DIY Couture

I have been sewing up a storm this week, but all for clients. I am quite enjoying myself as all the work has gone well – a nice change from my own last project. I have even made a start on my wardrobe edit and I have already identified a need.

As the weather has got colder my PJ’s with shorts have become a bit chilly at night, and I had  forgotten that I had already had a winter PJ clear out last year. Not very exciting but an easy project to go back to my 30 minutes for me routine. I am also contemplating shortening a couple of dresses into tops which may be worn more. It will be nice to have a wardrobe where everything is worn again. I must be more disciplined about what I make for myself when I get back to proper sewing again.

I was  in my local library I found this book by Rosie Martin and felt I had to check it out. It declared  ‘no patterns needed’ on the front cover – and that grabbed my attention.

DIY Couture

The book features 10 garments which were shown with slight modifications which made it clear how easy it is to make a style fit your own needs.The eight ‘collections’ shown all looked quite different but used the same foundation. Whilst all of the designs were in a ‘young’ style it would be perfectly possible to adapt to even my age with the encouragement given!  All patterns were made from very simple diagrams or from existing garments. This was very encouraging – and I am sure lots of people are put off by what they imagine are complicated patterns. I loved the way that the author had used flow charts to guide you from the very start to finished garment.

All of these garments would be within easy range (I think) of a beginner who wanted to create her own style instead of buying ‘throwaway’ garments from the budget stores. I imagine that anyone in this range would be reasonably happy with the result but there was no use of interfacing or other support in the garments so I don’t think that they would stand up to a great deal of use before becoming ‘sad’.

The author is clear that she feels it is unnecessary to worry about the details – and not get too bogged down in too much accuracy. As she rightly points out you will probably recognise some of the things that would upset us about our own work in garments for sale in many shops (and not just the budget end of the market). This is probably well worth even very experienced sewers taking on board – it is possible to take the pursuit of  ‘perfection’ to the point where you don’t like what you are making any more. A little relaxation would not hurt. This made me think carefully about my own sewing – and I know there are occasions where I over complicate things. It was good to be reminded that great looking garments can be made quite simply.

While I know I  would want to make a bit more effort with ‘the detail’ than is being suggested here I think this is a great book for a beginner. And anything that encourages people to try sewing is well worth it. Look out for this in your library!


Edit: I forgot to say that Rosie Martin has a DIY Couture website which is at

6 Comments on “DIY Couture”

  1. sdbevsdBev says:

    I decided to take a chance on this book based on your interesting book review.

  2. Will have to look out for this on Amazon!

  3. Rosie Martin says:

    Wow thank you very much for taking the time to look at my book! I’m glad you think it will inspire beginners – that is exactly what I hope it will do. It’s very exciting for me to hear that it is in a library. May I ask where abouts you are based? Thank you very much – Rosie xx

    • You are welcome Rosie – so glad you left a comment! I am in Worcestershire and picked this up from a special stand with craft books on it – I hope it goes back on there and encourages someone to try sewing for the first time. I loved that you ‘de- complicated’ the garments and also used real people to model. I hope you sell lots!

  4. Carolyn says:

    That does sound like a terrific book 🙂

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