Making life more beautiful: A book review

How much does the average woman spend on her wardrobe trying to nail her style? Forty years ago I probably spent a lot. Actually, ten years ago I was still spending a lot, but had I had this book I might have saved myself a great deal of time, money and disappointment.

The book is, of course, the newly released Making Life More Beautiful by Kate Davies of Fabrickated fame and to my delight she invited me to be a reviewer.


Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 10.11.10 am.png

My preconception from her posts about the book was that it was pretty much exclusively for people who make their own clothes to assist them to put outfits together in a more “beautiful way”, when in fact it is about creating a cost-effective, sustainable and flattering wardrobe, but doesn’t fall into the run-of-the-mill “making” genre as it covers a range of topics not normally contained within books about sewing, knitting and crafting. It is therefore of interest to a much wider audience than those who make their own clothes. It is a book for anyone (predominantly women who want to have a defining style that suits them), and provides both a thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary on colour, style and fashion.

The book has been extremely well researched with authoritative quotes to lend it credibility,  and contains the odd bit of humour along the way too. At one point I thought I was relating to the “Germaine Greer” style of dressing until Kate gave a list of potential clothes including “several things with holes or mud”, which I decided that wasn’t me at all! Her treatise on high heeled shoes was also quite entertaining and I am going to join her Flat Shoe Society.

This is a meaty book with well structured chapters following a logical progression. There are three major sections with Beauty and Making each comprising about forty percent of the book, and Life making up the remaining twenty percent (this is a very rough guesstimate). I admit that I spent the bulk of my time reading the section on Beauty and will do a follow up post relating this book to my life and my style, as I try to work out my colouring and body shape.

Kate has spent considerable time considering this book and has shown a real understanding of her potential audience. She discusses the fact that clothes define, and are defined by, our personalities and activities, and confronts the current excesses of the fashion industry. She covers dress codes and dressing confidence, exhorting us to “wear what you love and love what you wear”.

A book on living a beautiful life needs to be beautifully presented, and it is. There is the perfect amount of information on each page to keep the reader interested and the photographs and illustrations are lovely. This is an intensely personal book, full of photographs of Kate, her friends and a sprinkling of her family. This has the effect of drawing the reader in and helps personalise the information. We see photographs and clothes that we recognise if we follow Kate on social media and there is comfort and familiarity in this.

Kate provides patterns and directions for the sewing, knitting and crochet makes, transporting this book into something else entirely. She makes the case for becoming a maker, rather than a mere consumer of clothing; discussing fit and the expression of individual and personal style. She outlines ten steps to consider before making a pattern and how to draft simple sewing patterns. There are six sewing projects, three knitting projects, and two crochet projects, as well as two projects on printing textiles, and these alone would make this book great value for money.

Readers will find the book inspirational and I guarantee they will be dipping in and out of it for a long, long time; I know I will!

If you want to buy the book it is available on the Fabrickated website for £14.99 with free postage in the UK, which is excellent value for money.


14 thoughts on “Making life more beautiful: A book review

  1. Dearest Sue – what a fantastic review to wake up to this morning. I am so grateful you took the time and trouble to read it so thoroughly and your very kind remarks made all the sweat (sometimes I am a natural too!) seem worth it. You are a kind friend who lifts others up every day with your lovely blog, handmade wardrobe and enviable lifestyle. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed my review as I really enjoyed your book! I am now trying to apply it to my personal style and will blog that too as I think that is the whole point of the book. I am looking forward to writing it!

  2. What a great review Sue! “She outlines ten steps to consider before making a pattern”? I need to read that as I can’t even think of one, other than I love it!! Already a fan of Kate’s blog and Instagram, I know I will love her book and learn a lot from it. The cover page alone is so appealing with items from Kate’s own handmade wardrobe. Well done!

  3. Interesting as I haven’t spent a lot on any RTW for over 30 years and I can confidently say I wear what I love and feel confident doing so.

  4. Thank you so much for your review, Sue! I am so happy that my copy is already on it‘s way. I considered that buying it can not be wrong as I love reading Kate‘s blog and therefore it‘s lovely to honor this in buying the book. Now I guess that I will not only enjoy reading it but learning a lot, too!

Leave a Reply