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Book Review: Chic and Simple Sewing

April 14, 2011
I think I’ve determined that I really like sewing books. Like, a lot. They give me something to flip through. Plus, they often have many useful tips and suggestions, which are great for beginners like me.
One book I discovered this winter was Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes.
I absolutely love its wide assortment of dresses, skirts, tops, and jackets. The book is divided by season, with appropriate projects in each. Each is well-illustrated, and comes with a detailed list of materials and necessary skills.
The first portion of the book is devoted to reference material, with suggestions and information on sewing skills, fabric selection, and embellishments.

Full-size patterns are included in a pouch in the front cover. Many of the pieces are mix-and-match. I did find, however, that the measurements were slightly off. I measured at a large size, so that’s what I made, but I think it ended up being a little too big. To help with that issue, rather than figure out how to adjust it, I’m adding a ribbon belt that will change the look of the dress and add a waistline.

Perhaps the book’s best feature: no projects have zippers or buttonholes! It’s written for absolute beginners who want to have chic and cute clothing but without jumping right into some difficult tasks.
I did find some directions a little confusing, but that may only be due to the fact that I am not very visual or geometrically savvy. I had to ask for help from others to understand some instructions.
All in all, though, the book is really for those who are true beginners. The projects are rated 1-5 in difficulty, but Christine says that beginners can do any of them. I did a project rated at a 3, and it only took me one afternoon and evening to sew it together. That even included the fact that I added in a lining that was not included in the pattern.
I will post pictures of the dress I created later. But for now, I recommend this book to beginners who want some great clothing that is not unreasonably difficult to make.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=nintstrenoti-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0307451097

Notice of Material Disclosure: I have no connection to the author or publisher. I purchased this book online, and this is my honest assessment. All opinions are 100% mine.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 4:11 am

    I am with you on loving all the fun sewing books out there. Most have the same 20 or so projects recycled over and over again in a slightly different form or style, but what is great about that is it shows just how endless the possibilities are with one simple pattern.Take Chick and Simple Sewing for example. She shows that the classic cotton little girl pillowcase dress that is seen everywhere can be made into a grown-up upscale night-out look as well.

  2. April 16, 2011 6:31 am

    Oh my goodness, this sounds like the book for me! My sister sews but I just have a hard time doing anything more than a straight line. Sewing clothes intrigues me, though.

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