Friday, 16 March 2012

It's written in American ...

Somewhat belatedly, Amazon have delivered my copy of "Sewing for Dummies."

My imediate reaction was "what the hell is a Notions counter?"  Images of some kind of inspirational tick box were swiftly dismissed as the next sentence mentioned "sergers" and light dawned.  The book is written in American.

I can adjust to that.  I spent a lot of my childhood in the US.  I'm versatile.  I understand that "pants" in American is "trousers" in the UK.  I no longer suffer boxer-shorts imagery when I read about the construction of pants and the selection of fabric needed for such.

I'm also retrospectively very glad indeed I didn't read this book before embarking on Antigone costume hell.  If I'd read through chapters 1-6 as recommended, I would never have impulse-bought a sewing machine at all, still less constructed 17 more or less useable sets of random pajamas.

Not that the book is bad.  Far from it.  It is very good.  Relentlessly cheery and full of useful information, it has inspired me to make a duvet cover and matching pillow cases.  It will give me the toolkit I need to make normal things.  It will educate me in the proper use of a sewing machine and offers handy tips on fabric choice, needles, corner turning and other basic mechanics.

What it won't do is tell me how to make costumes.  For that, I am turning to this:

Janet Arnold looks like a kind of goddess to me.  Her books combine beautiful illustrations with simple patterns and from these I will work to make wonders out of old curtains.  I will start simple and work up.  In theory at least.  The temptation to make a set of boot overlaps is nearly overwhelming.

The Notions counter?  It means Haberdashery.


  1. You must take a photo of your creations! I would love to see the costume you make, once you learn to make it!

    Non-british english can be confusing. I used to live with a South African who used to say 'sick' a lot, but to mean good. In British English I'm sure we would only use that really negatively. For example he would say things like, "did you make these cakes, Nikki?" "Yes" "They're absolutely SICK" It sort of upset me for the first couple of weeks before I realised :D

    1. Oh Nikki :) I can imagine.

      If I ever manage to figure out how to get photos off my camera, I will post pictures. They are very unimpressive at the moment, but I'm getting better.

  2. I highly recommend the Marquise for advice on sewing, for patterns from all periods and just for a wealth of knowledge about costumes and clothing through the ages. Most of the site has been translated to English. The original patterns may take some getting used to (no hemline borders for example, need to add those yourself), but it's well worth the effort.