K is not in love with tennis camp. At least not in the way she was with skateboard camp. See that up there? That’s from this past weekend, and when she first started skateboarding about a couple of months ago, she could barely get a few inches up that ramp. Now she’ll glide all the way up and swivel turn down. She wants to go to the skate park whenever possible, and I might be biased, but I think she’s a natural. I wish I knew how to do stop motion with all my photos because she’s improved by leaps and bounds and can do tricks I couldn’t have even imagined.


We kitted her out with her very own board and accoutrements, and she’s looking legit. She even wants to cut her hair short so it’s easier to skate (she says her longer hair distracts her). As an overprotective mother, I wish she’d chosen something less heart-stopping to fall in love with. Things like this make me want to swaddle her in bubble wrap and to scatter foam blocks all over the place:


She tumbles over and over and over and over. Sometimes she’ll cry, but mostly she’ll sit it out for a while, contemplating how to do it better.


It’s called grit. And perseverance.


Falling is part of the game, and if you can get up and past it (safely, unbroken, please please please), you can reach higher and farther and better than you thought possible.


I learn so much from my little girl. I, for one, could use some grit.

P.S. She’s decided that the matcha shorts are cool, and now she has five handmade things she’s willing to wear. That green knit top is in serious heavy rotation.

Monday Outfit: Tennis (or Badminton) Whites


Good morning! Despite the rain, we powered through with our Fourth of July barbecue, and it was a jolly good time. We pitched in with the neighbors for a community ping pong table, which was a big hit at the party as expected.


So today, I’m sharing an entirely self-drafted tennis dress I’ve been plotting for a while. K is starting tennis camp this week, and it seemed imperative that I make an appropriate outfit. Tennis holds a very special spot in my heart; about five billion years ago as a high schooler, I remember inexplicably wanting to join the tennis team the summer after my sophomore year. It didn’t matter that I’d never played the sport before — when I set my mind to do something, I don’t give up easily. One of my best friends had just made it onto the boys’ varsity tennis team, so I talked him into practicing with me. Almost every day, in the sweltering, smog-filled summer air of Los Angeles, he volleyed with me, patiently teaching me how to serve, how to slice the ball with my backhand, how to strategize. Thanks entirely to him, I aced the tryouts and made it onto the girls’ varsity team.


I loved tennis. But my serves were so forceful and erratic that my doubles partner would step off to the side of the court so as not to get hit by the balls that were so frequently off-the-mark. I’ve pummeled many a partner in the hindquarters, which as you can imagine didn’t make me a very popular partner.

Propelled by my obsession with the sport, my first long-term job in high school was at a tennis store near my school, where the unconventional owner decided that a sixteen-year-old should be the manager of the clothing department (that would be me). It was there that I expressed a surprising rebellion. The store uniform was to wear classic white tennis skirts — you know, the super short kind. That was not okay with me, though it had less to do with feminism and more with self-consciousness. Part of the job entailed climbing frighteningly high, rickety ladders to access tennis shoes stored at the topmost area near the ceiling, and I didn’t want people (especially the cute guys stringing the rackets) ogling up my skirt. I refused to wear the skirt but conceded to wear denim Agassi shorts like the boys. No other female employee had ever refused, so I was quite pleased with my trailblazing ways.

There was also that time when the owner tasked me with depositing a boatload of cash and told me to take his jeep. I’d only just gotten my driver’s permit and didn’t know exactly how to drive a stick shift, but I figured, “How hard can it be?” It was a nightmare, and I still shake my head in disbelief that the owner let me take his car without adult supervision and that I somehow managed to drive the thing like a bucking horse to the bank and back. But I digress.


The point is that in addition to the dress, I had to make matching shorts to wear underneath. These were self-drafted as well. I wanted K to use her actual tennis racket as a prop, but it was so huge that it threw off the proportions of things too much, so I switched it out with the daintier badminton racket.


The fabric is a french terry from here (it doesn’t seem to be available online), and I didn’t realize that the fabric was in a tube until I started drafting my pattern. I used a 7-inch yellow zipper and the binding is more of the denim knit that I used for last week’s top. I had cut up a bunch of bias tapes for future use, and I’m glad I did.


K likes it a lot, though she was puzzled by the zipper in the front. She insisted that it should be in the back:


For an extra clean and neat finish, I hand-stitched the bias binding, and I think the accent color really pops. It took forever, but I stitched while watching Orphan Black– a reader suggestion and now I’m completely hooked (thank you Deana!) — so time went quickly. The show is so so good! Unlike K, I’m loving the sporty look of the exposed zipper in the front, and you’d think that by now, I would have this whole exposed zipper action down. I’d promised Asmita a tutorial, and surprise surprise, I discovered that I’m doing it all wrong, so I’m including a couple of video tutorials done right here and here. These two excellent tutorials will yield a much more professional-looking finish than my method, which is slapdash at best. To speed things up, you could do away with the interfacing, since I haven’t used interfacing and the zippers have been fine on the sturdier fabrics.


So happy. This dress came out exactly the way I envisioned it, and that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Hooray! K’s now all ready for tennis camp, and she’s pumped!

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Fourth of July! We’re celebrating with our neighbors as is our annual tradition and I can’t wait to watch the fireworks. The city closes down certain streets in our neighborhood for fireworks-viewing and throngs of people spread blankets on the road and settle in to watch the sky show held above the lake. That exciting, mildly illicit feeling of getting away with something courses through us when we sit smack dab in the middle of the street.

***************************************** tells me that the Skirt Book Giveaway winner is Ginger, congrats! Lots of introverts with a sprinkling of extroverts, it turns out.



It’s been an eventful week. I’m always a little torn when writing about encounters with blogging friends and readers I’ve gotten to know through this blog space…it ends up feeling a little gloat-y, but at the same time, I can’t stop marveling at how genuine friendships have developed with people from around the globe. Not a lot of folks understand this obsession with sewing and crafting, so when I have the chance to gab about seam allowances and indie patterns and stitching tips and tricks, well — it’s pretty magnificent. This week, I was delighted to meet the awesome Lucinda (lucky duck, she just won the Japanese hoodie sew-along hosted by Elsie Marley and You and Mie), who is enormously talented and has been a bedrock of encouragement and support from almost the very beginning of my blogging shenanigans. She happened to be in Seattle for a family reunion, and just as I imagined, it was as though we’ve known each other for years when we found ourselves face-to-face (or at least it was that way for me). That gorgeous plant cozy is her handiwork, naturally, and she is unfailingly generous. She even brought a gift for K! Thank you, Lucinda – I had so much fun!!


K on body hair:

Mama, it’s not fair. I wish I looked more like you and was less hairy. Man, Daddy DNA strikes again*.

*Poor M, he’s such a good sport and able to laugh at himself that he’s often the brunt of jokes. Anytime anything goes wrong or is weird, we have a habit of yelling out “Daddy DNA!”


Wishing you a lovely, lovely weekend, friends!

Fireworks tonite
The sky will glow wondrously
Punctuates summer

Sewing for Me: McCall’s 6751


Ikat. Something happens to me when the temperature rises, and I long to wear ikat. That’s a pretty nifty back, right? Can I just tell you that I continuously bias bound the entire top portion all the way around the neckline and the cross over straps and arm holes, and I believe that bias tape was at least 6 feet long?  It was taller than me, at any rate (I’m 5’4″).

From the front, it looks like a plain ole tank, made in a lovely chevron-patterned ikat that I got from here ages ago:


I’m pretty keen on the back, a rather modern take on the pinafore:


This is McCall’s 6751. I’m not sure why it looks so fitted on the model because this is definitely a loose tank top. I cut the size M and it has plenty of ease. Also, the instructions offer up the option to just fold over the edges all around instead of using bias binding, and that might account for why the straps are so much thinner and the keyhole much bigger in the envelope image. I’m glad my keyhole is tiny since it makes for an undergarment-friendly top. Well, when I say undergarment-friendly, I mean strapless-bra-friendly.


This pattern requires only two pieces (and endless amounts of bias tape), so it was a pretty quick project. I decided to be smart and added three inches to the hem because I always forget to account for my lengthy torso. But I only did that for the front bodice piece and completely forgot about the back (so much for being smart). Not to worry, I just rounded out the edges of the front bodice so now it’s even more reminiscent of the Wiksten:


It actually worked out great, and I love the length of the front piece. The back length isn’t too shabby either. Lo-Hi! This style will spread like wild fire, I’m sure. Overall, I like this top very much, but I’ll admit to being in a hurry to finish it since I had to get K from camp and thought I could whip it out in the scant two hours I had available. That bias tape killed me. Clip and grade your curved seams, my friends, as our wise maven of excellent sewing tutorials tells us. Otherwise, you end up with a neckline that doesn’t lay flat like mine and it outs you as a sloppy home sewer. Fortunately, it’s not too noticeable, but the other lesson in this is never to rush your sewing projects. Still, I’ll chalk this one up as a semi-success, and I think I might give this top a go in a jersey knit next time. What do you think?

Sewing Plans for K


Now that both K’s and my wardrobes are entirely DIY’d (incidentally, am I the only one who has trouble saying DIY aloud? I always want to pronounce it “Dee-Ee-Why”), I find myself sketching a lot of potential sewing projects. I deviate from my plans more often than not, especially with K’s stuff, but it’s helpful to consider the holes in her wardrobe so that I’m not spending time on yet another linen dress that will never see the light of day.

What she needs are shorts, and lots of them. All the ones I made last year are beyond risque at this point, and Hooters will be dropping off an application for her at any moment. She also needs a mountain of knit clothing, but I might throw in some cotton too (preferably white eyelet). By the end of summer, I might be a knit expert. We’ll see. Almost everything in the image up there I plan to make in stretchy substrate; some are from Japanese sewing books, others I intend to draft myself. I hope to post them (and a few others I have in the works but didn’t sketch) in the coming weeks. I’m extra motivated to sew like a madwoman to have an easy-to-pack set of clothes for our upcoming Indiana trip. Wovens, as beautiful as they can be, are a pain to travel with.

While we’re on the topic of self-drafted clothes, K has officially put in her request for this year’s birthday dress (it’s coming up at the end of the month! How????). Last year, I wasn’t able to carry out my mission because I just couldn’t risk messing up a perfectly lovely all-white dress. Here’s her sketch for this year:


She explained that it’s to be an all-black dress with fireworks and moons and stars. She wants it to be a Macgyver dress with sleeves that can be long, medium or short, adjustable via a piece of thread attached to the sleeve edge (?). And then there’s some doohicky that makes a cape appear out of nowhere. It sounds complicated and a touch beyond my skill level.

Shall we place bets on how many I’ll actually get done (not including the bday dress)? I’m guesstimating five things between now and July 12th, when we set foot on the plane.

P.S. Surprisingly, I’m sticking pretty faithfully to my own sewing plans!

Summer Reading List


I’ve always had an insatiable appetite for reading, but up until the third grade, I only read Japanese comic books outside of school assignments. Japanese was my first language, and I learned to read it when I was itty bitty thanks to my mom’s ardent training. She made these crazy felt animal letter books and a giant phonetic sound board — under my mother’s tutelage, learning Japanese was a lot of fun. In fact, even though I was born in the heart of L.A., I had very little command of the English language until I started kindergarten.

My parents would take me to the Kinokuniya bookstore in downtown Los Angeles at the beginning of every month, and there, waiting in shrink-wrapped glory were my beloved “Ribon” and “Margaret” comic books. They were girly publications, each about the size of a phone book (remember those?). Bursting with sweet and innocent illustrated stories of romantic love and friendships and rivalry and the occasional martial arts or bizarre alien tale, it took a good two or three hours for me to read through the entire tome. I learned a lot about Japanese culture and history and gained a skewed perspective on heterosexual relationships (females should be subservient and wear mini skirts at all times; no one was ever gay, though cross-dressers were plentiful). What made them extra special were these things called “Furoku”, which were essentially swag bags of cuteness overload. Stationery, stickers, pens, little illustrated recipe books…each month, something different came with the books. I’ll never forget the style how-to book that confidently stated that lace ankle socks should be worn with cropped jeans. I treasured the furoku and read the books over and over and over.

In the third grade, it all changed. Mr. Noble — my teacher —  called me forth one day, which scared me to no end. I was a good student, but a quiet one, never one to raise my hand to answer questions unprompted. Whether I knew it or not, I had swallowed whole much of the Japanese comic book female stereotypes — except for the mini skirts. My mother would have killed me.


“Do you like to read?” he asked me. “Yes?” I squeaked, unable to tell him that I didn’t actually read much in English. He looked at me gently and said, “Try reading more at home, your world will open up in unimaginable ways. Books are magic.” I already knew that, of course, and I wasn’t sure why he was telling me this. I still can’t figure out why he took me aside that day to tell me specifically that, but teachers often took me aside so I’ve never questioned it. I worshipped Mr. Noble and hoped to marry someone like him one day. If he told me to go shave my head and tattoo a question mark on my scalp, I probably would have done it. Nowadays my memory of him is vague: dark hair, glasses, a rotund physique. A deep, comforting voice that made me feel like everything might turn out okay. He provided a sense of ease — a foreign concept to a child of immigrants attending the fourth school in the same number of years. He laughed a lot, and I liked that.

A few days later I went to the local library and filled out a form for a card. Back then there were no electric barcode scanners and librarians still stamped the due date on the little manila-colored, lined sheet of paper glued to the inside cover. Wooden card catalogs lined the walls and people actually used them. I remember feeling self-conscious about my book choices as the librarian stamped away (preteen horror and Sweet Valley High) , but once I settled into my bed at home surrounded by my new hoard of borrowed books and well-worn comics, I felt that ease and knew everything would turn out okay. And as Mr. Noble promised, my world opened up.

Books are magic, even the bad and scary ones, and decades later I still read every day. In the past couple of years I’ve stopped buying books, except on my birthday. To celebrate my birth, I stocked up on a few new sewing books and the ones above: Goldfinch, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, The Hidden Child and Wildwood Imperium (Carson Ellis is one of my favorite illustrators). Surrounded by books: my idea of paradise. Do you have any good book recommendations? I’d love to know. I’ll add it to my to-buy-list for my next birthday (or check it out of the library)!

Monday Outfit: Scraps Tank + Matcha Shorts


Good morning! At last, I have something made from scratch that’s K-sized to share — it was getting to the point where even K was starting to wonder when I was going to make clothes for her again. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to mention that K made that necklace with fake pearl buttons and a bell, and is so very pleased. I think she might be starting a trend.

A bonafide Monday Outfit this week: I wanted to sew from this knits-based book, and I was specifically looking for an A-line tank. It would have been easy to draft, but I don’t know — there’s something about the way the Japanese patterns are drafted that makes the fit perfect for K. I love that this book concentrates on stretchy fabric, but I haven’t used it much for some reason. I had somehow completely bypassed this spread in previous perusals and was excited to see the exact style I was looking for:


Those bloomers didn’t appeal to me, and I guess I didn’t notice the cute combo on the right. The pocket placements aren’t my thing so that might be another reason I glossed over it. I’m picky, picky, picky…


I hunted for some summer-y fabric, and then stumbled upon a small remnant of the denim knit that I’ve used time and time again. I thought I’d used up every possible inch, but hallelujah, not the case! I didn’t have quite enough though, and then found a scrap of much loved stripes. An accidental color-block tank was born, and I want one for myself.


I also traced and cut out the shorts pattern, but wasn’t feeling any of the fabrics from my now limited jersey knits supply, and turned to wovens. This is a Moda linen-blend fabric called “Mochi” in chartreuse, the color of matcha tea. It’s such a shot of happy, don’t you think?


For the second time (only because being the habitual creature that I am, I keep forgetting to use the method), I inserted the neck band flat a la Andrea of Four Square Walls whose mastery of knits is so impressive, and it looks fantastic. M couldn’t quite understand why I was so excited about a neckband, but that’s husbands for you. I bound my armholes my normal way, just because I like the look better for armholes. Here’s a random close-up of the stripey knit portion:


I can’t overstate how much I love this top. I’m not sure that the textures are coming across onscreen, but I think it looks extremely high-end and stylish in person. The way it swings and fits on K…sigh. I wish clothes would fit on me like that.


K concurred that the top is smashing, but she’s not into the shorts. Nope. Something about not liking shorts that look like skirts…


Still, she wore the outfit for the rest of the day without complaints, so the shorts must not be too bad. She did, however, insist on wearing them low on her hips gangsta style. As an aside, lately, K is having more and more trouble figuring out the front and back of the garments I make, so I’ve started stitching in little strips of ribbon to indicate the back:


I have yards and yards of pretty linen ribbons and they come in handy.


Even though K is less than thrilled with the shorts, this might be one of my favorite summer outfits. She seems to be warming up to it too…


P.S. I was playing with my camera setting and was trying for a dreamy quality. Some might argue they’re all just blurry, and okay, that point might have some legitimacy…

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! A week ago, M, K and I piled into our intrepid car and drove an hour and a half east to Central Washington. Destination: Roslyn, WA. A former coal mining town, it became a surprising tourist draw when the 90s hit show Northern Exposure was filmed there. They even have a Northern Exposure festival every year.

This was a big deal for us because we really don’t take very many vacations.


We stayed in a most charming Bed and Breakfast called The Huckleberry House. M and I used to drive up to Roslyn from time to time pre-K. Sadly, the owners are thinking of closing the business, so we feel lucky that we squeezed in before the closure. Temperatures were hot but not scorching and we biked, swam and read books:


It was a little magical — maybe even more than a little. We slept in a king-sized bed all together, squished like polar bears. We had lots of coffee shop breaks, because that’s what we do. When we went to rent bikes, the store owner didn’t have a small enough bike for K, so he called upon the towns folk, and several people rallied and rustled up a battered pink two-wheeler. Community spirit, it’s still alive. We got lost on a gravel trail while searching for the way to the river, then cut across farmland and got lost again. We never found the river, but ate trail mix near the Suncadia resort. On our way out of town, we meandered through the Farmer’s market and I got a bag of my favorite Rainier cherries.

roslyn5 roslyn2

We have no travel plans this weekend, and it took me all this while to unpack the small amount of luggage we took with us last week. I’m enjoying memory bursts from our little getaway as I store toiletries back into the closet, fold laundry, place the books we read on our shelf.


K could not get enough of skateboard camp this week – I’m shocked! She skated for almost 6 hours per day! We promised her very own skateboard if she still liked it at the end of the week, so we’re off to go shopping.

Mama, I want the kind of wheels that glow in the dark. Or wait, maybe the ones that make cool sounds. I hear they’re only two or three dollars.

I wish. I had no idea that there were all these specialized wheels…it’s a whole new world.


Have a delightful weekend, friends! I plan to sew and sew and sew…

Another trip planned
We will head out to Indy*
Must sew summer garb

*M was able to get a week off from work, so we’ll be visiting family in the midwest in a couple of weeks!

Sewing for Me: Tuttle Book Reviews + Giveaway! [CLOSED]


More pictures of me, yes. I’m trying to hold back from apologizing because after a certain point, you just gotta go forth boldly with this whole sewing-for-self-and-taking-selfies-and-posting-them-online gig, even if it feels like your face is plastered all over the place already and giving people nightmares. But I promised the good folks at Tuttle Publishing to review a couple of pre-release Japanese Sewing Books translated into English that they kindly sent me, and here we are.


While these two books retain the simple and clean aesthetic of the genre, I have to say they are surprisingly unlike the other Japanese books I’ve sewn from. They’re rather fabulous. I’m going to go ahead and talk about both lovelies today, and bonus for you: I’ll be giving away one of the books!


Let’s start with the Basic Black book. I’m not sure I would go so far as edgy in reference to the designs, but every item in the book is sewn in black and that’s definitely unique. I selected this “tunic” top for it’s curvy silhouette and boat neck detail (and okay, because it had no closures and looked super easy). Naturally, I was compelled to sew it in black — I think it’s some kind of suiting? There’s a good amount of stretch in the fabric but wasn’t finicky in the least. Here’s what it looks like in the book:


Along with an infinite number of other things that I’m picky about, I just don’t feel comfortable pulling off the lace flutter sleeve look. I don’t disagree that lace trimmings on garments are awesome, but I think using the word “girl” here sets the tone that this is a garment meant for young’uns, hence reinforcing my discomfort. What really fascinated me about this top, though, is that the recommended fabric for the main bodice front and back is fleece. How unexpected!


As you can see, I made it without the lace, and I cut out the Medium/Large (this top only comes in either small or medium/large), and I may have been able to get away with the small with some added length. My boatneck became more of a cowl and there’s an awful lot of underarmage showing. As I’d predicted, this was such an easy, quick sew and you know, I think it’s quite fetching. It says, “I’m versatile and comfy and hey, I’d look grand with a cardi and scarf.”

This book is fantastic! As I flipped through it, I kept thinking “Oh, I want to make that! And that one! And definitely that one!” Like so:

basic-black-book2 basic-black-book5 basic-black-book4

I’m especially fond of the zip-up vest (there’s a jacket version too), and this is a must-sew for autumn. I’m also loving the more body-fitting garments like that top above, though to be sure, there’s an abundance of the loose garbs the Japanese are known for. I declare Basic Black a winner!


Shall we talk about skirts? The Stylish Skirts book, in particular? I should briefly mention that this book is no longer in pre-release mode and is available at this time. Anyway, I may have pooh-poohed skirts in the past, but I plumb forgot about maxi skirts. I could wear nothing but maxi skirts and be perfectly content.


So the radically different thing about this book is that there are no pattern sheets. You can see a sampling of the skirts included in the book above, and as I browsed through the styles, trying to decide which one to sew, it finally hit me that the instructions were for drafting the skirt patterns from scratch.


This was the skirt I was instantly drawn to, and wouldn’t you know it, it also happened to only require rectangles and I didn’t even realize that until I focussed on the construction steps. I swear, I’m not that lazy. The pictured skirt is made out of black lace, but I dug up some crinkly navy cotton/knit fabric that I thought would work well:


It looks a little like georgette, but isn’t quite as sheer or light — it’s also stretchier. I don’t like ties around my waist, so I just made it a simple elasticized waistband.


Perhaps because I started the skirt late at night, it took me a lot longer than I estimated, but it’s an utterly straightforward skirt to sew, and I really, really like it. Maybe even love it. It’s casual with interesting bits (there are varying sized panels gathered in different parts of the skirt), and it’s an ideal summer item. Maxi skirts are the best.


I’m so pleased with both pieces, and now for the good stuff: the giveaway. I’m obviously way too smitten with the Basic Black book to part ways with it (it will be available for purchase in July), but the Stylish Skirts book is up for grabs! This book has a lot to offer too, including some funky and unconventional styles, but I’m still not much of a skirt person unless it’s practically sweeping the floors, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to hold onto it.

So the giveaway question…earlier this week, I took a walk with a friend and the subject of introverts/extroverts came up. We both agreed that we are a little bit introverted, but don’t feel like classic, text-book versions. A mixtrovert, if you will. K and M are fully, whole hog extroverts, and I always marvel at how they derive so much energy from being around people all. the. time. I need alone time to re-charge, but I like to be around people for the most part.

So how about you? Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Or if you’re a mix, which way do you lean? Please leave a comment with your answer. The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, July 3rd, and I’ll announce the winner on the Fourth of July! International participants are welcome, of course. Good luck!!

Let’s Talk About Fit


So I’ve been sewing for a while. A quick glance through the archives will tell you that my style has been predominantly muu muu meets prenatal wear when sewing for myself: comfortable, easy, fairly shapeless, ideal for all-you-can-eat-buffets. I absolutely love my potato sacks, and one of the things I’ve discovered about myself through sewing is that I am not the perfectionist that I thought I was. Thread not matching exactly? Eh. Pocket placement out of alignment? Whatever. Skirt waist doesn’t fit all that well? That’s what belts are for!

But over the years I’ve been quietly collecting books and resources for understanding fit — it’s something that feels daunting and complicated for my spatially challenged mind that barely passed geometry and trig. I’m not planning on whipping up a corset anytime soon (or ever), but my recent toe-dipping into drafting my own patterns made me want to truly understand how to alter patterns to better mold to my body. I’m not looking to create body-skimming outfits; rather, I want to have the know-how to deal with the weird gape that happens between my shoulder and armpit, to once and for all get a handle on doing a proper FBA, etc.

My collection of books on fit is far from complete, and I’m always on the lookout for good ones. The internet is a treasure trove, of course, and I’ve heard that there are some good classes offered through Craftsy and Creative Bug. I have a lot of resources at my fingertips, but I still haven’t plunged into the learning part of the equation, and I think it’s high time.

Below, I’ve listed the resources that I know of by books and online classes – I’m guessing that there are amazing youtube videos out there too. I’m very much a visual learner and love picture-heavy books and videos. And of course, there’s the actual doing and practicing. That’s probably how I learn best, by diving in and through trial and error. If you have any suggestions for gaining mastery of fit, I’d love to hear them and will add them here to make it my go-to resource page for all things fit-related!



Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto – The cover is quite unfortunate, but this is touted as a classic and is highly rated.

Dress Making for Real Women by Lorna Knight - The illustrations look very clear and understandable in this one.

Perfectly Fitted by Lynne Garner – I’m quite intimidated by the draping method in this book, but I’m eager to learn more. I like that variations to basic patterns are offered (e.g. different sleeve options to add to a top).

Pattern Cutting Made Easy by Gillian Homan – This book isn’t actually specifically about fit, but more about drafting pattern pieces. You do, however, glean some insights into adjusting the patterns in different ways.

The Pattern Making Primer by Jo Barnsfield and Andrew Richards – Claiming to be the “ultimate resource for pattern making”, this book appeals the most visually to me. The clean, simple illustrations with lots of white space and clothing samples that don’t look too dated, I’m excited to devour this one.

The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction by Christine Haynes – This is more of a basic how-to, but the instructions appear to be excellent and the contributor list is impressive (Sarai of Colette Patterns is one of them). It’s a new book that just came out.

Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch – (Not shown) This is a good introduction to pattern drafting, and I used it for the first time last week. I love it!

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen - (Not shown) I don’t own this book (yet) but it looks right up my alley with lots of visual instructions!

How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter – (Not shown) This was recommended on Coletterie, and might have to become part of my library too!

Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zimmerman  - (Not shown) This one looks promising too!




Craftsy - This is the general link to fitting classes, and listed below are the ones I’m interested in. The classes are on the pricey side ($40 – $50 per class), but you can do a free trial for a limited time.

Sew the Perfect Fit

Custom Fitting: Back, Neck and Shoulders

Fast Track Fitting

Sewing Knits that Fit

Sewing Designer Jeans

Custom Fitting: Waist and Hips


Creative Bug - The offerings are less for sewing on Creative Bug it seems, but the inimitable Liesl has a couple of courses that look good. They have a subscription-based model and also offer an a la carte option. Some free classes too!
Dart Manipulation with Liesl Gibson
Bust Adjustment with Liesl Gibson

Skillshare – There are a couple of garment fitting classes offered through Skillshare at this time and both are taught by former Project Runway contestants. Like the others, a free trial membership lures you in, and the subscription is about $10/month.

Garment Construction: Introduction to Draping with Anya Ayoung Chee

Make Your Own Clothing: Introduction to Garment Construction by Joshua McKinley


Let me know if you know of other (preferably free) excellent resources!