The always classy, super sexy Kristiann Boos has a new sewing book called Boundless Style: A Mix-and-Match Sewing Pattern Workbook (published by Fons & Porter/F+W for $32.99). I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this groundbreaking book for review.
Kristiann is the talented designer and sewist behind Victory Patterns, a pattern company whose trademark is modern design, skillful women’s clothing patterns. I’ve made the Lola and the Ava Top. I need to confess at the outset that I love the style of Victory patterns but always have fit problems with them. The bust is designed for someone with a little more oomph up top. As a result of their very fitted style, I always end up with too much fabric up top, which is just a fitting issue I need to work on with their designs. That said, there is so much to love about this book.
First off, it’s trying to do something really new. The book has five different bodice types, five skirts and five different sleeves and is designed to allow you to mix and match to create your own dress out of those fifteen elements. I love this idea so much! The first thing I thought was, “Why hasn’t this been done before?!”. It’s very cool. So much thought has been put into designing these bodices, sleeves and skirts so that any bodice will line up correctly with any skirt type and any sleeve type. It must have been an incredible labor of love. Kristiann’s immense design talent and patience for precision really shine in that regard.
But to say that the book is just a “mix and match” sewing pattern is book is to sell it waaaay short. I have my critiques of this book but it is no exaggeration to say that this book is an education in how to sew professionally. Not only are Kristiann’s instructions clear and straightforward but also incredibly thorough. Finishing techniques and expert garment sewing techniques are included all throughout. The book includes instructions on basic dress-making but also digs deeper into nearly-coutoure level stuff such as how to line everything and put in invisible and all other kinds of zippers, sewing piping, and properly sew darts. This book isn’t “how to make a simple dress” it’s more like “how to make the dress you will forever be proud of and everyone will be wowed by”. It’s also a gorgeous book…the photos are artistic and stunning.
Also impressive is a very cool LookBook they created which allows you to try out all the different styles with each other. It helps the decision-making process a ton. Oddly, the url listed in the book for the Lookbook is incorrect, so I had to find it through the Victory Patterns blog.
Like I mentioned, there are a few things I’m not crazy about in this book. For one, the patterns are all on a CD at the back of the book instead of being on paper. This strikes me as a silly choice. The book is over $30 and at that price when I have bought a book (and not an online pattern) I expect to have paper patterns included so I can save myself the time of taping a pattern together. Especially given that Victory Patterns already sell paper patterns. Seems a weird decision. Perhaps it was really expensive to print so many full-sized patterns? Who knows.
I was also difficult to uncover how much fabric is needed for a given item. Often when I’m deciding what to make I will look at how much fabric is required compared to what I have in my stash. For some reason, fabric amounts are only listed in the pdfs and not in the actual book. It’s not a huge deal but it meant I was bouncing around between pdf’s and the book while deciding what to sew. It’s kind of a small, nit-picky thing in some ways but does inhibit the ease of use.
Neither of these annoyances are things that keep me from recommending the book, though. It’s pretty and inspiring. Sadly, my attempt at a dress (Moss sleeves, Catrina bodice and Sophia skirt for anyone interested ) was a really poor fit. It’s because of the aforementioned small-sized bust issue. I’m going to keep working on perfecting the fit but nobody wants to look at my “swimming in it” pictures.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for review but my opinions are all my own.