Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

This little lovely arrived in my mailbox the day before we left for Paris.  How much did that suck?  Not only was I leaving behind my unfinished plaid jacket - still unfinished, sigh! - but I had to flip through this book and leave it on the table until I returned, unreviewed, undigested . . . do books feel neglected?

This one doesn't deserve to.  Let me say, full disclosure, that while I'm a member of the Burdastyle website, I don't think I'm their target audience.  I like some of their patterns, and a few of their downloadable freebies have become go-to pieces, but the forums and other features there leave me a little cold. 

I think it's a mindset thing; you're Patternreview or you're Burdastyle.  You may be fluent in both, but one place is more comfortable.  Know what I mean?

Which isn't to say anything negative about the book.  On the contrary, spending time with this beautifully illustrated book is making me rethink my feelings about the website.  If I didn't already spend so much valuable sewing time on the computer reading sewing blogs and tutorials, I'd be getting better acquainted already.

But enough about me.  On to the book. 

Chapters are: Getting Started, Using Patterns, Let's Start Sewing, The Skirt, The Blouse, The Dress, The Coat and The Bag.

The Amazon blurb is short and to the point, and I'll quote it here for expediency: 

The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook is the most comprehensive, hip and creative guide to learning to sew clothes with style. With more than 430,000 members around the world, BurdaStyle is the largest online community of sewing enthusiasts, fashion designers and DIYers. In their first book, BurdaStyle celebrates this vibrant, global community as they teach readers everything they need to know to design and sew an entire wardrobe of fashion-forward looks using the five fully customisable sewing patterns enclosed with the book. Filled with gorgeous photography, step-by-step instruction and contributions by 78 designers from 22 countries, The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook will be the go-to guide for every fashion sewer.

As the blurb says, the book comes with 5 patterns.  Why yes, yes it does.  And what I truly appreciate is that in addition to showing you the Burdastyle version made up, they also do variations dreamed up by 2 of their members (some of whom we all know pretty well from sewing blogland), complete with illustrated instructions on how to accomplish the changes to each pattern. At the end of each segment - dress, skirt, blouse, jacket, bag - they show a bunch more versions of each item, just to whet your creativity.

The photography is great, the illustrations are very clear, and the tone throughout is friendly and encouraging

One of the things I really, really appreciate about this book and others like it - and all the young sewing bloggers out there who've had no real sewing training - is that thinking and stepping outside the box is so easy for them. 

The most valuable thing I'll take from this book is that reminder.

And those 5 customisable patterns.  Mustn't forget about them.


SewRuthie said...

Thank you for sharing about this. I'm not a member of Burdastyle, I'm more of a Stitchers Guild person than PR. Anyway I've preordered the book from Amazon as its not available in the UK yet. It'll be a fun suprise when it comes.

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Thanks for the review :)

I so want this book - if nothing else than simply for the inspiration about creating your own variations on a pattern. Like Ruthie said in the UK we've got to wait until January 2011 to get it (so no Christmas pressie for me - boo!).

Here's the Amazon UK - BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook link for any UK sewers wanting to 'Wishlist' the book :)

Francesca said...

Thanks for your review!

Ruthie and Claire - I just bought it from Free postage worldwide :)

melissa said...

aaahgghdfgdhghfg! I'm so jealous!! It's not even released until Monday, and my contributor copy hasn't arrived yet! I'm clawing at my monitor because you've shown my dress here twice! Squeee! I want to see the book in the flesh so badly! I'm really glad to hear the whole book is so well done - it feels even better to be part of a winning team! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm relatively new to sewing and am unfamiliar with Burda. I've googled for a definition but don't seem to be able to find a clear and succinct one as far as it regards to sewing. Could you please tell me?