May 25, 2019

Sewing Techniques for Theatre: An Essential Guide for Beginners 1st Edition Tracey Lyons

"I received a free copy of the book in exchange for writing a review"

There are times that when you want to begin learning something new, maybe by taking a class or new course, possibly learning on your own can be difficult. This is even true for sewing, especially for the first time. I know from experience since I've been teaching myself, which can be one of the hardest things to do. This is also true if one has no idea where to begin. That is why I've been reading many books and getting guidance from online sites to help improve what I don't know much of or even if I know only a tiny bit. In addition, I'm still building upon the skills I already have and I'm always trying to improve. Cause it is, just like they say, practice makes perfect!

Therefore, I've been searching for wonderful books to help anyone who is starting out and needs a great guide to get them started, and wanted to share with you this terrific book that isn't hard to understand, great for beginners and will take the unskilled reader from not knowing how to do something, right into creating clothing, a bag, and even building ones portfolio for future jobs as soon as they accomplish reading the entire book. Now this book I'm talking about is called Sewing Techniques for Theatre by Tracey Lyons

Right off the bat, I can tell you that the book does mention on the front cover, the first fifteen hours. You may first start off with questioning this, but honestly, after you begin reading the book, it all becomes clear. This is because it's basically a book that guides you through hours of how to do something. All of these end up being a total of 15 hours. This includes following the directions by each photo or text steps and the quizzes at the end each hour for you to review.  

I also like to point out, what is covered in this book. I know it might say for theatre techniques, which is good for owning a shop and creating things that are used as costumes or other needs. However, this book really brings a great start for those beginning out. It makes you learn the setup of the machines, tools, the common fabrics, setting up a sewing needle for sewing by hand, using a machine, creating things from start to finish, stitching hems, and so much more! All I could tell you is that this is a pretty cool book! 

When I opened it up, I felt automatically well informed and introduced to sewing, even though I know a bit already. It honestly takes out the guesswork and allows one to easily work their way, step by step right into the world of sewing from novice to professional in no time. I know it's not gonna cover all types of projects, but it will cover a few basic ones that really help build skills for those other projects that you'd like to tackle. Sometimes, it's the basic creations that really help make a beginner understanding what else they can do with the skills they've been taught.

So, with that said, I can inform you that this book can really come in handy, when you need to recall how to create something specific, such as darts or maybe it just how to use a tool and sewing machine. It's definitely nothing like any other book. Plus, don't let the title fool you into thinking it covers only costumes.  Instead, it covers skills that you need as a beginner sewer and so on! 

Also, with this guided book, it's designed as a textbook that will make one student or beginner into a great sewer, in only a few hours! Honestly, if you do read through and follow the book, you'd probably be able to sew anything after the 15 hours of reading and practicing. Imagine that, quick and easy directions taught to a beginner and you can be an expert fast! 

Finally, I am one who enjoyed this book and can't find a negative thought about it. Unless it's that I wish it had more projects to create, but that really isn't anything towards the book cause I can now make more and do more with what this book has taught me, Therefore, this book has left me some wonderful improving skills and taught me a little bit more then I've known about sewing before. Now everything I want to sew can become a piece of cake!

Author Bio:
Tracey Lyons is an Instructor and Costume Designer at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. Her professional scope includes design in classical and contemporary theatre, dance, opera, and musicals. She coauthored Teaching Introduction to Theatrical Design: A Process-Based Syllabus in Costumes, Scenery, and Lighting (Routledge 2016). She holds an M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology from Wayne State University and a B.A. from the College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University.

Book Information:
  • Routledge 
  • May 16, 2019 
  • Reference - 156 Pages - 163 B/W Illustrations 
  • ISBN 9781138596467 - CAT# K387443

Interested in this wonderful book?
Take a look at it below:

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May 14, 2019

Lets Sew: A Fun Patterned Piece of Fabric For Doll Pants - sewing knitting DIY

Today, I decided to go ahead and put on this knitted doll top and craft a new pair of pants for this doll. The pattern I chose was so eye-catching and I had to use it! Since I loved it when it was a pair of jeans I would wear often. However, they began to break and so with a little reuse of the fabric, I decided to make a pair of pants for the doll with the fabric, which I loved so much! Now she has a styling pair that just fits great, without the need for elastic. It is fully stretchable and can move with her while giving enough space to fit a few diff larger sized dolls without a problem. 
The pattern I did the same as before. I took a draft of the basic pant leg I've made with her measurements, which I took from the last pair I made her. I was trying to keep it simple, and stitched with my sewing machine the hem for each leg and then worked on putting it together. Finally ended with a test try on the doll to see how high or low I want them to be. After figuring this out, I decided to go ahead and take a bigger 1-1.5" down from the waist for the hem and make it fit just a little lower then the pattern has them made for.

Afterward, the pants were done and they fit her every moment! 
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May 11, 2019

Lets Sew: Doll Pants Created for a 15.5" Doll - DIY Sewing Project

There is nothing better than taking the skill of sewing clothing and making your own fashion for a doll.
It might be a bit more tedious, with the small pieces and yet that challenge is rewarding once it's accomplished! I love to sew and taking it into a smaller size is quite a fun way to build my skills, even more so. Therefore, I took the time to start from scratch with this 15.5" doll. 
First, I took the measurements and divided by the right number to get the correct size for the pattern. That may be one bonus for learning to sew, you get to work with numbers. I normally work with inches when it comes to measurements. I feel it's easier for me to use.

The drafting process isn't as hard as I thought it would be, thanks to some practice and reading. I was able to build up patterns by measurements. Additionally, for dolls, it's less work for accuracy as the measurements and pattern is a bit easier and doesn't need to be too complicated. So when I finished creating the patterns I was able to begin taking fabric and cutting out the shapes.

One thing I didn't do. I didn't start the shirt quite yet since the fabric that caught my eyes would fit like a pair of pants. It's a bit silky feeling, not that stretchy and yet with the pattern made, it would fit the doll very well. Also, I didn't make a back closure to button, zip or used any elastic to make the pants expand and grip the waist. So it's just a pull on. Of course, you can do this with pants and yet I did the pattern and gone straight ahead with creating them as a solid piece, which you need to slide on the body.

The one thing with all the dolls I've used in my posts before and including this one are all shaped differently. I'm not talking about height, which some are smaller or taller, but with the body circumference. Especially the two sides. The dolls are a little stuffed differently and might have one higher shoulder then the other side or a thicker thigh on one part and not on the other. Therefore, the way the outfit fits might not be normal to what it should fit for a body that is closely symmetrical on both sides.
I could have measured both sides and made sure, but in this case, I went simple with the fitting and took the larger side measurements, from the width and height for each measurement. That way it would fit perfectly on the larger side and still on the smaller side as well. Now, when I did the pants, I first went through the entire process. Sewed the leg hems, both sides and moved to sew the inseams together. Afterward, I folded the fabric the other way and sewed the seams of the legs. 

One thing to note, this fabric is also very thin and frays easily. The best tool to use is pinking shears and/or the zig-zag stitch to keep the fraying from occurring. Also, a serger could work too. 

The way I did this was with a straight stitch, small tight stitches with less spacing. However, the top tips of sewing the pants would be best for making these, especially with this fabric and if someone is gonna be pulling them on and off to change them often. Finally, when it came to the top part, I hemmed it with a zig zag and yet it was a bit too long once tested on the doll. I wanted it to be a bit lower on the waist, just above the bottom of the doll. Therefore, I hemmed the waist again and made it with a single stitch, fold down about a half an inch this time. Now it was perfect and a great fit! 

Soon, the shirt pattern will be used and created for her. However, right now I was able to complete the pants before noon. So the shirt will be continued soon.
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