Miscellaneous Needlework Sites
Note that this is a blog: tutorials must be read from the bottom up.
When I was a new bride in the mid-sixties, I found an old book called something like "Design Your Own Dress Patterns" in the Indianapolis Library. I measured myself, followed the step-by-step instructions for drafting a bodice pattern, and made the prettiest housedress I've ever owned. I didn't follow up on that then, but many years later, when I got fed up with trying to buy work pants and resumed sewing, having had that experience made an enormous difference in my attitude.
So I just naturally wanted to recommend that other beginning dressmakers draft a sloper from measurements, but each time I reviewed a pattern-drafting book, it turned out to be a discussion of what you do with the sloper once you've drafted it — save one that assumes that you have professional drafting equipment, already know all about slopers, and want a by-guess-and-by-golly method of whomping one out in five minutes flat. And then, while poking around on the Vintage Sewing website, I came across (Rest of discussion commented out because (sob, whine) the links are dead.)
Still open, but now superseded by a Web forum: Pattern Making with Don McCunn.
In November of 2019, Yahoo killed the mailing list. The forum is still going strong.
Excellent instructions for pleating fabric by drawing up running stitches. The description assumes that you plan to smock the pleats, but this pleating method can be used for many purposes.
10 October 2016: link checked and found dead. If you know where it went, write me!
30 December 2017 Searched on "Marie Grace" and found http://web.archive.org/web/20140205225938/http:/www.mariegracedesigns.com/marie_grace/2009/03/handpleating-fabric-tutorial.html9500112480927158067641
"Our local hospital has put out a call for 1,000 surgical or scrub caps to help them respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to sewing up a storm, I made this DIY Surgical Cap Tutorial to help others join in this effort. Below you'll find a free printable pattern, step-by-step tutorial and YouTube demo (my first, awkward attempt at a video - which was much harder than it looks!).
The rest of this is hopelessly out of date, so I commented it out.
an authentic fabric-saving T-tunic
links tested 10 October 2016; first two are live, the third is dead.18th-Century shift -- would make a good nightgown if you use my poncho-shirt neckline instead of the eighteenth-century neckline.
18th-Century shirt -- translated from Garsault.
http://thebuckskinners.com/wp/?p=97 Mentions various reasons you might want the strap to be different lengths, then gives non-adjustable pattern. It would be easy to add a D-ring buckle. Instructions could be improved.
http://bethlehemtradingpost.com/bags-and-packs-on-line.php selling sack made by above pattern, good picture.
https://www.marariley.net/leatherwork/snapsack.htm Mara Riley makes a snapsack. Some good links on the page.
https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/the-amazing-snapsack.254527/ Suggestions for using a snapsack once you have one. Waterproofing is better at keeping wet things wet than it is at keeping dry things dry; put the things you put in the bag in disposable plastic bags instead of trying to keep the whole bag dry.
Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont has been reprinted many times. My copy is called "The Complete DMC Encyclopedia of Needlework/Special Collector's Edition". Whatever you call it, it's an invaluable resource, both for practical how-to-do-it and for primary-source historical information. And now I hear that it's available on the Web!
Upon following the link, I find that the same people have webbed Beeton's Book of Needlework, by Isabella Beeton
Fashion Incubator has lots and lots of good information.
Bella found a great resource on sewing. "Home Hobbies: Sewing Resources at Home" appears to be like "Get Out of Here", but is much more ambitious.
It warns you when a link leads to a PDF or a video, and has a brief comment on each link. The pages linked to vary in quality, and even the best pages (including mine!) include some doubtful information: engage brain.
Making the Perfect Theater Costume: A Beginner's Guide to Sewing is decidedly unfriendly to seventy-year-old eyes. Wrap has been disabled, so that enlarging the type forces one to scroll horizontally, and clicking "no style" doesn't help.
The meat of the page is a sorted list of links, so one doesn't need to be able to read the text, and PDF files are clearly marked. Kira has said that the links are very helpful to a beginner.
Shifts aren't the only items discussed on Mara Riley's Costume Page. You will find other patterns and instructions, costume reseach, recommended reading, and a list of useful links.
I was disappointed when I found a pressing ham in the sewing store — I'd always envisioned them as being about the size of a real ham, and mine is the size of a canned ham. Then today (11 February, 2012) I was reading old entries in Pam Erny's blog and learned that hams are supposed to be much larger, and she gave a link to an on-line shop where one can have professional-size hams made to order.
https://www.titlemax.com/crochet-in-the-car/ is an array of links to crochet articles, divided into "beginning", "intermediate", and "advanced". Each link to a PDF or video is marked, so you don't get surprised when you click on one. (I haven't tried any of the PDF links, since I have to call up a separate program to read one. I did click on the link to a video, and was much surprised that I was able to view it. (Adobe Flash has been expurgated from my computer, and I've been vigilant to keep it from re-installing.)) (I was even more surprised when I glanced up at the other computer just now, and found a useful image on the screen.)
The Spriggan Experiment
If I recall correctly, The Spriggan Mirror by Lawrence Watt-Evans doesn't even discuss clothing, let along sewing methods — but it's a nifty novel all the same, and you don't often get to read a first draft while the author is still working on it.
A sample of another novel that gave an advance peek: Harald by David Friedman, published by Baen Books.