Rosie Martin, the incredibly-talented sewist and entrepreneur behind the UK-based company DIY Couture has (finally!) released a book by the same name. She runs DIY workshops and sewing events throughout London, and puts out a biannual line of instructions to create an entire clothing collection from scratch.
This first book, DIY Couture: Create Your Own Fashion Collection contains the instructions to create the base pattern for 10 unique pieces, each of which has an amazing 8 variations included within (and for those who are keeping track, that’s a whopping 80 different garments that can be made from this one single book!)
The basic pattern (or “block”) for each style is actually created by doing a ruboff (or copy) of an item of clothing you already have in your closet that fits the way you’d like it. The instructions are detailed, illustrated, and very easy-to-follow. There are no patterns to copy, cut out, or notch; you’re just making a pattern (or drawing directly onto your fabric) for your finished pieces…a huge timesaver in the long run. (But trace onto paper or oaktag to keep your blocks for all the variations you could do for each Collection!)
Though it’s not “Couture” and you may not end up with a pattern that’s precisely exact to please the discerning patternmaker, you end up with something that is close enough for the purposes of the home sewist or DIY’er. You can make your blocks using a minimum of tools (usually just marking chalk, pins, and a ruler…no French curves or flexible ruler needed!), and more importantly, since you’re making them using something you own that fits you already, every variation made from that block will also fit you. No grading or difficult patternmaking needed!
The “Collections” are grouped into specific styles of variations on the blocks, with funky-sounding names like “Coffee Classic,” “Acid Candy,” or “Monochrome Art.”
Though an entire collection may not be to one’s specific taste, you can easily mix-and-match the style, cutting, and details of the pieces to create exactly what you want. It’s the best road map you could ever want when it comes to DIY sewing.
I love that the style and silhouettes of the pieces are very on-trend and modern – and you can easily tailor the look of anything to mimic other pieces seen on the runways or in retail stores. Fashion that looks high-end but is totally attainable with your own skills!
For every DIY’er interested in sewing, for every aspiring designer, for every sewist who wants the quickest route from concept to finished product: this book caters to you all. Though this is tailored more to the sewist with intermediate skills, even beginners can try their hand at the simpler projects and work through the different pieces to gain skills and confidence.
Overall: An amazing resource chock-full of ideas and how-tos, using the simplest of techniques to create beautifully on-trend and modern clothing. A MUST for any sewing or DIY library! (And a great Christmas gift for the fashionista in your life!)
Have any of you guys checked out this book, or visited Rosie Martin’s site? What do you think of a sewing book that has you draft patterns from clothes you already have? The perfect intro to sewing – or not precise enough to be called patternmaking?
FTC Disclaimer: I received one copy of the book DIY Couture for review purposes. I have not received any other compensation whatsoever. The review and opinions above are my own. To read more about my Disclosure Policy, click here.