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Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear Hardcover-spiral – July 12, 2010
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The book contains extensive directions and illustrations for each step in the creating process, so it looks as though it would be very user-friendly. Still, I'd recommend looking through the book at your bookstore or library before purchasing, as I was surprised as to the lack of variety of *different* patterns and the fact that I couldn't find a lot of patterns I was interested in. For me personally, there is one jacket that I would be interested in making (but know I likely won't take the time to) and a top that I *might* make, which means the book is not worth the purchase. However, as with so many sewing books, if these patterns are your style, the book will be a fabulous purchase. Bottom line: "try" before you buy if possible.
But I was disappointed that what is supposed to also be a book about making tops, dresses and jackets fails -- miserably -- to measure up in those other areas.
Again, it's a great book about making skirts, and lot of attention is paid in the early chapters on precisely cutting and sewing skirts that fit an individual's waist and hips. That's fine as far as it goes -- and as any seamstress will tell you, making skirts is relatively easy (notice I said relatively). But the real fitting instructions stop there. I wish the author had devoted half as much to the top/dress and jacket patterns, where achieving a precise, custom fit is more problematic because of variances in women's shoulder slopes and bust size and position.
It's frustrating, and not at all what one is led to expect, because the book even says, on page 11, that "even if you wear a size medium and your best friend does too, your bodies are simply not the same." The author goes on, on same page, to deride "most pattern companies" for "picking a standardized length" for things such as "shoulder slope." But she is guilty of the same sin! The patterns in the book assume that every woman wearing them has the same shoulder slope, and needs the bust-darts at the same depth and in the same position. Nowhere in the book are there suggestions, instructions, or provisions for changing these things. Instead, the chapters on tops and dresses and jackets emphasize cutting and placing pockets and collars and pleats and gathers -- embellishments, basically (maybe to distract the eye from the imprecise fit).
The tops (referred to as "tunics" throughout) and dresses differ from one another only in terms of length, and both have raglan sleeves, as does the jacket. The author says on page 14 that raglan sleeves "are super forgiving, and look great on just about anyone." Well, there are raglans and there are raglans -- some raglans slope more than other raglans, and every woman knows that not all are equally flattering: A slope that looks good on narrow shoulders can be too tight across broad shoulders, and one that flatters broad shoulders will bag on narrow ones. Not including detailed instructions on fitting raglans is a major oversight in this book, considering the extent to which it relies on them.
If you follow the instructions and make the garments in this book, you will end up with a gorgeous, custom-fitted skirt, but a top and jacket that fit you no better than ones you bought off the rack, or sewed directly from a regular commercial pattern.
Oftentimes sewing books will feature only a few really nice projects but I love ALL the designs in this book and can't wait to get sewing.
Not just skirts, this book also features, tunics, dresses and jackets. The designs are chic, stylish, modest and totally wearable.
Full sized tissue patterns from XXS to XXL are included and the custom fitting and sewing techniques will be a welcome addition to the new or inexperienced sewer.
The directions are thorough with plenty of drawings along the way and the lay flat binding a big plus. The layout of the book is charming and fun.
I am very pleased with this purchase --it was an impulse buy that turned out to be a winner!