Matt Chapple, winner of last year’s Great British Sewing Bee, has written a new book. It is a mixture of alteration techniques, making clothes and how to look after what you’ve made.
The book starts with straightforward information on what types of kit you need, the items you might ‘grow’ into and basic fabric information. Which is all useful stuff to know.
It then goes into some simple sewing processes broken down into projects; hems – how to shorten jeans, seams – slimming trouser legs, for example. What I really like about this section is that it also encourages you to customise and alter an item of clothing, one of the features of the GBSB. Using a specific sewing technique you can transform a particular item of clothing, such as using gathering or pleats to change a dress or tunic. This is a great way of showing how to use an abstract technique and then make it relevant to everyday sewing.
Once the basic sewing techniques have been explained, the book then goes into creating items of clothing from scratch. It includes simple and easily put together projects that are great for beginners but also act as a reminder for the more experienced sewer that just wants a short, sharp sewing fix.
The last sections of the book hark back to an almost forgotten age of ‘repair and maintain’. When we take so much trouble to sew and make something, surely it is worth looking after. These sections describe how to fix a missing button or repair a fallen hem and how to launder and care for the things we make.
The photography is excellent, and all the ‘how to’ steps are shown as well drawn and clear images. A mixture of illustrations and photos is interesting visually.
I think this book will be of most use to beginner sewers, although those with a little more experience will greatly enjoy some of the projects. This is Matt’s first book, and I’m sure his next books will explore more advanced techniques and projects.
Matt and the team behind the book have done a fantastic job in putting this book together. As Matt says in his introduction – this book “showcases something extremely close to my heart, the fact that we can all create something unique, whether it be from scratch or as a part of a customisation.” A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.
This is a delightful book. More than just a beautifully photographed coffee-table book, it has relevant and interesting information about creating your own sewing projects and how to care for them, definitely worth buying.