Some reviews and some views of fall.

Many sewing/craft blogs out there seem to be run on the review economy. That is, manufacturers send free stuff to the blog owner who gives a positive review about the free stuff and then the blog owner is then sent more free stuff to review... 

When I write about a fabric store or a book in glowing terms, it's because it is something that I love, not something that I have been paid to love.

Several weeks ago I received an email from a Dutch sewing pattern magazine company asking me to review their magazine on my blog. 

Made By oranges produces two magazines,
which features patterns for women and
 which features clothing for kids, from preschool to pre-teen.

European pattern magazines, unlike American pattern magazines typically feature a pull out section with all of the patterns for all of the garments in the magazine.You get a whole lot of bang for your buck. 

There are a fair number of pattern magazines based in Europe. The magazine with widest distribution is Burda which appears in several different languages. Burda generally features clothing that is fairly fashion forward, or sometimes just fashion weird, but I am a big fan of Burda.

There are also pattern magazine that feature the sort of clothes regular people wear every day, comfy tunic dresses, cozy coats, elastic waisted skirts cute sweaters.Those are the sorts of garments featured in both of these magazines.

We might read Vogue magazine but actually wear clothing from The Gap or Ann Taylor.These magazines are the pattern version of the basic clothing with a tweak that real people actually wear 97% of their lives.

The pattern drafts are printed in the all sizes and many patterns overlapping style common to all of these European magazines. It will seem overwhelming to trace a pattern until you actually do it. Trust me, it isn't as bad as it initially appears. The directions for sewing up the garments appear in English, Dutch, German, french and Spanish. Directions are spare but understandable, and the English seems less stilted than it does in Burda.

It is also possible to download PDFs of some of patterns, you then just print the pattern on regular printer paper and tape the pattern pieces together.

There is seriously cute clothing in both magazines. If you decide to purchase either of these magazines you will get a 25% discount if you use Sarah as your discount code.I was surprised at how quickly the magazines shipped from Holland.

Just before Rosh HaShanah I was contacted by Maria Bywater of sewjewish. She wanted to know if I could review her book.

This is a great book for beginners, both people new to Jewish practice as well as people new to sewing.  Maria's sewing directions are incredibly clear. She has some really nice ideas about how to do potentially tricky stuff ( like mitered corners) in a simple way that won't have you cursing up a blue streak.

I particularly loved Maria's thoughtful and thorough explanations of Jewish customs and laws. Maria has spent much of her adult life in countries where her family was the only Jewish life in the entire country. You can see both her commitment to creating Jewish life for her family as well as her fine ability to explain they whys and the hows of Jewish ritual objects to people who are completely unfamiliar with Judaism.

I'm glad that I got to see this book and delighted that I have had the opportunity to get to talk with Maria.

And now a a moment on the weather. Often Sukkot in New York is cold. I had assumed that with Sukkot starting so late in October it would be one of those years where you would eat dinner in the Sukkah wearing a down coat and mittens. It is instead balmy. When I was outside today most people were wearing summer clothes.

This morning as I began my workout I saw the most beautiful sign of autumn. A tree on a nearby rooftop, that had turned color. The sunlight had hit the tree just right. it was a moment of magic.


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