Sunday, September 12, 2021

Weekend Review: The Act of Sewing


The Act of Sewing / Sonya Philip
Boulder, CO: Roost Books, c2021
175 p.

Another new sewing book that I've been looking forward to! Sonya Philip is well known for her 100 Acts of Sewing blog and patterns (I've made Shirt No. 1, found at Creativebug, and have others still to try waiting in my queue). This book takes her DIY ethos and presents it all in one go, the perfect book for new sewists -- and with some great tips for us more practiced ones as well. 

The layout is clear and straightforward. It starts with a chapter on basic tools and techniques, then a look at the four patterns included (top, skirt, trousers, shirt, all very much like her existing pattern styles). All the patterns are on traceable sheets in the back of the book, no downloading or printing required. The sizing is inclusive, as with her existing patterns. The size range in the book runs from XS (B32/W29/H34) to 5X (B56/W53/H58).

(all images via publisher)

This is followed by a chapter on adjustments, mostly fitting ones, and then a chapter on modifications - these are more cosmetic ones that can change a pattern for you, like changing necklines, sleeves, adding tucks or gathers, or contrast bands and so on. The final section tackles combining patterns to make something new. 

Each chapter has many line drawings of all the steps. There are only a handful of photos of Sonya herself, wearing various pieces made from the patterns. But the steps are clear and it's a very beginner friendly approach. I really like her approach; she includes discussion of why sewing is so great as a means of expression and self-love. And she makes it extremely approachable. 

The progress of the projects is well done, as well. If someone is quite new to sewing, the patterns are very basic outlines, really cut and sew projects. There are no fussy elements to scare anyone off. But once you have a handle on that you can move on to altering, adapting and mixing. And I think that anyone who starts off in sewing this way won't have much fear of working with other patterns in future. It's great to give the power of personalizing patterns to a sewist from the start. 

All in all, I think this is a really solid book. No frills and fuss, just straight talk about patterns and adjusting them to your body and tastes. This is one I'd recommend to the new sewists in my life. 


  1. Great simple book! SewSewLive on Youtube make several of the patterns from this book. She added some hacks that really changed the base patterns.

    1. Oh, thanks for the tip! I'll have to check that out. I can imagine that there could be a LOT of changes to these base patterns to really make them different.


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