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.
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.