Make it, own it, love it, by Matt Chapple | Book Review

Make it, own it, love it

I’ve been travelling a lot with work lately, to some wonderful places, like Berlin and Stockholm, so not complaining. And when I got home from Stockholm last week, the postman brought me a present: my friend and fellow Sewing Bee (Season 3) Matt Chapple is now a published author!! How amazing is that?!! And now I get to tell you all about this wonderful book, called Make it, own it, love it (a copy of which was sent to me for free to read and review, all opinions my own). Check out Matt’s own blog post about this as well.

As a friend, I’m so very happy for Matt for achieving the fantastic feat of publishing his first book. But I am double happy as a sewist with a sustainability core. This is not just a sewing book, it is a way to help people who don’t sew or think they can’t, learn enough to be kind to the clothes they already have. And in this ‘wear once and through away’ day and age, anything that stops clothes going to landfill for small, fixable, damages is wonderfully welcome!

Credit Simon Brown

Credit Simon Brown

So, a little bit about what you can find in this book…

It’s a book aimed at beginners so you will find the intro sections on tools, fabrics and sewing techniques. I loved the part about glue, the first book I read that is not afraid to recommend it and rightfully so, very handy in some situations! And let’s not forget Matt’s now famous stones, used as fabric weights, in conjunction with the rotary cutter and the cutting mat. Out of this section, I really enjoyed the pattern matching, as this is a particular nemesis of mine, from the Sewing Bee days. Hope many people will get over their fears using Matt’s tips!

Following a section on hand and machine sewing is one of my favourite parts of the book: a guide to commercial patterns. Years ago, as a beginner sewist, I was really mystified by all the markings on the tissue paper of the patterns. Matt offers a brief explanation that should help you out if you’re just starting. This, in conjunction with the next section on measuring, should also help figure out how to take your own measurements and choose the right pattern size.

Credit Simon Brown

Credit Simon Brown

And then we’re away to the main sections, starting with alterations in the ‘Make it your own’. Here Matt covers hems, and how to adjust trousers to fit, like hemming jeans, making shorts out of long leg trousers, length adjustments on dress trousers with blind hems, and shortening sheer dresses using a rolled hem. Next bit is on width adjustments, like slimming trousers’ legs, and waistline. All of these are great skills to know and not only will they help you wear clothes that fit well, but will also save you a pretty penny at the alteration shop. You can then personalise existing garments by adding patches on the elbows or as patch pockets. Matt then goes on to cover darts, which can then be used to take in shirts and adjust the bust of a dress. Pleats follow, and Matt shows you how to turn a t-shirt into a dress and add a kick pleat to a skirt. I also really liked the project about adding an exposed zip to skirts. Make it your own also refers to embellishments, like adding buttons, bias binding or lace trims.

Credit Simon Brown

Credit Simon Brown

The next section, ‘Make it from scratch’ showcases a series of easy projects for readers to tackle themselves, like a bowtie, a sleeveless blouse, an infinity scarf, a pleated mini-skirt, a very cute sweatshirt with side buttons, pyjama trousers and a summer dress. So definitely something for everyone to try out!


Credit Simon Brown

Then we’re off to the repairs section. Matt is covering replacing buttons, hooks and eyes, press studs, then reattaching a loose hem, fixing holes in pockets, and sorting out a lost drawstring. Also, if you’re interested in zippers, Matt has the most frequent issues covered.

What I also really liked was that unlike other sewing books, at the very end, Matt also included so general care instructions, which are meant to help your clothes last longer. I really appreciated the table with the laundry symbols, which will come in very handy when trying to figure out the care labels on RTW clothes. Also, Matt teaches you how to take care not only of your clothes but of your shoes as well!

So, as you can see, quite a comprehensive book that will hopefully benefit beginner and more experienced sewers alike!

I am only sorry that I did not get a chance to make a project to show you from those in the book, especially the sweatshirt, the sample picture is so cute!

Hope you enjoy ‘Make it, own it, love it’ and congratulations again to Matt for his first published book!



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