The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe
By Wendy Mullin with Eviana Hartman
Buy this Book
Maybe you know just the trouser shape you are looking for but can’t find it in shops. Maybe you’ve always imagined yourself in a dress from a photo shoot from the movie Blow-Up.
Be your own fashion designer? It’s a notion that’s not as crazy as you think, particularly when you have a sewing and designing guidebook that takes you by the hand. Sew U, by independent fashion designer Wendy Mullin is one part walk through Sewing 101 and one part door-wide-open to wardrobe possibilities to be had from the multitude of permutations and combinations of three simple patterns. Where the other sewing books on my shelf end—how to make a button hole or what blindstitching is—this one really kicks in with the extra info you need to make clothes that are uniquely your own.
Mullin (with Eviana Hartman) writes this book in the voice of your older sister who is much cooler than you…cool enough that she’ll hang out with you for a minute and explain all her fashion secrets. Mullin’s company, Built By Wendy, started out with her handmade clothes sold out of record shops. (I first heard of her because of her guitar straps employed by the indie and famous.) And in Sew U, she basically takes you back to those early DIY days when you might introduce yourself to sewing by modifying a thrifted blouse by changing the buttons or gathering the sleeves. She walks you through the minimum of tools you need to get the job done, demystifies pattern-speak (and teaches you basics like how to sew on a button or sew in a zipper), and takes you step by step through the skirt, shirt, and pants (patterns enclosed)—along the way demonstrating, for example, several dozen ways to modify a shirt pattern for a jillion adds to your closet. The projects range from easy (skirt) to medium (shirt) to hard (pants).
With fewer moms and grandmoms to go to for the skills, this book is going to be the bible for any girl who has ever just wanted to be doing it for herself. I wish this book had been around the first time I tackled sewing (and I did have both mom and grandma to go to for help). If the only name you care to see on your frocks is your own, this is the book for you.