Sunday, March 22, 2020

Weekend Review: Built by Wendy Dresses

Built by Wendy Dresses / Wendy Mullin with Eviana Hartman
illus. by Beci Orpin
NY: Potter Craft, c2010.
208 p.

This is the final book in the Wendy Mullin series -- and my favourite, since I do love dresses so much! It has the same structure and layout as the other books in the series; opening with basic info on sewing and finishing, tools, tips and so on. Then on to the three basic patterns included as tissue patterns in the back, and a chapter on adaptations and hacks to each one. It also finishes off with a chapter on recycling fabrics, or upcycling. Very timely and cool!

The three basic patterns she includes are Shift Dress, Dirndl Dress, and Sheath Dress. With these 3 silhouettes, she says you can make almost anything.

There are a lot of fun ideas in this book, from colour blocking to optical illusions to additions like collars, sleeves or drawstrings that totally change the look. She is quite ambitious in this book with some of the alterations -- the finished creation looks difficult to see based on the basic pattern at first glance, but the steps to making it are clearly described and illustrated and if followed, the final dress isn't hard to see at all.

Dirndl Base
The sizing in this book goes from XS - XL, or, a 32" - 41" bust and 35"-44" hip. But it is important to note that there are NO seam or hem allowances in these patterns. Feels like working with Burda! Mullin says that this is because it is much easier to alter style lines or size lines without having to adjust for the seam allowances first, which is very true. After you've completely changed your pattern pieces, then you add on the seam & hem allowances before cutting. It does work more efficiently that way.
Shift Base
There are some really lovely designs in the book, with an additional idea at the end of each project, and I think that if you worked through this book thoroughly, you'd be fearless about changing patterns and creating new designs forever.

She shows the variety that can come from each of these silhouettes, and there are even lots of styles that work for those of us older than 21. I have a favourite in each chapter that I'd like to try - showing those picks below!

I am most likely to make some of the pieces in this book before any of the other books in this series. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try at least one soon and let you know about how the patterns actually work in practice!

Sheath Base

Shift Base

Dirndl Base

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