Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books and Research ...and your opinion, please....

Anyone who knows me - or reads this blog regularly - would know that I love a book or two.  And if you look closely enough (at all the little bookmarks in the books) you can see that I use my library all the time.
This morning, when I checked my bank accounts, it became clear that the long weekend just gone was indeed a booky one.   There is evidence of spending at Fishpond, Amazon and two local bricks-and-mortar bookshops.  It also included a trip to my studio-library for a few quiet hours of research.
I was totally distracted by this, one of my favorite, favourite books..... I especially love the pages that are like a still version of Downton Abbey (...does anyone else miss dialogue because they're focused on a cuff detail?).
..anyway... it had nothing to do with what I was researching.

I also pulled out my Enid's....

Lately, I have too many ideas for bags, purses, hats and clothing.  For the first time in a long time, I'm scribbling in a sketchbook to get them out of my head.... trying to decide which way to take each idea.... pattern, class... book? 

I was looking through my book collection and online, to see where the gaps are (what's out there and what isn't) and found myself researching children's clothing ...looking at the gap between the elastic-waisted-pants-books and the advanced dressmaking books.  And I was looking at details  - zips, pockets, straps and closures - that can be used to transform a basic garment or bag into something special.

Where do YOU see the gaps?    And - knowing what I do (and knowing that I don't need actual design ideas) - what would you like to see me put into book form? 

16 comments:

Breakfast Jo said...

You already know what I'd like to see.. a book on pattern drafting for bags, like your 5 day course. :O) ( sorry couldn't resist mentioning it again lol)

Love your work

xx

rachelmp said...

Intermediate and classic patterns for childrens clothes. Oliver + S do it beautifully, Clever Charlotte is there and your Best Dress is fantastic but I think this is a huge gap in the market. I want patterns with details and a great fit, but that I can also drag out if I am fortunate enough to be a grandma one day

rachelmp said...

Intermediate and classic patterns for childrens clothes. Oliver + S do it beautifully, Clever Charlotte is there and your Best Dress is fantastic but I think this is a huge gap in the market. I want patterns with details and a great fit, but that I can also drag out if I am fortunate enough to be a grandma one day

red in oz said...

I think clothes that can be simple, but with options for details and embellishments, so that the patterns can be used for both everyday wear, and party wear, and can be sewn whether you just have a couple of hours to end up with a completed garment, or a week of evenings to hand embroider, or add in more complete/complex topstitching, hand finished button holes, or quickly machine sewn etc. oh and with the button holes, please can you do the same for button holes as you have done for zips - remove the fear :).

And knits, clothes that don't need the ironing that quilters cotton requires for them to look half decent, recommendations for easy care and hard wearing materials that REALLY work for children's clothes, not just things that look great when you take them off the machine and put them onto the (more or less willing) child to photograph, but things that still look great after being slept in because they are too precious to take off. Yes, clothes for mums who are allergic to ironing (except in the name of sewing of course...

Sew-4-Fun said...

Oooo, I like questions like this. Glad you asked. :)

I'd really love to see a book on boutique clothes for women. It's something I think you'd do really well.

What I envisage is a book with a handful of simple, basic designed patterns. You know a basic knit top, a-line skirt, cardi, etc. Then an entire book overflowing with ideas and details on how to transform these simple stlyes into something unique like you see in the boutiques of Melbourne.

A bit of colour blocking here, a range of different fabrics, a trim here, a pocket there, an embellishment somewhere else, embroidery, etc.

I see all these great garments in the boutiques of Melbourne then I come home and I'm faced with sewing patterns that are soooooo boring and bland. Mind numbing in fact. There is nothing on the home sewing market like these clothes. They are super simple too. It's the embellishments that make these garments.

I have the sewing skills but what I lack is the creativity and ideas. I'd love a book that is overflowing with inspiration and ideas, and the how-to on transforming the most simple women's patterns into something unique and expensive looking.

I think your women's patterns are already a step in this direction. Now I'd like to see you take a huge leap this way.

You asked. :)

CurlyPops said...

Being totally selfish - I would love simple womens clothing for women with shape, and options to add features/embellishments (much like the features of the a-line skirt).
I'd love to learn more about proper clothesmaking techniques (just like learning what 'bagging out' means).

CurlyPops said...

Another selfish request - some great shorts/pants patterns for boys. It's really hard to find patterns with a nice shape/cut.

Carmel Morris said...

I am with both Cam and Red-in-oz. Good basics for boys and girls that can be built on to make them more stylish and gender specific. I have lots of design ideas too if you like....

Jenny from Ohjoh said...

Clothes for kids over the age of 5 or over size 6.
i.e. girls clothes that don't require high heels and a false ID. When daughters hit size 8 things can become limited if you don't want to dress her as a "hooker wannabe" (no offence intended to any who may choose that as their profession, I just prefer not to dress my child that way)

A Peppermint Penguin said...

you know me, I always have an opinion - and I always pore over photos of your bookcase to see which ones I have too ;-)

Are you familar with Ann Budd's sweater books? charts so you can make the same thing in different gauges. wonder if that has mileage with regard to your many option patterns?

Don't sew clothes for myself anymore, let alone for children, but a way for folk to grasp how to change a basic pattern to fit themselves would be something of the whole grail of dressmaking.

I also think quick and easy is all very well but if the clothes won't survive a trip through the washing machine it's all a bit pointless, so finishing and techniques/fabrics for durability would complement the patterns in a book.

good luck with the brain dump!

Lisa M said...

I would love to see a book filled with all the basic but classic items a woman should have in her wardrobe. I would like then for you to show how these classic items can be altered/embellished to always be on trend. Also, I would like the clothes to be adaptable for women of all body shapes and in a range of sizes, including plus sizes. It would be great if you could show how to add or alter a garment to still look classic/on trend and suit an individual's body shape. As well as all this, advice on what fabrics to use that are luxurious to wear, but don't cost the earth.

Am I asking too much???

I would like to see in you write a book in regards to the perfect 'layering' items all women should have. The fabrics to use and how they can be worn with 'classic' items and as casual items.

Could you also address the everyday bag/shoe dilema that goes with the perfect outfit? As well as the use of hats for both warmth and sun protection, whilst looking chic.

In regards to children, I would like to see a modern take on traditional styles, with garments having a great fit and cut and the ability to be altered to 'grow' with the child. Also as Jenny from Ohjoh wrote, clothes that do not make our children into mini adults - that relates to both boys and girls.

That's all I think. Maybe I am asking for too much, but that is what I would like to see.

Tanya said...

My suggestions are contact Carmel, make sure Cam knows that 'bagging out' really means a gentle teasing in an affectionate way and a mix of practical and techniques- you know I love 'you sew girl'- you teach us stuff and then we get to put it in action. I wouldn't mind knowing how best to adjust patterns- but there may well be that stuff out there already (does the collate book do abit of that?) and would I pay attention anyway? I like the Sew U idea' of basic skirt, basic shirt and basic pants with instructions for variations but I reckon that must only go up to a size 14 (the XL would have fit half of me) - I know you can't do everything 'plus size' but a wider size range is good- like your A-Line goes up to size 18 doesn't it? I reckon I might nearly fit into it. I wouldn't even contemplate making that shirt pattern with my big boobs. I also think there's lots of ideas in there but a bit more 'step by step' would be good. I probably haven't got the voice of experience to know what's out there in the way of nicely constructed and well instructioned womens patterns, but that's what I'd be abit keen on. Questions, comments? and HOORAY a new potent ion Nikki M book, I better get my skates on finishing my projects from this book, it might take me another year the rate I am going!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki - You already have my request for some knit patterns for children in the size 6 and over, but I do like the idea of basic patterns with ideas for modifications and embellishments (as others have already suggested). As a lover of books I have created quite a sewing library over the last 18mths (and I don't even have the excuse of being a designer!). I am actually drawn to books with simple patterns and suggested adaptions/variations. The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, DIY Couture and Simple Modern Sewing are all good examples of books currently available in this format (note that they are all for woman and not children). Let me know if you'd like to borrow any of them… although it's possible you might already own them. Anna :)

Katy Cameron said...

I'd like to see some good adult basics that can be built on to get from day to day wear to more special occasions. Looking forward to seeing whatever you come up with :o)

Jen Goldrick said...

I agree with all the above, and am very excited to hear that you are planning another book!! You can put my name down for that now. I would love a great pattern for a simple tunic style dress for girls that can be made from different kinds of fabrics suitable for winter and summer, with lots of options for dressing it up. A good pattern for a boys short/pant would be very welcome. The only patterns I have managed to find and try tend to look a little old fashioned or 'home made' when I have completed them. A little something I could make for myself would also be great. And of course a great bag...

Fer said...

Hmmm... I know we discussed this a bit on Facebook, and most of us saying how good the Ottobre magazines are (although for more experienced sewers). So having mulled this over a bit more I guess one gap is clothes as good as Ottobre's but with better instructions for the less experienced sewer.

Also, if you were to consider a childrens clothing book wouldn't it be great to have both sewing and knitting patterns? You know, a boys shirt with a matching knitted vest. Just a thought .......