Itching to Start Stitching?

With the Urban Self Reliance workshops in full swing, it’s easy to pick up sewing skills at many Seattle Public Library branches during the month of October. For instance, SewUpSeattle leads a ‘Costume Repair and Swap’ at the Ballard branch Monday, October 29 at 5pm and Capitol Hill branch on Saturday, October 20 at 1:30pm. Bring a costume — or costume-worthy clothing — to remake, repair or simply trade in. It’s a spook-tacular occasion to scare up a new Halloween costume.

As a tailor, sewing was a skill my mother had in spades. I never picked up more than just the basics. Not a problem—the library has a slew of books on sewing, creative stitching and other techniques, from simple and straightforward, to intricate and avant-garde. With Halloween just around the corner, solve your costume dilemma by digging into the library collection and joining SewUpSeattle’s ‘Costume Repair and Swap’ for hands-on tips and ideas.  Check the library events calendar for more details.

For more information on sewing and costumes, here are a few library offerings:

Skirts can be oh-so-flattering and fun to wear. But how to create your own unique skirt? Flirt Skirts starts with three basic types of skirt: the A-Line, Pencil and Flare. From there, authors Patti Gilstrap and Servyn Potter branch out into customizing and stylizing. They dish up 20 designs altogether, and include patterns and templates. They helpfully recommend which particular type skirts look best on different types of figures.

For the adventurous, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi can be enchanting and challenging. Nakamichi spells out how the relationship between the flat pattern pieces and the three-dimensional structure of the garment actually never changes. Other concoctions in the book include how to build a flare concealed in a curve and how to make a basic jabot-style frill.

I Wanna Make My Own Clothes, with its inviting and colorful illustrations by Azadeh Houshyar, is delightfully inspiring. Kids with little or no sewing experience will be drawn to the easy-to-make projects, all of which require no sewing machine. Author Clea Hantman makes it clear that you need “imagination, a touch of patience, a small box of supplies… and tough thumbs.” Sewing basics and supplies are covered, as well.

Pretty Little Pillows helps the needleworker conquer ho-hum pillows.  Lark Books has compiled a variety of charming, colorful projects from 18 designers featuring unique takes on the standard decorative couch or bed pillow. Designers tackle many techniques, including applique, embroidery, trapunto and smocking.

Subversive Seamster shows you how to revamp icky, outdated thrift store apparel. This book has oodles of fun projects that use off-the-wall patterns, fabrics and colors.  Transform a pair of old man pants into winsome cuffed shorts or turn a button down shirt into a plucky cowgirl shirt. Yee-haw! It includes chapters on sewing basics and how to sniff out the best stuff at the thrift store.

And for more options, be sure to check out the Urban Self-Reliance 2012 list of sewing, knitting and quilting books.

~ Joyce
Ballard Branch

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