Saturday, 30 July 2016

No patterns needed

Hello hello!

I went to a very special party this week for the launch of Rosie Martins new book 'no patterns needed'. Rosie and I are virtual friends so it was great to actually meet her in real life! The book appealed to me from the very beginning when she was posting progress pics on Instagram last year and I have to say that the finished book is so beautifully done.

I thought I would share some initial thoughts on the book whilst they are whirring in my head. I did buy the book, but I cannot promise that my opinions are unbiased because I really love Rosie and I think she has accomplished a great amount putting this book together whilst holding down a full time job, so natural pride may take over.

First of all the concept is something that I'm all over. Encouraging home sewers to create their own patterns is something I'm all for. It's how I started when I was at school, making all sorts of crazy patterns all put together from old newspapers. I don't think I even bought an actual pattern for a good few years after I started sewing (this now seems mad, but I had no money). Secondly, I feel that there is often a tendency in the online sewing world to overcomplicate a process. If a simple boxy top is what you are after then why not have a go at making a pattern yourself? This may sound a bit strange considering the fact I sell patterns, but I'm really all for encouraging people to discover for themselves what their limitations may be.

By some coincidence I was flicking through a vintage sewing book recently and found some striking similarities to the format and general approach to home sewing when compared with Rosie's book. The vintage book in question is a young girls handbook to enable her to gain the necessary sewing skills to construct garments and useful household items by completing a series of projects.

Both books recommend the most basic tool and equipment to get started, such as a square edge of a book or card to act as a square guide and newspaper for drafting your patterns. Even the sewing machine recommendations are for a basic (old) machine with the necessary basic stitches. I can't tell you how much I enjoy this as someone who is not into gadgets, but am mainly happy with the basic tools for the job! (lets just ignore that I have recently bought a new sewing machine :-P)

The approach to garment pattern making is also alike and are just made from a selection of correct measurements.

Rosie has this brilliant table for you to insert your measurements at the beginning of each project, which is a lovely touch!

It's a really gentle approach into imagining and creating your own garments from the most basic of shapes and I think a lot of people could get some real enjoyment from this. If I was starting out I would snap this up and as it stands I am already planning on making a few garments from the book! This is not really a review of the book as such in terms of the actual garments or the well thought out theme of shapes that continues through out, but once I have made something I shall report back. I just really wanted to highlight what speaks to me about how the book is formed. It is not like that vintage book I have compared it to as it is not building on your embroidery or mending skills, but it is opening a whole new world to you if you want to try out some of your ideas and are intimidated by the whole idea of pattern drafting books. This is fun and should be worked through in a fun way. Try experimenting with old bedsheets or fabric you are less precious about to build your confidence and hopefully you will love this method! I still love cutting clothes in this way from time to time!

Happy weekend! xxx


Melissa said...

Thanks for the review, Marilla, and the encouragement to the rest of us. The book is not available here yet but should in in mid to late August and I'll be sure to check it out.

Marilla Walker said...

Oh I really think that everyone should have a go at just making something up from scratch! i probably could write another post about how the advent of the Internet and online resources has changed how people learn to sew, but I might ramble on for too long. Basically though the online sewing community impresses me so much with the leap made from beginner sewer to making jeans or bras, which is something I'm only just coming around to after many years of sewing. Maybe the simple play stuff like the projects in his book get missed along the way because our busy lives make us keen to advance in skill level at hyper speed.

Marilda Johnson said...

I Can so identify with this... I'm now 65 yrs old and still working full time... but have been sewing my own clothes and patterns since I was about 12, when I told my mom that the dress she was making was not right! and she told me to do it myself! On an old Singer Hand Machine. Now I have about 6 different machines for different types of sewing... but I still make up my own patterns.... from my first bell bottom tr
ousers in the early sixties!

Marilla Walker said...

Oh that's so great marilda! I can't imagine life without a sewing machine and I certainly appreciate my mum letting me use hers when I was a teenager! I wonder if we have/had quite a similar approach. Things have changed so much recently with much more availability of everything, but when I was growing up that wasn't so. If I couldn't find/afford(most likely) what I was imagining then I used to find a way to make something as close to it. Of course these items were probably far from my original inspiration, but pride seemed to Rose tint all the wonky bits ;-)

Elizabeth Made This said...

I can't wait to browse through this book! I recently realized that I've been using the same t-shirt pattern as my knit block. It's totally unrecognizable from its original form and I keep adding bits to it or taking them away as I see fit. There's something liberating about looking at an inspiration piece and saying, let's just have a go. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work, and then you can always reduce the result into something else.