Sy! by Jenny Hellström

Jenny Hellström is a designer and was the head of her own label from 1997-2008, making clothes inspired by the 1950/1980s, before her business went bankrupt. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about her or her label when it existed, I’m not that into the fashion scene, especially back then. So, how is it that I write about her here? Well, last year she published her first sewing book and recently she published her second. I now have them in my ownership.

Sy! Från hood till skjortklänning (Sew! From Hoodie to Shirtdress) was released last year and holds patterns for some of the designs she earlier sold. Her second book is Sy! Urban Collection which focuses on looking good in comfortable clothes. Both books have the point of view that sewing and creating should be fun and not taken too seriously. She encourages the reader to experiment, make changes in the patterns, customise. It’s liberating, but hard since I want to do things by the book, but this book tells me to be more free so maybe I should try that. She tells us to mix and match fabrics, paint and do appliques, try different fabrics, all held together by her love for sewing. She tells us not to worry if it’s not perfect, wear what you’ve made with pride!

Her point of view with these books in that anyone can sew and that there are projects for everyone. In the end of the book there is a sewing school with illustrations of some of the techniques. It is true that there are projects for everyone, but I think every sewist gets to the point where they want to evolve and I don’t think these books are good for that. Beginner projects and more advanced projects, but for learning techniques there are other better books. When I look back at my earliest projects, I loved them then, but I can also see that my sewing isn’t the best and there are things I’d change if I’d make them now. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to a beginner, but once you have the basics down, these books are filled with inspiration!

Sy! Från hood till shortklänning offers designs that Jenny Hellström sewed for her own brand. A total of 18 patterns of skirts, dresses, shirts, blouses, jackets, coats and tops, in various difficulties.

Sy! Urban Collection is also characterised by the love of sewing and keeping it fun, the book has fashions for looking good while being comfortable.

There’s another shirtdress and blouse (pictured above), which I personally think are a little too close to the ones from the previous book, although these are a bit softer. There are many basic knit tops, skirts and dresses.

This book also has a unisex pant, a t-shirt for men and a hoodie/pants set for babies and toddler. I don’t know how good I am at selfless sewing though.

I think it is very generous to share your own designs like this and I love the vibe throughout the books that sewing should be fun and happy. Still, this isn’t a book I’d recommend to someone who want to learn to sew. At least it should be accompanied by a book on techniques, such as Colette’s sewing handbook. There are some things that are hard to learn just by doing, sometimes you need a reference. That said, I really think these books are fun and full of inspiration. The only issue I have with them is what to sew first.

I realise that talking about patterns without showing them is a bit boring, but there’s no overview of the patterns and scanning them all would take a lot of time, time I don’t have. So you’ll get to see the patterns as I make them, at least some of them. Some of the looks can be seen on Jennyhellstrom.com and there’s always an Image Google for reference. The next creation I will post is a shirt from the first book.

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