The Reading List: DIY Couture

I love sewing, I really do. I have a sewing machine. Using it for an hour or so is the equivalent of a day of yogic breathing, it is just that calming (providing a needle doesn’t snap and jab me in the face). My trouble is that, when it comes to making clothes, my measuring tapes will go the way of my kirby grips and one sock in every pair and disappear into some kind of limbo, never to be seen again.

This is the first thing that I noticed about ‘DIY Couture’ by Rosie Martin. No need for a tape measure, no patterns to cut out, no dreaded toiles. And yet, these are no sad sack dress DIYs; you can make real, wearable clothes with simple variations in almost no time at all. It’s the wave of the future.

After an initial introduction showing you the (very) basic skills you’ll have to master, Martin shows you how to make ten different items, from a simple a-line skirt to more complicated garments.  We can also see eight different variations of each item, which have been helpfully split into collections.  Above is the delightfully whimsical tea picnic collection, but there’s also a clean monochromatic collection, a disco colour-clash collection that wouldn’t look out of place in American Apparel and a classic neutral collection, amongst others.

The layout and design is simple and faultless.  Instructions are clear, concise and amply illustrated – none of this ‘attach section c to subsection a and did we mention you need an serger?  No? Well, tough’ stuff that can so often pop up in so-called step-by-step sewing books.

What’s also great about this book is the room for manoeuvre.  If you’re a creative person who has little to no training and wants to make her own clothes while putting her own creative stamp on things, this is a great place to start.  If you’re an experienced seamstress (and the vast majority of us are not), this book may not be for you.

DIY Couture: Create Your Own Fashion Collection‘ is by Rosie Martin and published by Laurence King.  It is out now.

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