When I found out that the authors of Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques would be signing copies of their book at Book Expo America, I was intrigued. (Check out the photo of the back of my head waiting in line. I'm the one with the red lower in her hair.) The word Improv in the title hinted that this wasn't your regular how-to sewing book. Authors Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut explain in the introduction that they want sewists to relax and focus on creativity and not dwell on perfecting technique.
Most of the 100 projects use jersey knit fabric so you don't have to worry about ease or grain lines. Blum and Immergut make a point to use solid colors in most of their designs instead of the all the fun trendy (expensive) cotton prints that are all the rage right now. They solid colors are a canvas for us to embellish upon.
The first few chapters touch the basics of sewing, enough so that you'll understand some terms and techniques, but not too overwhelming for a beginner. Chapter 3 teaches you how to make your own basic patterns, modeled after your favorite ready-to-wear garments. I love this! It's so easy to create patterns for simple garments. Once you get the hang of it, you can move on to more structured, fitted clothes.
Many of the garments are constructed from one of five basic designs: two-paneled garment (shown above), four-paneled garment, two-paneled skirt, three-paneled wrap skirt and a stretch-panel skirt.
This Leafy Ruffle Tunic jumped at me because I like ruffles that aren't too frilly. It's very organic looking. This tunic is a two-paneled tunic with sleeves. This top makes me itch to get to my sewing machine!
In addition to all the tutorials for skirts, dresses, and tunics; there are instructions for embroidered napkins, produce bags, nesting boxes, even a lampshade! Blum and Immergut devote chapters to embellishment techniques such as silk screening and applique. There's even an entire chapter about upcycling.
I haven't sewn anything from the book yet, but I found the directions easy to follow and the diagrams easy to understand. The diverse projects means I'll never lack for inspiration for my next sewing project. Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut is a keeper.
Blum and Immergut also co-write a blog called Our Improv Diary. It's chockful of eye candy and tutorials.
Who's ready to sew with me?
I received a copy of the book free of charge at Book Expo America. I was not obligated to review the book. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.