Book Review: The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

Craft & Design Workshop Yarncraft

Last Thursday, I attended the launch party for The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook at the beautiful event space at Housing Works Bookstore in NYC. I was so excited to be invited, and I really enjoyed checking out the book, talking to some of the project designers, and hanging out in a room filled with other people who were passionate about sewing!
The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook was written by Nora Abousteit with Alison Kelly, and was published by Potter Craft. It includes 15 projects, and comes with 5 complete printed patterns that cover nearly every aspect of a fashionable gal’s wardrobe: the skirt, the blouse, the dress, the coat, and the bag.

Even if you’re completely new to sewing, have no fear. The book begins with a chapter on the basics of setting up a great sewing space, including organization tips from big names in the sewing world. A very thorough description of the supplies that you’ll need to build up basic sewing and patternmaking toolkits comes next, followed by an introduction to working with a sewing machine and an overview of basic sewing stitches and machine techniques. The second chapter is devoted to making sure that you are fully prepared to get creative with all of the patterns that are included with the book, and shows you how read, cut, and fit the patterns to achieve the look that you want. (Muslins, my friends: just make them!) Finally, the third chapter tackles the skills that you’ll need to actually construct and sew your project, covering fabric types, pressing and pinning, seams, hems, and closures.
Now comes the fun part: In the next five chapters, you’ll get ideas for using the included skirt, blouse, dress, coat, and bag patterns to make unique items that fit your personal style. Each section showcases a different designer’s take on the original pattern, and shows you how to to get the same results. It’s really amazing how much a little customization can completely change the look of a finished piece. Would you believe that the two skirts above are made using the same pattern?
Personally, I’m most excited about the dress pattern—it’s the perfect shape for so many styles! At the launch party, all of the projects from the book were on display, and I absolutely fell in love with this design. I can’t wait to make one of my own!
The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook is a great new resource that is absolutely overflowing with information and inspiration. It’s definitely my new go-to sewing book!

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

  1. Yolanta from Happy to Make says:

    I am so excited about this book. I love the picture of the sewing studio (above), this is what I will try to organize as soon as we move house to London.

  2. ellen says:

    This book is looking good to me too. It seems to have a more “open-source” orientation than most commercial patterns and is amazingly inexpensive.

  3. nothy says:

    I just bought this book. It looks really good! Thanks for the review.
    My blog is

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley.

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