No Patterns Needed: DIY Couture from Simple Shapes is an exemplary piece of authorship and publishing. If I was a betting woman (and I am!) I’d lay money on this becoming an award-winning book. The level of care taken over instructions, design, originality and creative inspiration takes my breath away. Plus, Rosie Martin has given me a silk top that is perfect for the summer. All I needed to do was sew it.
This is the Deep V Tunic, taking inspiration from the triangle. (The 15 patterns are grouped in three collections inspired by the circle, rectangle and triangle.) If you’ve seen Instagram photos of Rosie at her book launch, this is the top she was wearing. Doesn’t she look amazing? I admired the top all evening and then gave a whoop when I realised I could sew my own version.
I chose some silk fabric that I’ve previously used here and here. I was thrilled to see that in the book Rosie had used silk from the same sample sale. Serendipity! Here’s a detail from the placket, laid out on a top I already own. (You use an existing garment from your wardrobe to judge neckline distance and depth of armhole.)
As with previous reviewers of this book, I was trepidatious to step away from paper patterns and wing it with chalk and a ruler. But once I began, I was hooked. Such a journey of adventure! Not too off piste, though. Rosie provides truly excellent and meticulous instructions – all beginning with your own measurements.
For this top, you cut out a variety of rectangles and, um, sew them together. Not quite that simple, but not far off. The placket insertion is made super-easy and you’ll feel very placket proud. The sleeve caps are so brilliantly modern. Indeed, the whole piece feels effortlessly urban, whilst still suiting a stroll on the beach.
If you’re interested, the print on this silk is of paramecia.
Any tips for sewing this top?
- The book doesn’t supply fabric amounts, so make sure you’re confident you have enough fabric before cutting out.
- Directional prints could be an issue if you’re making this for the first time, as you might not necessarily understand what piece is for which part. (I didn’t!)
- There’s a front centre seam. If you’re using a strong or repeating print the seam will cut across patterns.
- If you want to incorporate the front seam split, be sure to finish your centre seam accordingly ie don’t overlock both raw seams together. (The front seam split is one of the last steps and easy to overlook.)
- The sleeves are voluminous, which means people will be able to spy your sleeve hem finishes. Take care.
- Use decent interfacing on the placket and sleeve caps. Now is not the time for cardboard cheap interfacing.
- Unless you are very body confident or a friend of tit tape, you’ll want a vest to wear beneath the deep V. But it’s otherwise no trouble at all. None of those wardrobe malfunctions we all fear.
What else can I say? Oh yes – very important. How can we help support Rosie? Easy!
- If you like this book, post a reader review on Amazon. Now!
- If an Amazon reader review has been helpful to you, click YES to ‘Was this review helpful?’
Your reward for reading this far is a FABRIC GIVEAWAY. Would you like 1.5 metres of my silk for yourself? Then leave a comment below saying what your favourite shape is – the circle, rectangle, or triangle. This giveaway is open internationally and shall close on Tuesday 9 August at midnight GMT.
Rosie Martin has just raised the bar for sewing books. I look forward to seeing what else her future holds, as this woman is exceptionally talented and I am proud and privileged to have become acquainted with her through the sewing community. The future of sewing isn’t a triangle, circle or rectangle. It’s Rosie-shaped.