Book Review: Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes

Styley seamstress Christine Haynes’ book Chic and Simple Sewing is perfectly titled, for on the pages of this beautiful book, you won’t find a single garment that is not simple to sew but timelessly chic.
The first 30 pages of the book are all about getting the novice seamstress up and running, from teaching about setting up your work space and equipment to specifics on how to take your measurements and how to use patterns. She even goes into the intricacies of picking just the right fabric and notions.
I’ve always been a fan of Haynes’ impeccable sense of style, and it really comes through in the 23 projects presented in this book. The chapters are divided seasonally, which proves to be a great way to lay out a sewing book. Haynes offers skirts, dresses, tops, and jackets that are masterfully designed to compliment a wide range of body types. And though the sewing techniques are never overly complicated, the end products are clearly classy.
The layout and form of the book is equally chic and well-organized. Inside the hard cover, the pages are spiral-bound, and on the inside of the front cover, there is a built-in mini accordion folder with a tuck-in flap that houses the full-sized patterns for the book’s projects.
My absolute favorite dress in the book is the Sunday Dress:
I also love The Jacket:
And the simple lines of the Wrap Skirt:
Overall, this is a great book for anyone who is interested in hand-making a wardrobe that doesn’t look handmade.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, be sure to check out The Urban Craft Center, where Haynes will be teaching upcoming sewing classes. Also, check out Haynes’ online shop, where she’s currently having a Vacation Sale. She is going on vacation for the month of September, so anything you order from now through September 30th is 30% off, with purchases being shipped the week of October 12th.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes

  1. Ana says:

    Does this book consider plus sizes? Thank you

  2. Laura Bamburak says:

    Great book, can’t wait to check it out!

  3. christine says:

    Hi Ana,
    Thanks for your comment. I wanted to reply personally, as this has been a common question. Unfortunately, the book does not address plus sizes. The patterns in the book range from sizes 2-12. When including the tissue pattern pieces in the book, the space was limited and I could not include every size that I wanted to. It was a challenge to get all the pattern pieces for 23 projects on four 40″ x 40″ sheets of paper and some decisions had to be made as how to make this work. I’m very sorry that this doesn’t include a size beyond a 12, as I’m no size 2 either. Please know that I am very aware of how limiting this is and would love to do a book in the future just for larger curvy gals. I hope this doesn’t stop you from learning to sew or continuing your practice, as there are some great plus size patterns out there!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

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