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Golden Ratio for Up-Cycle Sewing

A young sewing student of mine came to class with a skirt that still fit but - since she has grown so much taller - is just TOO short. Amazingly, she also came with a hunk of fabric that coordinated with the little print in the skirt perfectly!

Darned if I didn't take a picture of the skirt as she brought it - only the teeny print, no dark on it - so just try to imagine it - and you will realize just how VERY SHORT it was! . This 'up-cycle' became my project while I was helping the girls stitch up their skirts at the same time, 'sew' it was a bit B Z around the Sunroom Sewing Studio that morning. The uppermost shirred layer is flopped over my cheval mirror, so you can't see that, but If you look closely you'll see that there are 3 tiers - good design.

HOWEVER, this shot of the skirt at that point looks totally FRUMPY - out of 'kilter' - NOT pleasing proportionally. WHY? To start with, you only see the black in TWO places.

That's like putting 2 flowers in a vase. THREE is better. WHY? Read on....

One of the most valuable things I learned in college (in addition to organizing myself and my time) was DESIGN PRINCIPLES. One of the most INTERESTING and life-changing for me was the Golden Mean Rule - as they called it then, but now is more often called the GOLDEN RATIO. In fact, I wrote an article on it WAY back for Creative Needle Magazine during the first years of my retail storefront as Londa's Elegant Creations. Those were my 'heirloom days' and I hadn't yet realized that heirloom sewing, feminine clothes were not gonna 'cut it' for retail sales north of the Mason/Dixon line!!! Well.... I adapted my business more to what would SELL, but nonetheless - heirloom was a real starting off point for my retail business years. If you'd told me then that 34 years later I'd be the grandma of 4 little girls, and not make an heirloom dress or bonnet for any of them, I'd have told you that you CRAZY - but, alas, that is the truth. On with my blog post..... The images of that 6 page article are from Creative Needle Magazine July-August 1990.

At least I've been smart enough to save issues of the magazines I've written for through the years... I joke that I'll wallpaper the walls of my room in a retirement home with them!

All that being said/taught, you might also want to take a quick look at this YouTube that I found on the Golden Ratio....there are many to see there, but I especially liked how this gal taught it...


I now have THREE locations for the eye-grabbing black background fabric. Had I just put in the lowermost layer, it would have definitely looked 'added on' - ugh!

ALSO, note that I didn't make the smaller two bands of equal depth, but the top band the smallest, then the middle one a bit wider. Ideally, the proportion would be even better if the lowermost hadn't had to be quite so long, but the length we made it was needed to pass approval.

I hope that you've found this short 'excursion' into the Golden Ratio of interest. I'll be using it as I do MUCH up-cycle sewing in the coming days, as I've decided to produce a line of one-of-a-kind patriotic T-shirts - RED/WHITE/BLUE Americana theme. I dropped over $100 at our local Goodwill yesterday. ALL are washed up and ready to cut into and RE-fashioned, in a variety of sizes. The fabrics my fingers found in men's shirts was WONDERFUL QUALITY!

My soul's 'happy place' is creative sewing - and my personal closets are FULL! Thus, this next adventure. I'll share it all via my blog here along the way. IN sharing, I hope to inspire you to do the same, and to be of some help to you as you stitch.

Still 'clearing out' inventory around here... so here's my SPECIAL as long as the supply lasts...

Regarding my Stretching Your Knit Sewing Know-How 3 Disc DVD (also available digitally in case you don't have a DVD player any longer)... it made my day when a customer, Mary from North Carolina, took time to email me the following...

"Dear Londa, I just started watching this and am so impressed. I was thrilled to hear that I didn't need to use zigzag stitch as it is so hard to rip out. I have now finished all 3 discs and am so excited. There is so much I have learned and will use as I start my journey with sewing knit fabrics. You have saved me from man headaches. If I lived cloer, I would drive over and hug you. At age 80, I'm hesitant to drive that far."

Mary keeps busy sewing for children ages 4-14 for charity. She realizes that kids today want to wear knits - so that's why she is learning to sew knits, but also adds "I've sewn with wovens for 30 years and still learned so much from your videos - like how you gather fabric!!!" She also appreciates learning how to use twin needles. Way to go, Mary!

LINKS to the 3 Disc Collection - special price with pattern of your choice and extra pattern tissue with your order of the actual DVDs....

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