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.