Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review: Thrifty Style

My make-do-and-mend self was intrigued when I heard about Thrifty Style: Clever Ways to Revamp your Wardrobe by Janine Chisholm. When I received my review copy I eagerly flicked through. The book promises to help you "make one-off fashion forward pieces". Though the key to all the example projects is 'fashion forward' (think mainstream-meets-vintage style icons like Sienna Miller, Kate Moss et al), with a little imagination any of the tips and techniques can easily be applied to more, er, 'fashion backward' projects.

For example, I love the idea of using doilies to create lace inserts in other garments. This technique could be adapted to a more vintage-compatible look - I'm picturing lace doily pockets, or shouler-yoke inserts.

The book presents a series of projects, rated for difficulty from 1 to 4, the techniques ranging from simple embellishment ideas like dyeing and hand-beading to more complex refashions.

It also includes three full size patterns including this cute capelet, which in the example incorporates a collar rescued from a damaged coat.

Each project is illustrated step-by-step with instructional line drawings.

The photography is gorgeous throughout - it's worth flicking through just for the eye candy!

There's also a full chapter at the back of the book dedicated to techniques from absolute essentials like basic stitches, darts and gathering fabric to setting in a zip and making bias binding. Helpfully, there's even instructions for how to create your own 'body double' mannequin.

Thrifty Style has some great ideas, and certainly gets the creative inspiration flowing when you start to think about how the techniques can be applied in different ways. Many projects do need you to be at least a little bit handy with a sewing machine - the techniques chapter at the back does cover everything you need to know, so theoretically it's accessible for a complete beginner, but it's best for someone with at least a basic knowledge of how garments are assembled.


  1. This sounds such a useful book. I do like to rescue and ment whenever I can - having a guide to techniques and inspiration is a great idea.

  2. This seems to be a great book and also really helpful for people like me who doesn't have a clue about DIY kind of things. I'm hoping to get it sometime soon. xx

  3. I don't know why, but I've always had a hard time (mental block, that is) altering things (with the one exception being some of my paper crafting supplies) from their original state. However, I keep seeing such beautiful (creative) examples of upcycled/altered clothes that maybe, maybe just maybe I'll work up the nerve to try my hand at it one of these days.

    Thank you for the terrific book review, dear Charlotte, I'll have to see if our local library has (or could bring in) a copy of this title to further help me muster the courage to alter a garment.

    ♥ Jessica


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