I've blogged before about London's Junky Styling, a clothing boutique that features original one-of-a-kind clothes made from hacking together thrift-store finds, salvaged textiles, and whatever happens to be lying around. They made my favorite winter coat, my best suit jacket, and my wife's wedding dress (stitched together from Alice-blue men's work-shirts!).
I just received a review copy of Junky Styling: Wardrobe Surgery, a book written by Junky's co-founders, Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager. The first half of the book is given over to Junky's improbable history, a business started by two young women who knew so little about tailoring that they couldn't produce patterns for their clothes, which meant that each piece they finished was one-of-a-kind. They're naturals, though, and have thrived in the Truman Brewery off Brick Lane in East London. This section is lavishly illustrated with photos of their clothes over the years.
The second section is a detailed HOWTO for recreating several of their basic garments: a suit-sleeve scarf, a "shirt wrap halter top," a "fly top" and others, with copious notes about shopping for clothes to rescue and repurpose, instructions for unpicking seams, a glossary of textile types and strategies for working with each and so on.
Junky's tailors are makers, who dive in headfirst, make lots of mistakes quickly, learn and iterate and improve and surprise, and the book and clothes are infused with that heartening spirit. Makes me want to buy a sewing machine!
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.