Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sewing Vintage Modern - Book Review and Giveaway

So, a copy of Sewing Vintage Modern made its way onto my bookshelf recently.  Have you seen it yet?

The back of the book reads:  "Vintage Looks Meet Modern Fashion," which is pretty accurate.  The book gives a nice overview of fashion history from the to the 1980s (God, the 80s are vintage already; I'm old!), with notes on influential designers and fashion trends, and great drawings of clothes and accessories.

The book includes 5 master patterns (printed on double-sided, trace-your-own-and-add-seam-allowance Burda sheets.  There's a lot on each sheet, but it's not like the newer magazines; you can actually see what you want to trace.

The master patterns are then turned into 19 different looks, as follows:

Pattern #1, a dress, is used for both the 1920s drop-waisted dress and the 1960s Jackie-inspired sheath.

Pattern #2, a man's shirt, is a 1940s button-down shirt with chest pockets, a 1960s tuxedo shirt with ruffles and hidden buttons, and a 1960s jacket.

Pattern #3, another dress, is used for a multitude of looks: a 1950s full-skirted dress, a 1980s bustier dres, a bodice for another dress, and 5 different tops.

Pattern #4, a shift dress, is also the bones for a 1970s bell-sleeved top and a pussy-bow blouse.

The last pattern, #5, is for pants - everything from stirrups to pajama bottoms to bell-bottoms.

The most valuable part of the book, to me, is that it's more or less a mini course on adapting a master pattern to suit your needs.  Each look from a master pattern is broken down completely - how to re-draw each pattern piece, with instructions on measurements and truing up the pieces, is fully explained and illustrated.

If you don't know how to turn a one-piece, darted bodice into a princess-seamed bodice, you will.

The patterns run from sizes 0 - 14, or European sizes 32 - 46.   I wish the size range had been a little more generous, or that there had been instructions on how to adapt patterns to your size, not just to the specific look.  (The largest size measures 41 x 34 x 43, and face it, there's a lot of 34" waists out there on women who don't fall into a full plus-size category; I'm built more or less on the lines of a fire hydrant myself, so I know of what I speak).

The book also says that vintage looks are "modernized and reinterpreted for today’s sewing enthusiasts."  Therein lies the other rub for me.

I like vintage.  I like real vintage.  The things I like about real vintage are the details, the complicated sewing, the weird pattern pieces (gussets, anybody?) - the things that you don't find in most modern patterns.  These patterns allude to the original, but they are definitely directed to a younger sewist who isn't into true vintage.  Or at least not yet.

And there's nothing wrong with that.  This is a very good book with a target audience who unfortunately  is not me.  The things that hvae been left out of these "reinterpreted" patterns are the things I like best about vintage.

This would be a great book for someone not too new to sewing, but who hasn't experimented much with reworking patterns.  The book has a conversational tone and the directions on how to adapt patterns aren't intimidating at all - everything is explained well, and in a manner that's much more user-friendly than textbook.  

All that being said, I still give this book a pretty high rating, but I think it'll do better out there in the world with one of you than remaining on my shelves.

Please leave a comment telling me why you deserve this book, and you'll be entered to win my copy.  I'll do a random drawing next Sunday, January 6th, and announce the winner here on the blog.  U.S. only, please.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season and getting some sewing done; I'm certainly trying to, though I keep getting distracted.

Happy new year, everyone!


gMarie said...

Oh Karen, this book sounds lovely. I strongly dislike your rules, but I deserve this book because I'm trying to be more like Carolyn and start with one pattern and make into something else and according to your review - this is exactly what it will do.

Hope you and Mario have a safe and happy New Year and that you've got another long weekend ahead of you. g

Mary Ann said...

I deserve this book because I need to stretch myself from sewing just children's clothes to something for myself.

Kathy {Kathy Sews} said...

I was curious about this book. It looked like the patterns were more just vintage inspired then truly using vintage detail. I'm an avid seamstress who likes vintage undertones and thought it could be a good match for me. I sew quite a bit but haven't done any major pattern manipulations apart from altering them to fit my figure. I would love to have this copy and would put it to good use if I was the lucky one chosen. Thanks for sharing with your fellow seamstresses.

Michele said...

Oh, this book sounds great! I "deserve" a copy because I just finished a bodice pattern fitting class, and would love to learn how to adapt it to different styles. Thanks!

Maryissewfast said...

Wow! I can't say I deserve this book any more than these other fine ladies, but I want it and I believe I deserve to be happy! Thanks for the opportunity and Happy New Year to you and Mario!

Anonymous said...

Deserve it I do! To motivate me for 2013...please.

CarmencitaB said...

If this involves some Frankeinstein operation on patterns, I'm in. I love making changes to existing patterns.
Thanks for à great giveaway. Happy New Year!

Auset's Stitched Treasures said...

Hi Karen. What a great giveaway! I deserve this book because it's been a rough year for me. Okay, so it's been rough for a lot of people. My sewjo has gone AWOL and I'll try/do anything to get her back. Maybe this book will re-light the spark of inspiration I so desparately need.

Marjie said...

I, too would love this book. But I think GMarie deserves it most, because she has been trying so hard to adapt patterns more, and struggling for inspiration. So, if you send it to her, I'll be delighted; I'll be happy for whoever the winner is in any event.

Happy New Year, and thanks for the entertaining look at your sewing, chickens, and life in general.

Faye Lewis said...

I'd really like to have this book. I hate to say I deserve it more than anyone else, but I have to say I do to enter the contest. There, I said it, I deserve the book and think it would make a useful addition to my sewing library.

Journeyin' Lady... said...

I'm not trying to win this book but just to say that I enjoyed the photos and a look at what is now considered vintage.

Liz said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I deserve this book because I need to learn to alter patterns for style!

eemoody77 at gmail dot com