Book review – ‘The Maker’s Atelier: The Essential Collection’ by Frances Tobin

I have a confession – I put ‘The Maker’s Atelier: The Essential Collection’ on pre-order on Amazon as I was so desperate to get this book! I absolutely love Frances’ patterns, so the thought of getting 8 patterns for under £30 was compelling.


The book is beautifully presented, with the printed patterns in a string bound wallet at the back of the book. The photography and styling is simple and clear and very aspirational. I want to look like that! All the items are in a co-ordinated palette of neutrals and very elegant. The Maker’s Atelier exhibited at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last November and they had a rail of samples which you could try on which I so enjoyed! I wanted all of the patterns, but at over £20 each, I settled for one.

The patterns in this book are simpler than the main collection, so initially, I wasn’t sure I really liked them. But I already had a couple of pieces of fabric, so decided to quickly have a go at making two of them. And that is the thing – they are very speedy makes.

I made the stretch pencil skirt and the drape neck top and I am so happy with them.

The stretch pencil skirt, I made out of some printed scuba and it feels so comfy I’m going to get a lot of wear out of this skirt. I took about 3cm off the hips in total as I don’t have much of a behind, and I am really happy with the fit. It could have been tighter, but I don’t think it would be so comfortable. As the scuba didn’t need hemming, it took me about an hour to make.

I wasn’t sure the drape neck top was going to suit me as it is rather oversized which is not always a good look when you have a large bust. But I made it from white Milano jersey from the Fabric Godmother and it is surprisingly good on me. Again, an easy make, but watch out if you are making it in jersey – the front pattern piece is different for jersey and woven fabrics and the jersey one is on a different pattern sheet. it took me a bit of rummaging through all the printed sheets to find it.

I am so delighted with how these have come out that I have already cut out the cigarette pants and am planning to make the wrap skirt too. There is information in the book about different fabrics and how that will alter the look of the garments and how to wear them too. I think this is a book I will come back to time and time again.