Sewing PJs

(Sewing-themed PJs, that is, not that I’m sewing actual PJs, sadly.)

A quick note that Target (US) is currently selling women’s pajamas with a sewing-themed print. They’re pink and the fabric has sewing machines, thread, shears, pincushions, snaps, hooks and eyes, buttons, embroidery thread, straight pins and safety pins…you name it, it’s probably on there. I couldn’t resist when I saw them in store, even though I don’t usually wear this style of PJs. I thought some of you fellow sewing nuts might appreciate them too.

Here’s the link to the Target page – the official color of the sewing ones is ‘pouty pink’: Nick & Nora PJ set.

Buying digital patterns from Knipmode

Note for all you Knipmode fans: you can now buy PDF patterns from their website and pay using Paypal. Although the website still looks the same, the backend has clearly changed, because the process for buying patterns is quite different from the last time I did it (last year sometime, I think). I read, on the Pattern Review boards, something about the publishing company that used to print Knipmode going out of business, and Knipmode being taken over by a new publisher. Presumably all the changes are due to that.

Unfortunately, it’s still not that easy to browse previews of the magazine or to browse the digital patterns. But at least it’s possible, with some patience and Google Translate open in another tab, to buy PDF patterns, and pay for them with Paypal if you want (credit cards are also an option, but international purchasing can get weird with those sometimes).

Keep in mind that the PDFs are sized for A4 paper/printers – if you’re printing on 8.5×11, you can shrink the instructional pages so they’ll fit on the page. But make sure not to do that for the pattern pieces, or your pattern won’t be the right size – printing A4 on 8.5×11 at 100% will crop off the top and bottom of each page just a little bit, but in my experience not so much that you won’t be able to figure out how the pattern goes together. (Note to self: figure out if my printer will print on A4 and get some A4 paper.)

Plus ca change

I’ve been under the weather, and I have spent an alarming amount of time sprawled on the couch reading the GOMI forums on my iPad. Now, if you don’t know about GOMI I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading it, especially if you’re an “accentuate the positive” kind of person. But their crafting forums, in particular, have some spot-on and needed critiques of sewing and crafting blogs.

The whole thing got me thinking about how much the sewing blogosphere has changed since I started sewing (and blogging, sort of). There’s a lot more ‘monetization’, as the kids call it, and a lot more blogs by people who are blogging as part of their business or in order to get affiliate money. The flowering of “I just sew and wanted to share” blogs that happened 5 or so years ago is well over, with a few grizzled veterans hanging on.

I side-eye a lot of Pattern Review’s policies, and their forum software is truly from the last century (the recent ‘site redesign’ is the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig, as my grandmother used to say). But there are people who post there who have been sewing a long time and know their techniques cold, and that’s why I still am active there, because there’s actual useful content. Not a $15 PDF pattern sold online by someone who just started sewing six months ago, or a poorly-written tutorial by someone who really doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I’m a mediocre sewer at best, but I’m well aware of that fact, which is why I still have this free blog and don’t pretend I’m some kind of expert. In retrospect it makes me sad to think about how much time I’ve spent reading/discussing sewing on the internet rather than actually sewing.

Sewing sales

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a good Thanksgiving. I happened to notice that there are several sales going on of interest to crafty folks, Thanksgiving-related or not, and I wanted to post quickly about it before they all expired. Black Friday deals are all well and good, but what we sewers want is pattern and fabric sales, am I right?

Without further ado:

  • Sewaholic is celebrating four years in business with a 20% off sale through the weekend, with code FOURYEARS
  • Everything at Grainline Studio is 20% off with code GIVETHANKS
  • All patterns at are 1.49 until Monday
  • All fabric 10% off at Emma One Sock, no code needed
  • StyleArc is now selling PDF patterns via Etsy, and until the end of the month everything is 20% off with code SOMANYTILES
  • All classes at Craftsy are $19.95
  • And on a cooking note, the recipe manager/meal planning website Plan to Eat is having their annual Black Friday sale, with 50% all annual subscriptions. You can get a 30 day free trial without giving your credit card info, if you want to try it out first.

The season of pumpkin spice has begun

Flypaper thoughts, ala Barbara @ Sewing on the Edge (true confession, I couldn’t remember her blog URL, and couldn’t find it in my blog reader that quickly, so I Googled ‘Babs sewing blog Miss Scarlett Canada’ and lo and behold, one of her blog posts was the third result):

  • I went to Artistry in Fashion last weekend. It was OK. I always feel bad that I’m the only spanner in the works regarding Artistry in Fashion, as there’s always such a positive vibe about it in blogs or on Pattern Review. It’s just that in the years that I’ve been attending, every year there’s less and less raw materials sold, and more and more finished items. This year there was only the button stand, and one stand selling vintage textiles, trim, buttons and a few patterns. Oh yeah, and the Park Bench Patterns lady was there selling finished pieces as well as her backlog of printed patterns – apparently she’s retiring and not going to be visiting shows anymore, or designing any more patterns. Everything else was independent designers selling clothes, jewelry, bags, etc. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, I’m just not the audience for it. If I’m going to wear something art-to-wear, it’s because I made it myself. I did go to the Pati Palmer ‘fashion show’ and that was cool to see. I’ve added a few additional McCalls to my ginormous list of things I should sew.
  • I’ve got a review of a slow cooker book in the next issue of the San Francisco Book Review. Sadly I haven’t actually made anything from it yet, particularly as it’s still really warm here and stews aren’t really the thing. I’ve got tons of the recipes bookmarked, though, so hopefully soon there’ll be a Food Friday with one or more of them.
  • I went to a WordPress meetup the other day in preparation of moving this blog to its own domain, which I’ve been wanting to do for years but have put off. Part of it is that I’m hesitant to combine the different parts of my online life – until now I’ve kept my sewing stuff separate from my writing life separate from my personal friends and family. Anybody have any strategies for how you do it?
  • This weekend I’m off to a writing conference, then the next weekend we’re heading to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding, then we’ve got family visiting the next week. Sometime around Halloween I should be able to take a breath again.

Wow, this blog has been a wasteland recently, huh? I have found that buying clothes that fit is so much easier now that I have lost weight, so sewing for necessity just hasn’t needed to happen. And sewing for fun/curiosity has gotten pushed down the life list thanks to some other projects that I’m involved in. The most I’ve done since Christmas has been to clean up my sewing area (a bit) and buy the newest two Knipmode magazines.

Pattern Review is sponsoring a ‘new to you’ pattern contest; from mid Feb-mid Mar, sew a pattern from a line you’ve never used before. I am tempted. I’ve made something from Knipmode and LMB, so those are out, but I could finally make my Cake Hummingbird, or one of the Deer & Doe Plantain tees (free!) that’s sweeping the sew-o-blog-o-sphere, or maybe kick it up a notch and try one of the free patterns from Marfy (sleeveless top, skirt and jacket) that Leisa @ A Challenging Sew has been running a sewalong for. That’s not even mentioning the new collection from Named, a new indie PDF outfit from Finland. Their first collection last fall only went up to size 44 and was one-sized, but now all their patterns go up to size 46 (41/34.5/44″ bust/waist/hip) and are multi-sized nested, which I find really handy since I am a size bigger on the bottom half. I really dig the Selja Knot Tee, an interesting minimalist offshoot of all the twist tees of a few years ago.

We’re all doomed, aka progress on Knipmode 9/2013 #9

I read an article recently about one of the machine learning programs at Google, where they’ve programmed some computers to try to figure out how to identify and tag digital photographs, without the aid of human beings. A scientist working there was quoted as saying that the program’s gotten really good at IDing photos, but they’re not really sure how – it’s layered algorithm on algorithm to the point that humans don’t really know how it works anymore. So, just FYI: Google has created Skynet, and pretty soon we’re all going to be running away from humanoid machines. Where’s John Connor when you need him?

I thought of this the other day when I was using Google Translate to translate the instructions for my newest Knipmode project, ‘Trui #9’ from September’s issue. I’ve learned, in my Knipmode adventures, that the Dutch word for stitch is also the word for suffocate, and Google Translate used to always translate it as the latter. Now, if you put it in a sentence that includes other sewing-type words, like seam, it’s smart enough to figure out it likely means stitch instead. See what I mean about Skynet?

The top is a basic darted raglan with a loose fit, and I want to use it to make a ‘dressy sweatshirt’ of the type seen in fashion magazines and stores recently. The plan for the final version is to use a piece of Japanese cotton my parents brought back from Japan for me a few years ago as the feature fabric on the front, combined with a gray sweater knit for the rest of the top. Test run #1 is finished but the hems, and is wearable, but I punked out of putting on the shaped neckline facings and did a binding instead, which doesn’t look quite right. Test run #2 is partially constructed and is awaiting a day when I’m feeling very mellow to tackle the facings (again – I already tried it once and failed horribly; second round is gonna be interfaced!).