(Giveaway now closed)
My sewing is behind schedule. As much as I don’t like to think the my life requires a schedule, the simple reality is when you are working fulltime with kids and a hobby blog… a degree of planning is necessary!
Lately my life has been dedicated to juggling a fulltime job and my eldest daughter’s very busy dance schedule and her participation in the local dance eisteddfod. More about the dancing & dancewear in another post – as I ended up making more than ‘just’ a tutu!
Today I’m here to review the new book The Tunic Bible: One Pattern, Interchangeable Pieces, Ready-to-Wear Results by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr.
Julie Starr is well known for her gorgeous contributions to Pattern Review and Sarah Gunn needs little introduction to the online sewing world courtesy of her blog Goodbye Valentino and Mood Sewing Network – in fact she was one of the first sewing bloggers I discovered. Together they have written The Tunic Bible, a huge achievement and exciting development for them both! Congratulations.
I’m in the middle of making up my ‘tunic’ from this book and decided not to rush and to share it on a separate post because…
- I like to finish my project thoughtfully and neatly; and
- focus on the book.
I think it’s easy to just look at garment and not really know what you might be purchasing when you buy a book on impulse after seeing one garment from it.
I’ve been provided with a digital copy to review. I confess I do find it difficult to read a book online or on my ipad so I ended up printing it out in mini booklet form so I could get a general sense of the layout and feel. The paper copy is still on it’s way
MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Now like many of you I suspect, I thought… how on earth do you write a book about tunics? I thought that because my ‘notion’ of a tunic is a garment that finishes at upper to mid thigh, a placket style neckline – with or without sleeves. And as a general rule – modest.
And yes, the tunic as you know it is definitely this book… alongside a seemingly endless array of tunic, and dresses – mini/maxi in this book.
or if you prefer to see them on ‘real’ people…
I’ve decided to include the Contents page from my ‘review copy’ so you get a good overview of what is covered in this book.
The books does provide you with a full overview of all the possible options – and each version of the ‘tunic’ is accompanied by a description of the different style ‘elements’ that have been used as well as the type of fabric, trimming and embellishment.
There is a array of necklines and collar types to consider, sleeves (including a puffed and split sleeve), fitted vs loose silhouettes and how to embellish and trim your tunic. They also cover suitable types of fabrics – the options range from silk and linen to lace and knit options.
There is also a gallery of home sewing personalities who have made up a wide range of ‘tunics’ in all lengths, fits and fabrics. The book itself is packed with a huge range of different tunics – there must have been A LOT of sewing going on during the making of this book! I believe Sarah and Julie sewed approximately 60 tunics between them.
The pattern is provided full-size on a tear-out jumbo sized sheet. Hooray for not printing off A4 sheets and sticking them together!
There is a ‘general assembly order’ provided with an order of construction provided and also a seam finishing order.The construction instructions to me are more than adequate – however if you are an absolutely beginner you make want to google a few things BUT if you have basic sewing knowledge the book provides adequate guidance through the contruction of all the different elements: the types of plackets, collar finishes (including a ruffle of course – I would expect nothing less from Sarah!).
I wouldn’t say that there is ‘fitting’ advice in this book – other than the suggestion to make a muslin, what to check and a resource list on where to source support for alterations. I think this is adequate as it is not sold as a tunic fitting bible and fitting is such a varied and complex area unto itself.
The book concludes with a range of physical (largely US based) and online fabric & trim stores, Sewing and alterations resources, online classes and links as well as sewing with speciality fabrics.
I’ve been guilty of not to think to include sizing in my book reviews – and I always should. I’ve made the mistake of buying patterns that I fall outside the range of and I think it’s easy enough to do! So The Tunic Bible covers the following size range.
- Begins at XS: Bust 33in/84cm, waist 28in/71cm, hip 35.5in/90cm
- Finishes at XXL: 47in/121cm, waist 43in/109cm, hip 49.5in/126cm
I admit to being somewhat skeptical about 100+ pages on tunics – and I’m delighted that my skepticism was unfounded. I found the book interesting and inspiring – and a nice change from pretty dresses (as much as we all love them – me included).
There is a truckload of visual inspiration due to the large number of photographs and tunics that have been constructed for this book. This comprises more than half of the book – and reminder being dedicated to the construction of the tunic elements (yes, there are a lot of options!).
I think it may be a good starting point for someone who wants to experiment with a fairly simple base pattern to try a range of fabrics, trims and let their imagination run wild. The book does offer you a range of options to consider to make a unique garment each time.
For me, I can see a few simple tunic shift dresses for summer and perhaps a floaty version with sleeves as a beach cover-up. I look forward to seeing the book in person.