Book Giveaway: DIY Fashionista by Geneva Vanderzeil

I read a lot of DIY blogs, as you might have gathered from this post. But my absolute favourite is A Pair and a Spare, by Geneva Vanderzeil. She’s got amazing style, her projects are always simple and inventive, and she avoids that ‘I’ve got a glue gun and I’m not afraid to use it’ look that plagues some of the other DIY crew.

So when I saw she had a book out, I asked the publishers to send me a copy, which they very kindly did. And in the spirit of Christmas I’ve got another copy to give away to someone who reads this blog!

I’ve got a fair amount of DIY/beginner craft tomes (mostly presents from well-meaning relatives) which are mostly pretty useless. But I really rate this book, for a few reasons.

DIY Fashionista

Firstly all the projects have great photos and really good step by step instructions. It’s a pet peeve of mine when DIY books have incredibly vague guidelines on how they actually made something (like this one). It’s so frustrating and puts you off ever trying any of the projects.

Not all the ideas in the book are new – if you read the blog, you’ll have seen some before, like this summer dress project, which inspired this awesome version by Elisalex on Stitch Me Softly. But they’ve all been re-photographed with more instructions.


The sewing skills needed for the projects are absolutely minimal – this is not the book for you if you’re a hardcore sewing technique hound. But there’s inspiration galore for upgrading the projects if you have a bit of skill. For example these silk shorts with lace on the bottom and velvet ribbon belt – you could make the shorts yourself rather than using a thrifted version.


There’s a very simple maxi-skirt tutorial which looks great and reminds me that I keep meaning to make one of these.


Secondly, what I liked about this book is the fresh perspective. There’s so much to learn if you get into making clothes that it’s easy to get caught up in technique and forget about the overall look. Often it’s the last details that totally make a project (as you’ll know if you’ve ever deliberated for hours over which buttons to choose). Geneva has a great eye for these.


I really like this denim shirt with a leather collar, which is actually glued on to the existing one.


The first part of the book is all about re-fashioning, which I am bad at, although I always like seeing what amazing bloggers like Zoe and Miss P make. But I love the idea of this ‘Boyfriend-shirt skirt’, and you can often find good quality men’s shirts second-hand. It would look awesome in a plaid flannel. Again it’s very easy to make, just gathered with elastic at the top.

Some of the projects are pretty inventive. This is a chain sewn on to a silk top to make a Peter Pan silhouette, which you could just as easily adapt to a self-sewn project like the Grainline Scout Tee or a Sorbetto minus the pleats.


And how about this Peter Pan collar necklace? It’s genius.


The other thing I really like about this book is the message behind it – you don’t have to spend loads of money on new clothes to be interested in fashion and trends. There’s an awareness of consumption and sustainability issues. Check out Geneva’s reasons for DIY-ing, which all ring true to me:


This would make an awesome Christmas present for someone you know who’s into fashion but daunted by the idea of making their own clothes. It’s a nice-quality hardback and the pictures are lovely:


It’s published by Carlton Books at £16.99, and you can get it from

Or you can leave a comment below to win a copy! The deadline for this is the end of next Thursday, the 13th December. You can enter from anywhere in the world, although if you’re not in the UK you might not get it for Christmas (but it’ll cheer up those January blues at least).


23 thoughts on “Book Giveaway: DIY Fashionista by Geneva Vanderzeil

  1. sosusie December 10, 2012 / 7:47 PM

    Hello…would love to win this, thinking of it as a present for my sister who is really in to the not buying anything new and refashioning and who is always laughing at her efforts. I think she’s really good at it but maybe a little extra inspiration wouldn’t go amiss. I’m more of a make from scratch because I’m not so good with the details so maybe I’ll buy one for myself too! I can’t believe gluing things on works for any length of time – have been thinking about updating shoes with glued on studs but think they’ll all just fall off!?

  2. Sally December 10, 2012 / 10:09 AM

    I would love to win this, Geneva has great style. I am quite jealous that it’s always sunny in HK though – makes her pics look wonderful!

  3. byhandlondon December 8, 2012 / 11:12 PM

    Love this book! Big fan of Geneva too – for me she definitely bridges the gap between serious sewist and glue gun cowboy! Her projects are easy but thoughtful and she always looks great. My little sister (she’s 9) has this book and is getting so into it she’s even asked for a proper sewing machine for xmas!

    x E

  4. Emma Wallace December 8, 2012 / 10:12 PM

    I love A Spare and a Pair too, please do count me in for this giveaway 🙂

  5. Kat H December 8, 2012 / 7:43 AM

    I’d love to have a look through this! Thanks for hosting the giveaway. 🙂 (That Peter Pan chain necklace is adorable – I may have to try that sometime very soon….!)

  6. Amity Gleason December 7, 2012 / 10:24 PM

    The book looks fantastic!! I love her blog so I know I would love the book! I hope I win!

  7. ZoSews December 7, 2012 / 11:44 AM

    Her blog is great and I’d love to win this book!

  8. Blogless Anna December 6, 2012 / 8:55 PM

    Interesting booked. I’d love to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. thisblogisnotforyou December 6, 2012 / 6:53 PM

    I’d love to have this book, but I’m never lucky in giveaways…finger’s crossed! 🙂

  10. Zanna December 6, 2012 / 6:36 PM

    I really like her blog – she comes across as a more ‘real’ person than a lot of fashion/DIY bloggers. She seems to have really good ideas too!

  11. Pendle Stitches December 6, 2012 / 4:36 PM

    I’m so bad at styling…this would really give me some much needed help!

  12. Vicki Kate December 6, 2012 / 4:06 PM

    I’m intrigued – I’ve never really tried refashioning and like you am in awe of Zoe and Miss P! This might give me a great jumping off point… Thanks for the chance!

  13. Laura Davis December 6, 2012 / 3:14 PM

    I need all the fashion help I can get! Fingers crossed to win!

  14. Molly December 6, 2012 / 2:39 PM

    This sounds like an awesome book, I love the idea of the faux peter pan collar made with a chain – I can never get those to lay flat the way I like, and this looks cuter anyways!

  15. melanie December 6, 2012 / 2:25 PM

    What a neat book … Thank you for the chance 🙂

  16. December 6, 2012 / 2:15 PM

    I love her book and a change to win it

  17. December 6, 2012 / 2:15 PM

    I read her blog and the thins are so cute.

  18. Sarah December 6, 2012 / 2:05 PM

    I’ve been reading her blog for a while, I’m amazed by how full of ideas she is 🙂
    Count me in please!

  19. Charlie December 6, 2012 / 2:00 PM

    Ooo, I love the idea of this book and would love to win it! 😀

  20. Sew Little Time December 6, 2012 / 1:55 PM

    this book looks great! my SIL got me a copy of the other book you linked to above from a charity shop and it is pretty useless, but this looks much better!

  21. Bridget Mahoney December 6, 2012 / 1:42 PM

    This book looks great! I love all the beautiful photos.

  22. Beverly December 6, 2012 / 1:36 PM

    I’d love to win this book!

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