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Conversational Threads

1966 Bishop Book Excerpt

ThreadKoe | Posted in General Discussion on

DonnaKaye, you asked for an excerpt, and someone else asked what a torn project was so I thought I would combine the two. Unfortunately my scanner just died, so I will just type in some pertinent info.

The preface of the book partly reads:

The Bishop method embraces the following fundamental principles:
Grain perfection
Accuracy in preparing, cutting, and marking fabric
Cutting to fit
Perfection in stitching
Perfection in pressing

Adherence to these principles will enable you to make quality-looking clothing and eliminate the “fireside touch” home sewing has so frequently represented in the past. Mastering the principles will make you grain-conscious.


Whether or not a beginner continues to develop the art of sewing after her first few projects is very often determined by the simplicity of the beginning projects and by the speed and success with which she completes them. Interest and enthusiasm must be developed, and sewing should be fun.
Torn projects are designed to meet these needs. The beginner does not yet need to learn to use a pattern. Fundamental principles of sewing, of working with the grain of fabric and of using a machine are taught. We must never attempt to teach or to expect too much too soon for a first project, such as a skirt or apron with long threads to gather along an edge. Also, two pieces in a garment are enough for a beginner to handle.
With this in mind, we present ten torn projects in this chapter, and the skirt on page 59, that could belong here. There is no special sequence to the order in which these projects are presented. Other ideas may be substituted and some projects presented may be omitted-as long as the objectives to be accomplished with torn projects are recognized. (copied from page 10)

I have photographed a couple of pages of neat stuff I will download for you in a little bit. Cathy


  1. rekha | | #1

    Why call them 'torn'

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #2

      Sorry Rekha, I guess I should add this:Preparing fabrics for cutting
      (pg 40)
      An understanding of fabric grain line determines your success in making clothes.
      Fabric is made by weaving two or more sets of yarns at right angles to each other. One set of yarns, the warp, parallel to the selvages, is lengthwise of the fabric. The other set, the filling or woof yarns, that runs between the selvages, is crosswise of the fabric. The direction. The direction of the yarns is termed the grain. There is lengthwise and crosswise grain. When the lengthwise and crosswise yarns are at right angles to each other, as you can see in this sketch, the grain is true...Determining grain perfection The majority of fabrics can be torn at both ends when purchased. If your piece of fabric has not been torn, but was cut freehand fro the bolt, test it to see if it can be torn. About an inch down from the cut edge, clip into the first selvage with your scissors, tear with a quick, firm pull to the second selvage, and then cut through it.
      Sheer, ribbed, loosely woven, or embroidered fabrics cannot be torn. To get these grain perfect at both ends, pull out the first thread that goes all the way across the fabric. Pull one, or even two threads, very gently with the right hand, slipping the fabric back on the thread with the left hand to prevent breaking it. Try to pull it across the entire width of the fabric, but if it breaks, cut where it has been pulled, pick up the end of the broken thread, and continue pulling and cutting along the puckered thread line....
      On some fabrics with heavy or rough threads, nap surfaces, etc., it may not be possible to either tear or pull a thread. Instead, the crosswise threads may be raveled until one thread comes off the entire width to be straightened....(pg 50)So the TORN part is about straightening the grain of the fabric first.As an added note-
      The rule of thumb measurement rule when buying fabric came about from the days when fabric was actually torn from a bolt. This was to accommodate for any distortion or pulling of the threads on the end of a piece of fabric. When you buy fabric, you should make sure that the fabric is measured from the selvedge edge, not the fold, and it should be torn from the selvedge edge, not the fold. Even if they argue with you! You run the risk of being shorted otherwise. CathyPS When I worked retail, I spent hours pulling threads in drapery sheers. Even now, when I am sewing, I still spend the time trueing my fabrics and checking that the prints are not off grain. It does make a HUGE difference in the way a garment looks. Makes me think that my teachers were big proponents of the Bishop Method.

      Edited 7/10/2008 11:47 am ET by ThreadKoe

      1. rekha | | #3

        From reading it I thought the instructions dated back to the 30's, but as I note it was  as late as 1966!!


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #4

          My book is a copy of the first revision in 1966. The first book was printed in 1959.What I am really enjoying about the book is it explains WHY we do things the way we do. Cathy

          Edited 7/10/2008 11:53 am ET by ThreadKoe

          1. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #17

            Do you know if there is much difference between the 1959 and the 1966 versions? I was able to get one of the 1959 versions and have been devouring it this afternoon. Would it be worthwhile to also get the 1966 version? I'm such a book-nut and enjoy reading various techniques.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #18

            From what the Introduction to the 66 book stated, there are a few differences, updates and such. I myself am looking for the older book just to have both. I guess it would depend on how much of a collector you are. I am a book collector so I would, if the price was reasonable. Cathy

          3. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #19

            ThreadKoe --- as to how much of a collector I am, I'm thinking my name says it all.......... I will search out the 1966 version. This one I found was very inexpensive.Thank you for the information.

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            My girls call me Pack Rat... Cathy

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #21

            GailAnn has both books, she will be better able to tell you the differences. Cathy

          6. GailAnn | | #22

            Strickly my opinion............

             I think 1966 has better illustrations and some nicer, more usable projects.  Skirts, blouses, a full-length apron, all made without a pattern.  I've made the full-length apron many, many times! 

            1959, is a little more commercial pattern driven.  In the back, however, it has some wonderful and elegant ideas for trimming suits and coats.  Some things might look a little bit "costumey" today.  Think "Some Like it Hot".

            I do have them both.  I NEED them both.  No, really, they provide me with hours of pleasure.  Gail 



          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #23

            Thank you GailAnn for your honest opinion. I knew you would come through for us. Us collectors do like our books, don't we :) will still be looking for the other version Cathy

          8. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #26

            See I forgot again. I meant to tell you Amazon has a lot of these books, ranging from about 60¢ on up. It's kind of hard to tell which book you are ordering. I'm not sure I understand why they have so many different listings on this particular book. At any rate, the one with the mannequin on the front cover appears to the the 1966 version, and I know the one with the fabric samples on the cover is the 1959 version. Both of those are soft cover.

          9. GailAnn | | #30

            My husband stopped giving me grief about my books, when I explained to him that I NEED a library of my own.........Why?  I read with a highlighter in my right hand.  Gail

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #33

            I thought they invented highlighter to sell books, didn't they?
            You might enjoy a shorter hemline, it does tend to make one appear younger. Gravity pulls so much else towards the ground, might as well fight back a bit with the hemline. :) Cathy

          11. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #34

            Have you seen the Flag Highlighter put out by Post-it? Not only can you highlight the pages, you can flag the pages with small pop up flags included in the barrel of the highlighter. I have found them indispensable.

          12. GailAnn | | #35

            I will look for them, the next time I'm in an office supply store.  Thanks, Gail

          13. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #25

            GailAnn, thank you so much. I have been pouring over this 1959 copy, and I absolutely love the fabric manipulation in the back of the book. That is my favorite thing to do, even though I'm not yet all that good at it. I have all these ideas running around in my head. Just not enough time to do everything. I need to write the ideas down so I don't forget. I just this moment ordered a copy of the 1966 version. It's way too easy to order from Amazon with their "one click ordering". I have to be careful to not get trigger happy. ;)

          14. GailAnn | | #27

            I've spent the morning studying the 1966 and 1959 Bishop Method Books.   They are the same book and yet, they are not.  Companions, completing one another would be the best way to discribe them.

            Ms. Bishop covers many techniques that are just plain ignored by many of today's sewing instructions, such as underlining.  Some time, just for fun, make two dresses from the same pattern.  Underline one with silk oganza but not the other one.  Put each one on and have your photo taken.  The difference is Amazing!!!!!!  I tried that experiment with 2 little "shift" dresses, when I was just first learning to sew.  Even back then, with a 16 year old body in the dresses, the underlined one was trim and neat, the one with out the underlining was a "frumpy old sack" and went directly into the trash.

            Speaking of "the 16 year old body", in my review of the Bishop Method, I do find a great emphasis on the waist line.  Certainly clothes that are slim through the middle, are more attractive.  I, myself, am not so slim at the waist, anymore.  Even so, this morning's reading has convinced me to add a bit more shape to my clothes, than I've recently be wearing. 

            A more feminine look, I think.  Gail

          15. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #28

            I really believe the habit I fell into, when I no longer wore suits (or at least skirts, jackets, and blouses) every day, of wearing loose fitting tops and elasticized waist bands contributed to my weight gain. In other words, when I could no longer feel the pinch of the waist band, I forgot it was there and needed attention. To further emphasize the point, a couple years ago I went to a function and wore a belt with my outfit. Everyone immediately assumed I had lost weight. I had not, but it looked as if I had. (Black jacket, black pants, lime green silk shell left untucked, and an 1-1/2" black belt with an interesting buckle.)

          16. GailAnn | | #29

            Sounds fabulous!

            Repeat after me, "Elastic is not your friend, elastic is not your friend........" 

            I'm also thinking of putting up my hems a few inches, this year.  I've worn skirts between ankle and shoe top for, maybe 10 years now.  I haven't lost weight.  I'm certainly not any younger, but I think I am ready for a little change.  Nothing in the region of the mini-skirt, just a lighter, and again, a little more feminine look.


            Edited 7/17/2008 2:16 pm ET by GailAnn

          17. DONNAKAYE | | #36

            I'm going to jump in here.  Mother -- who was trained by Edna Bryte Bishop, Kitty Rotruck, Louise Trammel, and all those superstars of home sewing in the early days --told me that the tent dress -- yeah, remember the tent dress?  AARRRGGGKKK! -- was going to be the demise of the female figure.  Yes, indeedy, I would say she was a woman ahead of her time....donna kaye childress


          18. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #39

            Just a thought here, but why do they make so many patterns for us plus size women so shapeless? I am always looking for the larger size patterns that have shape built into them. I do not ever wear tent dresses, or elastic waists. I too wish to look sharp. I am just big. Cathy

          19. DONNAKAYE | | #40

            I couldn't agree with you more, Cathy.  There really are some hideous plus size fashions in the books.  I've been keeping my eye on the independent pattern companies, but I can't say I like theirs much better....d.

          20. Gloriasews | | #41

            I have to agree with Cathy - not only are the plus size clothes unflattering, the fabrics chosen are cheap looking &, worst of all, are all the horizontal-striped T-shirts & sweaters (even in knitting patterns, I've noticed that lately).  I guess things won't change while people keep buying this junk, eh?

            As for patterns, we have to enlarge/fit our own anyway, but the patterns are always so boring/plain/similar to others with just a tweak here & there - nothing exciting or really flattering.   There are so many RTW clothes for smaller women that would be very flattering on larger women, if only they made them larger.  They have design details, though, that we can incorporate in our sewing, which is a blessing.

            As for tent dresses, they made perfect maternity dresses in their time.


          21. Cherrypops | | #42

            "As for tent dresses, they made perfect maternity dresses in their time"

            These Tent Dresses are still being bought on Ebay, the young 'non pregnant' ones today are loving them!

          22. Gloriasews | | #43

            As Gail would call them, the Sweet Young Things of today would love the tent dresses.  Look how much they like the full tops that are cinched under the bust that they are wearing today that look just like maternity tops :).


          23. Cherrypops | | #44


            I remember my mum wearing them in the 70's ( and I do have the patterns which specify Maternity ) when she was pregnant with my sister... They served their purpose...

            I am going to start looking at Donnas "Bishop Method" and the patterns/designs she has given us.

            Makes me wonder what the fashion holds for my son when he gets older, and starts bringing home girlfriends in about 10yrs time. I'll be in my late 40's..

          24. Gloriasews | | #48

            There were nice maternity patterns in the 60s & 70s.  The tops I made were Vogue patterns, as was the cape I made, as then, the coats were either straight cut or fitted at the waist.  Yes, it'll be really interesting so see what young women will be wearing in 10 years.

            I, too, am interested in Donna's torn projects & have been mulling over my stash to see what I can make.  I love patternless patterns, as you can really play with them as to embellishment, fit, etc.  I have 2 patternless patterns sewing books, that I must go through again when I get them unpacked.  I have been making djellabas (caftans) for my guys, myself & as gifts (we wear these instead of bathrobes) for over 30 years from such a pattern (you just measure the fabric with a yardstick, draw chalk lines along it, cut it out & sew - all straight seams.  I embellish the neck & sleeve edges (& change the necklines).  In another thread (the striped jacket), I was telling about an art-to-wear book that I just got from the library - mainly unstructured coats & jackets - that are absolute eye candy & exciting with the embellishments.  It's really gotten my creative juices flowing.  I did make a bog coat 16 years ago that I embellished with odd shapes of bright fabrics.  Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it, and I received so many compliments on it.


          25. Josefly | | #65

            The book you got from the library on unstructured jackets - was it by any chance the (I think Diane) Erickson book? I happened on a book in our library - a description of traditional garments from all over the world, with many sketches and a few photos, and with modern clothes inspired by the traditional ones. Most of the garments were made from rectangles of fabric, and were embellished beautifully.

          26. Gloriasews | | #66

            No, my book is The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art, by Katherine Duncan Aimone.   All the pictures inside are in colour & the coats & jackets are fabulous.  There are also some hand-woven items, as well - beautiful stuff & real eye candy,  as well as inspiring.  Your book sounds interesting, too, so I'll have to look for it at our library.  So you know the title?  Thanks for the suggestion.


          27. Josefly | | #67

            Can't remember - something about "Traditional Clothing", but I'll find the name for you. The book you mentioned sounds great - the photos and sketches in the one I saw were all black and white. Still, the jackets and other items were just gorgeous.

          28. Gloriasews | | #69

            Thanks so much for looking for the book - I look forward to knowing the title or author.


          29. Josefly | | #78

            Ethnic Costumes: Clothing Designs and Techniques with an International Inspiration" by Lois Ericson and Diane Ericson, illustrated by Diane Ericson.Sorry it took me awhile to find the book's name; I've been out of town for a week and haven't had my computer.

          30. Gloriasews | | #79

            Thanks so much for the title - I'll look for it.  I knew you would eventually get back to me, so not to worry or apologize.  Thanks again.


          31. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #45

            I couldn't wear the tent dresses for maternity dresses in the last trimester because I got really busty. The tent dresses were designed for busts the size that went with one's normal dress size and not those preparing for the use nature intended them. Maternity dresses, on the other hand, took into consideration the expanding bust size, too. My belly never got really big -- I'm tall and had lots of room in the pelvis -- and even though I was always well-endowed in the bust line, those puppies outdid themselves preparing for feeding a child.

          32. Gloriasews | | #49

            You must have been more well-endowed than I was, if the tent dresses were too tight :).  A lot depends upon the neckline, as well, & the sleeves, as to how tight a garment is across the bust.  I always made my maternity dresses & tops quite roomy & longer, as I didn't know how big I would become later.  You just don't see many nice maternity clothes now (especially for the office if you're working), as so many are wearing tight tops to show off their stomachs & low-cut pants with their bare stomachs out there for all to see.  I've still not become used to that look & I find it embarrassing, mainly because I could never conceive of showing off my body like that, even when I was young & thin.  some of these girls even wear bikinis!


          33. Ralphetta | | #51

            I know what you mean about the clingy maternity clothes. In many cases the clingy clothes draw the attention immediately to the navel. I just don't think a lumpy. pooched out navel is attractive. I did notice this last year that many of the movie stars were wearing flowing, long print dresses. They look feminine and comfortable. They have a lot of bare skin at the top, but it draws the attention up to the face instead of the navel.

          34. Gloriasews | | #54

            I totally agree with you about the pooched out navels - some are downright ugly & shouldn't see the light of day.  You can still be proud of your condition without showing all.  Those movie star gowns in the past year are really lovely & they flow nicely & do look feminine (except for the few that are showing way too much cleavage).  Gad!  I'm starting to sound prudish in my old age - but, on the other hand, there is nothing wrong with modesty.


          35. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #53

            Very endowed. There are guys from high school who wouldn't recognize me if all they could see was my face. Recently one of them, whom I've not seen in over 50 years, saw my sister and the first thing he asked was, "Does she still have big boobs?" Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! I did have breast reduction surgery in my 40's, if that tells you anything.

          36. Gloriasews | | #55

            That's so unfortunate that your boobs are all a guy sees (obviously he still hasn't grown up, eh)?  I matured earlier than usual, too, & had many embarrassing moments in junior high, with the guys snickering, etc.  I was very naive then, too, (I was only 11) & didn't have a clue as to what they were snickering about when I ran down the stairs.  Finally, a group of the 'in' girls kept me after school to tell me I'd better get a bra.  How embarrassing!  I cried all the way home & insisted my mother take me to the store immediately to buy a bra.  Then, the next day, I fretted because the guys (& girls) could see the bra straps under my clothing (when the other girls weren't wearing bras yet).  As Sylvester the cat says in the cartoons, "The shame of it all!"  But, thank heavens, we overcame all of that, eh?  Good for you to finally get the breast reduction, too.  It probably made a big difference, eh?


          37. sewelegant | | #57

            That is so MALE!  And, unfortunately I don't think they even stop to think it might be rude.  Maybe they think every female is out to attract them and therefore it is put out there for display... what else can they think if their main reading material and t.v. programs emphasize that thinking?  I have to admit I was raised by some rigid religious standards (Catholic) and my home ec teacher was scandalized by my wanting to make a sleeveless dress (1954).  We were supposed to want to be "Marylike", but I think even Mary would not have objected to my very modest sundress!  I am grateful I was not overly endowed, but as I have gained wt. my bosom has kept up big time and I feel for your discomfort that was enough for you to undergo surgery.  I know the bosom is my main fitting problem. 

          38. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #46

            I end up buying the largest pattern and sizing it up to get what I want. At least an 18 and expanding the bust cup size is usually enough to do the trick for the most part. I hate that a lot only go to 16 though. If I had a pal who could help fit me here, I would do a sloper, and do my own patterns....
            My pet peeve with RTW is the ugly prints they use on plus sizes, they use all the cute stuff on the smaller sizes....Cathy

          39. Gloriasews | | #50

            Both of your comments hit the nail on the head.  I, too, don't have anyone who can fit me so that I can make a sloper or even a new paper tape form.  As for plus-size clothing in RTW, most of it is so ugly as to prints (what are they thinking??? - that we don't want style & flattery??), with a limited selection of colours (whatever is in season at the moment) & most are very unflattering.  I have quit buying anything, as the necks & sleeves are way too big, the armholes are huge, & tops are just too long - & the fabric isn't great.  It isn't worth all the effort in altering it all - so much easier just making it from scratch in the fabric & colours you like, eh?  As for RTW pants/jeans, they are always too short in the legs, too long in the crotch, & I always have the knock-knee problem, too, with the accompanying wrinkles, so, again, it's easier to make my own - with better results & a whole lot more satisfaction :).  As I said earlier in this thread, many of the smaller size clothing would look great on large women if they only made them bigger, as the styles are very flattering.  I guess they think we don't care what we look like as long as our bodies are covered, eh?


          40. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #56

            What, are we supposed to hide in the cupboard or something? I still have a nice figure, the measurements are still there, just larger. At 5 foot 6 inches, I'm neither too tall, nor too short, so the proportions just need to be a little rounder. All the women in my family are built this way. Even as a young woman, I still fit into the so called larger sizes and I only weighed 120 lbs. That is not big. I looked very skinny then. I look around me and a lot of women are larger and poorly dressed because they have little choice. At least I have choice. Cathy

          41. Gloriasews | | #58

            Hiding in the cupboard is just no fun!  As you said, we do have choices, & we try to make good ones (most of the time :).  We do what we can with what we have - always with success in mind.   It's a funny habit of sewers to automatically see how other people's clothing fits them, eh?  I think it was Ralphetta who once said that she does this, too, & wants to start pinning people right away to fit their clothes better :).  I notice fit even on people on TV - especially on What Not To Wear - sometimes the clothing should really be one size larger, especially at the bust, sometimes the sleeves are too tight, sometimes the tummy is too tight, etc.  We don't mean to be that critical of others, but it's just so automatic, eh?


          42. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #59

            Oh so true! I did makeup for a few yrs. I still want to go and wash it off of young ladies faces and teach them how to do it properly! I guess hairdressers must feel the same.....Went shopping with Dh and 2 friends on the weekend. We went into a fancy furniture store. I told them that I still haven't found the perfect mirror yet, because they all lie. They all make me look too chubby. :) Thought they were gonna die laughing right there........ Cathy

            Edited 7/21/2008 5:37 pm ET by ThreadKoe

          43. Gloriasews | | #60

            You're right about the mirror :) - I have that same problem.  I saw an ad for wall decals on the weekend.  One of them was on a large mirror & the wording along the bottom was, "Yes, you still are the fairest of them all!"  - isn't that great?


          44. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #61

            What a hoot! I am making some ceramic picture frames, and Brother in Law is turning 40 soon, I'm putting a mirror in one and writing that on the bottom- He is impossible to get things for! We give gag gifts for things like that- Thank You!!!!!! Cathy

          45. Gloriasews | | #62

            You're welcome!  He'll get a laugh out of that one, for sure, eh?


          46. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #63

            I don't know, but His wife and I sure will. :) Cathy

          47. Gloriasews | | #64

            A laugh will be had by all - & nobody will be offended, either.  Have fun with it!


          48. sewelegant | | #47

            "As for tent dresses, they made perfect maternity dresses in their time."

            That was my thought exactly when I was reading the post!  I had my last child in 1971 and did not buy one maternity pattern, they were all tent dress ones.  I also remember making my first one before I was pregnant and thinking I looked so swell until my next door neighbor (male) asked me if there was something I wasn't telling them?  So much for liking those tents!

          49. Gloriasews | | #52

            I laughed at your comment about your neighbour, as people said exactly that in the 70s when we wore such clothing.  It happened to me, too, in the 60s when I wore a plain, but baggy, top that I thought was really pretty & I was carrying in my arms my 6-mo. old, & I was asked when the new baby would arrive.  Embarrassing!  Yes, people do think you're pregnant (if you're the right age to be) when you wear tenty-type dresses or tops.  You have to be ultra-thin, I think, to get away with it, otherwise you just look fat & pregnant :).  So many of these cute tops you see on young girls do look like maternity tops & they are full enough to be worn as such, especially with all the gathering over the stomach area & the length of some of the tops (mid-thigh).


          50. gansettgal | | #80

            Hello everyone:

            I was reading a thread regarding fit and tent dresses and elastic waistlines being the demise of the American woman's figure.  Part of the problem is fit with commercial patterns. Nobody likes to fit garments, least of all me! Over four years ago I was introduced to Wild Ginger's Pattern Master programs. After one year, wanting more knowledge about the program, I became a Certified Educator.  The Wild Ginger programs, all titled Pattern Master...... are Boutique for Women, Child's Play for children, Tailor Made for men, Celebrations for formal clothing, Curves for swimwear, lingerie, bras, panties, and active wear, and Me and My Baby for layette and maternity. The abbreviated titles are PMB (boutique,) PMCP (children), etc.  I will speak of Boutique here.

            This is unlike any of the computer programs out there. I should know b/c I tried most of them. In Pattern Master programs you take a series of measurements, plug them into the computer, make a test garment (sloper) and make any adjustments. I stress, you must make a test garment.  You don't make one for each garment you sew. You make one for each type of garment---2-piece dress, slacks, and sheath. Actually, I never made a sheath sloper. I made a sheath and it fit.  Anyway---moving right along, any adjustments are put into the computer and then you print out patterns you want and they are in your measurments!  The patterns print out on any paper your home computer handles up to 44" long. I use 8"x11" paper b/c that is all my printer handles. There are markings on the pages on where to put them together. The width of the pages range from 8 1/2" to 74"!!  You tape or glue them pages together and cut out your pattern. You can print out to scale, fit to paper (great to take to the fabric store,) 1/4 scale and 1/2 scale---great for draping.  There is a part of the program called Yardage Calculator, which determines how much fabric you need. It allows you to put in the amount of fabric you may already have from your stash, plug it in, and then you can see if you have enough fabric for a specific project. No need to pull out the fabric and place the patterns piece down only to find out you don't have enough!  There is a plaid layout also.  AND, there is Pattern Editor which allows you to alter a pattern or draft one from scratch as it is a CAD program.

            In the HELP section of the program, you can print out all instructions. It fills a large loose-leaf binder. Everything is printed out for you. Under HELP, there are movies! to help walk you through a specific part of the program. Even after 4 1/2 years, I still play the movies. There is always something more to learn. Under HELP, there is a FORUMS that is terrific. It is laid out sooooo well. It is easy to navigate and there are so many PM users out there to help newbies.

            When you print the pattern, as well as having various paper sizes, you may print in color to determine front, back, sleeves, etc. Or, you may print all in black. You may also choose which pieces to print, if you don't want to print an entire pattern. And, you may print in various depth---normal, medium, or bold.

            All programs operate the  same and they all have the same details.  And each program comes with Wild Things---an accessories program that is also available free for the asking. (More about that later in this post.)

            When you draft a garment, i.e. 2-pc. dress.  You click on the bodice. There are numerous options for sleeves, collars, necklines, bodice style. If something won't work with the bodice style you have chosen, the program will not let you draft it. An example---if you have a dolman style bodice, it will not allow you to select a 'set-in sleeve.' 

            There are FREE quarterly updates. There is unlimited FREE tech support by phone or Internet. The tech support on Internet, which is what I highly recommend, is a woman named Karen. She is located in Colorado and is unbelievable.  She can tell an error in the draft in a closed room, blindfolded, at midnight!  And she answers so quickly. (She even answered me once on Easter Sunday!) 

            Larger sizes have difficulty with patterns but so do small women. I have had more smaller women complain about fit than larger women.  We all have something different in our bodies----there is no such thing as a perfect body! There really isn't. Nothing in nature is perfect--look at leaves on a tree.  There are millions of leaves on a tree; they look the same but they are not. Same with bodies---we look the same but we are all so different.  This program allows you to address the differences. I cannot say enough about it. Not because I sell and am a CE but beceause it works!!! Plain and simple.  I doesn't matter how large or how small you are; one leg longer than the other; sloping shoulder; arms different lengths; 'dowager's hump,' 'sway back' (although I don't think we have any horses reading this,) --you name it, the program can make a pattern for you. You just have to want to do it. It is very user friendly.

            If you want to see this, you may download a free demo at www,wildginger.com.  You will not be able to print out a pattern but you can see how it works. Also, when you go to the site, you may download, FREE, the Wild Things that is the accessory program. With this you may print out the patterns and make some accessories and see how it all works. As I said, it is free.  They will ask name and address, etc and how you found out about this but there is no charge and they definitely do not sell your address or e-mail address. 

            Any questions, just ask me. 

            Mariette House

             Certified Educator for Wild Ginger, Fort Branch, IN. aka gansettgal. Trained in the Bishop Method of Clothing Constrctuion.

          51. rekha | | #81

            I am a bit confused. I was hoping to find some more information about Bishop. How does software relate to that?

          52. gansettgal | | #84


            WG has nothing to do with Bishop. I was addressing a comment about fitting in regards to patterns.  However, Bishop does show you how to fit garments and how to adjust commercial patterns.

            Wild Ginger software makes it easier but the two are not related.

            But, what more information are you looking for in regards to Bishop?  You state you were looking for more information--in which way?

          53. sewelegant | | #82

            very interesting and I hope you can answer my question...

            would you recommend this Wild Ginger program for someone who would buy 1x to 3x in ready to wear?  Or would that entail too much adjusting?

            thanks... MAA

            Edited 8/7/2008 4:42 pm by sewelegant

          54. gansettgal | | #83

            Wild Ginger software can handle that size with no problem.

          55. DONNAKAYE | | #37

            Okay, and still another reply to JunkQueen's comment, and one I'm going to double-post in the "Mother's wardrobe" thread, is that one of mother's wardrobe philosophies was NO ELASTIC AT THE WAISTLINE.  She ALWAYS used a fixed waistband.  Before she became ill, she was still 5'4" and 115 pounds, at age 64, and still wore many of the same clothes she had made as early as the sixties and seventies.

          56. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #38

            I was beginning to have a real affection for your mother until you told me this. I don't think I like her very much now. Just kidding. Just kidding. My mother kept her figure, too, and did my three sisters. One of them is 74 and wears a size 2. She's never been larger than a 4. I agree with your mother about the tent dress and the elastic in the waist. My best friend here warned me long before I succumbed to elastic and large blousey tops. She and I were both rather long and lean -- 5'9" or so and 130ish. When she decided to stay home and raise her own children, she began to gain weight. I obviously didn't listen to her very well.And I DO remember the tent dress ---- vividly. One of the ugliest fashions to ever come down the pike.

          57. DONNAKAYE | | #31

            I have to tell you, I am absolutely thrilled about the buzz with Mrs. Bishop's books.  One reader said something to the effect in these postings about these "old" techniques are truly timeless.  I really loved the posting about underlining.  I underline practically everything, especially since I live in southwest Louisiana, where your fine fabrics literally get ruined in a short time when you soak your clothes through.  Underlining has always protected and preserved my (very) hard work.  Exceptions, of course, include my jerseys and easy knits, although I have used underlining to stabilize a more stretchy knit when I was determined to use it for a more structured purpose....

            I'm telling you, there is a world of education in these books.  I would recommend the 1959 edition over any of the others, given my druthers, but if the '66 is all you can get, go for it.  I don't care so much for the changes made when Marjorie Arch collaborated with Mrs. B.  Just a personel preference, though.

            I still have Mrs. B's picture somewhere in mother's boxes (from when I cleaned out her house -- every room filled to the brim with wardrobe, hats -- for every outfit -- handbags, scarves, belts, shoes, and so on), but I've been searching for it for years and have yet to stumble on it.  It's autographed to my mother.

            You have all done this old heart good....donna kaye childress

          58. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #24

            Sorry. I forgot. I thought it was you who had the two copies. I suffer from that debilitating and chronic condition called CRS, you know.Collectors. Yes. Not junk mavens or packrats......

            Edited 7/17/2008 12:10 pm by JunkQueen

          59. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #32

            I kindly point out to my darlings that packrats do not USE their stuff. They just hoard it. Collectors cherish and use their things. Cathy

    2. DONNAKAYE | | #7

       A number of people have asked for a definition of "torn project."  As its name implies, the project can be made from torn pieces of fabric, or may include drawing a half-circle with chalk, or even laying two rectangles in an odd configuration.  In other words, a torn project is a patternless project.  Hope that helps.....donna

      Edited 7/10/2008 10:09 pm ET by DonnaKaye

      1. sandyszoo | | #85

        Oh I can't wait to tell my daughter about this.  I watched her throw some fabric on the floor, cut it out sew it up, iron it, all the while talking on the ph with her girlfriend. She made a skirt and a top. Granted there were no buttons or zipper, but still I marveled at her accomplishment. As she was ironing the last seam she told her friend" I have to go now, I have a date.........she was 16, now 42 and hasn't stopped sewing since.   Just thought I'd pass this along for fun

  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #5

    Here is the corrected version of the picture from the book. I loved the bias trim and tassels on the jacket back. It looks so elegant. Cathy

    Edited 7/10/2008 9:31 pm ET by ThreadKoe <!-- THREADKOE -->

    Sorry, edited attachment for space.

    Edited 9/30/2009 8:13 am ET by ThreadKoe

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #6

      If there are any other things in the book you would like and excerpt about, let me know. Cathy

  3. DONNAKAYE | | #8

    Thanks for the excerpts!  This gives everyone a little taste of the excitement of Bishop Method.  Pretty timeless, you're right.  Edna B. was the first woman to bring industrial techniques to the home sewer....Keep posting!....donna

    1. Cherrypops | | #9

      I wish to thank you too, - i've thanked Donna previously -  for your time and efforts you give within this Discussion. I have printed out everything Donna has done...yours will be next..


      1. DONNAKAYE | | #11

        Oh, my goodness.  I just had to respond -- you've printed out everything I ever posted?  My hubby is going to have to push my head thru the door -- as soon as he can stop laughing!  Ha!  I'm sure everyone is familiar with the I-don't-have-any-friends-that-sew syndrome, leaving us half psychotic with excitement and anticipation over our next project -- and no one to share it with -- except in Gatherings, of course.  So I laughed out loud when I read your post.  As is always the case, we're taken for granted within our own circles, huh?  I'm not complaining, mind you, just expressing my astonishment and gratitude that somebody actually pays attention to the rantings of a looney, albeit lonely, seamstress.....Thanks!  We all need a little confidence booster once in a while, and you were mine today!......donna

        1. Cherrypops | | #12

          Yup it's true.

          Did an advanced search for all by DonnaKaye....yeah... was easy to put into notepad and print...and all i need now is a new ringfolder to put the pages in - haven't counted them, and a new shelf to put it on...haha.

          A lot of us print posts/discussions for future reference.

          I just let it be known I do it.

          Thanks for without you or your mother or Ms Bishop, I'd never have known.


        2. zuwena | | #13

          Well, here's another good laugh for you.  I'm right there along with Cherrypops.  You're "infamous" in your own right.   As before, a big, big thanks especially for your patience in clarifying things.  Z

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #14

            Were you able to figure out what I was talking about with the circle cape?  If not, I'll send you a photo.....d.

          2. Cherrypops | | #15

            :) Z...you make me smile..

      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #16

        Wow, thanks for the compliment Cherypops, that means a lot coming from you. Cathy

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #10

      I hope to get my scanner fixed, then scan in a few more pics and diagrams. If not, the camera seemed to work ok. Cathy

  4. sewslow67 | | #68

    Hi Cathy; Could you tell me how much information the book has on underlining please?  I've got some beautiful silk (woven tweed) to make a suit, and haven't tailored for a bit, so want a good, review.  I would appreciate any help you have time to share.  Most of my sewing the past few years have either been "art to wear", more casual wear or clothing for all the grandchildren.  I've also done the usual quilting projects and home dec gift items ...but not much tailoring ...at least, not the kind I learned so many years ago.

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #70

      Sewslow, this book is set up differently than the sewing books that we are used to using now.
      It is building a foundation of sewing techniques. Each section in the book builds upon the first. You don't go from just an easy project to a harder one. The skills used in the one section are built upon in the next section. For example, the Torn projects are built up to making a simple skirt. Then to a simple blouse. Then variations on those techniques to perfect them. Then you move on to a simple dress. Then move on to a three-piece-ensemble. This is where underlinings are introduced. The tailored coat is introduced before the tailored jacket.
      This book has beautiful clear pictures and diagrams, and lots of useful information. It is easy to read, with lots of positive energy. I wish I had it when I was taking my tailoring course, it would have made some of it a lot easier to understand at the time, and the book was certainly available then. I'll take pics of the pages on underlining and post them later for you.

      If you can buy this book, it is well worth the price, as it certainly is a good reference and learning tool. Cathy

      1. sewslow67 | | #72

        Thanks so much for sharing all that information, Cathy.  I took your suggestion and ordered a copy.  It seems like I used that book in one of my first sewing classes, but I can't remember exactly.  It has just been too many years ago.  I do remember The Bishop Method being taught though, but it seems like the instructor handed out copied papers to the students.

        I will look forward to the pictures you post too, though as the book won't arrive for several weeks.  Goodness, I used to make most of my suits and coats, but just haven't done that for awhile and I know I must be rusty.  I just need a tune up and hopefully, it will all work out nicely.

        Thanks again for your help. 

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #73

          Was that the kind of information you were looking for Sewslow? I just put up the posts with pics. If there is anything else, just email me and I will be happy to help. I had to use the Vogue sewing book in College, and the Singer, in High School, and both have been really good resources. But as a sewing book collector, I am finding this Bishop book to be a real gem.

          1. sewslow67 | | #76

            Hi Cathy; those posts with pictures are terrific; thanks so much for sharing them with all of us.  I am looking forward to the Bishop book when it arrives (they said about the 12th of August).  I won't be able to start by jacket project before then anyway, as I just discovered that the fabric is still down south in my apartment.  I'll be so glad when we get everything moved here.  Still ...I have other projects to work on, including a green piece of silk that I'll want to underline as well.

            As you may have read already, I checked out a book that Julie suggested, and it looks terrific in many ways too.  Amazon has a lot of them used, so I ordered one that looked to be in excellent condition.  What's the saying?  One can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many sewing books?  ;-)

            Thank you again for posting those pictures; I saved them to my desk-top and will print them as soon as I get my printer/scanner here.  It seems there is just never enough room for too many extra's when we drive south for my medical supplies.

    2. Lovessewing | | #71


      I'm not Cathy but I have this wonderful book that has great advice about underlining - the title is Linen and Cotton by Susan Khalje.  It's well worth every penny of its price - maybe you could find a good used copy on Amazon?  Silk fabric really does benefit from underlining - good luck with your project!

      P.S.  If you can, when you finish your project, would you please post a photo or two?  It's always so inspiring to see the creativity of the people on this board.

      Julie (sewing madly away in Houston)

      1. sewslow67 | | #74

        Hi Julie;

        I hope you are "sewing madly in Houston" as I write this ;-).  Now then, thank you so much for your suggestion: I checked it out and was impressed as to the quick peek they allowed as well as the additional reviewers comments.  It looks terrific - and not just for the underlining technique described. 

        I had ordered the Bishop book yesterday, as per Cathy's expert suggestion, so I will have a lot of useful information in a few weeks.  I see some other messages, so I'd best get to reading them and responding.  Oh ...and yes ...I will take a photo of my finished project and post it when I get it completed. 

        If you wish, please feel free to send me an email now, so as to help me remember.  I started to include a photo of the fabric, but remembered that it is still in my apartment in the states.  (I still don't have everything here in our home in BC).  We didn't have room for a number of things I had wanted to bring this last trip south, as we were packed full with my medical supplies.

        Thanks again Julie, for your suggestion.  I know I'll enjoy using the book and learning a lot.  Have a great day!

        1. Lovessewing | | #75

          What a delightful response - please do remember to take a picture (or two) of your project - when you can.  I'm not working on anything really exciting right now - just a tote bag.  My husband has "misplaced" our digital camera (personally I think he doesn't want to move our snoring cats to investigate whether or not they're using it as a cushion).

          Happy sewing!

          1. sewslow67 | | #77

            I just copied your messages and emailed them to myself ...so (hopefully) they will help me to remember to post the pictures when my project is completed.  Since I won't be able to drive south and pick up the fabric from my apartment there for a couple of months, don't hold your breath though.  In the meantime, happy sewing to you as well.  ;-)  And ...I hope you find your camera without disturbing your cats!

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