Gretchen Hirsch dazzles us again with Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book

Lately, we've been dreaming of shedding our winter coats in favor of breezy spring dresses and flowy cottons. While we wait for March's lamb-like side to show up, we're eyeing the stunning dress patterns featured in Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch's latest book. Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles is officially on sale today, featuring essential techniques for dressmaking, plus instructions and patterns for 23 dresses for a variety of occasions.

Elements from each pattern can be mixed and matched, allowing readers to customize the bodice, skirt, sleeves, pockets, and details of each dress for a truly unique, flattering, vintage-inspired creation.

The follow-up to the popular Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, the latest from Gretchen Hirsch's collection is packed with all the information and patterns you could ever need to create a wardrobe filled with stunning vintage frocks.

That's not all: we're kicking off a blog tour today, and each stop will feature a chance to win a copy of the book and a bundle of Gertie-designed fabric from her exclusive line for JoAnn from Fabric Traditions.

Follow along, comment, and show us your own Gertie-inspired creations!

March 8 Brewer Sewing
March 9 Madalynne.com
March 14 By Gum By Golly
March 16 A Dress A Day
March 18 Lish Dorset

You can also head over to Gretchen's blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, for a special publication day post and chance to win.

In case you missed it: we are also excited about this amazing Pinterest contest going on right now. The grand prize winner will receive $586 worth of patterns, fabric, a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores gift card, and a signed book! Click the image below for more information.

 

Happy Sewing!

The Modern Natural Dyer hits stores this week, plus a blog tour and chance to win!

When we look through the pages of Kristine Vejar's debut book, The Modern Natural Dyer, we're met with a sense of wonder about the origins of the natural hues that color our world. Officially on sale this week, Vejar demystifies that process, sharing user-friendly techniques for dyeing yarn, fabric, and finished goods at home with foraged and garden-raised dyestuffs and natural dye extracts.

In explicit, easy-to-follow detail, Vejar explains how to produce consistent, long-lasting color. With stunning photography of the dyes themselves, the dyeing process, and 20 projects for home and wardrobe (some to knit, some to sew, and some just a matter of submerging a finished piece in a prepared bath), The Modern Natural Dyer is a complete resource for aspiring and experienced dye artisans.

We were lucky enough to have the chance to learn about natural dyes and processes straight from Kristine as she kicked off her book release tour on the east coast this past week.

 Kristine Vejar signing copies of her book,  The Modern Natural Dyer , for fans at The NYS Sheep & Wool Festival on 10/17/15. Photo credit: Mamie VanLangen

Kristine Vejar signing copies of her book, The Modern Natural Dyer, for fans at The NYS Sheep & Wool Festival on 10/17/15. Photo credit: Mamie VanLangen

 Kristine Vejar speaking about natural dyeing techniques in her new book,  The Modern Natural Dyer , at the Tales of Yarn demo area at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival on 10/18/15. Photo credit: Melissa Esner

Kristine Vejar speaking about natural dyeing techniques in her new book, The Modern Natural Dyer, at the Tales of Yarn demo area at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival on 10/18/15. Photo credit: Melissa Esner

We were also thrilled to welcome Kristine into our office to show us a thing or two about natural dyeing techniques this week!  Click through the gallery below to see images from our demo session.

If you're looking to learn some techniques of your own, you can follow along on Kristine's upcoming blog tour, with each stop offering a chance to win a copy of the book and one of the 4 dye kits pictured below!

Oct 23 DIY Network
Oct 26 Mason Dixon Knitting
Oct 28 Leethal
Oct 30 Mary Jane Mucklestone
Nov 2 Very Shannon
Nov 4 Make Something Blog
Nov 6 Our Daily Craft/Sarah White
Nov 9 Heather Ross
Nov 11 Tolt Yarn and Wool
Nov 16 Made by Katrina
Nov 18 Ysolda Teague
Nov 20 Jen Hewitt



GUEST POST: Gretchen Hirsch on her inspiration for 'Gertie's New Fashion Sketchbook'

I’m so excited about the release of my new book, Gertie’s New Fashion Sketchbook! Over the past several years, I’ve been busy writing sewing technique books with an emphasis on retro design (see Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual), so this is a bit of a departure for me. Today I’m going to share the inspiration for the sketchbook and why it was such an important project for me. 

Sewists often think of sketching as something that “real” designers do. But everyone who sews is a designer! The simple act of matching a fabric to a pattern is designing. Even picking out a zipper is a design choice. Every choice you make on a project is part of its design. With so many little decisions to make, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why sketching is such a helpful tool: you can map out your ideas visually, easily changing them if necessary. 

A wonderful tool for sketching fashion ideas is the croquis, a body figure template. That way you don’t have to be able to sketch a realistic figure from scratch! And nowadays it’s easy to go to a bookstore and buy a fashion sketchbook filled with croquis, ready to go. However, the problem with the available fashion sketchbooks is that the figures can look a little bizarre: they’re strangely elongated and spindly, and twisted into strange poses that I like to call the "broken doll" or the "sad alien." That's because fashion people work with a concept called "nine heads," where the figure is nine head-lengths tall. To put this in perspective, actual people are only seven to eight heads tall. Here's an interesting image that breaks it down:

One of my missions over the years has been to write about sewing and fashion in a body-positive, feminist way. So these nine-head ladies were bringing me down. And so the idea for this sketchbook was born and brilliant illustrator Sun Young Park brought it to life. Here's how it works:

The figures are presented in a "nested" configuration (almost like a sewing pattern!), so that you can follow the lines (bigger or smaller) to represent different figures. You can make the figures smaller on top or bottom to replicate a woman's actual curves and proportions. I tested the whole thing out with some wonderful sewing friends, and it really works! But my favorite thing about it is that the height of the figures is actually realistic. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Do you enjoy sketching ideas for your sewing projects? If so, I hope you love this new sketchbook! 


The perfect book to get you in the Mood for sewing

“Designers, we’re going to Mood!”

Chances are, if you've heard of Mood Fabrics you fall into one of two categories: you are either a huge Project Runway fan OR you are an avid home-sewer, a fashion student, or an aspiring designer. Regardless, you know it's New York's go-to spot for anything and everything fabric. 

It was more than 10 years ago that Tim Gunn walked the first batch of Project Runway contestants into Mood Fabrics. This week, the experts behind this fabric power- house bring their fabric and fashion know-how—plus their behind-the-scenes stories—to the sewing public. The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion is the ultimate guide for the home-sewers, fashion students, aspiring designers, and Project Runway fans who want to learn everything they need to know to choose and use quality fabric. Drawing upon the expertise of the Mood staff, the book teaches readers the fundamentals—from where fabric is produced to the ins and outs of its construction—and features a fabric-by-fabric guide to cottons and other plant fibers, wools, silks, knits, and other specialty fabrics.

Intrigued? Hear what Tim Gunn has to say about it

And if you're a frequent shopper at Mood (or would like to be!), take advantage of the promotion that is going on on their site right now! Buy a copy of the book from their site and you'll be automatically entered to win a $250 gift card to the store. 



After a successful book tour, Sherri Lynn Wood is still making waves!

You may have met the multi-talented Sherri Lynn Wood on her cross-country tour to launch The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters this spring.

If you missed her, here are a few lovely recaps from events at Thimble Pleasures in Chapel Hill, NC; Sewingly Yours in Lewisville, NC; and Malaprops in Asheville, NC.

If you managed to catch Sherri on tour, then you may know that she received over 250 requests and 165 completed submissions for the ten test quilt scores in the book. You may have even seen some online or on display at recent shows like Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon in Austin earlier this spring.

Good news: if you happened to miss them (or if you can't get enough of them), you can join Sherri for a test quilt blog hop going on right now! Click the link above to see where test quilters will be showing off their variations of Sherri's test patterns, and get inspired to try one out on your own!

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Have you tried one of Sherri's patterns from The Improv Handbook? If so, we'd love to see your results!

Sherri Lynn Wood's Improv Handbook Tour: The Full Schedule

Sherri Lynn Wood is taking the sewing and quilting world by storm with her new book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. And now, she's crossing the country to help spread the word—and you can join her!

We kicked off the tour on Friday, May 8th, with a performance at Sew Modern in Los Angeles. Check out these bright and inspiring images plus a great recap from the event on Sherri's blog, Daintytime, here

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And of course, make sure you catch Sherri when she comes to a city near you:

Saturday, May 16, 12 - 2 PM, Conversation

Rosie's Calico Corner, 7151 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115

Sunday May 17, 9 AM - 4 PM, Teaching

San Diego MQG, Quilt in a Day, 1955 Diamond St., San Marcos, CA 92078. Register in advance. 

Thursday, May 28, 7 - 9 PM, Presentation

United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (919) 942-3540

Friday, May 29, 6 - 8 PM, Performance

Thimble Pleasures, 225 South Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, (919) 968-6050

Sunday, May 31, 10 AM - 5 PM, Teaching

Triangle MQG, Durham Catering, 3710 Shannon Rd. Suite #117, Durham, NC 27707. Register in advance. 

Monday June 1, 5 - 7 PM, Presentation

Sewingly Yours (Triad Area), 1329 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd, Lewisville, NC 27023, (704) 575-9234

Tuesday, June 2, 4 - 6 PM, Conversation

Malaprops Bookstore, 55 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC, (828) 254-6734

Wednesday, June 3, 6 - 8 PM, Performance

Sewn Studios,3212 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209, (513) 321-0600

Friday, June 5, 3 - 5 PM, Presentation

International Quilt Study Center and Museum, 1523 N 33rd St, Lincoln, NE 68503, (402) 472-6850

Saturday, June 6, 5 - 7 PM, Performance

Fancy Tiger, 59 Broadway St, Denver, CO 80203, (303) 733-3855

Sunday, June 7, 9 AM - 3:30 PM, Teaching

Front Range MQG, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall 3, 15200 W 6th Ave Frontage Rd, Golden, CO 80401. Register in Advance.

Tuesday, June 9, 10 AM - 12 PM, Performance

Scrap Apple Quilts, 144 W. Brigham Rd. #23, St. George, UT 84790, (435) 628-8226

And if you can't join Sherri as she travels from state to state (or even if you can!), you can be part of the action by following along on her month-long blog tour this May.

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is Coming to a Shop Near You

The final piece in our fabulous lineup of spring releases is Sherri Lynn Wood's Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously.

For the quilter looking to break free from the confines of step-by-step instructions and predictable patterns, Wood (of Daintytime.net) brings a flexible approach to quilting that knocks traditional instruction aside. Instead, she presents 10 frameworks (or scores) that create a guiding, but not limiting, structure.

To help quilters gain confidence, Wood also offers detailed lessons for stitching techniques key to improvisation, design and spontaneity exercises, and lessons on color.

Every quilt made from one of Wood’s scores will have common threads, but each one will look different because it reflects the maker’s unique interpretation. Featured throughout the book are Wood’s own quilts (more on view here!) and a gallery of contributor works chosen from among the hundreds submitted when she invited volunteers to test her scores during the making of this groundbreaking work. For inspiration, you can check out some variations on her Rhythmic Grid score in this image gallery.

Sherri is also coming to a shop or guild near you! Check back later this week with more info on her in-store national book tour. First stop: this Friday, 5/8, at 6:30 pm at Sew Modern in LA!

And that's not all—all month long, Sherri will be making digital appearances on favorite blogs from Sew Mama Sew to Spoonflower. Check out the full list of blog tour participants here!

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops are coming to a bookshelf near you! PLUS a giveaway!

We're thrilled to share our new book Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops--and to tell you about a pretty fantastic giveaway!

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops is based on the popular classes Rebecca Ringquist, embroideress extraordinaire, teaches around the country. For the novice or experienced embroiderer who appreciates the value of beautiful stitches but also likes to break a few rules along the way, Rebecca teaches everything from the “proper” way to form a French knot and transfer a design to a canvas, to new ways to stitch three-dimensionally, mix and match machine- and hand-stitching, and so much more.

Also featured are instructions for 20 innovative projects, including a cloth sampler designed especially for the book (and packaged in an envelope at the back), table linens, wall art, and clothing embellishments.

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops is available today everywhere books are sold. To see more gorgeous photos from this book (all taken by the inimitable Johnny Miller), check out our gallery. (To see a few photos that Johnny took that we didn't have room for in the book, be sure to check out Johnny's site.)

For any New York-based readers, don't miss Rebecca's book launch gathering at The City Quilter (133 W. 25th St, NYC) on May 5th at 6 - 7 pm! More info.

Giveaway Alert: We're also thrilled to give all of you a chance to win this amazing embroidery gift pack--an awesome starter kit for the beginner embroiderer, or a great set of goodies for the experienced stitcher. *Three* lucky winners will receive this gift pack featuring the following items:

  • One Pack of Super Solvy Water-Soluble Transfer Material
  • One Sulky Transfer Marker
  • One Pack of DMC Embroidery floss
  • One Pair of DMC Embroidery Scissors
  • One DMC Embroidery Floss Organizer
  • Three packs of Clover Embroidery Needles
  • One Clover Disappearing Ink Marker
  • One Pack of Clover Flower Head Pins
  • One Pack of Weeks Dye Works Embroidery Floss
  • One Pack of Weeks Dye Works 2 Strand Floss
  • One Pack of Weeks Dye Works Perle Cotton
  • One Skein of DyedFiber Perle Tencel
  • One Dropcloth Sampler "Pysanka"
  • Three 3-month Creativebug subscriptions for you + some friends (check out Rebecca's classes here)
  • One copy of Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops
STC Prize Packs-7510.jpg

actual package contents may differ slightly from the photo above.

To enter: just comment in the blog below (tell us why you should win!), andfollow STC Craft (@STC_Craft), Rebecca Ringquist (@dropcloth) and Clover USA (@cloverusa) on instagram between now and April 21st!

Good luck!

The fine print: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C. who are 18 or older as of date of entry between April 14 and 21, 2015. To enter, comment on this blog post and follow STC Craft (@STC_Craft), Rebecca Ringquist (@dropcloth) and Clover USA (@cloverusa) on instagram from April 14 – 21, 2015. Limit one (1) entry per person. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m.ET on April 21, 2015. Three (3) winners shall be selected in a random drawing to receive an embroidery prize pack.Visit http://www.abramsbooks.com/RREW_STCblog_rules.html for full official rules. Void where prohibited.

Natalie Chanin is Back with Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns!

Today is an exciting day—Natalie Chanin, founder and creative director of Alabama Chanin, is back with the book fans have been waiting for: Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns

If you've ever dreamt of creating your own Alabama Chanin wardrobe (and really, who of us hasn't?), this exciting compendium takes the Alabama Chanin library to the next level, offering all the patterns from Chanin’s first three books on a convenient CD, plus instructions and patterns for new skirts, dresses, tops, and jackets, with illustrated guidelines for customizing the fit and style of each. 

Hand-sewists: this is a key guide to customization. This invaluable resource is bursting with information about the ins and outs of refashioning shapes, raising and lowering necklines, taking in and letting out waistlines, and other key skills for creating the wardrobe of your dreams.

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Chanin also provides guidelines for adapting patterns from other popular sewing companies to the Alabama Chanin style: stitched by hand in their signature soft, organic cotton jersey and embellished with swirls of stenciling, embroidery, and beading.

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For more inspiring peeks into the book, check out our image gallery. Or, get your hands on a copy today, wherever books are sold!

And We're Off to QuiltCon!

We here at STC Craft have been very busy at the start of this year, working hard to shape up our fabulous 2015 lineup (More to come on that next week...)

In addition to prepping for some extraordinary spring titles, we've been making the rounds at plenty of shows. We hope any industry folks were able to catch the fabulous Amy Herzog previewing her new book, Knit Wear Love (out next month), in early January at TNNA in Phoenix. And same goes for any NY-area knitters: we hope you were able to stop by and meet some of our authors signing at Vogue Knitting Live in Manhattan last month!

Next up is the expansive (and growing!) QuiltCon event, put on by The Modern Quilt Guild, and beginning in Austin today! Will you be there? We're thrilled to partner with Austin-based Stitch Lab again this year, hosted at booth #216. We'll have books on sale, authors signing and displaying quilts, a special giveaway sweepstakes package with goodies from Windham and Aurifil, a preview of our spring books, and an advance launch of Sherri Lynn Wood's brand new book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.

Will you be at the show? Stop by and say hello!

Wind those bobbins...Gertie Sews Vintage Casual is on sale today!

Our latest fall 14 book release comes just in time for the changing seasons. We're thrilled to introduce the latest from Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch—Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s.

In this follow-up to Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, Hirsch returns with more iconic styles from the mid-20th century. Think sportswear made popular by fashion darlings like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, including knit tops, beach rompers, house dresses, wide-legged trousers, capri pants, and more.

With instructions for creating a 30-plus-piece casual wardrobe plus illustrations by the amazing Sun Young Park, this helpful guide offers all the inspiration and know-how you need to look delightfully dapper this fall.

Read more about the book on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, and check out our image gallery here. Plus, stay tuned for news about Gertie's fall pattern collection from Butterick and a new fabric line with Fabric Traditions at JoAnn's stores this spring!

What will you sew this season? Tell us in the comments section!

Spring Refresh with CLOTH by Cassandra Ellis!

There's something wonderful about changing our homes to reflect the change in seasons. When cold winter winds begin to blow in, we nuzzle in to wooly accessories; spring's arrival speaks of light cotton pieces; and linen's cool touch and open weave makes it ideal for the summer months.

For those of us who mark the passing of time in precious pieces and scraps of fabric, Cloth: 30+ Projects to Sew from Linen, Cotton, Silk, Wool, and Hide by Cassandra Ellis is just the inspiration we need for swapping out those woolens for a little spring refresh!

For a chance to win a copy of the book, as well as a bundle of five silk fat quarters, head on over to Spoonflower to enter! And of course, check out the CLOTH gallery for more décor inspiration, and make sure you get your hands on a copy of this beautiful book, available now everywhere books are sold.

5 Handmade Gift-Packaging Ideas

Wrap bits of leftover yarn over kraft paper for a beautiful rainbow effect, from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

It's a gloomy, stormy day in New York, the perfect kind of day to put on a pot of tea and start on that mountain of presents that still need wrapping. If you're a fan of a good handmade gift right down to the packaging, here are five unique and crafty ways to take your gift-wrapping to the next level.

 

Create your own wrapping paper designs in Photoshop, with instructions from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

 

Knit a delicate ruffled ribbon from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick

 

Make your own paper boxes from Modern Paper Crafts by Margaret Van Sicklen

 

Whip up a few of these fabric pom poms, from Last-Minute Fabric Gifts by Cynthia Treen

6 Quick & Easy Gifts to Complete in an Evening

Kim's Hats from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

For me, the holiday season seems to follow the same trajectory every year: At first, I vow to create special handmade gifts for all of my loved ones. Then days go by, lost in the whirlwind of get-togethers and winter cheer, and suddenly I find myself a few days out and nary a project is started. If this sounds familiar to you, you're not out of luck yet. Put aside an evening, gather some craft supplies, and get ready to make one of these unique, yet quick and easy, gifts!

Big Lace Scarf from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

Sewing Box from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti

 

Pieced Pillows from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

Rice Paper Lanterns from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

 

Assorted terrariums from Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow

Holiday Gift Guide: 15 Books for Sewists & Quilters

Ermine Stitch from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin

Still looking for the perfect gift for the crafter who can do it all? Don't despair! It's not too late to pick up a copy of any of these great titles for your resident sewist or quilter.

For the weekend stitcher:

Weekend Sewing; Last-Minute Fabric Gifts; Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts


For the color-obsessed quilter:

Kaffe Fassett Quilts Shots and Stripes; Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration; Material Obsession


For sewists who stitch outside the box:

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing; Alabama Studio Sewing + Design; Stitch Magic

 

For the storyteller:

 

Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color; Alabama Stitch Book; Quilting for Peace


For the little ones:


Wee Wonderfuls; Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt; Oliver + S Little Things to Sew

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand Premieres Today!

We're thrilled to announce that Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is officially on sale today! From knitting, embroidery, and weaving to screen printing, tie dye, and jewelry-making, this book is a treasure trove of beautiful, inspiring projects for both the beginner and the creatively adventurous.

 

And, of course, Lena's lovely book trailer is not to be missed. For a big dose of creative inspiration, watch the whole thing above or take a peek at the images in our photo gallery (seriously, does it get more beautiful than that cover?). But be forewarned—once you do, you won't be able to fight the urge to go out and make something!

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is available now, wherever books are sold.

Sun Young Park Prints & A Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing Giveaway

The first time I saw super-talented illustrator Sun Young Park's work in Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, I thought "I need to wallpaper my office in these illustrations." And now, I can—and so can you! Sun is now offering prints of some of her favorite illustrations from the book in her new Etsy shop, and STC Craft blog readers are in for a treat—a Gertie giveaway! To enter to win a copy of the book along with an 8 x 10" print of the illustration above, leave a comment below telling us about a vintage or vintage-inspired piece you love by November 1 at 1 PM EST. One winner will be chosen at random.

See more of Sun's beautiful work on her website, and make sure to take advantage of free shipping from her shop exclusively for our readers through the end of October with offer code "STCCRAFT."

Good luck!

Click here for official rules.