Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Birthday Presents!

It was a year ago yesterday I started my sewing life, as I received a sewing machine for my birthday. A year on, and I now follow a 'make not buy' philosophy, making almost all of my clothes so far this year. The reason I got into sewing in the first place was by reading craft/sewing blogs and also the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee. So I've been a regular follower of Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons fame, and when I heard her book was out, it was the first thing on my birthday list, along with the new Sewing Bee 'sew your own wardrobe' book.

I've had a quick read through of each of the them, so here's a quick review!

Tilly's 'Love at First Stitch' book is aimed at those who are just starting to sew, and haven't made anything before. It has only 7 patterns, but ideas for at least one variation on each of them. It also includes the pattern pieces so there's no printing and sticking one hundred million pieces of A4 paper together. Not that that bothers me usually... although the patterns are printed on both sides of the sheet, and over the side which can be as little inconvenient.

The patterns themselves are in my opinion, gorgeous, and I intend to make every single one of them, although they are aimed at a pretty specific demographic of teen-40 year old wish women that I fall into. The steps for each pattern are incredibly detailed and helpful, with photos rather than diagrams, with a colour coded system so you can skip the instructions for a particular technique if you are already able to do it.

My favourite thing about the book is the design variations she includes for each pattern, so you could make several items from the same pattern that are different at the same time, it also encourages you to come up with design ideas yourself. I did think that this book may actually be a year late for me, as I started sewing a year ago and have already sewn a fair few items of clothing. However it is full of great wardrobe staple patterns I think I will make again and again, with also clear instructions for techniques to refer to when you forget.

The Great British Sewing Bee 'Sew your own wardrobe' book is another aimed at beginner sewers, and is an improvement on the book accompanying the first series as it includes the pattern pieces, although they are a little jumbled over 5 pieces of paper. It also includes 'masterclasses', pages where they give detailed instructions on techniques, including the lapped zip I could not master on the tunic from the first book! However the pattern instructions still use diagrams which aren't particularly clear.

 The patterns included in the book include the best ones from the series, like the 60's coat and 1930's vintage blouse, and also men and children's patterns, so appealing to a wider range of home sewers.

However I have already started one of the patterns in the book and have already found several mistakes in the pattern and instructions. Firstly notches that didn't match up to anything, and different shaped pieces in the diagram. Frankly I found this surprising, and a great shame, as otherwise the book is great but as it is aimed at beginner sewers it could be entirely confusing. The mistakes just seem like something that could easily be solved with some proof reading!

So there you go. As you know, I'm not a big fan of reviewing pattern books without actually having used the patterns yet, as that's what really makes or breaks a book... so stay tuned for reviews on most of the patterns included in both books... eventually!

Emily Kate

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