|Sew Chinelo / Chinelo Bally
Collins & Brown, c2021.
I am a big fan of the Great British Sewing Bee, and Chinelo was one of my favourite contestants. I read the first book she put out after her appearance, Freehand Fashion, and so really wanted to check out this one as well.
Unfortunately, this one wasn't really a book for me. The focus here is partially upcycling (the subtitle references Sustainable Style after all). And I do love upcycling, but the projects in this book don't appeal to me personally. There are lots of wrap dress/skirt, wide off-the-shoulder collars, strapless maxis, and kids clothes. None of those are my style at all. So, while this isn't a book for me, it could definitely be one for other readers.
Aside from my personal aesthetic, there is a lot to admire about this book. If this kind of refashioning and youthful style is your thing, then you'll love it. It provides a variety of projects, so you could make a whole outfit or two. There are 11 adult projects, and 3 children's. They combine Chinelo's Freehand cutting style with the previously mentioned upcycling projects. And there is quite a good section on techniques - from bias binding tips to seam finishes, zips and hems, there are step-by-step illustrated instructions included. Plus a great section of taking measurements, which includes photographs to make the spots to measure very clear to new sewists.
The one project that really intrigued me was the maxi dress, but mostly for the bodice. Chinelo uses a pair of men's suit trousers, takes them apart and uses them for the fabric of the bodice, which is a basic sleeveless scoop neck, princess seam bodice. It works quite well & if there was enough fabric to add some cap sleeves this is one I might try myself, although I'd change the skirt. She also finishes the book with a one-shoulder jumpsuit, and while there is no way I'd ever make that, it is finished with a huge floral corsage, in the same suiting fabric, on one shoulder. That was eye-catching and the instructions make it seem really easy -- would love to make one for other uses!
So, not the best book for my style, but interesting nonetheless, and it might just appeal to you. Worth checking out.