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Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques; 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects: Dresses, Tunics, Scarves, Skirts, Accessories, Pillows, Curtains, and More Paperback – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Publisher's Weekly:  "This large volume, packed with full-color photographs, is a must-add for sewers who want to work outside the parameters of paper patterns and precise measurements. This soothing, empowering style of teaching sewing is a nice contrast to the more rigid directions promoted in other recent sewing books."

Library Journal: The authors' "five basic designs" are broken down so clearly and concisely that any stitcher, regardless of experience, could create a well-fitting, attractive garment. These designs alone are worth the cost of the book; the 96 other patterns, which include household goods and accessories, make it an even better value.

From the Inside Flap

Free your creative sewing instincts with 101 projects that invite you to try everything you can imagine doing with fabric and thread --- from doodled stitches to stacked applique. There are no patterns here and hardly any rules. Simply choose your fabric (forgiving, stretchy knits work great), take a good set of measurements, and begin sewing.Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut provide five basic clothing designs that become templates for dozens of stylish dresses, tunics, skirts, and tops, all waiting to be embellished as you like. From a ruffled sundress adorned with ribbons to a flattering t-shirt doodle-stitched with a pebble pattern, this is soft, casual clothing you'll love to wear yourself or personalize for friends and family.In addition to dozens of wearable projects, you'll find stylish decorative items for every room in your home. From pillowcases and duvet covers to tea towels and placemats, many of these projects can be completed in an hour, and you'll be using them and enjoying their good looks for years to come.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781603427401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603427401
  • ASIN: 1603427406
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shala Kerrigan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Improv Sewing by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut is a collection of projects and patterns that you can make on the fly and sew using a standard sewing machine.

It's my favorite kind of sewing book. It doesn't depend on couture techniques or fussy cut detailed patterns. The patterns are made of simple lines and easy to create in the size you need. They leave some things unhemmed because knits don't come unraveled. Lots of embellishment techniques to create a look for yourself, your child or your home that's unique and artistic.

It starts with an introduction to fabric types and tips for sewing using a sewing machine with those fabrics, how to clip seams , use foldover elastic and ideas for thrift store shopping.

The instructions are very complete. If you're a novice sewer, you'll want to read through the chapters in order to understand how to put together the basic patterns before you get into the embellishments.

The clothes I wear the most are comfortable jersey knit skirts and dresses, and I like things that are easy to make and can be made with thrifted finds. Chapter 2 is Finding Your Fit- starting with how to take measurements, then using a well-fitting teeshirt your willing to cut up to use to make basic patterns. You will learn how to make a pattern for an a-line skirt that will fit perfectly with an elasticized waistband and how to make dress patterns with different necklines using the teeshirt pieces. The patterns use jersey knits for easy sewing.

Chapter 3 is Five Basic Designs. While there are several projects for children in this book, these patterns are for adults. They explain different sleeve types, and the patterns are easy wear casual pieces with lots of style.
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Making whole garments without hems, structure, reinforcement at seams, and then showing pictures of people in these garments with nary a bulge, bra or panty line indicates if you are going to make clothes out of scraps of fabrics, plan to invest in amazing undergarments, or really nice photo retouching, or only making garments for cardboard type of figure.
I bought this book after seeing an article to make a large t shirt into a sleeveless dress in another magazine and actually did this project with my daughter, and went well. So when I bought the book, this is what I was looking for. There are many comments in the book on repurposing clothes, etc, but the projects shown are more about using jersey, and don't appear to be redone t shirts, and so forth. And the sleeves that I struggled with as a beginning sewer back in the day are glossed over, and generally not included, and so the tops or dresses are frequently sleeveless, and the armholes have no finish, nor do the neckline.
The accessories that are done in a haphazard method are pleasant, and strike and interesting modern approach to embelleshment, but the garments are not anything that would hold up to washing, nor would you actually want to wear them for anything other than pajamas.
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Format: Paperback
i had my doubts when i first got this book, as i've seen so many sewing books that are, well, blah...but was i impressed! it totally takes the fear out of sewing your own way. i kinda like doing something original and not having a whole lot of structured (read difficult) instructions and rules when i'm creating, and this book is just the ticket. i've never really made a clothing pattern of my own before, and within a couple of days, i had read through, drew up a pattern, and created the 4-panel dress, and it fits great, looks great, and it was really easy and fun-no kidding! i've converted a top into a cardigan, and i'm just getting ready to make a couple of skirts, and i've only had the book for about a week and a half! it is truly inspirational! if you love to sew, or you want to learn to make really cute, on trend clothing and other items, in a relaxed, creative, and non-stress-inducing kind of way, this is the book for you! you will not be disappointed by this book, trust me!
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PROS:
- Nice photography of lots of tasteful, artistic, modern sensibility sewing projects, from clothing to home accessories - beyond pillows!
- There is a consistent, low-key, organic, loose-construction, European vibe and concept to many of the designs and embellishments presented. Some ideas are quite unique. Much of what is presented in this book hangs together as a 'collection'.
- The projects are not intimidating and can be made for very little cash outlay. The message here is to get loose and start cutting things up and throwing things together. 'Forget patterns,' the authors urge. 'Be non-fussy!' The overall message winds up being very encouraging and fun! This is the 'gesture drawing' of sewing!
- The pacing of the book is well thought out. Each project introduces a new skill that you can build upon to create your own combinations of ideas.
- If you're like me and have a few boxes of clothes waiting for some creative 'upcycling' you'll find plenty of ideas, and most importantly ENCOURAGEMENT, in here for making new creations that are fun and creative without being tacky.
- Even though many of these project ideas or similar ones are available online, this is a lovely, well-designed book with great illustrations and instructions for each project along with solid basic concepts presented in the earlier sections, that I'd much rather have in a physical format than have to dig up in front of a screen. A book can be curated to a certain aesthetic, which I prefer to the broad cast of the internet.

CONS:
- Non-fussy occasionally goes too far for me: A few of the clothing projects fell flat for me or seemed poorly implemented, such as the Ribbon Ruffled Sundress or the Ruched Tunic that follows it.
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