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Chic & Simple Sewing: Skirts, Dresses, Tops, and Jackets for the Modern Seamstress Spiral-bound – April 14, 2009

38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

CHRISTINE HAYNES is a regular Renegade Craft Fair and Felt Club participant, and her designs can be found in boutiques from Los Angeles to London. Her work has been featured on The Today Show as well as in The New York Times, The New York Post, and The Los Angeles Times.
Visit her online at


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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft; Spi edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307451097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307451095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christine Haynes has been sewing since she was 10 years old, when she learned from her mother in small-town Michigan. She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and started her own line of vintage-inspired sewing patterns in 2011. Her first book, Chic & Simple Sewing (Potter Craft, 2009) led to a career teaching sewing, which she still does today in Los Angeles and at conferences like the Craftcation Conference (2011-2015) and the American Sewing Guild Conference (2012). Christine has since published three additional books, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction (CPI, 2014), Skirts & Dresses For First Time Sewers (Barron's, 2015), and How To Speak Fluent Sewing (C+T, 2015). Christine's work has been seen in many sewing magazines and press outlets such as The New York Times, Threads Magazine, Sew News Magazine, The New York Post, Sew Stylish Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart's Radio Channel, and NBC's Today Show, and Christine was a guest on seasons two and eight of PBS' Sew It All. She also teaches her 1960's inspired Sassy Librarian Blouse on-line at Craftsy and contributes to the Craftsy blog. Visit Christine's website or her popular blog, City Stitching,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Jenny C. on April 19, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
I bought this book mainly because I really wanted the pattern for the dress on the cover and also because I'm a beginning sewer. I was happy to find that I also liked at least half of the other patterns in the book but unfortunately they only provide patterns for up to size 12 (Bust: 37", Waist: 29", Hip: 39")and no instructions for adjusting the patterns for larger sizes.

The written instructions are mostly text with minimal illustrations/pictures, I expected more illustrations for a 'beginning' sewing book, especially since some of the written instructions (and some of the illustrations) were kind of vague and hard to follow. UPDATE: I just tried to make one of the jackets from the book and because the book doesn't give any illustrations for how the pieces should be cut out of the fabric, I wasted a half yard of fabric when I was forced to re-cut a sleeve out. I may have to lower my rating, that was a huge disappointment/frustration for a novice sewer.

All this said, I was able to complete a 'Baby Doll Shirt' in one night and with acceptable results given my basic sewing skills. I look forward to either learning how to adjust patterns so that I can make these patterns in my size, or losing enough weight so that I can use the patterns as printed.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By queenorbit on May 9, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
I am a self taught seamstress and consider myself to be intermediate in skill. With that being said, I think this book would be most beneficial to the intermediate crowd. It is a hardcover/spiral bound book, all color with a pocket on the front cover that contains all the pattern pieces you will need. The garments included include dresses, skirts, coats, and tops. The first chapter includes basic instruction and supplies you will need if you are a beginner (which is great) and the following chapters contain the patterns. Each pattern is rated in difficulty from 1-5, includes the amount of fabric you will need (in both 45" & 60"), seam allowances, and the techniques necessary to finish garment. The directions for actual construction of the garment can be confusing and vague at times (and this is where experience will come in handy), but for the most part, the designs are simple and can be completed. Unlike most books of this kind, you are able cut the patterns to size (NO TRACING!). Unfortunately, the sizes run S-L or 2-12, so if you require more room on top or bottom, you will have to make adjustments. The designs are such that you will reuse each pattern piece, mix and match, depending on the garment you want to make, and gives you a platform to design your own style.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By bookish on April 30, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
i bought this book because I thought the designs might be nice, and in that regard it did not disappoint. You will probably pick up this book and want to make everything from it. Unfortunately, unless you have made lots of garments before, the instructions are fairly useless. The author tries to describe what to do without a diagram, and usually does not add enough detail. example: sew neckband around inner circle (what is the inner circle? and at what seam allowance?). she will have you sew pieces together without indicating how they should be pieced together or what seam allowance ahould be used.

How the publisher let this book be published without better technical editing is beyond me. I hope that the author puts out more detailed instructions for those of us who really want to make the designs but can't because the book is lacking useful instructions.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Paper Doll on May 21, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
Update: I finished making my first dress using this book. My first dress ever, actually. It came out great! Not perfect, mind you, but nice enough so that nobody else would notice my little screw-ups.

I already own and enjoy a few Christine Haynes clothing designs, so I was very excited to get this book! I am currently working on a dress pattern included in Chic & Simple Sewing and haven't had issues interpreting the instructions thus far. My sewing experience is limited, as I have only mended, hemmed, and made tote bags. I have, however, done a great deal of reading about sewing which has probably made using this book easier. For those having issues with the instructions, I think it's important to read the sections preceding specific designs. You will find that Haynes covers techniques such as gathering and inserting elastic. For anything that's still confusing, I have found the internet a great resource for clarifying sewing terms that puzzle me.

I highly recommend this book both for the current, highly wearable designs and Haynes' ability to inspire novice sewers to stop worrying about failure and embrace the creative process. You will screw up sometimes, but often that's the most enlightening teacher of all.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dee Dee Chan on August 5, 2010
Format: Spiral-bound
I am surprised that this book doesn't have a higher overall rating than it does because I think that it is one of the best books I've found so far on the market for sewing your own clothing, aside from Diana Rupp's book. While I must say that this book is not for total beginners because the instructional portion of the book isn't very detailed, advanced beginners to advanced sewers can tackle these projects without any problem at all. I would recommend this book if you have already done a project or two and feel comfortable with the sewing machine. I personally consider myself an advanced beginner, I have made pajama pants, a skirt, baby pants, and a few other basic items before so I feel pretty comfortable sewing a straight stitch on a machine. If you are a total newbie, Diana Rupp's book would probably be more suitable for you since it goes into more detail about sewing basics. Going back to this book - one of the great features is that the author of this book, Haynes, has a phobia of zippers and buttons and every single one of the chic pieces features NO BUTTONHOLES and NO ZIPPERS! Now, don't get me wrong, if there was a great piece of clothing out there that I wanted to sew and it had zippers or buttons in it, I would still (attempt) make it, but it just so happens that my personal style of clothing is fuss-free yet fashionable - I love Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses for the fact that I don't need to fuss with zippers, buttons, or anything else complicated. They are grab and go and so classic and timeless. Sure enough, there is a great wrap dress design in the book called "Doing it like DVF" and if any of you have tried to shop for commercial wrap dress designs, they range from 5.00 - 20.00 alone, which justifies the price of the book itself.Read more ›
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