09 Dec 2012 • • by Heather Lou

Book Club: Burdastyle's Sewing Vintage Modern

Who among us does not love BurdaStyle? They made the brilliant decision to create a thriving social network for all us home sewist's and it was one of the first places I turned to when I started learning how to make my own clothes. It's been a great place to get feedback and share information, and I was honored to be a featured member in October. You can read the interview here.

I got the first BurdaStyle book last year; great projects and a wonderful resource when I was learning the ropes. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Jamie Lau contacted me to make a project from the new Burdastyle book she co-wrote with Nora Abousteit, Sewing Vintage Modern.

I was sent an advance copy and thought I would share my thoughts on this new addition to our sewing book library.

Like the first BurdaStyle book, it includes information on the basic equipment needed to produce the included projects, along with a primer on making pattern modifications. However, it does not include lengthy chapters on sewing basics, which I think was wise. That information can get repetitive for anyone who is not an absolute beginner. Instead the focus is on  summarizing vintage periods by decade and creating iconic garments from each period in a modern way. For this reason I consider this new book a companion to the original rather than another primer on how to learn to sew.

The book includes 5 base patterns that can be modified to create 19 different projects. There are excellent instructions on how to adapt the basic slopers into different garments and I think is a really great introduction on how to modify patterns, which can be intimidating if you haven't done it before.

Here is a good example of the clear instructions provided to convert one of the basic dress blocks into a strapless dress:

For vintage aficionados, the basic introduction to the styles of each decade (notable designers, key accessories etc.) may not be fresh news, but it is a good summary of how fashion has evolved since the 20's. Each decade is represented by one or more iconic looks.

The classic 20's flapper "Louisa" drop-waist dress is the dress I chose to work on.

Here are a few of my favourite projects:
A traditional 50's full skirted silhouette, along with a petticoat pattern:

A classic 60's shift:

I especially loved the 70's patterns (maybe my favourite vintage era). I adore this cotton blouse. So Laurel Canyon:

A full sleeved blouse with bow neck is so romantic in this sheer fabric:

A bohemian maxi evening dress:

The 80's is not my favourite period of fashion but the projects included for this era are actually fun and wearable. Really love this 80's prom bustier dress:
Overall, I was really happy with this book. I liked the fresh, modern take on sewing vintage garments and think the styling is lovely, approachable and not too "period". It's vintage style for today.
The instructions are incredibly clear and well written and the projects provide a great entry into the world of pattern modification. It's nice to be reminded that we are only limited by our imaginations; it's pretty amazing what you can do to a basic sloper and I'm inspired to start approaching all my sewing projects with the same attitude.
I  certainly made a few modifications to my flapper dress! I'll be sharing that with you shortly. Hope you all had a lovely weekend and enjoyed this sneak peek into the BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern book. It is quite the steal on Amazon right now and would be a fun gift to unwrap on Christmas morning.
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