Tag Archives: book review

A Review of the Roehampton Culottes from Beginner’s Guide to Skirts

Aimee (aka Wrong Doll on her blog and Instagram) is a prolific stitcher, I don’t know how she manages it alongside a full-time job!

She recently made the Roehampton Culottes from my book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts” and I instantly wanted to steal them!  They’re so my style; Aimee’s chosen the kind of fabric I’d have gone for and wears them pretty much how I would choose to.

Her review of the culottes project and the whole book makes heart warming reading for me but here are some choice words:

“Wendy’s book is split in two – the individual projects, followed by a techniques section at the end. This format empowers you to get into the driving seat and customise each pattern according to your whim.”

“Thanks to the mode of presentation and clarity of instruction, these Roehampton culottes are by far my most well made make to date.”

It’s so satisfying to know that I’ve played a small part in improving someone’s sewing skills like this. That’s what it’s all about folks.

Read Aimee’s full review here and get a signed copy of my book here.

Possibly The Most In-Depth Book Review in The World Ever!


I was chuffed when Portia Lawrie agreed to review my book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts”, I was amazed when she told me how she intended to do it…..

She only went and got a bunch of beginner’s together and tested the book out by teaching a workshop!!

The result is the most detailed review of a craft book I’ve ever read.

I feel I should add a short line about the students’ skirt choices; I’ve been teaching now for 9 years and one of the most important things I’ve learned is to manage the expectations of my students. I probably would’ve quite firmly steered some of Portia’s students (namely the one’s who had never used a sewing machine or hadn’t for a long time) towards the first two projects in the book (the projects progressively get harder as you work through the book) and away from pleats, gathers, vents and waistbands!

Having said that, they pulled it all together and did a fantastic job.  A massive thanks to Portia and her endless enthusiasm, her capable assistant Jenna and those 5 brilliant students.

Read how they all got on here.

Book Reviews – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Unpacking this book from its cushioned delivery box yesterday was a treat.

McQueen had a rare talent to produce beautifully crafted pieces and alongside a handful of other designers, past and present, is a designer whose work I respect and find inspiring.  This weighty tome is published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to accompany their spring 2011 exhibition in celebration of McQueen’s work.

The cover has an eerie holographic image of McQueen morphing into a metallic skull.  The book is beautifully bound in brown fabric with metallic embossed title down the spine and when you open it…

…these endpapers greet you.

There are lengthy and interesting introductions by the curator of the exhibition Andrew Bolton and by the respected fashion journalist Susannah Frankel, but the book is dominated by beautiful photographs of some of McQueens key works alongside quotes from the man.

In future, when I feel in need of a little creative pick-me-up, I know where I’ll be going.

Book Reviews – numbers 1 to 3 of many

Here’s the first in what I hope will be a fairly regular series of posts to review books I own, use or have seen.  Prompted by my shameless book-buying habit and a recent spring clean and resulting organisation of said book collection.  I wonder how many books you need to be able to call your collection a library…?

So, here goes, first up a trusty old tome of techniques:

The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  My copy is a first edition published in 1978, I believe it’s since been updated.  In my opinion the old ones are the best when it comes to sewing technique books.  I’ve used this book for both classes and in my own sewing and the explanations and diagrams are crystal clear.  It’s informative, clear, easy to use and thorough.  Look out for a copy in charity shops and second-hand book shops.

**22/7/13 – I’ve since reviewed this book in more detail here.**

Next, a bit of history:

Dior by Dior – The Autobiography of Christian Dior.  A fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at the goings-on at the house of Dior during the golden age of couture during the 1940’s.  Interesting chronicle of the life of the man and the life of his collections, from early ideas to the showing of collections at intimate salons.  Made me wish I could travel back in time.

And finally:

The Sartorialist – Scott Schuman.  The book version of Schuman’s popular blog which started in 2005.  A fascinating and strangely addictive documentary of fashion from around the world, Schuman photographs anyone on the street whom he considers to have an interesting style of their own or an individual interpretation of a current trend.  Although the book and the blog teem with the beautiful, a few normal faces get in there too.  As the photos aren’t styled or posed or set-up in any way you can focus on the clothes without distraction. Inspiring.  Be warned though – addictive.