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The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook: 5 Master Patterns, 15 Creative Projects Hardcover-spiral – November 1, 2011
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"The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook...sits at the other end of the sewing spectrum, providing inspiration for clothing designers and experienced sewers. BurdaStyle is a website for the fashion-oriented." --Associated Press
"A great new resource that is absolutely overflowing with information and inspiration." --Craftzine.com
About the Author
Nora Abousteit is the cofounder of BurdaStyle. Previously she worked on the staff of Hurbert Burda and was part of the production team for the DLD conferences, as well as for several World Economic Forum events. She earned her first money by sewing as a teenager.
Alison Kelly is a fashion and jewelry designer for her label, Dahl. Alison was a contestant on the television series Project Runway (Season 3). As BurdaStyle’s creative director, she continues to fulfill her undying passion for sewing and DIY.
BurdaStyle.com is an all-encompassing resource for the global fashion and sewing community. Launched in 2007, the website offers copyright-free downloadable sewing patterns, step-by-step sewing tutorials, interaction with other people passionate about sewing, and much more. For more information visit BurdaStyle.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
I think this book is clearly laid out - the book starts by discussing important tools, how to read and trace patterns, grainlines and fabric, and basic sewing techniques. It then goes on to give very detailed instructions for a skirt, a blouse, a dress, a coat, and a bag. It includes three variations with instructions for each pattern, as well as photographs of lots of creative ideas for each of the five designs. The pattern pieces are included with the book, which is great. I really love the blouse, and I like elements of the coat, so I may make use of these patterns in the future.
My overall impression is that this is the perfect book for someone who is interested in learning to sew clothes but doesn't have a lot of experience. The book outlines the essentials of sewing without getting too bogged down in the details. It emphasizes creativity while still highlighting the importance of technique (pressing seams, etc.). Most of the other "learn to sew" type books tend to give "patterns" for aprons or toys or crafty items, which never held much interest for me, and I am sure aren't of much interest for others who want to learn to sew garments. This, of course, is not an issue with BurdaStyle, which emphasizes the different garment patterns they have included. The instructions seem to be quite detailed, so they could be great for newer sewers. Also, these patterns do not have seam allowances (like the BurdaStyle magazine patterns), and it gives some good advice about how to add seam allowances and why it is better to make pattern alterations without them. I have always had great experiences with the drafting of the Burda patterns, so I would expect new sewers might be really pleased with the results they get from the patterns included with this book. I really think this book would be especially good for teens or young adults who are interested in sewing trendy clothes and want to learn some of the basics.
As much as I think this book is great for beginners, I don't think it is the best book for an advanced home sewer. I know this isn't going to be one of my go-to books for sewing techniques, but I do like the inspiration and advice it gives for altering patterns to get totally different styles. I don't ususally feel very confident making drastic pattern alterations with most garment patterns and I think this book may give me more ideas for making major pattern alterations, although it doesn't discuss much technique. For the advanced sewer this book is more useful in terms of inspiration and ideas, as well as use of the patterns included in the book.
Overall I would say this is a great book and fills a niche in the current sewing book market. I think it may be just a bit below my skill level at this point, but it is exactly the book I was looking for when I first started sewing. The inclusions of the patterns are great and make the purchase worth it for advanced sewers, and I really like that this book included inspirational designs from the BurdaStyle community members. However, I think where this book really excels is as a first sewing book for new sewers who want a guidebook for garment construction, but want to be able to exercise their own creativity in making clothes.
Described as aimed at beginners, and I think that's misleading so I give a low rating. I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner, even the most adventurous. Silk charmeuse and lace for a first ever project - what a recipe for misery and disaster. When you look closely, actually only 3 of the 15 projects have the lowest skill level. And all those require pattern alterations and are not easy easy. Many construction steps with no illustrations. I'm disappointed in this as a book for beginners - I was expecting something more like an updated version of old Burda beginners books (not in English) which are realistic about what a beginner can do, and have many illustrations of technique.
On-line videos for some techniques. Traceable patterns overlapped like the patterns in Burda magazine (no seam allowances). Tell you how to make a muslin, but only a couple of sentences on adjusting it to fit.
The biggest emphasis is on making your own versions. Three projects for each pattern. Even more possibilities if you swap tops and bottoms around those waist seams. As a source of inspiration for variations the book is good. My guess is the book was only tested on an `inner circle' of Burda Style site users, who are already happy pattern alterers and devise-your-own-method sewers. "Yes" for do-it-yourselfers who know what they're doing. Definitely "no" for beginners. Lovers of the US Burda Style website are very enthusiastic !
PLUSES: Clear and concise instructions, beautiful photography, packed with tips + tutorials, and the 5 paper patterns (included in the back of the book) are actually really cute!
MINUSES: You have to trace the paper patterns onto new paper so you can add seam allowance and preserve the original pattern to use in later variations. This is time consuming but it makes sense-- you can reuse and trace the original patterns over and over again, apparently creating countless variations.
Overall score: A+