Thursday, January 20, 2011

History Thursday

Sorry for the late history lesson. I slacked hard yesterday, and forgot all about this little thing called a blog.

I decided that I would do a little history on based on something that I have been loving the last few days. Built By Wendy. As you may or may not know, I recently bought the Built By Wendy Dresses book, and love it! It is a great resource for the aspiring seamstress.

I’m going to tell you right off the bat that the “history” lesson involved in today’s post is straight off of the website. I’m sorry for my lack of ingenuity.

Originally from Chicago, IL Wendy founded her company in 1991 during her college years in Kansas. In 1992 she moved to New York and continued developing her brand while working as a costume designer, stylist and freelance designer for Kim Gordon’s X-Girl collection. In 1995 she began wholesaling her own Built by Wendy collection and was a founding designer in the Steven Alan showroom.

In 1998 Wendy opened her first flagship retail store on Centre Market Place in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City. Her successful online shop launched soon after, and in 2005 she opened her second retail store in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Her line is carried in boutiques and specialty stores throughout the country and around the world.”

But more to my point:

“2006 also saw the release of the popular Built by Wendy “Sew U” book, published by Bullfinch Press, along with a line of sewing patterns for Simplicity Pattern Co., called “Built By YOU.” A second sewing book called “Sew U Home Stretch” published by Little, Brown and Company, was released in May 2008. Wendy is currently writing her third sewing book, which is scheduled to hit bookstores in March 2010.”

6a00d8341c574653ef0120a85f0a2c970b-500wiNow, I don’t have either of the first two books, although I am considering acquiring them. But I can tell you that her latest is pure perfection.

The book comes with three patterns. I know your probably thinking that you can’t do much with that, and that you need a pattern for every project.Don’t fret. Wendy clearly explains how to alter the pattern in order to fit each project uniquely.


I will tell you that, while this book is for beginners, I don’t recommend it as your first leap into sewing. Due to space confinements, each step is not as detailed as it would be with a traditional pattern. I am working on my first dress from the book currently, and am having no problems following along. I have also tried my hand at multiple other dress and clothing patterns already, and definitely have to use my prior knowledge to guide me through.

That being said. I really think that this book will expand my craftsmanship further and faster than the same use of traditional patterns ever could have. It leaves a lot of the details up to you. Letting you think for yourself and decide how you really want your clothing to look.

There are 25 patterns of the more traditional setup. The patterns tell you what fabric and embellishments to buy, and how much of each (I want to make every dress she presents). But each dress also features one alternate way of designing with a few easy changes that you can make to the patterns or to the material choices to make a completely different dress. This is the section that really gets my brain bubbling. I love creating a dress from a pattern. But there is nothing like creating your own dress from scratch.

Here is a little peak inside the book.





I’ll do another quick review of a finished pattern when I finish the dress I’m working on. Meanwhile, I suggest going out and buying this book! If you enjoy sewing, and you enjoy dresses, then this is a must have!

I paid $27.99 at Barnes and Noble (it’s only $19 online). But you can probably find it anywhere online for a bit cheaper. At first glance it seems expensive. But when you take into account the 50 some-odd patterns that the book includes, not to mention the limitless possibilities, the $27 seems like a steal.


The next best thing coming from Wendy? Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets: The Sew U Guide to Making Outerwear Easy. Available February 22, 2011! I can’t wait!



pictures taken from

Wendy Mullin information taken from

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