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Mrs Stylebook Winter 2012

25 Apr

I am back!  Sorry for my inconsistent  postings, I have been busy in my personal life and was also out of the country for a month so I was delay in getting this post out.  To make it up, this post is pretty long with lots of visual to look at.  Winter is almost over in this part of the hemisphere so this post might be redundant for those entering into spring/summer sewing, but in the other part of the world where summer is ending and autumn is approaching this review has come just in time.

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I received the winter 2013 Mrs. Stylebook from my vendor, however I did not receive the fall special edition.  I am debating if I should just order it off of Ebay, it looks more interesting than the winter edition.  The winter issues has your typical coat, jackets, long sleeve garments for the season.  The free pattern in this issue: classic modern coats, simple chic half coat, dolman sleeve short coat, A-line half coat, zip-up pullover, and a jacket; all very simple basics and easy to sew.

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A classical modern coat with raglan sleeve, one hook closure and a self made belt.

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My favorite out of the six free patterns, a simple chic half coat with concealed button closure and attached leather ties.

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Yikes! The fabric choice could have been more fashion and less upholstery for this dolman sleeve short coat.

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An A-line half coat with drop shoulder sleeve.

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(Left) A cardigan/jacket with two snap button closures, the same draft as the classical modern coat but cut shorter.  (Right) A zip-up  pullover with drop shoulder and an exposed front zipper.

Mannish Coat

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Two men’s wear inspired jackets – the left jacket has a shoulder yoke detail done in a contrasting fabric and the right jacket has patch pockets with snap button flap closure.

Lace & Tweed Jacket

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(Left) Influence from the 70s safari jacket can be seen in the use of large patch pockets on the front of this jacket.  The jacket edges is frayed and is reinforced with twill tape to control the fray.

(Center) Zip jacket with a lace overlay decorating the center front.

(Right) Lace jacket decorated with pointed lace border around the collar.

Short Cape & Coat

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I love these two pieces!   Both have a structural  look to them that is basic yet distinctively unique.  (Left) This jacket’s curving style lines is reminiscent of a Frank Gehry sculpture with the front flowing into the collar and the collar jutting up to frame the face.    (Right) This poncho/coat  is modernly updated with strong use of angular design lines, in its silhouette and in its pocket shape.

Half Coat

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(Left) Coat with a loosely draped collar and accented with slanted pockets.  (Middle) Oversize notch collar coat with a cocoon silhouette.  (Right) A coat with faux fur accent on the collar, the seams and the hem; mimicking the look of a shearling coat.

One-piece Lover

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(Left) Short sleeve dress with tucks in place of darts.  (Right) Loose fitting dress with expose zipper detailing.

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(Left) Baby doll dress with lace collar.  (Right)  Princess line dress with flare skirt and 3/4 length sleeves.

Working With Stripped Fabric

This sections shows interesting way to lay pattern pieces to utilize the visual effect of stripes.

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(Left) A  peplum jacket with two piece sleeves and a portrait collar.  A matching fishtail skirt completes the whole ensemble.  (Right) A fitted jacket with two piece sleeves.  Originally when I saw this jacket I thought it was trim added onto the jacket to give it this effect, but it’s really from placing the pattern pieces strategically on to the striped fabric to achieve this look.

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(Left) A double breasted jacket with contrasting bands top-stitched horizontally across.  (Right) A collarless princess seamed jacket with trumpet sleeves.

Layering Style

The Japanese are renown for their ability to layer clothing on top of layer and experiment with contrasting print and color.  The style feature in Mrs Stylebook is not as extreme as the layering that I have seen on the street of Tokyo, but I thought this section was pretty cool in its instructional on the art of layering.  An added bonus is some of the clothes featured in this section you can draft and sew yourself.

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Knitting Section

Five pieces to knit : shoes, finger-less gloves, scarf with pocket, beret, and button up collar.

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Working with Wool Fabric

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(Left)  Loose cardigan (Right) Color-blocked jumper/dress

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(Left) Tunic with multiple tucks (Right) Jacket with a decorative flounce hem

Cross Stitch Project

There are three cross stitch design template used to make buttons that can be used in a variety of crafting or sewing projects.

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Three Craft Projects Using Old Scarf

The projects are – top, rosette, and a bag; all of the the scarfs used in these projects are of the square variety.

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At the end of every Mrs Stylebook there is a tutorial on basic drafting skills.  The summer 2012 issue focused on collars, neckline and darts which I never got around to covering.  This issue features the bodice sloper and the variety of garments that can be drafted from this one sloper.

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Mrs Stylebook Spring 2012 Review Part 2

5 Jul

I have been very late on finishing my review for the Spring 2012 Mrs. Stylebook; I will finish the last part of the review when I come back from New York in mid July.  Continuing where I left off, this section displays the on trend pieces for spring.


(Left)A shirtwaist dress with contrasting banding on the hem of the sleeve and dress and on the shoulder seam.  The dress has a four button closure concealed on the inside of the dress.

(Right) A sleeveless V-necked dress with pleats substituting in place of darts.

Spring Coat

(Left) A coat with large patch pockets on both side and a hood, which isn’t visible in the photo, the hood has a loose fit with an extension that drapes down to the front.

(Middle) A double-breasted trench coat constructed in chambray fabric.

(Right) A red swing trench coat with lots of volume.  I love how they styled this look with the patterned silk scarf and slim black pants.  Very Parisians!

Shirt Style

(Left) It looks like a regular over size shirt in the photo but it’s an unusual drafted shirt with bat wing sleeves.  There are only three pattern pieces – the left side, the right side and the collar.  The shirt is also easy to assemble with the two sides folding into itself, than sewing it along the shoulder seam, and finally attaching the two together at the center back.  No sloper require for this garment.  Just draft from the given measurement.

(Middle)  I love this drop waist shirt with the shoulder yoke and the patch pockets.

(Right)  A tunic shirt in a border printed fabric with patch pockets.

Gather & Pleated Skirt

(Left) A knife pleated skirt with a border hem.

(Middle) A pressed in pleated skirt.

(Right) A box pleated skirt.

Basic Jacket

(Left) In the tradition of a tailored man’s jacket, a female version with notch collar, sleeve vent, and double welt flap pockets.

(Middle) A fitted jacket tailored with cuffed sleeves and single welt flap pockets.

(Right)  A jewel collar jacket constructed in three contrasting fabric, the main fabric used looks like a boucle, the other two fabric not so sure but looks like a cotton or linen woven variety.  The decorative detail on the sleeve hem and waist seams utilizes the fray edges of the contrasting fabric.

Loose Dress and Blouse

This whole section feature loose fitting dresses and blouses.

(Left) A chic A-line dress with fullness in the back brought on by the inverted box pleat in the back.

(Right) A colour blocked dress with a little box pleat at the hem.

(Left) Using some creative pattern drafting, interesting fullness is created at the bottom of this tunic.

(Middle) A tunic with lace overlay.  This tunic is so easy to draft and sew.  No sloper required.

(Right) A peasant blouse with back button closure and waist tie band.

(Left) Another easy tunic top to draft and sew.  You can use two handkerchiefs, instead of fabric off the bolt to construct this top.

(Left-middle)  A tunic with drawstring sleeves and a sheer back insert.

(Left-right) A casual button less shirt constructed with a back yoke, a flare back and a back tie.

(Right) A bib inserted cowl neck tunic.

Mrs Stylebook Spring 2012 Review Part 1

12 Apr

I know I haven’t been posting as regularly. It has been a pretty crazy last couple of months for me.  I will be reviewing the Mrs Stylebook Spring 2012  in several parts because it will take me a while to go through it. I also finally got my scanner started so no more blurry photograph with my digital camera.  I hope you guys enjoy!

There are about 96 patterns to draft – consisting an even amount of pants, skirts, tops, dresses, and jackets to make for a spring wardrobe. The paper patterns included for this issue are two jackets and two coats.

The four garments are coordinated with other draftable garments featured in the magazine and it is styled showing two looks – mature and youthful.

Starting with the scoop neckline coat with three-quarter length sleeves, is paired with a floral pencil skirt (left), a pair of black jeggings (right),

striped tunic shirt with scallop hem (left), dress with waist tucks and contrasting side panels (left middle), dress shirt and roll capri pants (right middle), floral ankle pants (right).

The gingham jacket with cuff sleeves and a decorative back tie is paired with a  peg leg cargo pants [I love! I love!] (left), loose trousers with ankle tabs (middle), midi skirt with godets (right),

knee length skirt with box pleats (left), tunic with a drapey front (middle right), skirt with a peculiar origami fold in the front (right).

The multi-tiered coat made with shirting fabric is paired with a sheath dress that has two decorative horizontal seams on the bodice (right),

shorts (left), skirt with a gathered center back (left middle), skirt with an unusual placement of pleats in an angle seam (right middle), T-shirt with an asymmetrical hemline and khaki pants with a slit pocket on the left thigh (right).

Collarless jacket with detachable ruffle collars and a back peplum skirt is paired with a sheath dress with pleat detailing on the neckline (right),

yoke skirt with pleats (middle left), loose fitting t-shirt with diagonal seaming from the neckline (middle right), skirt with elastic details on the hem (right).

There is a section where they interview  Japanese designers and  paired it with garments you can draft and make from the designer’s collection.

Starting with the “Hiromi Yoshida” (left page) label,  a dress and a jacket are given to the reader to draft and sew.  They are both very easy to draft.  The dress is a color-blocked jersey dress with two pockets concealed along the seam.  The princess seam jacket is collarless with a jewel neckline and no pockets.  But what makes this simple jacket so interesting is the expose seams with a Hong Kong/bound finish used as a decorative detail.

Next, we have a tunic blouse and a shrug from “KEI Hayama PLUS” (right page).  The blouse is a mix of two big trends of 2012, the pajama trend and the floral trend.  If the two trends had a baby, this blouse would be  its lovechild.  The shrug is straightforward in terms of sewing.  If you ever sewn or even knitted a shrug, the pattern is fundamentally the same.  To draft this shrug it doesn’t require a bodice block just your height measurement.

I love the appliqué on this very simple skirt from “machiko jinto london” (right page).  The pattern for the skirt is basically a long rectangle that has been pleated to give it a fuller look.

From “DoClasse” (left page), a linen cotton coat with contrast boarder along the neckline, center front, sleeve hems, pockets, and center back.  I Googled the brand DoClasse and they have an online shopping site, which also has this coat on it.  I compiled pictures off the website to show the different views of the coat.

Mrs Stylebook (Autumn) 2011 Review Part 3

31 Dec

Hope everybody had a good holiday.

Finally the end of my review!  I chose a couple of pattern drafts that I liked throughout this issue.  There were a lot of shapeless dresses in this issue so I didn’t cover any of those dresses.

(Left) Another blanket coat, but has a more relax feel than the one I previously posted, with the longer length, the shawl collar and the looser fit.  (Right) Asymmetrical buttoned up coat with a funnel neck. I love the idea of wearing a bright red coat to take away the winter blues away.

(Left) I am past the age of wearing velour jackets, but I adore the color blocking on this jacket.  The pattern uses three different colors.  I am not fond of the color choices used for the finished project.  But if I were to make this jacket, I would do it in black, grey, and white or if I were feeling colourful, I would use the Gucci 2011 palette of aquamarine, teal and violet.   (Right) Duffle coats always evoke memories of Paddington the Bear.  A classic piece that keeps you all warm and cozy especially with the wet snow and wind chills we have been getting in Toronto these last couple of days.

I always like to review the non-drafting projects featured near the end of the magazine.  I find them fun to view even though they are unwearable for me.  Remember the recycling projects in the 2011 early summer issue.  They are back again!

Made from old scarfs, the one on the left is a shorter top with a v-neck and the one on the right is a tunic with a funnel collar.  They both employ the fringes from the scarf as a design detail, wasting as little as possible.

(Left) Apron to a pinafore.  (Right)  A long dress into a tunic.

I thought this was a great section on how to employ design details with strip fabric.  Through fabric layout and/or pocket placements, you can create different design elements.  All four shirts use the same pattern and through the above techniques, they become four different shirts.

A section on how to make a tote bag using upholstery fabric.

For those who like to knit, knitting instructions on how to knit three pairs of socks and a snood scarf.

Mrs. Stylebook (Autumn) 2011 Review Part 2 – Crash Course in Autumn Textiles

6 Dec

Sorry for breaking up this review in to several parts and the late posting, I have been busy attending parties and various events with the approaching holiday so I have had less time for myself to sew and to post.

Continuing with the autumn 2011 edition of Mrs. Stylebook review there is a section on using different types of fabric for the autumn with a description of the fabric and its use.  I must confess that I wasn’t familiar with most of the fabrics featured and I had to Google them.

Here we have ‘beaver’ fabric, a fabric that I haven’t encountered and through the internet, this is the definition that I found:

‘Beaver cloth sounds like a material made from beaver pelts. It was not. It was in fact a wool fabric, although cotton was sometimes used. It was a fabric developed in Britain and woven so as to reassemble beaver pelts. It was double faced, napped on both sides. The nap is the long fuzzy end of fibers on the surface of cloth. The weave was a twill and heavily napped, although the length of the nap varied, depending on the grade of cloth and uses. Beaver cloth has the longest nap of all the different napped fabrics. Beaver cloth had a luxurious, almost silky look. Light colored fibers were sometimes added to the nap which increased the shine derived from this weave. Beaver cloth was very effective cold weather fabric. It was thus primarily worn for making heavy winter coats. Beaver cloth or cotton beaver was less expensive and employed in a variety of garments. The cotton weave might be used capes and even shoe linings. It was the cotton weave that was used for work garments and maritime garments where warmth was especially important. An example of a child’s garment is a beaver cloth cape overcoat offered by Sears in 1902. Presumably this is wool beaver. ‘

There are two patterns given for the use of beaver wool: (Left) Mock neck princess seam coat with tucks at the waistline.  (Middle) An academy jacket with notch collar, patch pockets and braided trim along the edges.

The next fabric, I couldn’t find any information on it.   The fabric is called ‘mosser’ and from what I gather is wool in origin and the name ‘mosser’ maybe referring to a weave or to a production method to make the wool.  It might exclusively be a Japanese terminology used to describe winter jacket wool.  If anybody knows about this fabric, I would like to know what it is exactly.

One pattern is given for the use of ‘mosser’ wool: (Right) Mock neck, double-breasted coat with side  panels.

(Left) Next, we have a dress made out of voile.  The color and pattern of this fabric is atrocious for a dress.  This fabric is more suited for home decor than for dressmaking.  I would also change the fit of this dress because it’s pretty frumpy looking.

(Middle) An open jacket made out of Saxony fabric – another fabric that I am unfamiliar with.  The definition of Saxony:

“midweight woollen fabric which is soft to the touch. Has a fine, short pile on its face which to an extent conceals the weave, which is in four-end, reversible crepe. Woven from fine carded yarns, and is typically patterned. Used for men’s sports-type jackets and suits, and for ladies’ suits. The name is given by the state in which this cloth was first produced.”

(Right) Last fabric that I am unfamiliar with is Viyella.  It’s an interesting fabric with lots of information on it.  It even has its own section in Wikipedia detailing its history.  Viyella is made out of 55 percent merino wool and 45 percent cotton in a twill weave.  Created in 1893 in England, it was first used to make nightgowns and shirts and eventually into more fashionable attires. Laura Ashley and Liberty of London are a few that used the fabric. I even found a cool link of Schiaparelli’s vintage ads advertising the use of Viyella fabric.   Fabric production for Viyella stopped in the late 90s, making it unavailable for purchase in the current market.  Which leads me to my next question?  Can another textile mill make Viyella fabrics using the same ratio of wool and cotton in a twill weave and call it Viyella or is this an infringement on trademark?  Since I can’t read the text, I don’t know if Mrs Stylebook used authentic Viyella fabric or an imitation version to create the shirt.  It would be nice to know.

Next there are four tweed garments to make: (Left) tailor trousers, (Middle)a tailor jacket with a matching skirt, and (Right) a collarless jacket.

Lastly three garments to make using knit fabric: (Left) a skirt with ugly ruffles cascading down, (Middle) a kimono sleeve crop jacket, and (Right) a oversize raglan sleeve coat with a shawl collar.  The silhouette and the cut of this coat are reminiscent of coats from the 50s.

Mrs. Stylebook (Autumn) Review Part 1

23 Nov

This issue is filled with jackets galore!  If you love drafting jackets and coats this issue is for you.

There are about 92 patterns to draft.  Included are four ready-made patterns: open cardigan (left), open coat (right),

knit top (left), and a loose fitting dress (right) .  Not crazy about any of these garments.  The only thing I would consider making is the knit top.

Jackets and Coats Galore!

I always find that the more fashionable patterns are featured in the front of the magazine and the further you get into the magazine, the dowdier or quirkier the style gets.  A huge portion of my review consists of patterns from the front with a smattering of selections from the middle and the end.

Nuance Form

(Left) Belted poncho/cape with zipper closure.

(Middle) Shawl collar coat with big patch pockets on either side.

(Right) Collarless princess seam coat with a sixties flare.  Love the bold color and the big buttons on this coat.

Impact Color, Check & Border

(Left) Updated version of the blanket coat reminiscent of the HBC blanket coat.  I love the unusual detailing of the ruched collar and the zipper decorated patch pockets.

(Middle) Shirt tunic with tiny center front pleats.

(Right) A variation of  the tailor jacket with a ribbed sweater knit top collar.

Creamy Color

(Left) Shawl collar jacket with frayed detailing.

(Middle) Coat with big patch pockets and a huge shawl collar that I thought was a hood.  I had to use google translate to translate this kanji 衿 symbol on the draft to make sure it was a huge shawl collar and not a hood.

(Right) Coat with a hood.  The hood has an exposed zipper in the center front that isn’t shown in the picture but is in the draft.  The zipper looks more decorative than functional.  I love the welt pockets disguised as  patch pockets.

Feminine Print

(Left) The busy textile pattern takes away from all the pleating details on this garment.  The tunic top/dress has a center front box pleat and opposing knife pleats that carries through to the back.  The raglan sleeve is pleated in the same manner but has an inverted box pleat on the cap line.  Collar is also pleated to match.

(Middle) Uggh….this textile pattern reminds me of my grandmother’s table cloth.  The silhouette is reminiscent of the 60s, but that doesn’t mean they have to raid somebody’s old tablecloth to remind us what decade they took their inspiration from.

(Right) Another tunic/dress with dolman sleeves and a boat neckline.  In my opinion, this textile pattern is the most wearable one out of the three.

Soft Military

(Left) Double-breasted trench coat with 3/4 length raglan sleeves.  I hate the length of the sleeves on this coat.  It is not flattering on anybody’s figure; in fact it shortens your proportion making you look shorter.  The only time 3/4 sleeves works on a coat, is if the coat is cropped at the waist or higher.

(Right) Double-breasted peplum jacket with two piece sleeves and rounded notch collar.

Mrs. Stylebook (Summer 2011) Review

19 Aug

This issue is a disappointment compared to the last two that I reviewed.  The majority of the clothes featured are very loose and boxy and there is a lack of garments with innovating pattern drafting techniques.

There are about 100 patterns to draft.  Like the last issue, there are a lot of tunics, dresses and tops.  Included in this issue are twenty ready-made patterns of tops and dresses that are variations of six drafts with elements added on or taken away.

The A Group

Two dartless button-up blouse: (Left) Shorten at the waist and sleeves.  Cuff added onto the sleeves.

(Right) Hip length blouse with three-quarter length sleeves.

Using the same dartless blouse draft: (Bottom left) Button-up dress with ruffle collar and sleeves.  The front placket is decorated with trim.  There is an option of adding decorative trims along the front of the dress which isn’t shown in the photo.

(Top left) One buttoned blouse with ruching above the bust.

(Right) Pullover tunic with ruching below the bust, drawstring collar and double layer sleeves.

The B Group

Using a tent dress draft with neckline pleats: (Left) Pullover blouse with three button enclosure on the front.

(Right) Dress with mandarin collar and pin tuck pleats decorating the hemline.  There is the option of adding a tie around the waist that isn’t shown in the photo because it is belted.

The C Group

Using the shift dress draft with a series of single darts at the waist: (Left) Fitted blouse with zipper closure at the center back.

(Middle and Right) The two dresses are exactly the same in draft, just the sewing is varied.  The dress on the right has the waist darts sewn as tucks, while the middle dress has the waist darts sewn as darts.

The D Group

Using the princess line draft: (Left) Crop jacket with zipper closure.

(Middle) Sleeveless hip-length vest with ruching on the shoulder and hook and eye closures on the front.

(Right) Button up drop waist dress with three layers of ruffles.

Two collarless jacket using the princess line draft: (Left) Jacket with full length sleeves.  Self made ruche trims decorates the collar, the front and the sleeves of the jacket.

(Right) Jacket with three quarter length cuffed sleeves and false pockets.  Decorative frayed edges are used along the sleeve cuffs, pockets and front placket.

The E Group

The base draft for this group is a variation of a blouson draft with the right side dart removed and replaced with pleats on the right side of the neckline.  (Left) Short sleeve dress with gathers on the mid back and neck.

(Middle) Drawstring blouse decorated with lace trim on the collar and sleeves.

(Right) Lace tunic with gathered sleeves embellished with a bow.

The F Group

Both the blouse and the dress is exactly the same using the kimono draft as its base with the only change being the length.

My Picks

(Left) When I first saw this vest, it looked like a generic vest.  On closer inspection of the draft, it was far from generic.  The vest is a patchwork of different shades of black, color blocked in such a way that it gives it a geometric look reminiscent of a Mondrian painting.  It’s a shame they didn’t photograph the vest better because it looks so interesting on the draft.  Another thing I love about this vest is one size fit all and no sloper to draft from since it a bunch of rectangles sewn together.

(Right Top) Three tier blouse with expose front zipper.  There is an interesting detail by the zipper where two pieces of fabric is gathered and pleated to form what looks like two bows.

Exploring Fabric Types

There is a section on using different types of fabric with accompanying designs to go with it.

(Left) Jacket with zipper closure made from embroidery lace.  The neckline, waistline and center front are bound with satin bias tape.

(Right) Sheath dress with color blocking using art pique fabric and black woven fabric.

(Left) Jacket made from leno cloth with ruffles decorating the collar, front and hem.  I am not liking the polka dot ruffles.  It’s a bit too much with the stripes of the jacket.  (Right) Jacket and skirt sewn in seersucker fabric.  Fray trim decorate the neckline and front.

Matching Mother and Daughter Outfits

There is a two page spread on matching outfits for mother and daughter.  No sloper required for the kid’s clothes, just follow the measurements that are given and just draft.  From experience I can say drafting and sewing kid’s clothing is as simple as you get.

Experiment with Rectangle Pattern Drafting

When I first saw these four outfits I was like …ugg.  I know Mrs Stylebook likes to experiment with pattern drafting but these garments are not flattering at all.  I noticed the foundation of all four designs are based on the rectangle so I googled rectangle pattern drafting and discovered it was a drafting technique used before the late Renaissance in the construction of clothing.  As quoted from, “Rectangular Construction basically takes advantage of the ‘rectangular’ nature of fabric.  Most, if not all, pattern pieces are rectangular in shape, there is minimal fitting, and very few scraps left.”

This is Mrs Stylebook modern interpretation of this technique.  Even though I would never make any of these garments, I appreciate their attempt to pay tribute to this ancient method of clothing construction.

Another Baby Lock Wave Project!

Another Baby Lock Wave project that involves decorating a shirt with the wave stitch and alternating it with ruffles.  The shirt draft is included along with the instruction on how to apply the wave stitch.  I don’t like this look as much as the one featured in the last Mrs. Stylebook, but it shows another way of using the wave stitch as a design detail.