All images from “A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics” taken by Julian Ward Photography and © Cico
Category Archives: Books by Wendy
Join me for a day of dressmaking this summer. You will make the easy Granville wrap skirt from my latest book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts”.
This class is ideal for beginners and there are lots of different ways to make the wrap skirt; with ties or buttons, with pockets and even a reversible version so you can really make it to suit your own style. It’s quick, easy and a gorgeous flattering skirt that’s perfect for summer.
You’ll learn how to sew accurate seams, my favourite method for neat hems, how to sew darts, how to attach a facing or lining and how to make and attach a pocket (if you choose that option!).
By the end of the day you’ll feel confident using a sewing machine and leave with a unique-to-you handmade skirt, ready for wearing all summer.
Some materials will be provided, a full list of materials needed will be sent when you book your place.
- Suitable for absolute beginners.
- Class size limited to just 5 people.
To book your place email Wendy on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01273 693451
It’s been a bit all go recently, what with the Knitting & Stitching show and everything, but amongst it all something very exciting happened…..
I signed the contract for book number 2!!!!
It’s been rumbling on since August and has been VERY difficult to keep to myself, so I’m glad it’s all finally official!
It’s due out Autumn 2016 and that’s all I’m going to say on the subject for now. ‘Cos I’m a tease.
Read all about Saturday night’s book launch shenanigans here.
For how many years have I dreamt of writing this post?! A lot.
You’ve heard me going on about it for long enough, but now it’s finally here. Last week the first delivery of my book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” arrived and I’m very excited that you can now buy a signed copy online!! Advance copies have been winging their way out to magazines and reviewers over the last month, so you should hopefully start seeing it out and about in the virtual sewing world very soon. In the meantime, I thought you might like to have a little sneak preview between the pages……
The book is divided into 3 sections: Projects, Techniques and Customising.
There are 6 projects (all garments – no cheating with accessories!) with full-scale multi-sized patterns printed in colour on pull-out pattern sheets at the front and back of the book. All you have to do is trace the pieces you need and off you go.
The techniques section covers all the techniques used in the 6 projects: Working with Fabric / Using Paper Patterns / Taking Measurements / Sewing Machine Basics / Sewing Seams / Sewing Hems / Sewing Darts / Gathering / Creating Pleats / Adding a Centred Zip / Using Bias Binding / Understitching / Setting in Sleeves / Sewing Knit Fabrics. If you work your way through the projects in the order they appear in the book, by the end you will have a thorough set of really good basic dressmaking skills to stand you in good stead for further projects.
The Customising section includes easy ideas for adapting the basic patterns to make them your own style and create different versions of the garments. Customising techniques covered are: Adding Custom Seams / Adding Ruffles / Adding Patch Pockets / Adding Side Seam Pockets / Adding Collars. All pattern pieces required are also included on the pattern sheets, ie. collars and pockets.
One of the two pull-out pattern sheets. They’re inside the front and back covers and are printed both sides and colour coded by project making it easy to find the pieces you need, trace them onto a new piece of paper and start making!
Who is it for?
The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking is aimed at anyone who would like to make their own clothes but feels a bit daunted by many of the sewing patterns available. Basically like the majority of people I teach! It explains absolutely every step in detail in both words, diagrams and photographs and I hope the fact that I spend a lot of my time teaching adults how to sew shows through in clear, user-friendly instructions. I wanted to create a book that was both beautifully designed and inspiring to look at, but would actually be used. I don’t want your copy to be a pristine coffee table book, I want it to be well thumbed, scuffed and battered and be full of your own notes.
Each project is laid out like this:
A description of the pattern with a shot of a couple of different versions (Gyspsydog didn’t manage to photobomb all of them…), a summary of the techniques and customising ideas used and jargon-free descriptions of what kind of fabric to choose.
Next, a chart showing the measurements of the garment when made up in the different sizes so you know what size it will turn out (something which is often missing from sewing patterns and dressmaking books but which my students find really helpful), and how much fabric you will need.
After spending 7 years teaching adults to sew I felt I had a good idea what people wanted from a sewing book and I also thought there was a huge gap in the market for a sewing book that included full-size patterns for everyday clothes with a modern contemporary look. There are lots of sewing books available now with a very particular, often vintage style. Just because someone likes to sew or wants to learn to sew, doesn’t mean everyone likes the same kind of design, just like when you’re shopping for ready-to-wear clothing, we each have our own style. That’s where I wanted to use my experience in the fashion industry and design background to create everyday simple clothes that can be further adapted to suit different styles.
The team at David & Charles my publishers have done an excellent job and were a pleasure to work with, as was my amazing editor Lin Clements. They took on board every single one of my ideas, preferences and whims and ran with them to create a book that I’m really proud of and which is pretty much what I had in my mind’s eye when I started the book 10 months ago.
I was lucky to have all the photographs in the book shot by the very talented photographer Julian Ward (no relation!) and they were all styled to perfection by my good friend Lauren Courtney who can work wonders with anything. They were a fantastic team to work with and I already miss our photo shoot days where we worked our socks off, but always at some point ended up almost crying with laughter at something or other!
Yes the book is available at a discount on Amazon and yes I’m selling it full price. I just can’t compete with Amazon. But, if you want a signed copy, I’m the only place you can get it! Buy yours here.
**NOTE ADDED 30/10/14** the patterns are printed full-scale in 5 sizes which cover the following range: bust 84-101cm (33-40″), waist 68-85cm (27-33.5″), hips 92-109cm (36-43″). Three of the patterns are for stretch fabrics so aren’t very fitted, the other three patterns are for woven fabrics and two of them are fairly fitted.
Do you have a budding fashionista in the family? Or are you one yourself?!
My first book “My Fashion Label” is out now. You can buy it direct from me at MIY Workshop or online and it’s also available on Amazon.
It’s aimed at girls roughly 9-14yrs and is an interactive guide to fashion design. It presents the design process step by step, from first ideas and making mood boards….
….through to how to draw clothes and creating colour palettes……
…..and understanding how clothes end up on the catwalk.
Blank and guided sketchbook pages are included to give you plenty of space to practise your skills and try out your designs on the outline figures provided.
Whether you are a teenager who likes pretty prom dresses and fairy tiaras, or are working in an office but dreaming of designing clothes, this book will show you how to start creating those outfits!
I wrote all the content, developed the structure of the book and suggested what kind of imagery should be included and Robyn Neild did most of the gorgeous illustrations.
The book is paperback and roughly A5 size with 128 full colour pages.
I’ll even sign it for you if you want! Get yours here.
Last Thursday we did the 2nd photoshoot for my sewing book. Here’s a little peep behind the scenes of what was a really busy day. It’s amazing what you can do in a day with a great team!
Gypsydog did a bit of photobombing again this time, but we didn’t catch her in our snapshots!
In case you missed it, here’s behind the scenes of the first photoshoot.
Monday was the first photoshoot for my sewing book. It was soooo much fun.
Julian Ward (no relation!) is the photographer and he is fantastic to work with. He totally got what we were trying to do and made sure we got the shots we needed and more.
My good friend Lauren Courtney was styling the photos. She has this amazing ability to arrange things and make them look fabulous. You might remember her from her fantastic work on the MIY Workshop Christmas window which won us that prize…!
I’m sure most of you must know by now that I’m in the process of writing a sewing book. Something I’m chuffed to bits about and have wanted to do for a long time, but not something that happened overnight.
I thought I would share a bit of behind the scenes with you about how the book came about, what’s going to be in it and what is the reality of actually writing it!
The whole process started months ago with me sending a proposal for a book idea to a few publishers. A book proposal needs to give an overview of what your book will be about (including a suggested contents list), who it’s for, why you’re writing it and what makes you the best person to write it! Piece of cake eh? NO, you can see that even at this early stage, the process needs some focussed thought and work. I found some useful guides to writing book proposals on the websites below:
The main players in the UK craft book market are:
- Search Press
- Laurence King
- Anova Group
- The Guild of Master Craftsmen
- and last but certainly not least, my own publishers David & Charles who are part of FW Media.
Now, if you’re fancying the idea of penning a craft book bestseller with £££ in your eyes, let me next dispel that myth. Unless you’ve appeared on TV, you’re not going to get rich writing books! My main reason for writing a sewing book is that I want to put all my years of teaching and previous experience working in the fashion industry into a project that can reach a wider audience, by writing a quality dressmaking book that will equip you with the necessary skills to make sewing your own clothes a way of life. Like a whole series of MIY Workshop classes and workshops condensed into one place!
My book is going to be a combination of sewing techniques and pull-out full size patterns. The deadlines are really tight to get it published later this year so I’ve got to be super-duper organised to do this alongside running MIY Workshop. Here is the nerve centre of sewing book operations….
This contains all my thoughts, plans, rough drawings, fabric swatches and notes for every section of the book. I’d better not loose it!
One of the best bits about writing a sewing book is all the sewing I get to do. It may sound obvious, but the day-to-day running of MIY Workshop doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for sewing so it’s been sooooo nice having the workshop to myself occasionally and making lots of things. Thankfully, I haven’t needed to trawl the country’s fabric shops to make my book samples as I have a wonderful shop for dressmaking fabric right on my doorstep in Brighton. Ditto fabrics is a dressmaker’s heaven and Gill the owner has been kind enough to let me make regular visits to her unit rather than the shop so that I can look through the full range of her fabric stock. What an Aladdin’s cave of fabric, I was like a kid in a sweet shop on my first visit and was a bit over-awed at first, but I soon got going. Here’s Gypsydog vetting my fabric choices……
The next exciting stage is the first photo shoot, which is happening at MIY Workshop in a few day’s time!
Incidentally, although I’m totally obsessed with my sewing book at the moment, I have worked on another book: My Fashion Label is a book I wrote about fashion design for kids and is beautifully illustrated by Robyn Nield whose fashion illustrations have appeared in Vogue. Contrary to my current book, this one was a very long project which I first got involved with in 2010. It’s finally out in August of this year and here’s a sneaky preview of the cover……pretty fab, no?!