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Book Review of Girl with a Sewing Machine by Jenniffer Taylor

Book review - Jenniffer Taylor sewing book

Jenniffer Taylor will be familiar to sewing fans as a former contestant on The Great British Sewing Bee and this new book shares her infectious enthusiasm for making and upcycling her own clothes as part of her personal ‘Sewing Revolution’.

The book begins with Jenni’s personal journey through sewing as a self-taught seamstress and how she made her own wedding dress! The practical side of the book talks you through the tools required (including some rather unusual items that Jenni has found helpful) and she goes on to discuss thinking about the types of clothes you wear and what fabrics you might require for your sewing journey.


Teacup pincushion

The first simple project in the book is a dear little teacup pincushion that is a pretty and practical project to cut your teeth on.


Recycling sewing projects

Jenni encourages visits to charity shops to collect headscarves, woollens and old jeans to upcycle into pretty projects including a Scarf Top and the brilliant Festival Pouch to hold all your valuables whilst having fun away from home! It’s on my to-do list…


Printing on clothing 
There is a whole chapter on customising clothes in your wardrobe and she has some great ideas including embroidery, printing and adding tassels – plenty of ideas to give your garments a much-needed uplift!

  Self measuring for dressmaking

As you move on, Jenni takes you into how to make clothes from scratch with a useful section on measuring yourself using a trusty piece of elastic and a tape measure. The book refreshingly does not rely on using pre-sized patterns – Jenni encourages you to draft your own personal patterns that will fit you, onto newspaper or pattern drafting paper from your measurements or by using an existing garment as a base and drafting straight to fabric.

The book is superbly illustrated and the instructions and associated techniques are very clear so that the garments are very achievable for even a beginner sewer.  The designs are easy-to-wear casual and would appeal to a broad audience. There are a couple of dresses, a skirt, simple tops, a blanket coat, wrap trousers and my favourite – the Dunga Dress.


Dressmaking ideas in Girl with a Sewing Machine

If you’ve been reluctant to make your own clothes, Jenni’s ideas and enthusiasm will help you overcome those fears and get you started – you can’t help but be inspired by her bubbly, chatty writing style and obvious passion for her subject.


Girl with a Sewing Machine by Jenniffer Taylor and published by Search Press is available to buy priced at £12.99