The Savvy Seamstress

Many of you know that I am fortunate to have a highly talented friend, Nicole Mallalieu, who teaches sewing and fashion design and who also writes books.  Her latest book is The Savvy Seamstress, and I’m pleased to be part of the book tour promoting it!

Savvy Seamstress

Nikki is a highly experienced fashion designer, pattern maker and teacher, who has been working in the industry all her life. She really knows her stuff. I actually took part in testing the instructions in the book while Nikki was in the process of writing it. Nikki’s previous two books have contained instructions for specific projects. This book is a little different. Actually, I think that it really fills a gap in the sewing book market. It give you the skills to change patterns – to add pockets, to alter openings, to draft and change collars, and so on. It’s not a fitting book, or a project book, or a pattern book, but a book that opens up your sewing skills so that you can really customise your patterns to be what you want them to be.

Savvy Seamstress

I used Nikki’s instructions to change the convertible collar of the Colette Negroni pattern to a classic shirt collar and stand. The book contains loads of photos and diagrams and really steps you through the process.

Savvy Seamstress

I took my time, and ended up with what I think was a terrific result. As I was testing the instructions I used calico and contrasting thread. Any error would be glaring – but there were none! Everything fitted together perfectly.  And now I have a pattern all drafted for the next time I want to sew my husband a classic shirt.

Savvy Seamstress collar and stand

I invite you to take a look at what the other blog tour participants have sewn using the information in The Savvy Seamstress, either on Instagram or on their blogs.

I use many of the tips and techniques that I’ve learned from Nikki’s books, patterns and classes in my sewing projects.   They really do help in lifting my sewing to a more professional level.  I also like that they encourage me to do my own thing and to successfully adapt and modify the patterns that I already own to better meet my needs.

Savvy Seamstress

Now, it wouldn’t be a blog tour without a giveaway! One of my blog readers will win their own copy of The Savvy Seamstress. Just leave a comment on this blog post, letting me know what you’re most likely to use this book for. I’ll draw a winner at the end of the week (please make sure that your comment has a way of contacting you).  Good luck!




47 thoughts on “The Savvy Seamstress

  1. Hi Lara, I have been looking for my very first sewing book this week. I started sewing a year ago and don’t have any books for references. I would use it to “up my sewing game, level up”.

  2. I now (finally!) have managed to make a top that fits me. Being able to easily make design changes with minimum fuss and maximum results would be a huge plus and help me make the most of my very limited sewing time. I see a great range of collars in my future!

  3. I love all the tips in this book for altering patterns. I would be particularly interested in adding a yoke, and learning to make neckline facings.

    1. I agree! I see so many cute dresses that are sleeveless, and I am definitely not a fan of sleeveless dresses. I live in the US, so I don’t expect this post to count as an entry. But, I’m glad that you brought this book to my attention, because I’m sure I could learn a thing or two (or many more…).

  4. I have two of the previous two books by Nicole Mallalieu and they are excellent ; I highly recommend her books as they have so much useful information and are very thorough – the next book is on my wish list.

  5. As I sew I endeavour to do the best I can, making the garment look as professional as it can be. I want to know how to do things properly, so this book would be a great addition to my library.

  6. I’m very new to dressmaking and, although I’m currently taking lessons from a wonderfully patient seamstress, having a well documented, easy to read book would be a great back-up to fully understand how and why things are done in the dressmaking world – it’s one of those enjoyable books that would be read over and over again with a nice cuppa

  7. The book would up my sewing mojo. I would work through the book and try everything! i just did a sloper, this book would launch me into adding design details.

  8. I frequently want to add sleeves to sleeveless patterns. Hoping this book will help me?

    PS,Lara, I really enjoy your blog, and your particular style.

  9. Honestly — I’m not sure what I’d use it for immediately.
    I’ll read it from cover to cover and then – when the pattern (moment) calls for it, I’ll have a resource to help me try out something that stretches my skills.

  10. Great review, Lara and I didn’t know beforehand you knew the author, I agree, based on your review, it does seem to fill a void in the sewing book market. Sleeves and neckline modifications would interest me most, however, as I live in the U,S, it would cost as much to get the book to me as the book costs, so no worries. I’m grateful to read the review and I’ll likely be off to amazon. 🙂

  11. Thanks for being so savvy Nicole!
    With your help my journey is whole,
    to produce a fine placket,
    together we’ll whack-it,
    right out of the room on a roll!!

  12. You know me, I love a good pattern mash up! I have also been dipping my toes into drafting this year so it sounds as though this book would be a good addition to my collection and help me to develop those skills.

  13. I want to insert invisible zips invisibly – so people take lots of quick peeks at my clothes wondering is there/isn’t there a zip & by god how did she do it so well.

  14. Well… i was going to say I don’t really need another sewing book but if you learnt things then I would definitely love it! Pockets, collars and just how to do properly some the changes I do in a mickey mouse kind of way, would be great. I might buy this!

  15. Ooh me me me! Drafting a proper collar and stand would be fab, changing button plackets, mucking around with sleeves…. you name it I’d love to be able to properly tweak it! Thanks for a great review, if I don’t win I’ll def be adding it to my collection anyway xx

  16. I would use this book to improve my skills. I have no idea how to change necklines and sleeves and to have this book as a reference would be wonderful.

  17. I’d use this book to add features (mostly pockets tbh) to my tnt dress patterns, instead of always buying new ones for just one new feature. I feel like this book is a class in itself, and I could learn a lot from it!

  18. I have the other two books and love them. This one would be the “icing on the cake”. To readily have the reference to change necklines and sleeves would be wonderful.

  19. I would love to win this book to add to the library of the ASG Bendigo group. We are lucky to have the Pattern Drafter living in Bendigo so many of us draft our own clothes. This book would expand our skills. We are not only ‘me made’ but ‘me drafted’.

  20. I think this looks really interesting – I’m returning to sewing and dusting off old knowledge! I’ve found the sewing blog community incredibly inspiring and exciting, particularly when people alter patterns – something I’ve not been brave enough to do yet… I’d like to know more about adding pockets and facings!

  21. Terrific review!

    I’d use it to: alter then make clothes for the men in my life (son & husband). I would really like to have some well fitting patterns for them, Then I’d move onto clothes for the lasses, who have their own fitting dramas.

    Finally I’d move onto adding/altering trousers and shirts for me. I’d like to have pockets, and move around zips or buttons. And sleeves that work on me.

  22. This sounds like a great book – I have her You Sew Girl and agree with you that this new book fills a niche. I have just begun to adjust patterns rather than buy yet another variation of one in my stash because it has a different pocket or neckline. This book sounds just what I could use!

  23. Nice work on the Negroni. I think I’d do something similar – I love McCalls 7387, but I wish it had a two piece collar. This book is clearly the answer!

  24. I’m in the pocket adding brigade too, know it’s the sort of thing I could muddle through but pretty sure Nicole’ s instructions would be next level!

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