Monday, 26 November 2012

Skirts galore!

Have you had enough of me and my skirts yet :-)?

I got skirt number three of four finished this weekend, and am sitting here happily wearing it (guess what? It's rather lovely!).  The plan was to show it to you today too, but the photo-taking part has yet to happen, so I thought instead I would fill you in on the patterns I'm using.

This was the pre-cut skirt sewing pile, and on top there is the pattern book: Allemaal Rokjes by Mme Zsazsa.

OK, so, it's in Dutch - this is why I figured it would be fun to share it :-). Because there's a rather vibrant sewing and blogging community in the Netherlands and Flanders too, and this book has taken it by storm. In fact, on its launch a few months ago it rocketed immediately to the top of the bestseller lists, toppling Jeroen Meus' latest cookbook, and he's basically the Jamie Oliver of Flanders, so in fact it's probably fair to say that it's taken the entire Dutch-speaking publishing world by storm too. There's a sudden rash of sewing books coming out this autumn, in what was previously a pretty much non-existent market segment. Allemaal Rokjes is already in its sixth or seventh print run.

And basically this is because, regardless of the language, it's an absolutely fantastic pattern book.

These (above) are all the patterns included. Each of these skirts comes in sizes from girls' age two up to women's size 46 (I think). They're all very well drafted: the fit is true to size, and the shapes are great.

The book contains detailed picture tutorials for each one, as well as variations and customisations, and more tutorials for techniques like installing zips and sewing with stretch fabric.

Mme Zsazsa has a wonderful way of writing which is also deployed to great effect on her blog (although she's often hilariously colloquial enough to confuse the hell out of google translate). She's down to earth and witty and completely demystifies the sewing and construction process.

The title Allemaal Rokjes manages in two little words to convey both "All About Skirts" and "Everything About Skirts" - which very neatly encapsulates the whole book. Not being a proper translator, I can't think of a phrase that does this job so well in English. In my head I think of it as "Skirts Galore!" - which kind of echoes the exuberant circus photography throughout.

Well I'm guessing any Dutch-speaking readers out there have got this book already, right? If not, why have you resisted?? :-)

Do you ever use patterns/sewing books in languages other than your native one?  I wonder if it takes having a certain confidence in your sewing skills to do so? For example, I've learnt a lot of sewing vocabulary by using this book, because I was able to match up my pre-existing knowledge of the techniques with the descriptions in the tutorials. Needing to attack it with a dictionary as well would have stopped me at the outset!

And what about reading blogs in other languages? There's so much out there, and sometimes it seems like we're all inhabiting the same worlds but in parallell. One of the reasons I wanted to share this here was to overlap mine a little bit.

So, what other non-English blogs should I know about?

And last but not least: what's your favourite pattern book? You'll have guessed that so far, this one is mine :-)


  1. That book looks so cool. I love how it went to the number one spot! I learnt to sew using Japanese pattern books in Japanese - without knowing any Japanese. I still don't. It was always the patterns that got me and in fact I sewed my first proper english pattern only this year after Me Made May. I've started following a couple of French language blogs and of course I follow Merche and another Spanish one.

  2. Wauw, jij bent echt super dingen aan het maken, heb je mijn post ooit nog gekregen?

  3. I have to admit, i haven't bought it... Simply because at the time I didn't feel like it was an addition to my sewing library: most of the patterns looked like something I could draft myself. So instead, I spent the money on a book on tailoring.Most of my sewing books are in English since I rarely find any in Dutch that go further than the very basics... I do have one Dutch translation of a 1970s book on tailoring, found in my stepfather's bookcase, and a Japanese pattern book on men's coats I should use one day (sorry, brother and boyfriend).

    1. Hi Anneke! I got it basically because I wanted some basic skirt patterns and couldn't be bothered to draft them myself. Totally agree that if you can/want to do that and/or want something more tailored, there are probably better sewing books for you out there. Found books are the best though, yours sounds interesting!


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