You guys know that I love the site New Dress A Day, so when I got the opportunity to review the book that sprung from the website, I was super excited! The book isn't out yet (coming in a few days, though!), so I got an advance reviewer's copy. Due to that, mine might be a little different from the final product, but I can still give you a good idea of what to expect!
If you've yet to follow any of my eleventy billion links to Marisa's site, the basic idea is this: A few years ago, Marisa Lynch lost her job suddenly and was a little stuck about where to turn next. Inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, she decided to create a blog based around something she loved doing. Since cooking totally isn't her thing (Mine, either!), instead of making a recipe a day like Julie did, she decided to use her sewing and thrifting skills to turn one ugly thrift store find into a cute new outfit each day. Just to add to the challenge, she also set a budget of $1 per day!
Marisa's one year project has now lasted over three years, and she's still going! It's so much fun to check out her site each day to see the transformations and get inspiration for my own sewing projects! She also features reader-submitted clothing makeovers done on the cheap! Apparently I'm not the only one who loves NDAD, since the site gets over 30,000 hits a day, and Marisa has been on E! and The Early Show, and appeared in Bust and the Los Angeles Times!
The book has a lot in common with the website. It features before and after photos of each garment, along with step by step instructions of how she transformed it, accompanied by work in progress pictures. The instructions are simple enough for people who don't sew much, and she often offers no-sew options you can do if you don't have a sewing machine or just don't want to sew!
Just like the site, I feel like the clothes she transforms aren't necessarily intended to be copied step by step, but more to serve as inspiration for what you can do with the items you find in your own shopping treasure hunts. The most important thing you pick up is how to see the potential in an article of clothing and beginning to imagine what you could do with it, rather than just thinking "Oh, that's too long/the wrong color/has ugly sleeves."
One feature of the book that the website doesn't really have is a handy Sewing 101 type of preface. The beginning section of the book goes over basic items you need in your sewing kit (as well as a few others to pick up if you're feeling fancy) followed by the basic skills you'll need to start refashioning clothes yourself. She explains different stitches you can use for hand sewing, as well as basic sewing machine use. These few pages are obviously not an in-depth sewing education, but it's definitely enough to get you started! Later in the book, there's info on dying fabric.
In addition to the popular "make an ugly dress cute!" type of transformations that dominate the site, the book also features things like Halloween costumes, ideas for what to do with leftover fabric, how to turn pants into shorts, and a few designer look-a-like creations.
I love having this book to flip through for inspiration, and it's a great companion for fans of the site! There are a few topics I'd like to see a little more info on, like how to choose items that will be the easiest to refashion, or how to deodorize thrift store finds (my constant struggle, since I'm allergic to scented detergent and almost everything I buy seems to have been previously owned by a April Fresh fanatic!). Still, I would rate this a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I love that the projects are all easy to do, and the text is full of humor and pop culture references that make it fun to read. This would make a great gift for crafty or budget-savvy friends!
The book will be released on October 16, but it's available for preorder now! (At the time I'm writing this, the preorder price is just $13.60, instead of the list price of $20! Score!)
I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book to review, but no other compensation was recieved and all opinions are my own!