I really love Joi Mahon’s books and videos and her fresh take on sewing. She takes difficult concepts and breaks them down in to manageable sizes. Sewing as we all know is easy. Making things fit? Like trying to sculpt wood with a plastic knife.
Joi discusses her unique designs style and skills. She offers plenty of tips and tells the reader how she has developed her style, how you can use storyboards in your sewing, how to cultivate inspiration in even the most mundane items and activities. She also talks about design elements, how to use them, color theory and more. Through out this chapter you can do assignments and activities to help reinforce a technique or idea.
Chapter 2: Fashion Sketching
By far my worst subject. I cannot draw my way out of paper bag. As I review this chapter I enjoy how she makes drawing and sketching seem doable for myself. haven’t had time to do the activities in this chapter. However, she starts our slow with the first exercise all about practicing the basics. Perfect for someone like me. Don’t worry. For those that are more advanced you’ll be doing rendering, and making croquis.
This chapter is all about taking an idea in your head and putting them to paper. That is, learning how to make your own patterns. I cannot tell you how fun it is to start making your own sewing patterns. Once you learn how to do this you’ll never be the same. Joi has a lot of great information on pattern drafting, flat pattern, making your own pattern board, using slopers and making a fit sample. This book would be a great companion piece to video instruction. Just remember; you can’t learn patternmaking in a day. It does take practice.
Chapter 4: Draping, Drafting & Computer-generated Patterning.
See how we’re increasingly getting more advanced in our sewing? Draping is something that I have seen talented designers do, and it’s amazing to see in action. This is something I’d really like to learn. In Chapter 4 Joi goes step-by-step through the process of draping and with draping exercises as well. Again, this would be an excellent companion piece to video instruction. And, goes without saying: practice, practice, practice.
If you’ve been sewing for awhile, you might have noticed how difficult sleeves can be. Drafting sleeves is one of the harder areas to draft correctly. Notice how pattern companies put in a ton of ease into the sleeve? Not necessary at all (in most cases). Joi says that even a “novice patternmaker can master” sleeves. A wee bit skeptical but I am totally game for trying!
Chapter 5: Designing for the Real Body
Pattern makers have a standard, they have to adhere to. And, one can argue that the standard is unrealistic or needs to be updated. But, no two bodies are going to be a like, so it’s helpful to view patterns simply as a guide. You are the master and can make it fit your body with proper alterations. This chapter is how to take accurate measurements, how to measure yourself and pattern. Plus, find out how to adjust a pattern and why you should sew a fit sample. Also included tips through out. Bonus: fitting and sewing for kids.
Chapter 6: Joi’s Sewing Workshop
This chapter is great for beginners or those new to sewing. It offers sewing machine know-how, fabric tips, what tools you should have and information on interfacing. Plus, activities and exercises good for all levels.
Chapter 7: Design Process: Start To Finish
Short chapter, filled with photos of the process from start to finish.
This has a catalog of garment styles that will give you ideas and you begin to make your own patterns, croquis, plus a lengthy Resource List.
That is it in a nutshell. There is only one thing I would have like to have seen, spiral bound.
Thank you for reading! If you would like more reviews, or what you would like to see in a review, please let me know in the comments section and you’ll be entered to win 2 of Joi Mahon’s books!
All images courtesy of Fons & Porter and Joi Mahon.