Recently another new dressmaking magazine has come on the market and I’ve been sent a copy to review.
Sew Now is published by Practical Publishing who are also responsible for Love Sewing mag which I believe is currently the market leader in this field. There are quite a few similarities and Sew Now’s USP is that “it’s only magazine that brings you dressmaking projects that real women, of all ages, are wearing today”. It also claims to be committed to a “plus-size promise” which is a hopeful for future editions because whilst I’m not plus-size myself I get as annoyed as the next person with women’s magazines which don’t reflect their readership. This gets off to a promising start because there’s a plus-size pattern review by lovely Anne Acosta (of new_vintage_sewing on Instagram) Having had the pleasure of meeting her at the Sewing Weekender in August I know she’s a lady with masses of sewing experience so I’d say her review is pretty trustworthy!
The first issue comes with a free Simple Sew pattern for a dress and top and the photos accompanying the article are refreshing because they show alongside the young model-shock horror!-an older (albeit very attractive) model too. Hallelujah! It features several versions of the top and dress and various ideas for styling them. I’d say this is where Sew Now wants to show it’s fashion chops so that it’s more relatable to what women want to wear and sew and because not everyone wants tea-dresses or vintage-inspired styles.
There’s an interesting article “shop it or sew it” which takes high street fashions and picks patterns to make your own versions.
I also enjoyed an article by former Sewing Bee contestant Deborah Simms about choosing getting the most from your fabrics-I think she talked a lot of sense about choosing the right fabric for the purpose and not mistaking ‘cheap’ for ‘inexpensive’ or a ‘bargain’, there’s a big difference and generally we all learn it the hard way! There’s a related article by Alison Smith too. This type of article can be very useful to a newbie sewer, what about creating a dictionary of fabrics?
For more adventurous sewers there’s an article about sewing your own undies-not something I’ve been tempted to try yet but give it time! As a very experienced seamstress and teacher I often find it frustrating that magazines don’t offer enough challenging items but this could be more to do with me not finding the right magazine yet.
In truth I wouldn’t be able to tell someone which of the two publications (Love Sewing and Sew Now) would be better for their level of sewing as there are so many similarities. A number of the same people pop up in both such as Wendy Ward and Alison Smith, they are both extremely knowledgable but it doesn’t make to magazines any easier to tell apart.
Both magazines offer Simple Sew patterns as their freebies and, being brutally honest, I haven’t always found them to be the most reliable of patterns. I’ve discovered vital bits of instructions missing, not making sense or just plain wrong. As I’ve said before in other blogs, this is fine for me because I can (probably) work out what to do but when you’re just starting out it might not be so easy. There! I’ve said it!
That said, I’ve made up the free Zoe pattern as a dress with some lovely printed denim from Ditto (which was intended for jeans but you know what? plans change!) Overall I’m very happy with the result although the dress is a really funny length on me, at least in denim, so I shortened it by about 15cms and it’s much better. It might have looked ok in something a bit more fluid but I’m happier with it now.
I top stitched it in some jazzy neon-pink thread (to go with my fringe?) It was a very quick make and I reckon I’ll get a lot of use from it over the winter.
Something I do like about sewing magazines now is the ability to download and print off patterns, even if the sticking together is a bit of a palaver. There are a number included with this issue. The first edition of Sew Now also included a supplement featuring accessories both to buy in the shops and some to make for yourself.
Overall I think it’s a nice enough magazine but personally I wouldn’t subscribe to any sewing magazine at present because I think they’ve become a bit homogenous in a crowded market and, as a dressmaker, I’m not that bothered about the craft projects (besides which, this is covered in yet more craft-based publications) That said, if you’re tempted into a short-term commitment they have an opening offer of 3 issues for £6 at present.
I must stress that all the views in this blog are entirely my own and are unbiased by a free magazine to review!
I’d be interested to know your views on the sewing magazines that are filling the shelves at the moment, they’ve got to be something pretty special to stand out, and against the relentless march of the internet.
Or am I just hard to please?
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