Wednesday 17 April 2013

Book Review: Sew Over It

First up in my "hurrah for sewing!" mini-series of reviews: Sew Over It: Sew it, Wear it, Make it by Lisa Comfort which I totally meant to review last year and then got too busy and forgot (oops).

I have to admit to having never heard of Lisa Comfort or her sewing cafe "Sew Over It" when I got sent this book to review last year, and then she popped up on Kirstie's Vintage Home a few weeks later which was nice!

Sew Over It is a smallish hardback, about 9 or 10 inches high and about 160 pages long. It's very pretty book with a retro, vintage-y feel to it. Each of the chapter headings features a double page fabric print...

... there are nice little touches like a button or a pin next to the page numbers at the bottom of the pages (depending which chapter they're in), and the end papers feature a lovely paper-sewing-pattern design:

There are also lots of pics of Lisa wearing snazzy vintage outfits and shopping for lovely supplies (these are all very nice photos but to be totally honest they do feel a little like padding at times).

The book starts out with an introduction to Lisa and how she started Sew Over It...

... then there's a short introductory guide to basic skills like threading a needle, simple hand stitches and using your sewing machine.

The rest of the book is made up of simple projects, with an emphasis on beginner- or learner-friendly ideas and skills to help you gain confidence in customising, adapting and updating your wardrobe.

There's a chapter on "Customising Clothes", which includes ideas like swapping plain buttons for pretty fabric-covered ones, and tips on embellishing clothes with sequins, motifs, beads, buttons, ribbons and strips of fabric.

All the project ideas are explained with step by step instructions and clear photos.

Then there's the chapter which I think I'll personally find the most useful: "Altering Clothes". This chapter is perfectly designed for someone like me who loves to buy vintage and other second-hand clothes but doesn't have the confidence to alter my finds help them fit me better. The chapter includes are some vintage shopping tips and guides to useful things like turning up a hem, shaping side seams, elasticating a waist, and changing sleeves.

The next chapter is "Making Accessories" with some quick projects like making a vintage scarf necklace, sewing a simple headband, or decorating a tote bag with appliqued shapes. These are the sort of projects you could sew in an afternoon or make at a fun crafty evening with friends.

The final chapter - "Challenging Yourself" - features a guide to measuring yourself, and instructions for making a tote bag with plaited straps and three styles of skirt including this Sex & The City inspired tulle skirt.

If, like me, you fancy a wardrobe full of handmade clothes but find the sort of "proper" dressmaking featured on The Great British Sewing Bee a little bit intimidating, I think the ideas for customising and adapting clothes included in Sew Over It are a great solution.

It's probably also a lot cheaper to buy a dress from your local charity shop and customise it than it would be to buy metres of quality fabric, etc, making this a great book for students or anyone else on a budget. If time machines are invented tomorrow, I am totally sending a copy of this book back in time to myself when I was a student - there were so many great frocks I left on the rails of Bristol's charity shops with deep sighs because they needed a bit of altering to suit me!

Sew Over It is published by Ebury Press. RRP £15.00. It's available from Amazon UK, The Book Depository and a selection of sellers on Amazon USA.

[Disclaimer: Ebury Press sent me a free review copy of this book, & the Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]


Unknown said...

So glad I'm not the only one who's totally intimidated by clothes!

Sheila said...

Oh it sounds lovely, i couldn't do any of it, but i really do keep getting these books to look at the pretty pictures!!

Bugs and Fishes said...

You're definitely not the only one, Cara! :)

Sheila - yes, I've got loads of craft books where (if I'm totally honest with myself) I'm never going to make any of the projects, but they are so enjoyable to look through and get a bit of creative/colourful inspiration