Thursday, October 1, 2009

Twinkle Sews

I was very excited to hear that Wenlan Chia was putting out a new book, this time for sewers rather than knitters. (She is the fashion designer behind Twinkle.)

I have been a big fan of her knitting books, although since most of her designs are done in bulky yarns, I have not made any of them. (Bulky sweaters are not such a good look for the larger ladies.) I appreciate her fashion forward designs and understanding of the DIY culture. I think it is great that Vogue carries designer patterns, but feel that most of them are geared towards an older idea of what fashion forward is. I was very excited when Wendy Mullin (Built by Wendy) started working with Simplicity and and putting out the Sew U books because it meant that a designer was finally getting that a lot of us want to make our own versions of what we see in the boutique stores. ($200 for anything is a lot for me.) The Twinkle knitting books have the same appeal.

I ordered Twinkle Sews sight unseen from Amazon, and am pretty excited by it, although not without some concerns. The book has instructions for 25 garments with the actual patterns on a CD that you can print PDF style (like Burdastyle) or through Adobe illustrator. (I have only looked at the pdf files.) The beginning of the book has some basic sewing information, but I don't think that a new sewer could make these garments without another reference book or a little more experience.

The sizing is also a little interesting. The patterns come in 5 sizes: 0, 4, 8, 12, and 16. (I cannot figure out why there is such a big space here. Blogger is weird. Keep reading.)


Since the measurements are just increments of 2, I imagine that many people are going to have to tweak the sizing a bit. One issue with that is that there is a different folder of PDFs for each size. (Not all sizes on one sheet like Burda.) For someone in between sizes, the instructions recommend that you lay the smaller size on top of the larger one and draw a line in between. The problem with this is the fact that it takes a lot of paper to print these suckers out. (I counted almost 50 sheets for one simple skirt. I will need to confirm that when I go to make it.) I have not seen any measurements for the garments, so I am not sure what the level of ease is and how the finished garments actually correspond to the sizes given. (Muslins are the order of the day here.)

The book starts out with a skirt chapter, and then proceeds with other types of garments (click on pictures to make them larger):

Everyday Chic Skirts:

Casual Charm Raglan Sleeve:

Effortless Elegance Drop Shoulder:

Playful Poise Spaghetti Straps:

At first glance the designs look overly simple, especially the skirts, but at further inspection there are some nice details. She stresses linings and there are a lot of nice origami-like touches. A lot of the clothing skews young (as does the Twinkle collections in general), but adding some length to the hemlines and other discreet changes can make a lot of these designs wearable for those of us over 40.

For my first design, I am going to try the A Plus A-Line skirt, that was not so coincidentally featured on the Burdastyle website.


They are having a contest and Wenlan Chia herself will pick her three favorite versions of this skirt for cool prizes. Look here for more info. I do not generally enter contests, but I have a cute idea for this, so I think I just might. Deadline is October 14th.

(I am not associated with anybody mentioned in this post. I was just super curious about this book.)


Christina said...

Oh thanks for posting these pics. I have been wondering what the styles would be like. I think I see a few in there that make the book worthy of purchase to me :)

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Very thorough and interesting review. Thank you!

craftyclaire said...

Thank you for that, as I was curious about the book and what projects were in it, after discovering her thru Burdastyle.

Pinked Edge said...

Thanks for the post. I was looking at the book at Borders today, and considering purchasing. The designs are amazing, but I was hampered by A) The patterns looked difficult B) Having to print and tape the patterns together and C) Finding good-quality fabric. Keep us posted on your progress!

QueenForOneDay said...

Hello! I have discovered your Blog just today and I really really like it! Thank you so much for posting the pictures of the projects in the book! I was jsut about ordring it off amazon unseen, but now I think I've changed idea ... It all seems like variations of what you can find in Burda ... except the one gray dress with eyelet neckline. I'm wondering if i really shoud spend 16 € for the only pattern I will probably use....

shares said...

thanks for your thorough post! i was thinking about getting this book and your post was really helpful.

J'Marie said...

Thanks for the pics of the projects - they are tres chic and nice couture pieces to add a bit at a time. Thanks again! JME