Saturday, 7 January 2017
Book Review: MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT by Matt Chapple
I've been a big fan of the Great British Sewing Bee since it started in 2013. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a bit like the 'bake off' but with sewing instead of baking. The contestants compete against each other over a series of sewing challenges, with one contestant being eliminated each week. In 2015, Matt Chapple was the first male winner of the series and, following his success, he has brought out his first book, 'MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT - The essential guide to sewing, altering and customising'. I was delighted, recently, to be offered the chance to receive a complimentary copy to review.
As you know, I do a lot of sewing; but I shy away from what I call proper dress-making due, mostly, to fear of failure. When I saw this book I was hopeful that it would give me the confidence to have another go. I thought that Matt's relaxed attitude towards sewing would give me the boost I needed to try again.
On first impression, the book had a good 'feel' to it; from the quality paper, to the illustrations, to the slightly lovely, grainy, vintage-quality photographs. Divided into short sections (most being only a double page spread), the information is easy to digest; although, I felt that some explanations were compromised by trying to fit the information to the restricted space. It's an ideal book to help a beginner get some useful knowledge and experience but a complete beginner would need to supplement the section on Knowing Your Machine with online videos and other sources of information to get a complete picture.
Such a lot of information is covered in the book, and from a totally different perspective than most sewing books, so that more experienced sewers will also find it useful. Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in sewing matters, I found out about seam guides, what needles size/numbers mean, and that you can now download dressmaking patterns. And, that it's also about time I bought or made myself a tailor's ham instead of risking serious injury using a rolled up towel!
I was encouraged to see the chapter Making it Live Longer, which included lots of tips for caring for our clothes. We may think that knowing how to look after the clothes we have is obvious, but I've learnt from experience never to assume anything. I'm sure there must be a whole generation that grew up during this recent, consumerist age that knows very little about caring for their clothing. The last time this sort of thing was encouraged to any degree was during WWII, so it must surely be about time to remind people what it's all about.
To sum up, MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT is a substantial book, packed full of useful information to help us all have a healthy, practical and happy relationship with our clothes; to look at what we have in a different way, and be in control of it.
So, sorry to disappoint, but I won't be having a giveaway for this one. I can see myself dipping into it time and again for reference.
Bye for now
P.S. The photos included in this post are all from the book