23 October, 2009

First impressions of Twinkle Sews

As I said in the last post, I lugged this book around most of the day, leafing through it and dreaming. From a quick read through (haven't had a chance to view the patterns yet) I get the impression that this is going to challenge my sewing and instruction-following skills! You definitely need to know what you're doing with this book, no beginners need apply. I consider myself a fairly competent seamstress, but I do like detailed instructions and this book doesn't have them. There are very few photos of the construction process, it's all briefly covered in text.

The skirts.
Images from Twinkle Sews

In many ways this book is like a Japanese pattern book - there are nice photos of the clothes being worn by models, and then a page with all the garments laid out flat - it's a nice mix.

Drop-shoulder Tops
Images from Twinkle Sews

I love the construction details on the clothes, simple yet complicated at the same time.

Spaghetti straps
Images from Twinkle Sews

I probably won't be making many of these - more for the slimmer gal I think! Although...

Raglan sleeves
Images from Twinkle Sews

The only issue I have with the patterns is that they're seemingly designed for slim builds, although I'm willing to give some of them a go for sure - maybe lengthen and shape the body a little bit? A lot would depend on the fabrics, she uses a lot of wool, silk and natural fibres which have lovely drape. The sizing is a bit odd too - the book cover says 0-16 which should cover me (just) but boy the 16 is a pretty small one! I need to do a mockup of one of the patterns to test this, but I may have to try and size up (blech). It's weird that, because I'm pretty sure it's an American book and when I was in the States last year I was buying size 12-14 (12!!! what an ego boost). I thought I was safe as a NZ 16, but I guess not. Humph. But short of a drastic starvation diet I will just have to work on my mad pattern-making skillz.

I think I'll choose a nice simple pattern to start with, choose some nice fabric and just see how I go. I'm thinking the cowled grey tunic top right just above, or the black drop sleeve top that isn't very clear in the photo but has lovely puffy sleeves and neat lattice detail around the neck. My end goal is the dress on the front of the book - it's gorgeous but looks a bit tricky. Often following text instructions depends on how well your mind meshes with the writer's way of describing things, I have yet to see how mine copes! I'm hoping that this will prove to be one of those things that make sense once you have the pattern pieces in front of you and you start going through step-by-step. Chia offers lots of ideas for customising the patterns, as well as alternate fabric choices for different looks.

So overall a big thumbs up at this point, with a few reservations and a certain amount of trepidation about how well I'll go with the instructions. But potentially huge payout! These kinds of clothes are the type of thing I'd like to dress in but never have the money to afford from shops. Some of them might even be challenging for me to wear, but I feel encouraged to step outside my comfort zone both stylistically and technically with this book.


  1. challenge is good! i also am worried about pattern sizing, being a composite. i can buy 16/18, but when i go to buy a pattern, it comes out to 20/22.

  2. So glad you reviewed this book b/c I have been wanting to get it, but I am pretty new to sewing and following a pattern. After reading your review I'm rethinking. Maybe I will ask for it for Christmas? I became a follower, love your blog, being a sewer myself. Come visit my blog at http://sidac.blogspot.com.

  3. Wow Jacqui, this book does look awesome. I haven't ever read a Japanese sewing book (well, not that I could, but you know what I mean... never seen one), but I agree with your process. Even though I've put a million things together in my time as a seamstress, I still love and need the instructions. They're my safety blanket.

    Please keep us up to speed with how the patterns translate to garments. I love the pics in this book but would also love a real life review from someone whose opinion I trust. Have a great weekend!!

  4. I have an award for you! Come by my blog to pick it up!

  5. Thanks for showing us the pics...I've just ordered my copy. Would love to see any you make up.

  6. thanks for the review, I love Japanese pattern books but the sizing is always an issue. Let us know how you do with this one,

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  9. No blame, no shame. I just taped one together and totally understand. We all stall and start. I would love to know if you do sew it. I was thinking of using one for a maternity dress for my daughter.

  10. Oh I'm so ashamed to admit that no, I haven't yet! I've got one pattern
    printed out and taped together, and the fabric ready but that's as far as
    I've gotten. To be honest it was such a pain in the arse doing the printing
    and taping, and the sizing is uncertain and therefore so am I! But I'll have
    more time on my hands soon and hopefully I'll give it a try.



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