Tag Archives: modern dressmaking books

Super Gorgeous Glam PJ’s

Just a quick one as I had to share these with you……


I know, luscious aren’t they?!

Wouldn’t you just love to sleep, lounge and generally lollop around in these beauties?

They’ve been made by clever devil Portia Lawrie using the t-shirt and comfy trouser patterns from my book Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking and she’s blogged all about them here. You’d best get over there and have a read so that you can enter a double giveaway that’s happening…… don’t say I didn’t tell you.

TTFN told you it was a quick one!

Win a copy of “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”!

win the beginners guide to dressmaking

So, my book is finally, officially published this week on Friday 7th November. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, you can currently save a whopping £6.40 on the cover price of £19.99 from Amazon, where it’s number 2 in the bestselling Dressmaking books chart!!

The book is aimed at new sewers who want to have a go at making their own clothes but feel a bit daunted by the prospect. It covers 14 basic dressmaking techniques and contains 6 multi-size patterns printed full-scale on 2 pull-out pattern sheets.

Once you have a few basics under your belt or you’ve already made a few clothes but want some patterns for modern, classic everyday wearable clothes there is also a whole chapter on making the patterns your own style which covers another 5 techniques such as pockets and collars.

You can have a look inside the book here.

I have been teaching people to sew for 7 years and I use my own patterns extensively in my classes, so you can be sure that the patterns in this book are tried, tested and easy to follow. The patterns come in 5 sizes which cover the following range: bust 84-101cm (33-40″), waist 68-85cm (27-33.5″), hips 92-109cm (36-43″).

I have 2 copies of my book to give away (to entrants in the UK), for winners outside the UK the prize will be a PDF version of the book. To enter, answer the following questions:

**Competition now closed – winners to be announced shortly!**

If you want to share this competition with your followers on social media, include the hashtag #wearwhatyousew

Good luck!

Competition Rules:

One entry per person. Two winners will be chosen at random after the closing date of Friday 14th November at 18:00 GMT and sent a paper copy of the book if their address is in the UK, or a pdf if outside of the UK.  Only entries with both questions completed will be entered. Your details will not be used for any other purposes or shared with any 3rd parties.

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Which Sewing Book to Buy?

sewing booksA cull of books I had last year at a MIY Workshop sale!  Yes you can have too many craft books.

So, the Great British Sewing Bee is back for its second series and the production company are already scouring the country for potential contestants for series three.  It looks like the sewing bug is a stayer.  Obviously that’s a good thing in my book.

Talking of books….(!) as I’m writing a sewing book at the moment (see previous post), the subject of sewing books has been pre-occupying me now for quite some time and I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about craft book authors.

Lots of my students ask me if I can recommend a sewing book.  Here are my tips to finding a good sewing book.

The most important starting point is to be honest about the skills you’re starting with.  Have you had a go on a sewing machine and now feel ready to tackle some dressmaking, have you been sewing for years and now looking for some new ideas or does the sight of a sewing machine bring you out in a cold sweat?!

If you’re right at the beginning of your sewing adventures, you need a sewing book that will have really well explained techniques and easy but inspiring  projects that you will actually want to make and can work your way through step-by-step.  If inspiration is what you’re after, have a look at some of the Japanese sewing books – beautifully designed, inspiring patterns, but usually needing some good existing skills.

What kind of things do you want to make with your new found sewing skills?  Do you want to do mainly patchwork, do you want to make bags and cushions and accessories or do you want do make clothes?  Choose the book that contains the kind of projects that you actually want to make!

Just like novels, the author of the craft book will make a huge difference to the content.

Here in Brighton there is a little hub of expert craft book authors; the lovely Liz of Quilty Pleasures had her first patchwork and quilting book published last spring:

beginners guide to quilting


Wendy Dolan is another Brighton based tutor who is an expert at machine embroidery and has been teaching for many years.  She is currently writing a book all about her style of machine embroidery.  Last but not least, Fiona Pullen of the Sewing Directory (OK she’s not in Brighton, but is everywhere in the world of sewing!) is in the process of writing a book about how to build a craft business. (Have a read of Fiona’s fascinating blog posts about her book writing process.)

The common thread linking all of these authors is that we are professionals and experts in our particular field.

What are the benefits of choosing books written by experts?  

A book written by an expert, an experienced teacher or someone with years of experience working in an industry means that you will benefit from that experience, they will share hints and tips with you that they have picked up along their travels, or unique techniques that they have devised for themselves.  You will also find practical how-to books written by these authors will contain instructions that are pitched at exactly the right level because they know their audience – they have been working with people just like you for years.

The way I look at it is this……would you want to learn to drive a car from someone that had just passed their driving test?  No, me neither!

Incidentally, one of my trusty old favourite sewing books that I’m always recommending to students is the “Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing”.  You can read my review of it here.

Happy sewing!  And safe driving….!!!