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Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  537 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Stitch N' Bitch for sewers complete with 3 full Simplicity patterns from downtown fashion darling Wendy Mullin.
Spiral-bound, 212 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Bulfinch
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Feb 02, 2009 Jennyslash rated it did not like it
I've sewn for over four decades and I have collected quite a few books on clothing design. I purchased this one because I was interested in her designs and I had read some positive reviews of the book. I have not made up any of the patterns, however, because the seam allowances are not consistent and I have not felt like wasting my time figuring out what the designer had in mind. Here's the problem: the text says that a smaller seam allowance has been included for certain pieces and that this in ...more
Aug 07, 2008 Drea rated it liked it
Recommends it for: DIY-ers, sewing beginners
Recommended to Drea by: Ready Made magazine
Alright, at first glance this is a great book to introduce sewing to beginners. The patterns are a nifty addition, for sure. There is a good discussion of tools, getting set up to sew, and terminology.

However, once I started in following the instructions for the patterns themselves, they have the same problems that all other commercial patterns seem to have - no details and vague illustrations. I've been sewing for over 20 years, and still couldn't make heads or tails of some of the directions
Dec 03, 2007 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft-books
I used to live down the street from the original Built By Wendy and was always impressed with the quality of her construction and creativity behind her designs. This book is just as great as her shop and it brings her projects to the hands of the hip new sewing generation.
The book offers three basic patterns (pant, skirt and button down shirt) with ideas for variations on each. This is a must own manual for all DIY sewers!
Kathy Hester
If you are a plus size - the patterns are not for you!
Oct 26, 2008 Kristina rated it liked it
The patterns and instructions in this book are cool. The pattern pieces required a lot of alteration before I could get a good fit for myself. The S, M, L pattern options are too general for the various body shapes and sizes, and new sewers are likely not to get a great fit if their patterns require alteration unless they know how to do this. If I could make a recommendation for future books like this - provide a download option for multiple, specific sizes. This way you can get a better fit and ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Darcy rated it really liked it
Shelves: sewing
This book was incredibly useful when I first started sewing. It explains a lot of the basics, and if you are learning entirely on your own, then I can't recommend it enough. Especially useful (for me) were the chapters on reading and cutting patterns and the sewing basics (hems, curves, bindings, etc.). If you aren't taking a class and don't have anyone to show you how to sew, then SEW U is an excellent place to start. Especially nice is the fact that the book includes three basic patterns (skir ...more
Mar 05, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it
Sew U is a sewing guide for beginners. It comes with three basic patterns--skirt, button-down shirt, and pants--and provides ideas for making a significant chunk of your wardrobe based on those three basics, changing them up by using different fabrics, trims, embellishments, and notions, as well as modifying the pattern. The first few chapters also contain basic sewing know-how (how to hem, what sort of needles to use, seam allowances, etc.) as well as great ideas on storing and organizing suppl ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Meredith rated it liked it
Shelves: craft
This is a great book for new DIY sewers who don't mind getting their hands dirty. The point of the book is to give you a foundation that will allow you to get running and make cool things by showing you the basics of construction and assembly.

The patterns included are great basics and are building blocks to modify and play with. I like to think of them as the shells or forms that you can use as a canvas. That's why they're so generic, and shouldn't be taken extremely literally (unless you want a
May 25, 2014 Gwen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: Thrift at Home, 7.27.2010
Shelves: self-education
Rating not based on the patterns--my library copy was missing the pants & shirt patterns, but I wasn't planning on using any of the patterns anyway.

This book was a lifesaver when I was making my very first (!) shirt (the free Colette Sorbetto sleeveless top). I found that Colette wasn't all that specific when it came to darts and stay-stitching, which this book explained very well. Wendy's instructions on using the sewing machine are some of the clearest I've read.

I appreciated Wendy's tone
Apr 29, 2009 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft-design
This book was fantastic. Mullin provides lots of useful tips and advice, helping you to demystify the pattern you've got in your hand (as well as all the buttons, dials and attachments that came with your sewing machine). She covers the basics of fabrics and how to cut them, and goes over the types of equipment you might want to get.

There are three patterns that come with this book - a basic skirt, shirt and pants. I didn't make any of those, but I think they would be a good resource to have ar
Jan 25, 2008 Inder rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prettystuff
I'm learning that one of the cheapest ways to get patterns for basics like pants, simple skirts, and shirts, is to buy one of these new basic sewing books that comes with patterns. This is a basic primer in sewing, but it also comes with patterns for cute pants, an a-line skirt, and a button down shirt, all from the "Built By Wendy" collection. Even if you already know how to sew, three really good patterns for $20 is a screamin' deal.

That said, if you want to learn to sew clothing, this would b
Aug 13, 2008 Ladylike rated it really liked it
This book is targeted to the beginner sewer. Since I've been sewing for years, I knew most of the info already. However, the inclusion of 3 Simplicity patterns make this book worth it, even if you already know the basics. The suggestions for alterations of the patterns are useful as well.

My only major dislike for this book (and Sew-U Stretch) is that the patterns included stop at a fairly medium-ish size. Simplicity makes patterns in a much larger size range, so there's no reason not to include
Feb 19, 2009 Bug rated it it was amazing
this is an awesome book for any beginning sewer who has interest in making clothes. like most sewing book it only talks about sewing women's clothes. it comes with several patterns that if you where to buy the equivalents of separately would probably cost more than the book and then it has super clear easy to follow detailed instructions for how to use the patterns to make all sorts of tops and bottoms. i got the copy i read from my library but i think this book is so useful i am going to be buy ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Becca rated it really liked it
Shelves: sewing, crafts, diy
This is a great how-to sew manual for beginners. It includes three basic patterns - for a skirt, shirt, and pants. There are tips and suggestions for customizing fit and style and great ides for personalizing garments using various details.

This was easy to read and understand and had lots of clear diagrams to clarify instructions. But one drawback is the limited sizes of the included patterns. They only go up to size 12. Other than that, I highly recommend this guide.
Apr 28, 2008 Thystle rated it really liked it
An ok book for learning to sew. I learned some new things from the book, but I'm glad that it wasn't the first book I picked up. I think the strength of the book lies in looking at all the different ways to modify the 3 basic patterns (skirt, shirt and pants in order of increasing complexity) to make each unique. It also helps me to learn about how clothes are put together.
Jan 02, 2010 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ashley, Melanie
Written for beginners, this book is a great sewing guide. I've been sewing for more years than I can count, but I still learned some great tips from Wendy. The book comes with three patterns: skirt, button-up shirt, and pants. I can't wait to try her pants pattern. I love that she teaches how to make practical things someone would actually wear.
Jan 20, 2008 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
This book rocks!!! It is by designer Wendy Mullin of Built By Wendy clothing. It contains 3 coooool patterns and it helped me to actually sew and complete my first blouse! If you have been a strictly skirts and curtains hack like myself, this book can help you take that leap into the world of collar stands, yokes, darts, and button holes, no problem!
Feb 10, 2014 Aileen rated it it was amazing
Although I have sewn for as long as I can remember and was taught the "old" way in the 1960's which unfortunately tended to put people off, I am thrilled to pick up books such as this and learn an easier way of doing a technique. For a reader new to sewing it will be enlightening. I am delighted there is such an interest now in domestic sewing. Easy to read and good instructions.
M.K.  Carroll
Jul 06, 2008 M.K. Carroll rated it really liked it
This is a well-written, easy to understand instruction book for beginning to sew your own clothes. The patterns, unfortunately for me, didn't include my size (I'm a US 10-12 ). Built By Wendy does offer the patterns in larger sizes, so it would be possible to purchase the patterns separately and use them with the book, but I was annoyed enough to just give the book away instead.
May 15, 2011 Judi rated it really liked it
So far I've used a couple of hints in the book, my tools are stored within easy reach not in a can as she suggests but a repurposed office supplies lazy susan. I am starting to compile an inventory of fabrics in a binder with fabric samples, amount, fibre and location. I have not made up any of the patterns yet, will try the skirt hopefully before we go away this winter.
Jan 24, 2010 Rae rated it really liked it
It's hard to remember now, but this was one of the very first "make your own clothes" books to come out (at least since the latest sewing revolution began). It's a great resource for basic sewing information, and has really great basic patterns (like Sew U: Home Stretch) that you can build on, only for wovens, not knits.
Aug 17, 2009 Lu rated it it was amazing
This is The Best book for a beginning seamstress--specifically one who intends to sew clothes. I love, love, love this book (yes, that was the same number of "loves" that Mr. Darcy gives to Elizabeth in the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice.)
Grace Snow
Dec 07, 2008 Grace Snow rated it liked it
I really liked the format and the information in this book. It's thorough and well-designed. However, the patterns aren't designed to accomodate plus sizes, which is why I gave the book only three stars.
amanda mello
May 09, 2007 amanda mello rated it it was amazing
Shelves: half-read
I'm still near the beginning, but it's great to have an accessible sewing tutorial. I mean, it starts from the very beginning! What you'll need, setting up your space, basics, patterns, etc. etc. Thank goodness!
May 25, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing
Bought it at McKays. It's been helpful in setting up a sewing area and knowing what to have on hand to make sewing easier and more fun. My book is missing the patterns but I plan to use easy-to-sew patterns anyway. Can hardly wait to get started!
Apr 16, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: beginners and intermediates
This is a great practical book for beginners. Wendy shares her tips and gives basic guidance to those wanting to improve their garment presentation skills.

I have been sewing since I was 6 and I have found this book helpful. Also, Wendy's patterns are worth the price of the book.
Apr 20, 2012 Amber rated it it was amazing
Awesome book for people who need to know the basics of sewing a basic wardrobe. Wendy Mullin covers EVERYTHING a person needs to know to start sewing garments and everything about fabric, notions, tools, etc...This is a great book and I highly recommend it if you are looking to learn how to sew.
Kim M-M
Nov 11, 2008 Kim M-M rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art_craft_design
Excellent resource book for beginner sewers. Has detailed guides and instructions, easy to understand and follow. Also contains basic patterns in the back of the book. Gives you a good list of basic stitches and terms.
Heather the Hillbilly Banjo Queen
I wasn't all that excited about the patterns in this book. They weren't classic enough for me. Too trendy. If you want to sew trendy clothes, this is the book for you. It is written well and she explains how to sew perfectly. I just didn't like the patterns.
Mar 26, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I've read it. I liked it. Now I am going to use it to sew myself a shirt. I will update my review after the shirt is done.
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