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4.4 out of 5 stars
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As other reviewers have said, this is not what one might expect. I think you need to see for yourself because some of the projects are fantastic and others less so, but you may want something more ordinary - less young, slim and sexy. These are 'make them or leave them' items - not simple patterns that you can adapt but ones that, if you do like them, you will wish to follow exactly, with maybe some small alterations such as, in my case, lengthening the half-length sleeves or stopping short of the gathered wrist. You can't really see the textures of the patterns in my video. These tend to be quite subtle, although the long blue cardigan has a bold pattern that reminds me of extra-large crochet and the skirt, which I described as having a whacky pattern, has a fairly large zigzag pattern, though not too outrageous. The second skirt has a subtler, though still very interesting textural pattern. There's a very nice, subtle texture on the Pavement Jacket (with garter-stitch sleeves) and the red dress is worked in reverse stocking stitch with a kind of mock smocking at the waist, which I wrongly described as ribbing - it is more of a basket-weave design. The wrap-around dress is worked in a smart woven rib. The Annie Hat, named from Woody Allen's Annie Hall, is stiffened with pipe cleaners, which is very clever. If you like this hat, check out Annie Modesitt's books. In fact, her Romantic Hand Knits is similar in terms of the sex appeal, so if you like this book you will probably like that one too.
Note: I missed off a dress somehow, which has a cowl neck and is sleeveless, straight and very simple, ending above the knee.
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on 7 October 2010
I was expecting a book that dealt with various top-down construction methods for sweaters and cardigans and I was a bit disappointed when I first went through the book because it deals mainly with set-in sleeve construction with only one example of kimono sleeve construction. It doesn't cover any other type of garment construction. Having said that, the set-in sleeve construction is probably the most flattering one of the lot so I can understand where the author was coming from.

The patterns provided are:
6 dresses; 7 sweaters/cardigans; 4 hats; 2 arm warmers; 2 skirts; 1 cowl; 1 belt; 1 pair of slippers; 1 wrap; 1 jewellery.

I can understand how you have dresses, sweaters, skirts and even the hats in a book called Modern Top-Down knitting. But arm warmers, cowls, belts, slippers and jewellery? And, honestly? A top-down wrap? Definitely filler patterns that could have been replaced with designs that did what it says on the tin.

You may be forgiven for thinking I didn't really like this book and wonder at the four stars. I do like it. I like it a lot. This is the first time I've written a review on a knitting book, that's how much I like it. The patterns are modern, but not so much so that they'll date quickly. They can all be adapted to suit you and your body shape. The yarns used are American but you can used the yarn search facility on Ravelry or Yarndex to find a substitute yarn available here. Even the patterns that I don't think should be in the book are generally nice. The stitch pattern used on the wrap is interesting and the arm warmers show you how to do tucks.

The sections at the front and back of the book are very good and cover the main techniques needed for really well fitting top down garments and finishing. The tips throughout the book on finishing are really good. After all, if you don't need to sew seams, why not use the time saved to bind your hems to give a fantastic finish to something you've spent a long time working on? The book is printed on good quality paper and is well laid out. There are full schematics of the garments if knitted as written.

All in all a very good book. The garments are sized from x-small to x-large or 2x-large so don't let the mega skinny models used in the pictures put you off (Author and Publisher should take note - we like to see how things look on really women not just unbelievably skinny models.) For the first time ever I'm considering investing the time in making a knitted dress.
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on 19 October 2010
I was looking forward to receiving this book, just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover. Maybe I was expecting too much but my overall impression of the designs is that they are boring and frumpy. Didn't really see how most of the patterns would benefit from a top down construction, having made a top down jumper from 'Fitted Knits' which was knitted entirely in the round on circular needles, increasing stitches for the sleeves then knitting them separately from the base of the armhole downwards. In alot of these patterns the armhole stitches are picked up and then knitted down, the only benefit being that the length could be adjusted more easily.

I'm in total agreement with the first review that there are not enough garment patterns and the hats, arm warmers etc. were an unnecessary inclusion. I'm afraid that this one will have to go back as there are only a couple of things that I would consider making from this book and neither of them are particularly exciting.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 September 2011
This is a great book if you have always wanted just a simple cardi, tunic or dress that fits perfectly instead of making you look like you are wearing a knitted tent! I disagree with the other readers, the small projects like the hats and gloves are to help you master the technique if you are wary of jumping straight into a large expensive knit.

Overview section. This has some very clear instructions with a good amount of photos to get you going on working upside down! It also explains such things as shaping shoulders to fit, shaping and fitting in arms, and its nice and concise in doing so.

Patterns included:
Dresses: 6, including one wrap dress and some lovely flattering fitted dresses, some plain, some patterned
Skirts: 2, the seaport pencil one with a semi cable wave effect will be my first project as it looks stunning
Hats: 4, 2 of which had brims which surprised me pkeasantly,
Coatigan/Jacket: 1
Sweaters: 3 one has a lovely ruffled front neck section
Cardigans: 2
Tunics: 2, one with a cowl neck, one V neck
And some slippers, a belt, and some gloves etc.

Some of the above are sleeveless, but the book explains clearly how to fit sleeves, so these wont be a problem at all to add.

Basically this book, and a little imagination, could happily keep you knitting for several years without getting bored!
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on 22 February 2012
Some lovely, couture designs with fab touches like ribbon facings and using elastic - gasp! - to shape garments. Too many accessories for my liking, and the method used for adding sleeves is a bit basic. No integral raglans here, but overall an excellent, thought provoking pattern resource.
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on 5 January 2013
Gorgeous, chic, figure flattering, absolutely wearable everyday items with smart finishing touches that make them unique. I really have a hard time when I try to decide which one of them I want to make first. A perfect buy and a book that is going to be used (a lot) and not just going to decorate my library shelves!
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on 20 October 2013
I am not a fan of the jumper/skirts patterns, but I may be a bit partial since I bought it for the dresses patterns. Dresses take time to knit, hence patterns are scare so I am really happy to have found a book where there are so many gorgeous ones.
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on 10 December 2010
Although restricted in patterns - lots of dresses and strange things like hats and gloves!!!! this is an excellent book in showing the top down knitting process in all its simplicity.
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on 23 March 2013
An inspirational book that I will treasure. Comprehensive tutorials but approachable - can't wait to get stuck in. I might later consider writing to the author with words of appreciation!
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on 11 November 2012
This is one of those rare pattern books where I'd like to make almost everything. The patterns seem easy to follow and the extra explanatory notes are great.
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