Monday montage: New sewing books!

Well, it’s Tuesday and I haven’t written a Monday Montage for a while, but there are some nice-looking new sewing/craft books coming out imminently or that were published recently. A couple of these are definitely going on my Christmas list, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found!


A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts: Learn how to make 24 different skirts from 8 basic shapes by Wendy Ward. I already have Wendy’s Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking book and it has a number of sweet and simple designs that are suitable for any beginner. My interest was therefore piqued when I saw this book in the offing, but it was only really when I saw the blog posts Wendy has been posting about each “chapter” of skirts in her book that I decided I’d definitely like to have it. I just popped over to her blog to capture the link for this post and noticed she has also just announced a fantastic competition for UK residents related to this book. I can’t enter, but if you want to win a truckload of goodies, head over there at the link above and check it out!


Oliver + S Building Block Dress: A Sewing Pattern Alteration Guide by Liesl Gibson. You’ve probably/possibly seen a bit about this book on various blogs, but I think it’s an interesting addition to a sewing collection, so I’m including it. It’s written by the head of Oliver + S, Liesl & Co. and Lisette, Liesl Gibson, and purports to be a kind of “build your own” dress guide. As I understand it, her aim is to introduce the possibility of freestyling a dress without any need for advanced pattern-making courses or skills. Intriguing! The interesting thing for me is that although the book is primarily discussing dresses for young girls, the principles can be applied to adult clothes too. She has been quite keen to point out that this is not just a “little girls” dress book and this makes it much more appealing for those of us without little girls. Obviously. 🙂


Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe by Chinelo Bally. Following on from the Liesl Gibson book, this has a bit of a similar theme as it’s a book showing you how to sew without using a pattern, or how to measure and cut clothes freehand. I’m going to assume most people reading this know or are at least aware of The Great British Sewing Bee series, and Chinelo Bally was a contestant on the 2014 series. She learned the technique as part of her Nigerian heritage and it was fascinating to see. I’m guessing the actual process might possibly be somewhat advanced for my skills, but I’d love to read it, if nothing else.


Wild Things to Make: More Heirloom Clothes and Accessories to Sew for Your Children by Kirsty Hartley. This is NOT news, but it’s hard to find little boys’ clothes patterns and books. In most sewing books they’re given one or two patterns and a couple of token unisex items. So I don’t bother too much with sewing books aimed at children. Having said that, I really liked Kirsty Hartley’s first Wild Things book. I thought the designs were fresh, fun and clothes that kids would actually be excited to wear. It looks like more of the same with her latest book, which is no bad thing. I can’t see the entire contents, but it looks like there will again be a good sprinkling of patterns for both genders and even fun playtime makes like a teepee. Check it out if you have kids or want to make something special for one.


Make It, Own It, Love It: The Essential Guide to Sewing, Altering and Customizing by Matt Chapple. My final main book is from another GBSB contestant and, in this case, winner – it’s Matt Chapple, from the 2015 series. What can I say – Christmas is coming and so are the sewing books. Now, lest anyone accuse these sewers of blatant Xmas commercialism, it must be stated that none of the GBSB ex-contestants (that I have seen) have gone for the cookie-cutter, here’s a shift dress-type-tome. Matt’s book is very much about repurposing and extending the life of a garment, and that is not only a topical theme, but a popular one to boot. There’s no point in me listing what he covers, but check out the Amazon listing and you’ll see the contents. It sounds very useful and I’m sure plenty of people will like what he’s offering.

A couple of other bonus “coming soon” and “just released” books that sound great but don’t make my own personal top 5 – they may make yours, however: Fabrigami: The Origami Art of Folding Cloth to Create Decorative and Useful Objects. The title says it all and this appeals to me in a very scrap-buster kind of way. I’m just not sure I have the time for it with everything else! (I don’t). The Tunic Bible: One Pattern, Interchangeable Pieces, Ready-to-Wear Results by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr. I’ve seen this book on the internet quite a lot as well, but I’m just not a tunic chappess. Having said that, I’m pretty sure they would look amazing on my petite mother, so I am definitely considering it as a small Xmas pressie.

Alright, hope you have an amazing week. I am sewing, (I am!) but need some photo sessions soon! 😀


4 thoughts on “Monday montage: New sewing books!

  1. I have the chinello Bailey book, it’s really well laid out but I have to admit I am yet to make anything from it. I have decided that I need to venture into more self drafted or hacked patterns to develop my sewing so will definitely turn to this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh great, that’s good to hear! There are definitely sewing books I’m happy just to read, even if my skills aren’t quite adequate yet, so it’s good to know that it’s a pleasant read. I’ll look forward to reading about your experiments!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I too have the Chinello Bailey book and have made the basic block for the top. I will admit it was last year and my skills have improved so I’d probably do a better job of it now. However, it is possible to follow with only basic skills but I think I messed up a bit on measuring (and maths…) so it was a bit too tight on the hips. I’d certainly recommend it though, just not had a decent span of time to sit and concentrate and try again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I’m reading the Palmer/Pletsch Fit for Real People book right now and, as well as the amazing 80s photos, I’m really enjoying just soaking up the knowledge. But I need a decent block of time to retain any of it! It’s great to know the Chinelo book can be managed with more basic skills too. I’m looking forward to checking it out!


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