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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.
The patterns are few and are limiting.Not many patterns to start with and doesn't allow a new user to be creative considering the patterns all have a similar vibe :/ very disappointed in the book considering the price and how many patterns I could've bought instead...
I attempted to make the skirt on page 74. This is considered "one button," so presumably as easy as you're going to get. As a beginning seamstress, I needed easy. I've already done some projects with assistance, but I figured I could handle this one on my own. Wow, was I wrong!
I ran into snags from the beginning. First, you actually have to alter the original pattern to even get to this pattern... Pattern alteration is NOT easy, an definitely not beginner! After some help, I finally got the pattern complete, and then ran into more troubles where the pattern alteration directions aren't even correct!
I really thought it was just me, but the person assisting me is far from a beginner. He's not a professional, sure, but he's been sewing for years and actually has made his own patterns... He had to correct a lot of errors in this pattern.
Honestly, I'm scared to try my hand at any others... If the easiest is this messed up, I'd hate to see what the hard patterns are like...
Also, this book is not for beginners. Only one of the projects included is at the novice level, which doesn't seem like a good way to build confidence. I understand that increasing skill levels are the whole point, but making one easy bag that isn't really that easy isn't going to prepare you to make a dress. Anyone who wants to begin sewing should just look for tutorials on the internet. Find out how to make your own skirts just by taking your measurements. Look at a YouTube video about installing an invisible zipper. Seriously, if I were a total beginner and someone gave me the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook as a guide, I would run away crying.
If anyone wants recommendations for a good beginner's sewing handbook, I would recommend Colette. I purchased that book and have already had tons of fun with it. The photos and instructions are clear, and for the first time ever I'm working with patterns and I don't feel afraid. It doesn't offer pattern variations, but after making a few projects I see my own variations that I'd like to try. I don't need someone to point them out to me! It's a much more clear and creative handbook than this one.