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Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl's Best Frock Hardcover-spiral – February 9, 2010


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Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl's Best Frock + Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics
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Product Details

  • Hardcover-spiral: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft; Spi edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461339
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

WENDY MULLIN founded Built by Wendy, a NYC-based line of women's and men's clothing and accessories in 1991. In addition, Wendy authored Sew U and Sew U: Home Stretch and designed a line of sewing patterns for Simplicity. For more information visit www.builtbywendy.com.

More About the Author

WENDY MULLIN founded Built by Wendy, a NYC-based line of women's and men's clothing and accessories in 1991. In addition, Wendy authored Sew U and Sew U: Home Stretch and designed a line of sewing patterns for Simplicity. For more information visit www.builtbywendy.com.

Customer Reviews

I wish I had returned this book.
Martha Anandakrishnan
So far I really like it, but her instructions are a little hard to understand and again she leaves out total steps.
K. McClain
Honestly, I should have just spent the money on more patterns and skipped the book.
B. Louis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover-spiral
I am a huge fan of Wendy Mullin. I greatly enjoyed her first book on sewing, Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe, and created several successful pieces from the included patterns. So when I saw that she had written a book on dresses, I immediately bought a copy.

Mullin's book includes paper patterns for three dresses: the shift, the sheath and the dirndl. Mullin then demonstrates how these basic patterns can be slashed, stretched, cut and gathered to create totally different looks.

She mentions this fact several times in the text but it bears repeating: THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR BEGINNERS. It assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of sewing and can do such things as insert a zipper, apply bias tape and know how to hem. Further, the included patterns do not have seem allowances. These will have to be added. So you have to remember when to have seam allowances, when to make them bigger (for hems and self-facings) and when to eliminate them altogether (for edges to be finished with bias tape). This can be a lot for someone who is just learning the difference between a straight stitch and a zigzag.

I have a fair amount of sewing experience but none in pattern making. I chose the Oktoberfest-inspired frock (a modified sheath dress) and got to work. First, I made a muslin of the basic sheath pattern. Mullin covers fitting issues, mostly the bust and hips, but does not have information on more complicated adjustments. I have a swayback and square shoulders to account for. I consulted
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jay Elle on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
I love this book! I'm a beginner/intermediate sewer - I can follow a pattern, but whether or not it looks like anything you'd want to wear out of the house tends to be a toss-up. But this book has really improved my skills by teaching me how to make a pattern, making me understand how patterns go together and work, and encouraging me to fix my fit problems and really learn to alter things that didn't turn out right the first time. Now that I've made and perfected muslins for each of the three basic types of dresses Wendy talks about in the book, I can toss out a new variation on any of them in a single evening and wear it to work the next day. Not ALL of the patterns are my cup of tea, but I definitely wouldn't say they're dowdy or only for very skinny girls or too young or whatever the other complaints have been. As an average-to-curvy almost-30 year old, I can certainly make and wear at least half of them (my favorites so far are "uptown girl" and "9-to-5") - and I know enough now to alter the three basic patterns into anything ELSE I'd like to make them into (I used one of the dress patterns to make my very-first-ever button-down shirt). It's definitely not a book for beginners, but it might make an intermediate sewer into an advanced sewer!

Very very very pleased with this book - probably one of my top-three most-useful sewing books.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. McClain on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
I have Wendy's Sew U: A Guide to Creating Your Own Wardrobe and both this book and that one are missing steps in her instructions. She leaves out complete steps on some of her projects. Important steps. I can't really understand why or how but she did. However, I did enjoy both books. There were some great tips and I really liked her patterns. And because I'm not a total beginner I can figure out where she left out steps and what to do. Even if it takes a little seam ripping or cutting out new pattern pieces. I am not "dogging" this book. So far I really like it, but her instructions are a little hard to understand and again she leaves out total steps. The dresses are great in this book, too. A few I don't like, but not everyone can like everything. I just want to let any true beginners know: this book(or any of Wendy's books) may not be the book for you.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By jk on March 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
I really liked the first Built by Wendy book. This one is a disappointment. Really not particularly helpful at all. The book is based on three basic dress types: sheath, shift and dirndl. As another reviewer said, these are frocks in the pejorative sense of the word.
Particularly annoying for me was Wendy's description of the five figure types in the "How to create the perfect dress for you" section. There's pear ("Think J.Lo."), boy ("Think Keira Knightley."), hourglass ("Think Scarlett Johansson."), athletic ("Think Angelina Jolie.") and average.
That's it.
If you are not "average" and also not built like any of the above movie stars, then, as far as Wendy is concerned, you don't exist.
First book I've ever returned to Amazon. Probably the last book I'll buy from Wendy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miriam on April 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
If I'd been able to see inside this book at a bookstore, or with Amazon previews I probably wouldn't have bought this.

It has some lovely illustrations all consistantly themed to make a nice looking book, however the instructions and lack of photos left me wondering if anyone had actually made the dresses. For me personally, photographs of finished projects would have been really helpful for visualising projects, and for demonstrating the effects of materials chosen - the illustrations don't show any difference between a wool dress and a silk one.

I didn't find the body type information particularly useful - there was a page of general shapes, paired with celebrities, to help identify which shape you are (if you're built like Keira Knightley or Scarlett Johansson), however I didn't find any practical information on what to do with my type once I'd identified it.

The sizing covers a reasonable range at least (32"-41" bust, 25" to 34" waist, 35" to 44" hips).
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