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12 September 2013

Non-Fiction Review: Skirt a Day Sewing by Nicole Smith

Author: Nicole Smith
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Genre: Adult Non-Fiction Crafting/Sewing
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Design a skirt for every day of the week! With these 28 irresistible projects, you'll learn all the techniques you need to custom-design and sew fabulous skirts that fit you perfectly. Smith shows you how to draft a pattern for a custom fit and then alter that pattern into one of four basic silhouettes: wrap, straight, flared, and high-waisted. Each skirt can then be easily redesigned into seven distinct and delicious looks -- one for each day of the week. These projects are suitable for sewists at every level, including beginners.

The first three chapters of Skirt a Day Sewing give a pretty good primer on basic sewing tools and techniques. The sections on how to use interfacing, sewing different seams, and how to make a sloper for a custom fit are extremely helpful to me as a novice “sewist”. Most skirt patterns I’ve picked up in the past are the paper patterns where you just pick the one that might be the closest to your measurements, then cut around. With these instructions, you take your own paper (I’ve been using cheap drawing paper which is a bit stiffer than pattern paper--I just happen to have tons of it!) and create a pattern that’s perfect just for you.

The designs are built around 4 basic shapes: wrap, straight, flared, and high-waisted skirts. I rather like the vintage silhouettes on some of the pieces, like the flared Line by Line, and the high-waisted French Toast. Some otherwise cute shapes are dragged down by unnecessarily garish embellishment, such as the appliqué on the Spring-Loaded Wrap Skirt and the exposed zipper on Nip and Tuck. There are also a couple of unfortunate fabric choices, like the clashing colors on the Great Scot Skirt and the weird metallic on Heavy Metal. However, there are enough good designs to get you through at least a week of dressing up for work and play--I’d call that well worth the price of the book. It just takes a bit of imagination on the part of the reader to look beyond the photos.

Although the book advertises a custom fit, at first glance the designs don’t look like they’d be very friendly to bigger ladies. However, I think this is mostly an illusion caused by the skinny models. The sloper should make quite a few of the skirts with unfussy waists, especially the A-line ones, well-suited to apple shapes. There are also a couple of design variations that I can’t wait to try out for my own skirts, like the elasticized back waistband. No more unhooking the waist in the car after dinner!

Beginners will probably find the whole thing daunting without a hand to hold, but those with in-between sewing skills will probably do well with this book. Advanced sewists will probably skip the first three chapters, but I’ve already pored through them at least twice and will probably re-read each section I need when I start sewing. I have actually made a skirt in under 3 hours (though to be fair, I did have a professional sewing teacher on hand for the first two hours) so I do believe the skirt-a-day claim is plausible if the reader is organized and can focus on following the directions.

I’ve purchased quite a few instructional skirt books in the past, but this is the first I’ve ever pre-ordered. I can’t wait to get started on some projects! My favorites are the Block Party, Super Fly, Coney Island, Girlie Show, and Tough Luxe (despite the exposed zipper which I still find odd). I’ll post photos if/when I actually get them done--just in time for our SoCal summer.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at http://www.styleschematic.com/category/blog/

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