Its amazing how much stuff I have scattered all over the bedroom. No room for his stuff LOL so cleaning/picking up I must do and then back to the dress.
    The dress is a combined Burda Style patterns -- 133 03/2010 and 117 06/2010. The fabrics are from Farmhouse Fabrics -- Swiss Cotton Batiste a Bearissima and Nelo plus a cotton channtly lace overlay and silk lining.
    I am working on the lining with some light boning for support.
    I plan on finishing before next weekend.

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  95. hi gertie, i have been following your blog for a while now and I love what u do. I am a very new sewist. i can thread my machine, but i have not successfully completed anything. i tried but nothing seems to come out right. I would love to have something for new sewist that can help with body measurements, tracing and cutting patterns and transferring pattern marking. Thanks gertie.

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  96. I'm going to attempt to sew a pair of pants for myself. It will be the first garment I make for myself since the basic pair of boxer shorts I made in middle school (early 1990's...). I only started machine sewing again last fall and have made children's clothing for a college course, a few accessories, and a quilt, but nothing that involves fitting to my own body.
    I'm going to start on the muslin today and hopefully will have that set over the weekend so I can put the pants together next week.

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  97. A Single Man is A-MAZ-ING. I think it is far and away Firth's best role. Visually stunning, but what would you expect when it is directed by Tom Ford? Plus some beautiful makeup and dresses on the always gorgeous Julianne Moore. If you haven't seen it yet, do so now!!!!

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  98. First time commenting. I finished up a circle skirt not too long ago and used your narrow hem tutorial. It was so helpful! I wanted to thank you for that. At the moment I'm working on a silk slip. I had already decided to make it on the bias, but your Sew Weekly project gave me the confidence to not put a zipper in. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into it, but the whole bias stretch thing worked! So thank you, thank you again for all the helpful tips and advice you have on your blog. There are so many techniques that you share that I can't wait to try out to improve my sewing!

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  99. I've been sewing dollies clothes but now I am doing little bags... I need to read some books, I don't have much time but read it's the best thing for you enrich your knowledge!! xox

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  100. Yes please to the begginer's series :) I've made bags and thing for the house before but clothes are a new thing altoghether!

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  101. I would LOVE to learn to sew...I am an absolute beginner...but I am a textile designer, and have done a lot of hand weaving and some machine knitting. Right now I design upholstery fabric...so I feel like I at least have an affinity for fabric...and I am a total clotheshorse, so wouldn't it be so nice if I could learn to make my own!

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  102. I am sewing a bathing suit, Kwik Sew 3779, a miracle suit knock off. I am using a hot pink and white polka dot fabric. And my favorite book these days is Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin.

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  103. I'm so glad you asked...I just finished reading Alligators, Old Mink & New Money by Alison Houtte...she owns a vintage resale shop in NYC and she chronicles her constant search for vintage items for resale and talks about her unique customers. I really enjoyed it.

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  104. Jennifer StarmanMay 20, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    It's a long weekend up here in Canuckinstan. Supposedly time for getting gardens in and yards raked. Blah.

    Tomorrow I'm going to visit my sister and my neices before they move clear across the country and Sunday and Monday are reserved for a bunch of sewing. Two knit tops cut out and a dress and lawn cami still in yardage. Now that I'm finished one quilt and another is going to get professionally quilted, I can get back to my clothing sewing without feeling so guilty.

    Since I refuse to pay rental fees for movies in my small town, I'll either be rewatching some movies from my small collection or seeing what our sattelite channels have on this weekend. I'm going to guess it's a John Hughes festival again - they like those.

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  105. I'd love something for a beginner. I have done some sewing before but not for years. I would like to start again with something basic but most of the basic patterns are rather shapeless and boring. Do you have any ideas? Ideally I'd like a pencil skirt or a fitted dress, but one that's not going to be so complicated it will put me off.

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  106. Oooohh! Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy still make me week-kneed!

    Whenever I'm ill, I will put Pride and Prejudice on the DVD. After having watched it, I somehow always feel better. I'm sure it's because of the dose of Firth :-)

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  107. The King's Speech - very good performances, costumes to oogle, and Colin Firth. What's not to love?

    I'm not a beginner, but learned a fantastic amount sewing my Lady Grey with your sew along. You inspire confidence, which is so very important for a new sewista or when trying a technique for the first time. So, although I wouldn't necessarily benefit, I say yes, do it.

    This weekend I'm finishing a knit top (BurdaStyle 02/2011 - 102B) and starting to work on a muslin for a dress (V1042 Vogue Wardrobe) which I plan to wear to a friend's wedding.

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  108. Colin Firth, big fan of course...

    Finishing up my second version of the Crepe dress (the first made during your sew-along). I have made both Crepe dresses with hand-dyed or hand-printed cotton materil bought during some of my trips to India. India is really the place to buy great cotton.

    My suggestion for an absolute beginner's sew-along: A-line wrap skirt. Perfect for summer, no zippers, can use a varity of materials, and the fit is quite forgiving.

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  109. Exhausted, yeah, I'm feeling that too - and I don't have a blog I want to tend!

    I watched 'Easy A' on DVD this week, it was fun but not stupid. I wish there were more decent high school movies! I also liked 'Attack the Block', which I saw at the cinema a week or so back: fast-moving monster horror, quite smart, and pretty original in its setting (inter London social housing).

    This weekend I'd like to be working on an A line skirt and a silk satin top, but for once the social calendar is pretty full! Maybe I'll get around to tracing out the pattern for the top - I bought a whole book of patterns when I was on holiday in France (http://www.hachette-pratique.com/livre/366461/tuniques_robes_etc_..._yoshiko_tsukiori) I got some fantastic Liberty print silk satin only yesterday, in a brilliant Aladdin's cave of a shop, and I really want to get started with it!

    I'm really a beginner sewer (although I do know how to thread my machine!), and even when something goes over something I already know, there's usually something useful that I'm reminded of, or even something that I don't know.

    And lastly, if you're on the lookout for a new book, I recently got out my Taschen fashion book, which features items from the Kyoto Costume Institute - it's full of wonderful photography of wonderful clothes (I'm particularly entranced by the 1920s velvet evening cloaks and coats at the moment). I'd highly recommend it!

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  110. I am a complete novice and would love to read beginner posts.

    I could also watch Colin Firth all day.

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  111. Hi Gertie and everyone,

    If it stops raining, I will be painting my garage this weekend, while attempting a long mental list of reasons of why I left NYC for the joys of owning a house.

    My vote would be for a corselet sew-a-long.

    For those of you who did not come of age in the mid '80, or at least are not afraid of big sleeves, there are many Roland Mouret Galaxy dress inspired patterns in the 2011 Marfy catalogue.

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  112. I'd love posts for beginners. What I would particularly like is a series of projects to build up skills. Starting with something really simple like a pincushion and ending with a skirt for instance.

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  113. Umm, Colin Firth is MY boyfriend!

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  114. Hey Gertie, thought I'd throw this out there.

    I'm not a novice sewist--I've been sewing on and off since I was a wee one and am currently teaching myself (painstakingly!) how to draft basic patters/slopers--but what I'd really enjoy is some discussion about tools that a sewist/seamstress should have on hand BEYOND sewing machine, needles, pins, measuring tape, etc. For example, drafting tools--rulers and the like--and other tools that designers/"real" seamstresses have at their disposal.

    Also: Colin Firth is FABULOUS. I love him as Mr Darcy (even though I'm not a Jane Austen fan) and in Love Actually--his story line in that movie makes me weep with happiness. Every. Single. Time.

    This weekend I am attempting to make a sun hat for my aunt's 3 month old baby (they live in TX) and am warily circling the idea of a convertible dress..

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  115. Please,Please, Please help me to put in a zipper better than I do now! Pictures and text would be great.
    I started sewing childrens clothes this year and am pretty good at following directions. I am a perfectionist, though, and my zippers always leave me disappointed.
    I love reading your blog and aspire to make some dresses for myself at some point....maybe after zippers!!!

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  116. Novice posts would be MOST appreciated!

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  117. I am VERY beginner, as in my mom just gave me my first sewing machine this past Christmas and so far I've made purses and a pin cushion :) I'd love some very basic beginner posts to help learn the basics. I'll check back often!

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  118. I always associate Colin Firth with Mr. Darcy. I *LOVE* the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I spent many a Saturday during graduate school working on a knitting project and watching all 6 hours of P&P. Sadly, my sewing requires my full attention since I'm still learning, so no movies + sewing for me. At least not for right now. I'm in Denmark right now and planning a trip to a fabric store tomorrow. I've decided to get some fun cotton and make myself a Denmark-inspired skirt when I get home. It will be a fun souvenir from this trip!

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  119. I am a complete beginner less than two months of sewing, and I met and fell in love with your blog immediately.... I love pouring through the different posts... and kept saying.. if only Gertie could teach me to sew. I hope you do end up doing some beginner tutorials.

    I also recently watched Kings speech.... great movie!!!

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  120. Colin is dreeeamy! He is Mr. Darcy after all! love love loooove him <3!

    I collect vintage dress patterns and I'd LOVE to learn to make 'em. That's always been my plan. uh... only problem is... I don't dare try until I learn How! They are to precious and lovely to cut up.
    I'd love some pointers on the basics!
    Thanks!
    -megan

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  121. Oh beginner help please, I can sew (just) except I have no formal teaching (except one weeks beginners course) and my mother is completely self taught. My school never run sewing classes, so everything is guess work
    Oh and guess how Im learning to sew? Not by using the easy peasy directions of modern patterns but 1950s patterns which are super confusing.
    So yes please do some easy tutorials

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  122. I'm a non-sewer who would like to learn (and has a machine), so some beginner posts would be great! As for suggestions, tips on how to make straight seams and some recommendations on simple beginner patterns such as a skirt with detailed instructions included are awesome. A beginner sew along would be even better! Thank you for this website and for taking the time to help non-sewers to start sewing.

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  123. I really love your blog Gertie, it's great that your topics vary, and are always interesting.

    The line-up is getting longer for Colin Firth! Cause I'll be there too!!! It's funny, I also associate him with Mr. Darcy, ever since I saw the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. We bought the DVD set years ago and my hubby really likes to watch it too...maybe he has a thing for Lizzie (Jennifer Ehle)!! We've watched it probably two dozen times, no joke.

    A begginer sewing thread sounds like it would be great for many readers. I'm mostly self-taught, and have sewn for many years, but I bet I'd learn a thing or two and it would be a great review.

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  124. I can't decide if I'm going to finish my blue gingham BurdaStyle Lydia circle skirt, finish knitting on my "That Girl summer jacket" or continue to neglect them both all together to relax and pack for my big apartment move next week (I'm just moving down the street).

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  125. Hi Gertie,

    I've been wondering about your opinion on this topic for sometime, but wasn't sure how to approach it, so thanks for the open thread!

    This is a slightly unsavory topic, but I think it's imperative for discussions regarding women, image, and clothing. Since you have posted in the past about our culture and relationship with clothes and image, I was wondering what you thought specifically about sexuality, women, and clothes in the context of sexual assault. On May 31st I am going to felony court to testify against a man who attacked me in October. Part of his defense has been that I was wearing a "slutty" outfit (for the record I was wearing the Free People Cabbage Rose dress with a black, knee-length, cotton trench by Cartonnier over it). Although I know this defense is morally and legally unsound (no one deserves to be sexually assaulted ever, period), I have encountered a tremendous amount of people who share this idea.

    Lately this topic has been in the news in part due to SlutWalk, a group out of Toronto that raises awareness for victim's rights and combats myths of sexual assault (particularly that no matter what a woman does or wears, there is no excuse for sexual assault). In response to the growing popularity of SlutWalk around the world, Sean Hannity had a debate on May 10 that included Rebecca St. James, a Christian singer and advocate for purity (not really sure what that means). She stated that although abuse against a woman is never acceptable, "women need to take responsibility for what they wear" and that when a woman wears something provocative she is "asking for sex."

    Personally I find this argument to be disturbing for several reasons: 1) although Ms. St. James said that no victim deserves sexual assault, she immediately contradicted herself by implying that women have control over their attacks because they control their clothing, 2) this argument also exculpates men from taking responsibility for self-control, 3) what was the point of having the freedom to wear what we want if we don't do it out of fear?

    As a sewing enthusiast, I do make choices about the length of garments: I don't want my mini to show the good china, but I love mod and frequently make minis! I also love sweeping low backs on semi-formal and formal gowns because they are beautiful. Does anyone else dress to look sexy for themselves and not to look sexy for someone else? I certainly do. Is there a place for an argument for modesty in fashion? I'm not saying that I am one, but is there even something wrong with being a 'slut'? Furthermore, I think some silhouettes that do not reveal skin can still ooze sexuality (the celebration and emphasis of the hour glass shape in Dior's New Look, for example). Am I alone on this? Who else has an opinion on women, clothing, and what it says about sexuality?

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  126. I'm sewing the tunic top Vogue #8733. I dove into my collection of fabric and found some raw silk pieces and I just finished making, actually pressing, bias tape out of the fabric. So I'm all set to get sewing.

    Have a fun weekend!

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  127. Well, I suppose Colin can be your boyfriend for now--I haven't seen him in a while! I am not sewing anything this weekend, I will be working instead, but come Monday, I have a baby dress pattern drafted and ready to cut, and I just received a couple of dress patterns in the mail. I will probably start on Simplicity 2591, unless my Crepe pattern shows up in the meantime.
    While I wouldn't consider myself to be a new sewist, I am self-taught, and in that, am completely new to fitting and altering techniques. So I appreciate posts geared more towards beginners, because I usually learn something new.

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  128. Hi Gertie! I am a super beginner, I made a robot tote bag last weekend (from the S.E.W. book) and I felt like an athlete once I completed it, awash with pride and accomplishment. I am obsessed with skirts, so I'm learning to sew in order to curb my Anthropologie skirt addiction. Thank you for maintaining your site so enthusiastically, it's my pit stop every morning and evening.

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  129. This is so wonderful! Thank you for thinking of us followers and what we want to talk about lol! Colin Firth is pretty wonderful! I love him as Mr. Darcey. And he is great in The Importance of Being Earnest. I am not a seamstress yet, but would so love to be! I love you blog and your style! Such an inspiration!

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  130. I'm a beginner, sort of, I can thread a machine and sew straight lines. I would love if you'd do some posts for beginners. Possibly some easier sew alongs. Learning to sew from Gertie, how exciting!

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  131. I'm a very new sewer! Your blog has inspired me to start. I would love some posts for beginners.

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  132. PLEASE do some posts for beginners! I'm also wondering where to get a cheap realtively well-made sewing machine.

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  133. Never heard of Colin Firth until I saw the movie (which I did in the theater - I agree that it's excellent, and he was certainly very good.

    Blog stuff for beginners and quasi beginners like me would be lovely. I enjoy your blog since I like the subject matter and your writing - but many of the topics might as well be nuclear physics in terms of my ability to follow what you're doing.

    Rena

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  134. As a beginner, there's a couple of things I'd like to know:

    - What are some of the best, go-to techniques that I should master? I have the Complete Guide to Sewing book which has so much to learn, it's overwhelming. I don't know which technique I should focus on mastering first before delving in the others.

    - Pressing is important. I get it. But when I throw my clothes in the washer, will I lose all the pressing work I did before? That's not clear to me...

    -Can you please demystify interfacings for me? They are over my head...

    Covering anything along these lines would be greatly appreciated. There's so much out there it can be very overwhelming.

    Alice.

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  135. I've been sewing a dress for a local customer(here a details of bodice---> http://alicecloset-sewing.blogspot.com/ ).

    I like so much Colin Firth and his movies :D I know his wife is Italian!! (I'm Italian too:maybe one day I will meet him!aaahhhhhh ^_^).

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  136. Love Colin Firth, but still haven't got around to watching the film yet! I'm in the process of making my first pair of 40's trousers (any clothes actually!), pics to follow on blog!!

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  137. Hey gertie! I have been following your blog for a while now... And while I know the basics of sewing, I'd love to learn about what sort if features to look for in a sewing machine when sewing vintage style clothing, how to decipher patterns (or even work out what size to buy) and what sorts of tools are handy to havein ones sewing kit :)

    also, is it worth buying things like a mannequin when beginning to sew clothes?

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  138. Hi Gertie,
    I just recently found your blog while procrastinating and not writing my master thesis. The deadline is in about two months and until then I'll dream about all the great projects you made me think of. I'm a complete novice at sewing and I intend to start with a simple curtain - so a beginner's series would be very much appreciated!

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  139. Dear, dear Colin 'sigh' you'll always be Mr Darcy to me!
    (for those who haven't shared the joy yet try BBC Pride & Prejudice - wait till he swims!'sigh' love it!)

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  140. Hi Gertie! I've been following your blog and many others for a while now. I'm new to sewing.... so to speak. I did have have a brief introduction into sewing in Home Ec, back in the 70's. I remember trying to sew a dress in 1982. I had zero money and thought I would save by sewing. Ha! The zipper came out ok but one sleeve was about an 1 1/2" shorter than the other and I followed RTW sizing. I didn't know anything about style and it was in a peachy calico print. Yikes! You may be too young to remember the movie "The Trouble With Angels", but one of the girls struggled to make a dress for class and my dress resembled that misshappen frock before the nun stepped in to redo it! I put away the sewing machine. Now I want to learn again and am so inspired by so many talented sewers such as yourself and other bloggers I follow. My problem is plain old unrealistic fear of starting to sew. I am collecting books, fabric, patters etc, but hardly any sewing. What I have sewn is only slightly better than the 1982 farmgirl frock. Any suggestions?

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  141. Gertie, just wondering if you include size 18 in your book patterns? Would love in your book sample fabric swatches of what a particular piece could be done. I love the sewing circle cause it shows theme and just the varied possibilities of fabric, patterns and color combos. I would love a tutorial on the beginners stuff. I was self taught and sometimes you just a small detail that could make your whole sewing experience so much better.

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  142. I'm not a beginner, but have friends who I know would love basic tutorials. Plus I always like to see how different people do things.

    As for books, I just finished reading Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. It isn't fashion history, but it has some amazing descriptions of clothes and I couldn't put it down.

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  143. I love your blog and follow it avidly, but I cannot sew, as a teenager I butchered an attempt to make a night shirt, in part due to measuring dishonesties too and a simple bag, all for school projects. My mother ended up finishing both projects and vowed never to let me near her machines again- but I love the idea, I've had a few tailors who I've loved but want to know how to do it myself. x

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  144. Please please please do a beginner's series. I've been reading your blog for so long and was so disappointed when I couldn't do the Lady Grey Sew Along. I still enjoyed all the posts about it but it really sucks always being so far behind the techniques you write about.

    Also, I just love your style.. both writing and fashion!

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  145. I've sewn on and off in the past, but I don't right now. My living situation is... not ideal right now, and I have no place to set up a machine, and no money to spend on fabric anyway. I'm in an unusual place for a beginner, I think, in that I know what fine work and a good fit is supposed to look like, but I don't have the skills to match.

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  146. "My boyfriend Colin Firth" Words out of my own mind :) The King's Speech is my new favorite.
    I've got my eyes on some Vouge dress Patterns since it looks like it's sales day @ McCalls.
    I've just started sewing (thanks to you Gertie!), so I'm still a beginner. Your blog is super helpful and inspiring. I can't think of any specific questions at the moment, everything's been pretty clean cut.

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  147. @Caitlin--
    First, let me say how sorry I am that you have had this experience, and know I will hold you in my thoughts at the end of this month, hoping your time in court is as free of trauma as is possible.
    I had hoped that questions of sexuality and seductiveness would have been removed from the issues of sexual assault. We have been fighting this battle for so long, and yet these same ridiculous arguments continue to come up, blaming victims for the actions of an aggressor. Maybe we need to change the name of the crime, so we don't have to entertain these horrible notions of "asking for it". We don't argue about who was asking for it when a man or woman is assaulted or killed, do we? How is it that adding the term "sexual" to the word assault makes us ponder these ideas of blame and fault?
    I know this could go on for days, but to sum up-- no, wearing a miniskirt doesn't make one a slut, and being a "slut" doesn't make one worthy of assault. Best of luck with the trial, and keep your chin up!

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  148. Hello! I'm a beginner sewist - I can thread my machine, and hem pants, but that's about it so far! I love your blog and your style and would love some beginner friendly posts.

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  149. I am knitting this weekend currently a summer cardigan, so I want to get it finished while there's still some summer in which to wear it!

    I am a beginner at sewing - I have managed to thread my machine, following the instructions, and can sew two pieces of fabric together in a basic straight(ish) seam. But that is it. I have recently bought a pattern and some fabric, but have not yet been brave enough to cut into anything.

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  150. Hi Gertie! I'd love to see some beginner's techniques and troubleshooting queries that are not covered in most How-To guides. I always hear things about tension on the machine being wrong, but for the life of me wouldn't know how to spot it or what to do to fix it! Also things like what the different feet on your sewing machine can be used for, or suggestions about sewing different kinds of fabric/what threads to use. A lot of this basic knowledge is missing from my brain!

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  151. Oh, and what is ease? How can I sew in sleeves without having them pucker at the top every time? D: Unless you help me I fear I'll be wearing sleeveless dresses for the rest of my life!

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  152. I know I'm late to the party on this one, but for my two cents...

    I do not sew... yet. I was shown how to thread a machine and topsew in school aged 12, but unforunately at the time I thought home economics was boring and pointless and chose to give it up as soon as possible (the choice being to pick two out of science, business and home ec).

    Much to my now-25-year-old self's surprise, turns out I love craftwork, cooking and baking, and all that jazz. Still love science too, though. So between my full time job and the postgraduate degree from hell, I currently have barely enough time to read this and a number of other pretty awesome blogs.

    Next year, though. Oh, bring on next year. Completed MSc in hand, I plan to indulge whatever creative side I can find, and will definitely be on the look for really basic tutorials. So I'm very excited about this plan! I haven't been reading your blog for long, but everything on it looks fabulous.

    I haven't seen the King's Speech, but so many people have told me how awesome it is, I think I'll have to put it on the list of things to do! I briefly lost faith in Colin Firth around the time of Bridget Jones 2, but am currently trying to mend our strained relationship :)

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  153. Hi Gertie! I only recently stumbled upon your blog. LOVE IT! I too am looking forward to your posts for beginner sewers. AND I really enjoy reading and viewing your how to videos on the more couture aspects of sewing/tailoring. As I read and watch it really gives me a sense that I too can do this. You (and others) make it seem so easy. I am one of those sewers who read tons but when it comes to actually going into my sewing room and making something it becomes overwhelming for me. I "need" to have everything else done like laundry, working out,clean the house, taxes...before I can concentrate on making something. I need someone to hold my hand so to speak. I do not know anyone that sews garments in my area. This weekend I FINALLY shorten the hems on my MIL's 4 tee shirts with my serger. I'm so intimidated with that machine! On the movie front I saw "I Am" at the theater Friday night http://www.iamthedoc.com/ A must see in IMHO. Sending out good vibes for a drier week ahead! Coleen

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  154. This is my first time commenting but i've been reading your blog for some time and love it. I am a (sort of) beginner sewist, I haven't done any sewing since 4th form (that would be about 8th grade to you Americans) and have forgotten almost everything I knew so would love beginner level sewing posts to get me back into it :)

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  155. I'd love to sew clothing but don't know where to start. I sew quilts, can thread a machine, etc. but clothing freaks me out, especially b/c I'm curvy and thus, want to sew with knits. Where to start? So, yes, please post!

    Also, Kings Speech- the love!

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  156. Hi Gertie, I've been reading your blog for about a year and a half and love it, but this is the first time I've made a comment. So although I'm not officially a "follower" of your blog, I make sure to read your posts every week.
    Every time I read a post I'm inspired to sew - but, alas, I am an absolute beginner. I own a machine and have managed to thread it (although I always refer to the manual) and I have made a few very wonky pillowcases. I would LOVE some absolute beginner tutorials, a place to start and build some confidence.

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  157. Yes to the beginner posts! I love the idea of sewing, can thread my machine, and then it all falls apart from there. So, yes, please!

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  158. I'm a few days behind, but love the idea of beginner sewing posts. My most recent project was pillows, but really, my mom did the whole thing with me, and all I had to do was sew straight lines. Not too complicated...

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  159. Wow, everyone LOVES Colin Firth! I saw a British film a couple of weeks ago called An Education - assume it's been out in the States? It's set in London in the early Sixties, so some great costumes and hair(check out Rosamund Pike's Chelsea girl!) and stars the dashing Peter Sarsgaard who I think has something of the young Firth about him in this film. I do recommend if you haven't already stumbled upon...

    This weekend I sewed a 1976 Butterick pattern for a cross over bodice dress in a paisley cotton. It's still early days, so I don't know if my various modifications are ill advised or not yet!

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  160. It's waaay past Friday, but I worked all weekend and am just now catching up on teh interwebs. And here's my book suggestion: Materializing Queer Desire: Oscar Wilde to Any Warhol, by Elisa Glick. I haven't read it yet, but it's an examination of the dandy as an iconic figure of the interplay between the public and private modes of consumption and desire that occur in and through capitalism. And the cover photo is of Dickon Edwards, another favorite blogger!

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  161. i am also a beginner and would love some posts that are directed at beginners. unfortunately i can't find any classes within my age group in my area and my family is no help. i've begun to try things out on my own but to no avail. but i will continue to try.

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  162. You Must watch Downton Abby. BBC costume drama that starts out with the sinking of the Titanic and ends with the start of WWII. Lots of plot and sub-plot lines, fully formed characters, beautiful dresses/interiors/exteriors...

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  163. The scene where Firth takes Zellweger into his arms in BJ's Diary is one of the sexiest on the screen.

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  164. This is late but I hope you still read it! I love, love, love your blog. I do not know how to sew but you are inspiring me to build up some confidence. I have a sewing machine (and can thread it) but other than straight-ish lines, I have no skills. It would be great if you could put up some 'first' project posts. I just read your work from home post and I need some cute dresses for chasing my daughter around the house in. Maybe you would be willing to pick and easy pattern and have a a sew-along for the sewing challenged!

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  165. Please do beginner posts! I love your blog and while I have sewn a few garments, I'm still kind of a "scared sewer."
    Do you have any thoughts about bust-cup alterations or cute patterns for those of us with a little more going on up top? That is definitely the biggest concern for me as a more busty lady. :)

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  166. I hope it isn't too late to contribute to this post. I don't sew but enjoy your enthusiasm and fun.

    What I'm looking for is information about fabric and what to look for in a well made garment. All too often I buy clothes with no clue of what to look for other than 'does this suit me'. Fashion blogs give very little guidance. I do find blogs written by men on men's clothing far better but of course irrelevant for me. For me the clothing of yesteryear offer quality as well as good design. Today you have to part with a king's ransom to purchase clothing that match. I wish I could sew but can't operate a machine. So sadly I can't enjoy this past time.

    Keep up the wonderful work.

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  167. So, I know I'm like a week late, but I have been away and I'm just catching up. I am not a new sewer, but my clothing sewing experience to date includes one self-drafted skirt that falls firmly in the "OK, but not good" category and a pair of shorts I don't even like to wear at home. My only true success would be a size 2T dress for my daughter. It had a split at the top and a button and loop closure, it just pulled on! I'd love to learn to make my own clothes, or at the very least alter RTW shirts.

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  168. I fall into the category of beginner. There was a period of about 2-3 days where I couldn't get my sewing machine to work because I had the sewing length and width dials backwards in my head and cloth wouldn't feed. That was before I had to re-thread it like 10 times to get the bobbin to feed properly. All is well now and I am working on my first ever skirt after making a few smaller projects, but beginner type stuff is definitely welcomed.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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