I received this book in the mail a few days ago courtesy of Krause Publications and was so charmed by the colorful, quirky skirt on the cover, that instead of adding it to my pile of books to review, I decided to take a look at it right then. The first thing I liked about the book is that it is spiral bound with a hard cover which makes it so much easier to use as an instructional reference book. And, from there, the book only gets better.
First, a few words about the creative genius behind this book. Author Kay Whitt is a former elementary school teacher who after resigning from teaching, launched her own pattern company, Serendipity Studio. She is also a licensed designer for McCall Patterns under the label Kay Whitt Designs. Her patterns are fun, flirty, and stylish while remaining easy to construct and are flattering to different body shapes.
My husband thinks I am a bit of a book dork, but when I pick up a new book, I always like to scan the table of contents to see how well organized the topics are and what I have to look forward to. In this book, there are three introductory sections regarding fitting, sewing tools, and sewing techniques followed by the garment construction sections divided by garment type: skirts, tunics/dresses, and jackets. She has even included an index, which many craft books tend to lack.
The fitting section is comprehensive while still being clear and easy to understand for a beginning sewer. The author explains what body measurements are needed to ensure a good fit and how to take them properly. In her discussion of making a muslin, she includes helpful tips and over the next several pages, illustrates how to make fitting adjustments to the patterns. In the second and third sections, Kay discusses sewing tools and sewing techniques including step-by-step instructions for installing an invisible zipper, a process that many view as torturous.
The remaining sections of the book focus on construction of the different garment types, of which there are three, with six variations for each, for a total of 18 designs to mix and match. The chapters begin with general construction directions for that garment type before embarking on instructions for the individual projects. The projects themselves include materials and supplies lists and each project is accompanied by photos of the completed garment which I always find helpful as well as inspiring.
One feature that I really enjoyed was the inclusion of Kay's original design sketch of each garment and her inspiration and thoughts about the design. It was interesting to note that the final result often deviated from the original as it evolved. Also, at the end of each project section, there is a section entitled "make it your own" where the author included ideas for adding your own touches and embellishments. She utilizes color and pattern in creative ways to make garments that are chic and fun. She even includes instructions for making ruched trim and flower embellishments.
I have to point out that one of my absolute favorite qualities about this book is that she uses models of all sizes and shapes so you can really see how well the garment styles flatter different types of bodies. When I look at pattern books, I am often frustrated because the models tend to be tall and slender so it is hard to envision how a garment will look on my body. I am sure that I am not alone in this.
For ease of use, the patterns are printed full size on tissue in seven sizes (bust: 32-44; waist: 24-36; and hips: 34-46) and are stored in a handy pocket bound into the back of the book. The pocket is made of sturdy card stock and allows room for expansion of the pattern when it is refolded. No more torn pattern envelope!
The designs in this book are suitable for those with beginning through advanced sewing skills and are sure to inspire your creativity and personal style.