Stylish Remakes by Violette Room is very different from the Japanese sewing books I've reviewed so far for Tuttle Publishing. First of all, it isn't a book of patterns by a Japanese designer, but a sewing book compiled by a Japanese fashion company, Violette Room, that specializes, according to its website, in 'loose silhouettes, heartwarming details, and comfortable materials for everyday, home and special dress clothing'. In this book, Violette Room brings this approach to clothes re-making, providing upcycling tricks with a particular sense of style.
The book comprises 25 remakes of simple garments, taking short- and long-sleeved Tees and shirts, sweat shirts, coats, scarves and bandannas, and refashioning them into new clothing items: tops, dresses, shorts and accessories for women and children. The first half of the book takes a before/after approach, picturing the finished re-purposed garments, and showing the previous clothing and additional materials that created them. The second half of the book provides step-by-step instructions on how to make each garment, with lots of clear drawings. The techniques are easy and mostly involve cutting pieces off, shortening lengths, and altering or stitching pieces together. Because no item is made from scratch, more complex dress-making steps like measuring and tracing patterns are minimal, or not necessary at all.
I would venture to say that, despite the book's subtitle, "Upcyce your old T's, sweats and flannels into trendy street fashion pieces", these refashioned garments would be more trendy among people of high school or university age, or anyway folks who are looking to upcycle their college hoodies. But the ideas behind each of the projects are very clever, and even if you don't own a college hoodie anymore - or never have, as is the case with most European college students - you can be inspired to pick up some old garment and, as the book's editors exhort, "morph it into something new."
One of my favorite parts of the book is the last section, which shows how square bandannas can be sewn into three different projects: an adult's patchwork dress, a child's camisole and skirt, and a drawstring purse. The patchwork dress, in particular, is a masterpiece of Japanese ingenuity, perfectly combining origami-style folding techniques and creative sewing.
If you'd like some ideas for how to upcycle your old clothes with a trendy Japanese vibe, and want to win a copy of Stylish Remakes by Violette Room, just leave a comment. I'll announce the winner here on Monday, so please check back!
THANK YOU ALL FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY, AND THANKS TO TUTTLE PUBLISHING FOR SPONSORING IT. THE WINNER IS Susan, PLEASE EMAIL ME!