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Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe Spiral-bound – September 1, 2006

69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Eviana Hartman is an editor at Nylon magazine, and was formerly a fashion writer for Vogue and Teen Vogue.

About the Author

Wendy Mullin is a self-taught seamstress whose hip clothing line Built by Wendy has found fans amongst musicians, artists, and actors such as the Beastie Boys, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore, and Pharrell. She was tapped by Wrangler to reinvigorate their label and created the new Wrangler 47 line. Originally from suburban Chicago, she currently lives and works in New York City.

Eviana Hartman is an editor at Nylon magazine, and was formerly a fashion writer for Vogue and Teen Vogue. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821257404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821257401
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

237 of 241 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on August 30, 2006
Format: Spiral-bound
Whether you've never touched a needle and thread or, like me, have been sewing for years, everyone will find something of value in this book. I've been making clothes for 40+ years and found this book a valuable asset to add to my sewing library.

Most sewing/craft books read like an encyclopedia - dry facts with one way to do things. This book is written in a conversational style, almost as if Wendy is sitting with you, guiding you through the process. Her explanations were clear, accurate and understandable. She encourages the reader to start with the basics and expand, be creative. The only spot I found something disturbing was in the explanation of stitch length. According to the author, stitch length should be set around 2.5 - that may be true for her machine, but my machine has lengths at 8, 10, 12, etc. For someone who doesn't know what they're doing, running up against this may be a bit confusing. She also states that hand stitching is the only way to secure buttons. Yes and no. It depends on the type of button but some can be done with a machine.

The book also includes three basic patterns - skirt, blouse and pants - for the reader to work with. A huge bonus for the buyer. My problem with this is the sizing. She goes from size 0 to 12 - a wide range, but unfortunately, today's body types tend to run much larger. Perhaps in a future issue, a size or two larger could be included.

Other than these few minor glitches, I found this a well-written, well-presented book that anyone who is contemplating trying their hand at sewing should immediately pick up and put to use. This one is a definite keeper.

Reviewed by Vicky Burkholder


4½-BOOKS for WUAT; 5-STARS for Amazon
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Amy Bworth on September 13, 2006
Format: Spiral-bound
I've recently rediscovered sewing. This book rocks. It's the first book I've seen that really addresses the whole process of creating hip clothes, from storing my supplies, to choosing fabric, to altering patterns. If this book had come out a few years ago, my closet would be overflowing with fabulous things. It also includes some brilliant shortcuts, which I've since learned are standard in the "industry" -- for instance, punching a single hole to indicate darts instead of thread tracing them saved me hours, and was surprisingly accurate. The tone of the book is very straight forward and clear, and the illustrations are fabulous.

The book isn't flawless -- while making the shirt in the book, I wish there had been more detailed instructions about making the sleeve plackets and stitching the collar. However, there seem to be tons of books and websites that can help me with individual problems, but not yet one that gives such a good overall foundation for "fashion sewing," if you will.

As for the sizing, I've made the pants and shirt in the book, and found them to be very true to size -- no vanity sizing, though. An extra-small is really an extra-small. The jeans I made were formfitting, but accommadated my (real) hips. It's a shame that the patterns only go up to a size 12.
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By jb29471 on February 16, 2007
Format: Spiral-bound
I don't often write reviews, but I thought this book deserved one. I would consider myself an intermediate sewer. I've sewed in the past, I know how to use a machine and how to hand sew, done mostly quilts, pillows and drapes, but never attempted clothing. This summer I attempted 3 separate items of clothing and failed pretty miserably at all three, for varying reasons. I picked up this book as kind of a refresher and on my first time out, I came up with a skirt that actually fit!! It goes over basics that people might sometimes forget, explains the ins and outs of the machine, fabric and some sewing terminology. And it also gives you some tips and tricks that are pretty helpful. If you've sewed clothes before, I wouldn't recommend the book as it is too elementary, but for those who want to make the transition into clothing, I think it is a must. I look forward to more books by this author!
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By NYer VINE VOICE on May 7, 2008
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Update, 23 May 2010

My opinion of "Sew U" is essentially the same -- it's a fun supplemental sewing book with patterns that would tend to appeal more to teenaged girls and young women with casual tastes. The only thing I would add is that it IS really helpful to have the proper tools -- the author downplays this because she and other contemporary authors of beginning sewing books tend to dumb down things with the misguided idea of being less intimidating to novices.

But if you're not that experienced, it's actually helpful to have specialized tools. A professional has the dexterity to make do with fewer tools, although most pros do have well-equipped workrooms. Fortunately, apart from tools like scissors, many sewing notions are reasonably cheap. You can afford to buy several different kinds of chalks to find the one that works best for you and the job at hand.

To discuss a specific point in the book, I personally find it hard to simply lay down a pattern on fabric, weight it down and cut. The fabric slides. I obtain more accurate results if at least I pin the fabric down and cut. My preferred method, however, learned from tailoring teachers, is to pin the fabric selvages together, pin the two layers together at various places, transfer the paper pattern to oaktag, lay down the oaktag, weighting it if necessary, and to trace the outline with chalk. Then I remove the oaktag and cut the traced outline.

I know it's time-consuming, but following steps like the ones I suggested is why clothes made with professional methods tend to look better. If you decide to pursue this and hold yourself to the highest standards, you'll see what I mean.


I bought "Sew U" several months ago.
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