sewing book

book: Sew Serendipity

by KateG on 15/12/2010

in Books

Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear by Kay Whitt. Krause Publications (2010)

If you have ever wanted to sew women’s clothes, but are scared of taking the step, or don’t know where to start, then you might want to have a look at Sew Serendipity. Kay Whitt is a pattern designer, and has put together this clearly written, well photographed and illustrated book to help people get started in sewing women’s clothing, and to have the clothes look good and fit well.

The introduction is all about fit and sewing techniques, giving a new sewer the information needed to take measurements, sew a muslin and adjust the fit, as well as nifty sewing techniques like sewing in an invisible zipper, adding facings and making gathers.

The chapters are instructions for sewing skirts, tunics and dresses, and jackets. Each chapter starts with a clearly illustrated explanation of general construction of the garment, including very comprehensive step by step instructions on preparing, sewing and finishing the garments included in the chapter. Each of the 6 skirts, dresses and jackets have the same basic shape, but are slightly different, and each gives you the option to customise it to suit your taste in fabrics and your size and shape.

With an envelope of full sized patterns in the back, you will be cutting out, sewing up and enjoying your new clothes in no time.

Reviewed by: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

[Ps. These books are sold out on Amazon, however if you go to Kay Whitt’s blog she has a list of online sellers who still have this book in stock. Ed.]


Sew Retro: 25 Vintage-Inspired Projects for the Modern Girl & A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution by Judi Ketteler. Voyageur Press (July 10, 2010)

Lots of quick and simple sewing projects that have been inspired by vintage designs – The projects included in this book for me I have seen most of them elsewhere before – headbands, skirts, bags, simple quilts – although lovely you won’t be buying this book for the projects alone. However what this book does have that other sewing books don’t is lots of interesting historic sewing facts and glorious vintage sewing images – its worth it for this alone.

The images of 100 year old sewing machine advertisements and pattern packaging, as well as old photographs are just beautiful. There are mini essays on 19th century sewing practices and how these relate to us today – what we can learn from our womanly history. A bit about quilting and politics, and how fashions have changed – all accompanied by the imagery.

Throughout there are bios of modern day sewists who have made their mark and their business from sewing – such as Barbara Brackman and Betz White. This is more than a sewing pattern book – it makes for a lovely afternoon of reading and I know I will get a lot of inspiration from the historic imagery. Well done!

[check out the sew retro blog for more – bonus projects + ]