No Patterns Needed Blog Tour AND Silk Giveaway

Deep V Tunic No Patterns Needed

No Patterns Needed book

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.

Deep V Tunic Did You Make That

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.)

silk placket

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.

No Patterns Needed Body 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

sleeve cap

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.

No Patterns Needed Collage

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.

Triangle Silk

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155 Responses to No Patterns Needed Blog Tour AND Silk Giveaway

  1. Alison says:

    Triangles! Always.

  2. Zanna says:

    This book sounds better and better with each review I read of it! Love your choice of fabric for this top. Think I’d have to go for triangles as my favourite, I love how you can play with stripe directions and draw attention to different features. They look so modern!

  3. I’m a massive fan of the circle! Mainly because when we were at school were were taught this rhyme *ahem*

    Pie R squared sounds like area to me
    If I need the circumference I’ll just use pie D!

    I still sing it every time I draft my own circle skirts!!!


  4. Sophia says:


  5. My favourite shape is the triangle as it gives so many variations of itself

  6. jaelh says:

    totally a triangle 🙂 Cause that’s what I look like.
    Also – gorgeous top and the book does sounds great!

  7. Mertxe says:

    Silk giveaway? You got me there!!! I think the rectangle is the main shape in sewing. All began in homely woven rectangles tied together, didn’t it?
    I can say I love to step away from comercial patterns and do them myself. It’s liberating! And very didactic, too! I have just started draping this summer, and as I said, all starts with the rectangle.

  8. rosepear says:

    When it comes to seeing, I love the rectangle-so versatile! Skirts, drapey tops, bags, pillow cases… I think you’ve convinced me to give the non-pattern approach a go. Sounds terrifying but I can imagine it’d be very freeing (especially for my sewing room which is overloaded with printed PDF pattern pieces).

  9. Hmm I’ve considired free handing it, Chinello from GBSB has a tutorial I keep meaning to look at…
    My favourite shape would have to be the triangle.
    Great review!

  10. out of the choices, triangles. but my absolute favorite is a trapezoid. it is a great word [it has a zed!] and when you bisect it it makes obtuse triangles and when you drop a perpendicular, you have two cute right triangles.

  11. Sarah Therese says:

    I think I will have put on my book list. Triangles would definitely be my preferred shape. So much you can do with it.

  12. Samantha Cullen says:

    I’m torn between triangles and circles
    Triangles ate everywhere at the moment i’m always drawn to curvier shapes.

  13. Regina Gee says:

    Gorgeous top! Plan to add the book to my Craft Library! My favorite shape is circle because it reminds me of unity.

  14. Anica says:

    I was a bit hesitant about making clothes without a pattern but you’ve convinced me to give it a go! Definitely putting this book on my birthday wishlist! My first choice would probably be to try something from the triangle section 🙂

  15. Mary says:

    Great review! Rose’s book sounds amazing and the tunic looks fab on you. My chosen shape? I think it would definately be a circle x

  16. Helena says:

    Great review Karen and a beautiful top. I would also go with a triangle. V shaped necklines so good when you have a full bust😍

  17. Abbe says:

    The book sounds brilliant. Loving the silk!

  18. Nathalie says:

    Every review makes this book sound better. It is going on my wish list. I Think triangles would be the most practical. But I’m the most curious about the circle.

  19. jain1023 says:

    Now I am truly curious about this book!
    I just cant grasp the uniqueness of it, everybody like spreading hints but I can’t see the big picture…
    I definitely gravitate towards the curcle.

  20. Carol Andrew says:

    Have added this book to my wish list as there have been so many great reviews. Fav shape has to be the Triangle.

  21. art2inspireahl says:

    Great review and the book looks to be very inspiring. Without question I would choose circle as it is my favorite symbol – in fact I collect circles wherever I go ! 🙂

  22. First of all, thank you for this opportunity, the silk is fabulous! My own body shape is sadly rather circular, so a triangle works to create balance. Would I venture into un-pattern sewing? Now that I’m back at my machine, yes! And now a question….the sleeves are a wonderful longer length on you compared to Rosie; did you lengthen them?

    • diycouture says:

      Hey – Rosie here! Yes I am reading the comments under Karen’s amazingly kind review!! Really loving all this shape enthusiasm. I have a very flat chest, so the width of the whole top is narrow as it doesn’t need to go around much (!) – so my sleeve caps end up almost up on my shoulders. I reckon Karen’s are longer as she actually has a chest, so her whole top is wider. However, you definitely could lengthen the sleeves even if you make a narrow top, and in fact I am going to try it myself : ). Happy sewing Jen – Rosie xx

      • Thank you Rosie! Very kind of you to respond. I just might have to acquire your book and attempt a top (with the longer, more covering sleeves) …and I really love the skirt of the cover. Thanks again. 😀

  23. Christina Mano says:

    Your top turned out lovely! I think it would look great with one of those “over engineered” bras that are popular nowadays, with straps that criss cross over the chest. Not that they come in my size though(38 H)… Anyway, regarding shapes, I think my favourite must be the rectangle as I think it has the most potential to become something else.

  24. Tracey says:

    I think I like rectangles, but I am a bit of a shapeshifter….

  25. Carolyn says:

    Circles aiways.

  26. heidicpotter says:

    I’ve recently discovered that rectangles look rather good. The idea of working without a pattern sounds rather daunting, but I’m beginning to get inspired by some of the people who’ve been writing about it. Will keep watching! And your silk is wonderful.

  27. Ruth says:

    I love the circle, circle skirts are my favourite item to wear and I love drapey circle tops too

  28. Bridget says:

    Rectangle – I’m afraid I have a thing for right angles.

  29. lauriesannie says:

    Love circles. Not necessarily flattering but there you have it.

  30. JamieLMac says:

    My favorite shape is rectangles. That’s the shape of the fabric I buy when I leave the fabric store. lol

  31. Bobbi says:

    I like circles. They’re what I always seem to doodle.

  32. Alison says:

    I’m a triangle person – the most flattering and versatile IMHO. Love the top you made and the silk (obviously!). Great plug for the book too, I’m intrigued and may well have to buy it.

  33. Alison says:

    Forgot to say…..the Paramecia did it for me. Took me right back to my biology degree many, many moons ago!

  34. Sara-Lu says:

    If I had to pick a favorite shape…hmm…maybe the circle? I do love polka dots!

    Fingers crossed on the giveaway!!

  35. racurac2 says:

    Rectangle! I’m the Queen of the Right Angle!!!! Thanks for the chance!

  36. suzy roberts says:

    Thanks for the informative book review. I am going to send for it…now.
    My favourite shape: the triangle, for variety and pleasing proportions.

  37. carlamayfield says:

    I have to go with the triangle, but I’m betting the book will have me liking them all!

  38. Lorinda says:

    I am drawn to the circle – the smooth unbroken line. And in my middle age I am beginning to look like one!

  39. Suzanne says:


  40. Louise says:

    Definitely circle – no corners!

  41. Sewingsu says:

    I have bought the book and it looks fab! I haven’t tried any of the patterns yet but can’t wait to get started! I would love some silk to make one of the patterns with!

  42. Sewingsu says:

    Rectangle would be my favourite shape!

  43. kalimak says:

    Triangles. There’s something bold and decisive about that shape.
    This book looks great. I need to check it out. Thank you for the review, Karen. And the top looks great!

  44. Tracey McWilliam says:

    The never ending circle!

  45. Amy says:

    I’m a triangles girl too, and a particular fan of equilaterals! This book looks fascinating, thank you for the review.

  46. kirajones says:

    That got me thinking, I’ve never thought about what my favourite shape us! Maybe the circle – but I have no idea why.

  47. Lisa says:

    My favourite shape is the neverending circle.

  48. Mandy says:

    My favourite shape is the rectangle. I love the asymmetrical skirt and will be ordering this book so that I can make it. Hope I’m lucky to win the silk which may be enough for the skirt. I love a silk skirt.

  49. Liz says:

    Oh my..! I totally dig the print, it would be so perfect to wear this to my Master’s thesis defense to close the deal on my natural sciences studies. Although I like rectangles for sewing (basically every piece of fabric you buy already is in that shape – how convenient), I like triangles best. They are the symbol of strength and stability for me.

  50. Heather fieldgate says:

    Triangle all the way!

  51. ar says:

    I like triangles, which can also be combined to form rectangles or parallelograms….

  52. helenkosings says:

    I love circles and perhaps my favorite form of a circle is a spiral. It seems such an organic shape in my eyes and means unity and wholeness to me.

  53. fabrickated says:

    Rectangles, specifically the square.

  54. Hard choice! But just guess it’ll have to be triangle. Such vast possibilities, endless combinations and shape variations.

  55. ellegeemakes says:

    I’m a big fan of the triangle – – -so much to love and enjoy. Your top is fabulous, what a great idea for a book too1

  56. Yvette Warren says:

    Circles every time! I think I might have to buy this book, despite already owning quite a few! It seems like a great creative and liberating approach! Love your top, and that silk, Karen.

  57. Triangles……can be positioned to show or hide any number of assets or flaws. And they are just very cool.

  58. Shelagh Dale says:

    Triangles are my favourite shape.

  59. beckycory says:

    Triangles! (although I also love circles!)

  60. Anna-Marie says:

    Love circles but don’t know why, they just please me.

  61. amcclure2014 says:

    Love the paramecia. Probably rectangles for me. I’m only just beginning to grasp this book – your review was helpful, thank you

  62. beckycory says:

    Triangles! And circles!

    Also, I really appreciated your review. I’ve looked at this book a few times and it seems so creative and interesting, but wasn’t sure what it would be like to try to make something using this method.

  63. Annie says:

    Circle, definitely. But not circle skirts.

  64. PsychicKathleen says:

    You’ve whetted my appetite for this book for SURE 🙂 Right now I’m buried in sewing on the bias – Bias Cut Blueprints has completely hooked me but DIY Couture from Simple Shapes sounds to me like the perfect compliment and addition to what my present journey is. Thank you for sharing! I’m always up for an adventure 🙂

  65. Sarah says:

    Triangles! I even have one tattoos on my arm.

  66. Sylvia says:

    My favorite shape is triangle. Probably because I’m triangular :). Thanks for the great review and the chance to win lovely silk!

  67. Vicki Kate says:

    My copy arrived today but as I’m still doing the washing from a fortnight’s holiday I’ve only quickly glanced through it… I have to admit to being thoroughly taken by all the circle inspired garments though – the ripple wrap blouse is just beautiful!

  68. Naomi says:

    Rectangle all the way for me! Same shape as me 😉

  69. Ruta says:

    For me rectangles. Thank You for the review!

  70. This is lovely Karen and so great to hear such a glowing review of the book. I’ve been dying to get back to the UK and get my hands on it as its not out yet in the US. I love the idea of ditching the patterns. C xx (oh and shape wise,
    I’m not sure, perhaps circles ..!)

  71. Vivella says:

    I’m going for circles.

  72. Amanda says:


  73. dkswife says:

    Your top is beautiful. I am a rectangle type of gal. Thanks for the giveaway.

  74. Your book review is such a great read! and now off to buy the book.
    I am a triangle.

  75. Your review of the book is such a great read! Am off to buy the book now.
    I am a triangle.

  76. Kathy E. says:

    This tunic top is definitely my style and something I’d wear often. I’d say my favorite shape is the circle. It just goes round and round without any sharp edges…I like that.

  77. Rebecca says:

    Love the fabric. Triangles!

  78. definitely triangles!

  79. carlottac says:

    What a beautiful silk top. My favorite shape is the rectangle, as I have only recently discovered the beauty of boxy tops in drapey fabrics.

  80. Lynn says:

    You’re top is perfect. So I’d say rectangle but book doesn’t come out here till August 16 but I preordered!

  81. sewnupgifts says:

    I am intrigued, and could I be brave enough to rely on my draftsmanship ! Love your top, great inspiration. A triangle to suit a pear for me!

  82. Phyllis Bremner says:

    I say triangle, as I ‘m a upside down triangle shape .

  83. shoshana vogel says:

    circle without a doubt

  84. Lyndle says:

    Great review! I love your blog, your outfit and paramecium silk – how cool is that? Where did you get it? I like circles but probably triangles work better for me 🙂

  85. Fraggle says:

    Definitely a circle… does it have one side or none, or an infinite number? That said, sewing-wise it’s got to be the triangle; darts, pleats, gathers and the classic A-line skirt, it’s amazing what can be achieved with such a simple and mathematically perfect shape!

  86. Anemone says:

    Triangles! Beautiful top and a great review – thank you!

  87. That’s a really lovely top and the cutting and sewing process sounds quite intriguing! I guess I prefer circles because a like smooth curve.

  88. What an interesting write up. I think my favourite shape is triangle since there are so many different types of triangle- isosceles, equilateral, right angles eta and you can change each one by inverting it or rotating it. Perhaps GCSEs maths was useful after all!

  89. Joyapple says:

    Intriguing review will follow up to look at book more closely. I’m sewing more to clothe the house than for me at present so will go for rectangle as my favourite shape,

  90. Ann Marshall says:

    What a great top! Will have to get this book.Thank you for holding the silk giveaway.

  91. I want to say that my favourite shape is circle, because it has no sharp corners, but then I must admit I like the straight-forwardness of a rectangle. It’s easy to create and handle.

    And I’d love some silk! Today is my silk anniversary too (12 years) with my loving husband.

  92. Circles cos polka dots. Love your new top.

  93. Anne says:

    Triangles – though it is a close call. I’m a bit of a rectangle… Helpful review!

  94. I like the harmony of a circle! 🙂

  95. Chris Fraser says:

    Triangles, definitely! Why? IMO they are more ‘interesting’ than squares or circles as the side lengths and angles offer so many possibilities for pattern drafting, refashioning and patchwork. They can also be a little more ‘forgiving’ as the triangle gives a bias-ish cut along a side or two.
    Love the book and the fabric, as an ex- microbiologist I have a soft spot for biological/ scientific inspired designs that look classy.

  96. Sarah says:

    Circles. No beginning and no end.

    And I giggled when I realized I was fascinated by paramecium.

  97. Lee says:

    Your top is lovely! I would have to pick rectangles!

  98. Triangles are complex and infinitely diverse. Joined together, they can make a rectangle and even a circular shape. My body shape also looks triangular (the bottom-heavy type).

  99. dorinfe says:

    circle. great writing!

  100. Pam says:

    That top looks great on you! Thanks for the book review and for the awesome giveaway!

  101. Julia Wallace says:

    Thanks for sharing this book is going on my wish list…. for some reason Triangles call out to me!

  102. LoriAnne Gamble says:

    Oh I love Triangles!

  103. Birdinboots says:

    Thanks for the chance to win – awesome! You have given me the confidence to try this technique and will put the book on my wish list. I reckon a rectangle might be my first choice.

  104. Charlotte says:

    Rectangles! You can make anything with rectangles and it will be flattering.

  105. sewingenious says:

    You look great!! I prefer the triangle. It’s a flattering shape on my body type. Thanks so much for the chance!

  106. Alex says:

    Rectangle I think. I often find when ironing favourite (bought) garments that they are basically made up of rectangles and I think “I could make this'”. But I’m a bit too timid without a pattern. This book looks like it could be just the to get me over that.

  107. kmom14 says:

    I have always gravitated towards circles. Thanks for the book review and your experience in making a project from the book.

  108. bonnie says:

    Love circles in particular. thanks for the giveaway and an interesting blog to turn to.

  109. Jenna Oksanen says:

    I love triangles 🙂

  110. Linda jines says:

    Circle lover of curves

  111. Angela Webb says:

    My favorite shape is the triangle. Your top is lovey!

  112. sisylyn53 says:

    Everything I had went south so I am a mixture of all three. I guess I like the triangle the most

  113. skaapie says:

    Circles for me. What a cool silk shirt you made!

  114. Nancy MacGregor says:

    I think there is a time and a place for all three shapes – be it – a circle, a rectangle or a triangle.
    I guess of the three shapes the one I find most useful and/or versatile would be the rectangle – so its the one I would select.

    That’s all for now, Nancy

  115. Ali says:

    I love curves so it has to be a circle for me. Your top looks great. I’m intrigued by this book so will definitely order.

  116. Nicola says:

    I’m always drawn to circles, can’t really say why, they just feel right!

  117. Astrid Breel says:

    My favourite shape is the circle – mainly because I love the way full circle skirts (and coats) move when you spin around!

  118. Frances says:

    Definitely the triangle. Beautiful fabric and the top looks great.

  119. oneredcherry says:

    I’m a rectangle girl!!

  120. Vairë Gwîr says:

    The triangle! I am pear-shaped after all…
    Thanks for this generous giveaway!

  121. Anne Howlett says:

    Rectangle is my choice – By far the most flexible shape. It can be folded into triangles and many other shapes; or rounded off for ovals and circles. Love the ‘paramecia’ silk.

  122. Linda Hinds says:

    definitely triangles 🙂

  123. Colleen says:

    Rectangle for me! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention — it sounds fabulous, if a little terrifying. Off to buy it now. 🙂

  124. Toni Wilson says:

    Think I will have to go for rectangle. Very versatile shape. Love the fabric and as 9 August is my birthday would love to win.

  125. Silje says:

    Gorgeous! My favourite shape is circle

  126. Amanda Black says:

    Stunning top! Thanks for the opportunity… circle all the way for me ! x

  127. Karen says:

    Oh my gosh, silk covered in paramecia! Who could resist? I love it!

    I think my favorite shape would have to be the triangle, because you can combine them to make virtually any shape.

  128. Deborah Millar says:

    I think that rectangles are the most versatile, they would be my starting point. I like the idea of starting with your own body measurements rather than having to adapt an existing pattern which can be fiddly.

  129. helen says:

    Definitely a Circle! I’m very tempted by this book.

  130. Jen says:

    Circle for me! Cup cakes, pancakes, fried eggs, circle skirts. Need I say more?

  131. Love this top! It looks so comfy, and a great way to be a bit more modest in summer. I’m a triangle gal

  132. Flavia says:

    Triangles are my favorite shape! love silk too..

  133. I must say I love circles – they’re so satisfyingly complete 🙂

  134. corrineappleby says:

    I think rectangles but I’m open to persuasion. I’ve certainly sewn more rectangles than any other shape!

  135. Michele Hart says:

    I had to think about this and when I thought about what sort of shape I’m most likely to doodle, it was a circle, so that’s it – circle

  136. Lady Farmer says:

    I love the circle oooooo!

  137. Triangles rule the waves. Looks like it is a book I need – I am mid-way through writing a post about my struggles finding patterns that fit. If all I need is my measurements, this looks like the perfect solution. I’m off to Amazon now to check it out!!

  138. Lynne Lennox says:

    Triangles….every time. They can be joined to make all the other shapes.
    This looks like a great book…..and as a curvy woman it could be just what I need. And a chance to win some fabric…..woohoo!!!!

  139. Thanks for the book review. I have seen a few popping up in the blogosphere and it seems like a very interesting concept. Got to love a circle but triangles are probably more useful for clothing. Your top is lovely. Xx

  140. Sarah Flynn says:

    got to be the circle, certainly!

  141. I’m partial to horizontally long rectangles. Paramecium fabric is intriguing, and so is the book! Heading to Amazon to post a comment and then to My local book store to see if they will order it. Thanks!

  142. Pam says:

    Another triangle lover here! Thanks for the book review. Adding to my wishlist. 🙂

  143. Nina says:

    Hello England! It’s rectangles for me, because I can tailor them to fit all the body curves. I am kind of a tailored-fit fanatic. Since I am 5′ 10″, nothing fits me “off the rack”. When I was in 6th grade, I was lying about my height because I was taller than everyone, especially the boys! I wore a size 10 shoe – nothing fit me! That’s why I started sewing.

    Who wouldn’t LOVE a length of black silk? Yes, please! What a fun idea! THANKS from across the pond!

  144. Andrea says:

    Circle for me!

  145. My favorite shape is the Triangle as it reminds my of The Holy Trinity! Thanks and God bless! ILuvTheEucharist (at)

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