Sunday, February 2, 2020

Weekend Review: Make It Your Own

Make It Your Own: Personalizing Patterns for Creative Design /
Lori Bottom & Ronda Chaney
Radnor, PA: Chilton Books, c1994
167 p.

I requested this 1994 book via Interlibrary Loan after someone recommended it on PatternReview. It's definitely of its era, with fashion sketches that are very much 80s and 90s. However, as shown by my recent post on patterns of that era, I really love that element!

The book is a primer on taking a pattern and changing it up -- adding collars, overlays, tiers, ruffles, drawstrings; changing necklines, closures or sleeves, and making yourself a new look. Each idea is illustrated with a sketch, and has good information on how to do each alteration. Measurements for new collars or overlays are explained, and sketches show the steps. It has tons of great ideas that can be used today and the techniques are not dated even if some of the particular styles are.

I found two ideas that I want to use right away, and many more to inspire me. I'm going to have to keep an eye out while thrifting and second hand book store shopping to see if I can get my own copy, because this is one of the most interesting sewing books I've seen in a while. I think it is due for an update and a reissue.

The things that caught my eye right now are: how to add tiers to a skirt or dress, and, how to add a tied bolero style overlay to any V-neck pattern. They both look like neat, modern ideas. They are also both pretty straightforward and any sewist with a bit of experience would be able to figure them out. I love how this book gives lots of ideas and also assumes that anyone can do this. It's positive and fun.

Definitely recommended if you want to modify and adapt your current patterns, and don't mind a bit of 90s illustration to go with it.


  1. Thanks for the interesting find! I spotted a $5 copy online, so I took a chance and ordered it. As a fellow sewing librarian, I'm always keeping an eye open for a new take on sewing books. I love your style--you look comfortable and approachable but still professional. And as you've found, some of those old patterns work if you can see past the illustrations!

    1. I hope that you will enjoy it -- I think there are some good ideas although some of the styles are just a no go. Thanks for the compliments :)

  2. I second Brenda! Thank you for this book review - I promptly went off to my favourite online second hand book seller and found a copy for a reasonable price and there were several more :) - I love books that have practical steps I know I will actually use and refer to and this one definitely fits the bill. I'm off buying patterns - I already have so many AND so many I love. Some tweaks on the ones I love perfectly fits where I'm at.

    1. I'm glad you found a copy! I might just have to go and look for one myself ;)

      I like the idea of adding to or adjusting the patterns I already have to get new looks and a new feel to something I've owned for a while.


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