Book Review Week: Singer Perfect Plus

Singer Perfect Plus

I recently got a copy of Singer Perfect Plus: Sew a Mix-and-Match Wardrobe for Plus and Petite-Plus Sizes to review, and it's taken me a while to get to it, being neither perfect nor plus-size.

Perfect Plus is a very straightforward book, nothing fancy. You're not going to get any couture techniques here, or anything too fashion-forward or art-to-wear. This is primarily a book for petite, plus-size women who are not fashionistas, but are frustrated with the tatty stuff they see in stores (or with the price tags on the nicer plus-size garments) and who don't have a ton of sewing experience.

The book includes four patterns (a blouse with collar & sleeve variations, pants, an elastic-waist skirt, and a jacket with very nice pockets) and many, many pages of help on how to choose fabrics, construction tips, and fitting.

If you are newish to sewing, need a very basic petite plus-size wardrobe and want a lot of hand-holding, this book is ideal for you. These garments are so simple, though, that your fabric choices are going to be very important. Cheap polyesters or badly-designed prints will make these look like a dog's breakfast — upgrading to better-quality cottons and silks and good buttons (and taking your time with construction) will make all the difference here.

If you're already an experienced sewist or you want garments with more advanced design elements, I'd save your money — there's nothing here that you probably haven't already made on your own. You'd be better off getting a good book on fitting patterns (like Fit for Real People) and altering patterns that you really like.

I don't need to keep this book, so I'm giving it away … the person who writes me the best haiku about pockets will get it! You can email your verse or leave it in the comments. (If you leave it in the comments and you want the book, make sure there's a way for me to reach you.)

Tyvek Fabric

tyvek fabric

Beth sent me a link to the NYT article about a completely-recyclable Tyvek fabric being offered by Mio CultureLab. How is it completely recyclable? They even send you a prepaid return envelope with your order so that you can send back your scraps (or even your whole project, if you don't want it anymore)! That's pretty cool.

It's $13/yard, which is a bit pricey in my budget, but cheap for home dec fabric. And — Tyvek! I've always wanted to sew with Tyvek. (If you don't know what Tyvek feels like, think about those FedEx envelopes — the big ones. That's Tyvek. A little slippery, a little papery.)

If anyone from Mio wants to spot me four yards I promise to make a big dress and write about it. I like the orange dots. đŸ™‚

This Week's Pattern Story

Vogue 9749

Red Hat: Do you have the money?

Swim Cap: Of course — right here in my absurdly large, yet surprisingly stylish Bonnie-Cashin-looking beach bag. Did you come alone?

Red Hat: Yes. Well, except for my sister Peggy. She always insists on tagging along! So infuriating. I made her stay twenty paces behind me, though, so no one thinks we're together.

Swim Cap: So how do we do this?

Red Hat: Keep pretending I'm not standing way too close to you. Then drop the bag. I'll pick it up — you keep going.

Swim Cap: And the illegal sunscreen will be in my cabana?

Red Hat: Within the hour.

Swim Cap: It's a pleasure doing business with you. Say 'Hi!' to Peggy for me!

[Pattern is at Lanetz Living, click on the image to check it out!]

Vintage Sewing Contest! (Not An April Fool's Joke)

Simplicity 8283

Michelle from Patterns from the Past reminded me that Pattern Review's Vintage Sewing Contest is starting up again!

First prize is a $100 gift certificate to Patterns from the Past; 2nd prize is a $50 gift certificate. If you were planning to work on a vintage sewing project between between April 1 – 31, you should consider entering it in the contest! (You must use a vintage sewing pattern printed between 1920 – 1976, not one of the new reproduction patterns. Here are the full rules.)

Michelle is also offering a 15% discount at Patterns from the Past during the contest. The discount coupon code is contest.

Good luck and happy sewing!

Oh, and a couple of not-a-joke sales, too:

Sandra at Sandritocat is running an April-Fool's-only sale — 25% off today only — and you can combine with her offer of free shipping with the purchase of three patterns.

Marge, at Born Too Late Vintage Patterns, is running a $5 sale! All patterns at her store are $5 (or less if marked less already). All you need to do is haggle the price to $5 and I'll accept it. She's running this sale from Friday April 3 to Friday April 10th.

Secret Lives of Pants, #1

ugly pants

I thought that I was destined for higher things. Really, looking back on it now, I don't know why I thought that, but I did. I'm not even sure what I meant by "higher things," even. A hat? That would have been higher.

I know I didn't expect to never fit. I mean, I never fit ANYBODY. I must have been passed on to ten women, maybe twelve … and nobody was happy. I was too baggy in the thighs on one; too loose in the waist on another; indistinguishable from a sausage casing on the third. Too short, too long, too liable to ride up in embarrassing ways: if I could be uncomfortable, I was. It's not that I meant to; I really didn't. It's just what I was.

The worst part, though, was what they called me. Did you know that there are people in this world who use the word "pants" to mean something is ludicrously terrible? "That film was utter pants." "Slacks" is also just plain awful. Why "slacks"? Why not "sharps"? "I think I'll put on a pair of slacks." You might as well say "I think I'll go shoot myself in the foot." Pantaloons? Loony. Knickers? What a horse does. Britches? "You betchure." Breeches? Once more into the breeches, my friends. Trousers? You've got to be kidding me. TROOOOOOW-zers. Just say it a few times, you'll see. I prefer "nether garment" myself, but, of course, nobody asked me. Hardly anyone even tried me on more than once, so we didn't get to the "what should I call you" stage.

I haven't given up hope, though. Somebody picked me up in a thrift store (I have sunk so low, I admit it) the other day. When she stopped laughing, she held me up to her friend. "I think I can do something with this," she said.

"What, violate non-proliferation agreements?" (Her friend was holding a chartreuse batwing sweater, so I don't know where she found room to talk.)

"No — what if I did that jeans-to-skirt thing?"

Her friend stopped, considering. "Well, that COULD be cute … and if not, there's always turning it into a tote bag. Your mom would love it."

So that's what I'm waiting for now. To be a tote bag. Or maybe (oh please!) a skirt. Being a skirt wouldn't be completely pants, would it?