Saturday, 5 May 2012

DIY Couture: Book Review + Giveaway



Have you heard of DIY Couture? Rosie Martin takes an unorthodox approach to sewing which I find inspiring and refreshing. She laments the fact that sewing patterns can be so complex that they deter many people from making their own clothes, likening deciphering the instructions with deconstructing a Chaucer poem.

Her new book DIY Couture: Create Your Own Fashion Collection, which the publishers Laurence King sent me to review, does away with patterns altogether. Instead it shows you how to make simple, loose-fitting garments by taking basic measurements, drawing round clothes you already have, and adding extras such as pockets, straps and gathers. There are ten garments to make up, each in eight different styles. The garments are clearly aimed more at younger readers and Shoreditch hipsters in particular, but there are a few things I can see myself wearing, such as a lovely cloak and easy-to-wear Grecian dress.


The book is bound to ruffle a few feathers with those stitchers who prefer a"standard" way of sewing. Some of the instructions, for example, are as simple as "Draw round a t-shirt" and "Cut out a neck shape". Personally I admire Rosie's can-do attitude and enthusiastic drive to get more people sewing, people who don't have the knowledge or confidence to use sewing patterns. Here is a taster of the introduction, which you'll either love or hate:

"A key message I would like to put across is: don't worry too much about the details. No doubt, making things 'accurately' will make you feel good about the item you have made. However, when you wear shop-bought clothes, it is unlikely that you zoom in on the fine points of their construction. When you try on a new piece of clothing and look in the mirror, you generally do not look at whether a line of stitching is straight, or the buttons are sewn on perfectly evenly. You look at how the garment hangs on your body; you think about how it feels; you look at the colour or pattern of the fabric. When you see a dress you like on someone in the street, you are probably not admiring the amazingly even seam depth.

Next time you are in a high-street clothing shop, or even a vintage or designer boutique, take a moment in the changing room to focus on a hem, a strap or a join. You will probably start to notice things that you would criticise if you had done them yourself. All the clothes pictured in this book were handmade at home, and very few of them could be considered 100% perfect. My line of reasoning is this - let it go. Those small details do not matter to a garment's looks or usability."



What DIY Couture's approach may lack in technical accuracy, it more than makes up for in resourcefulness and encouragement. The book explains the basics of sewing in an extremely down-to-earth manner, doing a great job of focusing on the concepts that can really stump beginners. It has tons of photos and extremely detailed step-by-step instructions that would make it almost impossible to go wrong. The beauty is that readers are given the confidence to make the garments their own, to experiment with their own design features, and to sew things their own way, rather than relying on patterns. What a world of possibility DIY Couture opens up!





Ah yes, the giveaway! Laurence King publishers are offering copies of the book to three of my readers. If you'd like to win, leave a comment below letting me know if you've had any experience making your own clothes without patterns, if so what you did and any reflections on the process... to feed into a future blog post I'm planning! The deadline to enter is Friday 11th May 2012 at midnight GMT. The winner will be selected by random number generator and announced on this blog in a future post. The giveaway is open internationally and includes shipping. Don’t forget to leave your email if it’s not linked to your blogger profile so I can let you know if you win. Good luck!

253 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I do love DIY Couture. I have the book on making a skirt, and I love it. It makes me feel empowered. So far, I have only made one skirt from the book's guidelines but I love that I made it without a pattern. It has helped me feel more free to make other (non-clothes) items without a pattern too.

    Candy (candykins.crafts@gmail.com)

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  2. my attempts with or without a pattern are hit and miss. I have a few things I wear and few things I don't (those get recycled). But I mostly just have a fear of cutting into my pretty fabric. I HATE that printed sewing patterns require that you mock them up before using the good fabric to fit them. WHY can't I just mix and match pieces to make something that fits the first time! this looks like a great book for me though - I need to learn to adjust things and be more patient.

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  3. I would like to enter. I've made something without a pattern - a dress for my daughter made from an old jumper of mine. I more or less drew around another dress of hers.

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  4. This book sounds interesting - I love to read it!

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  5. Sounds like an interesting book. I'd love to see it too. cheers :)

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  6. i prefer to use patterns as I'm generaly sewing more advanced garments. I'm pretty time restricted when it comes to sewing, so I don't want to "waste" that precious time on basics. Now those more complicated cuts are the reason why I don't feel confident enough to make up my own patterns. I've done so with basic tops, shirts and skirts (also often using the drawing-around-an-already-existing-and-well-fitting-garment-method) but really I don't feel like doing it from scratch. But it also depends on the fit I'd like to archive: a drawstring tunic dress would be something I'd more likely to attempt than a fitted shift dress.

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  7. In high school (20 years ago) I made many one-seam, elastic or drawstring waist skirts- I had them in every color and print imaginable. I stalked the remnant bins to get cool fabrics :) These days my patternless efforts tend to be mostly refashions out of outgrowns and hand-me-downs for the little ones running around my house. The template page you posted has me very curious about this book!

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  8. Sounds like a really interesting book. I dabbled a bit in making my own designs when I first started sewing and was little scared at using patterns. Some worked, some didn't, I did make a polka dotted, elastic waist dress that I do still wear because I'm a little proud of that one! The cape you've featured looks particularly interesting.

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  9. Wow.. I was just thinking about whether going to the library for the book or not, when I saw it was a give away -awesome! (my library would never have a new book in this category and my birthday is too far away).

    I have limited experience sewing without a pattern, but I've done my share of semi-copying from RTW-clothes.

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  10. Tilly, I would love to win that book for my daughter who is just embarking on the sewing journey. Last night I checked it out on Amazon and this morning I read your blog. I hope it's fate!! :)

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  11. Though i normally work from a pattern these days i still wear the first thing i ever made which was made from copying a skirt of my sisters. It was one large piece of fabric, so i lined it up roughly on grain, drew round it and bias taped all the edges (the original was overlocked but at the time i had no idea what that was). I then wrapped it round me and put a zip where the sides met. Despite the fact that the sewing on the zip is atrocious i wear it a lot and always get complimented on it. One day i will make another.

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  12. I don't think I ever have, but the closest I think I have been was cutting some fabric into panels, following the pattern and a tutorial online...but this book sounds fabulous! Thank you (:

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  13. I've not done much sewing without patterns, I've made my own patterns before now, but they've been quite structured; would love to give this a go though.

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  14. .... I look sooo forward to this book! Wanted to go and get it anyway but now I'll give this giveaway a try first :-) I discovered Rosie's smaller books at fabrications (www.fabrications1.co.uk) a while ago and I am sure I soon will do one of the workshops she offers there... I am quite happy doing bags and pouches without a bought pattern, and I managed to do some skirts and even a pair of linen trousers from old worn off garments. Much more fun than hours of pattern fitting - measuring - boring stuff - I'm just not patient enough for that, I think. Or maybe I'm just not good enough at it :-)

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  15. Oh, this book looks great!
    I really like making clothes without patterns. It's what I'm doing right now, because I'm a bit overweight and I can't find patterns I like in my size (the plus size patterns seem to be drawn for old ladies! >___<).
    I generally draw my personal pattern from old clothes, making some adjustemets on the model.
    Thank you for this giveaway!!!
    silviatriv @ g mail. com

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  16. When I started sewing I was scared of patterns so I used to take old unloved clothes and refashion them into new outfits. I used to buy large clothes with lots of extra fabric from charity shops so that I could simply fit the fabric to my body and go from there. This book seems to take that idea to the next level, and it sounds fascinating! It would be great both for sewers who are starting out and as a way to get more creative if you've only been sewing with traditional patterns, I like the sound of it :)

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  17. This is my kind of sewing. I have made a few skirts/dresses without a pattern - just marking measurements onto the fabric and cutting away but I would really like to explore this further.

    Here's an example of a dress I made this way - http://dragonflightdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/batik-in-blue.html

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  18. what a really interesting book. That goes on the Amazon list (if I don't win ;-))

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  19. I think this book should be a good read for beginners like myself. I am currently self teaching and I must say I have been stumped on many patterns. I seem to do more research on how to do certain technique or just deciphering what the pattern instructions actually mean. I have made one item without a pattern and needless to say I just didn't quite get it right :(

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  20. I am constantly planning alterations for my clothes that don't fit or I'm bored with, especially charity shops buys, but I have to admit, my enthusiasm mainly outweighs my sewing ability! If it's something I don't wear I usually figure there's nothing to lose...and I did successfully adjust a secondhand hand knitted jumper the other day! However, I deeply fear darts, which most of my clothes are in most need of - dammit! I did just buy the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing in the hope it would explain to me how to read patterns...however it has just made me think making clothes from scratch is something beyond my current means and talent. Perhaps the DIY book is more suitable at the moment!

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  21. I have made skirts without patterns when I first began sewing last year. I am still a beginner and find patterns challenging if my tutor isn't there to lead the way. I tend to lose my sewing mojo when the class has ended. I think a book like this would build my confidence and help me leap beyond just making skirts.

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  22. Yes, I do it all the time! It gets the job done a lot faster and can produce some really interesting shapes. I'm making a teacher's robe for a production at the moment, and I'm just cutting bits I like off old clothes and zigzag stitching them on. It's very freeing!

    I'm: kujassilverdragon at hotmail dot com

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  23. I like to sew from patterns, but I think there's definitely a place for this kind of quick improv sewing. Love the hipster model!

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  24. I've never sewn without a pattern before, this book looks great!

    Hannah

    mzbhaving@hotmail.com

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  25. Sounds interesting! I actually pretty much started out with patternless sewing, making circle skirts and box-pleated skirts just from a rectangle of fabric, and tracing my t-shirts. I think I actually prefer tracing for simple knit garments, because I know that the fit will be fine, as with a lot of patterns for knit garments, I never know if the neckline or the amount of ease will be the way I like.

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  26. This book sounds amazing! I attempted a skirt without a pattern which would have been easy enough but I got my mum to measure how long i needed it and ended up with a barely bum grazing mini skirt, cheers mum ;) I much prefer sewing without a pattern but find it hard to get started, and I'm always second guessing myself and the measurements I've got.

    shayla1805@aol.com

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  27. to be honest, I prefere sewing cloth without a pattern/making my own pattern. I sometimes find commercial patterns a little to boring and they often limit my creativity. I like to change little details to make my cloth more "me". Furthermore, I ofen just don't fit into comercial pattern sizes. when they fit my hips, they won't fit my bust.. etc. Apperently my body is too oddly shaped ^^. lol

    This book looks super interesting! I'd love to try it out.

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  28. I tried making a paperbag style skirt without a pattern, it worked reasonably well except for the fact that I didn't take my hips into proper consideration and could never get the thing on.
    I'd definitely like to try pattern-less sewing again, I find patterns so intimidating and time consuming :/
    Betty
    betty_leopard@hotmail.co.uk
    x

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  29. I think the more you sew, the less mysterious it becomes. I almost always mix and match pieces from different patterns; if you match up shoulders, center fronts, etc, it usually turns out right. And this approach is actually something sewists of previous generations are quite used to. Speak to your mum or grandmother, and they'll almost always tell you about outfits they made in this way.

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  30. Ok this definatly sounds like my kind of book. Im not really one for patterns, the only thing I have completed with more than 2/4 pattern pieces in a lovely strapless gown and that took a LOT of pattern pieces.
    Other than that the sorbetto is about as complex as my patterns get.
    I have made an infinity dress which you have instructions for but you have to create all the pattern pieces yourself {a very versatile dress!} and a number of other tops which all use either square pattern pieces which are gathered or drawing round other T-shirts.
    I am looking to create more of my own stuff but dont want to get too bogged down with the patterns.

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  31. In my misspent self taught sewing youth I was all about sewing simple skirts by getting epic fabric, cutting into a rectangle, darts and a zip and voila! Now that I've started sewing again I'm not quite as brave so this books intrigues (and kind of terrifies) me!

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  32. I'd love to win! I once made a skirt from my dad's old ties without a pattern...it didn't turn out too well! Generally, whenever I make something with a pattern I tend to rush and the results aren't exactly what I had hoped.

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  33. I often look at the seams of store-bought clothes. It is amazing that seamstresses try to emulate them! My work, even with mistakes, is generally better. I am going to buy this book if I don't win. I love it!

    Nothy
    www.aftagley.blogspot.ca

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    Replies
    1. Hi again,
      I never win these things and I have no patience. So I went to Amazon and ordered my own copy. I can't wait to get it. Thanks for letting us know about a great sewing book. Good luck to everyone else!

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  34. What a dream the book you offer us to win Tilly! I try to do my best to sew without patterns cause I feel that it's the best way to learn and to let the creativity show lots of new ideas. This book would be really helpful to me to explore and realise new couture projects. Here you can see what I'be made till now: http://madecomaison.blogspot.com.es/search/label/couture
    It's a pleasure to follow you via RSS and my e-mail is sylviecreativedeco@gmail.com

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  35. What a wonderful giveaway....please enter me in the competition. I recently made a skirt in 30 minutes without a pattern but that's the only thing I've tried so far. I would share this book with my daughter who is addicted to sewing too!
    My contact details are lorraineanneedwards at gmail dot com.
    Fingers crossed - I would love to win this book.

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  36. I think I need this book just because I don't know the first thing about going patternless.... but I'd like to!

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  37. It sounds like an interesting book. For all the sewing I do, it is always with a pattern so would be fun to try something different. I would love to win this book!

    Deborahleejones@yahoo.ca

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  38. I recently had a great time working out a column dress by Anthropologie, because we don't have them in Australia and I have a great time with getting the design to work.
    What I love is seeing how many ways there are to do the simplest design through the eyes of the sewing bloggers that we work amongst.
    My fear of tackling these challenges has gone because 'there will always be another piece of fabric to use'.
    I would love to win this book.

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  39. What an interesting take on things! Often, my favourite me-made clothes are things I've made without a pattern - either tracing out the shape of a garment that I like or eyeballing it. Of course, sometimes it backfires miserably!!

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  40. Please count me in ! What a generous give away ! I have tried the rub off technique on a skirt, and it worked pretty well. I am not certain I would be confident to use the technique for a dress though, or something with loads of seams ! My favourite skirt pattern has elements that have been traced from other clothing. That is the beauty of sewing, you can try something new, as who it to tell you that you cant ! ;-)) xx

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  41. Would love to read this book. I'm just starting to sew and haven't sewn much with or without a pattern yet. It sounds like it would be a great way to get started.

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  42. Sometimes it's blatently easy to make your own pattern so I really respect this approach. It allows you to be more creative and feel even more proud of what you accomplish. However trying to tackle something you think you've got a handle on just because you did it once with a commercial pattern or because the finished project "looks" easy can lead to stroppiness, torment and fabric thrown in the bin! You shouldn't be afraid to try though. Just maybe not on super expensive or beautiful fabric straight away :-)

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  43. This book sounds great. When I started sewing again a few months ago, I started with a self drafted skirt (http://www.threadandneedles.fr/projets-couture/10968-jupe-rouge). It felt so rewarding. I didn't know how to line the thing but I tried something out and it worked. It's not perfect on the inside, but the overall result is really pretty. The whole experience encouraged me to persevere and now I'm planning on buying no new clothes for the rest of the year!
    Anyway, I would love to read the book you are giving away so here is my e-mail: borgia.k@gmail.com

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  44. I would love to read this book - I have tried quite a few times to 'just wing it' with a pattern and those projects always come out horrible! I can mix and match patterns to create a 'frankenpattern' just great, but if I don't have anything to go on, the result is scary. :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  45. Judging by the pictures this book looks lovely! I've been sewing by my own patterns for the last couple years. Sometimes it is frustrating when things don't work out the way I want them too. At the same time, it is so much easier to figure out what went wrong than it is with a pattern built to fit someone else. The first couple of tries were really disastrous, but I'm starting to get the hang of it, and have developed a few blocks that I've been using again and again.

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  46. This looks like such an interesting book!

    I've long made clothes without patterns; they certainly end up unique!

    The details are never perfect but it never really stops me.

    I've even attempted a jacket, though I didn't finish it. The process was a learning experience...

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  47. This looks a very interesting book! The clothes that I have made sans pattern are mostly costumes (for Halloween & parties). I would like to expand into street clothes.

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  48. I have never had the courage to make clothes for myself without a pattern, (well, once but that didn't quite turn out) but I have made quite a few patterns of my own for doll clothes and such.

    This looks like a great book.

    Brigid

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  49. when i first started sewing, i had no idea what to do with pattern, and burda instructions used so many words i've never heard of previously, so i made my own patterns, using a bit of mathematics, a bit of garments-tracing and with a bit of luck, it looked great.. nowadays i use patterns, even the complicated ones, but i still more like the free hand-lets play with the fabric-approach

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  50. I tend to stick to patterns but I've made a couple of things without and designed my own for a couple of others. I'd like to do more of that rather than search for just the right pattern. thanks for the chance!

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  51. That looks like a great book for me and my teen daughters. We are constantly refashioning things without patterns :)

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  52. I've drafted by own circle skirt and half circle skirt. People always think they look so lovely and are surprised when I tell them how easy it is. I want to learn how to drape but I don't have the money or space for a dress form at the moment.

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  53. very cool book. ive made a few things without patterns, but always find it helpful to have a sewn garment to compare/help make a pattern from.

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  54. I would love to have a copy of this book! I draft patterns for my daughter, but never anything too crazy for myself. Would love to start, though!

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  55. Oh I'd love the book! I've self drafted a circle skirt and attempted to refashion clothes but I'm not very good - then patterns aren't made for my shape and I get all frustrated! I have loads of ideas for clothes but mainstream patterns often aren't my style

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  56. Thanks for the great contest! I would love to win a copy because I've been feeling more comfortable with sewing clothes from a pattern and I've wanted to branch out, but I a little guidance would be super helpful. I'm just bought fabric for one of those (patternless) infinity dresses.

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  57. This is basically how I first learned to sew clothing. I later on moved to formal patterns and what not, but I intially just "traced" tops and skirts that I liked and sewed them up, or I reconstructed stuff I found at the thrift store. My favourite me-made garment back them was a hoodie that I constructed out of 3 t-shirts. The website craftster.org was the biggest inspiration for that, because the sewing area on the site was basically people just making things up as they went, and to damn with the "proper" way of sewing.

    Man, I haven't done that in a couple years. Maybe I need to put aside my patterns for now and just wing something again. :D

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  58. The only garments I've made without patterns have been gathered skirts - just about the most basic thing you could make! Having said that, I do love wearing them. I appreciate Rosie's advice to "let it go", as I do worry that what I making won't be good enough to wear; I need to just get on with it!

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  59. Hello, sometimes I've made ​​clothes without patterns, especially if the fabric is knit, type magical dresses that can be placed in different ways and very simple to sew.
    I like doing this type of clothing because with little effort you get a satisfactory result.

    cosir.sewing@gmail

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  60. I used to experiment a lot with sewing, making skirts from old jeans or chopping up t-shirts. It is really fun to do, but usually didn't result in wardrobe basics! But the ideas in this book look very cool!

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  61. I have some experience sewing clothing with out patterns. But my efforts were Not always very successful! It seems I need more practise or a pattern!

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  62. When I first started sewing most of the things I made were without pattern, following photo tutorials on Craftster. I didn't know anything about seam finishing or technique in those days so the things I made were mostly unwearable or fell apart after a couple of washings. Now that I know sewing technique I'd love to try going patternless again! It really is freeing and I think it's something I would use a lot more if my garments come out looking good. I really want this book!

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  63. I was slow to come around to patterns. Most of the things I made when I started sewing were without a pattern and some of them were successes, and some failures! Generally I ran into trouble when I would try and make something super fitted, but with a low neckline - always gapped! But the looser and flowier garments, well I still rarely use a pattern for those!! This looks like a fun book - I'd love to check it out, but I also think it would be PERFECT for a teenage girl (or myself as a teenager!)

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  64. I've made circle skirts and gathered skirts without a pattern, just measuring, to great effect. Also , a couple plain t-shirts where I essentially traced around a t-shirt. it works! The skirts came out well. The t-shirts get worn, but the fit (sleeve shape and lack of darts) aren't great.
    I like working without a pattern because it's usually faster (I hat cutting out patterns) and it can be a more precise fit since I work off of my own body measurements, calculating the amount of ease I want.

    But for more complicated designs, I typically will turn to a pattern.

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  65. This book seems to have some quite interesting pieces. Once I made a dress with two big rectangles sewn together attached to a corset I already have, simply adjusting the width to the neckline by making pleats. But I don't think that the pattern itself is what makes difficult sewing, but the different techniques you have to use so that the garment takes shape.

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  66. Hi Tilly,

    Wow, I love the look of that book, I've been going it alone trying to make tops without patterns.... am going to tackle a pattern next to learn more but I so love the idea of this book!

    Thanks!
    greern@gmail.com

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  67. When I started sewing, I recreated some of my favourit skirts by measuring them and then just copy those measurements on the fabric.

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  68. Thanks for this great giveaway. I've made a few different clothing items without a pattern, but they are all for my kids. I'm afraid to venture into clothing for me mainly because its alot more fabric. For now I'll practice on my baby's clothes.

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  69. I have made things without patterns...some by design and others just because there w no pattern. What an interesting book..thanks for the opportunity to win a copy

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  70. I have tried making things without patterns and it's been a mix of success and failure. It seems like those ideas that I'm sure are sure-fire, can't fail (at least partially because they're more constructed and I've put more time into the process of how to make the thing) are always the ones that are just awful. And then the throwaway ideas - the simple ones that I'm doing just for something to do or just because I felt like experimenting but don't expect to get anything keep-able or wearable - those are always somehow the ones that work out.

    It would be fantastic to have a starting place like this book, with all the tests and experiments already built into the final piece of clothing shown in each picture.

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  71. I have never tried to make clothing without a pattern, but have been "struggling" with wanting to. I think this book just might be the kick start I need to move forward! Thanks for the offer...Anna

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  72. I'm definitely a pattern girl. I obsess over details and finishing techniques and I like the security of following instructions. But I'd definitely like to check this book out and to try a new approach to sewing!

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  73. This book looks amazing! I'd love to sew more of my own clothes but I find patterns intimidating and every time I've tried with a pattern, it hasn't turned out quite how I'd like it. I've also tried sewing clothes without patterns, with a similar hit-or-miss outcome but it doesn't bother me as much when it goes wrong without a pattern, I chalk it up to experience because I haven't spent money on a pattern and hours lining up notches and figuring out dart lines, only for it to be wrong at the end. Somehow I find sewing without a pattern less heartbreaking when I end up with a slightly squewiff top or skirt, I love the thing for what it is, not what it should have been. This book looks so inspiring!

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  74. She makes some very good points about how we critique our own sewing whilst not even noticing wobbly seams on vintage or rtw clothing! For myself, as time goes by, I'm finding myself turning much more to patternless sewing or self drafting. The latter because now I have sorted out my fitting "issues" on a block, I don't have to keep repeating the same pattern adjustment over and over again, as I would have to do on most commercial patterns. Having to do an FBA and a sway back adjustment every time I buy a new pattern would just send me dotty (!) and would probably deter me from even starting a project. I learn better by self drafting too. It helps me "get it".
    With the former, what I think of as "freestyle" sewing, I just like the freedom of it; and I find it encourages me to be more creative and think more about how things are constructed without the restrictions of a pattern telling me how it "should" be done. There are many routes to what is essentially the same outcome, and many ways of reaching an understanding of things. Working it out for yourself, I think you naturally migrate towards the route that makes the most sense to you.
    At the moment I'm not overly fussed by seam finishes and perfect buttonholes. I'm more interested in how shapes fit together and how fabric can be draped and manipulated than getting it exactly perfect,first time. Which is a good job really,because it's never perfect first time. But that's the excitement of experimenting and discovery.
    Cripes, I didn't set out to write that much, lol! Sorry!
    Px

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  75. This book sounds like a good read - both to gain someone else's perspective on sewing and to get inspired to create beautiful and fun garments. I'll be crossing my fingers. (amy.ahearta at gmail dot com)

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  76. I've never tried to sew something without a pattern. I think the trickiest part would be getting the fit right, and fiddly things like length and width of darts. Maybe, with a bit more experience, it would be easier.

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  77. This book sounds interesting. Handling with patterns was one of my biggest fears. As a newbie. And to be a honest I never really overcame that fear.
    Thanks, Yvonne

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  78. oooh i love the pictures and snippets of text you posted....i think i need this book in my collection!!

    as for making clothes without a pattern, i do that frequently. the first dress i ever made was self-drafted (more like draped...), all the shirts i've made have been self-drafted, usually by tracing a tee i already own to get a sense of the sizing i need depending on the type of fabric. i've also made a few dresses by drawing up the design and then self-drafting the pieces (or if i'm feeling brave by just cutting the pieces out, no pattern piece). most often i like the results, one time i made a tee with a skull cut-out on the back and sadly placed the pieces such that my bra was hanging out. i figure a 95% satisfaction rate is quite acceptable!

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  79. Awesome! I didn't know her book was out yet, I love Rosie and her approach to making clothing. I keep trying to snare her to sell at Craftaganza but she's always sooo busy!

    Personally, I don't feel comfortable making clothing without even a basic pattern to start with, but I know that this book would appeal to my friend Harriet soooooo much as she is petrified of patterns. I gave her one of Rosie's smaller books, the pleated skirt one, and she loved it so much. If I won this giveaway, I'd give Harriet's address for it to be sent to and it'd blow her mind.

    xxx

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  80. This looks like a book I would be very interested in. I'm fascinated by the idea of fashioning garments without a commercial pattern, but am too intimidated to attempt it. Thank you for the generous giveaway!

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  81. Wow! That book looks great! I have made my own skirts without patterns before, but would love to do more!

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  82. I have made some skirts and a few other simple items without a pattern. I would love to be able to sew my garments without a commercial pattern. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you fro the opportunity!

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  83. So cool! I would love to win this! I haven't sewn without a pattern before, but I'd love to try! wildcatspow at gmail dot com

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  84. I've cut up a few well fitting t-shirts that were a bit over-worn and on their way to becoming rags. I used them to re-create the shirts... but I've only done it twice and the final product hasn't been quite right yet.

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  85. I sew almost exclusively without patterns. I love to refashion clothing into new garments. I have turned elastic-waist shorts into a cute short skirt, an extra-large hoodie into a smaller button-down hooded jacket, and boring t-shirts into fun shirts with slimmer lines and fun embellishments. I do most of my work by tracing around garments I own that fit, trying on and measuring as I go.

    I love to sew like this, but I am just now facing the problem that patterns really intimidate me. I would like to conquer the more traditional methods of sewing (using patterns, figuring out how to resize before I cut the fabric, etc.) so that I have a more well-rounded set of sewing skills. However, in the meantime this book sounds just perfect for me!

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  86. I've only made one piece of clothing without pattern. It's a rather basic skirt with an elastic waist. But it fits! It was made out of a bedspread I found at the thrift store which had been washed a dozen times by its previous owner, so the fabric is nice and souple, which I absolutely love. It's my favorite comfort skirt. :D

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  87. I've done a little experimenting with making clothing without a pattern. It's rather freeing! You can just let your creativity flow, which feels great...and there's no such thing as making a mistake. So far, I've made two tops this way without a pattern, one was made from a thrifted pillowcase and the other from a deconstructed XL men's t-shirt.

    I'd love to try more of this, especially with the help of this amazing-sounding book! Thanks for the review and giveaway. :)

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  88. This book looks amazing! I never, ever use patterns for sewing unless it's drafting my own to make sure everything looks ok. I am one of the most unorthodox sewers, but I think life is probably easier without patterns.(: Usually I spend my time sewing tees and skirts that way, and any other odd projects I come up with(:

    ~Vicki
    deckedoutinruffles.blogspot.com

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  89. The only thing I ever made without a pattern was a skirt from old jeans. -- I got a lot of wear out of it, so I guess it was a success. :) This book looks rad; I'd love to try it and I wonder if I could make the clothes more grown-up and less hipster.

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  90. I like the points you've highlighted - that when you admire something someone is wearing, you're not looking at the stitching, etc. Though... I DO look at how the buttons are sewn on and at seams when I'm buying something (ie, I'll take this blouse because the buttons look better than the one next to is), but it's good to remember that what I look for in a garment is usually more an overall picture than the tiny details.
    I've only tried to make one thing without a pattern, I tried to make a t-shirt out of another shirt. Didn't go very well, but it was my first project and I didn't look for any advice. Right now I have a pair of shorts cut out and ready to put together that are traced from my favorite shorts... but I've been putting it off because I'm worried it will be a disaster.

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  91. When I first started sewing I didn't realise that there Were patterns! I made a shirred top and a skirt out of old pillow cases that fit me perfectly. When I did twig that you could get patterns for clothes I found them quite intimidating and haven't actually sewed any clothing since...

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  92. I am not a blogger, but I read yours.
    So far, the only thing I did without a pattern is an apron :-)
    But I would like to change that fact, asap...

    mandarina@vip.hr

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  93. Oh this book looks great - I haven't done much without a pattern, just parts of the wedding dress I made. But I would love to feel able to create things like this, and this book looks like it would give me the confidence to do so!
    toboldlysew at hotmail dot co dot uk

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  94. I don't use patterns, exactly, but I do use basic shapes and measurements a lot. Skirts are probably my favorite, because they are the most forgiving, but other things are not impossible. Learning the basic shape of a human body and how to make flat fabric fit that shape is an interesting journey.

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  95. I'm really intrigued by this book. I'm a beginning sewing and am intimidated by pattern envelopes! I have yet to seemly first garment because fitting scares the heck out of me. I've read a number of tutorials about making clothes without a pattern, but haven't done it yet.

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  96. I would love to look at this book - I am often hacking up clothes and trying to make something new from them with varying degrees of success. It would be good to know how to do it properly. My one sucess that I wear often is a smock-like top made from a bias-cut skirt. I am really enjoying your blog - it has inspired me to get sewing again. Thanks Tilly.

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  97. I'm only just starting out, but i have yet to use a pattern. One of my goals this month is to learn to read and use one of the easy sew patterns I've bought, but mostly I've just been learning different free hand techniques from my mom who sews with and without patterns. I definitely appreciate the DIY mentality this book presents and I love that the author understands how sewing can seem intimidating to those of us who aren't versed in sewing and pattern language. :)

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  98. I have not done many clothes without patterns. Some quick things.. usually i do my own patterns somehow..

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  99. The only thing I've made without a pattern is a shirred top. Square piece of fabric, some straight elasticated lines - can't go wrong, surely? Add in the fact that, at the time, I couldn't sew in straight lines and I had no idea what machine tension meant, never mind how to adjust it = disaster.

    In fact, change a couple of letters in that last word, and you find out what that garment became - duster ;o)

    nykie (at) another (dot) com

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  100. Of course, I've extensive experience making clothing without patterns! All my dolls had DYI couture wardrobe! The swatches came from my grandmother, who was a seamstress. I remember making entire wardrobe for the dolls of all sizes. Jackets were my specialty.

    Now when I am older and don't play with dolls anymore, constructing a garment without a pattern feels scary. To be honest, I felt more confident back then draping silks around dollies. I appreciate the effort to put together such a book and bring confidence and inspiration to both beginners and more experience seamstresses.

    By the way, simplicity explains popularity of Japanese sewing books. One of the latest editions "Easy, cute & sewing straight" is based of the same principle as DYI Couture: http://goo.gl/XScyz. Know what? I'll review it on my blog!

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  101. This is my kind of book! I've used Cal Patch's "Design It Yourself" book to draft a few patterns. I'd love to do more. It's a nice way to get a good fit, plus really understand how clothing is put together.

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  102. The first garment I made was a pattern-less dress, and it turned out relatively well. It was a white tiered dress, and all the tiers were rectangles, so the only thing I had some trouble with was the top part, which I tried to draft using a tank top. The sleeves I winged, but all in all it turned out pretty nice! The only problem I have with it now is that the inset sleeves aren't set in enough for my liking. I think the simplicity in pattern-less clothing really adds to its charm, and there's so many things you can make with just simple shapes!
    coffee.tea.and.sugar@gmail.com

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  103. i mad a wrap skirt and an aline skirt - both came out ok but not the best...

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  104. Great book review. I say the more techniques you get to try, the more rounded your knowledge!

    Funnily enough, I tried this DIY method when I was a teenager who wanted to quickly make clothes that were different from what everyone else was wearing. I used bold African prints and made tunics which were very loose and had the much desired effect of completely covering up my figure. I used fabric leftovers to make hair wraps. The effect was somewhat outrageous!

    Nowadays I notice that the clothes aimed at youngsters are very much like this and much as I'd like to make them for others, for myself I prefer the close-fitting, tailored look which accentuates the figure and requires some knowledge of drafting.

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  105. Like cooking, I don't really do anything without a book or instructions. I'm not a very spontaneous person and I think this aspect of personality comes through in whether you're intimidated or comforted by patterns and instructions. That said, I love how the author has catalogued the various garments and I would love to have this book!

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  106. I have tried to sew a t-shirt so far. I have used an existing one as a model. The most difficult part was sewing the collar. Also, I'm not sure if i have used the right type of seam (I have used the right one, instead of the zig-zag one, alhough my mode t-shirt seemed to have right seams).

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  107. I've always wanted to make my own clothes without patterns it just always seemed so daunting and I wasn't willing to jump in and do it.

    limes.sweet(@)gmail(dot)com

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  108. I've made a couple of skirts without patterns, they turned out okay, and fit well, but the style is quite basic (a-line). I would like to be more creative with my sewing, this looks like a great book.

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  109. I made basic skirts for my daughter without a pattern and they worked out beautifully. I have copied the shape of an existing pair of shorts, to make some more for my son and I am working on a top for him as well, but that has been put back to June (to make space for me made may).

    The book sounds wonderfully, right up my alley. I try to be very carefull and finish things up beautifully, but I am a beginner so it probably lacks the finesse that experienced seamstresses do in their sleep :-)

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  110. What a fabulous book! I mostly use patterns, but I've made simple stretchy skirts without a pattern, and my most favourite T shirt is one that I just cut out using an old T shirt as a guide. I tend to agree with the book - we are far more critical of things we make ourselves, than we would ever be if we were spending loads of money on a ready made garment. Sometimes it pays to be precise, but at other times you just want to go for it!

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  111. Some of my favorite clothes are the ones I've made by copying something I bought at a store....and without patterns. Measuring, guessing, making it work....And they are also some of my most complimented clothes, too. I don't have much patience for patterns -- I don't think I know how to pick them out well enough -- half of the time I cut out the pieces and then have to come up with something totally different to do with them!

    The book looks really interesting!

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  112. I often find myself thinking i should try to make clothes without a pattern, but I never get to it 'cause I'm scared it will turn out unwearable (=a waste of fabric). Sure, I've made a few simple skirts without a pattern, but that's about it. I would love to have a copy of this book for inspiration.

    scuffsan(at)gmail(dot)com

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  113. The book looks very interesting. I have really been into the DIYs lately.

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  114. I'd love to be entered for that book - it looks so interesting and certainly very inspiring. However i've never attempted to make my own clothes yet being given a vintage sewing machine by my husband for my birthday i'm very interesting in learning and giving it a go that is for sure!

    My email is lo_ts@ymail.com

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    Replies
    1. Yes I have, usually by draping on kid or dress form. some turn out better than others.

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  115. This may be surprising, but the only time that I completely finish garments is when I make them without patterns! I always base off measurement, clothes I already own, and some stretchy fabric here and there to leave a bit of room for error! I would love this book, because I have been having some trouble getting myself started sewing something with all of my school work, but now the summer is coming soon and I will have time! Yay!

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  116. What a great way of encouraging more people to sew. You get such a great satisfaction when you have made it yourself. This book looks worth reading.

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  117. Wow heaps of replies. I have made kids stuff by drawing around an existing garment. They turned out just fine. This book would be awesome for my daughter and her friend who are just learning to sew.
    jobendall@slingshot.co.nz

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  118. I love making clothes for my 2 girls with out patterns as there little bodies are easy to fit. This would be a great addition to my sewing books. I do sometimes feel restricted by patterns and would love to know the secret to not using them.

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  119. Gosh yes please! I love making clothes but I'm a real free-styler even when i do follow patterns. This book looks amazing and I so enjoy reading your blog.Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  120. Those times I have tried making clothes without patterns, the result haven't been very good. The fit's been off most times and I think all of those clothes have deceased after rarely being worn. I would love to try more ways of getting into self-drafting

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  121. I'd love to get better at making things without patterns - am a bit timid when comes time to go off-pattern, something I'm thinking I'd like to work on.

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  122. This book sounds great, I have learnt how to sew basics and to be honest patterns do make me hesitate because they seem so complicated. . .I think this kind of book would be perfect for someone like me that knows the basics but just needs a bit of a nudge to actually jump in and get going:)

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  123. Ooo... the book looks fantastic! The closest I've come to going patternless is to pin-trace off an existing garment - it worked surprisingly well!

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  124. Hi. great idea. would love the book. I've only made a simple strapless dress. would lov this book you give away. hope I'll be one of the lucky winners
    cheers, simona of sewingadventuresintheattick.wordpress.com

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  125. I like the idea, but as a perfectionist, details are everything to me. Whether or not a neckline is cut accurately, or finished properly instead of just hemmed, makes a huge difference to the overall fit of a garment. If the neckline gapes then the whole ensemble looks unflattering.

    One reason why I stopped shopping in Primark was because it was such poor quality. I couldn't stop focussing on the uneven hem; the puckered seam, etc.

    I would rather pay more for a quality garment, instead of three cheap ones, and would rather spend more time/energy of producing a quality piece too. I hate this 'throwaway fashion' attitude!

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    1. I, too, like to take the extra time to finish seams, etc. I use it as a chance to practice a skill, even if no one will ever see the item. I have made my own bias tape, for example, to practice a sort of Hong Kong finish inside an unlined jacket. I like it when things look nice inside--but, that said, it doesn't mean I couldn't use some of the ideas in the book as a jumping off point.

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  126. Hi, oh, I've put it on my 'wishlist' awhile ago! I've made some clothes without patterns, mostly skirts, simply by taking masurements and cutting up the fabric and one or two shirts by pin tracing. But I never 'graduated' from that. Oh well.

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  127. When I was much younger and first started sewing, I tried to make a skirt without a pattern. It came out terribly and wasted the fabic I had fallen in love with. It came out like a triangle! Now I have a plan in the works for a another skirt using upcycled jeans...fingers crossed! Jess @ rockn_canadian@hotmail.com :)

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  128. Wow - what a great book. I would love to win a copy of the book to experiment without patterns

    email is - kateeprice[@]gmail[.]com

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  129. Oh my. That book sounds wonderful. I made a lined one seam skirt once, it had a slit in it and the slit could go front, back or either side. It wasn't 100% perfect, but I wore it a lot, I could also alter it when I lost weight. Perfect.

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  130. Ooo this book looks fun. Just think of the possibilities. Woo hoo

    Jmocymru@yahoo.co.uk

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  131. I have never done clothes without a pattern but it is definitely something I am itching to try!

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  132. Even if I don't win, I might have to buy this book. I have never strayed from a pattern, but I often examine our clothes (especially if I am ironing something). I have discovered that the items I bought from Anthropologie are beautifully constructed . . . even inside, everything is lovely, so that makes them worth the price. My teenage daughters often have items that look really lovely and elegant (because the fabric is nice), but the design is very simple. I often rule out really easy patterns sometimes because I am afraid the result will scream "home made." But these clothes look so nice . . . maybe a book like this would encourage me to make simple items with some of the nice fabric I have stashed.

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  133. What a great giveaway! Lots of ideas to spur the imagination in this book.

    I learned to sew as a member of the 4H Homemaker's club. After making a couple of garments from patterns (pj's and a jumpsuit) I started making pantsuits for my mother, making a pattern from an old pantsuit of hers. She loved them! Over the years I have made simple tops and skirts, using ones that I liked as patterns. However, most of my sewing still involves the use of patterns, then modifying them to suit my taste.

    Thanks for the great giveaway! Cindy at luluge7571[@]gmail[.]com

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  134. What a really interesting book! I'd like to win it ;-)
    I never sewn a piece of clothing without a pattern, but only some accessories.

    (My mail address : creations.micoton[at]gmail.com)

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  135. That looks like a fantastic book. One of the things which drew me to sewing was the methodical manner of construction and the need for accuracy but I'd love to push myself to be a little more creative and free with my sewing. The only items I've made without a pattern have involved pattern drafting myself and sticking to the rules of dart manipulation e.t.c. However I often think after spending hours cutting out and then assembling from a pattern whether all the complexities of working and fitting from the paper pattern are really necessary and whether I couldn't have made something similar simply by playing around with the fabric myself so from that point of view the book looks really interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  136. This book is so intruiging. I have attempted making clothes without patterns by tracing my favourite shirt and 'hospital' pants. The pants worked out really well because the fabric was a cotton and there was a lot of give to them. The shirt however, was my first ever attempt sewing with knits and I didn't realise the stretch should go horizontally. The shirt fits, but stretches down...it hangs so weirdly. Since then I've done several more successful knit projects though...lesson learned! :)
    squirrelly56 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  137. The only patternless sewing I've done are wrap and circle skirts but I am intrigued by the possibilities of tracing off RTW clothes and using those outlines as patterns. Two of my daughters sew and never, ever use patterns. I think they find patterns inhibit their imaginations. This book would be perfect for them.

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  138. Very interesting! I have done a small bit of patternless sewing...mostly simple knit skirts. My favorite, made from a very thick and stable black and white striped poly knit, has GIGANTIC rectangular pockets on each side--seriously, my daughter amuuses herself by stuffing her dolls and toys into them as I walk by. It's a fun skirt, and so comfy! I am not the most optimistic of sewists, so it felt really really good to make something that I love, that noone else has (or will make!), with nothing but my own creativity to guide me.

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  139. Thanks for the comprehensive review and the giveaway. I'm really getting into refashioning (inspired by kazz the spazz and the refashioning co-op) so it would be awesome to win this. Fingers crossed!

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  140. That concept is a great idea, I love sewing 'conventionally' from a pattern, but it is fun to freestyle a bit too. One of my favourite dresses is one I made very early on with no pattern, just traced a rough bodice shape from another dress, and made the rest up (www.lazysewandsew.com/?p=22). I'd love to get some more inspiration for similar projects. Thanks for the review :)

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  141. I have not done patternless sewing. I keep looking at my favorite clothes and wondering how to recreate them, so this book would be very helpful. Thank you. RobinDemaree(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  142. Very cool! I think she is completely correct about the finishing in RTW garments. I've tried making a dress from a t-shirt with the neck line I wanted but the fabric was more stretchy in the dress than the t-shirt. Disaster after an hour of wear. Looked like I was swimming in the dress!

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  143. As a newbie, I still struggle with patterns! But sometimes I think it would be so much easier without one, so this book seems very very exciting!

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  144. I have slowly ventured into the land of the pattern-less and am on the fence about those pieces. Granted, I find them much easier to tweak to fit better, which I love.

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  145. I have making skirts without pattern before.

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  146. How strange, I'm just having a catch up on my favourite blogs before heading to my machine to try and make a skirt without a pattern! I've only been sewing for a few months so I'm still very much a beginner but have had moderate success with the "drawing round a t-shirt method". This book sounds great, I may just have to treat myself, unless I'm very lucky :o)

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  147. I prefer making my own patterns from clothing I know fits. With a storebought pattern there is no telling where the ease might be. Although I made costumes for years as a child, my first real one was a pair of linen shorts.

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  148. I've tried a few garments without a pattern but I'm not great at it! Somehow it's hard for my brain to translate 3 dimensions to 2 on paper...

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  149. I have some experience--my husband and I made up the pattern for my wedding dress...which comes to the phrasing of this--i.e. no commercial pattern or no cutting guide or draping or what....
    we've also reconstructed/reverse engineered a few pieces (favorite items)
    it's fun! it's also something to dive into--which takes some guts! cutting into the silk crepe for the wedding gown was a bit scary.
    i think as we get better we will continue to self draft and use commercial patterns depending on the project (and also the availability of patterns: husband needs more cool patterns!)

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  150. I made a simple (or so I thought) camisol without a pattern - a front, a back and 2 straps was all it was. Cut it out and sewed it up only to find that the measurements I'd used for my bust meant it didn't fit my hips and the straps keep falling down! Needless to say, haven't worn it much! I think having a book like this would allow creativity but not have it go wrong! Enter me in Tilly!

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  151. This book looks really cool! About criticizing our home sewing - I find myself paying more attention to the construction of RTW clothes now that I sew so much. Often I'm disappointed in what I find!

    When I first started making clothes I'd make simple skirts sans patterns just kind of drawing an A-line shape. Since I didn't know what I didn't know I never worried about making mistakes or that I was doing it wrong. But I never liked those skirts as much as ones I made when I did use a pattern or a block I drafted.

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  152. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  153. Would love to win one of these books. I find the approach really refreshing. I rarely make clothes without very precise patterns (perfectionist me!), but have made a simple gathered skirt once, when I was stuck in a cabin in Norway with no patterns and only an old sewing machine and tablecloth at hand. Evidence to be found here: http://www.thenakedseamstress.blogspot.com/2010/11/banana-skirt.html

    I also frequently refashion charity finds without any patterns, but that's really the extent of my no-patterns experience.

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  154. Perhaps this is exactly the book I need to liberate me from my need to do everything "by the book/pattern" and achieve technical perfection! That makes me ultra-critical of many RTW garments (skimpy hems, cheap zips etc). Till now I've never made anything without a pattern, although like the previous comment I have started to alter charity shop purchases, provided the fabric and make fit my high standards!
    Judy
    jmblurton@yahoo.co.uk

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  155. What a great book! So far I've only made skirts without patterns, although I do tend to take patterns and mutate them heavily (especially the way too small for me vintage ones)

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  156. Thank you for the opportunity for the chance to win a copy of the book. I undertook a pattern cutting course and made a blouse from scratch. I mostly use patterns for clothes-makimg, but design bags without patterns.

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  157. Ooh I've tried several times to wing it and make clothes without a pattern - utter fails every time! I've learnt that rushing into a free-style making session does require a little more planning than I have graced it with so far. I'd love a look at this book to give me back my confidence and get me cutting again!

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  158. Thank you for a lovely giveaway! I have attempted sewing without patterns, nothing wild, though - either a simple maxidress that only needed bodice to be fitted on the body or using a store-bought T-shirt I love, just to have more of it in different fabrics:)

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  159. Actually I don't use patterns 'cause I don't how-to :D
    I mean I always imagine in my head how it will be look like and try to achieve it ,too. Maybe the reason why I'd been so successful in that so far is that I don1t make difficult things :D
    just hobo bags, purses, zipped pouches and simply sirt or just re-sew some old clothes :)
    I need this book ! gimme some inspiration ,please!

    Szabina

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  160. I haven't yet made any clothes without a pattern, but would love to learn pattern drafting!

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  161. This looks fascinating! I've been wanting to learn how to do pattern drafting, and this looks like an interesting and experimental first step. :)

    delirieuse [at] gmail.com

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  162. I've made quite a few clothes without patterns. Mostly they are items I made to wear on 'one off' occasions - weddings, parties, even a fantastically dramatic funeral dress! A lot of the time I will cut my fabric using parts of clothing I already have and like, so I'll use a sleeve of one top, with a bodice from a dress or top, and then a skirt for the skirt part - and all the Frankenstein pieces come together to make a dress with sleeves. I've had some real disasters over the years, but I've also managed to make myself some really great items that I wear time and time again.

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  163. I haven't had too much experience on working without a pattern, but I have followed drafted patterns set to my own measurements without instructions. That's only for period garb, though.

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  164. I'm terrified of making my own or working without patterns and have only made a tube top (no straps, literally a tube of stretch fabric) drafted off a top I already had. I use patterns for everything else, but I'd love to learn and this book looks fab.

    cjillian [at] ozemail [dot] com [dot] au

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  165. Haha, I was just looking at this book in the bookshop earlier today, contemplating buying it. I didn't end up buying it even though I did sort of want it, so your giveaway has prefect timing!!
    It seems like the way the author has gone about pattern making is exactly my sort of style as well. I work off patterns, but when I do I modify them heavily and don't really follow them exactly. I find sewing a lot more enjoyable when I can just mess around at my own pace. Mind you it means I've produced a fair few duds. :P
    Thanks for the great give-away!!! :D

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  166. To be honest I usually work without patterns, they intimidate me! It's worked for me in the past but I've never made anything very complicated...

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  167. Sounds like an inspirational book!
    My patternless sewing occurred more in my rough and ready sewing youth. I remember tracing a pair of dungarees and making my own out of lightweight ditsy floral polycotton to emulate a pair I'd seen in a magazine. They worked out fine. Makes me think I should be braver these days!!

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  168. Wow, looks great! I've done a bit of colouring outside the lines in my sewing... Tees & simple blouses, flat shapes generally, are easiest. If I had a mannequin, I'd love to do loads of draping, it would help the visualisation stage a lot.

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  169. The only thing I've made without a pattern is a circle skirt which turned out well, I'd say.

    Looks like an interesting book, hope I win a copy!

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  170. Ohhhh this looks like a great book. I made a skirt once without a pattern - I just lay a skirt I already I had on some fabric and cut round it. But I'm generally not confident enough in my sewing skills to make anything more complicated than that, so this book would be just the ticket.

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  171. I made a copycat dress without a pattern a few weeks ago and was really happy with how it's turned out. It was inspired by the green dress worn by Serena VDW (Blake Lively) in gossip girl and I made it with a sweetheart neckline and a less dramatic bubble pick-up skirt. Despite all the unpicking (yes, there were a lot of that!),I really enjoyed the process! I don't know how to post a link but if you copy and paste http://smoonbeam.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/it-is-time-to-formally-present-serena.html into your browser you can see ALL the details!

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  172. I've done the obligatory skirt or two with no pattern and they turned out way better than most patterns I've sewn from. In fact, I think this is a book that would make a lot of sense to me and could possibly change my world of sewing. :) Thanks for the review and chance to win. rethahase AT gmail

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  173. I've made a few skirts without any patterns. I was surprised by the fact that the only real problem I had was with the length of the skrits... I'm a little on the short side and apparently think I'm a good five inches taller than I actually am.

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  174. I've never made anything without a pattern because I've always been too intimidated! It was only in the last few weeks that I've had enough confidence to make changes to patterns I was using to make them more my style. I would love a copy of this book to help me move forward with my sewing knowledge!

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  175. I've been sewing for two years, the first year was strictly pattern free, because I was afraid of them! I didn't know any terms, or techniques, and was super intimidated by them, even those marked as 'very easy'. I've made quite a few garments from tracing others, and following online tutorials. I still often resort to sewing clothes this way although my pattern collection is over 100, becuase it's easy! no cutting paper and figuring out the puzzle, when you're making something from 'scratch' you already know all the pieces.
    Would love to get a copy of this book! Great giveaway Tilly!
    Jessica - shkoober@hotmail.com

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  176. This is just the way I like to learn how to sew! Would love a copy of the book.
    Thanks!
    Carrie

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  177. I frequently make things without a pattern! It's very liberating. It's easy enough to draw around something you already have in your wardrobe, or just make it up... sometimes mistakes happen, but that's part of the fun! By comparison, working with even the simplest patterns can be really time consuming and I am not always patient enough.
    I would love to win this book! charityshopchic at hotmail dot co dot uk

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  178. What a perfect introduction to a sewing book! I was just noticing on a dress I recently purchased how off the stripes were on the side seams - and while I usually start out with perfection in mind I usually end a project with a "good enough" attitude.
    I once tried winging it and creating a dress - but I forgot about an important thing called ease! Opps!

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  179. The first dress I tried to make, I did without a pattern. I basically traced around a top, added a circle skirt... It sort of worked! But I got bored/tired of it and gave up. Might go back and fix it one day...

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  180. This looks like a fun approach to sewing. WOuld love to add this to my growing collection!

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  181. i am relatively new to sewing, and i despise patterns! mostly because of all of the weird wording and reference to terms that they assume i know... (i don't.) i've had some fun modeling patterns after clothes i already know and just winging it, or altering and modifying thrift store finds to become new looks. i'd love to check out this book!

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  182. Technical skills give you confidence but at the end of the day you can learn so much by giving yourself the freedom to just explore and try out things. Especially since failures with a pattern can happen just as frequently.

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  183. Wowie Zowie! This looks so exciting; I would love to turn a brand new copy of this book into a well-worn and well-loved copy. :)

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  184. I like sewing without patterns because I can keep making the same thing without having to worry about the paper. I find that I can't just go without planning first because I need to think and figure out what I'm doing otherwise I'm prone to mess up!

    -Ashley
    pksgirl1619 (at) yahoo (dot ) com

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  185. Aaah, this looks a-ma-zing! I've had some bad experciences with patterns and am now trying to figure out how to make my own. This book would be an awesome way to explore this further!!

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  186. Congratulations on the release!
    Your new book looks fantastic! I could make lots of use out of it for myself and my friends! ;)
    I do tend to make a lot of clothes for me and my friends and a lot of the time without patterns.
    I have a tailors dummy set up all the time so i can use it to test out how things fit and drape.

    I was lucky enough to make some kaftans for my pregnant friends, sent pictures off and it was published in Cloth Magazine last year. That was made from a oblong piece of fabric and cutting one hole for the neck and sewing 2 lines of stitching to form the sides. Really simple but works fantastic for feeding mums who need their privacy.
    Hope the launch of the book goes amazingly
    Poli

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  187. I recently drafted my own circle skirt but that is the nearest I have come to leaving patterns behind, I find it a very scary prospect but I would love to have a book like this to hold my hand along the way.

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  188. I have never not used a pattern :( So this book would be perfect for me to learn how! :)

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  189. I've only ever made Halloween costumes without patterns before, which are much more forgiving. That said, I do find it a bit more fun all the way around. Instead of worrying whether I understood the last instruction I read correctly, I put things together using my common sense. It's sounds strange that a pattern would make it harder, but I tend to get more focused on the pattern than the overall idea of the project.

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  190. I only make stretch/knit garments without patterns, as I figure the stretchiness of the fabric will make up for my "drafting" failures. My one time trying to make a woven garment without a pattern was a wearable failure, as the neckline ended up being waaay too huge. I'm interested in seeing what this book might have to offer!

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  191. I just start sewing, but it would be great to learn and make my own clothes with this book. And I never ever left a comment before, so I hope everything is right.

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    Replies
    1. Oh sorry, the adress is uetzewillpost(at)web(dot)de.

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  192. I have made children's clothing without a pattern but nothing for me. Actually, I never realized that I could do this until recently. It's definitely something I'd really like to do, instead of always shopping or fussing with patterns. This DIY book would fill me with inspiration. The skill set I have, but it's inspired ideas that I'm lacking. Thanks a bunch for showcasing it, and if I don't win it, I'll certainly be looking to buy it. Cheryl

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  193. I have attempted to make a few tops without a pattern based a t-shirt that is only two pieces. I find that I always have trouble with the back piece which is always way to big and billowy. I ofetn look at things in the shops and think that would be so easy to make if I had a few more skills. The book looks terrific for improving those skills, if I don't win I will definately be buying a copy.

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  194. I have never been a pattern user, actually, until very recently! I taught myself to sew, knit, and crochet almost entirely without patterns simply by looking at things that were already constructed and mimicking them. I'm now an almost-advanced (okayokay, maybe Im intermediate!) sewist, and I'm only now learning the techniques of reading patterns. I've drafted more of my own patterns than I've sewn from commercial, and I even made my own wedding dress! (princess seams, sweetheart neckline, halter dress from a new sateen cotton bedsheet- it was adorable!)

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  195. I'd love to win it too. The styling reminds me of my favourite Aussie designer Gorman. Might even persuade my daugther to sew with book.

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  196. I am a beginner, and really like the sound of this book - i definitely get a bit scared off by complicated patterns and instructions. I'd love to have a play with this! Jill

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