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Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style: Key Pieces to Sew + Accessories, Styling, and Inspiration Hardcover – November 3, 2015
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1. There is a cohesive theme to the whole book--in other words, the projects contribute to a unified style. If you like that style, you will like all the projects. In many sewing books the projects are grouped into chapters for clothes and accessories, for bags, for the home, for babies, and for children. Often a third of the book is of no interest to me because I don't have kids and only occasionally make something as a gift for a new mom or a child. It seems to me that many books are padded with silly useless projects just to balance the size of each chapter.
2. Lotta writes about how the various pieces will work in different fabrics and with different styling details. She features her friends and colleagues wearing the clothes so you get to see how they have interpreted the designs. It makes the book fun to read and inspiring, and she includes interesting details about her friends--I felt like I could relate to them and share their creative outlook.
3. The projects are simple but unique--like the patchwork scarf, which I've already made, and the fabric bracelets. Those are particularly nice because every sewist has bits and pieces of lovely fabric they don't know what to do with. Sure, you could probably figure out how to make those yourself, but you might not think of them and Lotta provides useful details and directions.
I can see myself making most of the projects in this book. I made the pants this afternoon and I love them. The patterns are printed on both sides and on top of one another, so you have to trace them out, which is a bit challenging. But most books with patterns do it this way now.
In sum I'd say that if you like Lotta's effortless euro-global chic, you will love this book.
The book really is a delight to look at and read. Some of the projects seemed a little unoriginal, like the fabric cuffs, and I am still trying to figure out which pattern I want to start with - the Kiomi top looks nice, but will it make me look pregnant? The Owyn pants are fun, but tapered legs don't suit my shape. I may widen the leg a bit to make it work for me, which means making a muslin, which means it will take longer to get a finished product. The Pilvi jacket is classy, but I don't know if I would actually wear it. Also, the patterns suggests using woven fabrics such as quilting cotton. As a sewist who is just beginning to branch out from quilting and chidren's clothing, I hate to think I would be making things that won't hold up to daily wear. Full disclosure: she does recommend using heavier weight fabrics when appropriate. The fabrics in the clothes pictured are largely lightweight with a few in heavier weights, but those are prohibitively expensive. I understand some sewists adjust to the idea of paying more for decent apparel fabric. As someone who is still lacking confidence in making my own clothes, I am not ready to spend for a garment I may spend hours on and then hate.
The thing is, for all my misgivings about actually trying out the patterns, I still really enjoy paging through the book, imagining what different pieces would look like in different fabrics. Whether or not I ever get around to making the clothes, I feel like the book has informed me in developing my own personal style, and reading it and looking at the pictures has been a real treat.
Update: I made the Kiomi top and mid length dress from the book. I attached a pic of the top since there are hardly any images on the internet of these besides the ones from the book. I added an inch and a quarter to the hem of the top since I have a long torso, and you can see with the extra length it hits right at my hip. I also took the sides in a full four inches at the hemline, by taking a yard stick and drawing a line down the side of the pattern (cutting a wedge shape from each side, the bottom of the wedge being an inch wide). Even with that change, there is still a LOT of room in the shirt. I used double gauze for the body of the shirt and Kaffe Fassett shot cotton for the bias bound edges. I made the dress (not shown) with voile and shot cotton bias tape.
Forewarning, I am a US Size Medium (8-10) and the largest size in this book is maybe going to fit a smallish US Size L, max. They call their largest size XL, but the bust on their XL tops out at 43 inches, waist tops out at 34", and hips top out at 45". NOT even close to XL, in my book. But, if you have some basic experience with pattern-making, fit adjustment, etc. this is no big deal as none of the patterns are particularly complex. Very straightforward & easy to size up, if you need to. Designs are quite elegant in their simplicity, not boring or "craftsy." Beautiful layout. Bonus projects included in the book are lovely: bracelets, scarves, bags, etc. The book itself is truly beautiful. Wonderful style & color sensibility, with a very Scandinavian POV. I ADORE IT. 👍👍