in the mood for sewing

When Rachel and I walked into Mood Fabrics yesterday, I think we both stumbled slightly at the mere sight. It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least.

Mood is overwhelming (by mintyfreshflavor)

Piles and piles of bolts of fabric, organized by type, with no guidemap. Rachel posited that this is what it feels like when a new knitter walks into a yarn shop for the first time. It’s true, I can walk into Purl and identify the brands from afar–when my friend Julie picked up a yarn I impressed her by glancing over and saying, “Oh yes, Cascade 220 would be great for you to learn with.” (I caught a glimpse of the edge of the label–I’m not that good.)

mood is overwhelming (by mintyfreshflavor)

The idea that I might someday enter a fabric shop and be able to touch a fabric and say “oh, this is a linen/cotton blend” or be able to say, “I want to make a dress, and this fabric is going to have the perfect drape and weight” is completely unfathomable to me. But I want it to be the case, and soon! I want to make a bag from Bend-the-Rules Sewing (the pleated beauty handbag), and I would love to make some dresses, and all sorts of sewing dreams. I just need that guidemap. Advice? What sewing blogs should I be reading? What resources do you turn to for sewing advice?

24 Responses to in the mood for sewing

  1. stacey says:

    My sister and I plan on heading to Mood when we go to a wedding in NYC in July. I am totally prepared for that overwhelmed feeling (like when I first walked into WEBS!)

    If you get any good sewing blog suggestions, would you mind posting them? There are lots of us novice seamstresses out here!

  2. Renee says:

    “Bend the Rules Sewing” is a great place to start. There is a “Bend the Rules Sewing” group on flickr where people post pictures of their projects from the book, give advice, and share errata. The author of the book also gives advice and encouragement.

    The Sew Mama Sew blog ( has plenty of tutorials for making all sorts of projects.

    Good luck!

  3. Elspeth says:

    Hello! I have Bend The Rules Sewing as well; it was my first sewing book. I’ve made the Pleated Beauty Bag and found the instructions kind of tough when it came to inserting the lining and handles. If you have that trouble too, it was really helpful to look at the lining and cording instructions for the clutch pictured on the cover. The bag is really pretty, though! Hope you enjoy it!

  4. jennie says:

    Oooh Mood. How very “Project Runway” of you :)

    I just got my sewing machine fixed and have been entertaining thoughts of returning to sewing. I’ve got some dress plans for the summer, but I need time to realize them. Let me know if you find any good resources!

  5. missyecaj says:

    I actually bought that book a few weeks ago, to go with the sewing machine my mom bought me for my birthday. I haven’t attempted anything yet, but all the projects look fun! Good luck with your sewing adventure. :)

  6. Annie says:

    If you’re up for a class, Make Workshop has some good ones. I’m not sure what the skill levels are, though. Might be too easy? Might be just right?

  7. lekkercraft says:

    I’m a novice sewer, too. I have the Built By Wendy and some Simplicity patterns, but have only dabbled around with them. I did do a dress out of a Simplicity pattern that came out nicely, using a Sewing for Dummies book and the BBW book for reference, and managed to get through it pretty well!

    I went to Mood once — overwhelming! I found that they have a map on their website of where to find the different types of fabrics (on both floors) and you can print it out to take along. It was still a little confusing (I don’t know a ton about fabrics) but it definitely helped me feel a little less lost. Such a great store, though…

  8. Carrie says:

    I haven’t found many sewing websites so the list above is great for me! Thanks for asking :)

    Three other ones I keep an eye on (although they don’t necessarily share my style) are, but have been good for tips and tutorials:

    I find a lot of tutorials off of that Sew Mama Sew website. I LOVE love love the Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts as well as the books mentioned above :) Oh and the Purl Bee of course!

  9. mel says:

    I haven’t broken out my sewing machine in ages, but these gorgeous fabric shots make me want to.

    I’ve found some excellent sewing blogs through the Wardrobe Refashion group blog, so I’ll just post that link. I like the refashion blog because there are many small quick alterations as well as full-fledged sewing projects (knitting to), so it’s all-around inspirational.

    Oh, ok, just one more. Katrin is awesome & a mega-talented sewing superstar. Scroll down for her Rubblework Scarves and cool black blouse with a surprise inside – among others!

  10. Stella says:

    Oh, thank you for asking this, Minty… I’ve just been wondering the same thing. I’m sure your readers posess a wealth of useful info. I can’t wait to see what you make!

  11. Lisa says:

    I am always in awe of the designers on project runway and how they run into Mood with only 30 minutes and manage to always find the right fabrics! I have no sewing blogs to recommend, but I look forward to seeing what your creative little fingers can turn out!

  12. Jodie says:

    I made the pleated bag and have been using it everyday for awhile. I still need to blog about a few of those sewing projects….

    I’d say and are my two favorite sewing blogs. Although I don’t read nearly as many sewing blogs as knitting.

    For fabric choices I try to stick with natural fibers (like knitting) and chose much more based on looks and weight. For the pleated bag I used a medium cotton for the body and a cotton print for the lining and pleats. The cotton print is a light color so it’s super easy to see inside the bag. I also added a magnetic snap.

    Before I did the bag, I made the coasters and the zip pouch. After that I was totally ready for the bag. Can’t wait to see what you make!

  13. Veronique says:

    I love reading She designs her own beautiful garments, but doesn’t give tips, so it’s more inspirational that informational.
    I have to admit that I did exactly what Monique recommended when I first went to Mood: I printed out a map of the store!

  14. Suz says:

    That first photo looks just like my favorite sewing store in my town in Honduras, which I frequented not because I ever sewed anything myself, but because I sometimes paid people to sew things for me. The best part was that it was not just a few walls of utter bolt chaos, but an entire hot, windowless room, and that the saleslady always, ALways, knew where to find exactly what you were looking for. If you could speak enough Spanish to ask for it!

  15. Jenny Girl says:

    Mood ! Hello Project Runway! Love that show. Can’t help you with sewing. I can barely sew a button. But I think it’s great that you want to learn how. A friend of mine at work sews, and she just whips stuff out. That was never my thing.

  16. Ashley says:

    Oh my gosh–how did I not know about that place? Do they have wools? I am obsessed with nice flannely wools but have no sources for them.

    I’d second the Sew Mama Sew blog; good tutes and pattern reviews, plus they often link to excellent tutorials and inspirational projects (why yes, one of my quilts WILL be featured in February, thank you very much). And I think I pointed to you to Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio before; she’s great.

  17. SheKnitsHeSpins says:

    Delurking to say I love your blog! Diana Rupp, who runs MAKE Workshop, just came out with a book called S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop. It talks you through all the basics and includes a bunch of cute patterns, including a number of bags, a few dresses, an adorable tunic top, a skirt, and a necktie. I know very little about sewing, but so far I’ve learned a lot from it!

  18. whitney says:

    I know almost nothing about sewing, but it’s something I really want to learn about, and get to the point you describe…having the type of knowledge that I have with yarn, about what fabrics are best suited to what projects. And of course, having the skills to make the projects, too! How exciting, to go to Mood! (I’m way too obsessed with Project Runway not to think so!)

  19. Elinor says:

    Sew What! Skirts is a great book that teaches you to design and sew skirts without a pattern. I’m about to start my first dress project so I can’t help you there. YAY! Minty’s sewing!

  20. Peacock Chic says:

    Looks like we were in the Mood together!! I went to the Mood Fabrics in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Not as big as the one in NY but equally inspirational!!

    i like Amy Butler patterns because they are very detailed in telling you what to do

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