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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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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.
Top customer reviews
- 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.
- 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. A small minority of the clothing projects seem a bit unflattering and/or a touch ill-fitted in the photos. Even so, each design presents an embellishment or construction idea, and the near misses serve to lower the intimidation bar for experimental seamstresses.
- To that end, a few extra tips on adjusting the fit of clothing, or troubleshooting, might be beyond the scope of this book, but would have been nice.
- Many of the ideas presented in this book seem ridiculously simple. One might even categorize this book as a collection of DIY sewing blog entries. This seems to be a common complaint for many DIY books that have been published in the last few years. Not a problem for me, but some might be disappointed or prefer to go online for 'free' and find ideas.
I'm glad I made this purchase. There are quite a few projects I'm putting on my to-do list! It definitely fills a void in my sewing book collection. I will be referring to it as I work on my upcycling pile!
The projects in this book are casual, mostly on the bohemian side, and as someone with a fair amount of training and experience in sewing garments, I found the instructions shockingly simple, yet detailed enough for someone with basic knowledge of how to use a sewing machine to follow. There are lots of unfinished edges and other stuff a more formal seamstress would never do. But for the knit fabrics recommended for most of the patterns, this works! And it takes a heck of a lot less time than doing it in my old ways. I'm sure there's more sewing from thrifted garments in our future!
Some of the things in the book could be debated. For example, it teaches its "students" to always backstitch. For those acquainted with "couture sewing» this is contrary to the teaching of other advanced instructors. But I do not think that really matters. I understand why the authors say what they do. They are trying to simplify the process of sewing, making it "safe" to the weary, insecure novice. All in all a great book :-)